Saturday, September 30, 2006

Twist of the Tongue

Picture it: Sicily 1921

Okay, actually picture it: Pharmacy yesterday.

My lovely wife is taking a prescription drop off from a 60 year old guy who looks quite a bit like Yosemite Sam at least in the mustache department.
yosemite sam

Yosemite Sam sees that Kelli is wearing black nail polish. He asks, “are you wearing black nail polish?”

Kelli replies politely “yes I am.”

Sam says “wow, usually the only people who wear black nail polish are teenaged gothic girls.”

Kelli sassily replies “are you calling me old?”

Sam sputters “no, no, I mean girls who wear all black.”

Kelli looks down herself as if to emphasize that she is indeed wearing a black knit shirt, black pants, and black shoes.

Sam says “well, usually those gothic girls have a bunch of piercings.”

Kelli has been wearing only one earring in each ear lately but she actually has 4 holes in one ear and 3 in the other. She has no other piercings. But while she’s capable of wearing 7 earrings, she is currently wearing only two.

With this in mind Kelli says “Well actually I do but you just can’t see them.”

Sam pauses. His pupils dilate and then contract again. He immediately says “Wow, do you have tattoos too?”

The sound of water being expelled out of the nose of a pharmacist who has heard this conversation can be heard from deep in the back of the pharmacy out of the line of sight.

Kelli realizes that Yosemite’s idea of “piercings you can’t see” has nothing to do with extra holes in her ear but rather studs and rings in her tender vittles.

And here’s the sweet part.

Rather than dispel this guy’s illusions of exotic fetishistic erotic body modification, Kelli just smiled coyly and said, “no, no tattoos” and left the piercing misunderstanding unexplained. Let the guy have his fantasy, she thought, and went back to start entering his scrip into the computer.

This is just another reason I love my wife.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Self Injurious Behavior

A couple of things I learned from the seminar and thoughts the seminar provoked:

(side question: Is a conference of dominatrixes an S&Minar?)

"Cutter" is probably not a good term to use since it's too narrow a definition of self-injurious behaviors and it's pejorative. Plus why label someone by one behavior when there is an underlying problem causing the behavior.

The underlying problem is the real problem. You cannot expect a self injurer (unlike someone with suicidal ideation) to sign a "no harm contract." It's silly and it's just setting them up for failure. A self injurer does so as a coping mechanism. Taking away their coping mechanism doesn’t take away the underlying feelings which require coping.

The root is the inability to face intense emotions or feelings. The cause of those feelings can be deep-seeded hurt, anger, sadness, etc. created by long-term trauma like sexual abuse, domestic violence, other forms of abuse / neglect… or what might be considered to be normal adolescent angst when viewed through the eyes of an adult but seem horrific and hopeless to the adolescent (or pre-adolescent) experiencing it. It seems adolescence is always horrible to some extent.


States of being or of feeling are part of a continuum. There are very few dichotomies out there. Sanity is a continuum. Horror is a continuum.

Life, boys and girls, is a sliding scale.


Unfocused journaling is NOT a good idea for self injurers. Entries might start off normally enough but soon it spirals out of control until the writing is huge and angry and the pen tears through the paper a page into it.

Catharsis for the sake of catharsis is dangerous territory for folks who are not properly equipped to deal with strong emotions. Might as well toss a cherry bomb into a paper bag of sheet metal screws.


I would hate to be a kid today. I'd weep for all the kids who are growing up in the 2000's but for the fact that I'm highly trained to compartmentalize those sorts of things (hee hee!)


The reason self injurers are instantly thought to be Borderline Personality Disorder subjects is that the only place deliberate self injury not related to suicidal ideation is found in the DSM-IV is in the BPD section and in Asperger / Austism section. If you are higher functioning than an Asperger patient then you must be BPD, right? Nope.

A lot of psychology is well founded, time tested knowledge but I firmly believe some of it is complete crap. Actually it's "made up shit" which is worse than organic crap. I guess I'm not going to go further on that metaphor either.

Borderline Personality Disorder (aka Excessive Repulsive Disorder) patients sometimes do self-injure but then it really is for histrionics and attention seeking. Or so it seems to me today. Two days ago I thought I had a fairly good handle on the self injury phenomenon but I was sadly mistaken.

I want to thank the several people who looked over my first CIT presentation on Self Injury. You were right, it was a decent introduction but upon reflection it was way too long on 'wha't and short on 'why' and shorter still on 'okay, now what?'


