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DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME ON A CMA/RMA/CNA PROGRAM.... (I am a very upset pre-med student and must vent, thank you)
2023.03.22 13:39 SPACEJEBUSS DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME ON A CMA/RMA/CNA PROGRAM.... (I am a very upset pre-med student and must vent, thank you)
Hi, I'm 26M. I am a "certified and registered" medical assistant (CRMA) since 2019 [pro tip, there is no difference between CMA and RMA, its literally the same]. I am certified and registered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT). I have always been fascinated by medicine. I was a very young child when I first got hooked, I have been seen every corner of medicine ever since. As it turns out, I'm pretty damn good in the field. I worked on this useless certification since before I was 18. In 2016, I graduated high-school and was a duel enrollment student my senior year. I went to my local community college during duel enrollment and was convinced by my superiors at the time that becoming a CMA was a great way to go.
I was told that by becoming a CRMA I would have bettehigher annual pay rates and higher probability of being hired for jobs. I was told that the credits I would obtain at my community college for this certification would be a great addition to many health related bachelor majors like Pre-Med and RN programs. Even contribute to a faster graduation much "like an associates". Only that I wouldn't have an associates which wouldn't be very "applicable" to the real world after graduation unless I continue to a bachelors. But a certification to get a "large head start".
Jesus fucking Christ, head start this, head start that, benefits here, benefits there. God, I want to vomit just listening to myself regurgitate all these words of affirmation said to me. Over the coarse of nearly 5 YEARS I am here to tell you that NOTHING of what I was assured or told was true.
Now here is the reality of what you will discover, post-covid, what being a CRMA really does for you.
- A CRMA certification grants you NO competitive benefits and NO reasonably competitive annual pay compared to anyone who gets hired with out a CRMA certification.
Literally no Benefits, none. I have been the lowest annually paid Technician, Medical Technician, Mental Health Technician, for EVERY JOB I EVER OBTAINED and WITH my CRMA certification. I worked at many extremely well known medical institutions from Childrens psychiatric residential care hospitals to where I am now working at one of the greatest health care institutions IN THE FUCKING COUNTRY of the USA and I am STILL one of the lowest paid compared to the majority of my fellow technicians. I currently get paid $18.20 an hour in one of the most expensive areas on the east coast. My co-workers laughed at me and then showed me their pay stubs at $24-26 per hour pay FOR THE SAME JOB. Then new hires that came after me getting $22 FOR THE SAME JOB, NO CRMA CERTIFICATION, NO BACHELORS, NOTHING. Yeah. Oh and good luck making that case to your manager. Getting any kind of raise is next to impossible no matter how long you work or how hard you work or how well you work at your position.
- A CRMA certification today will LESSEN your chances of being hired.
Yup, you heard it here first folks. Obtaining your CRMA certification means that you are of a higher education standard and can handle higher responsibilities, conduct more hands on care with patients, and even more universal in the world of medicine assistants for all kinds of levels of care. Yeaaahhh well after covid, that means that any and all health care networks are going to essentially hire anyone else to do those jobs. Qualified or not. According to my past managers, Nursing managers, and most business sides of health care networks, medical assistants have low level qualifications, little education, or education needs to even just become a CRMA. Furthermore, less urgent responsibilities, I guess? I was just doing CPR on a man in a 30 min code sweating my dick off but sure, I guess not. This means that from the business end perspective they don't need someone with higher qualifications to do the same job. It's simple economics. Why pay someone with proper qualifications $35-40,000 when you can choose the less qualified, less trained, and less educated person for $20-25,000 annually and still obtain the same results within a certain field of practice. It's the quantity over quality kind of mentality. Over my many years I have seen so many unqualified, uneducated, and relentlessly lazy individuals work beside me completely unaware of their responsibilities on the floors of the hospital. You WILL experience these people as your co-workers, guaranteed, now days more than ever.
- CRMA CERTIFICATION CLASSES DO NOT CONTRIBUTE JACK SHIT TO A BACHELORS
After all was said and done and I "graduated" (I guess..) from my community college I went on to my bachelors only to find out that 90% OF MY CREDITS I TOOK AT COMMUNITY COLLEGE WERE NOT APPLICIBLE. Literally 90%, I essentially was 21 starting at my 4 year university and at ground zero with barely anything to show for my efforts to get this CRMA certification. Then covid hit, everyone had to go home, and that really messed everything up. I couldn't focus at home and my grades started to tank due to my really awful home situation but I'm not here to talk about that. So I decided to take a gap year to get a night shift Technician job back at home as a float technician. Never the less, in academia I was majorly behind. Yes Yes Yes, I know. Life is not a race, it's a journey. Some of us struggle more than others. However, here I am at 26, I need to work to pay for an apartment (which I can barely pay for because I'm just a tech in a really expensive area), I need to stand on my own 2 feet, I need to pay for my car and car insurance, I need my own health insurance as per required by the state, and I'm LITERALLY JUST A JUNIOR AFTER ALL THIS TIME. I'm part time in school now so I don't burn myself out working and going to school (tried that, nearly 2 years of my life 7 days a week, no sleeping in, no breaks, fall-winter-spring-summer, just to try and catch up and I will never do that again.). So, at the part time pace I'm going I will graduate 3 years or more from now if I don't go full time literally NOW. I WILL BE BASICALLY 30.... If I do go full time in school I'll be able to graduate in about 3 semesters, I have no idea how I'll be able to financially do that even with loans.
- YOU WILL BE EXPOSED TO INTENSE, HARSH, HAZERDOUS, PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, AND MENTAL EXTREMES INVOLVING YOUR PATIENTS ALONG SIDE YOUR NURSES AND DOCTORS.
I have worked before, during, and after the worst of what covid-19 had to throw at us on Emergency department (ER), Intensive care, Progressive care, Medical-surgical care, Post Anesthesia care, Observation, hospice, and psychiatric care units/floors/facilities. I have seen families and children watch me as I do CPR on their Father before being shooed away so they aren't scarred for the rest of their life. I was forced to be sat on 1:1's with fully grown men with biceps the size of my face with the body build of a line backer having explosive and uncontrollable manic episodes, convincing themself that us health care workers were human traffickers, and somehow after hours of screaming what I can only describe as absolute madness, have the strength to bend the metal his restraints were tied too. I am 6'2", 220 lbs, consistently go to the gym and play lacrosse the majority of my life and for a moment I wondered if that was going to be my day. Furthermore, later in the day meeting said manic patients wife, I couldn't help but notice the bruises all over her face, her arms, legs, chest... everywhere.
I have witnessed patients with HSV-1 (facial/oral herpes), HSV-2 (Genital herpes) and HIV/AIDS fling various bodily fluids such as blood, spit, urine, excrement, and even ejaculate attempting infect someone with malicious intent. I had one patient admit that they tried to infect another purposefully because they didn't want to feel so alone. Patients will try to get to know you, you're going to be the one they probably see first or most through out the day when they use their call bell. Mostly, they'll want to have normal chit chat in normal ways but there is always that 1 or 2 with other intentions. I have my last name covered on my hospital ID because I WAS FOLLOWED. I am 26M, and all it took was some good and casual conversation talking about ourselves and our lives. I like to talk to my patients and get to know them so they know that I do care about their well being. Obviously, I'm not about to talk about crazy personal details of my life, separation of church and state n all that but that's all it took. Sad to say but even some of the insane have somewhat decent communication skills. A 12 hour shift and some conversation through out one shift, that's really all it takes. That was just one instance, my co-workers (the majority are female) have to many to keep tally.
You will encounter patients who are uncontrollably releasing their bowels and YOU are the one that needs to clean that up. House keeping isn't around the corner all the time and bleach wipes are there for a reason. You will encounter ALL bodily fluids on walls, floors, sinks, tables, chairs, beds, cabinets, and even on the ceiling (rare but yeah). You will be most likely responsible for your patients daily hygiene, dental, denture care, and shaving. If a patient is incapable of wiping after they released their bowls, and yes sometimes a little to early, got poop on themselves, their gown, socks, and down their leg... yup you guessed it, YOU gotta clean it up and in some cases re-wash the patient entirely. Most cases, your nurse or any help from fellow techs will be somewhere else probably dealing with another mess. Personal hygiene is ABSOLUTELY IMPORTANT for a patients health care while they are in your care. It's been proven that daily hygiene being done accelerates patient discharge rates. It matters. Which is why our position matters. If we don't wash our patients on a daily basis they will be more susceptible to infections and diseases. Especially if the patient is already immunocompromised. Depending on what unit you will be working on. You will also likely be responsible for checking equipment, making sure equipment is up to date, doing quality checks on defibrillators, refrigerators, and various other equipment that your unit uses every single day and for multiple times a day. I once witnessed two nurses go feral over a bladder scanner, I already bladder scanned both their patients by that time, both patients were fine. I could rant for an unfathomable amount of time about this position and all the essential things that we must do and provide with quality care and consistent accuracy. Don't get me started on Vaccinations at urgent cares, phlebotomy, obtaining samples for lab to do their mad scientist stuff, and the differences of technician/medical assistant responsibilities between different networks.
This is a small section of what it means to be a dedicated Medical Assistant/Technician. Do yourself a favor. If everything I said doesn't worry you much, go for it. If you want the experience or the desire for the experience and you are in a state where you can value the experiences more than the pay, go for it. I was like that once too, now I have no choice but to think more about how I will pay for myself and my future. Regardless, The Lord knows we need the help and I'll be happy to meet you and train you. However, you must know that you will always be appreciated. You'll hear the phrase "we appreciate you" or "Thank you for all your help today", from your nurses, fellow techs, managers, nursing managers, and doctors alike right before you leave to clock out. You'll just never be properly valued the way you should for the immense efforts you provide. You'll be just a tech. The health care field worker bee....
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2023.03.22 10:46 Agile-Inspection-468 Top medical transcription training centers in Kottayam
Medical coding is the process of translating medical diagnoses, procedures, and services into standardized codes that are used for billing and reimbursement purposes. There are two main coding systems used in medical coding: the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT).
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2023.03.22 07:11 FalseCogs Blame the arrangement -- not the person
Life comes in many flavours, and each day we face many questions. Some of these questions are judgements. And some of these judgements involve others in significant and meaningful ways. On the one hand, we seek to satisfy our personal needs
-- self-determination -- while maintaining a sense of virtue
-- compassion and justice. For many, there is too much injustice and suffering just to ignore. On the other hand, balancing the needs of us and them beckons honest appraisal of situations and people. But where and how should our finger be pointed?
Core psychology of blame
Among the very earliest struggles in a person's life is the process of ego development. In its simplest, ego is about separating good from bad, self from other. Various theories and models strive to explain the ego, or its development, from various perspectives. For the purposes here, I will be referencing object relations theory
, which is part psychoanalytic psychology
and deals with very early development, starting at birth. A few things will be slightly simplified to keep the text concise.
Within this theory, the first several months involve what is termed the paranoid-schizoid position.
The "schizoid" aspect refers to a cognitive-emotional process known as splitting.
This is where external objects, including people, are split into opposing mental parts -- to form part objects,
or the "good object" version and the "bad object" version of each meaningful external object or phenomenon. For example, when the caregiver is gratifying to the infant, that part object is the "good caretaker"; and when not so gratifying, that caretaker is the "bad caretaker". At this stage of development and understanding, these two "part objects" are not
seen as from the same source. Rather, each is a separate thing appearing and disappearing as circumstances and feelings change. The key word here is separation,
which we will come back to later.
The other aspect of the paranoid-schizoid position -- the "paranoid" aspect -- refers to a curious side effect of splitting everything into "good" and "bad". Because each "part object" is either all good, or all bad, and because the appearance and disappearance of these mysterious entities is more-or-less out of control, the infant begins to resent and fear the bad objects that keep happening. That is, the baby hates
the bad objects but loves
the good objects. This is perhaps the very first stage of moral awareness -- raw, albeit mistaken judgement; love the good; hate the bad; pure, uninhibited attraction
As a result, or side effect, of these negative or aggressive feelings toward "the bad", the baby may fear possible persecution, invoking paranoia.
Strange though that may sound, there is a bit more to it.
Splitting, as between the mentioned "good" and "bad" objects, is only half the story. The other half of splitting is between "good self" and "bad self". That is, because in the paranoid-schizoid position, objects are temporary and impermanent, so too is the self temporary and fleeting. Moreover, the self is either in comfort, or in distress, giving either "good self" or "bad self" -- depending on circumstance. Since the "good self" appears with the "good object", and likewise the "bad self" with the "bad object", the child fears the appearance of the "bad object" even more. This is because its presence entails essentially collapse of the previous self-concept, as if to enter a realm of deserved persecution for being the "bad self" -- and hence the emergence of paranoia.
On an interesting aside, this manner of judging objects and selves as good or bad based solely on whether one is currently in comfort or pain is the essence of Stage 1
in Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development
. This is a theory on the progression of individuals throughout life in moral reasoning. Stage 1, termed obedience and punishment orientation,
judges those in trouble or pain as inherently bad. In many cases, this view basically blames the victim.
Further, this type of reasoning is essentially the basis for the "might makes right" mindset seen in some cases of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). One thing to keep in mind is that we all start there, but not everyone stays there. In this way, having crude moral reasoning later in life is effectively a sign of delayed or regressed development, much like a disability -- ie. "morally disabled".
Completing the person
Eventually, the child will reach a point in development where objects become whole and persistent, able to have simultaneously negative and positive qualities. Objects or people may take on accounts, or balances, allowing for consideration of simple reciprocity, including guilt and reparation. Self and caregiver become distinct entities, where "good" self is no longer lost each time caregiver is absent or busy. Assuming successful progression, blame and judgement is no longer split dichotically between two extremes. Otherwise a new type of splitting is come, where objects and entities, though whole and persistent, are either idealised
An important key trend exists between consecutive steps of ego development. This is the trend of expanding persistence and relatedness.
In the part-object stage, objects appear and vanish -- some good, some bad. These raw appearances are neither persistent, nor related. In the whole-object stage, objects become persistent, although at first not really related. Because of this initial lack of relation, the secondary type of splitting -- idealisation and devaluation -- is still likely. Basically, since one person or object is fundamentally unrelated to another, including the self, there is "no harm" in seeing one as all good,
and another as all bad.
Without a stabilising relation, moral judgements can be whimsical yet extreme. A person or object may alternate between being embraced and discarded, depending on present feelings or arrangements. But what makes a stabilising relation?
In general, stabilising relations develop naturally through observation and reason. For example, a caregiver may through time be taken as an intrinsic part of one's need for support. Or a sibling may eventually be seen as fundamentally similar and related. But the building of these relations, or attachments, can be hindered by certain experiences or feelings. For instance, an unstable or unavailable caregiver may leave a child feeling resentment, shame, or guilt. These feelings may then get in the way of building an emotional bond. The resulting lack of security, mixed with possible shame or guilt for not being good enough, may lead to maladaptive and unstable boundaries and self-definition. Some common results are narcissism
and borderline personality
-- the former as an escape mechanism from feelings of inadequacy, and the latter as unstable border-lines between what is embraced, and what is rejected. These early childhood misgivings can then live on subconsciously, infiltrating the psyche and its future engagements.
Competition and judgement
While the capacity for blame and hate may emerge, as described above, from fundamental urges of attraction and repulsion -- mixed with innate capacity for making inference -- there is another powerful instinct at play. Complex social animals have a built-in game of gene-selection and mate-selection. This game relies on a simple heuristic, or objective -- form competitive hierarchies, and select those at the top.
The evolutionary assumption is that competition filters out less desirable code. Without reflection, this pre-configured notion may be taken at face value, often in fact elevated -- whether spoken or kept silent -- to something of religious adherence. But is the argument sound?
In simple times, back in the tribe, individuals tended to grow up closely-knit and fairly uniformly. Regardless which parents one had, pretty much everyone had access to the same quality of food, healthcare, and education. Tools and other amenities could readily be made or obtained by any abled body, often with only modest effort. As a result, there was, compared to modern times, an extremely
even playing field. Very little interfered with the above premise that those who achieved success in social hierarchy likely had something special inside. Sure, luck still played a part, but that part was not only far less significant than today, but also far more visible for those of simple tribes. In probably most cases, everybody knew when someone had encountered bad fortune, as individual stories were less hidden.
In the current age, however, personal merit is vastly more obscured and mangled by deceptive forces. The range of disparity in childhood resources and care, the long duration of schooling needed to be competitive, and the sheer price of admission into money-making pursuits, completely destroy any legitimacy the heuristic of selection by social hierarchy may previously have had. Luck may have played a part back then, but today the part played by the lottery of placement into a particular family, time, and place is riddled with inequity. On top of all that, the behaviours and exploits that set one person atop the next are lost from sight through the complex labyrinth of time, legalese, and the unfathomable size of modern society. Hence, the basis of soundness behind judging merit on personal outcome is no longer something that can be supported with any honesty. To praise or blame based on social status and wealth is to partake in folly.
