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The future looks bright ahead Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "kiwihedgie" journal:

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October 8th, 2013
11:08 pm


New blog!
I have a new blog, which is totally different... because I actually seem to be updating it.



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May 16th, 2013
09:51 pm


A response to critics of Angelina Jolie's prophylactic mastectomy.

In response to this recent article by National Geographic seeking to explain genetic predisposition to cancer:
one commenter made a series of ignorant (at best) comments regarding the issue. When I heard that Angelina Jolie had had a bilateral mastectomy, I immediately assumed it was in response to having developed cancer. When I learned that it was preventative, I was absolutely floored. Here is arguably one of the most recognized and revered sex symbols of her generation voluntarily removing her breasts - a body part which, according to pretty much every facet of popular culture defines as being (one of) the most attractive and important parts of the female body (either for its sexual appeal or the desire to appear sexually pleasing) and around which a constant, enormous amount of sexualization and objectification occurs. Of course she has already had multiple children who she was able to breastfeed, and shown off her body in pretty much every respectable (and occasionally verging on disreputable) way, so losing her breasts now is a far cry from losing them at a very young age when she had never experienced all the things she was otherwise able to. In any event, for her to make this move in an industry that privileges youth and beauty and vilifies imperfection - and as a key role model within that industry - she may have done more to benefit young women who idealize (if not idolize) celebrities than can be accomplished by a thousand ads promoting self-esteem and advice columns telling parents how to teach their children to love and value their bodies in a healthy way. In one fell swoop she not only promotes health and taking care of one's body, but rejects the notion that sexuality, beauty, and femininity are dependent upon the physical. Culture bombards us every moment with the opposite message, and it takes someone of her stature- and a statement this bold- to make an impact. And I think it will.

As for the matter of preventative surgery itself, I've heard a number of arguments revolving around this topic - most of which concern the horror of losing what society considers a fundamental part of femininity (breasts, ovaries, etc.) and the resulting impact on sexuality, self-esteem, and emotional stability. I'm reposting my reply to her because I feel that a lot of people see prophylactic mastectomies (not to mention hysterectomies and oophorectomies) as being:

a) hysteria/paranoia over something that is not guaranteed to happen, the stress of which makes it more likely to occur (as the poster initially argued).
b) potentially damaging to the body, having hormonal and other long-term effects (which is in my opinion the only really legitimate concern, as this is extremely important to recognize when considering this or any similar procedure, but is strangely not usually the first thing people argue about)
c) mutilating and disrespecting the human body when it can (supposedly) be healed either through its own natural powers or through non-traditional, non-invasive (and generally non-medical) treatment. This category accounts for a lot of the opposition I've heard to the procedure and others like it.
d) quite simply being horrified that the patient will become less of a woman, less feminine, and no longer in touch with herself.
e) playing God.
f) blindly running to participate in the newest scientific discoveries/developments simply because they're new (although quite frankly, this isn't something I'd ever heard much before, as most people realize that something this serious isn't undertaken on a whim and is in no way a new concept, as it's essentially an extension of the concept of post-cancerous tissue removal, such as when a second breast is removed because the other was cancerous).

Here is what was posted in response to the National Geographic article:
"The more all these theories get hyped up, the more women get afraid that they might get afflicted with cancer, the more likely they will get cancer. A bit of toning down on the hysteria would go a long way to prevent at least some cancer. Tell women to sacrifice cancer and keep their body intact. I'm sure that if you kill yourself, you will be protected against all diseases, not just 90%. But does it make sense to do it? The same is true for all these non-sensical prophylactic mastectomies and removal of ovaries. Some years later the theories collapse, then way more harm will have been done than a chance of cancer. One way or another, you live until you die." Obviously this is far more articulate, reasoned and intelligent than 99% of the comments festering on Youtube. However, it brings up a number of concerning attitudes that I think are far too prevalent, and I wanted to address them specifically.

Here is my reply:
When you watch 2/3 of every generation of your family suffer from variations of the same disease (including your ancestors who lived before DNA or the mechanisms for disease had even been discovered, and most certainly did not bring cancer on themselves by fearing it or expecting it to happen) you begin to realize that genetic predisposition is very real and doesn't go away if you just refuse to pay attention to it. Some people are more likely to be born with red hair or very large feet; some people are more likely to eventually develop cancer. It's just reality. Stress is certainly a contributing factor, but a lack of stress and a carefree attitude are hardly reassuring methods to combat this high a cancer risk. I've known since early childhood that I will probably get cancer because my family history makes it clear that I almost certainly have some of these genetic predispositions. Will I get prophylactic surgery? I don't know. But I AM getting more frequent screening, and I am much more careful to live a lifestyle that makes me less predisposed. Those choices - based on my awareness of my genetic makeup- may very well save my life, or at least give me a head start on fighting cancer if I get it. While these prophylactic procedures seem ridiculously extreme, it's also pretty extreme to watch a disease ravage your family time after time, stealing life, health, comfort, time, money, and the ability to fully be a parent, wife, friend or child from your mother, aunts, sisters and grandmothers (and the men too), generation after generation, and know it's probably in your future but just sit back and let it happen- especially if you do have young kids or other dependents. Your opinion changes pretty drastically each time a family member gathers everyone together and tells you they have cancer, and you all look around at each other and at their kids and say "oh dear God, not again", your minds all traveling back to the deathbed or hospital room of the last relative to make this announcement, your eyes resting a little longer on the children of that last relative or this one, desperately hoping through the tears that the next time you get together for Christmas you will all still be there and nobody else will have the same bad news. Every time you feel a new lump, or an almost-lump, or just a hormonal difference in breast tissue, your life almost stops until you can get to the doctor or until the MRI, mammogram or ultrasound machine is available. You try to live your life normally but you can't sleep, your mind is numb, you're not sure when to tell your family that you might have cancer (yet again) and you feel sick that you're hiding something so important from them. But because you don't want to drag them behind you on the roller-coaster of emotions every time this happens because you love them too much, you lie to them and say everything is normal, and then you pray that it will be nothing, because hearing that a loved one has been going through this alone is almost as hard as hearing the news itself and you don't want to have to say that to them.

