Thank you for acknowledgement of the receipt of my message in a bottle. Yes, there is intelligent life here. I want to play with you, too, but it is not safe for me out there. It’s difficult living like a canary in a coal mine.
I once visited a country whose main export is fruit, and to protect their livelihood, they spray the occupants of the plane with pesticide upon arrival. They literally have the crew walk down the aisle in business class and coach fogging the occupants with poison. I really enjoyed the people I met there. We thought about moving there, but the fact is I was too sick to do that. And there were so many things about the way they live that contributed to my illness that it would be really difficult to adjust. I’m trying to find a nice way to say this; I don’t have the best genetics and people like me don’t fare well in third world countries. I don’t fare well in first world countries, for that matter. I got sick eating pork and drinking beer in Europe, too. I had to be near a toilet the whole time because my digestion was a wreck in Asia. I had problems with reflux for a year afterward that significantly impacted my sleep, as did a few of the people who hosted us on our trip, I found out later. It was weird because on the shuttle bus on the way back from our trip, I sat next to a guy who asked me where we had gone, and when I told him, he said, “Oh, I went there once and I got really sick.” My life is strange like this. Just when I think I am alone, the Universe gives me messages to the contrary.
While there I learned that we define third world countries as countries who did not officially participate in World War II. They just happen to be poor and not have much money for military defense. What I found most upsetting was how the West had moved technological manufacturing and other exploitative pursuits over to those countries without concern for the basic needs of the people. The pattern was certainly initiated by the attempted European conquest of these countries in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the mantle was picked up by worldwide corporatists. To be fair, the US doesn't feel much different than a third world country to me right now; my access to medical care has been poor, I have had to worry about access to potable water and clean air because of the wildfires, and the people around me haven't been given critical information about how to not be vectors for illness through proper mask wearing and mask fit, because instead we decided to have grandiose ethical arguments about whether or not to wear a mask at all, and whether or not the deadliness of the virus was a hoax. DH noted yesterday that although 300 times as many people have died from COVID than from the 9/11 bombings, we worried more about shoe bombers killing a plane of people back then than we do an entitled CEO encouraging the spread of COVID through poor business and personal decisions.
We’ve worked really closely with a company there for a little over a decade. There are constant discussions about the difficulty in finding quality employees in Asia. The company itself was trying to combat that problem through mindfulness and education. But the problem still persisted and persists, despite the fact those cultures have a long history of creative invention. One of the problems I deal with when I’ve been exposed to chemicals is lack of creativity. They have big problems with pollution over there since becoming industrialized. I believe that is why it was Asia that first started mass production of personal air quality meters; the environmental burden they took on to make the world's products was significant. I wrote about the issues with air quality due to the effect of the palm industry burning forest on social media. Most of their pollution would not be if it were not for the influence of the West. I am still pressed to find convenience foods at the health food store here that do not rely heavily on palm oil, and I learned that palm oil is an important source of surfactant for “environmentally safe” detergents. Surfactant is what keeps dishes looking “spotless” so as I told ProPublica in my note to them, I am beginning to see spot-free dishes much the same as I see dandelion-free yards - evidence of the hidden environmental effects of our first world 1950’s values.
Years ago I saw Carol Black’s documentary Schooling the World, which is about the harmful consequences of colonial education in Nepal. I feel like the important message in this story is what happens to communities that move from being people-centered to being economics-centered. I know there were a lot of problems with isolation in the US during the pandemic, and I think that is because we do not know our neighbors because we all live economic-centered lives. My neighbors don’t really hang out in their yards. We’ve lived here 15 years, and we know what our neighbors do, their political affiliations, and a little bit about their properties and families, but they are not people I hang out with. I have always driven other places to hang out with people. It means it’s hard to collaborate with them on anything long-term that improves our lives, and that our neighborhood is still more or less full of strangers.
I’ve been trying to think of ways to make my community stronger. It just doesn’t make sense to drive so much. I have been thinking a lot about the effects the gasoline-powered engine has had on the environment and our social history, and how it created an economic divide where there had not been one previously by granting certain individuals access to more resources. This was further encouraged by the development of the airplane. Both these industries widened the economic gap while totally polluting the air. Transportation is often a concern when it comes to quality of life; how long it takes to get to work can be a big factor in a person’s level of contentment, not just because of the amount of time, but also because of the exposure to dangerous vehicle exhaust. I have seen first hand the economic divide that transportation causes; a person can end up working many hours just to pay for the vehicle they need to get to work, and that’s primarily where people who work end up traveling.
