rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Illness memoirs, like child abuse memoirs, have a number of pitfalls. They’re about depressing topics and so are hard not to depress the reader, they’re often by people who don’t write professionally and so are not well-written, and as the subject is inherently self-focused, they can very easily come across as self-absorbed. Even if they manage to avoid those problems, many are valuable works of self-help, self-revelation, community-building, comfort, and calls to action… but are not interesting to someone who mostly wants to read a good book.

This one is a good book.

Julie Rehmeyer, a mathematician and science writer, chronicles how chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalopathy (CFS/ME) crept up on her until her entire life had vanished and she was frequently completely paralyzed. While she desperately tried to find a treatment, she instead encountered an array of quacks, snake oil salesmen, nice but useless therapists, nice but useless doctors, a patients’ community full of apparent crackpots, and medical literature claiming that it was a mental illness caused by, essentially, being lazy and whiny.

In desperation, Rehmeyer finally starts listening to some of the apparent crackpots… and when she applies her scientific training to their ideas, she finds that stripped of the bizarre terminology and excessive exclamation points, they sound surprisingly plausible. With her entire life at a dead end and nothing left to lose, she reluctantly decides to try a treatment which is both radical and distinctly woo-woo sounding.

And it works.

But unlike every other “How I cured/treated my illness by some weird method” memoir, the story doesn’t end there. Instead, she not only researches and theorizes about how and why it might have worked, she interviews scientists and doctors, and even arranges to do a double-blind experiment on herself to see if it’s a real cause of her symptoms or the placebo effect. I cannot applaud this too much. (I was unsurprised to find that every article I read on her book had a comment section claiming that her results were due to the placebo effect.)

Lots of people have suggested that I write about my own horrendous illness, crowd-sourced treatment, and jaw-dropping parade of asshole doctors who told me I was lying, a hypochondriac, or crazy. While you’re waiting… read this book instead. Though it’s not the same disease and she was treated WAY better by doctors, a lot of her experience with being beaten over the head with bad science and diagnoses based purely on sexism was very similar. As is much of her righteous rage. I am way more ragey and less accepting than she is. But still. It’s similar.

Overall, this is a well-written and honest memoir that shines a welcome light on a poorly-understood illness. Rehmeyer's perspective as a science writer provides for clarity, justifiable anger, and humor as she takes apart the morass of bad science, victim-blaming, and snake oil that surrounds chronic fatigue syndrome. It's informative without being dry, easy to read and hard to put down.

Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer's Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn't Understand

(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2017 06:18 pm
hagar_972: A woman with her hands on her hips, considering a mechanic's shop. (Default)
[personal profile] hagar_972
Guess who had her comp's harddrive throw up a catastrophic failure, and her backups are out of date?

...yeah.

And risk assessment indicates buying a new comp over just getting a diff drive installed.

I'm not happy about any of this.

Orphan Black 5.07.

Jul. 24th, 2017 02:22 pm
selenak: (Rachel by Naginis)
[personal profile] selenak
In which there's pay off for severa storylines, hooray! And flashbacks.

Who are you? )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Welcome to the second half of 2017, which will go by in what feels like three weeks but will also feel like 19 years thanks to Political Shenanigans. Time is weird! Luckily, we have books to get us through it all.

I always enjoy looking at all the books I may read, even the ones that I'm going to have to make hard purchasing decisions about. Out of my anticipated books last time, I've read 10. For a lot of them I'm waiting for them to cycle out of the new collection and into general at the library so I can enjoy all the things I check out for a full, glorious month. I suspect I won't get to some of these until 2018 when my library buys all the late-year release books and cycles the others out of new. I love my library, but I wish the new book check out time was longer than two weeks. Two and a HALF weeks would help me. Alas, alas.

I have my eye on a ton of science fiction IN SPACE this time around. Some of these I suspect I'll buy if my finances work out so I can use them for my space opera challenge. Read more... )

What great-sounding books have I missed? What's everyone else looking forward to?

EARWORM

Jul. 24th, 2017 09:47 am
scaramouche: Aja from Jem and the Holograms (aja)
[personal profile] scaramouche
I watched Disney Descendants 2 over the weekend, and although on the whole I found it meh with a handful of bright spots, this song is now stuck in my head because the chorus is all PUMPED UP YASSSS LET'S GO PUNCH SOME PEOPLE



Basically, good workout music. :D

The actual choreography is a little awkward in places but it's really the attitudes of the actors that sell it at all. China Anne McLain is SUCH a joy, and such perfect foil for Dove Cameron that I almost wouldn't have thought it possible after Dove's heavy lifting in the first Descendants. (Although, why do they make Dove and Sofia do action/dance sequences in such chunky heels??? At least Dianne gets flats.)

Also I.... probably shouldn't find Harry menacing Ben to be as hot as I do. >.>

This could be good...

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:59 pm
sineala: (Avengers: Welcome to NY)
[personal profile] sineala
In fandom-related news, in case you are not breathlessly following the various SDCC announcements, Marvel Comics finally announced the last of the post-Secret Empire comics... a Cap comic. A Cap comic by Waid & Samnee!

I think a lot of people who don't generally read comics are mostly just thrilled that Steve won't be Hydra and that Nick Spencer is off the book. And I think people who do generally read comics are thrilled because it's Waid and Samnee. They had what were apparently good Daredevil and Black Widow runs recently (I've never read them) and Waid is currently on Avengers (which is decent but not spectacular) and Champions (which is mediocre)... but everyone really likes his Cap.

