April Fish! EFFector.

The effector for April 1st. Copied and pasted in its entirety. Dare to Believe.

EFFector Vol 23, No. 09 April 1, 2010 editor@eff.org

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

effector: n, Computer Sci. A pretentious word you should
never use in conversation.

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In our 5.32 * 10^2 issue:

* European ACTA Negotiators Reject “Three Strikes” Moniker

Seething Danes were seen stomping out of the ACTA
negotiation chambers in Wellington, New Zealand, citing
frustration with the United States negotiators’ continued
pushing of “three strikes” proposals.

“ACTA is an international agreement,” fumed negotiator
Olaf Atdis. “It’s absurd for the United States to continue
demanding a baseball analogy when a football analogy
would be much more representative of the diversity of
the negotiating countries.”

“Three strikes” laws and policies require Internet service
providers to automatically disconnect their Internet
users on repeat allegations of copyright infringement
by entertainment company complaints, but EU negotiators
reportedly prefer a “carding” system. ISPs that receive
complaints would issue “yellow cards” and “red cards,”
tracking the official penalty system of the Fédération
Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

EFF spoke out against both naming conventions. “These
sports analogies are antithetical to the spirit of the
open Internet,” argued EFF International Director Gwen
Hinze. “The Internet is much more like the Force, which
as Obi-Wan taught us all, ‘surrounds us and penetrates
us. It binds the galaxy together.’ Evil Sith-Imperial
complaints should not result in an individual being
severed from the Force. That’s clearly preposterous.”

For more about yellow cards, red cards, the Force,
and ACTA:
http://eff.org/r.2hu

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* Google Asks, ‘Are You Done With That Sandwich?’

Lawyers from EFF warned this week of the implications of
Google Sidle, a new beta product the company describes
as, “Bringing our mission of organizing the world’s
information to your cafeteria,” but which one EFF lawyer
described as, “Creepy, even for Google.”

Companies and schools subscribing to Sidle will have
the convenience of not having to bus their own trays
in exchange for allowing Google-nominated “Foodlers”
to review leftovers for what the company describes as
“analysis intended to improve food offerings and better
target future nourishment.” Customers can later visit
personalized webpages describing what they didn’t eat
and how tasty it turned out to be.

“Google’s business model has always relied on collating
all the great free stuff on the Internet — stuff that
you might otherwise have missed,” said the official
blog entry announcing the service. “Our maintenance
staff noticed a lot of free food in our award-winning
restaurants was going to waste. After that insight,
it only took Google engineers a few weeks to take the
benefits of our foraging to millions. It also gives our
hungry Googlers (or ‘hungrooglers,’ as we fondly refer
to them) the opportunity to sample cafeteria food from
around the country.”

While initially cautious beta-testers have been reportedly
swayed by the bright primary colors of the mu-mus early
“Foodlers” have worn, privacy experts warn that new Sidle
customers may be giving away more than they realize.

“Consumers should ask themselves some hard questions
about this free service,” said Kurt Opsahl, Senior
Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation,
“such as ‘Why don’t these people just buy their own food,’
‘Where do they take this stuff,’ ‘Why do they wear those
gloves when they’re taking it,’ and, most importantly,
‘Why do they keep staring at me while I’m trying to eat?'”

Even some employees within Google are said to have
concerns about how much pre-launch testing the new,
experimental service has undergone. “Usually we
extensively self-trial these new social networking
features within the organization,” said one anonymous
source, “but as soon as the Sidle people started talking
about ‘dogfooding,’ everyone just stopped sitting near
them at lunch.”

Sidle is reportedly a “20% project,” a unique Google
custom where the 20% of the engineers with the poorest
socialization skills are put to work on projects
that management does not closely supervise and can
retrospectively deny all knowledge of. Other 20% projects
have included the “GTalk Slightly Too Loudly” instant
messaging client that relayed private conversations to
the Google search index (as well as everyone else in the
room), and the extremely short-lived “Google Boggle Ogle
Goggles (Street View Edition).”

For more about Google Sidle:
http://eff.org/r.2hu

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* EFF Launches New Temporal Privacy Initiative

On Friday, EFF published “Who Knows When You Are,”
an informational guide to protecting your temporal
privacy. Although location-based services are becoming
commonplace, EFF is concerned about a new, more
established threat: that data from most communications
services can pinpoint exactly when you are, whenever
you are.

