Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a mental illness wherein a person manifests excessive concern regarding a perceived defect in their physical features. I’ve known more than one person who suffered from this disorder.
People: Your magazine covers lie to you. Stop looking at them. Don’t buy into the manufactured, unachievable standard of beauty that they are selling.
As facial recognition software and photo retouching software gets more and more automatic, it’s all too easy for software that distorts and mangles an otherwise beautiful photograph of a beautiful person into a covergirl train wreck of a photo.
Case in Point:
So, Anyway, I returned Perfectly Clear for Android as soon as I realized that their ‘patented Beautify” mode was a shaming celebration of body dysmorphia. You are wrong, Athentech. This is not beauty.
My father is still in the hospital tonight, and I could not be more proud of him.
This is complicated. And unpleasant. And possibly upsetting. So skip over this if it's going to bother you. I'll not be offended. But, you should probably read on. If understanding why I find bravery instead of shame in the way my father ended up in the hospital this time is something that you don't want to read, it probably says more about you than about me, anyway.
I'm not mad at him. I'm not disappointed in him. This is *not* a moment of which to be ashamed. I am proud of him. I told him so this afternoon. He seemed touched by this, in between ordering four glasses of water "to help him get through the night" and demanding they replace the hospital with holograms like in the Star Trek.
To endeavor to better ones self is an act that should always be lauded. And this time, for Melvin, it especially so, because it is a self-selected action that put him in the ICU. This time, it was not the upcoming shutdown of his vital organs that brought him here. This time, it was his mind's rejection of his body's dependency that brought him here. This time he is not a man being asked to live in spite of his mind's desire to stay sick-- he is a man who asks to live in spite of his body's desire to stay stick.
This one will stick. Because it is an act of deliberate will to rage against the poisons that numb the hurting. It is an endeavor to better one's self. And it should be lauded-- not shamed.
He is a warrior in a hospital bed. Not a victim of dependency. Not this time.
I recently had to compile a couple of thoughts about Design. I've never really thought of myself as a designer. I usually think of myself as a writer. Lately, I've been trying really hard to think of myself as a person, but I digress.
I thought I'd share it here. Enjoy.
How I practice design:
I have worked in Adobe’s Creative Suite, as well as Publisher, Word, and many of the open-source Adobe alternative programs. I find that there is usually a way to achieve the design impact I'm looking for via whatever toolset I have available. Pro-tools are nicer, easier, and almost always have better results, but they're also expensive, fiddly and not always available.
Because of this approach, I can make Microsoft Word sing.
I believe the key to successful design isn't in the tools you use, but in applying a consistent and deliberate aesthetic. Ultimately, it comes down to taste.
Some thoughts on my past design experience
I've learned design through real world experience. I have mostly worked for small firms where the writer was often times the de facto designer. I've read a number of design and style books over the years, had endless design conversations about font and leading while working in the newspaper industry, and lead a Milwaukee-based technology and design-based meet up from 2004 to 2007. Not that I know much about deisgn. But I do know what I think looks good. Start from there. Learn about the rule of thirds. Talk to lots of people about color theory. Learn about print standards by trial and error. Steal someone's Pantone book. This is how I learned design. I'm not sure that qualifies me as a designer, but it certainly qualifies me as a designer pro tempore.
Five design principles I hold dear:
- Simple is better.
- Font choices matter. (I have an expensive taste in fonts. I know this. I try to keep it under control. )
- Just because you have lots of colors, doesn’t mean you should use them.
- Usability often trumps fashion.
- Typography should mean something.
I used Microsoft Word and Windows to develop an electronic workflow that seamlessly integrated a manual paste-up and electronic pagination system based on Quark Express in the Lake Country Reporter’s newsroom in 2004. It was magic. I can't believe it worked as well as it did.
This is the thing:
I am floating now. I wasn’t before. Before I was walking– slogging really– down this river. It is bad.
But I’m floating now.
We’ve come through so much to get here. Hope, despair, giddiness, wonder, more despair. Accidents. Crying. Some laughter. More crying. Finally, we’ve all processed through to acceptance, I think.
We’re floating down the river, and we are going to float our way out of here. I believe this. I believe there is a bridge around the next oxbow.
This is when I start to cry.
All the fear and sadness and worry that I’ve been holding back starts to cascade over the levy that protects my heart. I choke back my tears; I will not give in now. The bridge is around the next oxbow.
The bridge is around the next oxbow.
I’m not sure what’s happening. I was turning left. Blinker on, just about to release the clutch pedal and smoothly cross over on to 80th street. Just six blocks from home.
Now, I’m not sure though. I’m not sure what’s going on. At all. This doesn’t make sense. I’m moving forward. It’s like the car is driving by itself. Except gravity is all wrong. I’m falling. I’m falling away from the car. Out the hatch. So are the odd items sitting on the dash. They’re shooting toward me. Its like they’ve been flicked off the counter by some lunchroom bully. Why is he throwing these things at me? No. That’s not it.
