A General Feeling of Disorder by Oliver Sacks [New York Review of Books]
“As an example of this, migraine is a sort of prototype illness, often very unpleasant but transient, and self-limiting; benign in the sense that it does not cause death or serious injury and that it is not associated with any tissue damage or trauma or infection; and occurring only as an often-hereditary disturbance of the nervous system. Migraine provides, in miniature, the essential features of being ill—of trouble inside the body—without actual illness.”
Laura Hudson at NYT Magazine offers a great profile of Porpentine, one of the most talented voices working in an ultra-accessible medium for crafting new interactive fiction. She also reviews landmarks in the genre from other authors. What better time to celebrate the profusion of excellent Twine games out there? Links galore inside. [more inside]
I had a stroke at 33—On New Year’s Eve 2007, a clot blocked one half of my brain from the other. My reality would never be the same again. [more inside]
From the Dallas Morning News, an 8-part profile of Lauren Kavanaugh, who was kept in a closet for six years before being rescued at age 8 weighing 26 lbs, and of the remarkable people and recovery that has followed. [Warning: this story and the accompanying photos and videos are immensely hard to read, watch and listen to, and this piece is a trigger for every possible kind of abuse.]
About a year after her participation in the groundbreaking Comedy Central documentary series the Comedians of Comedy, Maria Bamford was on stage at the Friars Club in LA when a heckler began shouting at her. What happened after that isn’t entirely clear, other than Bamford had a breakdown, walked off stage, and disappeared. She was found three months later selling clock radios on the sidewalks of Detroit. A fellow homeless person, who was also a Comedy Central fan, recognized Bamford and eventually her parents were contacted. They brought her back home to Deluth, Minnesota and began to get her help. Maria decided to document her recovery in a series of short videos called The Maria Bamford Show, which were first posted to the TBS networks' now abandoned Super Deluxe Web site. [more inside]
Jay Walljasper covers Detroit: Not Your Father's Motor City, The Surprise Behind Detroit's Emerging Comeback, Young People’s Fascination With Motor City is Only Part of Detroit Revitalization, A Food Commons Grows In Detroit. [more inside]
Five months ago, she vowed to find him. It wasn’t the RCMP who could help, or even a Canadian. Instead, Ms. Smith turned to Gene and Sandy Ralston, an Idaho couple who zig-zag North America in their 32-foot motor home, helping recover bodies from lakes and rivers when authorities can’t, or won’t. They don't get paid, and in some years rack up nearly 50,000 kilometres. They do it simply because people ask.
How does a natural disaster, a tragedy, change people? The Barneveld tornados of 1984 were considered some of the strongest tornados recorded. Survivors tell their stories 25 years later. Here is some video (news footage) of the aftermath. More survivor story video.
The perils of chronic pain in recovery: As a sober addict prescribed Oxycodone, comedian Amy Dresner was careful to follow doctor's orders. Then her disease kicked in.
If I Die Young: Struggling with Addiction and Recovery. "Last year, 249 people died of prescription drug overdoses in Pinellas County, FL. Just about everybody who knew Stacy Nicholson figured she was next. Then an empathetic judge gave her a choice: recovery, or the coffin." [more inside]
The bravest woman in Seattle would like us to know her name. Warning: The earlier posts are brutal and very hard to read, and possibly especially so for victims of violence and sexual assault. Previously, previously.
The Summer 2011 issue of Stanford Medicine Magazine is about "Surviving Survival": The Woman Who Fell To Earth / Khmer Rouge on Trial / A Kid Again / Her Stroke of Insight / RxErcise [more inside]
JKTS: A Japanese medical aid worker's diary An anonymous blog written by a Japanese nurse as she cared for victims of the tsunami has given strength to survivors and fellow relief workers.
TheFix.com is a new site targeting the more than 40 million Americans who are recovering from drug and/or alcohol addiction. It features Ask-An-Expert videos, news, editorials and thorough reviews of rehab facilities based on Zagat's system. Founded by Maer Roshan, one of the founders of Radar Magazine. (Via) [more inside]
... it's terribly important for veterans to feel they are continuing a mission that held them together through the violence and stress of war. "PTSD carries a stigma, that you're broken and wounded," said Yount, "And many guys have guilt for not still being in the fight. The idea of Paws for Purple Hearts is you can be part of the war effort while you're getting treatment."