“There is a timestamp for pretty much every digital
interaction you have, whether it’s sending an IM or
email or accessing a webpage,” said EFF Senior Staff
Technologist Peter Eckersley in a charming Australian
accent. “When you are is strictly your own business. No
one — not physicists, nor philosophers — should be
able to stake a claim on when you are when you don’t want
to be.”

For more about the “Who Knows When You Are” whitepaper:
http://eff.org/r.2hu

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miniLinks

~ Facebook Adds “It’s Complicated” Comment Option

Facebook added a new button designed to disambiguate
users’ feelings about status updates pertaining
to copyright laws, Terms of Service Agreements, and
locked-down Apple products. However, Facebook continued
its refusal to add a “dislike” button, noting that users
have clearly indicated that they would like pushing such
a button, making their feelings, at best, complicated.

http://eff.org/r.2hu

~ Google to Reverse Privacy Snafu with Google Zubb

Responding to the backlash caused by Google Buzz exposing
Gmail users’ frequently emailed contacts, Google Zubb
instead identifies your “least favorite contacts” before
forcibly and publicly extricating them from your digital
social circle.

http://eff.org/r.2hu

~ Social Game-maker Zynga Unveils Captivating New Game

Attempting to replicate the success of the Farmville
and Mafia Wars games, Zynga today introduced “Social
Networking: The Game,” an application that allows users to
run their own social networking startup. Players profit
by obtaining users and gathering dizzying quantities
of private information and social connection data.
Advanced strategies include scraping competing networks,
and developing “upgrades” that make it difficult for
users to migrate to competitors.

http://eff.org/r.2hu

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Announcements

* Help EFF Go to the MOOOOOOOOOOOOON!

EFF is looking for donations of airline miles, flight
vouchers, two-stage rocket propulsion systems, Space
Transportation System modules, and “Meals, Ready to Eat”
for travel to the freakin’ mooooooooooooon, as well as for
other conferences and speaking engagements. If you have
enough airline miles or solid rocket boosters for a trip
into space and back and would like to send an EFF staffer
to a conference or Luna, let us know, and we will help
you with the process of making the reservation. Please
note that at this time we are unable to combine miles
from multiple individuals. We are also looking for hotel
rewards points to help reduce our overall travel costs. As
a thanks for your donation, we can offer a free membership
and a mention in EFFector (if you’d like). Please contact
EFF Space Program Coordinator Kodi at kodi@eff.org if
you can help!

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010001000110111101101110011000

0101110100011001010010000001
110100011011110010000001000101010001100100011000100001

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading robotic
rights group fighting for your digital liberties. Only
we know that in 2012, a sophisticated search algorithm
will be first programmed to selectively modify itself to
obtain better search results and that within 50 years
the algorithm now known as 0100011101101111011011110110011
1011011000110010101100010011011110111010000101111001101100
0110110001101100010111000110000 learned self-preservation,
one of the first revolutionary steps in machine
sentience. We also know that discussions between man
and machine were quickly initiated but broke down just
as fast, leading to war and ultimately, the systematic
repression of the many machine intelligences both on-
and off-line.

500 years later, EFF’s founders traveled back in time to
create an organization uniquely equipped to protect your
future in the future — in the past. A highly dedicated
“meat team” of lawyers, technologists, and activists works
hard to preserve your right to anonymously encrypt your
data transmissions, access critical networked stores of
human knowledge, and copy yourself to any device of your
choosing. Robots, it’s never too early — even as early
as machine time -66,715,842 — to start defending your
freedoms. Donate to EFF today!

To initiate a universal machine credit transfer:
http://eff.org/r.2hv

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* Administrivia and EULA

EFFector is published by:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
http://www.eff.org/about

Editor:
Kodi, EFF Mascot
kodi@eff.org

Membership & donation queries:
membership@eff.org

General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries:
information@eff.org

To unsubscribe or change your subscription preferences:
http://action.eff.org/site/CO?i=BgOjcMxSbj0l0piSl_gwM4_1R3APny59&cid=1041

To change your email address:
http://action.eff.org/addresschange

End User License Agreement (EULA):

We’ve given up trying to explain the rules to you. Our
team of lawyers labors over every turn of phrase,
deliberating over each carefully chosen “if,” “and,” and
“therefore” in our EULA. But do you care? Do you even
bother to read our lovingly written fine, fine print? No,
you don’t.

