The Doctor, Vincent and Myself

Depression is a sticky situation. People often assume that it affects women. That it involves a lot of sleeping and apathetic behaviors. Or suicidal thoughts. The public is allowed to eat up whatever the media feeds them, but the reality is that depression is far more than just over-sleeping and threats to kill yourself.

I remember back in high school, the earlier years and possibly even starting in Junior High, having many terrible, suicidal thoughts. This wasn’t just the run-of-the-mill a-boy-doesn’t-like-me type of upset. I was saddened by who I was and the idea that I would never be better than I was at that moment. I had few friends and even fewer with whom I held close enough to know any different. My mother spent many years telling me that I was fat and made ugly devil faces when I was angry, high school only compounded on this horrible self-image that she helped create.

I had a best friend whom I spent most of my time with. I had people I was close-ish too. I had others I hung out with. I was social. But I always felt as though no one really understood me. No one “got me” in the way my best friend did. So when we’d fight, I’d hide. I didn’t want to answer the questions about why we, normally inseparable, weren’t eating lunch together. Why we weren’t running around spouting off lines from Shakespeare at each other as though we were somehow transported in time. Coupled with the lack of boy attentions, the fact that I didn’t like my boobs and a discomfort in my body, and the voice of my mother telling me how fat I was all the time, depression quickly set in.

I spent some time self-mutilating. I wrote initials on my ankles and wrists. I used needles and razor blades. I covered it up. I hid the scars. Today, almost all of it is gone and insignificant. I’m definitely grateful for small favors, including the one where I had no idea how far down I needed to go to make things permanent. I also had thoughts of suicide. Many of them. That I was tired of the laughing and the pointing, and the snickering behind my back. The way people talked about me, or the way I perceived them talking about me. The rumors that were spread. The general cattiness amongst the girls. The genuine need to destroy any and all things good in each other’s lives. It was far too much for this girl to handle most days.

I wrote letters. I hid them in the wall. I doubt my dad ever knew that I made that little hole in the closet to hide those things. I wrote many letters explaining why I was willing to do what I thought I wanted to do. I thought about it all the time. Planned different ways. There was even this particularly bad curve off of one of the major highways, and along the curve was this huge billboard in the middle of lots of underbrush. I often considered how fast I would have to crash into that billboard in order to make sure that it “worked.” No sticking around for the hurt and pain and endless sympathy and stares later. I knew that if I was going to do it, it was going to be for real.

I obviously didn’t do it. I’m here today writing this. The thoughts are there super rarely and often following something catastrophic like people at work treating me shittily and me being threatened to kiss some ass or I’ll be fired. But y’know, no job is worth that much stress. Pretty much ever. And if I were let go, it might be better for everyone at that point. I digress.

Last week’s Doctor Who, er, actually, two Saturday’s ago, was Vincent and the Doctor (this is the British airing date, as I’m fairly certain the U.S. is about 2 weeks behind, though I don’t know because I see them as they come out and am thus on U.K. airing time with the Doctor Who episodes). The episode itself is about Vincent van Gogh and the imaginary things he sees, but the deeper bit of the episode was the personal demons that Vincent was struggling with.

I’ll spare the details, for those in the U.S. who have yet to see the episode, but I cried. A lot. I watched the episode again last night, and again, I cried. There is something so touching and real about the end of the episode. The fact that depression often takes hold and doesn’t let go. That Vincent suffered deeply and still gave to the world so much beauty and art that there are few words to express this. Even as the authors of the episode try, the truth is, he can’t have known. Vincent that is. I can’t imagine what his life was like. I can’t imagine the pain, or the torment… or the suffering. But I can empathize. And wish for a Doctor like my Doctor to go and show him.

If there is ever a moment in your life when you’re faced with someone who suffers from depression, watch this episode. On it’s own compared to the rest of the season (or past seasons) it wasn’t the best. But stand-alone, it was touching and real. There are many of us who can related to any of the three of them (Vincent, the Doctor or Amy).

Now let’s move forward a little bit more. Sunday’s Postsecret was a particularly good one. I’ve reached the point where I don’t often read Postsecret anymore. It’s blown up and it’s no longer about secrets, at least not in the same way it used to be. But there was a Golden Gate Bridge secret. Then photos of people asking the poster not to jump. Then an email about someone who, upon taking their first walk across the bridge, saw “ribbons and messages along the way”. It was touching and to someone the person who sat on the bridge, it was very real. All of it was. It happens all the time. Someone, somewhere, has taken their own life, and it’s devastating and sad.

