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Fandom: The Slayers
Title: Slayers, Neverending, Ch 3
Characters/Pairings: Lina/Gourry, Zel/Amelia, Luna, The Eternal Queen, Lina's Dad
Plot: What is there to do after you've defeated Shabranigdu twice by the time you're 18? Lina worries about what to do with the rest of her life that can top or at least match her early achievements. Yet for this native born heroine of Zeferia, there will always be a new challenge. This was hard figuring out novels or anime continuity, eventually went with novels.

FFN
AO3

Anyway, my husband is the hero of the hour for this one. Had been working on edits all day when I let my 6 year old who I’ve nicknamed Wreck It play on my tablet, and he managed to hard locked it good and I was worried I’d lost everything for a bit, but fortunately I married a computer scientist and he got it working again. Otherwise this might not have gotten out for another month depending on how much was lost.
alexeia_drae: (Default)
Fandom: The Slayers
Title: The Storm, Ch 7: Separation
Characters/Pairings: Lina/Gourry, Zelgadis, Sylphiel, Amelia, Xellos, Luna, Rubia
Plot: Lina feels compelled to join the fight against Shabranigdu again when her children befriend a girl who she believes is the reincarnation of the daughter she lost. Sequel to Beneath the Portrait.

FFN
AO3
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Right now it looks like my grandmother is going into hospice. It's been a long, slow, painful decline and I'm resigned that it is time and since she won't get well, I wish her peace, and soon. Once it happens, I'm either going to write like hell to cope or read like hell to cope, not sure which way it will go, but I tend to do one or the other. So I'm either going to start writing a lot more or a lot less.

While I've not been posting a lot I've been making progress on some stuff. Lately I expanded my business thanks to the wonders of telehealth and between that and other stuff have been busy. Anyway, some things to come and updates on WIPs.

Read more... )
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The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab IndustryThe Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry by Lance Dodes

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Dodes debunks the bad science behind AA meetings and traces the origins of AA and details how it became the powerhouse it is in the US. As a therapist who has worked with addiction, I am not a fan of AA or 12 step meetings. That said, Dodes really undermined his worked by first demonstrating that AA essentially only has anecdotal evidence to support it, and then positing his own "theory" on what addiction is, admits that there is no evidence other than his clinical observation (essentially, anecdotes), and asks us to trust him that he has it right and everyone else has it wrong.

I felt the sections detailing the origins of 12 step meetings, discussing how they research shows that they aren't effective, debunking some of the myths of AA, and describing how AA can be harmful were good and they match up with my experience as well as evidence I had read. Dodes concludes that while some people can benefit (and he explains why some people do benefit), using AA as a one sized fits all approach and courts mandating treatment has had disastrous consequences for how substance use disorders are treated in the US, a conclusion I have no problem with. If AA works for Person A, Person A should do it. But if its not working for Person B, Person B should not be forced to do it and feel guilty for not doing it.

Further, a lot of the problems he describes in the rehab industry and with 12 step meetings are real, and it was frustrating as while I worked for a small nonprofit we had freedom to provide a good treatment program that was not based on the 12 steps, but we still had to refer people to AA/NA per state requirements even though it was not evidence based and could be harmful to some clients.

I also thought some of the stories of people committing suicide while in AA alarming, and felt it warranted some investigation if people doing 12 step meetings were more likely to commit suicide.

Where I thought Dodes shot himself in the foot is where he talked about his own concept of addiction. He lambasted all addiction research, and then put forth his own hypothesis (which he deemed theory) of what addiction is, admitted there was no research supporting it, and said it was his observation. Basically anecdotes, and basically anecdotes are what people have for the effectiveness of AA and what he'd spent the rest of the book debunking. I felt the book would have been a lot stronger if he had admitted that there is a lot of controversy about what addiction is and that more studies need to be done rather than, after shredding AA for not having the right answer, he went on to write, "but I have the right answer!"

