Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cracking the Code...of Enigmatic History

Image Source: northjersey.com
Either we didn't pay enough attention in history class, or they don't teach a lot of details in public school.

We figure both.

Growing up American means thinking your country is the best at almost everything - America is a magical place where dreams come true, it's home of freedom, democracy and justice for all, and all the wars are fought for freedom...and God Bless America.

While in the not so subtle background people are persecuted for the many ways in which they choose to live and believe, or who they choose to worship as their deity; wars are not fought for freedom, but for reasons made up by the government under the guise of key hot-button words; there is no justice in much of the lives of 99%, their poverty levels, the people and children going hungry, the poor education rates, the healthcare only for people who can afford it, big business bailouts, rigged and purchased politicians. And if there is a God, he blessed the whole damn world, not one country.

For those Americans who aren't comfortable with being told what to think, for those who ask questions, those who pay attention and think "wait, something's not right here...", there is a world of information laying ahead of them. If they get the greatest opportunity in the world, the experience of traveling to other countries, they soon find out things that they never learn by watching the news, reading the "appropriate" books, listening to the "right: people. They discover people, things, lives, facts - things that believing what...hmmm, there is no word that we can find to describe the people who tell you things, in a certain way, in order for you to believe only their point of view, leaving out pertinent facts and information...other than clergy, educators, parents, people...anybody with an agenda tell them won't teach them. Wait, there is a word for those...bigots.

Of course you don't need to travel to learn, to educate yourself, you only need an open mind, and a library card...or, in some cases, the internet (seriously, but be careful, even research what we say here...we could be wrong, it wouldn't be unheard of, we're only humans).

Of course anybody willing to buck those people, to pave their own way founded with their own observations and study, and create a different view on things are just labeled conspiracy theorists, crazy, or *gulp* liberal.

But we digress.

One of many enigma machines
Today we went to Bletchley Park, located in Milton Keynes, England. This place is of great significance to World War II, and the events that made the end of it possible. It is where the Enigma machines, used by the German Axis to relay various information, including battle plans, were taken to have their codes broken; which subsequently took at least two years off of World War II. Without having those machines to thwart enemy attacks, as well as send messages to mislead the Germans in regards to European battle plans, the war would have lasted much longer, and quite possibly would have had a different outcome. There were several, perhaps hundreds, of enigma cipher machines in existence, which were modified often, with codes rotated and changing sometimes depending on the day, waiting to be cracked by the intelligent minds of Bletchley Park code-breakers.

A place of great secrecy during the war, nobody but the 9,000 or so people who worked on the secured grounds of Bletchley Park knew what was going on there. When all was said and done Winston Churchill described the workers as the "Geese that laid the golden egg, but never cackled".
Slate statue commemorating Alan Turing,
father of the modern computer and one on
the most important WWII code-breakers.

The grounds are also the birthplace of the modern computer, an idea of Alan Turing, who had an amazing personal history, as well as having made great contributions to helping end World War II. Alan Turing was tried for homosexuality in a time when it was considered a crime, and chemically sterilized, his other option being imprisonment, before committing suicide with cyanide two years later. Eventually the government wrote a public letter of apology for the great injustice. Alan Turning died at the young age of 41; who knows what great things he could have accomplished if he had not been unfairly treated simply for loving another man.

What we remember learning in high school history class, and what we remember people saying anytime World War II is/was mentioned is that the aid of the American troops' in the war was what ended the war. That without the Americans Europe would have been lost. *coughs* Bullshit.

If one honestly believes that they may need to look into various history books, and study more than what they were told by a teacher teaching from one book (for an interesting read on how interest groups change history over time, read The Language Police by Diane Ravitch...it's brilliant work). There is not one single nation that can take the credit for ending a war that required so much of the world to fight, but it's sure nice for some countries to make their people think it is (for another entry we've written on World War II see: WWII, 70 Years Later http://just-call-me-frank.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/wwii-70-years-later.html).
[Another example of how history can be confused is the movie 'U-571', based on true events, which portrayed the soldiers who captured that particular enigma machine as American, when they were in fact British - one of the rooms in Hut 8 on the grounds of Bletchely had newspaper clippings surrounding the controversy that film caused.]