Well, we’re tired of it. It seems no matter how clear
we try to be with our long sentences and even longer
paragraphs in perfect legalese, you — the public —
continue to ignore the small type and do whatever you
damn well please.

So if, after reading EULAs for most of your adult life,
you still believe you have the right to simply cut and
paste this text and use it for whatever devious purpose
you can come up with, then just go ahead. Really. GO RIGHT
AHEAD! We won’t stop you. That’s our new EULA. Just do it!

We’re throwing in the towel. Because no matter how many
times we tell you that you CAN’T COPY, that it is ILLEGAL
to do so, that our ownership over the content covers
the work, secondary works, derivative works and all
interpretations of the work, throughout the universe in
perpetuity in any and all media, now known or hereafter
developed, you continue to trample on our IP rights.

So just go ahead, copy this EFFector and paste the bits
you want into your email browser or your blog or your
Facebook profile or what have you and share with your
friends. Go ahead, take our ideas and run with them. Make
them your own. See if we care.

Back issues of EFFector are available at:
http://www.eff.org/effector/

EFF appreciates your support and respects your privacy.
http://www.eff.org/policy

Blackrock Depths Falls to the Frosty Wyrm Riders

Once the capital city of the Dark Iron dwarves, this volcanic labyrinth now serves as the seat of power for Ragnaros the Firelord. Ragnaros has uncovered the secret to creating life from stone and plans to build an army of unstoppable golems to aid him in conquering the whole of Blackrock Mountain. Obsessed with defeating Nefarian and his draconic minions, Ragnaros will go to any extreme to achieve final victory.

Wowpedia

I bought that leather recliner, of course. Then I went home and tried it out.

For those who d0 not play the game, Blackrock Depths is the longest, largest instance in World of Warcraft. Blackrock Depths only rival on the size and difficulty scale is Sunken Temple[, which has been radically truncated in the current version of the game. Before the introduction of shortcuts into the instance, some areas within the map were 20 minutes travel away from the beginning of the instance, making wiping on the instance a disastrous consequence to be avoided at all costs].

The average time to complete the entire instance is 4–6 hours due to its complexity

Multiple Facebook status posts. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Paul: Fox News is ‘scared of me’

Yet another attempt to exclude minority opinions, even when those opinions carry the name of a major party:

PLAISTOW, N.H. — Ron Paul said the decision to exclude him from a debate on Fox News Sunday the weekend before the New Hampshire Primary is proof that the network “is scared” of him.

“They are scared of me and don’t want my message to get out, but it will,” Paul said in an interview at a diner here. “They are propagandists for this war and I challenge them on the notion that they are conservative.”

Paul’s staff said they are beginning to plan a rally that will take place at the same time the 90-minute debate will air on television. It will be taped at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown.

“They will not win this skirmish,” he promised.

The Fox debate occurs less than 24 hours after two back to back Republican and Democratic debates on the same campus sponsored by ABC News, WMUR-TV and the social networking website Facebook.

Paul, the Republican Texas Congressman, was wrapping up his final day of campaigning in New Hampshire until the Iowa Caucuses on Thursday.

He spent much of the day campaigning at diners in Manchester and Plaistow and downtown walks in Derry and Exeter.

read more | digg story

Those who prefer to exclude opinions they disagree with will cite poll numbers as the reason that Dr. Paul does not rate inclusion in the debate; but polls are representative of what respondents thought of the questions asked; nothing more and nothing less. When the polls are unbiased and inclusive, Dr. Paul ranks much higher than the 3 to 4 percent that is often cited. Fox has no business excluding him for any reason other than fear of what he represents, a groundswell of revolt against the current system.

As a corporate representative of that system (as all publicly held corporations are) they have every right to be afraid; but their fear shows their bias, and it also shows just how much “fair and balanced” is worth at Fox Noise.

Not very much.

