The boring life of Jerod Poore, Crazymeds' Chief Citizen Medical Expert.

Guns and Mental Illness - No Easy Answer

Whenever some horrible event like that at Newtown or the Clackamas Town Center happens the immediate assumption is the killer was mentally ill, even though more than half the time he wasn’t.  Regardless of the killer’s frame of mind, two never-implemented aspects of the never-implemented solution to prevent such a thing from happening again are to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and the easier, yet less frequently discussed, to improve mental health care.

For purposes of keeping guns out of the hands of people who really aren't that much more violent than the general population, let’s define "crazy."  Sorry, “severely mentally ill.”  The first thing most people think of is either “schizophrenia” or “psychopath.”  One problem is “psychopath” isn’t a diagnosis.  “Psychopathic traits” shows up in the DSM, but mainly in the reference section.  What you’re looking for is “Antisocial (Dyssocial) Personality Disorder,” which includes sociopathy, AKA what Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy had.  We can all agree keeping guns away from the next Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer is good; except, like every sociopath, they weren’t diagnosed until after they were convicted of crimes that would have prevented them from buying a gun at a place that does a background check.  As for schizophrenia, while only a very small percentage of people with schizophrenia are violent, I can understand why everyone would want to keep guns away from someone who says things like, “God directed that bullet” and everything he learned in school was “lies straight from the pits of Hell.”  Good luck in taking away Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-GA) guns.

What about the bipolar?  You don’t want me buying a gun, right?  When I was hearing people in my bathroom and on the radio plotting to murder me and seeing fires they set in the corners of rooms throughout my house, did I want to get a gun and kill them?  No.  I did what the vast majority of the mentally interesting do: I called my doctor to talk about increasing the dosage of my meds.  I also wanted to buy every kitchen gadget I saw advertised on TV, which would have been cheaper than the Risperdal but probably less effective.  Doing something that makes no sense (to someone who isn’t crazy, or in retrospect) but isn’t violent is also a popular option.  Actually getting violent in response to an imaginary threat is rare among the mentally interesting.  It’s things like physical abuse, substance abuse, actual threats, recent divorce, unemployment, victimization, you know, the same stuff that sets off normal people, that causes some of use to really lose it.

Does taking Ambien or Lunesta count? Because people with sleep disorders do all sorts of crazy stuff.  Just ask Patrick Kennedy.  How about the epileptic? I ended up in the lock ward of a psych hospital due to a long run of complex partial seizures and having a history of bipolar disorder.  As with sleep disorders, people with complex partial seizures do all sorts of bizarre things.  While we’re on the subject of seizures, the epileptic have a suicide rate of 12%, not only that, if we also have a psychiatric condition the suicide rate can be up to nine times what it is for someone with the same condition who isn’t epileptic!  Is preventing suicide as well as multicide reason enough to keep guns away from us nutjobs?  The bipolar have a lifetime suicide rate of 26%*, people with major depression 13%, and the suicide rate of combat veterans, with or without a diagnosis of any form of brain cooties, is…rising, but even the reliable numbers I can find about what the rate actually is are all over the map, from 0.15% (the same as normal people) to 20%.  One thing is certain: about three quarters of vets who kill themselves do so with firearms.

You want to know who is really more likely to kill someone with a gun, knife, crowbar, etc. than anyone else?  Someone who is drunk.  Seriously, alcohol consumption is responsible for a huge chunk of violent crimes, especially assaults with firearms.  Even living in an area where they sell a lot of booze is dangerousCocaine makes people violent as well, and other illicit drugs cause their share of problems, but booze is cheaper, legal, and has had way more studies published about it.  The point I'm trying to hammer into everyone's skull (and I restrained myself) as often as the crazy = violent canard already is: something as socially acceptable as getting drunk is more likely to cause someone to get violent and kill people than the far less acceptable act of being born crazy.  So including DUIs and other substance-related offenses in the background check database would probably reduce the number of individual people killed by guns significantly, but it wouldn't do much in the way of preventing mass murder.  Improving the collection of domestic violence data might help prevent would-be family annihilators from obtaining guns to turn office parks into shooting galleries, as long as they don’t persuade their partners to buy the firearms for them.