On the wall in a room dedicated to the important work of
carrier pigeons in World War II
Bletchly Park is also a great place to see untouched spaces where the important work was being done, a memorial to the Polish who were responsible for finding a way to break the first Enigma codes in the late 1930's, news articles, photographs of the war, like the capture of U-110 by British soldier, in photography(!); as well as documentation on the great work of women (espionage hotties), and even pigeons. One of the carrier pigeons even has it's own memorial grave site somewhere in England.

Walking through Block-B at Bletchley there are artifacts, posters, photographs, displays and newspaper clippings of the difficulties, the struggles, the hardships that the people of England (and Europe) had to endure for nearly ten years during the war. It makes any bitching and complaining from lands physically untouched by the massive amounts of fighting done during more recent wars, laughable (except in the case where a loved one has been shipped off [willingly] to war, we're not going to pretend that it isn't a hardship of it's own).
Sleeping conditions required by the people living in England
during World War II (we imagine near the time of the Blitz)

Humbled, sobered, appalled at the self-importance of some people...we choked up and nearly shed a tear (come on, we're practically dead inside some days, almost shedding a tear is serious business) scanning a letter never received by a father, sent back to his son starting on the front it could not be delivered because that person was currently a prisoner of war.

We know we have a bit of a fixation on World War II, and anything we can learn about it - we always have. We thought about it today as we soaked in as much information as we could before we got overloaded - we also thought of some people we know have gotten flack from others over what some consider a "perverse fascination". It is merely a keen interest in one of the most horrendous wars, where a single person was able to brain wash an entire country into hate.

It's no secret that many of us [within our system] dislike people, but we find selective hate baffling. So when studying World War II and trying to wrap our head around such hatred of single groups of people; n this case, Jews, homosexuals, the disabled, and anyone who was "different", which were in fact the people Hitler put into the concentration camps and wanted to eradicate; no matter what we learn we cannot come to grasp that kind of malicious ignorance. It's just...too real in the things we see happening now, in the behavior of people now, but people are blind to it.

Anyway.

On the grounds are amazing things to see and learn about, things not directly related to the war efforts exist there to, such as The National Museum of Computing, a Train Museum...and so much more, that we recommend you check out the website.

Bletchley Park National Codes Centre: http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Follower Count Represents...

We originally posted what is to follow this short intro on our Tumblr account last month. We have been inspired to post it again, here, because of "trends" - not the official trends, just what we see people commenting on a lot.

Also, we've been culling our numbers again. However, we have not been unfollowing active people - except on a VERY rare case they are just asstards, are more boring than paint drying in the savannah. Some of us have standards, after all, and we'd like that to extend into our social media usage. Note, standards, not to be confused with being "Elitest".

Most of the accounts we are unfollow are business accounts that we followedback in the early days of our account. Ones with 20,000 followers, who follow everyone back, in order to have access to their feed and post things about apps, technology, and other various bits of advertising, propaganda and sometimes nothing more than "famous quotes" (surprisingly those are usually people who say they are writers or authors).

Those accounts who look like they follow everyone back, so they must be "nice" accounts? That was us, we did that for a long time...but then we couldn't give due attention to all the real people, so we started using lists...but then we ran out of list room, so then we started a locked account that only we have access to in order to make more lists. Then we started thinking...this is dumb.

So, at risk of being unfollowed back, which is happening in huge amounts, we decided to start unfollowing MORE of those big accounts that are hooked up to auto-unfollow applications. Sticking with them out of fear of unfollowing just inspires businesses to keep advertising on Twitter (dislike) PLUS a follower account...well...
____________________________________________

A Follower Account Represents…


Fuck all.
With cartoons! 

Do you know who is following those big accounts with severely disproportional follower percentages?
  • Accounts that haven't Tweeted, or been back to Twitter, in anywhere from a month, or more, sometimes since the day the account holder decided to find out what "this Twitter is about".
  • HUGE accounts who are on Twitter to purely peddle books, films, entertainment, information...who never read a Tweet.
  • Porn bots, until they get suspended...which can be weeks, even months.
  • Tons of dead accounts.
  • PURCHASED FOLLOWERS
  • Who the fuck cares.
So, when you look at a follower count and think "this person doesn't follow everyone back, they are an asshole"...Think.