Further, some of his assertions were baffling, such as only depressants have withdrawal symptoms. People withdrawal from stimulants such as meth and cocaine, though it's not lethal like it can be with alcohol, and there are even withdrawal symptoms with marijuana, a hallucinogen. And while he used the Vietnam study of heroin users as proof that the disease model is debunked, I've seen the study interpreted as that the influence of location and the triggering things we see in a location play a role in addiction, not debunking the disease model so much. Further, he said that the NIDA has only done studies on rats, and this is not the case. They have done studies on humans showing that drug use affect human brains.

I do agree with his final call for a research study to look into the effectiveness of CBT, 12 Steps, therapy and no treatment. And I do think his idea that addiction stems from learned helplessness is interesting and deserves further research. That said, considering how many people there are in the world and how complex life is, I can see there being multiple causes of addiction, some biological (10% of people in the Vietnam study continued using heroin when they got back to the US afterall), some of it learned behavior, some of it something else we don't know yet. Overall I think if finding the cause of addiction was simple we would have done it already.

Overall, much as I want to take a swipe at 12 step meetings and the rehab industry, I can't recommend this book because the self inflicted wounds undermine the good parts of it.



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Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and MeRuthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me by Ron Miscavige

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


This is a short memoir written by Ron Miscavige, father of David Miscavige, who heads Scientology today. Ron left Scientology, for good reason, and this seemed like it should have been an interesting read.

It wasn't. This was simply not a good book. It was poorly organized, and at times it seemed like anecdote spew with nothing connecting the telling of one story to the one being told after it. And given that the subject matter was the horrors of living in SeaOrg, this book was rather boring.

There was also this feel of mistakes were made but not by me. I can't imagine having to come to grips with knowing that your son is running a corrupt organization and engaging in abusive, bullying behaviors. That said, there simply wasn't a lot of insight or depth and this was told in a rather detached manner. Overall, this is a book to skip.



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 I saw this ranking of the 10 best mothers in science fiction and fantasy on GeekDad, and it was all wrong. Of course, a lot of that list raised sons who were more important than them (which is why, much as I do like Sarah Connor, she's not on my list). I’m interested in women who are important in their own right. So here’s my list.

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Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work LessRest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This book compiles a lot of evidence that by cultivating our ability to rest we end up being more productive and creative. He goes through anecdotes about the restful habits of successful scientists, artists, and business people as well as studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of naps, sabbaticals, or deep play on helping people become more productive.

At times this book did seem like a bit of a laundry list, with paragraphs consisting of nothing more than so and so took naps and it help him to do this, and so and so did this as well, that got tedious. The discussions of the experiments were mildly interesting, though, for people who have kept an eye on this there wasn't anything too surprising.

I will say, the frustration while reading this is how little modern life supports these restful habits. And being a man with money seems to help as well. Not having small children also seems to help. I do think CEOs and managers and HR people need to read this book and give it some thought.

Overall, if you keep on top of the research about rest there's nothing new here and I did skim over the who's who parts of the book. I do think the ideas in the book are important and need to be widely disseminated. We are killing ourselves with overwork in America, and we do need to start prioritizing rest and seeing rest as beneficial to productivity.



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 Fandom: The Slayers
Title: Slayers, Neverending Ch 2
Characters/Pairings: Lina/Gourry, Zel/Amelia, Lina's Dad, Luna, Prince Phil
Ratings/Warnings: None
Plot: What is there to do after you've defeated Shabranigdu twice by the time you're 18? Lina worries about what to do with the rest of her life that can top or at least match her early achievements. Yet for this native born heroine of Zeferia, there will always be a new challenge. This was hard figuring out novels or anime continuity, eventually went with novels.

FFN

AO3
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Earlier in the week I learned my maternal grandma was ill with the flu. She'll be 90 in December, and it's been one of those long, slow declines with her. Today I learned she was in the hospital with pneumonia. Given that she's been suffering from dementia for year, compounded by strokes, in a lot of ways I felt the person she was died over 3 years ago when I was pregnant with Gwen and she broke her hip, which has resulted in her using a wheelchair since and the removal of her colon. Before she went in surgery she was peaceful, happy, and ready to die. She knew who I was, looked me in the eye and said she was sorry she wouldn't be able to go to Brent's birthday party in a few weeks since she was going to die that night. It wasn't self pitying, she was just stating a fact. She survived, but since that day whenever she sees me she think I'm my mother. She knows my children exist, but I don't think she realizes my sister and I exist anymore. Brent and Gwen have become her grandchildren when they are really her great-grandchildren, and when she sees my sister and I, we've become our mom in her eyes. Dementia does strange things to a mind.