Next: exactly how do you go about doing a mental health background check?  The way it works now is if you’ve been involuntarily committed to a psych hospital, or otherwise decreed a danger to yourself or others by a judge, you’re supposed to be in the FBI database that pawn shops and merchants at gun shows don’t bother with, but anyone willing to send $40 to a sketchy website can look at.  As is repeatedly pointed out, even this system barely works.  Worst case example: Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, was deemed officially crazy by a judge and he didn’t make it into the database.  Anyone who receives federal benefits via a trustee because they are mentally incompetent is supposed to be in the database, but only The Department of Veterans Affairs is currently sending those data.  Republicans in Congress have introduced the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act to stop the VA from doing that.

Since the mentally interesting are lower than undocumented terrorists who illegally enter this country in order to steal the jobs of domestic terrorists, the simple answer is to put our medical records in the world’s least-secure database full of all the information you need to steal someone’s identity.  Screw HIPAA.  Anyone diagnosed with a no-gun-for-you mental illness is immediately flagged.  As is everyone currently diagnosed with such.  Which means everyone’s medical records need to be scanned for brain cooties to see who needs to have their guns taken away.  Those paranoid teabaggers were right!  Obamacare does mean they’re coming for our guns!  And everyone thought they were crazy.

Adam Lanza had no history of being mentally ill.  A week after the shooting there is still no proof that he was mentally ill, so he wouldn’t have been in the nutjob section of the FBI background check database.   Even if someone in that database wanted to go postal, what if that person does the same thing Lanza did and use guns that belong to his mother?  Are relatives to be included?  Spouses?  Parents?  Siblings?  Children?  Aunts and uncles?  Nieces and nephews?  In-laws?  And why stop at the mentally interesting for that one, as felons sometimes have families.

Even though we are not much more violent than normal people, just perceived as such, the mentally ill are a convenient scapegoat to explain the inexplicable.  The only proof most people need that someone is crazy is the fact they killed a lot of people.  Most people can’t accept a motive that doesn’t involve voices in someone’s head.  It doesn’t matter if the shooter survived like Anders Breivik, or it was obvious from his history like Wade Page.  Racism and idiocy aren’t enough, so crazy has to be involved.  When Bruce Pardo dressed up like Santa and, on Christmas Eve 2008, killed his ex-wife and almost all of her family with a homemade flamethrower, the overwhelming rage many people feel when you combine a messy divorce with severe financial problems apparently were not motive enough.  Add shame and failure to the mix and the same can said for every family annihilator who kills a bunch of people he feels were responsible for getting him fired, his family, and himself.  Mental illness is the only acceptable explanation because people are afraid to confront the fact that humans are inherently violent creatures; that our hands evolved to use fists as weapons as well as to hold other tools.  They are afraid to confront how easy it is for the veneer of civilization to slip away; that anger and alcohol disinhibit more effectively than an abnormal psyche or neurological architecture.  They are afraid to confront how a neighbor, coworker, family member, spouse, partner, or they themselves could be just a couple more drinks or one more bad performance review away from being the next person to go on a killing spree.  It’s far better for the mentally interesting to be the sin eaters than to face that possibility.

Still, the unknown motive is the worst of all.  It’s better to have some reason, any reason to explain what happened.  Otherwise the universe is a random, uncaring place that could have already sent a gamma ray burst our way that will destroy all life on Earth just as easily as someone can send a message in the blood of the innocent while neglecting to tell anyone how to read it.

Has anyone considered how counterproductive the constant equating of mass murder with mental illness is?   How many people who are already skittish about seeking help for a mental health problem because of the social stigma will want to seek help if there is a chance, real or perceived, that their name, address, phone number, and social security number, along with the indication that they are crazy enough to kill their family and coworkers, are all going into an FBI databaseOne recent survey of crazy people found that 38% of the severely mentally ill who didn’t bother to seek treatment cited structural reasons: lack of money, availability, or the inability to get to where the services are; while 21% said it was due to the stigma of being crazy and 26% because they thought the available services weren’t good enough.  Of those who started treatment and then quit within a year, 30% dropped out within a year due to structural reasons, 36% dropped out due to stigma, and 35% quit because the available services sucked.  So, yes, improving the mental health system will benefit a lot of people who, while somewhat more violent than everyone else, are also ten times more likely to be the victims of violent crime than you normal people!  We will never be a protected class, the NRA will never use us as an example of people who need concealed carry permits in order to protect ourselves, and loudly using the prevention of gun-related violence as the reason to expand access to improved mental health services will probably scare off more people who would have otherwise sought treatment.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

* No wonder Ian Curtis hanged himself.  I'm damn lucky to have made it to 50.  