Nobody chooses this lightly. It is very much a case of choosing the lesser of two evils. These procedures are extreme but are not irrational, hyper-dramatic or paranoid; it's not so different from someone having all their large moles removed because the doctor thinks they look particularly likely to be cancerous. People are simply more attached to their breasts, ovaries, etc. than moles-as they should be-and there are certainly hormonal and other implications to altering the reproductive system. But appreciating the privilege of having intact breasts/ovaries and choosing to basically keep ticking time bombs within your own body-which is really what they might be, in these cases- in order to keep some non-essential body parts are two very different things. Considering preventative measures is not embracing paranoia or allowing yourself to spiral into an unnecessary panic that causes your body to spontaneously generate more cancer. It's being realistic and rational in choosing life, peace of mind, and a more certain future-for yourself and your family-in exchange for some fatty tissue and reproductive capacity.

And which part of this is a "theory" that may collapse in the future? The theory that a cancer which attacks breast tissue is lessened if you don't HAVE breasts? That logic is pretty irrefutable.

Privileging an intact body over a secure, healthy future - especially after watching time and time again as cancer attacks your loved ones - is the real hysteria. When you understand the risks and the statistics, refuse to let your inherent attachment to every body part rule over your will to survive, and make the decision that you won't be a victim just because you're genetically unlucky, it's not being overreactive. You do "live until you die", but deliberately ignoring specific, changeable things that can hasten death and making no effort to protect your life is hardly appreciating the privilege of living in the first place. Although they involve pain and loss, not to mention the almost unfathomable strength of will required to voluntarily sacrifice a piece of yourself for the survival of the body as a whole, in these cases prophylactic surgeries are choosing life and health over some body parts that are not essential to survival. It's that simple.

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April 6th, 2013
11:37 pm


Anti-anti-gay books have the best quotes.
"I once dressed up as jerry Falwell for Halloween. It was the scariest thing I could think of'"
- interviewee Misty, Pray the Gay Away, by Bernadette Barton.

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12:52 pm


These books are awesome.
"'Oh honey, you don't need to worry about hell. We Catholics have purgatory. Hell is only for really bad people like Hitler.'" - "Pray the Gay Away", Bernadette Barton

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April 4th, 2013
03:09 pm


Mel White's "Stranger at the Gate"
I don't know why but this particular part of this book is just so profoundly sad.
Talking about a young, confused and very sweet (closeted) lesbian girl participating in a boy/girl skating event along with the author, a young, confused and very sweet - and similarly closeted - gay boy.

When "the boys chose their partners, Karen would be left standing alone with a resigned look in her eyes. So, I always chose Karen. She didn't have any more passion for holding me in her arms that I had passion for holding her, but Karen loved to skate and obviously appreciated being rescued from that cruel little sexist ritual...Karen would squeeze my hand, look embarrassed, and say 'Thanks, Jim.' Already she knew something about both of us that would take me years to learn, but she never spoke of it. Karen just smiled sadly and skated away from me back to the center of the ring to dance with her invisible partner and wait until that day when she, too, would finally be allowed to be paired with the skater of her choice" (48,49) 

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February 5th, 2013
12:11 am


Parade's End.
Who knew I would find such a kindred spirit in a fictional, cuckolded, Edwardian, male English aristocrat? Admittedly we do have so much in common; we are both Caucasian, human, and both our names begin with a consonant. Pretty solid parallels right off the bat.

In truth though, very rarely do I really relate strongly and specifically to any fictional character - or any real person, for that matter- whether in literature, TV, film or any other medium. But Christopher Tietjens in Parade's End (as brilliantly portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, not the books which I've never read) embodied so many things you rarely see in any character on screen, some of which I see so much of in myself. I may be less emotionally constipated and somewhat less pedantic - and I'm sure my memory probably more closely resembles his after he had the "stuffing knocked out of" him than before - but I was absolutely blown away with the fact that somebody would create a character with a set of traits that I can so particularly connect with. Not to mention the tremendously soulful and inspired portrayal; the entire war setting in particular was beautifully done, and I actually felt a little bit sick to my stomach watching him look so ill. I don't know how much of that was makeup and how much was Mr. Cumberbatch simply willing himself to look like death, but it was actually quite painful to see him so bedraggled and worn. Which was refreshing and all too rare; good costumes, makeup and scripting are pretty much ubiquitous on screen nowadays, as TV and films perpetually do a fine job of representing war in general and there is no end to the industry's commitment to expose the audience to ever-more-realistic representations of broken bodies, but he did a really epic job of portraying that weariness. Absolutely superb. Although I did find it completely infuriating that Sylvia would waste such a man, no matter how much I realize the foundations of her character prevented her from ever being his counterpart, which is the whole point of their relationship. I don't care how incompatible you may be together; when you find a man like that (or trap him in marriage by randomly sexually assaulting him on a train within 5 minutes of meeting him, whatever the case may be), you do whatever it takes to keep him. Even if it means learning to be, oh I don't know, less awful. A complete personality change wouldn't be such a horrible price to pay in exchange for a rarity such as him. (Hmm... I realize I just said that I see myself in him and now I'm saying he's the most amazing creature to walk the face of the earth. That doesn't sound particularly humble, although it's not really what I mean. Let's just skip over that, shall we? Moving swiftly on...) 