On top of sometimes very long commutes, employees are rarely compensated for this time lost, and because of the amount of time and attention it takes to commute, it's difficult to use that time for one's own benefit. Furthermore, because of air travel, an employer can demand that a person travel to the other side of the world in a heartbeat, and before COVID, that happened to my husband during most flu seasons. When this happened, they never considered how dangerous and stressful this was for him or our family. We knew another tall man in this kind of situation who ended up with a deep vein thrombosis; employers rarely consider that a tall person is at much higher risk for these health problems from air travel, and if they are genetically smaller or unaccustomed to these differences because of their culture, they may not be inclined to consider that the shrinking size of coach seats could be deadly for taller people.
Plus, while the argument is made that spraying the occupants of airplanes is necessary to protect the fruit industry, people in business and first class are not subjected to this experience.
I have had to struggle with commutes before. That’s why I tried, when possible, to live as close to where my husband was working. We have had to travel dangerous stretches of highway to get to our places of employment. Sometimes these stretches of road were deadly because of the sheer volume of traffic with distracted drivers, and sometimes that was worsened by things like gusts of wind, heavy fog, ice, or torrential rain. That being said, I was mortified by what I saw of what the people of Penang, Malaysia have to endure to reach the industrial park where many of the world’s electronics are currently made. It can take nearly 2 hours to go to work. There is no safe place to walk or ride a bike, so some larger companies employ motor coaches to bring the employees to work, which causes further congestion, and also removes those employees’ daily autonomy. I wonder if the motor coach and truck exhaust they all end up breathing during the hellish commute are important contributors to the struggles employers have over there with employee creativity. One of the more creative guys we spent time with showed us his “Bat Cave” route, which was actually not legal to drive on. It was quite an adventure.
My husband sent me an interesting video graphic about worldwide fertility rates, and they begin to decline after 1900. I believe this has to do with the amount of chemicals in our environment because of the effects of the industrial revolution and specific industries focused on the production of things that are inherently antimetabolic for biological organisms, but make our lives more… fun or easy. But you know the saying, “It’s all fun and games until someone pokes their eye out.” And, I’m going to argue that we have poked our eyes out and are blind to the negative effects of these things which have come to dominate our daily lives.
There’s another threat I learned about last year, unfortunately firsthand. And that is the danger of methane in the home. Methane is a byproduct of natural gas combustion. For years I had been suffering from symptoms of methane poisoning and I did not know it. Natural gas also releases formaldehyde and nitric oxide, so I don’t think it was just methane that was causing my problems. There was a pronounced effect on my cognition during exposure and for two days thereafter. Two days later, there can be digestive and mood issues. So it’s not really a surprise to me that I had diarrhea almost the entire time I was in Malaysia. Having a mild form of vampirism and being stuck in the sun much of the time probably didn't help.
|Apparently spending lots of time in the sun is bad for vampires, and immortality is just lore.|
Our clients had been trying to get us to move there for years. In order for that to happen, I had to visit first, but unfortunately because of the health problems the trip caused, I didn’t really want to go back. Ever. Furthermore, I do not do very well with Chinese food in the US, because of the excessive reliance on vegetable oil, which we developed in the early 1900s. Despite the palm oil industry which has made such a huge impact on their environment, everything over there is cooked in vegetable oil. Somehow, as part of our Westernization of their country, we convinced them that their own tropical oils (palm and coconut) were bad for their health. In return for this “wisdom” their country now has one of the worst rates of diabetes in the world. Food cooked in restaurants over here has the same problem due to the pervasive effects of the cooking oil industry, and I get just as sick eating in the restaurants here. That being said, I grew up being exposed to different ethnic cuisines, and I wanted the same for my kids because I think it is an important way to get balanced nutrition and stave off eating disorders, which are particularly risky for people with cystic fibrosis and porphyria. So if I did anything particularly gluttonous over the pandemic, it was trying to keep our pantry (and library) well stocked. I think food accessibility is important for mental health; or at least that has been my experience, because when I have been places where it's like water, water, everywhere and not enough to drink, it's rather depressing, and that is kind of what the world is like for us.