Her decline was starting even before then, though, with a stroke she suffered when I was a college undergrad. For about fifteen years now it seems as though every few years there's this big emergency surrounding her and whether she will live or die, and somehow, she always pulls through even if less of her mind and abilities do. Every time we all rush down bracing for the worst. When I talked to my grandpa he was upbeat and optimistic and has been insistent that we don't rush up there. At the same time, pneumonia at her age and with her deteriorated health is serious. While I don't want to bring my kids up there as she is contagious, so I'm staying put for now, I can't help but wonder if this is the time when it will be it, like the boy who cried wolf. 

For now we're in watch and wait mode, and that uncertainty is what gets me more than anything. I just want to know what to brace myself for.
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As one of those masochist counselors who actually loves couples therapy, lately I’ve been getting training in the Gottman & Gottman method of couples therapy. And while learning about the theory and research behind it, I naturally apply this all to my favorite fictional couple, Lina and Gourry. Unlike most therapists, the Gottmans (a married couple themselves), developed their therapy by doing long term studies of couples in an apartment laboratory, recording how they talk and communicate with each other, and then comparing what the happily married couples are doing and what the unhappily married couples who eventually break up are doing, and what the difference is. And John Gottman can predict with 91% accuracy if a couples will divorce in five years or not based on how they communicate.

Being one of those rare therapists who is good with numbers and understands research design in addition to being highly empathetic and intuitive, I’m rather drawn to this method as opposed to models that make sense intuitively but don’t have a body of evidence backing them (sometimes things that are intuitive aren’t, the Earth orbiting the Sun for instance).
 
So, will Lina and Gourry be a happily married couple 60 years down the road?
Read more... )
 
 

Voting

May. 7th, 2017 12:03 pm
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There were only 4 things on the ballot in my tiny city. Total. Two for school board, two for city council. And one of the city council positions only had one person running for it. Well, I was excited about the school board because of the people running. When I went to vote early, though, the polling place closest to me was closed.

So yesterday Andy and I went to city hall, and found that we could only vote for the city council position there, even though there were only two positions to vote for and one was only had one person in the running. So to vote for school board we had to go down the street. Our small city is technically in two counties, and for whatever reason school board was in one county and city council the other, so two polling locations for 4 ballot items. Can you say ridiculous?

Anyway, one of the people I was supporting for school board won. For the other position, four people were running. Three I thought had good answers to my questions on how to support special education, and the fourth reply was along the lines of "I've never heard of there being a problem with special education here, and I've been a teacher here for 10 years." Thankfully, she got the least amount of votes. While my preferred candidate did not win for this, my second choice did, so overall I'm happy. Hopefully we'll see some encouraging changes in the schools soon.
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Title: All Apologies
Fandom The Slayers
Characters/Pairings: Lina/Gourry, Radok, Amelia
Ratings/Warnings: Het sex
Plot: After losing her temper while getting sword fighting lessons from Gourry, Lina decides to make things up to him. Novels continuity. Written as a request for scrik.
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What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid BetrayalWhat Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal by John M. Gottman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I always enjoy reading about the findings of Gottman and Gottman, a husband and wife team who put marriage under a microscope. This book was about trust as the foundation of healthy relationships, what trust is, ways it is betrayed, and how couples can recover when trust is damaged.

The book is easy to read and recommended for the layman, with fun quizzes and exercises to strengthen ones marriage. I especially liked the chapter on infidelity, mostly because it gave me assurance that I was on the right track with couples seeking to recover from it. I was not so sold on sex and porn addiction chapter, there is a lot of controversy about those in the research community, and to my mind it's really hard to separate moral and religious biases from one's' view of what is happening.

