Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 3-9, 2018

It’s Friday eve! W00t! And now, to get your mental corn popping 🙂

Ashifa Kassam: the toxic legacy of Canada’s CIA brainwashing experiments. The Guardian

John J. Lennon: this place is crazy. A prisoner-journalist’s inside look at mental health in prison. Esquire

Katie Morton: how is ASD expressed differently in females?

 

Mihai Andrei reports that, after successfully passing trials, a Lyme disease vaccine may be available soon. ZME Science

Dirk Schulze-Makuch: fingerprints of Martian life. Air & Space Magazine

What Pacific Islanders want you to know. Buzzfeed video

 

State of emergency declared for Ontario’s turtles after hundreds are run over. Marina von Stackelberg for the CBC.

R.J. Wilson examines the reasons behind many of your dog’s interesting habits. URBO

We all know someone who can’t handle being hungry, AKA the hangry otter.

 

Have a lovely weekend and we’ll see you next Tipsday.

Until then, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

thoughtythursday2016

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Feb 11-17, 2018

Happy Friday Eve! Here’s a little something to get the mental corn popping.

Sad stuff first …

Kyle Edwards: the Gerald Stanley verdict is a terrifying blow to reconciliation. McLean’s

Rachel Giese wonders why Colton Boushie’s mother has had to work so hard to prove her son’s humanity? Chatelaine

Tage Rai: the myth that mental illness causes mass shootings. Behavioral Scientist

Max Fisher and Josh Keller examine the reason there are so many mass shootings in the US. The New York Times

Sean Illing interviews Steven Pinker for Vox: the case for optimism.

Katherine Ellen Foley explains why we cringe when someone else embarrasses themselves. It’s all about empathy. Quartzy

Chuck Wendig offers some quick thoughts on managing anxiety. Terribleminds

Emily Hartridge gives us an update on her anxiety and how she deals.

 

SciShow Psych: myths about schizophrenia.

 

SciShow Psych: dissociative identity disorder.

 

How Tim Lomas discovered there are (at least) 14 different kinds of love by analysing the world’s languages. The Conversation

Mireia Movellán Luis profiles the rise and fall of the mighty Minoans. National Geographic

SciShow: thunder snow. We have that up here 😉

 

Katherine Zuckerman thinks that if birds left tracks in the sky, they’d look like these amazing photos by Xavi Bou. National Gerographic

Check out this collection of leaf insects—love the ones that look like little flowers! Daily Motion

The BBC News reports on the fall of a 1,000-year-old tree in Wales.

Zoey Peresman reviews Kate Bush’s The Kick inside on its 40th anniversary. Stereo Gum

Be well until the weekend!

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Feb 4-10, 2018

Thought Thursday is here, and you know what that means … tomorrow is Friday! Happy Friday eve!

This is why Uma Thurman is angry. Maureen Dowd for The New York Times.

Gemma Hartley says that the equal distribution of emotional labour is the key to gender equality. Harper’s Bazaar

Author Roni Loren writes a personal post about hormones, stress, and sneaky depression.

Ed Yong studied his own articles to improve the gender balance of his reporting. The Atlantic

John Pavlovitz: no, you’re not tired of being politically correct.

The Economist is thinking about natives in an era of nativism.

Hannah Devlin reports on the DNA analysis of Cheddar Man and the revelation that the first modern Britons had dark to black skin. The Guardian

Cleve R. Wootson: Maya civilisation was vaster than thought, as thousands of newly discovered structures reveal. The Washington Post

Phil Plait shares Mike Olbinski’s time-lapse storm video, Breathe. SyFy

Whistler Deep Sky II – David McColm Photography

 

Ashley Hamer: yes, a donut-shaped planet is technically possible. Curiosity

Tariq Malik reports on the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket’s historic maiden voyage. Space

Andrea Morris introduces us to the woman teaching artificial intelligence about human values. Forbes

Rafi Letzter examines how an ancient virus may be responsible for human consciousness. Live Science

World War II spitfire pilot Mary Ellis from the Isle of Wight turns 100. BBC

Dangerous Minds profiles the Victorian woman who drew pictures of ghosts.