I just read a big list of famous people who passed away in 2021 on the NPR website, and included was the story of a famous journalist who retired to Hawaii and started a macadamia nut farm and ended up dying of glioblastoma. Hawaii is another place that when Westernized became overly reliant on our vegetable oils, and it shows in the health of the people. This is another place I visited and had difficulty maintaining my health, but not quite to the extent the problem I had in Malaysia, because I can navigate the typical pitfalls in American food, for the most part (albeit imperfectly, I admit). Anyway, macadamia and coconut are native to the island, but we have convinced them those oils are unhealthy and that they need to purchase oils from us that would not be sustainable to grow there. I wonder, additionally, how much carbon is created shipping our disease-promoting oils to them, while the enlightened people here prefer their oils. Macadamia nuts are one of the best sources of monounsaturated fats, and some of the longevity effects of a Mediterranean Diet are attributed to the high level of monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil. Monounsaturated fats have only one “bend” in the lipid chain, and thus provide the structure for membrane fluidity in cells, without making them so permeable as to become electrically and otherwise dysfunctional like the greatly bent structure of a polyunsaturated fatty acid would.
Before the 1900’s, we did not have culinary oils derived from seeds and nuts. When I read about this years ago, I learned that most people during that period of time were suspicious of the oils, and that it took several decades for them to become accepted. The government did not make proclamations with respect to their effect on health until the 1970’s, when they were standardized due to the lobbying of a vegetarian government lobby.
I suspect these oils also have important effects on cognition, based on the effects I see in myself and my family members when we eat them. I get to test my theories regularly, thanks to Holiday and Social Trojan Horses often borne by people with superior genetics. Years ago I read some opinions in the natural health community that sushi is a junk food; I don’t think the sushi itself is, but certainly the Westernized mayonnaise that it often comes covered with is. Sushi made with actual aioli from unadulterated olive oil would likely not have the antimetabolic effects that vegetable oil mayonnaise used in restaurants has.
A person who struggles with mood issues and depression likely needs to cut down on oxidizable fats. I say this because I have seen them exacerbate mood issues in myself and the people around me, and the result is often quite unpleasant for everyone around that person. There has been concern expressed to me about the development of dementia in our fathers, but I see it in our mothers. It sounds like my in-laws are doing better since they started paying attention to their home air quality. It does not sound like they are concerned with the air quality while they are away from home, though, since they keep purchasing new RVs (yep, PLURAL) just like they like to make exceptions for potato chips in their diet. I think the formaldehyde and myriad other volatile chemicals in a new RV probably move through the body relatively quickly, but my understanding is that the half life of polyunsaturate in the body is something like 4 years. Man, I'm really glad I didn't get a job making RVs just to have some grandma put a fresh coat of formaldehyde and trichloroethylene over the hard work I did as soon as she bought it. How many people can really afford that kind of exposure or lifestyle, especially considering the ubiquitous use of carcinogenic forever chemicals in new products.
Polyunsaturate is an important component of triglycerides and also atherosclerotic lesions. Furthermore, it helps the formation of biofilms, which can contribute to myriad health problems, and are probably especially not helpful for people with cystic fibrosis, so it would be nice if people were alert to this, and the effect of chemicals on everyone's health.
The day after consuming polyunsaturated fats, they come right out in my skin. I think this has to do with being a cystic fibrosis carrier. I am guessing that most other people with CF are unaware of the accompanying derangement of polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism, so this test might not work for them. I stopped eating the majority of polyunsaturated fats back in 2010, but had an increase because of travel in the years 2016 and 2017, after which my health deteriorated. I can tell it comes out in my skin because normally my skin will absorb water, but after I consume anything with a vegetable oil other than palm or coconut, my skin has a stickiness to it and repels water. It is not difficult to see how these sorts of lipids behave differently in the kitchen. Grease a cake pan with a vegetable oil, and you're going to need guns like Thor and chemical-laden detergents to scrub it off, but use butter or coconut oil, and it's much easier to clean. They impact my cognition around the same time.
Besides the pollution and polyunsaturated fat that seems to be a problem in Southeast Asia, I also saw they still have beliefs that keep people locked into their various class stations, and how our client company had difficulty deviating from that practice. I learned that they fundamentally don't trust people with dark skin there when they expressed they weren't certain they could trust an Ivy League educated black woman they were hiring. I don't recall seeing anyone of Indian descent working what we in the US would call a "white collar" job there. Also, there were things they thought they were doing to "help" but which were actually making things worse, like blurring the line between personal and work time through their corporate culture program, and refusing to understand that people and their families need time away from work. They also did not understand that only feeding the vegetarians on campus was not necessarily the best for everyone's consciousness. I had to deal with that problem at one of my previous employers while I was pregnant, meaning I had to be sure to pack a lunch or I had to drive to another town to get lunch periodically (I have several genetic issues that require the animal forms of vitamins, which I did not know at the time).