Overall this had great techniques for teaching couples how to listen to understand and have constructive dialogue with each other. Highly recommended!



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alexeia_drae: (spoilers)
Well, after four years of working with impoverished meth users whose teeth were literally rooting out of their gums, and it was painful just to look at them because of it, the teeth in this episode were so bad that I cried out when I saw them.

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Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in AmericaStamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book is about the history of racist ideas, and how as they get challenged, new racist ideas get invented to justify the existing power structures, especially among rich white men. The more I read about the history of racism in America, the more apparent it is that you can’t understand America and modern politics without understanding the history of racism.

Kendi conceptualizes what at first seems a simplified three groups of people, segregationists, assimilationists and anti-racists. As he delves into history, though, it soon becomes apparent that different people through different times held a mix of racist, assimilationist or anti-racist ideas, and that some people’s ideas even evolved with time. I believe to truly appreciate this book one would have to sit down with a notebook and track the person and their ideas and chart it out. As this was a library book, and a new one at that so a week’s check out time, I did not have the luxury of doing so.

There were times where I felt like he was filtering more history than space allowed him to and things seemed a bit jumbled. I also wish he’d explored the roots of racism in, what I would presume to be tribalism, though he pretty much started in the 15th century Europe.

This is an important book to read and study, and highly recommended.




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alexeia_drae: (spoilers)
Wow...that ending. I honestly can't say I'm enjoying watching this as it's every nightmare in tv show form, though it's well done and relevant.
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alexeia_drae: (spoilers)
It's starting to diverge more from the novel, which makes me wonder if they are going to pick up after the novel ends. Anyway...

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Well, I finally caved and got a Hulu account *sighs* The days of being satisfied with just Netflicks and Amazon Prime are at an end. Anyway, I read The Handmaid's Tale as a college freshman. I've been due to re-read it for awhile, though, I just never got the time. With everything going on I was excited about the tv adaptation. Thoughts about the first episode below.

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School board elections in my city have tended to be underwhelming. I live in a small city five minutes away from Fort Worth, and right now everyone currently on the school board has backgrounds in everything but child development and teaching. Call me weird, but I believe that people who serve on school boards should know first hand what goes on in a classroom and have a background in child development. And usually the reasons that Andy and I vote in the election is to make sure the village nut who believes that they're trying to implement Sharia law in schools (this is the Bible belt, trust me, I've never had anyone force Sharia law on me, but have had teachers try to force Christianity on me) does not get elected. This does not mean we're particularly excited about the person we're voting for, though, we're just voting for the person who isn't the unhinged conspiracy theorist.

And researching candidates for school board and our city government has always been exasperating, because generally there's no info, and finding their background and stance on issues requires several hours of digging on Google. So I was stunned when I came home and there was a flyer on my door for someone running for school board. That's never happened as long as I've lived here.
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I'm one of those people that will stick with a sinking ship till forever. However, I'm finally making the switch to DW. Working on importing my entries, and then you'll see more of me on here. In brief for those who haven't kept up with me on LJ, here is where things are.

-I'm still hanging on to Slayers fandom, and will do everything I can to ensure the last English Slayers fanfic ever written is L/G if I have anything to say about it, lol.

-I started a private counseling practice about a year ago, and am now even doing tele-health, or counseling online. It has it's own stresses, but overall it was a great decision.

-Brent is 6 now, and he is autistic. His prognosis is good, and we have him in a great therapy program for autistic children, though, he will be aging out in December, and figuring out where to go from there is frustrating. He's a great kiddo, who loves math and music and going hiking with me.

-I have a daughter now! Miss Gwen is 3, neurotypical, though, perhaps OCD, and a force to be reckoned with. She loves Minnie Mouse and monkeys and I think she's going to be the next Jane Goodall.

-Andy and I are still together. Coming out of a rough year, but somehow managing to make it work.

Anyway, looking forward to catching up with people who have long since left! Seems there's a lot more of you here than I imagined!

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