Pristiq Page & More

11 October 2012

Forum Software Upgrade Complete

And we're back online.  Told you it wouldn't take long.

Why I Hate NAMBLA, er, NAMI

I've had a lot of problems with the National Alliance of people eMbarrassed By a reLative's mentAl illness, or NAMBLA: 

Now they've gone too far.

This time NAMI is actively reinforcing the idea that I am a mass murderer-in-waiting.  That all I need is something to set me off and I'll leave my home that's nestled up against US Forest Service land in a somewhat remote part of northwest Montana, put on a tinfoil hat, make an orgone blaster, and go on a killing spree.

Exactly how are they doing this?  From the AP story on a recent mass murder:

Andrew Engeldinger's parents walked out of the front door of their Richfield home with an executive from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). They read a brief statement about their son; the man police say killed 6 people at a Minneapolis business on Thursday.
"Our hearts go out to the families of the people killed and those who were wounded in this tragedy. Nothing we can say can make up for their loss," Chuck Engeldinger said. The parents also detailed a difficult life.

"Our son struggled for years with mental illness. In the last few years, he no longer had contact with us. This is not an excuse for his actions, but sadly, may be a partial explanation," the father continued to read.

I don't like myself very much for having to use the details of this tragedy so soon in order to make a point, but I am just too pissed off.  And I think NAMI's behavior is making the stigma worse.  The mentally interesting have a hard enough time getting help because of the shame and how we're treated by the members of polite society, adding to the fear factor doesn't help matters.   There were plenty of times when people literally backed away from me when I told them why they hadn't seen me in a long time:  I was so crazy due to bipolar disorder that I qualified for Social Security Disability.  Who is going to seek treatment if they are afraid of being locked up for being a violent criminal?  Does NAMI really think telling everyone that crazy explains mass murder is the way to fight stigma?  Or the way to get people to seek treatment?  Exactly what is it supposed to achieve for the mentally ill?  Or was it all for family members?  Take your pick of family members: victims of the nutjob, other nutjobs, or both.

I never thought NAMI could get worse when it came to the myth of mental illness and violent crime.  It is bad enough that NAMI sucks up to NPR and only bothers to call them out on politically correct speech – their president & CEO saying Juan Williams should have kept his feelings about Muslims between himself and his psychiatrist – while ignoring things like NPR's months-long disinformation campaign of reporting about Major Nidal Hasan's nonexistent mental illness, or repeating the misinformation that all five of the men in China who attacked and killed young children were mentally ill when only one of them was.  To put the second example in perspective, one in five, or 20%, is consistent with the extremely large study done in China that found 17% of the population has the symptoms of a mental illness as defined in the DSM-IV. 

NAMI is spreading fear, not awareness.

And, yes, untreated mental illness often leads to death; but it's the mentally ill who die from it, usually in the form of suicide, or the by any one of the many ways being homeless leads to an early death, or by doing something crazy, or by starving to death in Section 8 housing, or by being murdered.  We are, after all, eleven times more likely to be the victims of violent crime than those who aren't officially crazy.

Recent updates to Crazy Meds

13 September 2012
09 September 2012
07 September 2012
  • Another rave from the grave of the non-wiki version of the site is back: site statistics. I’m sure that means a lot to both of the people who are interesting in that sort of thing.
25 August 2012
  • Back on 23 July I enabled the right sidebar. In addition to providing space for links to other sites, and the replacement for the support group & more information pages, I also have given you, yes you the opportunity to change the color scheme, typeface, and size of wiki. At least on your screen. If you’re on a real computer and not a smart or not-so-smart phone. Why I made the announcement for this in all the usual places except this page is beyond me.
  • What I have done today is something long overdue: a guide on how to actually use this site. Theory of mind is very different for those of us in the Asperger’s spectrum, which is why you’ll often hear us yell, “Isn’t it fucking obvious?” a lot. It also explains why we hate to write [l]user manuals. Many, if not most of us assume anyone who can grasp certain basic concepts must automatically know how to use our elegantly and efficiently designed and executed piece of crap. So I’ve expanded the old How to Read Our Drug Guides pages to now be the How to Navigate this Site, Use its Features & Read the Drug Guides pages.