I have never read Waid's actual Cap run -- although I guess I could, because it's shorter than I thought (v1 #444-454 and v3 #1-23) -- but I have read the Cap/IM '98 Annual (as have all 616 Steve/Tony fans), Sentinel of Liberty (a fun miniseries), Cap #600 (the story about Tony buying Steve's ID card), the Avengers x.1 mini recently (Kooky Quartet! so much fun!), and of course the Man Out of Time mini that obviously everyone loves and that I think we have all decided to rec to everyone as a great place to start reading Steve & Tony comics. So, I mean, he's got a good grasp on Steve's character (and especially, I think, on classic Steve), so I am... optimistic. (I know, I know, we were all optimistic about Bendis taking over IM and now Tony's dead and his characterization has gone in weird MCU directions, but... I am somehow more optimistic? They're BRINGING THE HEADWINGS BACK.)

In MCU news, I am mostly just thrilled that my fave JANET VAN DYNE is going to be in the universe (even if I am eh about the casting and still sad she'll never be a founding Avenger now) and also that the Captain Marvel movie will be Carol fighting Skrulls in the '90s. (I like how fandom is already taking bets as to who has secretly been a Skrull.) I thought MCU didn't have Skrull rights but maybe that's just the Super-Skrull. Maybe it'll be the Kree/Skrull War? I guess we'll find out.

Fannishly related to the above comics news, now that it's officially open I guess I should mention that [personal profile] kiyaar started a Discord chat server for 616 Steve/Tony, membership 18+ only. There are a lot of dick emoji. And a weekly book club -- we're kicking things off with Man Out of Time in honor of the Cap announcement. More information (and the server link) is available here.

I owe a bunch of people comment replies/emails (sorry!), but I should probably just say that if you liked the story I posted yesterday, Caz drew some art for it and it is BEAUTIFUL. EEEEEEE.

(Now I just have to finish my Anniversary Zine story ASAP. *deep breaths*)

Winding Up

Jul. 23rd, 2017 07:51 pm
osprey_archer: (shoes)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
Somehow my six-and-a-half hour drive stretched to eight-and-a-half (I only stopped at Dunkin Donuts once, I swear!) but in the end I did make it to DC! Where Caitlin and I promptly made beer bread and ate it piping hot with brie (the only way to eat beer bread), and now we are going to watch The Great British Bake-Off. (The universe has been conspiring to get me to watch The Great British Bake-Off.)

But before this, I spent a wonderful few days with [personal profile] asakiyume! We baked scones with fresh-picked currants and slathered them with blood-orange marmalade, at which we looked askance at first - it is very brown-looking - but it is delicious, A++ highly recommended.

We also had much ice cream and - and! - visited Emily Dickinson's house, which is delightful and I highly recommend that too. They have Emily's writing desk, which is much smaller than I expected - really only the size of a bedside table - but it sits right by the window, overlooking the garden, in a room all done up with rose-covered wallpaper, and just seems really like the perfect place for Emily Dickinson to reside.

We went over to the graveyard, too - did you know that they carried Emily's coffin over the fields when she died, so that even her corpse could avoid the public gaze that she shunned in life? I thought that extremely thoughtful of the pallbearers. In any case, the grave is now the center of much public attention, and the top is covered in pencils and seashells - and the shells spill over onto Emily's sister Lavinia's grave, too. I'm not sure why (are sea shells particularly associated with either of them?), but it's nice that Lavinia is not neglected.

And we went to the reservoir and took a VERY LONG walk and had a picnic, and read aloud a chapter of The Railway Children (the most sexist chapter, sadly, which is too bad, because most of it is full of refreshingly equal-opportunity adventures) - the modern world could do with more reading aloud in it. I shall have to try to talk my roommate into it when I return.

Which will be on Tuesday! The trip is almost over! Tomorrow is the last hurrah - I'm going to the National Gallery (I always go to the National Gallery when I'm in DC) and perhaps one of the other Smithsonian Museums, although I'm not sure which one. I did Air & Space last time, which was delightful, but I think I ought to branch out.
trelkez: (Default)
[personal profile] trelkez
This post is a placeholder; letter to come shortly!
scaramouche: Marty McFly from Back to the Future (bttf: marty and the clocktower)
[personal profile] scaramouche
The fourth collection of IDW's Back to the Future comicbook series, and a great return to form. Where the previous two issues had big adventures with potentially destructive time continuum consequences, this one's a relatively quiet story about Marty's headspace, and explores that paradox first introduced in the first film -- if Marty has arrived in a changed 1985 where his parents are rich and have a great relationship, is he in fact displacing an "other" Marty for whom this 1985 is normal?

This comic doesn't try to fully explain away paradox, which is good, because there is no way you can. BttF's idea of time travel is plot-elastic, and that's fine. Instead it explores the characters' headspaces regarding it -- mainly Marty's (oh my heart), with Doc, Jennifer and George giving in their two cents. It's such a wonderful, self-reflective and occasionally heartwrenching story where Marty struggles with the realization that he may have usurped another Marty's place in the universe, i.e. that our Marty might be the "wrong one". THIS IS THE GOOD STUFF.

Marty and George talking about theoretical alternate timelines. )

Marty's nightmare about Other Marty coming to take back his rightful place. )

Basically this volume cuts down to the emotional core of Marty McFly -- he talks a big game but he's a dork with insecurities and it's not like he was all that assured of his place in the world BEFORE he started time-travelling. I forgot to mention that the first story in the collection is a flashback thing of how Marty and Needles met, which was another bit that had my heart swelling three sizes because Marty's a Good Kid, y'all. Doc isn't as critical a part to this story but he's right there to give Marty the support he needs plus to remind him that hey, he isn't alone in having questions in feeling out of step in the new timeline.

Plus there's also this bit, more easy dialogue between Marty and Doc which I was really missing in the last collection:

It's not exactly banter... )

Good stuff, I'm most pleased.
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