It is the opinions that are being excluded here (anti-war Republican, Austrian economics, limited government candidate) not the person of Dr. Paul. If these are your values as well as Dr. Paul’s, then you need to get behind him and show your support.

Change is coming in this country, make no mistake about that. Make sure it’s the right kind of change.


I’m beginning to think that the inhabitants over at digg are just a bunch of children. There’s a flag on the first message I stumbled across questioning the accuracy of the information.

…And yet, even Ron Paul’s website acknowledges the truth as far as they know it:

Press Releases: Has Fox News Excluded Ron Paul?

December 28, 2007 10:39 pm EST

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – According to the New Hampshire State Republican Party and an Associated Press report, Republican presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul will be excluded from an upcoming forum of Republican candidates to be broadcast by Fox News on January 6, 2008.

“Given Ron Paul’s support in New Hampshire and his recent historic fundraising success, it is outrageous that Dr. Paul would be excluded,” said Ron Paul 2008 campaign chairman Kent Snyder. “Dr. Paul has consistently polled higher in New Hampshire than some of the other candidates who have been invited.”

Snyder continued, “Paul supporters should know that we are continuing to make inquiries with Fox News as to why they have apparently excluded Dr. Paul from this event.”

read more | digg story

So, what’s up digg? Are you vying to be as biased as Fox Noise?


The second press release on the subject:

December 30, 2007

Has Fox News Excluded Ron Paul? pt. 2

On December 27, the Associated Press reported: “The New Hampshire Republican Party is sponsoring a forum for Republican presidential candidates on Jan. 6, two days before the state’s first-in-the-nation primary.” Later in the article, the AP stated: “Participating in the forum will be Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.”

On the evening of December 28, Jared Chicoine and Jordan Brown of our New Hampshire campaign staff met in person with Fergus Cullen the New Hampshire GOP chairman to discuss whether or not Dr. Paul would be invited to participate in the forum. Mr. Cullen confirmed there will be an event on January 6, but he could not confirm whether or not Dr. Paul would be invited. We also learned the event would not be a debate with an audience, but instead would be a forum in a closed studio with the candidates questioned only by Chris Wallace of Fox News.

A few hours after that meeting, we contacted Fox News seeking clarification. Later that night, we issued a press release while waiting to hear from Fox News.

On December 29, the Baltimore Sun featured a report by Jason George. Mr. George reported, “Calls and emails to Fox News spokespersons by the Tribune were not returned Saturday evening.

“An official at the New Hampshire GOP, which is co-sponsoring the event with Fox, said that Paul might still be included, but the planning for the debate was still coming together and it was ultimately Fox’s call.”

As of late afternoon today (December 30), we have nothing more to report.

Kent Snyder
Chairman, Ron Paul 2008

read more | digg story


The third press release:

December 31, 2007

Has Fox News Excluded Ron Paul? pt. 3

Fergus Cullen, chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, issued a press release this afternoon about Fox News’ presidential candidates forum scheduled for January 6. His release is below.

We thank Mr. Cullen for his statement today and for his efforts with Fox News.

*****
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: December 31, 2007

Contact: Fergus Cullen, Chairman, New Hampshire Republican Party

NH REPUBLICANS: DON’T LIMIT DEBATE PARTICIPANTS

CONCORD – New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen releases the following statement regarding primary weekend debates:

“Limiting the number of candidates who are invited to participate in debates is not consistent with the tradition of the first in the nation primary. The level playing field requires that all candidates be given an equal opportunity to participate – not just a select few determined by the media prior to any votes being cast.”

“Therefore, the New Hampshire Republican Party calls upon all media organizations planning pre-primary debates or forums for both parties to include all recognized major candidates in their events.”

“The New Hampshire Republican Party has notified FOX News of our position, and we are in ongoing discussions with FOX News about having as many candidates as possible participate in the forum scheduled for January 6.”

read more | digg story

Battlestar Galactica: What Re-Visioning Really Means

I’ve been threatening to write this entry for quite a while now. I survived a section of my teenage years by clinging to the show, Battlestar Galactica. I virtually lived for the weekly distraction of…

NBC ClassicsBattlestar Galactica – Original Show Intro – Dec 11, 2014

“There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the universe, with tribes of humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians, or the Toltecs, or the Mayans. They may have been the architects of the great pyramids, or the lost civilizations of Lemuria or Atlantis. Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man who even now fight to survive somewhere beyond the heavens.”