Medication Pages Updates

Recent changes:
  • I’ve converted the Depacon and valproate pages to the new format.
  • That leaves only the Adderall page and a page on stimulants/ADD meds left to convert from the old to new formats. Or not, if I don’t think there’s anything worth salvaging on the stimulants page.
    • Duh - and the lithium orotate page. That’s a low priority, but I’ll leave the html version around. I don’t know if I’ll ever convert it, but I won’t delete it.
  • Except for those three pages, everything from the old site should redirect to the new wiki. Including pages I don’t plan on updating, such as links to various support group sites. What I plan on having is one massive page of links to other sites that may or may not be categorized.
  • There are still a couple other things I might still convert. Eventually. For now their HTML equivalents are going away.
I’m constantly tweaking/updating information, so check the following pages any time for changes I don't consider worth posting about. Everything except updated PI sheets will get listed on one of these:

And we're back

The Crazy Talk forum is back up.  We'll see if the upgrades broke anything.

Forum Offline for Software Upgrade

The Crazy Meds forum and blogs will be temporarily down tomorrow, Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, 8 July 2012, around noonish Mountain time (1800, or thereabouts GMT) for a software upgrade. I have no idea how long it will take as I'll also be doing the usual purging of inactive user accounts and database maintenance before the install. There's also an upgrade to the server-side Tapatalk software for the mobile app.

This should affect the forum and blogs only, the rest of the site - i.e. the pages on medications - will be available.  At least that's the plan.

We're back

We're back on the air and qmail's email is arriving at gmail.

Temporary Downtime

Crazy Meds will be off the air for 10-20 minutes around noon Mountain time (1800 GMT) to implement the operating system patch that's supposed to take care of the problem with e-mail not being sent to gmail.

I'll be turning off the forum soon.

Sorry for the lack of notification, I just saw that the techs put in the patch.

Attention gmail users of the Crazy Meds forum

For anyone on the Crazy Talk forum who uses gmail - especially anyone who just registered - I've just noticed that you haven't getting any of the mail the forum has been sending you since 14 June or so.  gmail isn't sending it to your spam folders, it's all sitting in the mail queue on the Crazy Meds server.

I really don't know who the dumbasses are, as it involves Intertubes stuff I don't understand any more. In this case it's ipv6 vs. ipv4 and quad A MX records. So if you've got a gmail account you're not get your notifications of PMs, posts in topics you're following, etc. New members aren't getting validation e-mail.

I've opened a ticket with the domain host and they're looking into it.

I've also got close to 700 messages sitting in the queue waiting to be delivered to gmail. Now they're really going to think I'm a spammer once it's fixed and those all go out at once.  Messages sent out prior to 20 June have already been deleted from the queue by the mailer, so you won't be overwhelmed with notifications that are excessively out of date, just moderately out of date.

In the meantime I'm manually validating accounts of people with gmail addresses.  Until this is fixed it may take a day or two for your account to be fully activated.

Asocial Networking

I've added Facebook and Google+ buttons all over the Crazy Meds site.  I know Google+ works, but I'm not sure about the Facebook likes yet.  If you have a Google+ account it would help us a lot to add me (on the pages I wrote), and any specific pages on the site you like, to your circles.  If you don't have a Google+ account but use some other form of social bookmarking, adding any individual pages you like, and not just the front page, would also be a big help.

Turns out it doesn't matter where you decide to follow the Crazy Meds via the Google+ button, even here.  All those little +1 buttons, those add up on a page-by-page basis.  So any specific pages you liked/found genuinely useful, please be sure to +1 them.

Adding me to your circles as well makes a big difference.  A huge difference.  I'm not interested in personal popularity, and cannot wrap my head around why people have over 1,000 'friends' on Facebook, but as I have the purely monetary motive to keep Crazy Meds viable (and me off of SSDI):

I'm open to suggestions as to what the Google+ page will be good for, other than yet another channel to communicate site status reports & updates.
I've also changed the name of the site's Facebook page.  We're now at
Because someone already has, even though his profile has fuck all to do with medications of any kind.  So we're the brand-name good stuff and he's the generic wannabe.
The Facebook group which is the de facto Crazy Meds support group, has the same URL as before.

Guess what? More possible down time today.