Since it's true that misery loves company - and nobody is more manifestly miserable than Christopher Tietjens - this is quite an amazing show to watch when you're truly and absolutely depressed. I don't know why we as humans enjoy being surrounded by those who can empathize with or share our pain. I don't think it's some form of misplaced schadenfreude - I think it's more likely that we just want to know that we're not alone in our suffering - but regardless it was incredibly soothing and cathartic to see somebody possibly even more miserable than I, even if he is fictional. 

So it was that yesterday night, after a spectacularly heartbreaking and emotionally exhausting Sunday that began with an unexpected 10-hour emergency visit to the veterinarian which culminated in me having to suddenly put down the lovely dog I've had for 12 years, whose body had failed her in a horrifically dramatic and sudden fashion and who simply couldn't understand what was happening to her as I struggled desperately to figure out at what point I was being selfish by prolonging her life so that my family (out of town at the moment) might get to say goodbye, I pretty much just sat and rewatched Parade's End until I passed out. It was amazingly comforting. Thank you Benedict Cumberbatch - you can rest assured that your performance served, at the very least, to provide some much-needed escapism to someone at a point when they were in desperate need of it. Fictional or not, acting or not (actually I'd much prefer it be acting; I'd be MORE depressed if I thought I were watching Benedict Cumberbatch - or anyone, for that matter - actually suffer that much) - seeing that sincerity and pain on the face of a character who in many ways is so much like myself somehow equalized and provided a counterweight for my own suffering. So Mr. Cumberbatch, if you feel you need to embellish your resumé - which you most certainly do not, as you clearly have it covered at this point and by all accounts will barely be able to contain it in the future - you can add "involuntary therapist" or "catharsis aide" to your list of accomplishments....although you did successfully traumatize me just a little bit with your wonderful work in Atonement. It was totally worth it - it was a great character, a brilliant film with amazing acting, scripting, costumes, and really phenomenal subtext - but still quite a bold role to choose, and one that isn't quickly forgotten. But then again, being forgettable isn't really your style anyway.

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July 21st, 2012
02:20 pm


I don't like the notion of "gun control"...led distribution. It implies that guns can be controlled.
Warning: giant rant about gun control [in response to July 20, 2012 theatre shooting at a premiere of the Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, USA] to follow. Don't bother reading unless you have a lot of time to waste and/or want to get involved in yet another hot-button-issue rant. Isn't this what the internet is for? You've been warned.
Note - To any trolls/spam advertisers/etc. I will delete your responses - and any responses complaining about my deletion of your responses, etc - so don't bother wasting your time here. I think reddit will serve your spamming needs more effectively. I suggest you go there.
"In aftermath of Dark Knight Rises massacre, calls for gun control muted"
“All the weapons that he possessed, he possessed legally,” Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said. “And all the clips that he possessed, he possessed legally. And all the ammunition that he possessed, he possessed legally.”
"“I don’t think there’s any other developed country in the world that has remotely the problem we have,” Bloomberg said. “We have more guns than people in this country.”

"The United States is one of few developednations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands. In theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself"
"Should this young man — whose nature was apparently so obvious to his mother that, when a ABC News reporter called, she said “You have the right person” — have been able to buy guns, ammunition and explosives? The gun lobby will say yes. And the endless gun control debate will begin again, and the lobbyists of the National Rifle Association will go to work, and the op-ed thinkers will have their usual thoughts, and the right wing will issue alarms, and nothing will change. And there will be another mass murder."