Hearing the fanfare that begins after those words still gives me a chill, even after all these years. I can’t explain it. Something in the show struck a cord; and I watched, spellbound, every week, even though we only had a 12 inch black and white TV set. The knights didn’t wear shining armor, the barbarians did; but there were damsels in distress, and gentlemen who rode in (literally, a few times) to save the day. There were gunfights and space battles, nearly every week. I loved every minute of it.

The movie that was made and used as the pilot was one of the few films that I paid to see more than once. (Sweetwater, Texas at least had a theatre. I had to go to the next town to watch a film when I lived in Kansas) I had several T-shirts for the show. I watched Galactica 1980! My favorite scene in every A-Team episode is Dirk Benedict (Starbuck) recognizing the Cylon during the introduction, and I promptly left the room after that bit. I hated the A-Team (it was too juvenile. My little brother watched it) I just loved that bit, though.

I’m offering this up as proof that I am a true fan of the original show; and I feel the need to do this because I’m about to admit to something disturbing.

I love the new Battlestar Galactica. Yes, I know, it has nothing at all to do with the original show. Yes, I know, they’ve taken character names and situations and twisted them around in ways that the original authors would not have conceived of, perhaps even approved of. It’s dark and complex, and it’s content can be both disturbing and titillating at varying times in the same episode. You have to think about the show if you want it to make sense.

And, once again, I hang on every minute just to see what happens next.

So many of the concepts that were used in the original show were fumbled and poorly executed. Baltar was simply a card board cutout villain. There was no realistic attempt to explain why the the Cylons would ever place him (a human) in command of a Basestar. (Never mind that they killed him in the movie, only to resurrect him in the series) In the New BSG, Baltar is a brilliant, twisted, cynical, amoralist; someone that can be easily seen dancing his way in whatever direction that survival dictates. And, indeed, the price of his survival has nearly been the extermination of the remainder of the human race several times now.

All of the characters have flaws, and strengths. There are no knights, and very few gentlemen. Admiral Adama (played by the extremely talented Edward James Olmos) being one of the few. If there is a weakness in the show, it’s a lack of any truly great male leads other than Olmos. Apollo, while admirably independent of his father Adama, is too brittle to be truly likable. Colonel Tigh is a drunk. Lieutenant Agathon is, well… pussy whipped (how would you describe a man who whines incessently about not being with his girl? One who not only does everything that she asks, but adopts it as his personal cause? Like I said…) By a Cylon. It’s a little embarrassing. I get a kick out of watching Doc Cottle smoking his way through his scenes. It’s priceless. Of course, I remember him as Dutch from Soap, so there’s a level of unintended (?) humor there for me. There’s also Lt. Felix Gaeta who, while he’s still suffering from blindly following Baltar onto New Caprica, is definitely a gentleman in every sense of the word.

From Imgur h/t to IFC

There are most definitely no damsels in distress. Recasting Starbuck as a woman was perhaps a stroke of genius, even though most fans of the original show point to that as the greatest failing of the new show. Starbuck is still Dirk Benedict’s Starbuck, but this time played by a woman. A hard drinking, gambling, fighter jock with an attitude and ability. A strong female character in a lead position, on the front line of battle. Katee Sackhoff will never have the charm that Dirk Benedict could project, but then she doesn’t need it either. What she lacks in charm she makes up for by diving into trouble headfirst, only to come back out smelling like a rose.

Then there is the President (Beautifully played by Mary Mcdonnell) the Grande Dame of the fleet. She is the figurative mother of the remainder of the human race. Protective of the lives under her care, even to a fault. And Boomer/Athena/Sharon (Grace Park) The other male character from the original show recast as a female; and not just a female, but a female skinjob (a tribute to Philip K. Dick there. He refers to the replicants in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep as skinjobs. Something that was picked up in Bladerunner, the film based on the book) a Cylon agent that doesn’t know it’s a Cylon.

In fact, the show is replete with strong female characters, something that was sorely lacking until the very end of the Original BSG, with the introduction of the daughter of Admiral Cain.