I could have been one of them.

For those in the U.K. needing help, not just for people who have depression but for family members and friends, check out BBC’s Headroom to learn more about depression and resources available to you.

For those in the U.S. check out Hopeline or  Call 1(800)SUICIDE [1-800-784-2433] for help, day or night.

The Epic Search for a Digital Camera

March 16th, 2010 | Tags: , , ,

Over the last however many years digital cameras have existed, I’ve owned my fair share. My first was a really old, super bulky, Sony CyberShot. I love the hell out of that thing and while it didn’t exactly die, it just became a nuisance to carry. Digital cameras have been shrinking in size and portability, but expanding on their capabilities. Removing DSLRs from the mix, the Point-and-Shoot cameras have gotten so good that it’s nearly impossible to figure out which ones will be the best choice for my application.

The criteria for what I was looking for:

Point-and-Shoot (P&S): It had to be portable. Maybe not necessarily pocketable, but I didn’t want something bulky. As portable as possible, that’s for sure. I understand that DSLRs take the best true macro shots, it’s simply not in the cards for this gal.

Price: The price of the camera needed to be in the $350 and below range. I wasn’t looking to spend my rent money on a camera. The cheaper the better sure, but there’s an understanding that inexpensive cameras aren’t always very good cameras. Thus why I set the price range a tad higher than what I would truly rather spend (about $200). The name brand models fall in the more expensive range, but the technology that these cameras offer also tend to be better. It’s a cost/benefit analysis in the end.

Macro: This is a must. I needs to do macro/close-up shots. It doesn’t have to do them fantastically or like I said to a friend “I don’t need National Geographic quality pics.” And the statement can’t be more true. I’m less likely going to use the camera for things like bugs, flower, dew drops and the like and more for other macro type shots. Because of this, I don’t need perfection. I just need good. Damn good is ideal, but I’ll settle for good and able.

In searching for a digital camera that had these three qualities I ran into many opinions and articles. David Pogue’s over at the NY Times was the first article I read, many weeks ago. It was an interesting insight into the various feature sets of each individual camera and I looked closely at all of the three he mentioned as the top 3. However, no where could I find that any of them had the macro/close-up setting. I was terribly disappointed.

Next came the google searches on various word combinations in hopes that I night score with finding a nice comparison piece on macro enabled P&S cameras. Yeah, as you can imagine, I found an awful lot of junk and very little of anything that was fruitful. After much frustration, I gave up the search.

Until today.

And then I went on yet another search for macro-abled P&S cameras. A kind friend pointed me towards Steve’s DigiCams. Rather than hoping I find something I went straight for the Best Cameras link. For anyone curious about digital cameras, this site gives you an excellent quick look and separates all the cameras into nice little categories. However, no “does it do macro?” category. /doublesigh

After much searching and some additional frustration I stumbled across Engadget Labs article on the best point-and-shoot cameras under $400. So, first of all, thank you guys at Engadget for giving me the exact kind of comparisons (in shots, quality, gripes and goodies of each, etc) I needed to see and read. After looking at the photos and reading what was said about their first choice camera (of the small number they looked at, mind you), I think I’m going to go with their choice for the Samsung SL820. Now when I have a couple hundred dollars, I’ll be picking this up (and keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t disappoint).

Moral of the story from this entire many month long experience?? Read a lot of tech magazines. Look at the related links. And wait until the expensive camera comes down in price.

The thing is…

September 15th, 2009 | Tags: , , , ,

Of all of the crafts that I love and do, photography is my least “passionate.” It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, because I do. I simply don’t have the money to invest in a decent camera to do the kinds of photos that I’m most interested in. So my simple point-and-shoot with a little bit of optical and digital zoom is all that I’ve got. And I get by. I can take some okay shots with it.

So when I was contacted by Emma Williams over at Schmap regarding one of my England photos, I thought it was a joke. I don’t know how long it took before I finally responded to her, but I would say at least a couple of days. Mostly because I was looking around the website and checking things out. It wasn’t a “paid” thing, but I truly didn’t expect that this would be anything.

Then to find out that my photo got picked… well… There are few words to describe the strange elated feeling. It’s like that one time, ever, when you’re the first one picked (and not the last). It’s like getting an award you never really expected.

It won’t bring me fame or fortune. It doesn’t bump me up on any photographer list that says “Oh, lookit me now! I’m a Pro!” Not even close.