"In after math of Dark Knight Rises massacre, calls for gun control muted"
NO NO NO NO NO This is the most stupid thing I've ever heard. ALL guns - legal or not - have no purpose in the home (aside from those legitimately using them to hunt for food, perhaps- but such weapons wouldn't be a glock or an assault rifle like the Aurora suspect had- and would be so much harder to conceal and use to commit crime. (And let's outlaw sport/game hunting while we're at it. Okay, too far?). IF THERE WERE NO GUNS, THERE WOULD BE NO GUNMEN. Honestly. If every person in that theatre had been armed for the purposes of "self defense" I guarantee the death toll would have been higher because the average citizen is not capable of taking down a shooter - especially in such heightened circumstances - without having at least one stray bullet likely hit someone. But if there were NO residential guns PERIOD, this shooting wouldn't have happened. If you couldn't just walk in to a store and buy a gun with absolutely no legitimate purpose (aside from self-defense, which - again - would be unneeded if the perpetrators of violence ALSO couldn't get guns) none of these events would ever occur. There is NO NO NO NO NO NO NO legitimate reason for a random member of society to have an assault rifle. Home defense? Um, no. Against what? A herd of angry elephants breaking into his home?
I don't want gun control, which implies safe distribution of weapons... I want NO GUNS WHATSOEVER. The notion that regular people could safely take down a gunman still involves the gunman being able to commit the crime in the first place... I'd love to think of a society where that gunman, no matter how mild-mannered and gentle, couldn't just buy that gun. If good people (many of whom can't control them anyway) can get guns, so can bad people. So instead, how about nobody gets guns? Just a thought. 
And again, I get that guns will always exist for hunting, police use, etc. but selling them to random citizens with no reason to have them is not the path to safety for anyone. And in the case of the Aurora shooter - all bought within the past two months, 2 Glocks and an assault rifle? There is no conceivable reason to consider an assault rifle to be necessary for anything but war or perhaps some military/police purposes. And a Glock? Okay. But two in rapid succession? What was his reasoning - that he needs one stashed in every room? I get that he passed all requirements of the law but had there been a longer waiting period or something or, you know, NOT GIVING RANDOM CITIZENS ASSAULT RIFLES AND HANDGUNS, this could have been prevented. The first time a citizen's gun accidentally killed someone should have been a wake up call that there is no safe way to arm the populace, and those advocating gun ownership must be blind to the fact that CITIZENS ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH TO HAVE GUNS, EVEN GOOD CITIZENS. Every gun is a threat, no matter how innocently it may have been distributed or owned. But assault rifles... seriously? SERIOUSLY? How can you justify giving a grad student an assault rifle? What possible purpose could he have for possessing such a thing? 
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (image below), over 31,347 people died from firearm-related deaths in 2009. While I think that statistic can't possibly be accurate - and I shudder to think that it might - unless you can prove that 31,348 people's lives were saved through the use of firearms in the country, the numbers don't add up. If every year more people die than live as a result of firearm ownership, any random citizen wanting a gun for "self-defense" purposes just can't see that every gun a civilian buys is adding to the problem, not the solution. What are the chances that his gun will never be fired? Very high, I hope. What are the chances that a bullet from his gun will ultimately end up killing someone, possibly a small child? Not nearly as remote as I'd previously believed. But what are the chances he'll save himself/others in some kind of freak attack on the populace or a home invasion? Virtually nonexistent (how often does this happen? Seriously? And unless it's more often than the number of times a person is killed in the US by a firearm it still loses out statistically). So all those people citing "self-defense" need to realize that they are forming part of the group against which one would need to be protected. You think that you're well-enough trained or keep your gun stored away safely enough that you wouldn't hit someone unless they were a threat and you intended to? Tell that to all the people whose children every year manage to find weapons in their parents's houses or little kids hit by stray bullets on the street. All of that - ALL of it - is a result of liberal gun ownership. Yes, thousands of responsible, well-trained gun owners have weapons either at home or on their person that they could use to defend themselves. But even more people who have guns either intend to use them for criminal purposes or inexplicably purchase ASSAULT RIFLES and handguns with no legitimate purpose for them. And when even one of those people - either the well-trained owners or the grad students obviously suffering from some kind of mental problem - go off the rails, you've placed the weapon in their hands that turns a maladjusted loner or a schizophrenic into a full-scale terrorism machine. Don't think for a second that you're special and YOU deserve a gun unlike all those other dangerous people you need to protect against...unless you're a retired Navy SEAL who keeps it locked in a double safe in the basement - and even then, can you prove to me beyond the shadow of a doubt that someday some random neuron won't fire in your brain and cause a psychotic break? These people don't (for the most part) intend to go crazy and lose all perspective - it just happens. Mental illness isn't something you can protect against by being strong-willed. Just look at PTSD. Even some of the most strong, courageous and well-trained men and women in the world can't will their brains into submission- they're human beings. And human beings are flawed. And 
PS - this doesn't necessarily extend to antiques, etc. which have been rendered useless through removal of the firing pin or something and SAFELY (ie. out of public hands) stored. I realize their functioning could be restored, but that's as complicated as stealing a hunter's gun, for example, and while possible is a far cry from deliberately distributing guns to the masses. I'm not suggesting we melt down all guns and pretend they've never existed, and I recognize that there will ALWAYS be the existence - not to mention a disturbing wealth of knowledge to permit the creation- of other weaponry, but it's not the same as deliberately allowing the masses access to highly-perfected killing machines. If the kids at Columbine or the Dark Knight shooter hadn't had such easy access to weapons they might have tried to enact the same scenarios with whatever they could scrape together, but we are responsible for being the reason they were so effective. They may have been mentally unbalanced and willing to hurt other people, but we are the ones who placed those guns in their hands - because to say that anyone deserves a gun is to say that everyone deserves a gun (because that's what ultimately happens when weapons become readily available to buy, steal or trade, even if just from a neighbor) and that is most clearly proven to be incorrect. The day Wal Mart sells guns and ammunition (which: news alert, it does) is the day we should be horrified to look at the US, or Canada (we're not exempt although our statistics may be lower) - or any other nation regulating but permitting the sale of weaponry at such an elevated rate- and see how the notion of "personal liberty" has completely obliterated any concept of how a safe society should be governed. To those complaining that it's their right to own a gun and they need it for self defense I'd say this; prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that it is impossible that said gun could EVER, even if being used to shoot at a crazy criminal who shot at you first, hit a child and then we'll talk. Depriving you of liberty? If "liberty" and "personal freedom" consist of giving random citizens assault rifles then I'm afraid you have the idea of "liberty" confused with something else. The freedom to do whatever the hell you want - including buy assault rifles for no legitimate reason - don't supersede the public's rightto the freedom of living in a safe society. Personal liberty should never be prioritized over the public's right to the freedom of safety, or simply being able to walk around knowing they can't be shot today by some whack job who was permitted by the law to buy an ASSAULT RIFLE because he's polite, doesn't appear threatening and doesn't have a record.
Adding more guns doesn't make you safer. it just gives that many more people like Holmes access to the weapons he's using to terrorize you. It's the most basic of terrorism (" the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization", that is, not the post 9-11 definition that attaches it only to the political/social Other or requires international mechanations- but that's a whole different issue), plain and simple, and you're enabling it by putting the gun in his hands.
If I were in that theatre, would I wish I had a gun? Maybe. But the fact remains that the same social mechanism that would put a gun in my hands is what put them into his, and in my utopian dream neither of us should be permitted to have one. The notion that "if guns were outlawed then only outlaws would have guns" doesn't work if there are no guns at all. A ridiculous dream that could never work particularly considering the level of globalization and global trade that would enable further gun introduction into the country, I know, but what is Facebook if not a place to complain? I know this is about as reasonable and practical as wishing for equal wealth distribution or the banishment of large corporations (not that I would say that either one of those blanket statements is necessarily desirable, they're just examples), but I can still dream. 
As a side note - although I feel that the Dark Knight isn't as culpable as almost any war movie - our society's glorification of violence doesn't help either. The disassociation toward violence caused by video games is brought up constantly because it's real. Try playing Grand Theft Auto for 100 hours straight, constantly having your car (and your character) instantly replaced after every conceivable damage you can inflict on it and then tell me you're driving more carefully out in the real world. The same thing applies - if not worse - to violence. When we're conditioned that the sight of someone's arm getting blown off of them - whether in a movie, video game or even a cartoon - is no longer horrifying, we need to take a serious look at our conditioning toward violence. If someone were to conduct a psych exam and all the responses corresponded to the events considered mainstream in games and movies, we'd lock the person up immediately as psychotic with violent tendencies. The human brain can only process so much and the power of acclimation is extremely powerful - we can't expect to raise our children on (or expose ourselves to) a steady diet of death, violence and mutilation and not expect that to ooze out into the real world. I'm not saying that I'm strictly opposed to any kind of violence in games or movies, simply that there should be a limit, and we shouldn't reach a point where a steady stream of death a violence is being fed into people's minds, particularly in their formative years when every compulsion, moral belief and perspective is still being formed. There is no way this can go anywhere good.
Let the angry onslaught of responses begin, I suppose.