Entity and arrangement defined Entities
are mental objects, and their social accounts, pertaining to people, groups, aggregates, and other moral agents. I say mental objects
for two basic reasons. One, individuals and groups change through time. As the saying goes:
"A person never steps into the same river twice; for on the second occasion, one is neither the same person, nor is it the same river" (paraphrased) ~ Heraclitus of Ephesus.
Two, while we may posit that physical substance seems to exist out there, beyond the mind, we nevertheless must work within our mental model, or worldview, when considering those entities and other things of material or mental reality. Hence, entities and objects can be cognised, or considered, solely as mental objects. This phenomenon of the mental becomes even more apparent when we consider the nature of not only being,
but identity, character,
and personal story.
None of these, from what I can tell, can rightly be said to exist outside the mind. Each has arbitrary, situation-specific, and continually shifting boundaries and connotations. Arrangements,
in contrast, are sets of objects; entities; their relative positions; their internal configurations; and their relations and interactions. Arrangements are hence the frameworks
in place either materially or logically between and within entities and or objects. Common examples include law, culture, contract, education, and social hierarchy -- but also the physical
placement of people and things.
Not surprisingly, the arrangements in place have substantial influence on the outcomes for individuals and society. The same person lowered into two different cultures and circumstances can be expected to have a different time. Education, ideas, values, struggles, and relationships may all be completely changed. The combinations of butterfly effect, disparity of opportunity, and idiosyncratic accident leave open the door for a wide variety of possibility.
Splitting and blaming the entity
Before talking about what to blame, or how to blame it, we might consider some phenomena which may influence one's ability to make sound judgement. As discussed previously, early development can play a big part in both the way one perceives and understands the world, and also the way one feels about, and hence reacts to, situations and challenges within the world. So let us look at some such phenomena. Splitting,
in the post-infancy sense, is the viewing of mental objects -- including and especially people -- as either idealised all good,
or devalued all bad.
The primary hypothesis goes something along the lines that a child who felt insufficiently loved or attended during infancy and early childhood may develop an internalised sense of unworthiness -- perhaps shame or guilt. In simple terms, the child may internalise a judgement of "not good enough". Since early, particularly pre-linguistic experiences tend to be deeply-seated and hard-conditioned, the person later in life may not only have little if any recall of such experience, but likely has little ability to reflect or challenge the resulting feelings or cognitive distortions. Basically, the only remnant clearly visible may be the feelings and intuitions themselves -- sense of shame, guilt, and never being good enough. However, as with other inescapable negative feelings, the child or later person is prone to forming habits of escape.
Most notably here, the person may partake in defence mechanisms
, or unconscious patterns of perception and thinking that seek to turn off or escape uncomfortable or stressful cognitions. Projection
is among the most used defence mechanisms. It involves taking an unwanted feeling or judgement, and throwing it upon someone or something else. The idea is to distance oneself from such negative connotations. In the case of internalised shame or guilt of being "not good enough" during childhood, the person is likely to begin casting this judgement upon others. Unreasonable or unattainable standards may be adopted. The world itself may be viewed as inherently broken or untenable. In the case of splitting specifically, black-or-white, all-or-none thinking may be employed to polarise objects or people -- including oneself -- into all good or all bad -- idealisation or devaluation. This type of projection sorts others into something of angels and demons. Furthermore, as in borderline personality disorder, these dichotic judgements may switch regularly depending on current affairs. The key thing to remember here is that projection is done to escape unfaceable feelings or judgements about oneself.
Use of this defence mechanism may shift blame from self to another, often in a way that is difficult or impossible for the user to see.
More broadly, splitting belongs to a class of phenomena known as cognitive distortions
. In addition to all-or-none thinking, cognitive distortions include overgeneralising, disqualifying the positive, jumping to conclusions, exaggeration, perfectionism, personalisation, always being right, and labelling of others. Obviously these all have significant implications for how one judges others, and indeed how one places blame. For the discussion here, let us talk about one more of these. Personalisation
is when a person takes the blame personally, regardless what external factors may be at play. This style of attribution is inherently self-deprecatory. Alternatively, blame may be placed entirely on another person or group. The distortion here is not that blame is occurring, but that the object is always a conventional moral agent, such as a human or AI. Essentially, an individual with this style of attribution may have an irrational tendency to place blame on agents, rather than circumstances. The trick is understanding why
As it turns out, the psychology behind placing blame
disproportionately on people and other agents, rather than arrangements, is driven by the instinct of social hierarchy.
Like brought up earlier, people have a tendency to compare and compete, judging one another into hierarchies of better and worse -- more or less worthy. The more insecure a person feels, or the more internalised shame or sense of inadequacy one has, the more the person may be compelled to cast blame on others. Put simply, insecurity activates the instinct of social hierarchy.
There are some noteworthy side effects to the habit of blaming the agent. One is scapegoating,
or the projection of a group's fears and insecurities onto an external object. In scapegoating, the object chosen is often little, if at all, related to the underlying problem or dysfunction. Rather, the group seeks to unload its insecurity onto an unlucky target. This behaviour is much like that done in narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). One might say that groups too, not just people, can have NPD. One common target of scapegoating is minorities, of pretty much any type, who are often blamed for internal inadequacies of the majority regime. Another side effect of blaming the agent is kicking the dog,
or chain reactions of blame shifting
where each rung of the social hierarchy blames the next rung, all the way to the dog. Similar to scapegoating, kicking the dog picks a target generally unable to defend itself. This style of attribution, moreover, is contagious within organisations, hindering legitimate consideration of how the true underlying issues can best be resolved.
False object of blame
A curious distortion of interest is blindly taking the mental as fact. In the extreme, there is a phenomenon known as psychic equivalence.
This is common in children, where the imagined monster under the bed is believed surely to exist. The line between mental and external is still thin. While most older individuals are beyond such explicit equivalence, we nevertheless have no other option for understanding reality than what our mind beholds. Whether for positive or negative, when we see or imagine someone, we are never seeing the real person. What we witness is our mental model, or mental object, of the other. The same goes for their view of us. When they behold us, they are really beholding someone else -- a construct of their imagination. Likewise, when we judge or blame another, we are really blaming someone else -- a monster of our own creation. Sometimes it can help to remember that in our mental, we are all mental.
Another defence mechanism
Aside from cognitive distortions, another key issue stands in the way of finding truth. In order to resolve deeply-seated emotional baggage, that baggage has to be opened. Yet doing so can be both painful and confusing. The mind has another trick up its sleeve to avoid facing the rain -- intellectualisation.
Many have heard of rationalisation,
or the making up of good-sounding stories to explain otherwise irrational or emotion-based actions and choices. Intellectualisation is related, but distinct. Instead of making up stories to seem more rational, intellectualisation makes up complex frameworks and red herrings to distract oneself and others from getting too close to the underlying feeling. Just like for splitting, the usual root cause is believed to be insecure attachment during infancy and early childhood. The result, especially later in life, is the excessive overreliance on logic and complex frameworks to avoid looking inside toward emotion. Reason becomes a comfortable hideout from hideous feeling. This disposition prevents proper reflection, making it hard or impossible to stop idealising and devaluing others. After all, one cannot stop spilling pain until one finds the source of that pain.
Relation to free will
The notion of free will comes in many definitions. These can get technical. But one fairly common theme is what they seek to support -- often some type of personal, or entity-centric, responsibility or blame. Regardless whether logically sound, the pursuit is in many cases a rationalisation of the instinctual and emotional urges of social hierarchy and ego defence. Essentially, many debates about free will are really struggles, or disagreements, on the nature of blame, and to where it should aim. In general, the belief in free will -- regardless the definition chosen -- is argued in support of some
type of entity attribution. Likewise, the disbelief
in free will is usually argued in support of system
attribution, or blaming the way society or culture is structured. A person may choose a definition specifically to assert the desired end -- a psychological phenomenon called motivated reasoning.
This text will avoid choosing a definition, as the underlying principles of behaviour are more important.
A less known paradox exists within the bounds of psychological agency. As is regularly discussed in certain circles of spirituality, there exists a spectrum of self-boundary between immediate, local, relative
and timeless, non-local, absolute.
This mental state of contraction or expansion
depends in part on the grasping or release of fear and attachment. For those unfamiliar, the felt sense of personal agency -- sometimes called doership
-- and one's associated beliefs about personal causation, are prone to change, or shift, depending on the present level of anxiety -- especially social and existential anxiety. There are two key aspects related to the sense of being in control.
The first aspect of interest is that of causal scope,
or how far we trace the causes and influences behind any given event or decision. For example, as I type this, among the most immediate, or smallest causal scopes, is that of my finger pressing a key. Moving toward greater scope, we may consider that the arm is moving the finger. Further, of course, one might say the body is doing the typing. But the scope need not end there. We can trace back through the causal chains, finding all manner of influence. After all, why do I care about this? What social factors and life experiences influenced this cause? The more immediate the causal scope, the longer and more encumbered the causal chains. Hence, even though when afraid we may focus on the more immediate, hence feeling more in direct control, the more our felt boundaries of self and causality contract, the more short-sighted, distracted, and materially-bound we are. The paradox is in the inverted pyramid of influence
atop our actions.
The second aspect relates to impulse and desire versus self-control and composure. Human desire may be divided broadly into basic animal instinct and social image. In Freudian terms, these would be id
The former is often viewed as impulsive or animalistic; the latter as controlled and composed. A meaningful portion of pro-free will arguments seems to equate or compare the composure and planning of socially-conscious actions and choices as representative of the essence of "free will". That is, more "controlled" or deliberate actions were exercising greater free will than their more impulsive or animalistic counterparts. But is this assessment sensible?
On the one hand, being more socially aware likely helps to prevent being manipulated or impeded by others. Most would probably agree thus far. But on the other hand, the more we care about fitting in, or otherwise playing the game of social hierarchy, the more we submit ourselves to social norms and other hive behaviours. Essentially, the more we care about image, the more we let society control us. Despite this emotional tether, those with the biggest egos often proclaim the greatest sense of self-determination. Certainly one could argue that being on top of the hierarchy usually entails greater access to social amenities, some of which offering greater freedom. But there may be some right reservations here. Firstly, the enhanced freedom of high status often comes with enhanced fitment and scrutiny into the externally-defined social mould. This is not always the case, as for example with dictators. But secondly, the vast majority of those playing the ego game are neither in positions of status and power, nor emotionally secure enough to go their own way toward personal happiness. Perhaps most prominently, for most social animals, the hive provides only minimal amenity, and maximal loss of autonomy. Yet the internalised ego and self-concept obscure this reality by making cultural, emotional artifacts of socialisation -- especially during childhood -- appear as self-chosen. The person is thus a product of upbringing, but because these aspects of conditioning are so deep and unconscious, their effects are simply taken for granted as part of who one is. Hence, a second paradox exists in that what may appear as evidence for free will -- ego and composure -- is in fact the very thing enacting the long-seated will of the hive.
On a different note of the free will debate, there seems to be a phenomenon somewhat like "free will of the gaps", where any unknown of psychology or physics is received wholeheartedly as evidence for freedom. While no doubt one may never really know, particularly when stuck in the subjective mind-box, one might consider the effect of splitting, or black-and-white thinking. This habit may, without enough reflection, colour one's assessment of personal agency as either wholly existing, or wholly absent. This is not to say undue burden and other explicit interference is unregarded, but more that even the mere existence of randomness or unpredictability may be taken as sufficient reason to ward off the behavioural influences and effects known by modern psychology. Remember that splitting is driven by egoic insecurity, and that ego has vested interest in building the narrative which best places oneself in the social hierarchy of the mind. Impulsive or controlled, what we choose is there to satisfy instinct, whether animalistic, or socially-focused.
Blaming the arrangement
On the other side of inferred causation -- after instinct -- we have experience, conditioning, and circumstance. Experience and conditioning are carry-overs from past
arrangement while circumstance reflects the present
arrangement. For simplicity, I will place all three simply under arrangement.
To borrow from earlier:
Arrangements ... are sets of objects; entities; their relative positions; their internal configurations; and their relations and interactions. Arrangements are hence the frameworks in place either materially or logically between and within entities and or objects. Common examples include law, culture, contract, education, and social hierarchy -- but also the physical placement of people and things.
With this definition in mind, what then does it mean
to blame the arrangement, and what benefit does so doing provide?
First, let us consider the standard Western approach. When we blame the entity,
we are accomplishing three fundamental ends:
- declaring a point of causal significance;
- downgrading social status;
- offloading correction;
On the first point, blaming the entity cuts off past influences, including deficiencies and inequalities in access to essential resources like health, respect, education, and experience. One might wonder why respect is included here. But remember the types of issue that arise from internalised shame, guilt, and feelings of inadequacy. These live on subconsciously, causing non-obvious impairments in judgement and performance. Plus they harm health and performance through elevated stress hormones.
On the second point, blaming the entity lowers its public appraisal, thus cutting off access to the types of resources just mentioned.
On the third point, blaming the entity places the burden of correction squarely on the already broken
component. For simple matters like enforcing social norms or decency, this type of blame is probably effective in most cases. But when we start looking at bigger matters, like health, education, intelligence, self-restraint, and general performance, the idea of forcing the suboptimal party to fix itself starts to break down. All these matters are heavily influenced by external circumstance through time. So telling the person to fix the resulting dysfunction is like telling them to rewrite their past environment, including their upbringing. Moreover, those from broken pasts are much more often the least
supplied -- in both resource and knowhow -- to make things better.
And this brings us to blaming the arrangement. If instead of burdening and downgrading the unfortunate entity, we recognise the conditions of success and failure, we can apply legitimate
effort toward enacting a better future. Obviously society as a whole is far
better equipped to improve not only the outcome of tomorrow, but the conditions of today. Some of us, by chance, receive the winning hand. This may be in genetics, family configuration, area of schooling, or maybe just missing detrimental accidents and injuries. What sense does it make to hoard the helpings of fate, thus preventing the wealth of shared development and growth? In a world literally brimming with technological advancement, is it really better for the majority to live polarised as minority winners and majority losers?
One might argue that blame and praise are natural and effective tools for motivation and modification of behaviour. Natural though they may be, these tools are premised on the limited knowledge and resources of tribal past. Like using a hammer to insert a screw, messy tools ought to be reserved for desperate times only. Modern medicine, psychology, and sociology offer a new toolbox, today readily available, for resolving problems with minimal collateral damage. True, not everyone has fair access to these modern amenities, and that is exactly why we need to stop blaming the victim. The technology is here. We simply need to open the gates.
Another common argument is that absent of pointing fingers, people would lose motivation, or stop caring. There may be some truth here. If we remove the whip from their backs, the slaves may begin to relax. But is that really a bad thing? Per-capita material output is already worlds higher due to automation and tooling. But artificial scarcity is brought in to "keep up the morale". This scarcity is largely in the form of wealth and income inequality, which ensure the true producers of wealth -- the workers -- are kept chasing their imagined carrot. The effect, in practice, is burnout and learned helplessness.
The secondary effect is thus decreased performance, which is then "solved" with ever greater artificial scarcity, perpetuating the cycle of lies and suffering. Instead of entertaining a system of slavery with extra steps, why not more equally distribute the tools and technology of efficiency and success?
A darker argument that occasionally gets said out loud is that excessive competition and suffering help to weed out the less desirable traits. Often, it is proclaimed, nature wanted it that way. Ignoring the obvious lack of compassion, is this argument sound? The simple answer is no.
The longer answer is not even a little.
There are two main reasons. Firstly, the dirty game of filtering by social hierarchy was not only sloppy for its original environment of small tribes, but is completely unfit for modern, complex, abstract society. As explained previously, the legitimacy of individual merit is no longer known by fellow tribespeople. Wealth generation and extraction are too far removed and abstracted for proper outside judgement. And complex systems of power and propaganda further prevent equitable distribution of the fruits of labour. Secondly, the amount of time needed for such mechanisms of trait filtering to make an appreciable difference are substantially
longer than the time from now before technology will allow superior
selection of traits. There will be no need to compete in the sloppy ways of the past; nor any need to compete at all. The problem of selection is soon resolved. AI is entering the exponential phase. Petty and primitive worry about traits is irrelevant, for multiple reasons. If anything, those unable to understand this are unfit to be making policy decisions.
An argument which comes up enough to mention is that without blaming the entity, criminals would have free reign, able to do whatever they wanted without repercussions. This argument is missing something quite substantial about what is entailed by blaming the arrangement. Simply, if a certain person is believed to lack the self-control for certain situations or positions, that person will be kept away from those circumstances. A common example is driver's licensing, where one must earn
the privilege by proving competence. And similarly to that, if someone is blatantly acting out and causing trouble, obviously they would be put somewhere safer. The key is rearranging circumstances as needed for best outcome while maintaining reasonable maximum personal autonomy -- without unnecessary harm, restraint, or loss of dignity. Yes, this is more involved in terms of resources and labour, but that is what technology is for. Naturally people prefer to have more privilege, and that alone is motivation enough to care.