They're still trying to track down whatever the hell is going on with one of the RAID drives.  The site may or may not be down today, 1 June 2012, from somewhere in the neighborhood of 5:30 PM Mountain time (23:30 GMT) until who the hell knows.

This reminds me so much of a time in the long-ago Big Iron Age, when IBM produced a bunch of RAID drives with a faulty component.  They scheduled a free replacement for all of their customers and a week before ours was due to occur the drives started to fail.  As I was the only IT staff member available and crazy enough to attempt to pump the data from a mainframe's faulty disk drive, pull it out of a six-foot tall tower of drives, replace it with a new one, pump all the data back, make sure it wasn't corrupted, then do that seven or eight more times, guess how I spent an entire weekend?  Back then that was the sort of thing that required a trained hardware tech from IBM - there wasn't one in town due to these things being replaced all over northern California and the three-day weekend - and the ritual sacrifice of a goat.  So one guy who was on vacation talked me through it over the phone.  After doing it twice without fucking up I let him get back to his mimosas.

And a few years before that, when I was living in Australia, IBM produced these disk drives that looked and sounded like washing machines.  For some reason they were painted on the inside, and the paint began to flake and the flakes landed on the discs.  Oops.  Fortunately someone else got to deal with that problem.

This is why the on-going hardware wackedness doesn't faze me in the least.  It's an inconvenient pain in the ass, and it is so out of the domain host's control.  Especially these days, when nobody will own up to anything being their fault.

Deja Vu All Over Again

We're still having some hardware glitches, so the server might be going offline again today. Technology sucks.

And we're more-or-less back up.

We're sorta back up.  Expect long response times, time-outs, and miscellaneous weirdness for the next...fuck if I know.  Anything you post on the forum and blogs is subject to vaporizing and floating away to bit heaven.  As are comments on the medication pages.  Other than that it should be back to whatever passes as normal around here.

Crazy Meds will be Temporarily Off the Air

The site will be temporarily down as one of the RAID drives is failing.  It needs to be replaced and we hope to be back on the air around 5:00 PM mountain time (23:00 GMT).

We're back on the air

We're back on the air.  The OS upgrade is complete, the forum and wiki software seem to be running fine.

Now I can get back to relearning how teh Internets works in order to prevent the problems we've been having with the server timing out due to Internet Weather caused by other sites' badly configured servers and people trying to hitch a ride on our servers in the ensuing chaos.  The techs and I worked out the badly configured server part last night.  Now I get to deal with how I over-corrected for dealing with malicious dickweeds.

Internet Weather is a real thing, although "traffic jams" is a better analogy these days.  The problem I'm dealing with is more like the old phenomenon of Internet Weather, but most of the time the problem looks like what you see on this map.  If you ask teh googles for the Internet traffic report, you'll get this site.  Lots of raw numbers, but not of much use to the casual user.  Because the Net has become so dependent upon backbones and doesn't work quite the same way the original TCP/IP was designed to do (i.e. automagically routing around blockages and chokepoints), large sites are a lot more sensitive to traffic jams.  Not the sites themselves, but your ability to see them.  At least once a month I can't reach one of Yahoo, Google, or the BBC.  Which is part of the "logic" used to justify overturning net neutrality.  Instead of fixing what is actually broken - the mindless dependency on broadband backbones - ICANNbebought, the Federal Corporate Cocksuckers, and whoever else is involved would rather make sure you'll always be able to buy a PEZ dispenser eBay, but accessing Crazy Meds will be even less reliable than it is now.  If you can wrap your head around the concept of access to Crazy Meds being less reliable than it is already.

Crazy Meds is down, again

Something broke last night during an operating system upgrade.  Like an idiot I had left a telnet connection open with root logged on, and that interfered with the tech people fixing the problem.  I'm expecting a call back within about half an hour.  So we're off the air until then.

Update (noonish Mountain time) -
The good news: my stupidity wasn't responsible for preventing tech support from accessing the system, so I feel less bad about myself.

The bad news: they couldn't access the system for reasons that are much, much worse.

Why Can't They Just Leave Us Alone?

Don't be surprised if your browser claims Crazy Meds doesn't exist on and off for some indeterminate period of time.  It's not a DOS attack, but we've got some idiots trying to piggyback their dumbass sites on our DNS, and delusional dickweeds I've previously blocked are attempting to access the site because their kung fu got better or something.  So the firewall is working overtime, and that is resulting in frequent, short-term server timeouts.