Firearm Fatalities

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June 17th, 2011
07:59 pm


Fringe Season 3, Episode 22: The Paradox of Peter's Presence
 The final episode of Fringe's third season is bugging me for a number of reasons, several of which other people have already pointed out in their generally strongly-worded blogs and articles throughout the internet arguing why the episode is or isn't good. However, as always, I'm irritated with the inconsistencies (As always - it still irks me that Walter's lab wasn't in the same university as Walternate's, yet Walter was able to view Walternate through his cross-universe portal to watch Walternate test out possible disease cures [a portal that needed geographical correspondance, such as when 1985 Walter demonstrated for the military by pointing the portal to show zeppelins that only existed on the other side, or when he showed his wife that the alternate Peter was happy in his bed although the bed in front of them was empty. Not to mention the fact that Olivia traveled back to our foundation universe through the sensory deprivation tank which somehow took her between the labs as she crossed universes. Maybe Walternate had moved his lab to match Walter's some time after Peter's disappearance. Either way, I find it irritating.). 

However, what is bothering me now is (unsurprisingly) the final few minutes of this season finale. Peter comes down from the machine, tells both Walters (in a particularly appropriate but cheesy speech) that they need to work together, then disappears. The Walters look at each other and argue, Olivia tells them to grow up, and we see the Observers comment that Peter has fulfilled his destiny and had never existed. 

Perhaps Peter no longer exists because he's the one who took the pieces of the machine back and he was unable to return and was for some reason unable to exist; maybe his leaving means that a different Peter was born in his place; maybe he simply doesn't exist because the quantum issues that made him important have been rectified and some kind of chain reaction cancelled out his birth. I don't really care. What bothers me is this; if the Observers are (presumably) watching the same scene we are - the one in which Walternate tells Walter he's "shattered his universe", Walter argues that at least it was accidental, and then Olivia tells them to work together - then the Observers are implying that this small conversation immediately following Peter's disappearance is somehow an indication that the moment Peter disappeared everyone forgot that he'd ever existed and failed to remember him at all. 

In that case, though, to what is Walternate referring when he accuses Walter of shattering his universe if not the initial incident on Reiden Lake when Walter stole Peter and caused the rift between Walters and their universes? In order for that to have happened, Peter would have needed to exist at SOME point even if he died at some later point. It is implausible, considering the emphasis the show makes on the impact of every tiny decision on the development of one's version of reality, that some other chain of events NOT including Peter could have brought them to this exact same situation.
If Peter had drowned in Reiden Lake instead of the Observer having saved him, it still would not have made him cease to exist, just no longer exist.