The astonishing science of what trees feel and how they communicate. Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees. Maria Popova, Brain Pickings.

Hooria Jazaieri points out three things we still don’t know about meditation (and how to read studies critically). Mindful

Steven Parton explores the science of happiness and why complaining is literally killing you. Curious Apes

Mohammed Al-Mosaiwi: people with depression are more likely to say certain words. Quartz

Truth Potato tells it like it is. Bored Panda

Piper, a short film by Disney Pixar.

 

I hope something in this mix got your mental corn popping.

Be well until the weekend.

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Jan 21-27, 2018

It’s time to get your mental corn popping!

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg reflects on the #metoo movement. Nina Tottenberg for NPR.

Jia Tolentino: the rising pressure of the #metoo backlash. The New Yorker

Lili Loufbourow exposes the female price of male pleasure. The Week

The secret to living longer may be your social life. Susan Pinker’s TED Talk.

Why we act introverted: it’s not just nature. Brenda Knowles, Space2Live.

Rachael Stephen: depression and anxiety 101.

 

“Good” and “bad” are incomplete stories we tell ourselves. Heather Lanier’s TED talk.

 

Julie Beck: the new age of astrology. The Atlantic

Thomas Merritt looks for clues to the mystery of handedness in kangaroos and shopping malls. The Conversation

Garret Beard explains how artificial intelligence is going to supercharge surveillance. The Verge

Lessons from a solar storm chaser. Miho Janvier’s TED Talk.

 

Woman librarians delivered books by horseback in the 1930s. A pictorial retrospective. Deb Street for History Daily.

The history of Appalachian English, or, why we talk differently. Appalachian Magazine

Be well until the weekend 🙂

The first next chapter update of 2018 is on deck!

thoughtythursday2016

Muse-inks: Health and wellbeing

Trigger warning: I’m going to discuss feminine health in this post. If that makes you squeamish, you may want to skip this one.

So … I’ve been mentioning for a few weeks now that I had an upcoming procedure. Well, I had the procedure on Monday (Jan 22) and all went well.

The procedure was an ablation. I’ll let those of you who don’t know what that is look it up on your own.

I’m perimenopausal, and since I turned 40, my periods have been getting worse in terms of flow and pain. For the last three years, I’ve been anemic and on iron supplements. 2016 was a very bad year with one period (onset to onset) of 15 days. Yup. I think I stopped bleeding for two or three days before I started up again. That was followed by an epic 25-day bleed (35-day cycle) replete with three two-day episodes of what I’ve lovingly come to call endometrial slugs.

A friend of mine called them blood babies but … babies are cute. These things are not. I think endometrial slugs is a far more descriptive and apt phrase for them.

Hormones don’t work for me (believe me, I’ve tried them all) and so that wasn’t a solution. Being on the pill has generally worsened my mental health and that’s not something I’m willing to sacrifice for the sake of a “happy” period.

After that hellish end to 2016, I called my doctor, got an appointment, got a referral, and was put on the list for ablation as of March last year. Yes, it takes that long for surgeries considered elective to be scheduled, particularly when surgical times for gynecological procedures are cut. I still love our health care system, but there’s room for improvement.

Last weekend, I was nervous. I also have a condition called malignant hyperthermia. I’ll let you look that one up, too.

Suffice it to say, I can’t have regular anaesthetic. If I do, it could set off a hyperthermic reaction in my muscles, including my heart and intercostals, causing them to seize. MH is a fairly new condition and is thought to explain a lot of mysterious operating table deaths due to cardiac arrest in patients who were otherwise healthy.

Don’t worry, there are special anaesthetics they can use for me, but that means I have to be the first operation of the day because there can’t be a trace of other anaesthetics in the system. Everything must be flushed in preparation. It was a very early morning for this permanently exhausted pigeon.

But it all went well. Everyone was well-aware of my MH and every precaution was taken. They had to keep me for four hours post-operatively to be sure that my temperature wasn’t spiking. I’ve been feeling warm through the week, but not feverish. Though it’s been years since my last operation, I seem to remember that happening. Nothing unusual. But it’s good that I’ve had the week off work. Just to be sure.