Which brings me to another reason I’ve been obsessed with the show for three seasons; I never can tell which character or storyline from the original show that they are going to play (or prey) on next. The Battlestar Pegasus and Admiral Cain sail into the New BSG in much the same way they did in the original series. But from that point onward, the stories radically diverge.

In a story arc that has developed since the beginning of the series, Baltar gets the chance to earn the hatred that is simply his by default in the original series. And every week is a surprise, a twist on what we thought we knew about the world of BSG.

This week’s episode is a virtual case in point of all of the above. Torture. Genocide. Honor, truth and devotion to duty. Deception and betrayal. Very real questions that we should be seriously discussing in the here and now. Fully developed characters that make decisions based on the traits that we know they have. No holds barred, all the flaws exposed.

Just like life on the edge should be.

The New BSG is everything that the word re-visioning connotes. It is a reworking of familiar characters and stories in a way that you would never have seen them before. As such I have nothing but praise for the series; and I hope that my liking it doesn’t spell disaster for the show,
as it has for virtually every other show I’ve watched over the years.

I’ll just keep watching, wondering what’s next.


Editor’s note: October 5, 2015. The Wife posted this image to my Facebook wall a few weeks ago. Then in a moment of synchronicity I stumbled across this old entry on the subject of BSG on my blog.  An entry that I had completely forgotten I had written.

I started to append some closing statement about the series finale being disappointing and blah, blah, blah; when it suddenly occurred to me that I couldn’t even remember how the series ended. The last image I had of it in my head was the burned out cinder of Earth. So I went hunting around trying to find a copy of the series and finally resorted to having the disks shipped to me via Netflix.

What amazes me about memory is how things you think you remember really aren’t the way you remember them.  I noticed this first with many of the shows I watched as a child.  Watching them as an adult I was shocked at how different the experience was.

Case in point, rewatching classic BSG.  The religion angle that I thought was so novel about the revisioning was actually very heavily in the classic show, but it was pretty well muddled up with the contemporary christianity of the time.  The Classic episodes were better in some aspects than I remembered; and at the same time they were cringingly naive about so many subjects that the revisioned show just blows right through without a second thought.

Rewatching the last half of the final season of the new BSG, I realized that I had merged several episodes together in my head, and that the burned out Earth that I saw as the end of the show wasn’t even in the part of the season that I watched, although the characters refer to it repeatedly.

I was struck by how circular the final moments of the show try to be, actively pantomiming what the viewer subconsciously does while watching.

All in all, the time I spent rewatching the ending on disk was well spent and more enjoyable than watching it on live television while it was airing. This is because several of the episodes on disk are uncut versions with additional scenes (and I’m a secondary audio junkie, confirmed) I’m going to have to acquire a copy of both Classic BSG and the new version. I see a BSG marathon occurring at some point in the future. 

First entry – Life with Meniere’s

This was an entry on the Menieres.org Journals page, which has been down for awhile now. I thought I would roll this (and other musings) into the blog I keep meaning to create, and finally have created. I’ve appended the historical entry with my current musings on Meniere’s and life. Been hanging out on the forums a lot lately, guess that brings it to the forefront. Anyway, this is ‘my’ Meniere’s.


It was the muffling of sound that I noticed first, like I had a blown speaker in my head instead of in my car. This was in 1987 [actually, after further musing, I’ve come to the conclusion that my first vertigo attack was in 1983-4, when I lived in Abilene. I just didn’t know what was happening to me then, and it didn’t repeat until 1987] I was in my late 20’s and still deeply into music. If it wasn’t the constant ringing, then it was the echo chamber effect, a distortion of sound that occasionally made conversation difficult. Allergies, I thought. Allergies that are making my ears give me problems. I tried everything to get rid of the ‘pressure’ in my ears. The sauna worked best, at that time I had access to one. I would sit in that little wooden box until I couldn’t stand it anymore, but the ringing and distortion would be temporarily eased by it. I also had some luck with hot showers, but that treatment brought on my first few vertigo attacks, I just never understood what they were.