So I'm positing that although everyone forgetting about Peter is a silly development, it is the comment about Peter having never existed that is completely at odds with the entire framework of the series. Even if he'd been sent from some third alternate universe to unite them (which makes no sense since he addresses his Walter directly, knows Olivia, and is behaving in complete agreement with his previous behavior in both universes... although it would mesh with his prior confusion after initially waking up in the hospital after his accident and thinking that Walternate was his current father and that he had been living in the alternate universe). he still would have existed, just not in either of their universes.
Perhaps the Observers were saying that the ADULT Peter never existed because his survival of the accident at Reiden Lake was somehow undone with this action - perhaps due to the Observer going back in time and not saving him after having saved him before. However, to say that they don't remember Peter because he NEVER existed makes no sense. They could have forgotten the Peter who was speaking to them seconds before, but not the child Peter at the center of both their universes. No longer exists? Sure. Never existed? No.

If Peter never existed, what is Walternate so mad about? And what did Walter accidentally do to destroy Walternate's world that brought them to this point? Their only connection was Walter's abduction of Peter. I doubt either one would suddenly have no memory of Peter but would continue to fight over events that have occurred solely because of and in conjunction with Peter. Either he never existed [and therefore Walter & Walternate have some bizarre vendetta identical to their fight over Peter for no apparent reason]  or he's been magically removed by the Observers [and he therefore no LONGER exists but did at one time in the past]. It can't be both. Make up your mind, Fringe writers. 

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May 31st, 2011
07:13 pm


Gingival graft. What could possibly be more appealing?
So, today I finally got the gum graft that i was originally threatened with over 15 years ago. 
As a child I had experienced some gum recession on my two lower front teeth (if that grosses you out, you should probably just stop reading now. No, seriously stop reading. It's not going to get any less gross) and I was told to brush more carefully (less aggressively, in other words) or else I would have to have a gum graft. I managed to avoid this until recently, when I somehow managed to damage the gum tissue under my lower front right tooth. It had become pushed down to the point that it was nearly exposing the root (although I wasn't feeling any pain, strangely enough. Possibly because I've had less gum tissue than most people for the majority of my life so my teeth are tougher... who knows.) Apparently the phrase "long in the tooth" originated with the fact that as people age and their gums recede, their teeth appear longer. As of yesterday, I appeared to have one verrryyy long tooth amongst a slightly-recessed partner and a number of other marginally-longer-than-average teeth; now I have a huge blob of pinkish putty-like material with the tops of my teeth popping out from behind them like treetops peeking through a massive snowfall. Okay, maybe more like a set of teeth with a big blob of putty attached to them. 

The procedure itself was more unnerving than painful. The initial anesthetic application was somewhat painful but not as bad as some local anesthetic applications I've had for cavity fillings. I didn't watch any part of the procedure - which was an excellent decision, not that I was offered the choice - and I was listening to an ipod the whole time which was even more critical to my happiness. The equipment isn't particularly loud but the music helped to drown out the sensations that came though the anesthetic. 

Although there was very little pain during the procedure, it was extremely jarring to be able to feel my mouth being tugged on, scraped, sutured, and generally messed with for about an hour (the entire thing took 2 hours including application of anesthetic and finishing up the procedure), which was the worst part. I could feel a LOT of what the dentist was doing although there was almost no pain, so much so that for the entire first half of the surgery I was worried that the anesthetic hadn't completely taken effect and searing pain might ensue at any second. I was extremely glad that I didn't know the exact details of the procedure - what little I did know was creepy enough. I kept expecting intense pain corresponding with whatever part of the procedure the dentist was at and this anticipation was really the worst part. I think if I'd known nothing about the details of the surgery I would probably have felt more comfortable. I might research it in detail later on but at the time I was really glad not to know exactly what they were doing whenever I felt them working on me. I now know for certain that my decision not to become a physician or veterinarian was pretty much the best decision I've ever made. I now know what a failure I would have been.

However, I'm now a little creeped out by my LACK of pain. Since I know how extensive the surgery was (based on the depth of recession & the fact that the dentist told me to be extremely careful for 8 weeks rather than the usual 6) - in that they sliced the gums under my teeth, pulled them back, sliced my frenulum connecting my gums to my lower lip (I think... the dentist didn't mention anything but it sure feels like he did), removed tissue from the roof of my mouth, sutured up the donation site, and sutured that donated skin into the space they'd created in front of my teeth, I really don't understand how I'm not in more pain. I've had a lot of dental work in my life - primarily preventative work such as braces, retainers, nightguards and even headgear - and my braces were much more painful than this for entire months of my life. So now I'm concerned that I'm somehow in some kind of anesthetic bubble that's going to wear off and thrust me into a world of unexpected pain. I'm not even swelling too much... which reminds me that I'm supposed to be icing my face (with I haven't remembered to do since an hour after the surgery), so I'm going to go. 

So if you're going to be getting a gingival graft (also called a gum graft), don't be too terrified. It's not exactly fun but it's far from the nightmare I had feared. I know plenty of people online are talking about their horrible experiences and while I believe them, it's important to remember that they're statistical anomalies and the vast majority of people get through this procedure with minimal pain. So prepare yourself for the worst - ( ie. stock up on Ensure and liquid foods and take a day off from work) but expect the best. You might just be right.