I really lost a lot of my autonomy when I did things with them because of my health needs. I think I would have been okay exploring Penang by myself if I hadn't been so sick, but apparently the women at the office were shocked that I decided to go to the WWII museum by myself. Maybe it had to do with all the signs about the presence of pit vipers. It was a scary place, I'll admit - knowing what went on there and imagining being imprisoned or beheaded by the Japanese. There are still major political tensions between the Chinese and Muslims there, and while we worked with both people we could see how it affected the area.
The year Trump was elected, the government slapped us with a surprise tax which majorly complicated my accounting work. We didn't have a choice about it, but had to figure out how to deal with it on our US taxes. We tried to use the Foreign Income Tax Credit, but we were unable to take the whole thing, and then the US Government removed the ability to recover what we lost two years later. There were multiple ways we ended up getting screwed. Negotiating with them was difficult because they were so frugal, and did not understand that we have to pay a lot more over here for both food and healthcare. It's possible to get a substantial meal for $4 USD there. Furthermore, at the end of every fiscal year, they would have some sort of "emergency" and say that they needed my husband to travel over there to fix some problem they created for themselves through trying to work harder, cheaper and faster, making these same mistakes over and over.
For the risks that we took with our careers, connections and time, and the access they had into our personal lives and our time and attention, my husband was not compensated adequately. He was aware of this, but kept negotiating every year. While it is certainly not an entitlement, they did not pay us enough to have access to Eastern medicine here, which quite a few other people I knew whose husbands were employed at similar levels in companies here were able to afford, and which probably helps people to be able to carry on at a grueling pace. Furthermore, they did not pay us enough to afford to pay for services we needed and still be able to retire, but I think that is common. It may not be common for people who had as much responsibility as my husband had, which is unfortunate because it meant he had to do things which put his health and life at risk because we could not afford to pay someone with better experience and expertise. Also, I was treated somewhat like a coworker and had to know too much of their business for not being compensated. The open-eneded nature of the relationship with my husband took our time and attention away from our own kids at important times. Because we got to know parents over there, I worried that this was the case for them, too. I heard that their wives were often irritated. I think they forgot that these wives did not marry their husbands because they were Yes Men, but because they were in love. I think they also forgot that these people are trying to raise children who appreciate their own family traditions and culture, and that corporate culture is a barrier to healthy family dynamics.
There are three consultants who work for them in the US, and we learned from the Vice President of the company that even though these people have been crucial for the success of the company and do not have overlapping functions (and it has been VERY successful financially), he chooses to rank them against each other annually and give the poorest performer no increase. It has been difficult to get them to keep up with the rate of inflation, and we had to really fight to get them to compensate us for the lost benefits from not working in an office, even though they were able to reach into our lives at all times of the day. One thing people who work from home do not think about is that their water, electricity and heating and cooling bills will be higher working from home, so in that respect it actually costs a company less and and an employee more to work from home. They were incredibly understanding when we were having health problems, though, maybe more so than employers here would have been, even though they decided to penalize my husband for our misfortune last year. And I'm going to say it was misfortune because we had no control over COVID, nor however long it was that our water heater was backdrafting, nor the behavior of our in-laws.
Early on, and several other times of the years, they taunted my husband with the prospect of opening an American branch so he would have some people to work with locally, but it became clear after they built a huge new campus in Malaysia and started taking the whole company on trips that this was an empty promise. We realized that the time developing the relationship with them for the purpose of lifting ourselves out of our own financial struggle and helping our community repair from the unemployment that happened after the IP was transferred to them had been a waste. The people we know who were experts eventually retired, and we know very few people our own age with the skills needed to support the technology they were developing here. They lured us in and then dumped us, just like narcissists and sociopaths do. Businesses make progress by stepping on the less fortunate. Even the companies who are started by people in our financial position end up doing that, it seems. When a company gets big enough, it seems the allure of the unsustainable hockey stick graph becomes a reason to devalue the humans who helped the company ever achieve that. I understand from things they have done that their intentions may on some level be philanthropic; however, I recognize elements of their business practice in common with what the Lester Brothers and George W. Johnson (of the Square Deal) tried to achieve in Broome County, New York, which threatened to overtake the lives of private individuals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
If you want to break a brilliant person, this is how you do it. You make false promises year after year, then pacify the angry masses with something that looks like a gift, but further enslaves them, and then when they are sick and at the end of their rope, flash the Bulgari watch you just got "for cheap at the Vienna Outlet Mall." Then tell them they underperformed the year of the pandemic when their estranged father passed away and they were having to deal with their family's lack of emotional intelligence while their own nuclear family was recovering from being chronically poisoned and having vaccine reactions which the medical establishment and the people in their social circles refuse to admit exist. I guess we shouldn't have expected more from a manager who is a "professional alcoholic," due to the amount of stress he lives with because his boss a frugal engineer just like my own father. At least my own father didn't try to market himself as an environmentalist during the time he really wasn't. Austerity often backfires. Sorry, Dad. Stubborn men who think they know how everything and everyone should operate have made life far more difficult than it needs to be for people less able and time fortunate than they are.