The best outcome of ablation is the complete cessation of bleeding. This is what I hope for but am too realistic to expect. Any improvement will be welcome. I’m of an age where, by the time the beneficial effects of the ablation fade, I should be in full menopause.

I don’t want to be anemic, and therefore exhausted, anymore. I don’t want to take prescription medication to deal with the pain of menses. I don’t want to have to take days off work because, even with the most absorbent feminine protection, I still bleed through and ruin clothes.

I’m looking for an improvement in my quality of life.

Bonus pupdate

Torvi turned four months yesterday (Jan 26) and is now 35 pounds. She’s slowly coming around. Mornings are particularly good. She’s all cuddly and sweet when she’s sleepy 🙂

There’s still the odd accident in the house. Phil and I haven’t figured out her signals yet but, overall, Torvi’s doing as well as you’d expect a four-month-old puppy to do.

The shepherd “saddle” is becoming more pronounced, but her fur is still so soft. Some of her nails have grown in black (most are white) and her white socks are becoming speckled with brown. Her buttery puppy belly is slowly furring over.

20180127_184133

Last night the power went out three times. We had tuna sandwiches for our candlelit supper.

I’ve had to pause in writing this post twice to take Torvi out. The first time, thin cloud veiled the gibbous moon. The second time, the sky was clear, and I could see Orion hanging out just below the moon.

Overall, life is good.

Until my next blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Muse-inks

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 16-22, 2017

This will be my last Tipsday for a few weeks, but it’s a good ‘un 😉

K.M. Weiland delves into writing voice and the six things you need to know to improve it. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sacha Black visits Writers Helping Writers: myths and misconceptions of villains and mental health.

Then, Dario Ciriello drops by to discuss plotting for pantsers. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy continues her birth of a book series with developing your characters. Fiction University

Jerry Jenkins stops by the BookBaby blog: become a demanding self-editor.

Annie Neugebauer explains why thought triggers are the Chekov’s gun of writing tricks. Writer Unboxed

Louie Cronin: stupid advice I have taken about writing. Writer Unboxed

Orly Konig Lopez: the shifting priorities of your writing career. Writers in the Storm

G. Myrthil: when life throws your writing routine off balance, remember these three things. DIY MFA

Linda Bernadette Burgess shares five things to remember when your manuscript hits close to home. DIY MFA

Oren Ashkenazi lists five magic items that break their stories. Mythcreants

Joanna Penn interviews Jeff Goins on the Creative Penn podcast.

Frank Miniter offers a no nonsense guide to marketing your book. Forbes

Kim Fahner talks about the Raining Poetry Project on CBC’s Morning North.

Nicole Brewer speaks of the influence of Anakana Schofield and Miriam Toews. Many Gendered Mothers

Constance Grady rereads Jane Austin’s most romantic scene: “I am half agony, half hope.” Vox

Christina DesMarais lists 43 embarrassing grammar errors even smart people make. Inc.

The 2017 Sunburst Award Shortlist.

Liz Bourke, Sleeps with Monsters: stop erasing women’s presence in SFF. Tor.com

Nikki Vanry lists five SFF novels with badass middle aged heroines. Book Riot

Hillary Kelly: our biggest questions after the Game of Thrones season 7 premiere. The Vulture

Eeeeeee! Emily Asher-Perrin announces the 13th Doctor! Tor.com

And moar eeeee! Leah Schnelbach shares the thrilling new trailer for Stranger Things 2. Tor.com

So much good stuff is coming out of SDCC 🙂 Germaine Lussier shares the latest Thor: Ragnarok trailer. i09

Come back on Thursday for some thoughty 🙂

Until then, be well.

tipsday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 4-10, 2017

And here’s how we get your mental corn popping 🙂

John Campo thinks it’s time to recognize mental health as essential as physical health. Stat

Emily Esfahani Smith: science says lasting relationships come down to kindness and generosity. The Atlantic

Janice Johnson reports on the assault victim who was jailed and had to wear shackles to testify. CBC

Scott Gilmore shows us the Canada most people don’t see. Maclean’s

Rise of the machines: who is “the internet of things” good for? Adam Greenfield for The Guardian.