No. That’s not it.They are running away from me. They are sick of being here and they are leaving. The little quartz crystals. The bird feathers. The twigs and sticks plucked from road trips all over the eastern United States. Holly from outside the Smithsonian. Acorns from the cabin. They’re suspended all around me. They are flying out the back window. I have offended them.
I still can’t figure out what’s happening, but I am not moving again. I haven’t taken my foot off the clutch yet. I think I can still probably make that left turn, although I’m not sure I’m facing the right way. But I should just go. My body is screaming at me to run. My body is demanding I get out of the car and run away. I need to be safe. I need to find somewhere to hide.
My brain is not helping. It’s not sure what happened yet. It’s not sure why we haven’t turned left. It’s confused. There was a bump. A jolt. The drive is still skittering across the platter looking for the remnants of the last I/O. It’s like I’m buffering. My body screams at me to get out of the car. My brain says nothing. So I get out.
I’m outside the car now. Brain is figuring it out now. It’s got new data. It’s outside the bubble of the inside of the car. We were in an accident. We were hit. Yes. We experienced this. We should see if we are ok. We’re ok. Of course we’re ok. Who cares, anyway. The car is not ok. I am not going home yet. I am six blocks away from home and I could probably run there without a break. I should call someone.
The man is out of his blue truck. He is looking very sad. He has a white beard. Maybe. He’s asking me if I’m ok. I sway a little on my legs. I should tell him. I need to say something to him.
I get out that one word before I realize I don’t know the right thing to say. The brain is still buffering. Don’t say something mean. Don’t make this a fight my brain says. What should I do, my body says. Run. my body says. Run away.
No. My brain says. No. Tell him its ok. Tell him you are sorry.
NO! My body shouts. We’re not sorry. He hit us! We’re not sorry at all. We should hit him. In return. That would be fair.
No! My brain says. Don’t be stupid. Tell him something honest.
My heart takes over.
“I. am. very. angry. with. you.” my heart says to the man.
The man nods. I see he is heart sick over this. I am not making it easy on him. I feel bad. But my brain is churning so slow. It doesn’t know what to say. I am so confused.
Call for help. my brain says. Call for help now. Ok. I call for help. “Help.” I say. “Call 911.”
“Are you calling 911?” the man asks.
“I don’t know,” I say. The 911 operator asks me what’s happening. I think about the EMH from Star Trek Voyager. “Please state the nature of the medical emergency.”
I'm proud to announce that it is true. Everything they ever told you about the difficulty of getting unemployment is true.
And I'm going to spare you guys from having to listen to me rant about it because I am tring to cultivate what little human dignity I can right now.
But, if any of you can explain to me why calling their automated voicemail system is different every time you call it, I'd love to talk to you.
I'm not much of a technologist, but I do tend to believe that computers at least try to do the same thing the same way every time they do it.
Maybe I'm wrong though. Maybe there's some sort of mathmatically random algorythm running in the Department of Workforce Development's voice-mail system. I bet it is named "the keep'em-guessin-o-tron 2000."
Update: I did manage to get into an on-hold cue. Currently at 12 minutes.
Yesterday marked the third time I’ve donated my hair to Locks for Love. I do it every three years or so, whether I need the haircut or not.
Trust me. I needed the haircut.
For whatever reason, I get my cut at Hairbenders in Okauchee. It’s a nice salon and they don’t make fun of me and I always get a good cut. And they do the donation as a service, so I get a nice haircut for free. (I'm that cheap, I guess.) Anyway, This was the first time the stylist put the hair into a bunch of little braids. She made five little braids.
It’s strange, those first few hours after a severe haircut. You’re literally light-headed for a while. Then you start wondering how much shampoo you’re going to save over the course of this haircut. Then you feel sad. Then you feel better. Then you feel sad again.
I’m happy to donate my hair to Locks for Love, and, at least according to the postcards they’ve sent me in the past, they’re happy to receive it. And although it pleases me to think of someone walking around with my debonair salt-and-pepper locks, it turns out they sell the gray hairs in order to offset manufacturing costs. So, at this point, about half of my donation goes into wigs.
It doesn’t really matter. I grow hair. I give it away. I’m grateful for the opportunity to do someone something good with it.
I’m really not sure how you can grow up not knowing about Joan of Arc. Maybe you’re not Catholic, or something. That’s ok.
Here. Let me help you.
Joan of Arc was born in Oconomowoc, Waukesha County, Wisconsin. Her father, an oral surgeon, was born in Chicago, Illinois and her mother was from Oconomowoc; they met at Marquette University in Milwaukee. Arc spent her early childhood growing up in West Allis, a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is one of five children, with a sister and three brothers.
When Joan was six, her father took a job with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs at a VA Hospital in Los Angeles, California and her family followed in tow. Soon after arriving in California, Mrs. d’Arc Joan’s waist-long hair to her signature pixie cut hairstyle, due to Joan’s becoming an active swimmer now that she lived in a warmer climate. Joan loved watching Star Trek with her family when it first aired on television and is a life-long fan to this day.
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