Secret of AA: After 75 Years, We Don’t Know How It Works. "There is evidence that a big part of AA’s effectiveness may have nothing to do with the actual (12) steps. It may derive from something more fundamental: the power of the group. The importance of this is reflected by the fact that the more deeply AA members commit to the group, rather than just the program, the better they fare." [more inside]
How does an ecosystem rebound from catastrophe? Thirty years after the blast, Mount St. Helens is reborn again. Interactive Graphic: Blast Zone. Also see National Geographic's feature article from 1981, chronicling that year's eruption. Previously on MeFi [more inside]
On August 16, 2008, a small plane carrying a young married couple and their flight instructor crashed in the Arizona desert. Doug Kinneard, the instructor, was killed in the crash; Stephanie and Christian Nielson survived, both severely burned. Prior to the crash, Stephanie's weblog, the NieNie Dialogues, "had attracted a small but ardent following, thanks to its upbeat dispatches about marriage, home décor, entertaining and the art of raising four children ages 6 and younger." After the crash, with burns on over 80% of her body, she spent two months in a medically induced coma. One month later, she was released from the hospital (link to Stephanie's sister's blog); one month after that, she began blogging again. Stephanie's posts since then have chronicled her gradual recovery, her re-integration into her family, her love and gratitude for her husband, and, finally, on the one-year anniversary of the plane crash, herself. [more inside]
Unscrambling an army of colours, reports The Guardian on the BBC's forthcoming screening of a colour-restored episode of the WWII sitcom Dad's Army. Not seen for 40 years and lost in its original PAL video colour format, it existed only as an archive on 16mm b&w film. However, the Colour Recovery Working Group found a way to recover the colour information from "chroma dots": pattern artefacts on the b&w representing unfiltered colour signal. Techie details here and here.
Shantaram is the story of a violent man's search for the man of peace within himself. Gregory David Roberts, clip 1, clip 2, 3 and 4, is an ex-junkie, former gun runner; drugs, forged passports and black market currency dealer; was a member of the Bombay Mafia and close with a Mafia don there; acted in Bollywood movies; fought with the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan; imprisoned in an Australian maximum security prison with a 19 year sentence and escaped to the Bombay slums, where he set up a free clinic. His semi-autobiography is called Shantaram, which means man pf peace. Review on Shunya. His website. Movie due out in 2009. [more inside]
During last year's Toronto International Film Festival, there were stories about Colin Farrell taking a local homeless man on a shopping spree. This year, the Toronto Sun follows up. via
Juststolen.net "was created by police officers to provide the best possible asset tracking and property recovery services in the world. JustStolen.net is an innovative tool designed to easily register assets in order to facilitate their recovery if they are lost or stolen. JustStolen.net joins forces with online auctions to help identify stolen property."
Coming Home - in honor of Veteran's Day, it might be fitting to check in on the recovery of J.R. Salzman, known here on mefi as Logboy.
In 1971 Delancey Street began with four residents, a thousand dollar loan, and a dream to develop a new model to turn around the lives of substance abusers, former felons, and others who have hit bottom by empowering the people with the problems to become their own solution. With no professionals, no government funding, and at no charge to the clients, Delancey Street Foundation has rehabilitated and provided job skills to thousands of former drug addicts and criminals. They have a successful moving company, a well loved (although not necessarily critically acclaimed) restaurant, a thriving Christmas tree business, and a partnership with the local state university. Founded in the heady radical days of the early 70s, they've had a few bumps along the way, (cofounder John Maher died of a drug overdose) but they are one of the most well respected models for rehabilitation in the world. In recent news, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom has been spending a lot of time there.
Meet Becca Stevens, Episcopal priest, Tennessean of the year, Nashvillian of the year, author, podcaster and wife of an equally cool husband. In addition to tending her flock and raising a family, the Rev. Becca runs Magdalene House, a residential program for women overcoming lives of addiction and prostitution that has an 87% success rate. Women in the program work at Thistle Farms, making all natural lotions, balms and bath products that put Mary Kaye to shame.
We believe that a power greater than Sid Meier can restore us to sanity. Yeah, World of Warcraft may currently be ruining your life, but I'd bet good money that over the long haul Civilization and other games by Sid Meier have ruined more lives than that upstart. Don't give in! NO MORE TURNS!
Everyone is (probably) familiar with Something Awful. However, you may not be familiar with their hosting company - located in a New Orleans office building on Poydras in the CBD... but have you noticed that SA hasn't gone blank yet? It's because Zipa, and directNIC upstairs have the whole data center disaster contingency thing on lockdown. Blog and pictures from the directNIC guys are regularly updated. Color me impressed.
Survivors Healed, but Not Whole "But hearing the story of how Patty crawled out of that room, dutifully dragging her behemoth purse (it weighed a ton, it seemed, with enough odds and ends to supply an army), and this as her colleagues were stripping off their clothes and lapping up water off the floor in a desperate struggle to escape the terrible heat and stay alive -- that was funny. A half-year after the attack, the reconstruction of the Pentagon is racing along, with crews repairing the broken facade and ready to start roof work today, the six-month anniversary. Harder to mend are the souls of those who were there Sept. 11."