Phil Plait: Einstein was right (again!). Astronomers watch as a star’s gravity bends light from another star. Blastr

It’s okay to be smart looks at the implications of CRISPR:

 

Ian Sample: the oldest homo sapiens bones ever found shake the foundations of the human story. The Guardian

Kelly Richman-Abdou looks at the ancient techniques and evolution of traditional Japanese tattoos. My Modern Met

Because this addresses Guardians of the Galaxy, volume 2, I’d normally put it in Tipsday … BUT because science is way too geeky for that!

 

I hope you have a few tasty ideas to take to the page.

Be well until the weekend! *waves*

thoughtythursday2016

Muse-Inks: My day at Graphic-Con and the struggle for balance

Greetings, writerly peoples!

Before I get to the meat of this post, I’ll give you a little update on the writerly happenings of the week.

This past week, there was just one. The Sudbury Writers’ Guild booked a table at Graphic-Con, which was held at the Sudbury Arena, Saturday, June 10th. While it’s not a huge event as comic cons go, it was big for Sudbury.

Fandom was well-represented. There were cosplayers, LARPers, gamers, table top gamers, RPGers, comic fans, art fans, and television and movie fans (Degrassi actors were in attendance). And there were readers.

SWG co-chair, Andy Taylor, committed to be present for the full day as this was our first year booking a table and he wasn’t sure whether it would be worth it or not. Liisa Kovala helped out from opening to noon. I helped out from noon to 6 pm, Clay Campbell walked over after his CKLU radio show and stayed through to 7 pm, Liisa returned to finish off the day and help Andy pack up the table, Kristan Cannon had her own table (right beside the SWG table), and members John Jantunen and Sabine Gorecki stopped by and hung out for a while. It was a team effort 🙂

GraphicCon

Andy took this picture just after Clay (Rincewind) and I arrived and before Liisa left (noonish).

We had on display various books by Guild members, including a few copies of my wee poetry chapbook, NeoVerse. We sold just about one of everything (well, except NeoVerse—I didn’t expect poetry to be a big seller, though there was some interest), sold out of Creepy Capreol, which our other co-chair, Mat del Papa edited, and sold five of the SWG anthology, Sudbury Ink.

Sales weren’t the purpose of our booking the table, however. Reaching out to the writing community in Sudbury was. In that respect, the table was a total success. We had 19 people sign up to find out more about the Guild. We’re going to try to get together in late June for a special meeting for these individuals. If the timing doesn’t work out, we’ll at least send them a copy of our June newsletter to give them an idea of who we are and what we do.

Which leads us to balance

When I got home from Graphic-Con, I was pretty much bushed. Phil had the moms over for BBQ, but afterward, I decided to forgo my usual Saturday post.

Work/home/creative balance is a recurrent issue for me.

As a writer with a day job, I’ve chosen to devote nearly all of my non-work, non-sleep time to writing. Thus, a lot of other things go by the wayside. Physical fitness, family and social events, friends, support of artistic and professional organizations and events. Still. I can’t shut all of that out of my life. So, I try to squeeze it all in. Therein lies the rub.

When I can drag myself out of bed early enough, I do yoga or other exercises in the mornings. When the weather and other commitments permit, I walk home from work. I spend time with Phil and with my mom. I volunteer for the SWG and for the Canadian Authors Association. I try to get out and do something creative and soul-feeding in the community.

I try to get out and garden, or use my summer office. I try to keep the house clean(ish). My standards have fallen significantly in recent years …

I also try to write or revise my novels and short stories daily, keep up with my blog posts, keep up with my commitments to DIY MFA, read, study my craft, improve, attend writing workshops in person or online … and it all takes its toll.

Add to that my persistent issues with depression and anxiety which I must manage carefully, and a myriad of aches and pains that only seem to multiply the older I get, and there are times when I have to step back.

