When out of the Blue…

Most of my year when you think about it.Dear blog,

So it’s been a while….

Look I’m not going to lie. This past year has SUCKED. I’ve gone from being an energy powerhouse to being a mouse on heroine [metaphorically speaking]. My health has seriously deteriorated from a gal who could do an 8 minute mile to a girl who couldn’t walk from her bed to her couch or feed herself.

After taking a ride through the Magnetic tunnel of lurve, conveniently known to the common man as the MRI machine, I was informed that this magic trick would only tell me if something was horribly wrong. Please, great Buddha, let it be so. Alas, it was not to be. Apparently, despite all that I had hoped for, I was NOT to find a giant mass in my brain that they could hack out with a chainsaw and, with a quick ride through all the morning shows and a book deal, allow me to get my life back on track.

The neurologist was kind enough to send me on my way with a small pat on the head and a bill for $16,000. I was diagnosed with Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, which is a fancy name for “we don’t really understand them but they are serious seizures that are NOT epileptic in nature and our epilepsy drugs won’t do you a lick of good”. My neurologist, happy to see another ‘satisfied patient’, informed me to keep my nose clean, take care of those migraines, and be sure to see a psychiatrist and therapist as they had the most cutting edge techniques for dealing with PNES.

I’ve run the gammit of drugs. Fun drugs. Not fun drugs. Drugs that make you gain weight. Drugs that supposedly make you lose weight. Drugs that have 9 pages of facts. Drugs that should probably come with ‘instances of death’ warnings. Drugs that do come with ‘instances of death’ warnings. Drugs that you wish came with instances of death. And much MUCH more.

So far, the therapist HAS actually helped. She’s helped me deal with PTSD from my abusive past. In fact, she’s helped me so much I’m beside myself. Literally. I’ve apparently been living with a roomie all this time. I’ve got a case of Dissociative Identity Disorder {DID}. This other personality is a gestalt of my younger self from the ages of 8-10 or 11ish. She’s been dubbed “Cutie Pie” or “Cutie” for short. Anyway, the theory is that similar to a computer program, the brain creates an ISO during times of crisis. When the crisis is passed, the ISO is brought out. However, the main program or Identity has continued to operate or run. So the longer running program has memories and activities that the secondary ISO doesn’t have access to.

Therefore a new maintenance program has to be created to verify data points between the running program and the ISO. Errors have to be corrected. Data matched, etc. Data from both is blended to created a new, stronger file that the computer then runs off of. This new file then has the benefit of being without errors caused by the earlier hardship as it has the clean data from the ISO. But it also has the further knowledge of the longer term program. Basically, that’s the nerd version of the DID.

Strax, Ragdoll Warrior Kitten and King of all he Surveys

Allison and Strax, her Emotional Support Animal

So I now have Strax, my Emotional Support Cat, who helps me with my PNES and my new brain Roomie, Cutie Pie. Theoretically, I’m set for life. Right?


Ello: Beta Review

The Simple, Beautiful, & Ad free social network

The Simple, Beautiful, & Ad free social network

Ello is a new social media network whose most attractive feature is that they tout themselves to be ad free. Their ‘manifesto‘ [yes they actually have one], states that they don’t believe you are a product. So your information will never be sold, scanned, or used to manipulate you.

And I am TOTALLY behind that. So keep in mind that while I love this idea, the review you are about to read comes from a purely cynical standpoint.

Ello, Welcome to the 1990s

Ello rolled out its Beta only a short while ago, so there is a certain amount of rough around the edges that you’d expect. Its minimalistic style is attractive in this age of splashy and distracting. Its UI isn’t terribly complex, but it’s fairly direct.

However, despite these attractive sides, Ello is missing some aspects that the average user assumes any Social Media Platform  [SMP] will come standard with. You can’t currently privatize your account. Private messaging is not currently enabled [or built in]. And to find new friends or folks to follow, you pretty much have to know exactly who you are looking for.

From a purely tech standpoint, this platform leaves a lot to be desired. Most of the ‘fast’ elements you expect these days, say posting by hitting ‘enter’ for example, aren’t there. There’s a tiny little arrow on the bottom right you have to click to post. You can however click ‘tab’ when commenting in reply to someone else and it will auto select the ‘comment’ button for you. But why have this feature enabled only on Comments?

Streamlining is a big part of today’s SMP, especially when most folks utilize these via their mobile products. And Ello is not currently mobilized. It is on their list of coming features, as are many of the things I’ve said they currently lack. But the sad part is that this is a BETA that doesn’t encompass things that most folks assume would be standard.