Public schools probably waste a fair amount of money. That being said, I think we need to pour… yes DRENCH public schools with money for more teachers, better training, better support staffs, etc. I'll even gladly pay more taxes for it. Heck, I'm already funding the rebuilding of a foreign country which we dismantled in the first place and are not appreciated any more now than we were before.


The internet is a dark and scary place sometimes. I tend to think of it as a vast resource of information (and porn) but I didn't realize how many sites are out there advocating self injury as a valid coping mechanism. It's not. There are also sites which teach anorexics and bulimics how to perfect their non-eating or purging strategies and better hide the evidence.

It makes sense.

Bomb making plans are available on the internet. Neo-Nazi websites have a certain popularity. Have a sexual fetish? Have a deviant desire? Intensely crave the rockin' sounds of the Brady Bunch? There are sites and databases and bulletin boards for EVERYTHING.

My liberal heart smiles because the internet is nearly pure free speech. It's a constitutionally protected right in the USA but it's being practiced all over the world to a greater or lesser degree everywhere on the 'net.

And they'll pry my blog from my cold dead … um… binary code? I guess that'd be my "cold dead digits" which sort of works as a twist on the NRA thing but it's not my best piece of writing. But I digress.

The trouble with all of this with regard to self-injurers (and other fringe groups) is that it "normalizes" what is in no way normal behavior. I know: Normality is also a continuum.

And I would never advocate censorship but I'd hate some fucktard 19 year old who thinks he knows everything about everything to influence some 13 year old away from getting help early. But I guess the 13 year olds are going to run into fucktard know it all 19 year olds eventually anyway.

37 year old know-it-alls too. Just ask me, I'll tell you!


Sweet dreams, readers. If you ever had a doubt that I appreciate readership, let me tell you now – I value your comments and your continued interest in where this whole thing on the Panic Blog.


oh and The Eagles of Death Metal and OK Go are on heavy rotation tonight in my headphones and I'd recommend both. Call them self-parody power pop but you'll tap your toes and sing along. I doggamn guarantee it!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Comments are back!

You should not have any trouble commenting now.

You can always check "other" and fill in your info manually but if you are a Blogger blogger it will autofill as usual (fingers crossed).

And I'll even have some stuff to post about soon. Did I mention I had a stalker and that was part of the reason my posts have been so few and far between? I realize how easy it would be to track me back to this ol' blog and I have to be careful what I write. Although there IS a good story in it.

I'll have to change the names to protect the guilty!

Things are happening!

Today I attended the first day of a two day conference of the Alaska School Psychologists Association on the topic of Self-Injurious Behavior. The keynote speaker (or the instructor, depending on how you look at it) is Wendy Lader, Ph.D. who is the author of several books including Bodily Harm and runs a treatment facility for self injurers called S.A.F.E. Alternatives.

The seminar has been fascinating. I was the only one in the room was not a school psychologist or school counselor so I was definitely a spy in the house of love.

I even talked to people.


Crazy, man.

There are lots of other things to post about but that's it for now.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Composite Sketch Released

UNION, Missouri (CNN) -- Police released a composite sketch Monday of
a suspect in the kidnapping of a newborn baby from her rural Missouri

The girl's mother, 21-year-old Stephanie Ochsenbine, "was with the
suspect for a substantial period of time, and was able to give us a good
description," Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke said.

The search continued for the baby allegedly taken from her home Friday
by a woman who slashed the mother's throat before taking the child,
investigators said.

A statewide Amber Alert has been issued for 10-day-old Abigale Lynn

While there’s nothing funny about this story, the sketch itself produced instant recognition: I'd wager the Spears/Federline kids will look exactly like this sketch.

As always, you be the judge.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Tee Hee Coli

While there's nothing funny about food poisoning generally, there is something strangely appropriate about the name of the food distribution company whose bagged spinach has made over a 100 people sick in 19 states and killed one person.

The company name?

Wait for it....

truth is often so much funnier than fiction.


oh and anyone who thinks I'm making this up, here's proof:

Thursday, September 14, 2006

In With The New

I've been horrible about posting lately and I know it.

I'm quite proud of the tribute to Joseph Lostrangio and I'm very pleased with the story about a great save we made but other than that there's not much "there" here.

So it's time to change things up. Part of the reason that I haven’t posted about interesting work things is that some of them are… well… works in progress. I've learned a lot about CIT and mental health the last month or so but it's always hard to learn on real people and sometimes there are bumps in the road. I'll explain specifically at another time. Let's just say I've had a lot on my plate.

