Random (but not really)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

xkcd: Time

Hard to say what exactly where he’s going with it, but I’ve been running Monday’s xkcd comic in the background since yesterday.

To see if I’d missed anything, I popped over to the xkcd forums, and the commentary there is just as wonderful and fascinating as the comic.

I especially liked this:

xkcd time forum comments

“I love this comic. It makes everyone just stop and take their time. It’s contemplative. And it’s interesting how many people’s thoughts turn dark when faced with a quiet moment of contemplation.”


There are live updating gifs posted–it looks like this is going to go on awhile, since they last frames in the live updating gifs match what I’m seeing in the live frame.

Like I said before: lovely.

ADDENDUM the First:
Here’s the link to the auto updating animated gif.

Written by Michelle at 10:32 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Fun & Games,Religion & Philosophy  

Thursday, February 28, 2013

How Do You Want to Die?

I’ve been listening to Radiolab podcasts for awhile, and today, The Bitter End came up.

In an unpleasant coincidence, a friend’s mother died over the weekend, so advanced directives were already in the front of my mind.

This is a subject I’ve written about a lot over the years, because end-of-life care is something most people tend to ignore until it’s in their faces and they can’t ignore it anymore.

First and foremost, I want to congratulate West Virginia University for putting advanced directives and medical power of attorney forms out as something to be discussed NOW. Hell, PEIA will give us a $4/month discount for having filled out and submitted these forms, because it really is that important.

These are decisions that need to be made while and discussed with your loved ones while you are young and healthy.

Yes, it’s a hard thing to do, but it’s IMPORTANT.

In the podcast they interviewed a doctor who said he tries to ask his patients who are over 50, “How do you want to die?”

Good on him, except it’s not a question that should wait until we are 50 or 60 or 70, it’s something to be considered when you’re still young, because even if you are unlikely to develop a debilitating disease, you can still be struck by a bus or an infectious disease that renders you incapable of making your own medical decisions.

We all like to think that our loved ones would know what our wishes would be, but time and again this has proved to be not so for so many families. You know the ones–you probably remember seeing some of the legal fights splashed across the evening news.

Make sure there is nothing to argue about–put what you want in writing, and make sure your doctor knows your wishes.

In West Virginia you can file these medical papers electronically. If you don’t have that option, make sure you tell your family where these papers are.

Put your wishes down in writing.

Talk to your family about what you want to happen and/or where your papers are filed.

Go back to that Radiolab link. See that chart? That’s asking doctors what treatment they would want if they were were to suffer “irreversible brain injury without terminal illness.” When the same questions were asked of lay people–just your average person walking down the street–most of those responses were the exact opposite.

Why? Because doctors know things lay-people don’t.

Take CPR.

As opposed to many medical myths, researchers have reliable data concerning the success rates of CPR (without the use of automatic defibrillators) in a variety of settings:

2% to 30% effectiveness when administered outside of the hospital
6% to 15% for hospitalized patients
Less than 5% for elderly victims with multiple medical problems

(emphasis mine) Surprised by those numbers?

How about this?

risks of CPR include harmful side effects such as rib fracture and damage to internal organs; adverse clinical outcomes such as hypoxic brain damage; and other consequences for the patient such as increased physical disability. If the use of CPR is not successful in restarting the heart or breathing, and in restoring circulation, it may mean that the patient dies in an undignified and traumatic manner.

Think about that for a bit.

Is that how you want to die?

Once you’re done thinking, talk to your doctor about completing an advanced directive. Then discuss it when your family and friends.

Because these decisions and discussions really should not be put off.

End-of-Life Care in the United States – August 17, 2009
At the End – May 1, 2008
End-of-Life Care – March 30, 2004
Death, Grief, and White Hot Rage

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Religion & Philosophy,Science, Health & Nature  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Compare and Contrast


5 years ago, I was disowned via letter when I came out to my father. This is how hate sounds.


Dear Hypothetically Gay Son

(I found those last week, but didn’t feel like posting them.)

Written by Michelle at 7:33 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Religion & Philosophy  

Monday, July 30, 2012


I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?’ So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.
— J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5 “A Late Delivery from Avalon”)

I was thinking about this quote today as I was walking. My walking partner was out, so I was listening to my mp3 player and trying not to think too much, which is when I mentally stumbled upon the remains of the above quote floating around my brain.

Then I come back to my desk to discover that Janiece has been paralleling some of my thoughts.

It’s strange, but I DO take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe. The idea that ‘things happen for a reason’ fills me with horror. The very thought of it is repugnant to me: that God would be dealing out bad things and causing people–especially innocents–to suffer. I cannot accept the existence of such a being.

But if God set things into motion and then stood back to allow us to sort things out, much the way a parent must allow a child to make their own mistakes and live their own lives? That makes sense to me. That a God exists who allows us to make our own choices, even if those choices are bad, that makes sense to me. That God allows us to OWN our choices, be they good or evil, positive or negative or even neutral.

God did not create me broken. It is simply random chance. But within that I have the choice to overcome my brokenness or not. Some days I have the strength to do so, other days I don’t. But that’s okay. I think that God accepts me on the days I am broken as much as she accepts me during the times I am able to overcome. That kind of love gives me hope.

We all make our own choices, and we must live with the results of those decisions. But we are not immutable–we can change. We have the capacity to make decisions for good instead of evil, and that act of will fills me with hope.

Every time someone chooses to do good over evil, every time we witness a small kindness given without thought of reward, every time we overcome adversity… all these things fill me with hope.