Phil’s supportive. He does the cooking, the groceries, the heavier household chores, and the renovation on his own. He knows my writing time is mine and, except for the odd hug or kiss—we need a fairly steady supply—he leaves me to do my thing. He doesn’t insist on coming along (he hates travelling and would just be miserable) or that I stay home when I have a conference or convention to attend. He listens when I have to blow off some frustration about work or professional obligations. He’s learned, for the most part, not to try to offer solutions. I’m very fortunate.

The heady rush of positive feeling and energy that returns with the sunlight in spring gives way to my first bout of burnout around this time every year. The second battle with burnout usually hits in the fall. This is why I have usually tried to take a self-funded leave from work every 18 months or so, May into June and then October into November.

It’s how I’ve managed my physical and mental health.

It’s been two years now since my last self-funded leave and the continual issues with our pay system at work have meant that I’ve had to defer my plans to take a leave yet again. I won’t be able to manage much longer if I can’t get a leave this fall. I’ve pushed through before, but never longer than two years. I used to work part time when I was in the call centre. That’s probably a better long-term strategy, but this next leave will involve a new pup as well, I don’t have enough leave aside from the self-funded to house train a pup.

I’m hoping that the larger part of our pay issues will be resolved by then and that it will be a possibility. Even if it’s not, I can’t afford not to make the request.

For now, all I can do is take things easy for a few days, give myself a break, and then get back to it.

I’ve been listening to Brené Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability sessions on Audible. Vulnerability is at the core of a satisfying life, of contentment (which is always my goal, not happiness—I’m pretty sure that’s a mythical beast), and of achieving healthy goals. And self-love is at the heart (lol) of vulnerability.

Unfortunately, I’m kind of addicted to shame and I tend to wall myself off from other people so I don’t have to be vulnerable with them, one on one. Everyone else thinks I’m doing great. I’m that high-functioning person living with mental illness. I can simulate vulnerability on this blog because it doesn’t cost me as much as opening up in person can. All the self-hate takes place in private. I operate from a scarcity mindset. There’s never enough time, energy, you name it, and I am certainly never enough.

I know that none of this is true, intellectually. I know time can be managed, found. A healthy lifestyle can provide me with more energy. I can tell my friends and family that they are enough often, but I can rarely turn that compassionate lens on myself.

So I’m going to goof off for a few days, except for the absolutely necessary stuff, like blogging and housework, professional obligations, and, well, the day job. I’m going to try to be present enough to listen and be kind to myself and to others. I’m going to try to enjoy myself.

We’ll see how it goes and I’ll check in with you next weekend after the poetry walk. The post may go up on Sunday again, but that’s just my way of shifting things to give me enough intellectual and emotional space to recover.

In the meantime, be well, be kind, and stay strong.

And I’ll “see” you on Tipsday!

Muse-inks

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 20-26, 2016

Topics run the gamut in this week’s batch of thoughty. I was hard pressed to know how best to present it all. I hope nothing jars too much. Then again, sometimes you need a week jolt to get the big squishy (brain) into gear 😉

This is why Finland has the best schools. The Syndey Morning Herald.

National Arts Centre to launch indigenous theatre in 2019. The Globe and Mail.

Tay exposes the lies we tell ourselves about racists. New Republic. Peter Bright reviews the Tay AI debacle for Ars Technica.

UN Women ask men and women to switch roles:

 

One woman tells her story of reporting sexual abuse. The Globe and Mail.

Scaachi Koul: I hope the Ghomeshi verdict makes you fucking furious. You know? It really does. Buzzfeed.

Barbara Moran writes about her mother’s death and how it indicates a greater system failure. The New York Times.

Your drunken aunt was right: the art of the hot toddy. Vinepair.

University Affairs devotes an entire issue to mental health and universities.

Brenda Knowles knows how to save an introvert/extrovert relationship.

Kira Asatryan offers six simple strategies for being happy alone. Time Magazine.

ASAP Thought. Should you trust your astrological sign?

 

Einstein is (almost) always right. It’s okay to be smart.

 

The equinox isn’t what you think it is. It’s okay to be smart.

 

NASA captures the crazy shockwave of an exploding star. Slate.