And before someone accuses this approach of being or supporting a social credit system, we must make clear the difference. In social credit systems, blame is placed on the individual !
Sure, the factors used may involve family and acquaintance, but the burden of correction still goes to the person or small group. This is completely different from what is being proposed here.
A final argument relates to expense. On the surface -- especially from within the perspective of a system based on artificial scarcity and excessive wealth inequality -- the idea of having surplus means available for long-term planning may seem unfathomable. People's reluctance in this regard can be understood. But as mentioned above, we are presently, for presumably the first time in our recorded history, entering the age of exponential growth toward advanced artificial intelligence. Things are moving fast already, and both hardware and software are showing no slowing. If computational capacity continues to double regularly like it has for a long time now, we are probably looking at readily accessible post-human intelligence within five to ten years. Short of disaster or tyrannical interference, existing worries about labour and intellect shortage should soon evaporate. Yes, this time things are
different. There is no known precedent.
Our natural instinct may tell us to blame the person. And Western culture may polarise this tendency to the extreme. But with a little understanding of why we feel the need to downsize others, we may be able to mend the splitting within us. Society may be designed around a game of hierarchy, but one need not partake. By knowing the factors that promote or inhibit wellbeing, and by using the knowledge and tools of modern, we can cast off the shallow assumptions behind us, to build something worth keeping. The first step is looking inside, to see the feeling that fears connection. Then we may look outside, to see that most are facing similar struggle. Situations are what make or break the person. If one should blame, blame the arrangement. The past may not be one for changing, but greater compassion today can find greater love tomorrow.
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2023.03.22 06:00 technosp Top 5 AI Crypto Coins
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2023.03.22 03:09 cauliflowermilksing $30 Off Superior Singing Method Coupon & Promo Codes
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2023.03.21 21:59 NowMoreEpic How Unity limits the potential of Cities Skylines 2: A comparison with Unreal Engine
As a PC gamer, I was disappointed by the announcement of Cities Skylines 2 using Unity as its game engine. I think Unreal Engine would have been a much better choice for this game, especially for the PC platform. Here are some of the reasons why Unreal Engine would have been a better choice for Cities Skylines 2 (keep in mind my thoughts are colored by my preferred platform):
- Advanced Graphics Capabilities: Unreal Engine is known for its advanced graphics capabilities, which can create stunning visuals and realistic lighting effects. Unity, on the other hand, often struggles to achieve the same level of quality and realism. For a city builder game that relies on aesthetics and immersion, Unreal Engine would have been a superior option.
- Modding: Unreal Engine has built-in modding support, a first party steam SDK, and Blueprints Visual Scripting, which would allow modders to create complex gameplay mechanics without having to write code. Unity does not have these features natively and requires third-party tools and plugins to enable modding. This makes modding more difficult and less accessible for both developers and players.
- Performance: On PC, Unreal Engine has better optimization and performance than Unity. This means that it can handle larger and more detailed cities without compromising on framerate or stability. Unity tends to suffer from performance issues and bugs when dealing with large-scale projects. This is especially important in a city builder game where players want to create massive and intricate cities without sacrificing smooth gameplay.
- Physics: Unreal Engine has more advanced physics capabilities than Unity. It can simulate dynamic environments and better wateweather effects. This would add more realism and variety to the city builder genre, where players could interact with their environment in more meaningful ways. For example, they could create bridges that collapse under stress or rivers that flood during storms.
- UI: This is subjective, but many players agree that Unity games tend to have bad UI design. They often look ugly and slow, with blocky text and graphics. Unreal Engine games usually have more polished and UI design that enhances the user experience. For a city builder game that requires a lot of information and interaction from the player, having a good UI is essential.
- VR: VR on mobile is better with Unity no doubt. VR with PC/High Quality graphics Unreal is the way to go here. Unreal Engine has more support and features for VR development than Unity. It can create immersive VR experiences that take advantage of high-end graphics cards and headsets. Unity is more suited for mobile VR development where performance and compatibility are more important than quality.
Ultimately, I understand that CO probably chose Unity because they are familiar with it and have used it for the previous game. However, I hope that the new version of Unity will address some of the issues and limitations that the old versions had. I still want Cities Skylines 2 to be an amazing game.
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2023.03.21 19:43 docmingos Neurological Neglect Syndrome?
Hi all, apologies if this isn’t an appropriate place to ask, I will delete if so.
My three year old receives in office OT for some sensory issues and a fine motor skill delay. I contacted my insurance because his therapy office had been billing me for sessions he wasn’t at, and I needed the CPT codes to give to a new office so he can switch. He goes once a week for an hour.
The first two codes covered both a motor skill delay and developmental delay for not meeting milestones. Makes complete sense. The third was a diagnostic code for ‘neurological neglect syndrome’, when I looked it up this does not seem to be something my son at all has. He has no history of TBI or stroke. I contacted both his speech therapist and OT privately about this and they were shocked, and both say this isn’t something he has.
It’s a small office so I called the front desk who handles billing. They told me “oh that’s just what we put for any developmental delay” and not to worry. I’m not sure what to think so I figured I’d ask some people who’d actually know! I’m unfamiliar with a lot of medical billing so it’s 100% possible this is normal and I just didn’t know it! I’m just feeling weird since I had caught them billing me for two sessions we did not have scheduled. Any guidance would be so appreciated
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2023.03.21 19:29 MirkWorks City & Soul by James Hillman
From Mirror to Window: Curing Psychoanalysis of its Narcissism
The apparently individual conflict of the patient is revealed as a universal conflict of his environment and epoch. Neurosis is thus nothing less than an individual attempt, however unsuccessful, to solve a universal problem. - C.G. Jung (1912)
Narcissism is now the rage, the universal diagnosis. In Freud's world, the new attention was on conversion hysteria; in Bleuler's, on dementia praecox.
Earlier we find all ills attributed to the English malady, to the spleen, to hypochondriasis, to melancholia, to chlorosis; in Paris, a myriad of phobies
Different time and places, different syndromes.
Narcissism has its theoreticians - Kohut, Kernberg, Lacan - and modern Jungians are following the rage. The collective consciousness of psychology makes us collectively unconscious, much as Jung said when writing about the collective ideas in his day. Being "with it" also means being in it.
The epidemic diagnosis Narcissism states that the condition is already endemic to the psychology that makes the diagnosis. It sees narcissism because it sees narcissistically. So let us not take this diagnosis so literally, but place it within the historical parade of Western diagnoses.
Eminent cultural critics - Karl Krauss, Thomas Szasz, Philip Rieff, Christopher Lasch, Paul Zweig, and the notorious Dr. Jeffrey Masson - have each seen that psychoanalysis breeds a narcissistic subjectivism inflicting on the culture an iatrogenic disorder, that is, a disease brought by the methods of the doctors who would cure it.
I shall continue their line of thought, but I shall use a method that Wolfgang Giegerich has so brilliantly exposed in many of his papers. If depth psychology itself suffers from a narcissistic disorder, then what we analysts need first to probe is the unconscious narcissism in analysis itself. Our first patient is neither the patient nor ourselves, but the phenomenon called "analysis" that has brought us both to the consulting room.
The term "Narcissism" is probably British . Havelock Ellis is credited with its invention, though Freud gave us its psychoanalytic meaning. What did Freud say? As I go through some of his descriptions, let us hear them narcissistically, as self-referents, descriptive of psychology and of ourselves in psychology.
1917: "We employ the term narcissism in relation to little children and it is to excessive narcissism of primitive man that we ascribe his belief in the omnipotence of his thoughts and consequent attempts to influence the course of events in the other world by magical practices." Does not analysis have this primitive omnipotence fantasy of influencing events in the outer world by its magical practices? The omnipotence of subjective reflection is attested to by many classic Jungians like Harding, Bernard, Meier, von Franz, Baumann, etc. As Jung himself says, we are each "the makeweight that tips the scales" that determine the outcome of world history." The rituals of self-engagement remove projections from the world so that, supposedly, the world itself is transformed by psychoanalysis.
1922: "... narcissistic disorders are characterized by a withdrawal of the libido from objects." The withdrawal of the libido from from objects - I ask you to remember this statement. We shall come back to it.
1925: Freud describes three historic blows to humankind's narcissism. These, he says, are the cosmological blow of Copernicus, the blow of Darwinian evolutionary theory, and the psychoanalytic blow (of Freud) which wounded the omnipotence fantasy, or narcissism, of the ego as sole self-willed ruler. Here, psychoanalysis becomes itself a giant omnipotence fantasy, a creation myth of our culture equivalent with astronomy and biology, promulgating itself with narcissistic grandeur.
This pronouncement appears in Freud's discussion on resistance to psychoanalysis. By means of this idea resistance, analysis brilliantly maintains its invulnerability to criticism. Questioning the validity of analysis is impugned as resistance to it. Even more: the very attacks demonstrate resistance and therefore help to validate analytical theory. As Freud says, "The triumph of narcissism, the ego's victorious assertion of its own invulnerability. It refuses to be hurt by the arrows of reality ... It insists that it is impervious to wounds dealt by the outside world."
Later Freud considered narcissism not to be rooted in love at all, i.e., as self-love, but to be rather a defense against aggressive impulses. Let us consider for a moment the value of "aggressive impulses," at least and at best they take the object, the world out there, into account: I feel enraged about societal injustice, nuclear danger, media crap, industrial callousness, the corporate mind, political ideologues, hideous architecture, etc. But, owing to my narcissistic defenses against the involving call of aggression, I go to the spa, work out, meditate, jog, diet, reduce stress, relax my body armor, improve my orgasms, get a new hairstyle, and take a vacation. And see my therapist: very expensive, very good for me, because he or she devotes complete attention to my problems, especially our transferential frame. Instead of the world and my outrage, I work on my analysis, myself, the Self. This Self, too, fits a narcissistic definition: "the incorporation of grandiose object images as defense against anxiety and guilt" or, as Fenichel puts it, one feels oneself in "reunion with an omnipotent force, be that force an archetype, a god or goddess, the unus mundus, or the numinosity of analysis itself.
Freud's paper "On Narcissism" states that both introspection and conscience or "being watched" derive from and serve narcissism. Yet, psychotherapy practices self-scrutiny as the principal method in its treatment and "being watched" or supervision as the principal component of its training. A candidate goes to hour after hour of institutionalized narcissism of watching and being watched.
The institutionalization of narcissism in our profession - the idea of resistance, the idealization of the Self, the practices of introspection and supervision, the omnipotence fantasies about its own importance in world history, its technique of referring all events back to itself as the vessel, the mirror, the temenos, the frame - bears immediately upon that central obsession of analysis today, transference.
By transference, here, I mean that self-gratifying analytical habit which refers the emotions of life to the analysis. Transference habitually deflects object libido, that is, love for anything outside analysis, into a narcissistic reflection upon analysis. We feed analysis with life. The mirror that walks down the road of life (Flaubert) replaces the actual road, and the mirror no longer reflects the world, only the walking companions. They may as well have stayed indoors, less distracted by the trees and the traffic.
The principal content of analytical reflection as transference is the child we once were, a fact which accords with Freud's observation that the object choice of the narcissist is "someone he once was.” This helps account for the faddish popularity of Alice Miller’s writings. Her idealized children exhibit what Freud said: the narcissist is “not willing to forego his narcissistic perfection in his childhood” and “seeks to recover the early perfection.” The focus on childhood traps the libido only further into subjectivity, and therefore we must recognize that erotic compulsions in analysis are produced primarily by the analysis, rather than by the persons. Analysis acts itself out through them quite impersonally so that they often feel betrayed and ashamed by the impersonality of the emotions they undergo and are unable to recognize that what they are suffering is the object libido trying to find a way out of analysis. Instead, the narcissistic viciousness of our theory says that transference emotions are compelling the persons to go deeper into analysis.
Let us recognize that the other person - patient or analyst - embodies the only possibility within an analysis to whom object libido can flow. The person in the other chair represents cure of analytical narcissism simply by being there as an Other. Moreover, the patient for the analyst and the analyst for the patient become such numinous objects because they have also been tabooed as libidinal possibilities. Analyst and patient may not act their desire for each other. The narcissism of the situation makes them absolutely necessary to each other, while the taboo sets them absolutely outside of each other. This outside object however, is also inside the analysis. So, patient for doctor and doctor for patient become the symbolic mode of ending analysis by means of love.
Of course, the persons are often torn by what Freud calls the love dilemma of the narcissistic patient: “the cure by love,” which he generally refers to as cure by analysis. We must ask whether this neurotic choice, as Freud calls it, arises from the narcissisms of the patient or from the narcissism of the analytical system in which the patient is situated. After all, the fantasy of an opposition between love and analysis occurs within the prior fantasy of cure which has brought the persons together in the first place.
By elaborating ethical codes, malpractice insurance, investigations, and expulsions that blame the participants, analysis protects itself from wounding insights about its own narcissism. The vulnerability of analysis - that its effectiveness is always in question, that it is neither science nor medicine, that it is aging into professional mediocrity and may have lost its soul to power years ago despite its idealized language by growth and creativity (a language by the way, never used by its founders) - this vulnerability is overcome by idealizing the transference.
As well as transference love, there is also hatred. Perhaps the client’s hatred of the analyst and the hatred of the analyst for the client are also not personal. Perhaps, these intense oppressive feelings against each other arise in both to present both with the fact that they are in a hateful situation: the object libido hates the attachment of transference. Analysis hates itself in order to break the narcissistic vessel imprisoning the libido that would go out into the soul in the world.
The horned dilemmas of transference, including the analyst’s stare into the mirror of his own counter-transference, the feelings of love and hatred, this agony and ecstasy and romantic torture convince the participants that what is going on is of intense importance: first, because these phenomena are expected by the theory and provide proof of it, and second, because these phenomena re-enact what analysis once was in its own childhood in Vienna and Zurich, analysis in primary fusion with its origins in Breuer and Freud and Jung, in Dora and Anna and Sabina. The feelings are cast in therapeutic guise because this is the healing fiction of the analytic situation. In other words, transference is less necessary to the doctor and the patient than it is to analysis by means of which it intensifies its narcissistic idealization, staying in love with itself. We therapists do not sit in our chambers so many hours a day only for the money, or the power, but because we are addicted to analytical narcissism. Our individual narcissism is both obscured and reinforced by the approved narcissism of the analytical profession.
When one partner imagines a tryst or the other imagines resisting a seduction, or when either imagines that love is a solution to misery, then they are framed in the romantic conflicts of Madame Bovary, Wuthering Heights, and Anna Karenina, reconstituting the Romanticisms of the nineteenth century and the origins of psychoanalysis, not in your or my personal childhoods, but in its own cultural childhood. This means we have to locate the narcissism of contemporary analysis within a much wider narcissism: the Romantic movement.
Literary tradition differentiates at least four principal traits of this genre. We have already spoken of one, “idealization of the love object.” And indeed analysis idealizes the patient as an “interesting case,” “difficult patient,” “good patient,” “borderline personality.” Or consider all the literary fabulations that have made patients into eternal literary figures - Dora, Ellen West, Babette, Miss Miller, Wolfman, Ratman, Little Hands, all the way to Freud and Jung themselves in the novels The White Hotel and The House of Glass. Think of the Romanticism of our theoretical constructs: Love and Death, Empathy, Transformation, Growth, The Child, The Great Mother, The Mirror, Desire and Jouissance, and the Transitional Object. In the patient there takes place such idealized events as a hieros gamos, a quest for self-discovery and a journey into wholeness. Synchronicities outside of causal laws, transcendent functions, integration of the shadow and the realization of the Self on whom the future of civilization depends. We record our idealization of the love object, i.e., analysis, in taped and filmed analytic sessions, paying meticulous and expensive attention to trivial conversations and gestures. Analysis is in love with its idealized image.
A second essential trait of Romanticism is said to be the opposition between bourgeois society and the inner self that, with its dreams, desires and inspirations, tends to oppose, even contradict, the outer world of usual things. Psychoanalysis from its beginnings imagines itself fundamentally opposed to the civilization and its institutions of religion, family, medicine, and the political community disdained as “the collective.” Freud’s emphasis on himself as Jew and hence marginal, as well as Jung’s favorite position as heretical old hermit (despite the bourgeois lives they led and values they held) still shapes the imagination of the profession and distorts its relation to the ordinary world.
Third, imprisonment another basic theme in Romanticism, especially French and Russian. In Dostoevsky’s The Possessed, Maria’s song says: “This tiny cell suffices me, there I will dwell my soul to save.” The consulting room provides the confining physical place for the psychic imprisonment of analysis as such its devotion to the secret nooks and crannies of the private world, decorating with reconstructive rococo (i.e., psycho-dynamic intricacies) the narcissistic cell of personality.