It’s okay that the universe acts with general hostility and unfairness, because this hostile universe gives us the ability to act in a positive way. And when we choose to act to make the world a better place, all acts, be they large or small, fill me with hope.

It is this hope that gives me comfort.

Written by Michelle at 9:41 pm      Comments (6)  Permalink
Categories: Depression,Family,Religion & Philosophy  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

FOAD Notice

To Whom It May Concern:

Several events in the past couple months have brought me to the sad realization that I need to post this.

If you believe that you are morally superior to others simply because of your race, gender, religion, or sexuality, please un-friend me, remove me from your RSS feed, and basically never darken my door ever again.

Your possession of heterosexuality or a Y chromosome does not make you inherently better than anyone else, and if you think it does, I want nothing to do with you.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Michelle Klishis

Written by Michelle at 12:45 pm      Comments (4)  Permalink
Categories: Politics,Religion & Philosophy  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


An interesting conversation occurred recently on Twitter. I was joking about my bad attitude, and said, “My attitude stems from ‘you’re calling me a bitch like that’s a BAD thing.'”

I was surprised to learn there are still women for whom that word has a sting and a bite.

When I was in college, I read (in Cosmo of all places) an article on the word “bitch,” which pretty much said that men use it as a term to put uppity women in their place. You know, like when we’re being strong, and assertive, and standing up for ourselves.

That was the point when I decided that the word bitch would never bother me, because I wanted to be a strong woman.

Of course, I spent several years confused about the term “strong woman” and precisely what that meant, (Note to my college aged self: You’re doing it completely wrong.) but eventually I came to terms with what it meant to me to be a strong woman, and I’ve been working on it ever since.

A couple years after college I came upon Elizabeth Wurtzel’s book Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women (I’m amazed that the cover on the current version is toned done from the cover on the version I have, which I love. How did a book praising strong women get its cover toned down?), which reinforced that idea.

…I intend to do what I want to do and be whom I want to be and answer only to myself: that is, quite simply, the bitch philosophy…

Here’s the thing, it’s not shocking for a man to believe and act in such a manner, but–even today–we’re still fighting over what feminism is or should be or who should make the sammich. (Every time I see one of the arguments I want to shut all participants in a very small, very dark basement, for a very long time.)

We can have all the debates about gender equality and sexism and male privilege we want, but it seems to me that as long as women are called bitches for saying what they think and for standing up for what they believe, it’s pretty clear what the state of things really is.

Misogyny still exists. Some of us still deal with it Every Single Day. And as long as it does I’ll willingly and proudly take the title of bitch. I will not sit down and shut up and be nice, just because that’s what society expects me to do.

I will laugh loudly. I will be brash and outspoken. I will tell you my opinion and you are free to debate me but you have to use rational arguments and logic. I will stand up tall and make my presence known and not stand in a corner waiting to be acknowledged.

I will continue be a bitch, and I’ll continue to proud to be called one.

Written by Michelle at 11:09 pm      Comments (5)  Permalink
Categories: Politics,Religion & Philosophy  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Death, Grief, and White Hot Rage

At the beginning of November I received one of those phone calls you dread–a friend was dead. She hadn’t shown up for work, and a co-worker went to her apartment where they discovered she had died over the weekend.

As we called other friends to tell them of the loss, we heard the same question again and again, “what happened?”

We didn’t know.

Over the course of the day we learned various details. She’d not been feeling well that week, and her coworkers and family had been worried about her. The thought was maybe she had pneumonia or an asthma attack, but those were all guesses. We wouldn’t know anything until the medical examiner’s report.

We talked a lot about her in the following weeks. She’d been unemployed and underemployed for the past several years, and at one point thought she was going to lose her apartment. But in the nick of time, as she was boxing up her belongings, unsure where she was going to go, she got a job offer. It wasn’t full time with benefits, but it was enough to allow her to catch up on her rent and not have to move.

She liked her job, and was delighted after so much struggle to be working again. We’d been so happy for her. Happy because it finally looked like things were turning around for her.

Then suddenly, she’s dead, without warning.

Any death is hard, but somehow it seems so much harder when it’s unexpected.

It reminds you that life is short, and you should embrace what you have while you have it, for you never know what tomorrow will bring.

It also reminded us that if we never know what will happen tomorrow, it’s a good idea to make sure your passwords and bank accounts are available for whomever comes after you and has to put away the pieces of your life.

Somehow, two months have passed, though it hardly seems like it has been that long. But it has, and the family finally received word from the medical examiner.

It wasn’t asthma.

It wasn’t pneumonia.

It was metastatic cancer.

See, when you’re unemployed and underemployed, you don’t have health insurance. And when you don’t have health insurance, you just suck it up when you get sick.

Unfortunately, there are some things that won’t go away with time. Things that only get worse if they remain undiscovered and untreated.

Metastatic cancer.

If you’re not clear on the term, that means the untreated cancer–wherever it may have started–spread throughout her body.

Spread until it finally killed her.

We cannot know whether a diagnosis and treatment would have prolonged her life. Chances are they would have given her at least a few months if not years.

But I do know one thing for certain: If she had been diagnosed, she almost certainly would not have died alone, without the chance say goodbye to those she loved.

So when politicians and talking heads claim that health care isn’t a right, when they claim that we have no moral and ethical responsibility to provide for the medical needs of every citizen, this is what happens.

People die alone.

And those who love them never get the chance to say goodbye.

Written by Michelle at 10:57 pm      Comments (7)  Permalink
Categories: Politics,Religion & Philosophy,UCF  
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