It makes me smile to think that there are people who will see my photo who don’t know who I am. That… is what makes me smile.

As if I needed another reason…

May 5th, 2009 | Tags: ,

But lil’ Miss Zannah shared this link on twitter, in order to rub it in that she will be at San Diego ComiCon this year… and I will not be. *sigh*

But it’s definitely another reason to want to go.

You watch us run!

April 24th, 2009 | Tags: , ,

Do you know how many times I’ve watched these episodes of Doctor Who? I mean I’ve seen them again and again and again. It’s pretty ridiculous. And sometimes I’m just enjoying a good knit/crochet session on the couch and I can hear every word with the occasional glance. Sometimes, like today, I put it on as background noise so I’m not sitting alone in my apartment in the silence.

The strangest phenomenon happens. Episodes I’ve seen a hundred times before are suddenly different. It’s like I’m seeing them for the first time again. And the impact of the writing hits me outta the blue… like a two by four to the dome. Just a moment ago, I had this moment.

And these were the words.

Doctor Who, Series 4, Episode 9: Forest of the Dead

RIVER
If you die here, it’ll mean I’ve never met you.

DOCTOR
Time can be rewritten.

RIVER
Not those times. Not one line! Don’t you dare! (pause) It’s OK. It’s OK, it’s not over for you. You’ll see me again. You’ve got all of that to come. You and me, time and space. You watch us run!

#Amazonfail FTMFL!!

April 13th, 2009 | Tags: , , ,

News broke sometime yesterday (at least for me) that Amazon did a pretty epically stupid thing. It wasn’t just stupid… it was… stupid.

It’s a buzz all over twitter with a hashtag all it’s very own.

For those who don’t want to be bothered doing google searches and clicking around all over the place… here’s the gist of what went down.

Author Mark Probst noticed that he no longer had a ranking in the amazing system, meaning that his books would nto be found were an amazon search performed on it. Upon investigation, it seemed as though other GLBTO titles were being removed from the ranking list… again, making it harder to find via search.

Amazon’s response said something to the effect of “adult content” blah blah blah. But you can still search for very adult material despite their excuse.

Meta Writer has been keeping tabs on what is being censored and what is not. While not overtly horrible, it seems just 10 steps too far over the “not doing the right thing.”

While it’s not enough to keep me from using Amazon’s resources (not yet at least) it’s enough to wonder who got a hair up their ass to even think that something like this would go unnoticed.

Far too often the internet and social networks have shows the awesome powers they have to get information out there and quickly. I mean, it’s to the point that Neil Gaiman’s posting about it as well. Among others. Friends have tweeted and plurked about it. I’m pretty sure I saw Wil Wheaton tweet an #amazonfail somewhere.

Please note this particularly amusing blog post. My favorite bit: “Alternate usage: “My girlfriend wanted to preserve her virginity, and I was happy to respect that, then she amazon ranked and decided anal sex was okay.””

Chalk up another epic fail on the part of the internet moguls. They’ll learn eventually… right… right??

The Extra Stuff

April 12th, 2009 | Tags: , ,

In recent months I’ve become interested in all of the “extras.” I mean from authors, from movies, from anything. I watched the Q&A from “Neverwhere” after I had Netflix’d the last and final disc. I watched the commentary from “Twilight” as well (which was more amusing than I would have expected).

I just finished listening to Neil Gaiman‘s interview with his daughter Maddy.

Quite possibly the cutest thing in the whole world. And informative too.

Strange Shoes

April 5th, 2009 | Tags: ,

“The average life is full of near misses and absolute hits. Of great love and small disasters. It’s made up of banana milkshakes, loft insulation and random shoes. It’s dead ordinary and truly amazing. What you’ve got to realize is… it’s all here… now. So breathe deep and swallow it whole because take it from me, life just whizzes by and then all of a sudden it’s… *flash*”
– Eugene, Torchwood: “Strange Shoes”

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

January 3rd, 2009 | Tags: , ,

The movie as a stand alone story, wasn’t so bad, to be honest. However, this movie has absolutely nothing to do with the book. None, at all, except a shared title and a few character names. I’m talking the entire story has been reworked and I don’t particularly like it. It doesn’t fit with how the book went.

This is a rental type of movie, definitely not a going out to the theater type of movie. I wish I could have enjoyed it more.

And it was WAY too long. WAY WAY too long.