Fourth, the Romantic genre has been defined as one that simultaneously seeks and postpones a particular end. This fits therapy. Its entire procedure seeks to restore the person to the world, yet postpones this return indefinitely. (Meanwhile, do not make major changes in your actual life. Don’t act out. The cure of analysis becomes more analysis-another analyst, another school - and the improvement of training becomes ever more hours.) The simultaneity of seeking and postponing an end occurs in the basic conundrum of every analysis, its contradictory two commandments: encourage the desires of the unconscious (Thou Shall Not Repress) and forbid gratification (Thou Shall Not Act Out). Our work is with the libidinous and our method is by way of abstention. The end is unforeseeable; there is no completion. Analysis interminable, as Freud said. This is the Romanticism of eternal longing.
There is no way out of Romanticism’s consulting room and the subjectivism of its eros, unless we turn to what is beyond its purview, turn to what narcissism and romanticism leave out: the objects, the unidealized, immediately given, actual world of dull and urban things . By turning psychological attention from the mirror of self-reflection to the world through the window, we release “object libido” to seek its goal beyond narcissistic confinement in analysis. For “object libido” is but a psychoanalytic name for the drive which loves the world, the erotic desire for Anima Mundi, for Soul in the World.
Perhaps it becomes clearer why I have been emphasizing John Keats’s remarkable phrase; “Call the world … The vale of Soul-making. Then you will find out the use of the world.” Also, you will understand why I have held myself back from that side of Jung which expounds upon meaning, Self, individuation, unus mundus, wholeness, mandalas, etc. . These large and introverted ideas envelop me and usually my patients with a grandiose, invulnerable aura. As well, I keep a distance from the current Kohut craze and Lacanian mystique. Although recognizing narcissism as the syndrome of the times (even if the groundwork for this was prepared long ago in the metaphysical catastrophe of Augustinian and Cartesian subjectivism); yet, Kohut attempts its cure by the same means of narcissistic obsession: an ever more detailed observation of subjectivity. And a subjectivity within the oppressive confines of a negatively reconstructed childhood. The child archetype dominates contemporary therapy, keeping patients (and analysts) safe from the world. For this archetype feels always endangered by the actual world, lives not in the present but in futurity, and is addicted to its own powerless infantilism. By so focusing on the child, analysis disenfranchises itself from wider realm of soul-making in the adult community of polis.
Nevertheless I must confess to a serious long-standing error on my part regarding Keats’s phrase. I always considered the world out there to be useful for making one’s own soul. Narcissism again. My soul, your soul - not its soul. For the Romantics, however, ensouling the world was a crucial part of their program. They recognized the traps of narcissistic subjectivity in their vision. Hence, they sought the spirit in physical nature, the brotherhood of all mankind or Gemeinschaftsgefühl, political revolution, and a return to the classic gods and goddesses, attempting to revivify the soul of the world with pantheism.
We must therefore read Keats as saying we go through the world for the sake of its soul-making, thereby our own. This reading suggests a true object libido, beyond narcissism, in keeping with Otto Fenichel’s definition of love. Love can only be called such when “one’s own satisfaction is impossible without satisfying the object too. If the world is not satisfied by our going through it, no matter how much beauty and pleasure our souls may receive from it, then we live in its vale without love.
There is a way out, or I wouldn’t be standing here. For my specific style of narcissism, my pose before the mirror, today is heroic. My style insists on resolution of the issues raised. The method I shall be using here follows the method which I usually empty for resolving issues. First, we look back into the history of psychoanalysis for a model; second, we turn to some peculiar bit of pathologizing for a clue; and third, we resolve problems by dissolving them into images and metaphors.
So, let us turn back to the first psychoanalytic case, Anna O., and her doctor, Josef Breuer, who, with Freud, wrote Studies in Hysteria. As you recall, after a year of almost daily sessions often of several hours, he suddenly terminated. You recall also the intensity of her transference, that she developed a hysterical pregnancy and childbirth, after Breuer tried to end the treatment. He, according to Jones, after a final visit to her “fled the house in a cold sweat. The next day he and his wife left for Venice to spend a second honeymoon which resulted in the conception of a daughter.” Whether fact or not, and Ellenberger says not, the fantasy shows a founding patron of our work escaping both cure by analysis and cure by love for the beauty of Venice and the conception of a daughter. His object libido returns from the oppressive narcissism of psychoanalysis to the Romanticism of the wider world.
This wide world remains merely that, merely a place of escape or acting out, so long as the world “out the window” is imagined only in the Cartesian model as sheer res extensa, only dead matter. To show more vividly how that world is, as Keats said, a place of soul, let us go straight through the window into the world. Let us take a walk in a Japanese garden, in particular the strolling garden, the one with water, hills, trees, and stones. While we walk, let us imagine the garden as an emblem for the peripatetic teacher or the therapeutic guide (psychopompos), the world itself as psychoanalyst showing us soul, showing us how to be in it soulfully.
I turn to the garden and to Japan because of insights given while in Kyoto gardens several years ago, and also because the garden as metaphor expresses some of the deepest longings - from Hesperides, to Eden’s paradise, and Maria’s hortus inclusus - for the world as home of the soul. So by entering into the Japanese garden now we shall be stepping through the window into the anima mundi.
First we notice that the garden has no central place to stand and view it all. We can but scrutinize a part at a time. Instead of overview and wholeness, there is perspective and eachness. The world changes as we move. Here a clump of iris, there a mossy rock. Instead of a center (with its etymological roots in the Greek kentron, “goad” or “prick,” and being compelled toward a goal by means of abstract geometric distancing), there are shifts of focus relative to the body’s location and attitude.
Second: as one strolls, each vista is seen again from a different perspective. The maple branching down to the pond edge, the floating leaves appear less melancholic after the path bends. These shifts of seeing again are precisely what the word “respect” means. To look again is to “respect.” Each time we look at the same thing again, we gain respect for it and add respect to it, curiously discovering the innate relation of “looks” - of regarding and being regarded, words in English that refer to dignity.
Third: when the garden, rather than the dream or the symptom or the unconscious, becomes the via regia of psyche, then we are forced to think anew about the word “in.” “In” is the dominant preposition of all psychoanalysis - not with, not from, not for, but “in.” We look in our souls, we look in a mirror. "In” has been utterly literally, as an invisible, spacelesss psychic stuff inside our skins, or meanings inside our dreams and symptoms, or the memories locked in the past. Interiority of the garden, however, is wholly present and wholly displayed. “In” holds the meanings of included, engaged, involved, embraced. Or, as Jung said, the psyche is not in us; we are in the psyche. This feeling of being in the psyche becomes most palpable when inside the ruins of a Greek temple, in an Egyptian tomb of a king, in a dance or a ritual, and in a Japanese garden. Jung’s phrase “esse in anima” takes on concreteness then, as it does in a clear-cut forest, a bombed city, a cancer ward, a cemetery. Ecology, architecture, interior design are other modes of feeling the anima mundi. Instead of the usual notion of psyche in body, the body strolling through the garden is in the psyche. The world itself is a psychic body; and our bodies as we move, stand, look, pause, turn, and sit are performing an activity of psychic reflection, an activity we formerly considered only mentally possible in the mirror of introspection.
Fourth: the idea of individuality also changes, for in the Japanese garden trees are trimmed at the top and encouraged to grow sideways. Rather than an individuality of the lone tree, towering (and Jung said the single tree is a major symbol of the individuating Self), these trees stretch their branches toward others. Individuality is within community and, takes its definition from community. Furthermore, each tuft in the soft branches of the pine trees is plucked by gardeners. They pull out needles, allowing emptiness to individualize the shape of each twig. It is as if nothing can be individualized unless it is surrounded by emptiness and yet also very, very close to what it is most like. Individuality is therefore more visible within the estrange separateness and close similarity, for instance, of family than in trying to be “different” from family.
Fifth: not only are aged trees supported with crutches and encouraged to flower - blossoming belonging therefore not only to youth - but also the garden includes dead trees. What more wounds our narcissism than these images of old age, these crutched, dependent, twisted and dead trees? < “At least Aurora didn’t reject Tithonus, old, didn’t allow him to lie there lonely in the House of Dawn. She often fondled him, descending into her waters, before she bathed her yoked horses with care. She, when she rested in his arms, by neighbouring India, lamented that day returned too soon.”>
Sixth: the Karesanui gardens, or Zen-inspired gardens, present mainly white sand and found stones, rarely trees. In this bare place the mind watches itself making interpretations. The nine rocks in the raked sand are a tiger family swimming through the sea; the nine rocks are mountain tops peaking through white mist and clouds; the nine rocks are simply rocks, aesthetically placed with genius. One legend after another, one philosophy, theory or literary criticism, or psychological interpretation rises to the mind and falls back into the white sand. The garden becomes wholly metaphor, both what it is and what it is not, presence and absence at once. The concrete koan of the rock garden transforms the mind itself into metaphor, its thought transient while image endures, so that the mind cannot identify with its own subjectivism - narcissism overcome.
“This Open happens in the midst of beings. It exhibits an essential feature which we have already mentioned. To the Open there belong a world and the earth. But the world is not simply the Open that corresponds to clearing, and the earth is not simply the Closed that corresponds to concealment. Rather, the world is the clearing of the paths of the essential guiding directions with which all decision complies. Every decision, however, bases itself on something not mastered, something concealed, confusing; else it would never be a decision. The earth is not simply the Closed but rather that which rises up as self-closing. World and earth are always intrinsically and essentially in conflict, belligerent by nature. Only as such do they enter into the conflict of clearing and concealing.” - Heidegger, The Origin of the Work of Art.
‘“Hegel introduces this notion of ‘oppositional determination” in his logic of essence, when he discusses the relationship between identity and difference; his point there is not only that identity is always the identity of identity and difference, but that difference itself is also always the difference between itself and identity; in the same way, it is not only necessity that encompasses both itself and contingency, but also - and more fundamentally - it is contingency itself which encompasses both itself and necessity. Or, with regard to the tension between essence and appearance, the fact that essence has to appear within the domain of appearances, as a hint that “appearances are not all” but are “merely appearances.”’ - Zizek, Less than Nothing>
Finally, I shall insist that the garden is not natural; nor is psyche natural. The garden was designed and is tended to maintain an artificiality that imitates nature . In Fort Worth, Texas, a large and marvelous Japanese garden was constructed years ago. But since adequate funds were not set aside for gardeners from Japan, nature slowly destroys that garden. Without the pruners’ perverted twist to each inch of nature, the garden declines into merely another part of the forest. A garden’s elaborate display of soul-in-the-world is an opus contra naturam, like alchemy. Like alchemy, the garden is a work of intense culture. Unlike alchemy, its matter, its body, is out there, rather than inside the glass vessel.
Because the garden is artificial, as the alchemist was called artifex, all conceptions of soul must be plucked of naturalistic fallacies. The soul as opus contra naturam will not be served adequately by fallacious comparisons with organic growth, cyclical process, and myths of nature goddesses. Nor does the garden shelter the child from which grows the creative person as psychotherapy is found to believe. By insisting upon the artificiality of our work with soul, I am trying to keep us from the Romantic error of confusing the ideal (Eden and the Elysian fields; Horaiko, in Japanese) with the natural. The garden as metaphor offers a romantic vision that saves us from Naturalistic Romanticism by twisting and sophisticating nature through art.
This twist to nature that wounds idealizations of garden is presented in our culture, as in Roman culture, by our ancient god of gardens and gardeners, Priapus. Priapus is neither young nor beautiful. Unlike lovely Narcissus, unlike the semi-divine figures of Adam and Eve, Priapus is mature, bald and paunchy, and so distorted that his mother, Venus, deserted him at birth. His very presence repels romantic idealizations and the gaze into the mirror of Venusian vanity as well as Narcissus’s rapt reflection. Priapic reflection starts the other way around; his preposterous swollen condition reflects the vitality of the world. The same force displays in him as in the buds and germinating pods. By means of distortion which deceptively seems “only natural,” Priapus invites the grotesque pathologized disproportions of imagination - and imagination, says Bachelard, works by deformation.
So, when I invoke Priapus, I am not speaking of priapismus; I am not speaking of machismo; and I am not anti-feminine. Let me be quite clear. I am speaking of the generative artificiality that is the essence of the garden and of the psyche. Each dream, each fantasy, and each symptomatic complication of natural health and normative humanity bears witness to the psyche’s libidinal pleasure in exaggeration, its fertile genius for imaginative distortion. If this god of gardens is also a god of psychoanalysis - and from Charcot through Lacan the priapic has been invoked - he brings to its work an archaic reflex beyond the romantic or baroque, a rousing urgency forward and outward. (Priapus was not permitted indoors in Hestia’s closed rooms where his presence becomes only violent and obscene.)
Moreover, this god needs no mirror to know himself, for his self is wholly displayed. His nature cannot be concealed within, so he is quite free of hidden meanings and subtle innuendos that keep psychoanalysis hopefully addicted to one more revelation, one more transformation, interminable. Priapus knows no metamorphosis, no transfigurations. Priapus is without ambiguity; metaphor is forbidden to him; he displays all, reveals nothing. Like the garden, all there. The rocks are the rocks.
<"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." - Matthew 16:18>
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2023.03.21 18:06 imjeffhowareu Seeking input on protective film packages - do you recommend getting one? Which one do you have?
2023.03.21 18:05 alpha_bionics Stock News - "Plus, she says, "know that curiosity, being a good listener and having the ability to work alone are coveted skills — and all common traits among introverts.
"Plus, she says, "know that curiosity, being a good listener and having the ability to work alone are coveted skills — and all common traits among introverts. All Rights Reserved. "Disclosure: Comcast, the parent company of CNBC, is a client of Included Health. DON'T MISS: Want to be smarter and more successful with your money, work & life?A Division of NBCUniversalData is a real-time snapshot *Data is delayed at least 15 minutes. "That tends to be a default test that gets ordered, even if only a couple tests are necessary," says Thames. "CPT language is confusing, but for any planned procedure, either the clinician or someone in the clinician's office should be able to supply the codes needed. "Coverage can mean very different things," depending on the interpretation, says Thames. "There's different formulations: There's Metformin that you can take a couple times a day, and then there's an extended release version that's more expensive. "That's because a medical provider might not be familiar with the dozens of health insurance policies their patients have, including yours, says Thames. For example, sometimes doctors order a diagnostic lab test called a "comprehensive metabolic panel," which measures up to 14 substances in your blood. "— CNBC's Alex Harring, Jesse Pound, Tanaya Macheel and Michelle Fox Theobald contributed reporting. Got a confidential news tip?says Thames. In almost all cases, generic medications are less expensive than brand-name medications, says Thames. © 2023 CNBC LLC. While doctors might typically prescribe the extended relief version out of convenience for the patient, they might not be thinking about the increased costs, he says. The Credit Suisse AT1 prospectus, seen by CNBC, does suggest shareholders may be prioritized over these bondholders — but specifically if the bank fails. by your health insurance, ask both your health-care provider and insurer what your total out-of-pocket costs should be, before you get treatment. Yes, its underlying objective is a professional one — to be offered the role you've applied for. For introverts, for example, the job interview can be especially taxing. ""You sound even dumber than he does during his illiterate ramblings," Daniels added. "One very common medicine that we use for patients with diabetes is a medicine called Metformin," Thames says. - Alpha AI
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2023.03.21 17:20 keithplacer S16 The Action House: The Ravages of Age
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100 Martin St. before any work began
The major project of season 16 was The Acton House, a 1710 former farmhouse that was the oldest house in Acton, once part of a large farm most of which had been sold off over the years, and which now sat on 5 acres of quite attractive property at 100 Martin Street. The homeowners were Terry Maitland, trained as a journalist and historian, now a broker of high-dollar luxury homes, and Sima Maitland, a schoolteacher. Their house was largely original and while it looked large from the outside, the interior spaces were cramped and dated, with low ceilings and inadequate space for them and their three children, thanks in part due to the intrusion of the massive central chimney stack. A new addition off the east side was deemed the answer, and the Maitlands were prepared to contribute $150,000 to the project. A preliminary examination of the house by Norm and Tom revealed some dubious structure but they vowed not to try to fix every problem and only deal with what was necessary to accommodate the new addition. Ah, dreams…
Homeowners Terry and Sima Maitland in a very '90s-looking shot
The first order of business was getting a set of plans, so Chris Dallmus of Jock Gifford's Design Associates firm was called in and after numerous iterations, came up with plans for a 2-storey addition off the east side of the old place with a master suite, new kitchen, mud room, and family room. The old milk shed that currently occupied the site needed to be relocated, and proved to be an entertaining use of the Silva's creativity in sliding it out of the way using skids and a dump truck. Herb Brockert of Construction Services Co. arrived with his big excavator to dig the large hole the new addition required as Norm and Tom began to realize the existing house was so crooked that it was going to be a challenge to mate with the new structure. Meanwhile another big hole was dug for the new septic system that was also deemed necessary for the project.