14-MONTH UPDATE: The results seem to have held pretty well, but I was incredibly careful to follow post-operative instructions and since then I've done everything within my power not to injure them with excessive brushing or biting into anything that could scrape my gums. I've been told that apparently a leading cause of recession is tooth grinding, which is something I've always suffered from. It makes me feel slightly less guilty for my brushing habits which have always been blamed as being the cause of my problems (and may indeed have been too rough despite my efforts to keep them gentle over the past 20 years). I'm now taking a ton of extra vitamins that should help with teeth grinding (bruxism) and continue to wear a night guard and although i'm trying to brush gently, my hygienist told me that I should be more afraid of gingivitis than brushing-induced recession. So I'm still trying to to find a point of moderation between dirty teeth that would invite infection and aggressive brushing, but so far things still look pretty good.

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September 12th, 2010
07:51 am


Oh the horror...Weight Watchers*' sordid past. KILL IT WITH FIRE
Much thanks to blue_squishie for this ridiculously awesome and terrifying site: http://www.candyboots.com/wwcards.html and to the site's author for the amazing display and comments! I bet a lot of marketing guys are desperately trying to go back in time and remove the Weight Watchers* logo from this entire series. Oh the shame.

~~~~~~~ Please enter the laboratory. Don't mind the skeleton, he's...umm... fake. Yes, that's it. He's definitely not real. ~~~~~~~~
[I do not own the rights or even the physical copies of any of these items, just a severe appreciation of their inherent value and need to be spread through the internets. And to the original creator of these recipe cards: My joking is not so much directed at you but at the era in which these were produced. Okay, maybe just a little bit at you. In retrospect, surely even you recognize that fish and 'onion sauce' aren't synonyms.]

Green Bean and Mushroom JELLY salad? Yes please! "See how the Ceramic Mushroom Family has gathered to show their children what happens to bad little mushrooms" is really the only way to explain this. It's clearly not a recipe - it's a bizarre mushroom punishment reserved for only the worst fungi. (I only noticed the page title- 'Poke it! It trembles'- afterward... fantastic!)

Chicken Liver Bake? (The title "I love you Pecky. Every part of you" pretty much sums it up disturbingly): Because of course the liver is definitely the healthiest part of the chicken to eat and will help you lose weight.

Fluffy Mackerel Pudding: "Once upon a time the world was young and the words "mackerel" and "pudding" existed far, far away from one another. One day, that all changed. And then, whoever was responsible somehow thought the word fluffy would help."
The very best part? It's labeled under the category of "Convenience Fish". Because carefully producing these monstrosities in individual servings and cooking would definitely be convenient. But hey, "you get your very own cup!" (I love you, site author and producer of these wonderful page titles!) I guess that's the good thing about this meal... because you wouldn't want to accidentally throw up in the main serving dish.

Hot Wrap Ups: "There's lettuce. There's pickles. There's capers. There's lime. There's parsley. There's celery inside. Chives, too. It's green. No other guiding culinary principle except... green. It's a meal! It's an obsessive disorder! It's both!" And again, the category is fantastic: "Snacks, Beverages and Light Meals". I wonder if they've figured out which category this is supposed to fall into?

"Italian Style" Roast Chicken? It's okay, you can just say Mafia since it's clearly some kind of scare tactic second only to a horse's head.


Chilled Celery Log? The only chills I'm getting are the ones down my spine from the angry ghosts of these "celery" sticks. I'm still not convinced that's what they are, unless horticulture has come a LOONG way since these were published.


Caucasian Shashlik: To once again borrow from the original poster - "I have no idea what "shashlik" is. All I know about this dish is that it's meat. And that the meat's, uh... caucasian." Wow. Sadly cannibalism has appeared to have produced the only normal-looking dish in the series. And that's worrisome, to say the least.

Onion Sauce: No. That is not Onion Sauce in any way, shape or form.
"They call this "onion sauce" but it looks more like the end of a snuff film to me. Yep. Fish snuff. Die, fish, die."


Snappy Mackerel Casserole: And yet again, under what I can only assume is the joke category of "Convenience Fish" we have this gongshow. I am so truly sorry, fishies, if there are indeed fish in there.
I agree with the site author that the "Four toast points form the hellmouth", closely watched by their devilish beverage overlords.
Casserole? How can this not be a cruel, cruel joke?


My favorite recipe of the series by far, however, is the Inspiration Soup. I will not sully the glory of this image with further commentary.

(Okay, I lied. I just have to share the comments that accompany this photo: "We make those candles right here at the compound...The Soup is Inspiration, and you do not want to leave. The Soup is Love, and we have an electrified fence. The Soup is Inspiration. And the Soup is Love.") I do feel vaguely inspired to throw away this photo and actually learn to cook, though. Not your original intention, but effective nonetheless.

Marcy's "Enchilada": Okay, if even the good people who 'invented' this dish (or found it in a gutter somewhere) have to admit it's NOTHING like an enchilada but can't think of any other words to describe it that won't induce vomiting or paralysis, we're clearly in trouble.


Peach Melba: always best illustrated with the help of a "huge-ass ceramic cheetah".


Once again, I present to you a hybrid Snack/Beverage/Light Meal mystery dish, bred to survive even the toughest palates (and, I suspect not actually containing just tomato): "Here's to... placenta!" Oh, I mean Jellied Tomato Refresher. That's definitely more accurate.

And again, I can't improve on the original commentary: "Yes, let's have these in brandy snifters. Let's just tip our heads back and let the chunks slide in. The time you spent eating these is time you'll want back at the very end of your life. That's why they're served with a clock." I would like to restate my previous assertion that these are actually not-so-cleverly-disguised Mafia torture methods. Ugh.

Sometimes the English language doesn't provide you with adequate descriptors for such intricate flavor combinations: human, meet Mackerelly. Don't worry, it's harmless. It's your new best friend and will help you carry your bags to school. Now eat it.


