A lot of people are writing me about the author (Stephen Ashley) writing them about a book on “on Sexuality and Lifestyles, along with Sydney Doctor John White” that he's doing. Apparently they've harvested BME for email addresses and are trying to secure reprint rights for as many BME experiences as they can.

First, please understand that as far as I'm concerned they're your experiences so if you want to give permission, that's cool by me.

However, also understand that this is being done without my consent or even the courtesy to let me know. I can't tell you if they're looking to attack the stories they reprint, or if they just figured they could make a quick buck by reprinting what parts of BME they could get rights to — it wouldn't be the first time it's happened. Some of you surely recall the bottom-of-the-barrel trade journal that pulled the same stunt a while back.

My personal advice would be to either tell them to forget it, or at least find out specifically what the nature of the project is.

PS. I caught this from Cora, who caught it from Vanilla.

Yourself as you are now:

Somewhere between and

A time when you felt powerless:
A time when you felt defeated:
A time when you felt incredibly depressed:
A time when you thought things couldn't get worse:
A time when you felt worthless:
The answer is the same for all of these: when I was forced to take psyche drugs I shouldn't be on. I think that was the key factor in the darkest period of my life; abuse by the medical-pharmaceutical megacorps.

A person who was a negative influence on you:
I don't think anyone has ever had a negative influence on me. I'm not sure that I believe in the concept in general. I mean, people have done crappy things to me from time to time (regularly!), but I don't think anyone has influenced me in a negative way… If someone makes me unhappy, I hope learn from it, and then cut off contact with them before it damages me.

A person who did something terrible to you:
I'm not thinking of anything specific, but occasionally when people do really inhumane crappy things to me, it makes me temporarily lose faith in people in general, which I need to sustain to keep going.

The worst piece of advice you have ever been given:
“You can trust me.” I'm not saying that people are fundamentally untrustworthy or evil, but I will say that most people are fundamentally selfish. As a result, if they don't enjoy acting in the service of humanity, they will always act in their own best interest — which is often not identical to the best interests of the community.

Something that you did recently that you knew was wrong:
If I knew it was wrong, I wouldn't do it. I would hope any decent person would answer roughly the same. My only major shortcoming ethically that I can see is my personal support of gas-guzzling polluting vehicles.

A time when you felt powerful:
I think the single most liberating and powerful moment I can remember is doing my meatotomy. As anyone who's done it themselves can tell you, the moment that everything folds open is most definitely indesribably powerful and spiritual. One of those “suddently things are the way they're supposed to be” moments…

A time when you were courageous:
Getting my uvula pierced was one of the scariest things I've done. That really freaked me out at the time. In hindsight it was really no big deal, but courage isn't defined by the act itself, it's defined by your relationship to the act. That is, while I don't mind spiders crawling on me, an extreme arachnophobe takes supreme courage to allow it to happen.

A time when you were incredibly happy:

A time when you were exactly where you wanted to be:
I try and make this “always”. If I don't like where I am, I'll change my location. Strangely enough, most unhappiness is voluntary. For some messed up reason, many people seem to consciously decide to be unhappy and then actually work to perpetuate that state.

A time when you felt valuable:
We're all tiny pieces in larger unit. Some pieces may fall in key structural locations, and I think maybe I have at least a small structural role, but all are valuable and definitely needed. Either you're a piece of the whole or you're just dead matter.

A person who has influenced how you treat others:
My father has been my primary influence on how I behave. Yes, he did eventually lose it and fall from grace, and definitely had his shortcomings, but that's irrelevant to the good that was in him, and I hope I've emulated the good, and learned from the bad. If it can be said that a parent's role is to pass on their knowledge and values, he definitely did that.

A person who did something wonderful for you:
People have been very nice to me. I don't think I could answer this fairly without naming a lot of people.

The best piece of advice you have ever been given:
“It's not a big deal” or “Don't worry about it”.

Something that you did recently because it was the right thing to do:
That's pretty much the only reason I do things. I'm not saying I don't screw up on a regular basis, but I try and only do things because they're the right thing to do, be it the big decisions, or be it little stuff like deciding what to eat for supper.

Yourself as you want to be:
Omniscience through universalism.

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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