The Silvas slide the milk shed to its temporary location
Tom and Norm assessed the scope of the demolition needed in the old house. The amount of slope in some of the floors was extreme, and the carpenters were against trying to fix very much of it at risk of blowing the budget. But as excavation continued, the issues involved with the old stone foundation and terribly compromised structure made those vows weaken. Many of the original beams and sills were rotted, and alterations over the years resulted in what Norm called a “terrifying” situation with the entire building slowly sliding towards the backyard. Tom devised a support structure to allow the house to be jacked up enough to replace the rotted sills that they originally weren’t going to repair. With the house so supported, the old stone foundation adjacent to the new addition was pretty much demolished in short order by hand with just a bit of help from the heavy equipment.
Mel Zimmerman of Superior Walls supplied his precast concrete foundation sections for the new crawl space and the team was amazed at how quickly it all came together. Before they could celebrate too much, they had to deal with more of the old house’s structural issues. A trip to Concord showed what could be done if you had deep enough pockets with the mind-blowing reconstruction of the old Stratton Tavern originally in Northfield, MA and relocated piece by piece to the new Concord site. The owner was only identified as Anna, but Brian Cooper was the remarkable restoration contractor who took great pains to make the new look old. While the cost must have been astronomical, for me this was one of the more memorable places ever shown on TOH, and I would love to learn more about it, but information about it is remarkably elusive.
The mysterious Anna and contractor Brian New addition off the back attached to a reconstructed 18th century addition The reconstructed Stratton Tavern and new additions in Concord The original Stratton Tavern before relocation
Framing of the new addition moved quickly even with a gigantic steel beam needing to go down the center of the first floor ceiling, and soon the new spaces began to take shape. A bit of a cloud appeared when one of the Maitland children showed an elevated level of lead in the blood, leading to an analysis of lead paint in the old house. Isolated sections inside were found to have elevated levels of lead although most did not, but all of the windows on the exterior were far above limits. Meanwhile more good intentions vanished as Tom decided to demolish the back corner of the old house, saying correctly that there was nothing to save. Quickly, new Andersen windows went in, the new stairs to the second floor were built, and rotted beams in the second floor ceiling were replaced with more new structure. In what must have been a slow period for the project, Norm took a lengthy visit to the Porter-Cable tool factory in Tennessee, which must have paid for a lot of biscuit joiners. Tom even made use of one of those in trimming windows.
The heretofore largely mute Charlie Silva made one of his first on-screen speaking performances on this project, still sounding exactly like he does today. Tom demonstrated his famous swinging story pole trick to get the clapboard spacing correct, an early example of his ingenuity in construction. An tour of the new MBR space showed an area that didn’t seem overly generous and had the typical TOH phone booth shower stall, but it was certainly an upgrade over what the Maitlands had previously. Because of the lead paint issues, the homeowners decided to replace all 27 windows in the old parts of the house with new modern replacements, a decision that would have budget implications far beyond the windows themselves. Meanwhile the apparently accidental discovery of an old well led to that being recommissioned for irrigation purposes. Glenn Berger returned as kitchen designer, this time dealing with high-end Kennebec Company cabinetry for the new kitchen. Sima insisted on cherry.
When replacement of the old windows began, all good budget intentions quickly went out the windows. The installation of them was expensive in itself, with the original clapboards needing to be laboriously trimmed to fit the new exterior trim. On the front of the house, Norm found the clapboards there in such bad shape thanks to their southern exposure that the decision was made to scrap them all and replace with new. When that was begun, more major structural problems were discovered, with rotted sills and posts galore, which explained the bulge in that wall that was noted in the first episode. The old sheathing under the clapboards was stripped off to reveal problems with rot and damage in the wall structure along with very questionable building methods, all of which required more jacking of the house to fix. Bee nests were found in the blown-in cellulose insulation which would also need to be replaced, something I found odd given that cellulose is usually treated to resist insects. Even with the repairs being done, the front wall would continue to lean back about 4”, something that they just could not fix, and they had to stop short of replacing all the sills due to cost. Tom noted that at this stage the budget had increased to $195,000 given all the changes and surprises. At least the TOH requisite central vacuum system was donated by Vacuflo, saving the homeowners $1000.
Meanwhile the Maitlands wanted a new exterior paint scheme, so Steve visited Deerfield MA with architectural conservator Bill Flynt to look at various preserved examples of 18th-century homes, along with providing some history of the community in those times, an interesting segment. In the end, the Maitlands decided upon a pumpkin color that they saw on a house in a nearby town, with trim in a straw shade. Roger Cook and his crew arrived to install some drainage around the perimeter of the house, build a walkway to the mud room entrance, and re-do the lawn using a hydroseeding contractor. The homeowners also decided to replace the roof shingles on the original part of the house to match those used on the addition, which Tom said required lots of work to repair the rot in the roof sheathing first. Stephen Roy, a preservation stonemason, declared the existing fireplaces to be in mostly good shape aside from the one in the old kitchen needing some repair, but found that the exposed part of the chimney stack above the roof needed to be rebuilt as it had been subject to improper repairs some time earlier, a job he estimated at $5000. Lenny Belliveau built an elaborate staging to take down the old 5-flue chimney to a level just below the roofline and then reconstruct it with new brick.
Lenny Belliveau and his staging (below) https://preview.redd.it/2pzmvx8o64pa1.jpg?width=1415&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=60b2d5cc734c1bfe28587b045b6fa48c60397619
Electrician Paul Kennedy was back on the project, and he was not a big fan of the steel studs Tom used in some of the new portions of the house. The costs were adding up fast, but luckily the Maitlands got a break on the then-new type of spray foam insulation from Insealators which was featured as a donation. Architect Chris Dallmus enlisted Norm and his workshop to build a new, though now mostly ceremonial, front entrance inspired by examples found in the area. Sima wanted old-style wood floors in her new kitchen, and Norm visited North Fields Restorations in New Hampshire, a recycler of old buildings and their materials, to see what they could supply and found the perfect old pine for the job. Once Lenny was finished rebuilding the chimney top, Rich, Steve, and Bobby from Trethewey Bros. installed a stainless flexible flue liner to solve condensation problems and provide for safe operation of the furnace.
Sima selected slate bathroom floor tile sourced from the now-defunct Shep Brown Associates and Mark, Joe and Chuck of Ferrante Bros. did the installation. Joe was frustrated with the time involved in grouting the uneven slates, which looked like a pain. Jeff Hosking was back to install the antique (and magnificent-looking) antique pine floors in the new addition, at a staggering 1994 cost of about $20 per sq. ft. A boo-boo occurred when Terry, following a tip from Norm, visited a twin to his house that had its dining room ceiling exposed to the upstairs floor and beams by its owners, which not only added some much-needed headroom but also gave a look he envied. He decided to do the same at his house, but when they removed the ceiling, they found a bit of a mess with hacked-up joists and a disfigured summer beam, so it was back to the drawing board and another budget hit.
The new entry door built by Norm and Tom encountered problems upon installation since the front wall of the house was leaning back so severely, leading them to build a subframe behind it that partly compensated for the angle. The Kennebec Company cherry cabinets were beautiful with a satin finish, and the Glenn Berger layout seemed ideal, although they used an unusual mix of stone and laminate for the counters. Steve visited the cabinet factory in Bath, ME for a tour in return for their donation. As finishes began to be revealed, the requisite TOH phone booth shower was seen in the MBR bathroom and we saw Rich install yet another toilet. Tom replaced the DR ceiling that was torn down and it looked good, but he did sound a note of caution about the costs of everything – each of the 27 original windows that were replaced cost about $800 once new trim and wall repairs were taken into account, and Terry revealed that when counting the $120,000 in donations, the total cost of the project was over $300,000, a sum that would be more than double that today. Hopefully he had a good tax accountant to minimize his tax liability on that donation amount. Thankfully the expensive brass Baldwin door hardware was part of those donations thanks to a factory visit feature.
The last 2 of the total 18 episodes of the project felt a little strange, with the usual somewhat dragged-out pieces with interior designers and decorative painters, but also some somewhat jarring segments. After not seeing them for the entire project, both landscape designer Tom Wirth and lighting expert Melissa Guenet showed up in the final episode to play catch-up. Even more jarring was an exterior walkaround with Tommy and Norm that was all about what was left undone. Major (and according to the way they delivered the message, urgent) work was needed on the rest of the sills and bearing structures below the old house to keep it from continuing to sag and twist, and the old cow barn, which we had only seen from a distance previously, was deemed by Tom to be dangerously unsupported and so unsafe that it shouldn’t even be walked into, and needed to be taken down. All in all, a bit of a down note. A walkthough of the finished spaces was more upbeat, with the remains of the old kitchen now being a rather cozy sitting area, the old upstairs bath now brought up to date, the surprisingly small-looking MBR space being pleasant enough albeit over-decorated, and the new kitchen and family room being apparently what was asked for, though it was hard to tell given the crush of people occupying it during the wrap party. We did not see what happened to some of the other old spaces in the original house, likely because that had not been determined at that point.
The finished project circa 1995
The Maitlands have continued to live in the house ever since, and hopefully those urgent needs have been taken care of. I liked them as homeowners, and I enjoyed the project for the most part, particularly for seeing the repair work that Tom and Norm undertook on the horrible structural problems. It’s the kind of thing we generally don’t see on the show these days, and the project helped illustrate the money pit that a very old house can become.
2023.03.21 14:22 scottfeldberg2 Tackling Telehealth Reimbursement Issues
Telehealth has been considered as a revolutionary innovation in healthcare delivery. However, its adoption has been limited, with one of the main barriers being reimbursement issues. Despite its potential to save costs, there is limited evidence of managed care organizations (MCOs) using telehealth to control costs. Furthermore, Medicare reimbursement in the fee-for-service system is not generous, with restrictions based on location, institution type, and CPT codes.
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2023.03.21 13:40 scottfeldberg2 Tackling Telehealth Reimbursement Issues
Telehealth has been considered as a revolutionary innovation in healthcare delivery. However, its adoption has been limited, with one of the main barriers being reimbursement issues. Despite its potential to save costs, there is limited evidence of managed care organizations (MCOs) using telehealth to control costs. Furthermore, Medicare reimbursement in the fee-for-service system is not generous, with restrictions based on location, institution type, and CPT codes.
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2023.03.21 09:42 SuperChallengeCoins What Are Police Challenge Coins
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Police challenge coins are a great way to recognize and reward police officers for their hard work and dedication. The coins typically feature the police department’s logo, rank, or other significant symbols. The coins can also be customized to feature a special design that is unique to the officer or department. Police challenge coins are usually given to officers by their superiors as a way to recognize and reward them for their service. They can also be given as a token of appreciation to a family member or friend of the officer. Police challenge coins are also popular among collectors and are a great way to show your support for the police. History of Police Challenge Coins
The history of police challenge coins dates back to World War I. It is believed that the first challenge coins were created by a German soldier as a way to reward his fellow soldiers. The soldier had a metal coin made with a design depicting his unit. He then gave the coins to his fellow soldiers as a sign of recognition and appreciation for their service.
The practice of giving police challenge coins became more widespread in the United States during the Vietnam War. Military personnel would give these coins to their fellow soldiers as a way to recognize their bravery and service. The practice eventually spread to the police force and has been used ever since to recognize and reward officers for their dedication and service. How do Police Challenge Coins compare to military challenge coins?
While Police Challenge Coins and military challenge coins share some similarities in terms of design and significance, there are also some differences between the two.
Police Challenge Coins may incorporate symbols and imagery that are specific to law enforcement agencies, such as police badges or images of police equipment. Military challenge coins may feature military emblems or insignia, as well as images of weapons or military equipment.
In terms of significance, both types of challenge coins are used to recognize the achievements and sacrifices of members of their respective organizations. However, the nature of those achievements and sacrifices may differ. Military challenge coins may be awarded for acts of valor or heroism in combat, while Police Challenge Coins may be awarded for exceptional performance in law enforcement duties, such as solving a difficult case or making a significant drug seizure. The Use of Challenge Coins in the Police Force
The use of challenge coins in the police force can be traced back to the 1960s. It is believed that the coins were first used by a group of officers in the United States Air Force who were also part-time police officers. These officers carried their Air Force challenge coins with them while on duty as police officers.
As the use of challenge coins in the military became more widespread, police officers began to adopt the practice. Today, police challenge coins are used by police departments and law enforcement agencies around the world to recognize and reward officers for their service, accomplishments, and achievements. The Design of Police Challenge Coins
Police challenge coins come in a variety of designs and styles. They can be personalized with the department’s insignia, badge, motto, or mascot. Some coins feature the officer’s name, rank, or unit. The coins are typically made of high-quality materials and may be enameled, or otherwise embellished to enhance their appearance and symbolism. Others may commemorate a specific event, such as a retirement, promotion, or the completion of a specialized training program. The Role of Police Challenge Coins in Law Enforcement Culture:
Police challenge coins have become an important part of law enforcement culture, serving as symbols of honor, camaraderie, and dedication to duty. The coins are often presented as tokens of appreciation for exceptional service, bravery, or teamwork. They may also be used as a way of building morale and reinforcing the values and traditions of the department. Many officers carry their coins with them at all times as a reminder of their commitment to their job and their colleagues. How Police Challenge Coins are Earned and Awarded:
Police challenge coins are typically earned and awarded in a variety of ways. Some departments may award coins to officers who have demonstrated exceptional bravery or skill in the line of duty. Others may present coins to officers who have completed specialized training or achieved a certain level of proficiency in their job. In some cases, coins may be given as part of a departmental ceremony or as a reward for outstanding service or teamwork. What Makes Police Challenge Coins Unique?
Police challenge coins are unique in that they are not only a symbol of pride and honor for law enforcement officers, but also a means of recognition among their peers. They serve as a tangible representation of an officer's dedication and service to their community, as well as a reminder of the shared experiences and camaraderie within law enforcement culture.
Another unique aspect of police challenge coins is their customizability. Each coin can be designed to reflect the department, unit, or individual it represents, making it a personal and meaningful item for those who carry it. The Growing Popularity of Police Challenge Coins:
Police challenge coins have become increasingly popular in recent years, both among law enforcement officers and members of the public. Many collectors and enthusiasts enjoy collecting challenge coins as a way of commemorating law enforcement history and supporting the work of police departments and agencies. There are also many online forums and social media groups dedicated to the hobby of collecting and trading challenge coins. Collecting Police Challenge Coins: A Fascinating Hobby:
Collecting police challenge coins can be a fascinating and rewarding hobby. With so many different types of coins available, there is always something new and interesting to discover. Collectors may focus on collecting coins from a particular department or unit, or they may seek out coins that commemorate a particular event or achievement. Examples of Famous Police Challenge Coins and Their Stories
One famous example of a police challenge coin is the NYPD's "Finest" coin, which was designed to commemorate the heroic efforts of the department during the September 11th terrorist attacks. The coin features a bald eagle clutching a banner that reads "In God We Trust," as well as the iconic twin towers in the background.
Another notable example is the FBI's "The HRT Challenge Coin," which is given exclusively to members of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team. The coin features the team's logo, as well as the motto "Servare Vitas," which means "to save lives" in Latin. Can civilians purchase or collect Police Challenge Coins?
In some cases, civilians may be able to purchase or collect Police Challenge Coins. However, many law enforcement agencies restrict the distribution of their challenge coins to officers and other members of the organization. Civilians who are interested in collecting Police Challenge Coins may be able to obtain them through collectors' groups, online auctions, or other channels. Are there any notable Police Challenge Coins?
There are many famous and notable Police Challenge Coins, including those that have been awarded to officers for exceptional bravery or service. One of the most famous Police Challenge Coins is the NYPD Challenge Coin, which is awarded to officers who have shown exceptional courage or dedication to duty The Future of Police Challenge Coins: Evolving Traditions in Law Enforcement.
As law enforcement culture continues to evolve, so too will the tradition of police challenge coins. While the basic concept of a personalized, tangible symbol of pride and camaraderie is unlikely to change, the designs and uses of these coins may adapt to reflect the changing needs and values of the law enforcement community.
For example, some departments may choose to incorporate new technology into their challenge coins, such as QR codes that link to online resources or virtual reality experiences. Others may place a greater emphasis on sustainability, using eco-friendly materials and production methods to create their coins.
Police Challenge Coins are highly collectible items that are sought after by collectors of law enforcement memorabilia. While they share some similarities with military challenge coins in terms of design and significance, Police Challenge Coins have their own unique history and significance within the law enforcement community. https://superchallengecoins.com/
2023.03.21 08:45 richardssmith1 Billing Tips for Infusion, Injection and Hydration Services
Billing and coding for infusion, injection and hydration services is challenging due to detailed medical billing, coding and documentation requirements. To receive insurance payments you have to review accuracy of drug codes and associated billing units; generate charges for infusion-administration services; use accurate CPT®/HCPCS infusion codes; apply modifiers (if required); keep accurate and complete documentation; and many more.