These folks really need to read Alexander Deming's work on Total Quality Management. Of course Deming would have been opposed to their whole industry, because he believed that product quality went up with better procedures and work environment more than it did with increased surveillance. Our client required so much of their employees' time that it concerned me that it dangerously bordered on surveillance. We were concerned that one employee over there was suffering ill health from working too much. If they knew that Deming's work was critical in the success of postwar Japan and also the American automobile industry, maybe they would change their business and practices significantly, and maybe they would have less trouble retaining talented employees. For that matter, if they knew Japan's success was also largely due to the fact that the Marshall Plan gave them an even better Bill of Rights than we have in the US, maybe other leaders in Asia would change their own constitutions. In the US it is also illegal to discriminate against anyone in the workplace on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender
identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age
40 or older), or genetic information. In order to travel to see our client, just to enter the country we had to choose a religion (we were atheist at the time). In addition to there being very few dark skinned people in white collar jobs there, we also saw very few people with disabilities, and very few women in decision-making positions, and the makeup of the company did not reflect the population of the country in the least. What people do not seem to understand about discrimination based on genetics is that there are different genetics that determine things like appearance, intelligence, infectious disease resistance, and fertility, so it is possible (as it was for my ancestors) to easily attract mates, reproduce, and solve complex problems, but then be incredibly vulnerable to viral illness, and that you can't tell this by looking at someone, or even running standard medical labs. Yet, people try to conflate appearance with these other genetic qualities all the time, and are often fooled by it.
But what do I know? I haven't had to dance a fine line between crooked politicians and angry spouses.
We cannot rule out the possibility that they were illegally surveilling us, due to what happened with our AI over the years, how our ideas seem to get stolen, and how the day after I called our client out on their use of Buddhism to guilt their employees into working more and harder, my Indonesian, Chinese and Hong Kong internet blog traffic disappeared suddenly. The island of Penang is small, and it is also the origin of 1MDB. I haven't figured out how it nucleated. In my life RPG there were too many associations that would be capable of doing something like this. I have not ruled out Y Combinator from the time I went to the Business Innovation Factory Conference, our experiences with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the very small degrees of separation I have between me and liberal billionaires through happenstance (this may be the strangest though about my life), or my artist associations and witchy interactions with the collective consciousness. Maybe it will be clearer when I finish reading Billion Dollar Whale, but I know that the only thing I really did "wrong" was to try to write honestly about my life. I mean, if Low Taek Jho had influence over royal families, Hollywood and the US Government, why wouldn't he be able to mess with our AI? Or what is to keep the Malaysian Government from surveilling its people and their business contacts and those peoples' affiliates? I can't get over how many ties there are to the Wharton School and criminal behavior. The stories of excess I have seen from upper level management and government are hard to stomach, I'll be honest. I wonder if that was the kind of indulgence my inlaws desired. I hope not, because it is gross.
Also, Mr. DiCaprio, it's hard to see you making movies about people not listening to scientists about climate change while hanging out with these sorts of selfish fools. But dang you folks in Hollywood sure are hoofing it these days. Thanks for the big giant black mirror. I wonder if people are ever going to get the message. Seems like we shouted loud enough.
I was raised to be “nice” to people, but I see now how my inability to identify the toxic and harmful behaviors and distance myself from them was not just a detriment to my own future, but that of everyone around me.
No more. My health, my brain, it’s all I have.
I'm glad I still have an imagination and can keep myself busy at home. McCarthy is still trying to censor me from beyond the grave, but that won't stop me from writing about these very serious threats to freedom that capitalism, communism and fascism are. I want corporations and nations alike to do better for the earth and it's people.
Your bitch, Amy