The good news is - you can now use the Tapatalk app to access the forum on your teeny lidda smart phones.

Site Down

I don't know what's up, but it's not Crazy Meds.  I've opened a ticket with the domain host, so as soon as I know anything, I'll post it.  

Some of their other sites seemed to be having problems as well, but not any longer, so I don't know if it was systemic, fallout, or coincidental.

Update 11:30 Mountain Time: fuck if I know what happened.  I couldn't ping the site from two different TCP/IP tools sites, nor could I maintain a telnet connection, but the logs show business as usual.  I'm chalking it up to Internet weather or something similar.

Software Upgrade

I've begun the software upgrade.  We'll see how long it takes.

Edit 2:04 PM Mountain time: The forum and blogs are back online.  Now let's find out if it really was all that painless.

Forum & Blog Software Upgrade

Invision has released version 3.3.1 of the board and version 2.5.2 of the blog. I plan on installing them this weekend, with Sunday, 15 April being the target date. The forum and blogs will be unavailable from around 11:00 a.m Mountain time (GMT -6) until however long it takes to finish.

Going Mobile

I'm redesigning the main section of the site to make it easier to read for the 30% or so of the people who access it with a mobile device.

I'd like some feedback on this.  The main thing being if you want the stripped-down version or not for whatever mobile device you're using.  I can override for iPhones, iPads, Blackberries, and any Palm handhelds contacting the site from bit heaven.  I can also override by OS/browsers, but that seems a bit broad.  As I know jack shit about mobile devices, I could be wrong.  Specific software recognized for override is Android, Opera, and Windows.

If you're using a Nook or Kindle, I have no idea what the software behind this considers you to be.

Being able to toggle between the two interfaces manually might even be possible, but don't get your hopes up.

Is the Prescription Drug Shortage Being Created by Big Pharma?

Ed Silverman on Pharmalot posted this: 

In response to the worsening shortage of prescription medicines, a coalition of more than 30 groups representing physicians, medical centers, hospitals, pharmacists and a large generic drugmaker has written Congress asking for incentives to be created to staunch a crisis that is jeopardizing patient safety across the US.


Specifically, the coalition suggests that the FDA could offer reduced application fees for medicines in short supply or discounted fees if a drugmaker demonstrates that its contingency plans are sufficient to reduce the risk of a shortage if production is halted.
This begs the question: have the drug companies been reducing the production of medications to artificially create the shortage in order to force the FDA to change policy in a way that favors Big Pharma's bottom line?  Much in the same way Big Oil seems to do routine maintenance on refineries every summer.  One of Pharmalot's readers raised this question last month, when the FDA looked at allowing lower-cost imports to deal with drug shortages.

Don't these people make enough money as it is?

Let's Get Personal

So I have yet another blog, because I like having things sorted into neat piles of like with like.  This blog is now for for site updates, notices of impending software updates, new t-shirts, etc.  Along with the Facebook page, Forum section, and page on Crazy Meds.  It's still the place for site status updates in case the forum, or the entire fucking site goes tits up.

The focus of this blog will be shifting to links to the latest from various psych, neuro, medical, pharm, mental health, and assorted other blogs and sites related to what Crazy Meds is all about.  I might even post stuff along those lines that is appropriate in the context of a blog, which will probably be duplicated in various locations on the forum.

The new blog will be about my life, and the usual miscellaneous crap that shows up in random blogs across teh interwebs.  It's also the new home of the Panoply of Stupidity, Humilation, Pain, and Absurdity, along with the blog lists of the surreal and the geekness.  Unfortunately there's a bug in the blogger software, so I can't change the title of the entries.  So it looks shittier than it otherwise would.

1/2-to-2/3 of the Way to Oblivion

As my 50th birthday approaches I reflect upon what I probably never will do, as well as some of the great birthdays I've had in the past.