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2023.03.21 07:57 richardssmith1 Billing Tips for Infusion, Injection and Hydration Services
Billing and coding for infusion, injection and hydration services is challenging due to detailed medical billing, coding and documentation requirements. To receive insurance payments you have to review accuracy of drug codes and associated billing units; generate charges for infusion-administration services; use accurate CPT®/HCPCS infusion codes; apply modifiers (if required); keep accurate and complete documentation; and many more. By reviewing most common reasons for claim denials we shared billing tips for infusion, injection and hydration services so that you can avoid these billing pitfalls.
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2023.03.21 07:46 richardssmith1 Selecting Level of Emergency Services
There are 5 levels of emergency department services represented by CPT codes 99281 – 99285. The ED codes require the level of Medical Decision Making (MDM) to be met and documented for the level of service selected.
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2023.03.21 03:09 cauliflowermilksing $30 Off Superior Singing Method Coupon & Promo Codes
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2023.03.21 01:14 Liath-Luachra [Discussion] Babel by RF Kuang – Book 2, Chapters 5-8
Welcome to the second discussion of Babel by RF Kuang
! Sorry that this discussion has been posted a day late, there was a family crisis at my end. A few of our questions from last week’s discussion have been answered in this part of the book, but as we learn more about this world I think it’s fair to say that everyone will have a lot more questions they’d like answered. Summary Chapter 5
Robin goes to the Twisted Root with his doppelgänger, who upon closer inspection doesn’t appear to be an exact copy of Robin after all – he is older than Robin, slightly taller and thinner, and has darker hair and paler skin [so that probably puts an end to the hypothesis that future Robin has travelled back in time, although I greatly enjoyed that part of last week’s discussion].
He tells Robin that his name is Griffin Lovell, and that not only are they half brothers but Professor Lovell actually has a wife and two (acknowledged) children living on an estate in Yorkshire. The professor married his wife Johanna for her money; she is terribly rich with five hundred pounds a year [maybe I’ve read too much Jane Austen but that doesn’t seem like a lot?] and he uses her money to fund his travels abroad. Griffin doesn’t think Johanna knows about him and Robin, but doubts she would care apart from any potential scandal. He points out that ironically, the professor spends more time with his unacknowledged children than his acknowledged ones, who he sees maybe twice a year.
Griffin tells Robin that he’s part of a criminal group called The Hermes Society that steals silver, manuscripts and engraving materials from Babel, adding that Robin’s help the previous night was technically treason and if anyone found out he would be tortured and thrown into Newgate prison
Griffin also asks Robin why his mother died – not how, but why.
They walk around Oxford to avoid being overheard as they continue their conversation, and Robin buys pastries to back up the lie he told Ramy about going to see Professor Lovell. Griffin tells him he is from Macau. He asks Robin to help The Hermes Society steal, as he has access to Babel. He can’t, or won’t, tell Robin more details about the headquarters or members, but says they redistribute silver to people who need it more than wealthy Londoners. Griffin tells him what most silver is actually used for - not for healing people, but for more frivolous uses like alarm clocks and colour-changing curtains
He also says the second and third largest sources of Babel’s income are militaries and slave traders. Babel collects foreign languages and uses them for translation magic that benefits England and the empire. The new powerful bars use Chinese, Sanskrit and Arabic. Griffin calls it a deliberate exploitation of foreign cultures and foreign resources that is intricately tied to the business of colonialism. The British empire amasses silver and it cajoles, manipulates and threatens other countries into trade deals that benefit them. The silver allows the British to make their ships faster, soldiers hardier and guns more deadly.
However, Hermes aids slave revolts and resistance movements, melting down silver made for cleaning doilies and using them to cure disease instead, Robin thinks it’s a compelling argument but implicates everything he holds dear. He realises his hesitation boils down to fear. He is reluctant to say yes as he still doesn’t know much about Hermes, but Griffin tells him this is real life which is messy, scary and uncertain and asks Robin to take a chance.
Robin asks for time to think, and Griffin gives him five days. He instructs him to carve an X on a birch tree in the Merton College gardens if he wants to join them. Griffin tells Robin he can’t reach him directly, which is for his safety in case Robin turns out to be an informer. In the meantime, he should act like a Babel student and try not to be suspicious
Robin asks Griffin if Professor Lovell knows about him, but he doesn’t know; he left Babel after his third year when it was no longer safe to continue his double life. He tells Robin not to mention his name to the professor. He also reveals that Robin’s room on Magpie Lane used to be his room. Chapter 6
Professor Playfair’s class on Translation Theory talks about the difficulty of translation, as there is no one to one correlation between words or concepts. As he talks, Robin thinks about how Griffin’s conspiracies sound ridiculous in the light of day.
The professor says the dilemma of translation is do we take words as our unit of translation, or do we subordinate accuracy of individual words to the overall spirit of the text? Translators do not so much deliver a message as they rewrite the original, as things like syntax, grammar, morphology and orthography get in the way. Victoire speaks confidently and precisely in class as if reading from the textbook, and Robin feels intimidated.
Professor Playfair talks about The Tower of Babel parable
from the Book of Genesis, and how nobody knows what the original, Adamic language
is. Some people think its Hebrew, another language lost to time, a new language that we should invent, or even French or English. Ramy suggests it is Syriac
, and the professor laughs at his joke, although Robin isn’t sure if it was supposed to be a joke.
Professor Playfair says it doesn’t matter what the Adamic language was as we’ve clearly lost access to it, but Babel can collect all the world’s languages under one roof and by perfecting the arts of translation they can achieve what humanity lost. He gets emotional with tears in his eyes.
Robin asks if Babel’s purpose is to bring mankind back together, and everyone else is confused by his question. Professor Playfair finally answers that it is; “Such is the project of empire – and why, therefore, we translate at the pleasure of the Crown.”
Latin taught by Professor Margaret Craft, who is severe and doesn’t refer to them by name. Robin doesn’t like her. Letty is rapt, however, and gazes at the professor with shining admiration. After class, Letty tries to speak to her privately and get advice about being a woman at Oxford, but she dismisses Letty, saying class is over and that she is infringing on her time.
The students have solo tutorials in their languages of study. Robin’s Chinese instructor is not Professor Lovell, but Professor Anand Chakravarti, who speaks English with a posh London accent. The professor doesn’t lecture, but converses with Robin to dismantle and understand Chinese.
He and Lovell are trying to answer various questions, and since Robin is useful as a rare native speaker capable of expanding the bounds of Babel’s scant existing knowledge (or a silver mine to be plundered). But Robin is excited to contribute to the Grammaticas.
Robin can’t answer everything, especially regarding Classical Chinese which is to vernacular Mandarin as Latin is to English. He asks Professor Chakravarti if they could just take a research trip to Peking and talk to other people who might know. However, the Qing Emperor
has made it punishable by death to teach a foreigner
Robin asks if there are other students who speak Chinese, and the professor gives him a funny look. He tells him there was another student called Griffin Harvey who was nice but not as diligent as Robin, but he died of an illness on a research trip. Robin asks if they could get more Chinese students at Babel, or set up an exchange programme, but the professor brings up national loyalties and that Professor Lovell thinks they require a certain upbringing because the Chinese tend towards certain natural inclinations. But of course, they don’t mean Robin as he was raised ‘properly’.
Robin goes for dinner with Professor Lovell. His Oxford house is smaller than his Hampstead one but is still fancy. The trees have cherries even though the fruit is not in season, and Robin thinks there is probably silver in the soil. Mrs Piper is excited to see him and is shocked at his stories about the college food.
At dinner, they talk about Robin’s studies and Professor Lovell tells him another story about Psammetichus isolating two infants
from language to see what the original language was, and concluding that it was Phrygian
. Professor Lovell says it’s a pretty story, and muses about how it might be interesting to buy a child and try it.
Professor Lovell derides the idea of an Adamic language. He talks about dominant languages, and throws some shade at Portuguese. Robin is drinking, and feels the conversation is getting away from him so tries to pull it back to familiar territory. The professor says European languages are dwindling in importance, and that they need eastern languages to innovate. He thinks Chinese is the future.
There are some departmental politics among the academics at Babel, and some people are hurt that only one of the new students is a classicist and that she’s a woman. However Professor Lovell says the classicists will have trouble getting jobs when they graduate.
Robin asks who buys the silver bars. The professor says its people who can afford them, which is simple economics. People in other countries can’t always afford the export fees. Robin asks why they don’t use them for healing abroad, but the professor says they can’t expend energy researching any frivolous applications. Robin thinks it’s only fair to have an exchange since they’re using foreign languages and give nothing in return, but the professor says language isn’t a commercial good but an infinite resource.
The professor says the Qing Emperor has one of the largest silver reserves in the world, so why don’t they have their own grammars and silver bars – why should the British just hand them to them? Robin says they are hoarding knowledge, because if languages are free, then why are the Grammaticas locked up in the tower?
Professor Lovell coldly asks if Robin believes what they do is fundamentally unjust, and Robin says he just wants to know why silver couldn’t save his mother. The professor is flustered, and says it was Canton’s poor public hygiene that led to the cholera outbreak that killed his mother, not the unequal distribution of silver bars. Robin is drunk and continues to argue, and the professor says “She was only just a woman”.
They are interrupted by the doorbell ringing – it is Sterling Jones, the nephew of the famous William Jones. He stares at Robin and acts weird and rude. He and the professor start their own conversation about translation and ignore Robin, who feels out of place and dismissed, especially as they hadn’t finished discussing his mother. He leaves the professor’s house and goes to Merton College, where he carves an X on the tree Griffin told him about. Chapter 7
The following Monday, Robin finds a note under his windowsill. It’s in Chinese characters and also a code. Robin cracks the code and it says “The next rainy night. Open the door at precisely midnight, wait inside the foyer, then walk back out at five past. Speak to no one. Go straight home after. Do not deviate from my instructions. Memorize, then burn.”
Wednesday evening brings heavy rain, and Robin feels mounting dread all day as the sky darkens. At 11:45pm he starts to head towards Babel, but Ramy sees him, and Robin has to lie again and pretend he forgot something in the stacks. Ramy seems to accept the lie.
At midnight, Robin approaches the entrance to Babel and two people in black appear. He lets them in, and waits as instructed. He never sees their faces. It seems to go smoothly but he sleeps badly that night and is late for his Latin study group. Ramy says he knocked twice on Robin’s door but there was no response, so he had assumed Robin had already left. Robin says he slept badly due to nightmares, and Victoire is sympathetic. Letty is annoyed though, because Ramy wouldn’t let them start until Robin arrived.
The students have drastically different translation styles and engage in lively debate. Letty likes to stick to Latin grammatical structures as much as possible even if it makes sentences awkward, Ramy prefers to abandon technical accuracy for rhetorical flourishes that he thinks better deliver the point, while Victoire is frustrated by the limits of English. Robin feels better sinking into the refuge of Latin, but still feels some dread. The anxiety really hits him that afternoon and he is distracted in Latin class, but nobody comes to arrest him. That night he has a new note under his windowsill saying to await further contact from Hermes. He is disappointed despite all the anxiety and dread of the day, and hopes for more missions.
Weeks pass and he acts like a normal student, and falls in love with Oxford and its people. He’s constantly tired from the coursework but is forming close friendships with the other three students. He and Victoire share a love of literature, and even Letty becomes more tolerable. Her insights into the British class system are a source of great amusement, especially when she trashes Colin Thornhill as “the sort of bottom-feeding middle-class leech who likes to pretend he’s got connections because his family knows a mathematics tutor at Cambridge.”
The four students need each other because they have no one else. The older students at Babel are unfriendly; one of the second years, Philip Wright, tells Robin he got into Oxford because Babel is ‘overcorrecting’ and taking spots away from equally qualified (presumably white British) candidates. Robin starts to see things through his friends’ eyes, although the four of them do argue; Robin and Victoire disagree on the superiority of English vs French literature, and Letty and Victoire get snippy around issues of money. Letty and Ramy bicker the most, usually about British colonialism in India. Even still, they spend all their time together and Robin realises it’s the first time since he left Canton that he feels he has a family, a circle of people he loves so fiercely his chest hurt when he thought about them. He feels guilty for loving Oxford as much as he does, despite the daily slights. He feels like he’s not ready to fully commit to Hermes, and that he would kill for his friends. By the end of Michaelmas term
he would trust them with his life.
Robin later wonders why he never told his friends about Hermes, and was only tempted once during argument between Ramy and Letty about British presence in India, including the Battle of Plassey
in 1757 [which marked the beginning of British rule in India]. Robin almost said something, but stops himself because he “could not bear how this confession would shatter the life they’d built for themselves.” He can’t resolve the contradiction of loving being at Babel despite it becoming clearer that its foundations were unjust. Chapter 8
Robin assists Hermes in three more thefts, but never found out what they stole or what it was used for. He is almost caught during the fourth robbery, when a chatty third year student called Cathy O’Nell comes into the building while he’s there. When she leaves and the two Hermes thieves reappear, one of them asks Robin what Cathy said to him. Robin thinks his voice seems strangely familiar but he can’t place it. He continues to help Hermes and convinces himself he’s not doing anything dangerous.
A week into the Hilary term
, after Robin assists in his seventh theft, Griffin meets him again in person for what feels like a progress report. Griffin says the Hermes thieves like working with Robin because he sticks to the instructions, and that he’s pleased. He won’t tell Robin more about Hermes. Robin asks how the arrangement will end up because it seems unsustainable, and Griffin says very few stay in Babel so it’s likely he’ll either get caught or have to fake his own death and go underground, like Griffin did five years ago. Robin hesitates at the idea of being cut off from Babel.
Griffin tells him how the Romans fattened up dormice – by using a glirarium
, a jar with breathing holes with surfaces so polished that the mice couldn’t escape. They provided food, and the jars had ledges and walkways to keep them occupied, and they were kept dark so the dormice would think it’s time to hibernate and fatten up. But Babel represented more than material comforts for Robin; it was also about belonging and recognition of his talents. As Griffin leaves, he says “Enjoy your glirarium, little dormouse.”
Robin feels conflicted, like he has two hearts. Babblers were privileged in some ways in Oxford, such as getting special treatment in the libraries. Their living expenses were paid for and they received a generous stipend and access to a discretionary fund, unlike other servitors
who had to serve food or clean tutors’ rooms. One night he finds Bill Jameson struggling with his bills, and Robin lends him money.
Babel is rich and respected, and the students enjoy being fawned over by visiting scholars. Letty and Victoire realise that they can get away with looking more feminine, despite the university telling them to wear men’s clothes; they start growing out their hair, and Letty even wears a skirt to dinner. However, Ramy can’t get served in pubs, and the girls can’t get books out of library without a male student. Victoire is sometimes mistaken for a maid.
The students develop Oxford English and all the words and phrases that entails. However there are many social rules and unspoken conventions to struggle with, which Letty understands the best because she is from a posh background. Ramy wonders why they are never invited to parties, and Letty explains calling cards to them. She ridicules rich boys studying on their fathers’ money, like Elton Pendennis, a second year gentleman-commoner
. However, Robin envies them and imagines what it would be like to be part of their circle, and the belonging that would come with it.
One night, Robin receives a calling card from Elton Pendennis, inviting him to drinks the following Friday. Ramy doesn’t understand why Robin would want to go, and thinks he’s invited because he passes as white. He asks Robin if he’s hoping they’ll invite him to join the Bullingdon Club
. Letty also opposes Robin going, saying that those boys are bad influences, and Robin is surprised to see that she looks like she’s about to cry.
That Friday, Robin puts on his one nice jacket and goes to Elton’s flat. A guy called Milton St Cloud answers the door and is rude, although he lets him in. Three other boys are inside smoking cigars. Robin thinks about how Elton is really handsome up close, a “Byronic hero incarnate”. Elton is telling a weird story about his dad’s friend inviting homeless people to a fancy dinner party, and how he wished he’d been there because he thinks it sounded hilarious. Robin recognises Colin Thornhill, and Elton introduces to Robin to Vincy Woolcombe. Colin is eager to say he knows Robin.
The boys ask Robin ignorant questions about China. Robin asks what they’re planning to do with their degrees and they laugh, and Elton calls it proletarian
to ‘do’ something. Vincy says Elton will live off his estate and subject his guests to grand philosophical observations. Elton reveals that he writes, and reads some of his bad poetry to Robin – a reply to Shelley’s Ozymandias. [The author shits on Percy Shelley again and I’m honestly starting to wonder if RF Kuang is u/Amanda39
’s pen name?]
Elton scoffs at translation as being for those without creative fire, but Robin disagrees; he says it’s harder than original composition as you’re constrained by the original. He says the translator dances in shackles, which impresses the other boys.
