October 6th, 2008

Pixel Stained

Because I can't say it any better

The McCain campaign's smears on Obama, by virtue of the attack I talked about in The company they keep have been getting play. I heard it being talked about on the radio this morning.

Never mind that Bill Ayers turned himself in (more than can be said for McCain vis-a-vis The Keating Five, rather he did some bobbing and weaving and managed to avoid doing the honorable thing and resigning). Nope, he was a radical, who thought blowing things up was a good idea. Kind of like Eric Rudolph if Eric Rudolph had been against the gov't, intead of being against people; and had turned himself in and and shown remorse for the effects of his actions.

I could go on, and detail more of the unsavory characters, and deals, McCain has spent his time with (like Phil Gramm, who was hip deep in making the present mess on Wall Street which McCain thought bailing out was so important he suspended his campaign to try to broker a deal to take more money out of your pocket, and move it to Wall Street's), but Teresa has done yeoman's work at Making Light, so here's a list of John McCain's friends, and pastimes.

McCain: Pass it on

website free tracking


I've been looking at some job sites. One of them seemed half promising, I didn't look at the fees, but I started cruising the listings; looking at the writing gigs.

Lots of chances to to do web-related pseudoblogging. None of it seems to pay all that well; though some of them have what look to be decent money available, until you look at the fine print.

Some of the better gems:

Urgent OVERNIGHT Project Very Simple

I have an urgent need for some copy to be written overnight need of some copy. The job involves writing 60 paragraphs of copy on a subject that I will specify in an interview. Please do not attach writing samples, and be prepared to interview on Yahoo Messeger within the next thirty minutes if possible. I need this copy by 8 a.m. in the morning EST, no later. There will be additional work of this type for someone who can perform. These paragraphs need to be about three to four sentences long and you must know how to create anchor text which links the page to another page by clicking on a link. Please DO NOT APPLY if you do not know how to do this, because you WILL NOT BE PAID if you write the copy without appropriate anchor text. Do not apply if you are bidding over the budget specified, or if you require upfront payment, as your work must be tested to assure appropriate anchor text is applied before you will be paid.

It pays 15 dollars. Assume eight words per sentence, and 3.3 sentences per graf, round it off to 1,600 words / 1,500 pennies, and you get almost a penny a word, with constraints (those "anchor words", which is to say, html coding).


Over in Graphic Art/Design there is one which looks a little better:

Seeking a professional who has experience with HTML newsletter design and has a portfolio to show samples of their work. You must have samples to be considered. A cover letter is also a must for consideration. Please include in your cover letter: 1. What eNewsletter programs have you used or worked with in the past (i.e. constant contact, etc.) Excellent communicaiton and a deadline driven person is needed for this position.

Ok... and it pays $3,400, with an estimate of 592 hours worth of work... or about $6 an hour.

Freelance, and contract, so minimum wage isn't an issue, and it's part time... ten hours a week. Easy money right?

It's not as easy as this one:

If you are a native English writer, this job may be for you if you are looking for feedback on Odesk. I have an immediate need for 10 articles within the next two days. I will not pay upfront, but I will pay 1/2 after the first five have been written, the other half after the last five is submitted and approved by me. I will only accept work that is 100% English in origin, and it must pass copyscape by 100%.Please contact me for details at susanc01@yahoo.com, or by applying here on Odesk. The fee is $3 per article, if you don't agree with the fee, don't waste your time or mine by applying. Further, if you can't write the articles within two days, don't bother to apply either. I will have more work for the right person coming up.

So... the deal is you do five on spec... meet the threshold of anchor text and you will get half the money.

How much is this gem going to net... $30

What, you may ask is copyscape? It's a Google API based plagiarism detector. I wonder how fine grained it is... think it might be possible the work "fails" copyscape, but ends up on the net somewhere?

One can only hope she gets no more than she pays for.

My favorite though is this one:

Writing > Blog / Article Writing
This is a fulltime position and person must be able to provide full attention to these tasks. Need a writer for various topics. The successful candidate will also rewrite articles to make them unique, create press releases and do some transcribing. Expected to work Monday through Friday and with quick turn around time.

Ok. How much work?

Hourly (52 weeks, 40 hrs/week)

The rate they are offering the person possessed of these skills, and willing to do it as a full time job?

Hourly: $3>

Ye gods and little fishes.
camo at halloween

Funny that (PTSD related shit... trigger warning, I guess)

I went to the VA a couple of weeks ago. For those who don't know... I'm not as well as I might like. Quite apart from the Reiter's Syndrome, I have symptoms of some mild PTSD. Is it PTSD? I don't know. But when I look at the list of symptoms... well it's not hard to see a lot of them which fit.

Am I a gibbering wreck, hiding in the basement and waking with night horrors? No. I am more reclusive. I've been pulling back from people, and from things I used to enjoy. I have less motivation than I used to. I am moody, irritable and prone to some sorts of being more emotional, and some sorts of less.

I don't sleep much.

It's been progressive (when I first got back from theater.... I was a mess. Were it not for the love of my friends, Maia's support and the suppport network offered up by Seattle fandom... who knows how I'd have ended up).

PTSD, even the mild stuff, is insidious. It's like a subtle filter on a photograph. You don't see it, in any one place, but it colors the whole thing. My war was "easy" (for such values of easy as apply only in a war zone. I am unaware of anyone who tried to kill me specifically. That doesn't mean no one tried to kill me generally, nor that I wasn't nervous, tense, on-edge, and looking over my shoulder for the guy who decided to go for killing me retail instead of wholesale).

Then I got sick. Really sick. Life-alteringly sick. That got me sent back to Kuwait, and Germany, thence to Walter Reed (where I got life threateningly ill: because my treatment regimen and I didn't get along), before being warehoused at Madigan Army Medical Center at Ft. Lewis.