First change: No more Blog Tenants. None of my regular readers (bless you who are left because the numbers have dwindled somewhat) seemed to like the introduction / interruption of hyping my newest tenant. Plus I don't have nearly the visitors anymore to be a good landlord.

I will plug blogs which I discover and appreciate. Not with any regularity, just as they come up. I'm not a blog reviewer but there are some definite shout-outs that are required periodically.

I’m considering starting another blog for my polymer clay things. Not because they merit their own space but so pictures of goofy clay things don't clutter up the main Panic objective.

But then again, what is the main Panic objective?

I don’t discuss my anxiety disorder much if at all. It's controlled and is a non-issue for me except that I want folks to know that it could happen to them and that there is help.

I could try to split everything into sections and have a blog for each one but … well, what do you think?

I write these things for me but I also write them to share them with others. Is the running diary approach working?

The way I see it, life itself is a mélange. The only possible way to find a through-line is through the art of writing or telling stories which build upon each other. And sometimes there is no through-line. Sometimes the real fun is the tangent and the boring part is the tale as a whole.

And I loves me some tangents.

So what am I trying to say or to ask of you as the reader?

Don't know. That's the best part of blogs. There is no rule about making the least bit of sense.

It occurs to me that life itself has no rule about making sense either, which is as good a place as any to end this post.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Joseph Lostrangio - A Memorial

Those who have read my blog already know about my love for guitars and my complete inability to find the patience or will to master them. Today I'm going to tell you about a guitarist I never met. His name was Joseph Lostrangio.

Joe never met a six string he didn't like and he was an avid player. Friends remember him playing Billy Joel tunes with zeal.

Joe also had a love of saltwater fish. He had four tanks including a 90-gallon showpiece. Have you ever tended a saltwater fish tank? It's not a walk in the park. His enthusiasm was infectious and many coworkers learned how to care for their own fish through Joe's guidance.

Joe had a lot of enthusiasm and many diverse interests. His wife of 26 years, Theresann, called him "a life explorer."

Joe and Theresann lived in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. By all accounts he was a good father to their two children and a good husband. He encouraged the kids to follow his example of devouring new experiences and supported their talents and interests.

Speaking of devouring, Joe had another passion: food. Some friends called him a gourmet chef but others suggested it went way beyond that. He was fearless with food and tried as many exotic ingredients as he could find, often querying staff members of New York restaurants about how to find the next, weirdest ingredient yet.

Which was probably yet another reason Joe was excited about his new job in New York City. He grew up in Long Island and went to New York Law School in Chinatown. He worked as a reinsurance consultant and often visited the city but the new job with the Devonshire Group would put him in the heart of the financial district. And it put him near some great restaurants where he could learn tricks and procure new culinary delicacies.

His son, Joe Jr., was attending St John's College and they agreed to share an apartment so that Joe Sr. would have a place to stay whenever he would be unable to commute home. It was a perfect arrangement.

His first day of work was September 10, 2001. His office was on the 77th floor of 1 World Trade Center (the North Tower). He called a friend at about 5pm that evening and left a message for them to meet at a Chinese restaurant later that week. Later he called Theresann from the apartment and they discussed family news, what bills needed paying, and that he would call her from work in the afternoon the next day, as was his habit.

I hope they told each other they loved each other. I suspect they did.

The next morning at 08:26 am, hijacked American Airlines flight 11 struck the North Tower somewhere between the 93rd and 99th floor. One hundred and two minutes later WTC1 collapsed.

Joseph Lostrangio was 48 years old.

I never knew you, Joe, but researching your story has made me sad that I did not have the opportunity to make your acquaintance and call you a friend. Perhaps you could have taught me to master that silly F chord.

You have inspired me and challenged me to devour life. Yours was cut way too short but you made the most of it.

"… I'm not sure about a life after this
God knows I've never been a spiritual man
Baptized by the fire, I wade into the river
That is running to the promised land

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the desert of truth
To the river so deep
We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We're all carried along
By the river of dreams
In the middle of the night…"

Billy Joel – River of Dreams


This memorial is part of The 2996 Project administered by D.Challener Roe.
You have done an amazing thing Mr. Roe.


The New York Times

September 11 Victims: Joseph Lostrangio

9-11 Heroes: Joseph Lostrangio Joseph Lostrangio

September 11 Class Action: Statement of Theresann Lostrangio

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Crikey !! Steve Irwin is dead at 44!!

Steve Irwin, crocodile hunter and naturalist, died from a stingray barb to the heart during a diving expedition in Australia.

Full Story