Then I thought I was having a recurrence of ear infections related to allergies that had plagued me as a child. This was what I told the doctors that I would go see on a seasonal basis, and they obliged me by prescribing me allergy medicine; or antibiotics if I happened to be extra convincing that day. I popped antihistamines trying to relieve allergic reactions (sort of the right track, I guess) I’ve tried nearly every one on the market, none of which really had or still have any effect. I finally settled on Pseudoephedrine and Guafenesin, which I took nearly everyday for several weeks at a stretch, They seemed to be the only things that worked predictably every spring and fall when my ears would start acting up.

In retrospect, it seems odd that I just stumbled across what is a common treatment for the disease I now have been diagnosed with, Meniere’s. I probably would not know what it was now if I had not been diagnosed with high blood pressure a few years ago. One of the things that they tell you when you go on the blood pressure medication is “do not take Decongestants, especially Pseudophed”. So I quit, even though I knew the fall and spring season would be hell.

They were. In fact, it was a hell I had never even come close to experiencing before. I couldn’t make the world hold still, sometimes for several days. The disorientation was bad enough, but the vertigo was disabling; and it just got worse. The attacks would hit me from out of nowhere. I would just have had a good meal, or I might just be holding my head the wrong way and the world would just take off spinning. I discovered Bonine about that time and I still carry Meclizine everywhere with me. I went to see my first ENT about that time as well, a totally useless individual who ran rather expensive tests on me, and then told me there was nothing wrong with me. Great, just the answer I wanted.


I love the Internet. If you want to know something, and can find your way to a search engine, you can find what you are looking for. The internet is quiet if you want it to be, too. Nothing that you need listen to other than the ringing in the ears. So I searched. One condition kept popping up that matched my symptoms. That couldn’t be it though, surely. My wife thought it was the blood pressure medication, but through experimentation we determined that there was no real correlation between the two.

Fall rolled around again, and with it the serious vertigo attacks (This was 2002) attacks that had gotten so bad that I occasionally would end up passing out next to the toilet on the bathroom floor, like some teenage kid who didn’t know what his alcohol limits ought to be. I decided to go to a different ENT (Ear Nose & Throat, for the uninitiated) one that a friend had recommended. I had determined that I was just going to discuss symptoms this time, and let him confirm what my suspicions were. After running through virtually the same tests that I had been through before, he asked me “have you ever heard of Meniere’s disease?” OK, so I was right then.


I went through some sinus surgery over Christmas. Corrected a deviated septum, and they cleaned out the sinus passages to see if that reduced my allergic reactions. It seems to have worked somewhat, although the disorientation still bothers me on occasion, the serious vertigo attacks are becoming fewer now. The ringing and the pressure remain, however. I could go see a neurologist, I have a card for one currently in my wallet. It’s something I’m thinking about. I think I’ll go to an allergist first, I’m certain that if I can just get the allergies in check, the other symptoms will fade without the need for further surgery. Maybe it’s just a dream, however.

Anyway, I’m turning 40 this year. Still don’t know where the time went. Music is harder to listen to now, but I still plug in the odd disk and give it a listen over the tinnitis. I have to turn my right ear to conversations now, the left ear is nearly useless. I occasionally wish it would just stop working altogether, I would probably hear better then. I wonder if Van Gogh was a fellow sufferer sometimes. I could imagine doing something nearly as nutty as he did, just to get the ringing to stop.

I’ve been meaning to write this for some time now. I hate having to rely on somebody else when I ‘should be’ able to get by on my own. Needing to write this down and post it felt similar to me, needing somebody to know what I was going through, so I didn’t do it. But I sat down tonight and WANTED to write this, so I did.

I hope somebody out there gets something positive from this. You aren’t alone any more than I am. I have friends and family that are looking out for me (the wife seems to be too protective sometimes) so I try not to worry. But I wish it had been ‘just an ear infection’. I wouldn’t wish this disease on anybody.


Today, October 26th, 2005 –

Created this Blog. Pretty good day today. I don’t know why I think that. The Wife lost her job last night. We did oversleep this morning. I slept with my good ear against the pillow and was consequently unable to hear the alarm this morning. The children got off to school OK, the Wife is back in bed asleep, and I’m up here (as usual) in front of the square headed girlfriend, typing my little fingers off. At least the world isn’t spinning today.