Melon Mousse: And now for one of the most visually terrifying photos in this collection. Yes, we haven't yet reached the scariest part. Hold on to your digestive tracts and taste buds. 

That mystery black liquid it's being served with must either be coffee to keep you from slipping into unconsciousness or some kind of drug to help you forget what you've just ingested (I feel that "eaten" would be a strong word here).
♬ Just a spoonful of lithium helps the medicine go down, the medicine go down...♬

Fish "Tacos": "Mexican food is easy to make! All you need is toast and quotation marks!"


Why oh why oh why is paté being presented as the primary component of a Weight Watchers* recipe? I guess this explains why all the people raised during this generation seem to be confounded by the principles involved with calorie-counting and exercise. They were instructed very, very differently than people are today. (PS I'm not really joking here). Then again, maybe this is like the "Onion Sauce" and the paté is actually the little bits on top of the beige cake, which is actually just a plastic prop used to present the paté. (Shhh.. I know they look like radishes to the untrained eye. Just go with me on this, okay?) That would make it so much healthier.


Frankfurter Spectacular: if the word 'spectacular' is in the title itself, you know it's amazing.

Mostly I'm just baffled as to why this is listed as a Budget Best Bet. Were pineapples and that much sausage not expensive? Or are they just suggesting that as the centerpiece for a fancy party it's actually pretty cheap compared to the alternatives? I guess that would work.

Forget Mad Men - this site really gives some insight as to why anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs became so popular from the 50s onward. The people were drugging themselves either immediately before designing these recipes, or immediately afterward so that they would have the courage to eat them. Their poor, poor children and spouses...
In any case, these would certainly cause people to lose weight, much like a diet of only pond sludge would cause people to lose weight because they suddenly and mysteriously lose their appetite entirely. Well done, Weight Watchers*! Another early success! (Although to be fair, I'm pretty sure they were just following social trends unless... oh god... they're in charge of everything and this was their master plan all along. Are we certain this isn't the Truman show and we're just guinea pigs? After seeing these I definitely think it's possible.)
Really, though, I feel so sorry for those poor women religiously restricting themselves to paté, chicken liver and gelatin and wondering why they had gout and couldn't lose weight. Yikes.

We may laugh now, but at one time these all somehow managed to survive the process of development, sampling, marketing, editing, and ultimately publishing to make it to the esteemed pages of these cards. Although I suspect that perhaps the printer was drunk that day and lost the pages he was supposed to print so he whipped these up, hoping no-one would ever notice.
But seriously though, these are indicative of a time that can only be described as scary. I was born (thankfully) well after this period which has undoubtedly saved me many hours of therapy. There were days when all I could find to snack on from the fridge were pickled herring and pickled beets (my family preferred things that didn't go bad... can you tell?) but I now realize how truly lucky I was. *shudder*


And blue_squishie, I am inspired. I am going to make one of these if I ever get up the courage or decide that I really really REALLY need to punish a member of family. 

Needless to say, blue_squishie and candyboots, whoever you are, you are my new heroes. 

Edit: This strange journey has led me to this gem, which I will leave you with. 
Back to the cannibalism issue, I'm very concerned that this pamphlet is dedicated to the American Housewife who is trapped in the rolls of meat pictured at the center. Although the site suggests it's giraffe esophagus (oh how I wish it were), to me the blob at the top of the roll looks like the top of someone's head, someone trapped in a sleeping bag of meat and wearing two white flowers for the sacrifice-performing ceremony. Now I can't get the thought out of my head... poor american housewife. And I clearly need to watch less Fringe before looking at these images. I'm going to hope that's the only reason for my horrible perception in this case and that I'm alone in seeing it this way...


And finally, this generation certainly wasn't lacking in effort and the desire for innovation. That much is sure.


It's interesting how marketing of kitchen electronics and appliances has veered dramatically from advertising the benefits of various food preparations and now focuses either on ecological benefits or on the merits of the products without any mention of the foods it can support. I suppose that there are many factors involved: we are now far enough away from the rations of wartime that we are no longer seduced by elaborate culinary constructions that boast of abundance and defy all logic and gravity, technology has been giving us appliances and meeting our needs for long enough now (icebox, anyone?) that we have lost the wonder of being able to store an entire turkey in the freezer or toast our bread in a little metal box, and with globalization and the outsourcing of food production we can now have access to pretty much anything we want at affordable prices. Not to mention the fact that women's liberation may have caused a dramatic shift away from anything that might be seen to promote a woman's role as being the family cook (note the "convenient" foods above... most of those are more elaborate than any dishes in most people's Christmas or Thanksgiving dinners in modern times) and have consequently begun to focus on appliances as tools to be used rather than magical assistants to the wife of the house - as was previously depicted in so many advertisements of elated woman proudly showing off her fridge or stove and just how much time and energy she could put into filling and maintaining it. Now that being a housewife is no longer glorified (along with all the accompanying elements of easing "women's" work with machines) there is no need to point out the magnificent food she could make with these tools. Men are just as likely to cook, and everyone already knows the potential they have to create wondrous food.
Or maybe society is just exhausted from the cacophony of food it was exposed to in the 70s and is desperately trying to bury itself in the cynicism of instant food and TV dinners to drown out the memories.

Current Mood: confusedand amazed!
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