Earth is about to pass through the tail of Halley’s Comet, giving us a month of meteor showers. IFLS.

Another lovely picture of a strange geological formation on Mars. Slate.

19 pieces on non-human DNA found in the human genome. Yup we got junk in there. IFLS.

Covão dos conchos. A-MA-zing! The real interesting part in about 2:25.

 

Looks like Monty Python had it right. Rabbits (in medieval times) were deadly! The Poke.

Explore the tear-filled (and slightly creepy) world of Marina Bychkova’s dolls.

The White Wolf Pack shares these lovely photos of ravens. Have I even mentioned that corvus corvus rocks my world?  😉

Hope something in this mix gets those fingers moving on the keyboard. Inspiration’s what this is all about.

All the best until Saturday when my next chapter update lands!

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 20-26, 2016

Holy shemoley! Lookit all the Writerly Goodness!

Ok. This is big news around here. Sudbury has a new poet laureate, and its first woman in the role, my awesome soul sister, Kim Fahner! The Northern Life. And here’s the interview she did with Markus Schwabe of the CBC’s Morning North. She had a cold, but it’s still a fabulous interview 🙂 She’s on her way to Banff right now to work with the wonderful Mr. Lawrence Hill!

Jane Friedman points out the pros and cons of maintaining a personal profile versus a professional page on Facebook.

Susan Spann advises us when a book is considered out of print. Writer Unboxed.

Jed Herne guest posts on The Better Novel Project with The Half-Blood Prince guide to question arcs.

Michelle Hoover writes an excellent guest post for Writer Unboxed on the duplicity of a character’s desire.

John J. Kelley explores the art of the plausible for Writer Unboxed.

Barbara O’Neal discusses the matter of talent. Writer Unboxed.

C.S. Lakin offers three ways to keep readers reading past page one. Live, write, thrive.

Tiffany Lawson Inman explains how to build dramatic momentum in fiction. Writers in the Storm.

Janice Hardy explores the ebb and flow of plotting a novel. Fiction University.

K.M. Weiland’s back with five more ways to trim your novel’s word count. Helping writers become authors. Later in the week, she helps us choose the right protagonist.

Kate Elliott gives us the tools to write women characters into epic fantasy without quotas. Tor.com

Awesome: How do we write about diversity when the word has lost its meaning? With Daniel José Older, Ashley Cassandra Ford, and Tanwi Nandini Islam. Elle. (Really? Yuh-huh.)

Steve Kettmann: On knowing what to leave out. Medium.

Victoria Mixon shares her super-easy formula for creating a blurb.

Ruthanne Reid points out the two most important words for writers: don’t quit. The Write Practice.

Kerry Lonsdale writes an open letter to writers at every stage of publishing. Books by Women.

Kameron Hurley ponders her sales.

J.K. Rowling shares rejection letters on Twitter to help beginning authors. The Guardian.

Jamie Raintree explores how to decompartmentalize your art.

Anna Lovind bares herself in this post on the process of creative transformation.

Dan Blank shares what he’s learned from 30 days of vlogging.

 

Thinking about a writers’ retreat? Sarah Selecky gives you a place to start looking.

Madeleine Dore offers 50 ways to take care of yourself in the arts. Performing Arts Hub.

Robert J. Sawyer shares his creative process with Inverse’s Lauren Sarner.

Where five Canadian authors read. The Globe and Mail.

Buzzfeed lists 21 German words we should be using in English.

Victorian doctors thought reading novels made women incurably insane. History Buff.

On the other hand, art is proven to have mental health benefits. The Butler Collegian.

National Geographic lists its top ten book stores in the world.

Daniel José Older: Notes on love and revolution. Guernica Magazine.

Brainpickings shares Charlotte Brontë’s love letters.

The Telegraph lists ten novels with titles from Shakespeare.

Shakespeare’s skull stolen from grave. BBC.

15 Welsh myths and legends. Wales Online.

Michael Boyle and Daniel A. Kaufman wish Babylon 5 a happy birthday. This is one of my all time favourite series. The Electric Agora.

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted!

See you Thursday 🙂

Tipsday