Robin no longer cares if they like him, and feels pity for them. He also realises that no one ever talks back to Elton Pendennis. They talk a bit about silver-working, and Robin explains that not everyone can do it as you have to live and breathe a language for the magic to work. He decides to leave and put the other boys out of their misery.
The next morning, Ramy and Victoire laugh at Robin’s story about the party, and he recites bits of Elton’s terrible poem for them. Letty doesn’t laugh though, and storms off. After she leaves, Victoire tells them that Letty’s brother Lincoln died the previous year. He came to Oxford and acted like Elton Pendennis does. One night he went out drinking and was run over by a cart. Letty came to Oxford a few months later, and Babel was the only faculty that would take women [sidenote – in real life, women could attend the University of Oxford from the late 1870s
(although not all colleges), and could receive actual degrees for the first time in 1920
Victoire tells them they don’t understand how hard it is being a woman at Oxford – “Every weakness we display is a testament to the worst theories about us, which is that we’re fragile, we’re hysterical, and we’re too naturally weak-minded to handle the kind of work we’re set to do.” She adds that much of Letty’s behaviour is dictated by fear, such as her fear she isn’t meant to be at Oxford, her fear that she’ll be sent home, and her fear that Ramy or Robin will follow in her brother’s footsteps.
The next day Letty is better and even smiles at Robin. Professor Playfair’s classes that term focus on the idea of fidelity, who the translation should be faithful to – the text, the audience, the author? They discuss it, but the professor says there is no correct answer and it’s an ongoing debate in the field. He tells them that the opposite of fidelity is betrayal, and that translation means doing violence on the original. Robin feels a squirm of guilt in his gut. Bookclub Bingo 2023 categories:
POC author or story, fantasy, big read, historical fiction Other potentially useful links (although beware of spoilers):
The discussion questions are in the comments below.
Join us for the next discussion on Sunday 26th March, when we talk about Book 2, Chapters 9-12 [approx. 60 pages].
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2023.03.21 00:59 Logic_Sandwich JoJo's Bizarre OC Tournament #6: R4M6 - Jamir O Santos vs 10538-2095
The results are in for Match 4. The winner is…
“Tell of the storm-tossed manager, O Muse, who wandered long after she sacked the… whatever it was she sacked. Many the monsters whose towns he saw, whose ways she proved; and many a pang she bore in her own breast at sea, while struggling for her life and her Stand’s safe return. Yet even so, despite her zeal, she did not pass through unchanged,” said a blue Stand, watching over the wine-dark sea. A glimmer of sand, of sea spray, of myths told and retold glinted in the ocean sun as Al continued their cross continental journey. Their exaltation faded to naught but a whisper on the breeze.
“Of this, O goddess, daughter of Zeus, speak as thou wilt to us.”
|Category ||Winner ||Point Totals ||Comments |
|Popularity ||Valentine Yao ||12 (2.5+2) - 18 (4.5+2) ||Voters greatly enjoyed both strats, but ultimately the fates smiled more fortunately upon Valentine! |
|Quality ||Valentine Yao ||21 (7 7 7) - 24 (8 8 8) ||Reasoning |
|JoJolity ||Valentine Yao ||26 (7 10 9) - 28 (8 10 10) ||Reasoning |
|Conduct ||Tie ||10-10 ||No length penalties here! |
Val Yao and Dirty Ghost would still be at sea for many weeks to come, but Izuru Boniface Marianus had not been completely correct in his claim that none save themselves knew where they were and what they were up to. The spirit of Dead Drop Bay watched their epic journeys across the sea, recording it in their glowing azure coins.
Dirty Ghost lashed their ship against the oncoming storm, knots pulled taut and boards reinforcing the vessel, even as Val Yao’s painting came undone, progress washed away each night by the salt sea. Their initial rations kept both well-nourished for now, but each still would need to restock and prepare for the further challenges awaiting them on the horizon… If you're not sick of all this water, there's a "friendly spar" between an idol and a figure skater in a desert oasis!
Scenario: Ibiza, Spain — 11:03AM
In a cafe on the shores of the island of Ibiza, Jamir took a sip from his café con leche and let out a contented sigh. A weight had been lifted from his shoulders—for the first time in roughly two years, he was free from the grip of the Millennium Collection and the Atrocity Exhibition. No more evading Frederick’s omniscient gaze, no more babysitting Marione to make sure she didn’t turn into a world-ending monster again, no more Dirty Ghost and…whatever it was doing. None of that mattered. He felt, for the first time in a long time, hope; genuine, no-strings-attached, hope.
His worries weren’t tempered completely, though. Izuru seemed to be slipping closer and closer to the edge by the day, and he had the nagging feeling that something big was coming over the horizon. To borrow a phrase from Izuru, the “final act” was approaching. Jamir did his best to keep a finger on the pulse of Dead Drop Bay, searching for opportunities outside of the reach of the bloodthirsty dogs of the Millennium Collection. At least now he felt better equipped to deal with whatever fate threw at him next.
Speaking of keeping a finger on the pulse, the phone conversation in the next booth over sounded very interesting. The person on the phone, a peacock of a man, appeared to be a part of the Rinascita Artist Collective, judging by his fancy dress, his obnoxious demeanor, and the fact that he mentioned Rinascita by name loud enough for Jamir to hear.
“Yeah, I just watched the concert vid you sent,” he said through a mouthful of food. “Mid as hell. Like someone ate a gallon of rainbow food coloring and took a shit on stage. Complete disgrace to call that horseshit anything close to art.”
Ibiza…that performance with Izuru, Neon and Atlas was only a few months ago, but it felt like years with how hectic Jamir’s life had become. Good times.
“Anyway, you still good to come to the party at Valencia with me?” the artist continued. “Anyone who’s anyone at Rinascita’s gonna be there. I can only bring one plus one, so you better decide quick.”
And just like that, an opportunity. Jamir casually leaned over the booth and tapped the artist on the shoulder.
“I mean it - hold on, I’ll call you back.” The artist glowered at Jamir. “What do you want?”
“Apologies, I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation. You see, I’m an artist, and I believe I saw that performance at Ibiza that you mentioned. Personally, I think it was an artful display of creativity and passion-”
The artist laughed loudly and obnoxiously. “You’re shitting me! You call that consumerist drivel “art”? It’s all just fancy lights and colors meant to appeal to an audience too stupid to appreciate real art. The art world’s going down the fucking toilet.”
“Ah, but who’s to say that a toilet cannot be a piece of art itself?” Jamir wondered aloud. “Take Duchamp’s Fountain—obviously, a piece which an artist like yourself has probably studied a hundred times over. A urinal turned on its side, submitted for an exhibition but banned for its artist’s perceived lack of effort, caused an uproar that shook the foundations of modern art and gave birth to a whole new movement of conceptual art. To evoke an emotion, any emotion, in its audience…is that not the mark of true art?”
The artist stared at Jamir, mystified. “Well, ‘true art’ ain’t worth shit if people aren’t paying to see it, right? I’ve sold a few paintings you could buy a house with.”
“Oh yes, I suppose you’re correct. Though, if I recall, a copy of Fountain sold for $1.76 million in 1999, so someone must have seen it as ‘true art’. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“M-man, you’re seriously pissing me off,” sputtered the artist, his confidence clearly shaken. “How do you know what ‘true art’ is, huh?”
“To tell you the truth, I don’t,” Jamir sighed. “I was hoping to find answers from a more successful artist than I. And that ‘party’ you mentioned sounded like a wonderful opportunity to talk to one.”
The artist huffed. “I’m a member of the Rinascita Artist Collective, dude. You’re nothing. You wouldn’t be invited to the party in a hundred years.”
“I suppose not. What a shame. I was looking forward to learning under an accomplished artist like you.”
The artist tapped a finger against the table, annoyed. Jamir innocently sipped his café con leche.
“Fine,” the artist growled. “You want to see real artists? You got it. The party’s in two weeks. Get ready.”
Jamir smiled thankfully. That was almost too easy.
Scenario: Málaga, Spain — 6:03 AM
10538-2095 found herself back at the scene, the Picasso museum. Last time she’d been here, she’d found herself fused to a teammate into a superior being, a cyborg she and Ninian, at least in the moment, would have preferred to remain. But where this fusion and return had given Ninian answers, even cracked the Scot’s egg, if 2095 understood the metaphor correctly, it had left the android only with more questions. Returning from Type-03’s victory, 2095 had gone catatonic.
After the events in Türkiye and her time on the trail of the information-broker ｢Aerials｣, both for the Sultan of Swing and Ashen Memoriam, she’d found some peace, the ability to focus on moving forward, living in the now, rather than hunting through her data for lost memories. She’d made friends beyond just the scope of the Bastards and really begun establishing a sense of self. But really, 2095 knew she was just running from that overwhelming deluge she’d felt last time she was here, the experience of dozens of lifetimes of sensations all at once.
So why had she been continually drawn here? It wasn’t mere ‘gravity’, the series of coincidences that drew Stand users to one another, but some other, more primal instinct. The urge to return to the scene of a past trauma, overpowering the desire to run away… A biological explanation, but not one impossible to render in code.
2095 would have continued to spiral like this had another figure not entered her field of view, and a familiar one: Doctor Dott, the Rinascita artist who had fused her to Ninian in the first place.
“Hello!” cried the not-actually-a-doctor. “You’re back!”
“Indeed,”replied the android, perhaps relieved her conversation partner spoke in as clipped a manner as herself. “I suppose I could say I returned in search of further understanding of ‘true art.’ Or art at all.”
“It’s an interesting subject,” Dott agreed. “I’ve thought about it many times. After our last collaboration I’ve been considering the nature of ‘shocking art’.”
“Shocking art?” 2095 asked.
“Art meant to bring out a sort of shock or surprise from the audience. It could even be horrifying!” Dott explained. “Our exhibit was probably shocking to some people! Marina Abramović’s Rhythm 0 would be another example.”
The name sounded familiar. Perhaps in her knowledge banks there was something…
Marina Abramović Rhythm 0 was a six-hour work of performance art presented in Naples in 1974. The work involved Abramović standing still while the audience was invited to do to her whatever they wished, using one of 72 objects she had placed on a table. A sign next to the table explained that anyone who sat across from her could do anything they liked with the objects with her bearing full responsibility for their actions. There were no separate stages; the purpose of the piece, she said, was to find out how far the public would go: "What is the public about and what are they going to do in this kind of situation?" “If I understand correctly, the artist was repeatedly assaulted throughout the night,” said 2095.
Dott nodded. “Her clothes were shredded with razor blades. One attendee even tried to shoot her. They were stopped by another audience member. But even this was ‘art’: if it invokes an emotion in you, it’s art, no matter how shocking it might be. And in this case the emotions were shock, fury, violation.”
“And in our piece, would the emotion I felt be pain?” 2095 wondered aloud.
Dott’s face immediately fell. “I’m sorry. I screwed up. At least Abramović knew what she was getting into. Here,” she continued, thrusting an envelope into 2095’s hands. “It’s an invite to a party. Lots of other Rinascita folks will be there. I didn’t feel like going anyway. Too many people. Too many fake smiles. But maybe it’ll be good for you! Get your mind off things. You know?”
2095 nodded, not completely understanding, but appreciating the gesture. Speaking to Doctor Dott was always a confusing enterprise, but somehow she felt this had given her a bit more self-insight. Maybe the party would be good for her, in some way. Pain refused to be ignored, but in a situation like a party, surrounded by new people…she had to exist in the present moment, process the pain differently than just sitting with it. Meeting new people, making new memories. This would be an anvil on which to undeniably forge her identity.
Scenario: Valencia, Spain — 9:54 PM
In a private ballroom in the Feria Valencia Convention and Exhibition Centre overflowing with laughter, gossip and drink, the wealthiest members of the Rinascita Artist Collective delighted in elegant revelry. The ballroom was a kaleidoscope of colors, each guest’s outfit more extravagant than the last—exotic bird feathers, loud color palettes, and altogether impractical capes and headdresses filled the space like an overgrown jungle path.
For once, Charvet Champagne didn’t feel like the center of attention, and he thanked whomever was watching for that. The anonymous invitation promised a night of fun, food and a private performance from famed Spanish guitarist Carmelita Salmorejo. While Charvet’s connection to Rinascita was tangential at best, he didn’t mind getting away from his hectic schedule. His stomach growled, staring at the plates of fine tapas on display at the all-you-can-eat buffet table. They wouldn’t mind if he sneaked one bite, would they?
“Oh my god, is that Charvet Champagne?” An unfamiliar voice trilled. “Come here, I simply must hear about your skincare routine in person!”
…shit. Next time, then.
He grumbled to himself and brushed past 2095, awkwardly holding a glass of wine with no idea what to do with it. She smiled politely at anyone who stopped to stare at her and did her best to make small talk. Dott was right—approximately 94.7% of all of the smiles directed in her direction were fake. Seemed like the guests weren’t interested in straying outside of their cliques. Time for plan B.
2095 listened intently to the conversations around her, auditory receptors tuned to pick up any common words or phrases that she could link to important figures in Dead Drop Bay. After a few minutes, two names caught her attention. The first was Lucetta Domani, the head of the Rinascita Artist Collective—every single guest at the party appeared to be linked to Lucetta in some way. The second was somebody called “the Czar.” While 2095 didn’t recognize the name, the main topics of gossip revolved around him and Lucetta. According to the chatter, the Czar had been involved in a feud with her for some time, and some theorized that this party was an olive branch meant to be the first step in resolving the feud for good. 2095 stored the information in her memory banks for later, and downed her glass of wine in one gulp.
On the other side of the ballroom, Jamir half-listened to his artist companion’s rambling as he surveyed the crowd himself. Unlike 2095, he knew exactly who the Czar was; he had hoped to meet the enigmatic Erasmo el-Amin in-person, in fact. But he was mysteriously absent from his own party.
“...and that’s how I got my membership in Rinascita,” the artist said through a mouthful of chorizo. “Course, Lucetta helped get my foot in the door, but everything after that was all me.”
“Interesting,” Jamir lied. “I need to go to the bathroom. Excuse me for a moment.”
Jamir weaved through the crowd, making introductions and glad-handing along the way. His artist friend was not alone, it appeared—almost every member of Rinascita present at the party got their start in the Collective because of Ms Domani. Why invite them, and not her?
He gently pushed on the exit door, intending to make a stealthy exit to snoop around some more. Nothing. He frowned and pushed again, more forcefully this time.
“Hm. That’s a fire hazard,” he joked to no-one in particular. A cursory examination of the frame and the hinges revealed no faults whatsoever, at least from this side. The door didn’t seem stuck at all, but it still wasn’t budging…as if it were sealed shut.
Before he could investigate further, the house lights dimmed. Spotlights lit up the stage on the other side of the ballroom, and the party chatter petered to a halt. The performance was about to begin.
The curtains rose, revealing a person sitting on a stool with an ornate flamenco guitar in hand. Their black Cordoba hat was cocked to one side, their wavy brown hair reaching down to their shoulders. He wore a tailored black-and-gold suit vest over a white button-up dress shirt; a long red traje de flamenca dress covered his bottom half. Her dark-skinned features were scattered with vitiligo markings which stretched across her arms and down to her fingers. The party guests applauded appreciatively as she leaned down to speak into the microphone stand in front of her.
“Hello, I’m Carmelita Salmorejo,” she smiled. “I hope you enjoy the show.”
After accepting the next round of applause, Carmelita settled into her stool and began to play. Their fingers danced across the strings, following the quick tempo that they tapped out with their dress shoes. 2095 had downloaded a few flamenco performances before the party to study in case she needed to make more light conversation. This piece sounded like an original song, one which required quite a bit of technical skill required to play it this well.
Suddenly, 2095 sensed movement. All around the ballroom, a dozen humanoid figures shimmered into existence. They appeared to be made entirely of water, with completely blank facial features and deep blue traje de flamenca dresses that flowed behind them like liquid. They stepped forward in perfect time to the music, clapping along to the beat as they advanced towards the unaware guests.
2095 rose from her seat, summoning ｢Yours Truly｣ to her side. Behind her, the only other two guests who could see the figures followed suit—Charvet gasped, the tiny rat units of ｢Freakum Dress｣ crawling onto him, and Jamir arrived at his seat with a wry smile.
“Jamir, where’d you go?” His artist companion swiveled around, wine glass in hand, clearly not his first or even fifth. “This is a hell of a show-”
A flamenco shoe smashed into his jaw, sending his drink flying out of his hand and spilling over the floor.
All at once, pandemonium erupted. Guests screamed and scrambled over tables and chairs to get to the exits, only to be knocked out cold by swift kicks from the watery dancers. 2095 dodged out of the way of one dancer and slammed her fist into its torso—in a spray of water, it burst and disappeared. Strong, but fragile. Good to know.
2095 ducked, avoiding a crescent-shaped blade of water that sailed over her head and sliced the champagne glass tower on the buffet table clean in half. The dancers twirled and spun and more projectiles shot out of the edges of their dresses. But just as soon as they did, many of the dancers exploded into a burst of liquid, tiny objects speeding through their “heads”. Another Stand?
