Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

In the Woods Today

December 29, 2006

chrstms06cropped.gif

My Christmas card for 2006.

It was done using Paint – a bitmap program. Have a look at it on Flickr as it has much better resolution there.

I make cards every year for my family and close friends – have for decades.This year though, there was little response to the card. My dad finally mentioned that he thought the card was “commercial” and din’t realize I had done it myself.

Good friend Joe did the type and set it up for printing so it really did look professional. Beautiful font – really the whole card looked great (thanks, Joe).

We had some discussion about “digital art” and Joe pointed out it has a tendency not to look hand crafted/homemade. Judging by my family’s reaction, this seems to have been the case this year despite the fact that I spent many more hours on this card than I have done in the past.

It was a lot of fun and a lot of work but I got more RAM as Christmas gift so now I can get a more sophisticated graphics program.

Merry Christmas!

Protocol for Threats of Imminent Suicide

June 17, 2006

bloorrevington.jpgYesterday my Friend insisted I read the web log of a colleague, Molly Holschlag. I don't know Molly aside from hearing about her and her many successes. I've never spoken with her and I'm not in her field. So why the urgency from my friend?

This is why:
"I am sitting in a hotel room in London. I have a minibar full of alcohol, and 80 Lorazepam tablets (2 milligrams each) and 100 friends within a mile radius."

I have had many experiences with depression so I guess my friend figured I might be able to help or at least help him help her.
By the end of her post I was very concerned for Molly.

"If you see me tomorrow, it’s because maybe I can figure out how to help myself instead of destroying myself. But I'm not sure that will happen, and I have only myself to blame. I have waited too long pretending."

There has been a steady outpouring of support for Molly' by her friends in the comments field and even more support behind the scenes to secure her safety I'm told.

But it got me thinking…
I don't muck around when it comes to suicide. ALL threats of suicide should be taken seriously. Statistics back me up on this. There's no question anymore that suicide is a major health problem.

Suicide Deaths, U.S., 2001

Suicide was the 11th leading cause of death in the United States.

It was the eighth leading cause of death for males, and 19th leading cause of death for females.

The total number of suicide deaths was 30,622. * The 2001 age-adjusted rate** was 10.7/100,000 or 0.01 percent.

Suicides outnumbered homicides (20,308) by three to two. * There were twice as many deaths due to suicide than deaths due to HIV/AIDS (14,175).

Yet there' is no consistent and REQUIRED procedure for dealing with a suicidal person, even amongst professionals. There are recommendations, guidelines and certainly protocols for emergency rooms, EMTs and police. But they can vary from place to place and there is certainly is no way to become CERTIFIED in suicide intervention.

For the rest of us lay folks, there's nothing at all.

There should be.

Yes, you can go online and look up what the NIMH recommends or call a hotline on behalf of a friend or loved one. What they will tell you right off the bat is to call 911. That's not the problem. The problem is that we non-professionals really don't know how to identify a threat of suicide or what to do while waiting for an ambulance. Worse is the notion that we can handle our friend's threat ourselves. Reassurance and an open ear are vital, of course, but suicide can be a sly beast. A friend who you helped may seem much better, happy even, after you've talked. But what about the days after?

Suicide has such a devastating effect on family and friends. Too often they feel guilty for missing signs or not knowing what do.

Say your friend, (conscious) is lying on the floor clearly having a heart attack. You wouldn't just reassure them, listen attentively to their concerns and then once the heart attack was over hug them and then pick up leave. Nor would you decide not to call for help because they didn't want you to.

In reality if your loved one was at high risk for a heart attack you may well have learned CPR. In any event you COULD become certified in CPR. Its encouraged even.

So I'm thinking we need to use this model, CPR, and set up a course in suicide intervention. Maybe call it Protocol for Threats of Imminent Suicide. You could go to your local community centre, St John's Ambulance or health clinic and become certified in PTIS and in the event you encounter a suicidal person, you'd know what to do. This has certainly worked wonders for cardiac patients and CPR. Its saved thousands of lives.

I'm not qualified to design such a program. besieds, there are well tested recommendations already in place.

bloorbridge_-_0174.jpg** If someone is threatening to commit suicide, take it seriously. Be calm and follow these steps from ACEP to help you manage the crisis:

Don't try to handle a suicide threat or attempt alone. Involve other people. You don't want to risk your own health and safety.

Call 911 or the local emergency response number, if necessary. Contact the person's doctor, the police, a crisis intervention team, or others who are trained to help.

While waiting for help to arrive, listen closely to the person. Let the person know you are listening by maintaining eye contact, moving close to the person or holding his or her hand, if appropriate.

Ask the person questions. Find out if the person has a specific plan for suicide. Try to determine what method of suicide the person is considering.

Acknowledge the person's feelings. Be understanding, not judgmental or argumentative.

Remind the person help is available and things will get better. Stress to the person that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Don't promise the person threatening suicide that you will keep this confidential. You may need to speak to a physician or mental health professional in order to protect the person from injury.