Roll outs are supposed to have the new and shiny. And Ello doesn’t have that.

To join Ello you need to be invited by an Ello member.

Hope for Ello

While Ello does seem to be lacking in the tech department, in this day and age of 1984 and Facebook mind games the attractiveness of having a social media site built to preserve and protect privacy is an attractive thing. The question is, is it enough to make this a thriving concern?

The bigger they get, the more money they are going to need. They aren’t going to use ads. Which is an A+ for them. But how are they going to support themselves?

The information Ello collects includes your location, language, referring web site, and time spent visiting Ello.

This information is anonymous and aggregated. Before information about you is stored on the Google servers, your IP address is stripped and anonymized. This means that it is very difficult for anyone (including Ello and Google) to trace the data that Google stores back to any one user. We can see how people are using Ello in general, but not what you are doing in particular.

To the best of our knowledge, this also makes what you do on Ello useless to Google for advertising purposes. – Ello

Right now, the plan as posted on their site seems to be following the idea of pay for features. Think in-game purchases in a free game and you’ll have their business model. The nice part is that once you pay ‘the small fee’, you keep that feature on your account forever.

That is a great idea, assuming their upcoming roll outs have enough support to get them the money they need to keep themselves going. And, it allows you to only get the features you really want/need/desire.

But while they say ‘small amount’, they don’t have any price points listed. Everything that their site says seems to be very obsequiously ambiguous towards how much you are paying for this private utility. And that right there is going to be a big problem towards them going mainstream.

Ello May Change Social Media

All these picky complaints aside, Ello stands a good chance of keeping out the social media charlatans. After all, if they can’t really use it to sell to you, why bother?

And, if the market share drops as people become more and more disenchanted with the whole ‘you are the product’ business strategy of the big SMPs, Ello might have a real chance to be a huge going concern.

However, I’ve seen a few other SMPs start up and drop into the dark of disinterest. Most of them had the same admirable goals as Ello. And I can’t even begin to think of their names. Oh I remember what they look like, and to be fair I’m terrible at names. But the thing is…I don’t remember them. I still remember the first blogging site I ever used. And I haven’t touched it in about 7 years.

If Ello can cross over to the mainstream using this concept of privacy as their main sounding board, they stand a chance. And if they get that chance, advertisers and ‘social media douchebaggery’ is done. And that’s not nothin’.


UPDATE 9/26/14 16:19: Aral Balkan, the source of the ‘manifesto’ Ello is based off of, has outed them for using venture capital. This means that the company will eventually be sold, leaving users in the hands of a company who probably WILL sell their info.

PG Holyfield Cancer Announcement and Support

Podcaster and author

Podcaster and author

What do you say when you find out you have cancer that’s terminal? The only thought that comes to mind is that classic from ‘Firefly':
Donate to PG

Tracey: When you can’t run anymore, you crawl… and when you can’t do that —
Zoë: You find someone to carry you.

PG Support Network

Right now P.G. Holyfield is being carried by Vivid Muse and her hubby Chooch Schubert. The podcasting community has been asked to send their thoughts, prayers, messages, and open their wallets to put money towards his medical care. Part of the money will offset the medical costs and the rest will go towards caring for his young children in the form of a trust fund.

If you or someone you know has been a cancer survivor or in the fight with cancer, please donate in their name.

If you know PG, please donate. You know why.

If you would like to find out more about this situation and find out what you can do to help, you can read the announcement on PG’s site.

The Story so Far

PG Holyfield has been a podcaster and author of note since his book ‘Murder at Avedon Hill’ won the John W. Polidori Award for Best Vampire Novel of 2010 & the Silver Medal for Fiction – Fantasy at the Foreward 2010 Book of the Year Awards.

He’s gone on to host numerous podcasts, appeared at numerous conventions as a panelist, and mentored many up and coming podcasters. To say that his presence has had a formative effect on New Media would be an understatement.

Within the last month, PG has not only been diagnosed with inoperable, terminal cancer, but he’s been given an incredibly short timeframe by medical staff. With small children, this hits his family even harder than such a shock might under even ‘the best’ circumstances. Whatever that means.

If you can help by donating, please do so. But donations aren’t the only way you can support PG. Send him your warm thoughts via Viv or Chooch. Share the links. Buy the books. At this point, you are giving him piece of mind for his family and letting him know what he means to you.

If you don’t know him, please share in this fight against cancer by doing what you can, in whatever way you can. Fuck cancer.

Buy PG's Book

Buy “Murder at Avedon Hill” by PG Holyfield