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Showing posts from September, 2015

mental health mondays :: vote with your crazy

this post is specifically focused on the upcoming canadian election. october 19, canadians go to the polls [at least they should] to elect a new government. [i say "new" because even if the same party gets elected, the allocation of seats is going to change, which will make it different. i'm not making any assumptions and neither should you.] there are many issues the country is facing right now and mental health isn't one that will get a lot of attention. i'm not angry about that, because it's not a primary concern for most people, but that doesn't mean that it should completely fall by the wayside. to that end, i've developed a list of questions that interested people may want to ask of the candidates in their riding. if they are canvassing for your vote, they should be able to answer some basic questions on an issue that's of importance to you.

before we move onto the questions, though, i thought it would be helpful to mention what's actual…

paranoid theory of the week :: was pope john paul i murdered?

well, it seems like everyone in north america has gone crazy for all things pope, so there's no point in me fighting it.

this week, we're looking at the rumours surrounding the death of albino luciani, who became pope john paul i. he was a reluctant pope who had initially told those close to him that he would decline if elected, but who ultimately decided to take the position out of a sense of obligation. history has distorted his legacy somewhat, painting him as a naive country pastor overwhelmed by the demands of the papacy and the political machinations of the vatican and as a radical who sought to reform the church and who may have made powerful enemies as a result.

the truth is a little more complicated: luciani wanted to make the papacy more "human" and more accessible to the layperson, which meant that he often used popular, rather than philosophical, references in his speeches. the chief reason that he was selected was because of his warmth and ability to co…

making faces :: fall for all, part 1 [a seasonal colour analysis experiment]

i hadn't done posts on seasonal colour analysis in a while, but the shift in weather this week got me thinking. i love the shift to deep, earthy fall colours, the tights, the sturdier shoes and all manner of boots, sweaters, the breathtaking visual display that is the changing of the leaves... cosmetically, of course, fall is the season most strongly associated with a specific palette: nude looks, pastels, highly saturated colours, sparkling effects and virtually everything else fight it out for the rest of the year, but fall is always about the femme fatale: smokey eyes, dark, vampy lip shades, contoured faces sometimes flushed with a perfect wind-chilled colour [the way cheeks never, ever look when exposed to actual wind], sometimes luminous with the warmth of early dusk. simply heaven for me.

but i got to thinking that extolling the wonders of the typical fall palette is a little bit hypocritical for someone who's spent a lot of time reading about and playing around with se…

world wide wednesdays :: celebration time!

ahoy there fellow fans of autumn! the season is officially upon us! if you're a lover of all things fall, as i am, today is the day when you can officially start feeling like the world is on your side. unless you live in the southern hemisphere, in which case you're only going to feel excited if spring is your favourite season, but the whole shift in seasons thing doesn't really work the same way in the southern hemisphere anyway, or at least the differences aren't quite as stark. wherever you live, though, it's equinox time!

in honour of the celestial occurrence, i thought it would be fun to look at some autumnal equinox traditions from around the world, or at least the northern half of it.

whereas the solstices represent apexes- the pinnacle of light and dark- equinoxes are points of balance. if you're an astrologer, that's reinforced at the autumnal equinox, as the zodiac shifts to the sign of libra [the scales, or in french balance]. on the day of the e…

spook house [revisited]

this is a weird little tale that couldn't decide if it wanted to be a short story or a poem and finally figured that it wanted to be a bit of both. it was originally published in paraphilia magazine and it won a contest from the magazine 69 flavours of paranoia. i haven't done anything quite like it before or since, although i wish i could. the inspiration was, as it often is, a dream that i had. i hope that you enjoy it!


It is then that the great house starts to move, rattling forward, a body stricken with delirium tremens, pockets of dust shaken loose as our anchors are raised and we experience the thrill of momentum building, slow a while and then picking up a little speed, picking itself up, floating like a spirit above the road. The old haunted house with its leprechaun of a host, his costume folded around him, leaves of a head of lettuce turning brown.
"Welcome aboard one and all," he cries. "Take care to stay well back From the edge and keep a lookout For as i…

mental health mondays :: well it was working before

we've talked a lot about drugs here on mhm, but we haven't paid a lot of attention to the different types of therapy that are available for people with mental disorders. that's a hell of an oversight on my part, because, as most experts in the field will tell you, it's the therapy that's more important. drugs control the symptoms, but they aren't doing anything [as far as science has been able to uncover] to improve the underlying condition. psychotherapy is like physiotherapy for the brain: it doesn't undo the damage, but it teaches you how to function in spite of it in such a way that you won't cause additional damage.

one of the most popular forms of therapy in the last forty or so years- popular with both doctors and patients- has been cognitive behavioural therapy. it's easy to see the appeal of it, because it's short-term, goal oriented and something that, once the therapy sessions have ended, you can continue to practice yourself. it'…

inside the seamy valley sweat box

five freakin' hours. that's how long i was watching the republicans last night. it's like watching a marathon of a guilty pleasure trash reality show, which i don't really have because i watch things like the republican national debates in five hour increments.

since cnn were "kind" enough to broadcast both the opening act and the main event, i figured the only way to make sure that i was as offended and disgusted as i could possibly be was by committing to the entire thing. i'm not sure why i thought that was a good plan, but it's too late to be analyzing now.

reflecting on my night of american right wingnuttery, i have many thoughts. many terrible thoughts. the first, of course, is that one of the people i saw last night could get elected and become leader of the most the most powerful army the world has ever known. but there are a few other things that come to mind:

dividing the candidates by popularity is stupid. if you're blocking off five hou…

mental health mondays :: when drugs go retro

one of the most common complaints about antidepressants is that they take so long to work. adjusting the taps in the bubble bath of your brain is something that takes several weeks- usually around four, but up to eight is not uncommon- during which time you might well be left feeling just as horrible as you were before, but with the added bonus of side effects: lethargy, somnolence and insomnia, nervousness, sweating, farting, nausea... what a time to be alive. in cases where the danger is acute to the patient or to others [those around the patient], doctors generally deal with this by sedating the sufferer within an inch of their life, so that they're much too calm to think about hurting anyone and so that reaching for the razor blade to slice your wrists is just way more effort than you're willing to put into anything.

our friends at science, however, appear to have found something that might address this. that's right, science has discovered a drug- something so new th…

paranoid theory of the week :: was the saudi royal family behind the 9/11 attacks?

i had thought about doing a compendium of 9/11 conspiracies in honour of friday's anniversary, but then i got under way and realised the enormity of the task i had assigned myself. as you may have guessed, that's why we're a little late with this post. [which may in turn, push mental health mondays to tuesday, but we shall see...]

given that this is [i believe] the longest paranoid theory of the week yet, i think you'll agree that sticking to one theory was the way to go. i haven't come close to investigating everything related to this story and even then, i've had to narrow my focus to a few key areas, because there could be [and have been] books written on the subject of saudi involvement with the terrorists of september 11.

if proven true, it's hard to overestimate the effect it could have on international relations for the foreseeable future.

if proven false, the theory smacks of xenophobia and racism: that we are inherently suspicious of powerful stra…