Don't leave a suicidal person alone until you are sure they are in the hands of competent professionals. If you have to leave, make sure another friend or family member can stay with the person until they can receive professional help.

If a person attempts suicide, immediately call for emergency medical assistance. Administer first aid, if necessary. If you know the person swallowed poison or drugs, call the Poison Control Center. Be prepared with the name of the poison or drug used.


Molly writes today that she is feeling much better now. The overwhelming support of her fiends has helped dodge this bullet. She even spoke at her conference .Even better, she's going to seek out counselling or a psychiatrist. But this brush with suicide, however it is framed, means Molly's at a greater risk now. She needs for the people around her to know what to do should this happen again.

Perhaps Molly's very personal posting may seem a rare thing in the blogosphere (yes, I hate that word too). It prompted immediate and on-going comments of support. At least 50 at last count. But visit an online support group for a mental illness and you'll see many similar stories. The difference is in the comments. People there know that however many times its been said it must be the first thing you say in a reponse: Get professional help as soon as possible.

Photos:Suicide Barrier. Designed by University of Waterloo Prof. Dereck Revington of the School of Architecture and engineer Morden Yolles.

2. Luminous Veil by Jon at groundglass.

* From the National Institute of Mental Health : Suicide facts.
** From The American College of Emergency Physicians " Responding To A Suicide Emergency"

Minx Mash

April 21, 2006

From my Right Honorable friend from his misreading of Little Minx's quoting his Uruguayan friend, who's English may not be perfect, in a somewhat All Your base must belong to us fashion emerged:

"That international gay man is carrying the new bag".

Willingly admitting his error my friend points out that he, "like Star Wars fans "incorrectly" remembering dialogue that ends up being better" inadvertently improved an already amusing line which we will repeat to one another in perpetuity whenever we see the bag or an international gay man and roar with laughter. Could this be The New Bag?.

The international gay man's The Bag.

The international gay man's The New Bag.

A Hairy, Scary Stare

April 2, 2006

Hairy, Scary, Stare

From the age of 14 when showers were first required after gym (and a good idea too), I was the tallest and hairiest beast in the locker room. With newly elongated limbs, I was also the most uncoordinated. I dreaded the locker room, the towel whips and cruel taunts my classmates had to endure.

Luckily for me, the wee jocks seemed intimidated by my size and all that hair – head to toe, I assure you. Occasionally, when a little muscled sportsman would dare to try to goad me, a simple, fatherly stare would suffice to stop him in his tracks.

"Wow, the Bean gave me the evil eye, I'm shaking now.", one particularly small, fit and sexy black kid would say. His favorite taunt had to do with my disco shirts. But it never failed. After a stare, he left me alone. He was the only black male in grade nine (and ten and possibly eleven). Imagine the type of teasing he must have fretted over nightly.

In due course I learned more about my new super power. I used it sparingly. Everyone, even my buddies, stayed away from me in the locker room as if my hirsuteness were contagious. I had certain advantages I was not about to share with anyone. Although gym class remained a nightmare and I wouldn't grow into my limbs, well, ever. I came to nervously look forward to the changing room.

From my isolated perch above the wet heads of my class mates, I could survey the scene at hand and thus increase my repertoire of nocturnal fantasies several fold from each gym class. Thus could a gay gaze be had in peace.

Becoming David

April 1, 2006

David This is Michelangelo’s most famous sculpture, the David. It’s important to us gay fellas because this piece, more than any other in the public’s consciousness, marks a return to the ideals of absolute beauty of Antiquity. David is an icon of the male form. He is what a man should look like. He is what the men in our culture strive to become.

We gay fellas know what a monumental task becoming David really is. Maybe because we’re vain, or maybe we figure the only way we can have a David of our own is if we look like one ourselves. From steroids to second careers at the gym and starvation, it’s clear that we will do whatever it takes to become David.

Straight men seem only slightly less enthralled with the cult of David because they believe (erroneously?) that women find them irresistible in their natural, flabby form. Less and less, however, is it considered feminine to be body-conscious. Even straight men are now shaving their bodies and vanquishing all forms of fat from the face of the earth. (more…)

No Nap

January 28, 2005

50 words

Field  call
Watching  blinking chat
Don’t answer that
Warm bed
Retreat ahead
Time flies
Thoughts buzz
Insert pill
Muscles tense
Noises shrill
Adrenaline dense
Squeeze eyes
Body lies
Drift off
Snap back
No slack
No sleep
But dream deep
Beep beep
I lose
No snooze
It’s a trap
No nap.

Wake Up

January 28, 2005

50 words

Blink
Eyes pink
Short phrases
In Phases
Two crazies
Pull out
Too crazy
Move on
Too lazy
Ship out
Chain Dasies
Too late
Date due
Who knew
Residue
Doubt lingers
Kids fingers
Bad singers
Dog stretching
Eyes waiting
Sun fetching
Cold anticpiation
Sleep’s imanicipation
Time’s too
Time to
Wake up.