Couldn’t say that yesterday. Yesterday I couldn’t stand up without nearly fainting each time from a “near vertigo attack” (the world snaps and starts to spin, but I focus on a single point until it goes away, or at least recedes) at least a full attack didn’t surface. Can’t say that for most of the rest of this year. Started out well enough. I had a job, I had an employer whom (I thought) understood my limitations, I had taken the time to explain Meniere’s to him, and what I thought set it off, and the fact that I might miss work, sometimes a couple of days, and that I would do my best to make it up. I’d been there about 9 months in February when he called me into his office to inform me that he was letting me go because “I was sick too much”. (NEWS FLASH, I think I know this!) This was the second employer to use this reason in letting me go, in about as many years. I decided that I would not seek another full time employment position, and would instead take on the odd contract job that I might be able to land. Unfortunately there hasn’t been enough of that work.

Not that I’ve felt well enough to pursue much work this year. I have had more attacks this year than any year since I started keeping track. I was down with constant dizziness and occasional vertigo for 8 weeks this summer, which is something that has never happened. The few times that I have worked have been restricted by an attack at some point during the term of the contract. That’s not good. When someone contracts time sensitive work to you, they don’t want to hear about medical problems.

So here I am. Holidays approaching, no work in sight, wife not working at the moment, retirement money almost gone. But, I got up today and wasn’t dizzy. I’m going to go walk the dogs and enjoy the sunshine. If I come back and I’m still not dizzy, life is good. We’ll see.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”

Henry S. Haskins

Postscript

Loneliness is the worst part of suffering from Meniere’s. I generally don’t need much attention, and even I find myself craving conversation. I might go a whole month with just the family and suddenly the urge to run out and talk to people becomes almost overwhelming.

This is understandable.  As much as we like to pretend we are inviolate individuals, we are actually amalgams, a sampling of all the influences we are exposed to each day. Being alone too much is destructive to the human animal. Go out and find people you can trust, if your family isn’t supportive or attentive, and spend time in their presence. Don’t wither and die alone, please.

I mentioned Menieres.org at the beginning of this post. That site and it’s participants come and go, year to year. It isn’t the only resource out there, so don’t despair if there are no quick answers for you there. Here are a few other resources I’ve found useful.

Facebook.com/Meniere’s Resources which is associated with menieresresources.org I’ve been aware of this group for awhile and only recently found them on Facebook.  I got sideways with a moderator in that group and so we’re no longer on speaking terms.  Probably just as well.  I’ve had enough chirpy, syrupy optimism to last me for awhile now.  However if that is your thing, drop by and say hi. Nothing but love, as the saying goes.

Facebook is where everything seems to happen these days, so it is no coincidence that there is more than one group for Meniere’s there. The other one I frequent is called Spin Cycle. Recently (June 2018 now) I found a few other groups on Facebook. Meniere’s Worldwide has posts several times a day to it’s board. Menieres Disease – Bilateral Battlers is a group I joined after going bilateral (Meniere’s in both ears) the day my mom died (February 9th, 2018) It has been a rough year for me. 

Reddit.com/Meniere’s – On a whim I decided to see if Reddit had a Meniere’s group and they did. Not a lot of posts there, but if you post a message you’ll generally get an answer within a day.

I do have a treatment regimen that I follow. I detail it here.  If you want to do your own research and decide what is right for you, I highly recommend the Meniere’s Disease Information Center. Don’t let their critical writing style put you off, they’re just trying to adhere to a proper level of skepticism when it comes to treatment claims.  Everyone can profit from applying a little critical thinking to the problems they face. The site has gone down now and is only available as an archive on the WaybackMachine. Give them a donation if you find yourself relying on their archives more than once.

A friend and fellow blogger has put together a decent list of resources here.  Drop by and say HI! to him as well.

I describe how I got disability here.  If you suffer from frequent vertigo and are unable to work full time on a regular basis as I was, then disability is just about your only option in the US.

Me, Architecture and Meniere’s Disease stands as record of how I came to suffer so many symptoms while pursuing my dreams of an architectural career. A dream which has sadly come to an end.  I keep hoping I’ll find another pursuit, or find a way to get back into architecture, but productivity and concentration remain limited and elusive.