“Mes Freakums, attaquez!”
She heard Charvet’s voice before she saw them. Tiny mice crawled onto the dancers and began to spin, their pointed noses becoming a drill that they used to dig themselves into the liquid bodies of Charvet’s attackers. The Stand bodies swam into the dancers, forming internal whirlpools that twisted and contorted their once-perfect forms into a mass of collapsing liquid flowing across the floor. Five, six of them collapsed at once, and another few were already disintegrating before Charvet laughed defiantly.
“Oh ho ho ho! That’s right, I defeated you beasts! I, Charvet Champagne, will no longer let ruffians push me around! From this day forward, mes Freakums et moi will blaze a trail forward and set my own path in life!” Charvet proudly declared, beginning to twirl in place. “I will dance to the beat of my own rhyt-”
Charvet’s declaration was cut off, as he stepped forward and slipped on one of the puddles he had so proudly created a moment ago, falling on his face.
With a flourish, Carmelita strummed their final chord and, for the first time since their performance began, looked up at the ballroom. She gazed at the groaning, mangled bodies of the party guests with a look of mild disappointment.
“Tough crowd,” she muttered. Then, a slow applause began, and their expression brightened.
“What a song. What a performance!” Jamir exclaimed as he sauntered to the middle of the dance floor. “I have heard much about the great Carmelita Salmorejo, but nothing compares to hearing you in-person.”
2095 stared at Jamir in confusion. “She almost killed us all. She almost killed you.”
“If it makes you feel something, it’s art. Fear, exhilaration, the thrill of a near-death experience…how could I not applaud a piece like that?”
“Finally, somebody who appreciates my work!” Carmelita grinned, flicking his hair out of his face. “Whenever I perform, I want everyone in the audience to dance along, not just my Bailaoras. Sometimes, they just need a little kick up the backside. Gwee-hee-hee-hee~”
Jamir grinned back. Carmelita bought his ruse hook, line, and sinker. He took a step closer, extending his hand to shake.
“Jamir O’Santos. A pleasure to finally meet.” Internally, Jamir primed ｢Planet Home｣’s fist to strike at Carmelita the moment they got in range.
Smiling, Carmelita extended her hand towards Jamir. But at the last second, she pulled back and strummed another chord on her guitar. In an instant, a line of faceless dancers sprang in front of the stage, forcing Jamir to leap backwards to avoid concussion via shoe.
“Sorry, O’Santos. No handshakes until the end of the set.” Carmelita regarded 2095 with a glint in his eye. “That goes for you too, señorita.”
2095 met her eyes from underneath the brim of her cap, steel in gaze and spirit.
“Ah, but you will not live to see it,” Carmelita sighed melodramatically. “How unfortunate that I am under strict orders to ensure the deaths of everyone in this ballroom. Until you are broken under the beat of my ｢Corazón Espinado｣, this performance cannot end.”
“Unless…we give you what you want,” Jamir called out. “A performance of a lifetime. A dance of audience and artist, merging together as one. Right?”
2095 almost slapped Jamir before she realized what he meant. “If we dance with you, will you let us go?”
Carmelita rested her chin on her hand, thinking hard. “Hm…that does sound like an interesting idea…and if he asks about it, I can always lie…”
He shrugged. “Eh, what the hell.”
A dramatic strum summoned even more Bailaoras, spread across the ballroom floor and around the shattered tables and spilled wine.
“Just to make things interesting, I’ll be ordering my Bailaoras to attack you for the rest of the performance. Whoever destroys the most Bailaoras when my song ends wins…something. I’ll figure it out later.”
Jamir glanced at 2095, noting her grim expression. “Hey, could be worse. Least we don’t have to fight each other for once. No hard feelings?”
2095 nodded hesitantly. “No hard feelings. Best of luck.”
Carmelita spun their guitar, a manic grin spreading across her face. “As the saying goes; dance ‘til you drop!”
OPEN THE GAME! (Shoutouts to u/TreeTurtle_852 for the match art!)
Location: A ballroom, the area here is 32 by 32 meters (2x2 tiles) with 2095 and Jamir represented by their character tokens.
The Brown circles are dining tables and the Brown shapes in each corner of the map are long tables. The tables are furnished with table cloths, chairs, silverware, wine bottles, and small food platters appropriate for the venue.
The Blue faces are Carmelita’s Bailaoras, Stand created constructs/minions made out of water. More info under Additional information.
Goal: Defeat more of Carmelita’s Bailaoras than your opponent before she finishes her performance! The full performance is 10 minutes, or until both players are defeated, whichever comes first. Direct combat between players is disallowed.
Additional Information: The Bailaoras have C Power, B Speed, and D Durability. They all fight and move to the pace of the music, though there is no set tempo given flamenco music’s structure of being able to gradiently and suddenly shift from slow to fast and vice versa. (We highly encourage both teams to listen to a few example pieces to get a general feel for the driving rhythms.) Although they are otherwise objects, they are treated as “non Stand using persons” with respect to ｢Planet Home｣’s and ｢Yours Truly｣’s abilities; specifically they thus cannot be contracted with or rewinded.
Generally their movements follow a choreographed dance routine, moving through the room rather than chasing after players, but they will position themselves in such a way where they can attack players in their dance’s path.
In terms of dancing, the Bailaoras are able to ‘improvise’ to dodge glancing blows and avoid stationary obstacles/obstructions while moving in time to the music. Their choreography is structured in such a way that they do not go past a 5 meter radius of where they initially spawned (though you can expect them to make full use of the area they are given).
Their primary method of attack is to use their feet to stomp and kick at anything within arms length of them with C POW force. They can also spin their dresses to create short ranged water cutter projectiles with C POW cutting force around them, effective up to 2 meters. The sleeves of their dresses can also fire these projectiles with their movements. They always attack in rhythm to the music, coinciding with major beats and fast paced sections of the song.
Their bodies are composed of a loosely-solid water. If you hit it with a strong enough force, the impact will cause the impacted area to break apart. However all their attacks cannot harm one another.
During slow sections, the Bailaoras enter a flowing state where all physical attacks will harmlessly pass through their watery bodies as they gracefully move and dance around the ballroom.
As the match progresses, Carmelita will summon more Bailaoras on cue to song transitions roughly every 30 seconds. Each wave of additional Bailaoras is more or less evenly distributed across the map and contains 12 more Bailaoras, meaning that more than twelve may be on the stage at once.
For the purposes of this match, the players both effectively have a 2 skill in Flamenco dancing.
Link to Official Player Spreadsheet
|Team ||Combatant ||JoJolity |
|Bastards of Barcas ||10538-2095 ||"Four steps...Five steps." You’ve watched others dance and socialize, now it’s time to put what you’ve learned into motion. Express yourself through dance, movement, and positioning! |
|Atrocity Exhibition ||Jamir O Santos ||"Wait. Why did he take only 5 steps?" There’s style to be had in simplicity and reservation! Express yourself through dance, movement, and positioning! |
Link to Match Schedule
As always, if you would like to interact with the tournament community and be among the first to get updates for the tournament, please feel free to PM a member of our Judge staff for an invite to our Official Discord Server!
submitted by Logic_Sandwich
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2023.03.20 23:43 KelsonWonda Imagining Amanda Holiday's Mom as a guardian
I wrote this one a while ago and posted it, but since this season might see something like this come to fruition, I thought reposting it for peeps might be cool.
Workers of the Tower
Lore Tab 2
New to the Roster
“That's impossible!” Marie said in response to the demand. She was frustrated because there was yet another guardian in front of her asking for yet another impossible task. She worked for the Tower Information Bureau, and sometimes the never-ending stream of questions irritated her. Taking a breath, she reminded herself to be composed and visibly calmed down before continuing. “The guardian roster doesn't just find guardians by name. It's never worked that way. You'll have to find another way of searching that name.”
“Look, we knew it was a long shot coming to you with this request, but this new light needs to put her mind at rest.” Tyra said pleadingly.
Marie was used to strange looking guardians, but this pair gave her pause. The one speaking was a tall Awoken female that was covered from head to toe in glistening plated armor. Her ragged comrade behind her sat on a ledge, content to let her friend deal with Marie. Normally, she would have to verify that they were guardians before giving them any answers, but she saw their ghosts hovering behind them, chatting in their synthetic voices.
“So you want me to check the roster for a name, no guardian codes or nothing? The program isn't designed that way. It was coded to require additional parameters.” Marie said sternly. She'd helped plenty of new lights learn to use the software. “You have to have a number to search.” She reiterated. “No results will come up without the target's personal identification number.”
“I know that, but we’re hoping you can think of a solution because we don't have an identification number, just a name.” Tyra reasoned passionately. Awoken were good at arguing dramatically in Marie's experience. “Listen, Marie,” She said, noting the name on her TIB badge. “I found this new light wandering with her ghost in the jungle far north of the tower. She’s fresh out of the grave and is just looking for some answers!” Tyra said sympathetically. Her Iron Banner pauldron clanged as she turned to point towards the sitting new light. “Isn't there something you can do!? I mean, look at her!”
Marie took the moment to really look at the guardian for the first time. She was an older woman with a rough demeanor. Her tattered gray poncho hung in tatters on her skinny body. Marie noted her ghost as well. Even it was beaten-up, its shell cracked and covered in dried mud and grime. The new light looked up from her work of polishing a rusted weapon that she clutched in callused hands. Her blondish gray hair was pulled back and tied with a red scarf, which made it easy to see her sunken eyes and emaciated visage. Their eyes locked. Her gaze seemed to pierce straight through Marie's bureaucratic authority.
Those blue eyes have seen a lot. Marie thought, even if she doesn’t remember.
The guardian stood, one hand clutching the old shotgun, the other the vinegar-smelling rag that she was using to clean it. She spoke to Marie in a gruff voice that hid a slight drawl, “I don’t know how these deals work, I’m new to these parts. Actually, I s'pose I'm just new in general. I’m just hankering to find out if there’s anyone goes by a name. Can you help me?”
Marie sighed. New lights usually encountered this problem just after being resurrected. They didn’t understand how anything worked. Working for TIB she'd helped thousands of new guardians learn the ropes. It was frustrating at times, like teaching your grandparents how to set up their new data streams. Sometimes the ghosts helped bring them up to speed, but this guardian was obviously very new to her situation.
“The roster application is very strict. It needs a guardian’s code in order to find them to send messages and such.” Marie explained again in her monotone voice that implied, 'I've said everything, I have to say.'
The human guardian swaggered up to Marie's desk, staring at her with those imposingly forlorn eyes. “They tell you that guardians wake up, not knowin’ nothin? I clawed myself out of a muddy, shallow grave and had no one there but a floating orb. No friends. No family. Just this rusted hunk of junk shotgun. I wandered in the jungle alone for days. After meetin' this here nice blue lady, I wound up in this city. I’m s'posed to work for some Vanguard and shoot aliens. I guess I’ll do what’s got to be done, but I need somethin' to help me get my footin'. A lead or a clue to who I was. That’s all I’m askin’.” She finished talking, and her downcast expression pulled at Marie’s heartstrings. She saw the frown deepen on the haggard guardian, and she felt worse. It’s a disturbing thing to empathize with, waking up and simply not knowing anything about the person she was.
Marie sighed again, but it was sadder and more organic than the first. “There are unofficial search programs for guardians that we aren't supposed to condone. They don’t require guardian identification codes. I can show you how they work, but their applications aren’t programmed in our operating system. I can use my private holopad that’s linked to the Vanguard database to access them.” She saw the guardian grin with a glimmer of hope and knew it was worth the extra effort. Marie made a mental note that going outside the regular SOPs was worth it from time to time.
Tyra patted the new light on the shoulder. “I’ll head off and put in an acquisition for a new ship while y’all start searching. My buddy Tom once said those third-party applications can take a bit of searching.” She said as she turned towards the hanger and paced away.
“I don’t think it’ll take very long. You said it was just one name, right?” Marie asked in her professional can-do tone.
Instead of answering, the guardian finished rubbing off the remaining rust on the underside of her shotgun barrel. Then she flipped it up with a flourish so that Marie could see it.
There on the barrel was a name engraved in the newly shined metal. ‘Jericho’
Author’s Note* I do not claim any right to any fiction I write in any other author’s (s’) fictional universe.
Workers of the Tower
Lore Tab 3
“Oh C’mon!” Momo said to himself. He just received a mechanic ticket from Shaxx, one of his frames was on the fritz again.
Momo quickly strutted through the tower hanger. He was everything a guardian wouldn’t expect in a hanger mechanic. His hair was perfectly positioned with product, and the grease on his face was so well-placed it could’ve been mistaken for makeup.
“Hey, Momo!” A familiar voice hollered to his side.
He paced over to his superior quickly, “Hello to you Ms. Holiday, what can I do for you?”
Amanda gave him a quizzical look, “Look buddy, you better stop with that Ms. Holiday stuff, or I’ll fling this here wrench in yer’ direction. I got n’ order for a new light. She needs the run down on her ship. I’m busy, so yer gon’ do it.”
“Well actually mam, you see I was just…”
“You were just about to do as I say.” She said, ducking her head under a plasma drive. “Waddle that keester over to bay six. She’s waitin’ for ya.” The furious sound of her wrench cranking bolts didn’t give him hope for a continuation in discussion.
Momo gave a slight sigh that he prayed Amanda couldn’t hear over the racket of her work. When you have conflicting orders, you always go with Holiday’s. He turned around professionally on the balls of his feet and started for bay six.
He made good time on the walk there — only stopping for a moment to check that his blue sleeveless shirt was tucked in just right to his working trousers.
She’s not here?
Momo checked around the ship, making a circle while scratching his perfectly manicured beard in confusion. The entrance ramp wasn’t down, so he knew she didn’t go into the ship yet. Walking over to the control panel, he flipped a switch and heard a hissing noise as the hydraulics on the lateral edges of the ship lowered the ramp.
“Sorry I’m late.” A voice said.
“Traveler in the dark sky! Don’t sneak up on me like that!” Momo exclaimed, jumping around to see who startled him.
He immediately noticed what she was wearing, which is his first inclination with anyone. It looked as though she just received some standard vanguard gear from the quartermasters. A red wrinkled cloak thankfully covered up her simple armor and clothes. When he looked up to her face, though, what he saw was anything but ordinary.
A thousand yard stare.
“Sorry I rattled y’a.” She muttered sincerely. “Had to requisition these threads and talk to a robot about a boom stick.”
“Geez you sound like my boss. Well, let’s get started then.” Momo said as he swaggered up the ramp. He didn’t look back because that wouldn’t be cool, but he heard her follow him.
“This here is your standard issue refurbished Arcadian ship. Easily mass-produced and built to last, this is the Vanguard’s bread and butter.” He said confidently as he aggressively patted a panel that easily came loose and clanged loudly on the ground.
He blushed, but she didn’t say anything, so he continued. “We mostly work on these and because the parts are so common and familiar, labor and maintenance are cheap.” He slid his finger along the surface of the one table in the hull and frowned, “cleaning is up to the guardian, however. Questions?”
She simply put her hand on her hip and shook her head once. Her long blond ponytail flipping behind her. Man, this lady might not dress it, but she’s cool! Momo thought as he turned around to continue the tour.
“Here is your armory.” He said nonchalantly as he rapped his knuckles on a control sensor. An entire wall panel slid out with holsters for all sorts of firearms. “Of course, you’ll have to obtain the weapons yourself.”
“As good a place’s any to stow this.” She said, flipping a short shotgun by its lever action to take the shell out of the chamber. The ejected shell she smoothly caught with her other hand. After the aggressive flourish, she tenderly set the glistening silver weapon on the rack and pressed the button to close the panel.
Momo’s jaw was on the floor after seeing the awesome move. I’m not half this cool on a good day! After realizing that he felt completely uncool being alone with someone who was this cool, he decided to cut the usual rant short. “You can only store thirty weapons on the ship, by the way. Transmat is how you will swap out weapons while on missions. The rest you will have to send to your personal vault in the tower. Oh, and the cockpit is up there. Your ghost can show you how to fly it.” After gesturing over his shoulder towards the cockpit, Momo walked down the ramp to leave the super cool woman to herself.
At the bottom of the ramp, he heard the woman ask herself, “Who’d need more’n thirty weapons?” He smiled to himself as he paced off to Lord Shaxx to tell him there’s a new guardian in town.
submitted by KelsonWonda
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2023.03.20 23:43 fganniversaries Fighting Game Anniversaries: Week 12 (March 20 - March 26)
Hey y'all, this is fganniversaries again. Like last week
, I will be recapping anniversaries relating to fighting game announcements/releases this week. Like always, if I missed one, do please let me know in the comments. Here would be the following anniversaries: March 20 March 21 March 22 March 23 March 24 March 25 March 26
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