Which is when my war got hard. I was 1,300 miles from home. I was 11,000 miles from my comrades. I was in charge of a squad of people who were all in roughly the same boat. All of them had their own problems. All of them had people in theater they were worried about, and all of them had the hospital, the GTSB and fate to contend with.

The kid with narcolepsy wasn't too bad. Narcolepsy sucks, don't get me wrong, but as problems go it wasn't that bad. The PV2 who was forced to choose between rear-ending the supply truck in front of her, or going off a drop of more than 30 feet; she took the wreck. The private in the right seat of her truck... well she didn't make it out, and it wasn't pretty. To add to things... her husband was one of the people who cut her out of the wreck. He came home on leave, she got pregnant. When he redeployed, he fell into the bottle. They got the divorce a couple of weeks before she had the kid. All of that (the redeployment, the problems, the pregnacy) happened while she was in my squad.

So I spent eight months worrying about my health, their health (and the health of other people). There was an SFC who killed himself in Mologne House, two days after I got there, and the Major who tried to kill herself in the barracks at Ft. Lewis. I got to lead the detail cleaning her room out.... she used some of her blood to damn the GTSB for not helping people.

There was the kid whose gear I had to box up for storage while he was in the brig. He'd used his charm to play on the sympathy of locals to get about $5,000 in aid; aid he didn't need. For that he got 90 days, a bad conduct discharge, and a ride home when he got released.

The news... a horror. Every week ArmyTimes lists the names of the dead. Every week we looked at it, hoping it didn't have anyone we knew. I had to worry it might have someone one of my troops knew.

All that shit grinds you down. You suppress it. You drink. You buy things for people (what the fuck does money matter?). You bottle it up until it's safe to look at; but you know what... it's never safe to look at.

I blogged about it.

But I didn't. I talked about things that mattered, but not about any of that shit. What was I gonna do... wax all melodramatic about how tough it was? Shit. It wasn't tough. Some mortar rounds here and there. The siren screaming we were being gassed (it was a false alarm). Driving 800 miles just behind the expanding front, and intervierwing the EPWs. Eating MREs and taking baths out of water bottles.

We didn't get mail.

So what? I was in one piece. My guys... they were still in it. Day to day I didn't know if they were alive or dead. E-mail (when I got it) could only let me know that some hours ago they weren't dead. One of them got a piece of shrapnel in the eye. Fuck. No permanent damage... good.

Another one shows up on the way to a Hardship Discharge... and they make him fly back to Baghdad to get a fucking signature... Christ!

But is this something to go all weak in the head about? Is this the sort of thing which makes PTSD? Maybe.

I don't know.

Here's the thing... I don't want PTSD. Who does? That's part of the nature of the beast. It's invidious. The diagnoses means you are broken. If you have it because of weak asssed shit like being scared for four months straight that you might be killed; but no scars or battle stories to show for it.


If you have it because you got sick and thought you might end up a cripple for the rest of your days (even if you spent two-weeks not dying in hospital)....


And worrying about other peoples problems... if you get PTSD from that...


Ok.... so We got that out of the way. I am weak. Weak enough so all that combined to screw me up. If it's not PTSD, it's still done a damned fine job of putting a monkey wrench in my life; trust me on that one, ok.

None of which is why I'm writing this.

I'm writing this because there are people who are worse off than I am (seems to be my refrain... I can't be sick, there are people who need more help than I do... part of the problem that is).

Those people, are being screwed. Remember where I said I went to the VA a couple weeks ago...

They were kind enough to tell me I don't have PTSD. A consummation devoutly to be wished, right?

Maybe not. I, you see, am having "trouble readjusting." It seems a lot of Iraq vets are having the same sorts of troubles. Five years since I got back, you'd think I'd be pretty much readjusted.

Seems there's a reason so many of us are having trouble "readjusting"... It's cheaper than PTSD.

So the VA has issued directives telling doctors to not diagnose, nor test for, PTSD

Way to support the troops, eh?

On March 20, 2008 a VA hospital's PTSD program coordinator sent an e-mail to a number of VA employees, including psychologists, social workers, and a psychiatrist stating that due to an increased number of "compensation seeking veterans," the staff should "refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out" and they should "R/O [rule out] PTSD" and consider a diagnosis of "Adjustment Disorder" instead.

So there you go. I went to the VA, wondering if I had some PTSD. Now that they've seen me.... I have a shiny new diagnosis, and I still don't know.

Bee Butt

On a more upbeat note

Explore, at flickr, is a sport of delayed gratification. Some while after one posts something, it rises out of the crowd (how the thing is determined, I've no idea) and enters the ranks of Explore.

Some keep rising, some fall. Today the second of my picutres to make it appeared. For a few hours this photo was ranked in the top 500 for August 14th, 2008.

Egret Rising

In the few hours since it appeared, it's fallen off, but the other photo of mine which made explore

Horsehide Seam

Fell off, and is now back on, so who knows. It may even, somehow, make it up to number one.

What amuses me is that I care. I've never said, "Oh, well I don't care if I never get, "explored,", because that would be a lie. Who doesn't want external validation (for those who feel so inclined, imitation isn't the sincerest form of flattery, money is. When someone parts with hard earned cash to get a copy of something you've made... there are better things in life, but they are no easier to come by).

But this one popping up, and then down again so quickly.... it's funny. I think it's a more dramatic picture, but it's not better than the baseball. The baseball shot, though, is an photographer's picture. I know how hard it was to get the one, and how fortuitous (even in the realm of fortune favoring the prepared mind) the other.

And yet... I am still slightly atwitter that this arcane thing, which is Explore, has pulled a couple of my pictures up and said, "these are good".