First up, things I've started, but will never finish.  I began most of these between the late 1980s and mid 1990s, and have been working on them sporadically ever since.
  • Several books and a couple of screenplays
  • Encryption software for social media
  • Learning Japanese
  • Numerous articles for Crazy Meds (since 2004)
Things I'd like to do before I die (the ever-trite bucket list).  I'm as likely to do any of these as I am finishing any of the above projects:
  • Visit the Grand Canyon, preferably off-season and after the air has been cleared by a good storm.
  • While I'm in the neighborhood, see the Arizona Meteor Crater.
  • Live somewhere between 53° and 60° north latitude for at least two years.  I'd also like to be at least 3,000 feet above sea level and have a clear view to the horizon facing north, east, or west.  A completely unobstructed northern view would be difficult, but east or west is certainly possible.  As it's never going to happen I may as well dream about living on a fucking Scandinavian mountain top.
  • There were more, but since I read this article in The Atlantic, I'm not caring all that much about, well, anything.  I go into too much detail about it all on my Crazy Meds-based health blog.
Like Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. my birthday is just another day to me.  Unlike Christmas and some other holidays, the TV schedule is rarely different, which is the only thing that distinguishes a holiday from a non-holiday to me now.  As my birthday is during the President's Day three-day weekend more often than not (especially since so many people tend to stretch those out to anything from 3.5 to 6 days), and is less than a week after National Disappointment and Heartbreak Valentine's Day, it is easy to overlook.  Unless God/fate/karma/the universe has nothing better to do:
  • I'm a true child of the Space Age, as I was born the day John Glenn made his historic space flight.  My mother isn't exaggerating all that much when she says I popped out the same time he emerged from his capsule.  As a kid I built lots of shitty model rockets.
  • 1976 - The one time it snows in Stockton during the entire time I lived there is on my birthday.  When I'm sick.
  • 1980 - The tradition of the birthday nervous breakdown begins.  It takes me about two years to fully recover from this one.
  • Before we get married, my (now ex) wife moved in to my apartment.  At some point after that (this happened about 30 years ago) her former roommate's boyfriend moved in with the former roommate.  Said boyfriend was an abusive douchebag and I spent my birthday supervising his eviction and helping to prevent the former roommate from changing her mind.  While those activities were essentially positive, learning about what had been happening was the suckass part.
  • 1986 - Second nervous breakdown begins.  It started a week or so before my birthday, but close enough.  I'm over this one in a little over a year.
  • 1989 - Saw Laibach at the SF I-Beam.  They didn't get on stage until long after midnight, and were drunk as fuck when they did.  I smuggled in a tape recorder, which managed to not record anything.
  • 1999 - Three days after being hit by a car, it's pretty obvious that one of the cats isn't going to recover.
  • 2002 - Most recent, and worst of all birthday breakdowns.  I have yet to fully recover from this one, and I don't know if I ever will.
  • I've spent a lot of birthdays in hospital waiting rooms and doctors' offices.  Sometimes driving for hours to get to specialists.  I wasn't always the patient.
  • 2005 - Hunter S. Thompson dies, Robot Chicken premieres.  I have no idea how to rate this one.
 I had more, but these things just don't seem all that important now.

    We seem to be up and running

    I've yet to get a message from tech support.  Everything is running OK, and it looks like they finished around 2:00 AM (Mountain time) Friday morning, but I'm still getting some odd messages in the system log.  I'll check in with them Monday.

    Make That Friday for the Scheduled Downtime

    Lunarpages tech support called me when I was on my way out getting groceries.  There's some sort of law covering that, isn't there?  

    In any event the down time is now scheduled for tomorrow.  That's Friday, 13 January at 5:00 PM Pacific Time, 6:00 PM Mountain, 0100 Saturday GMT.


    It looks like the disk-drive replacement started last night around 7:00 PM Pacific, 8:00 Mountain, 0300 GMT.

    So far the site is still available. Parts of the OS are acting oddly, so don't be surprised if the forum or wiki software acts strangely, or any posts made between then and some other time vanish, etc.

    More Scheduled Downtime - As in Sometime Today

    The techs at Lunarpages are seeing another RAID drive failing and need to replace it today.  As soon as I know when that will happen I'll post it

    This will affect the entire site - forum, drug pages, and PI sheets.  It will take as long as it takes, because it depends on a bunch of factors, like what happens to be on the drive that is failing.

    Update 1:25 PM Mountain Time (20:35 GMT) 

    I haven't received word as to when this is going to happen.  I really need to get some groceries, as I'm pretty much down to earthquake supplies.  I'd also like to see if the pharmacy has the rest of my methylphenidate prescription.  So don't be surprised if we're suddenly gone, or if everything is running smoothly until sometime after 10:00 PM Pacific Time tonight (0600 Friday morning GMT).