One of my favoritest websites: myNoise.net, the project of one Stéphane Pigeon — “the signal processing engineer with a strong passion for sounds.”
“Signals oscillating between twenty and twenty thousand times a second are my favorites,” he notes in his biography. “I often team up with Nyquist and Shannon when projects need to be discrete, or with Fourier when time doesn’t matter.” I don’t know what that means, but his website enriches my life. I like combining the Ice Drone with the Rain Noise, or the Shortwave Radio with the Cave Water. He adds new stuff all the time, and it’s all lovely — you can tell it’s personal.
Very useful for those times at work when I’m concentrating too hard to be able to listen to music, but the task is too much of a drag to want total silence. Good for blocking out coffee shop noise when I’m writing, too. I’m a donor, which means I gave him five bucks once and got unlimited access to everything. But there’s tons for free without ever donating a penny.
I’ve been off my meds for a week. My therapist, who is by not anti-med but is also not a pill-pusher, discouraged me from discontinuing, but didn’t forbid it. My reasons are: (1) not taking pills every day is better than taking pills every day, and (2) I’d like to find out whether they’re unnecessary. It’s been, holy crap, over two years since I started. That’s probably long enough. The side effects have been totally manageable, but — well, nothing’s for free, is it? Except Jesus.
So far I seem to be a bit guiltier, a bit hornier, and a bit more emotionally porous than I remember being for the last couple of years, but I’m expecting those things to die down in another week or two. If they don’t, then I’ll reevaluate. Regardless, I could use some prayers.
I recently met a friend for a beer because we disagreed about Hobby Lobby. The disagreement started on facebook, moved to text messages, and ended in the bar about a week later — we agreed to meet up specifically to discuss the thing, which was a great excuse. We still disagree about Hobby Lobby and a lot of other important things, but I learned that disagreeing in person with friends is much, much more productive than on the internet with strangers. Also it is beerier, and might actually bring you closer, and nobody gets compared to Hitler.
Speaking of Hobby Lobby, though, I thought it was weird that people who deplored the supreme court decision deplored it on a freedom-based argument: Hobby Lobby was taking away the freedom of its employees to have access to abortifacient drugs. How come they didn’t mind when the ACA tried to take away the Green family’s freedom to follow their conscience?
I think the unspoken assumption is this: access to abortifacients is taken for granted to be part of the Default Standard Moral Code that all normal rational educated humans, everywhere and at all times, take for granted. People who object to abortifacients are esssentially fringe elements — someone who wants to take the Default Standard Moral Code, the blank slate, and add something extrinsic (and religious-y) to it.
The problem is that there’s no such thing as the Default Standard Moral Code — or, if you believe there is (which I do), there’s no reason to suppose that it coincides with what nice educated middle-class Americans in the early 21st century reflexively believe. Go ahead & google “racist ads” or “sodomy laws” or, for that matter, “Alan Turing chemical castration 1952”. Yikes. So “What most people don’t bat an eye over” is not the same thing as Natural Law, and varies widely with the decade or even the year.
We don’t like to admit that anything is a disease, a disability, a sickness, or a disorder. Down Syndrome is not a disability, because it makes you special and innocent. Autism is not a disease, because it makes you a fashionably awkward genius. Gender Dysphoria is not a disorder, because it makes you liminal and nonconformist.
How come we don’t want to say these things are diseases? We think that “disease” is a judgmental word. And it is, but it’s judgmental of a condition, not of a person. People snicker at the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin”; okay, how about “love the person, hate the cancer”?
We’re afraid that saying “Jim has a disease” is the same as saying “Jim is worth a little bit less than other people.” But that’s only true if Jim’s worth is predicated on his physical or mental health. But Jim’s worth has nothing to do with which chronic conditions he does or doesn’t have. His chronic conditions are accidental, rather than essential; his worth is essential, rather than accidental.
A broken machine is worth less than a working one, because if a machine can’t do the thing it was made for, then what good is it? Cast it into the furnace. But we’re humans, not machines; machines are made for productivity, but humans are made for something else. We’re made for loving. And a sick human can love just as much as a healthy one can.
So why not call sickness sickness? What’s so terrible about being sick? Are we afraid that somebody’s going to throw us away if they think we’re defective?2
When I was young, I didn’t pay attention to the news because it bored me and I didn’t understand it.
When I was a little older, I tried hard to be interested in the news and understand it, because I thought it was probably my civic duty.
A few years after that, I noticed that paying attention to the news made me anxious and angry and cynical and preoccupied. I also realized that the news I was reading probably bore very little relation to the things that were actually happening.
Now that I am old, old, old, I try (with various degrees of success; see Hobby Lobby, above) not to pay attention to anything that happens outside of my life and the lives of the people I love. I have no idea whether this is maturity, laziness, virtue, burnout, or Just Another Thing.
If you want some good news, click here. “The Internet’s collective 90s kid heart,” indeed.