Think...why would they...keep following dead accounts, spam accounts, accounts that don't have a real person behind them, only automated applications used to monitor Twitter...people who tweet about stupid fucking shit all day, like "Oh, I'm going to the bank now" who don't make it "interesting"...accounts that all they do is quote music, people from history, poetry other people have written, lines from movies.

Having said that, someone who is following less than 1000, who has over 7000 followers is simply in Twitter for "the game"...you know the "game". *coughs* Favstar. (likely...though not always)

Want to follow accounts that you'll enjoy? Follow who you find funny, regardless of their follower account.

Don't worry about how many people they are following back...be interesting if you want followers, if you're not interesting people won't keep following you just because they initially followed you back anyway.

Twitter is layers of entertainment, communication, social networking, etc.

Even we follow people who don't follow us back...people we find funny. Want honesty? Almost 1/3rd of our followers are people who haven't been on Twitter in months, some since we started Tweeting October 13, 2010. It's why we're not following them back, why would we?

Follower accounts represent jack all at the end of the day, the same as follower account means jack all in off-line life...

But whatever.

You keep thinking it matters, we'll keep not giving a fuck about THAT.
For the love of all that is sanity, we plan to start unfollowing people who keep making Tweets about needing followers, or the amount they need to get to some stupid fucking follower account achievement.

Like we've said, we never came to Twitter to be fucking "popular", we plan to leave the same way we came in.

[originally posted: March 23, 2012 at http://jstcallmefrank.tumblr.com/post/19786835140/a-follower-account-represents]

List of more social media entries here on this blog:
2012
2011

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Moving On and Staying Positive

We've been staying in this hotel for four days, tonight will be night four, and the final night.

Can't say we'll miss this one. The first one, and our favourite one, has been too expensive to stay in since last week - even though this one is managed by the same company (Old English Inns). This one is the third we've stayed at managed by that company, and it is by far the lowest quality building, and the breakfast that comes with the room is the least nice. But it's also the least expensive.

It definitely has some character, the floors in the halls are buckled, the ceiling in the room are sagging, and nothing is even anywhere. Our head has about an inch or less clearance in the bathroom. It is...unique.

We're going to stay with one of James' cousins for a long weekend.

This makes us nervous. This time not because it's new people to meet (though that's part of it), but some of us hate to be an imposition, and always have a feeling that something should be expected of us for the exchange of room and board. We can always offer to make dinner, so that's something...but then, we're not all good at cooking, and that causes stress.

Most of us also hate being forced to socialize, which is always an expectation when a guest in someone's house.

But thankfully we will have an opportunity for proper hot lunches or dinners again, to appease the spoiled brats inside. We nabbed a sandwich maker from storage, the only functional thing we saved from the kitchen at James' flat, so we've been making sandwiches in the bathroom because the room is so small and we don't want to set off the smoke detector, which we realized was the danger the first night we used it.

Moving on. James has at least one contract opportunity on the table, so we're hoping he gets that because all sorts of deadlines we have are butting up against each other and creating a big crunch, and massive headaches, and behavior problems, and stress...and...and...and.

Either we'll be going back to the states in a couple of weeks, or relocating to a more permanent place. Some of us love it, some of us hate it, some of us are entirely indifferent to the whole situation. Staying positive...easy, hard, depends on the day, hour, minute.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Upcoming...

First:

We're looking for a couple guest bloggers for Mental Health Month 2012, starting in May (next week!); people to share their stories of mental health here on this blog, which will be later transferred to our primary advocacy blog at Frank Mental Health (www.frankmentalhealth.org) - a new venture for us this year. As with all of our blogs, it is advertisement free. This is a great opportunity to promote your own blog, or simply share your story of struggle or triumph with other people, for the first time (or even again, if you have already shared with some). It can be anonymous, you can use your name, or an alias. As long as your willing to share your honest experiences, and you can be as gritty and honest as the situation calls for.

Mental Health Awareness Month is a time to encourage and promote good mental health, create awareness to reduce stigma surrounding the issues, symptoms, and overall treatment of people who struggle daily with mental health; and to create better understanding, for families, friends and loved ones, of those struggling with mental health issues.


We will be sharing the links via our main Twitter account (@JustCallMeFrank) as well as the Frank Mental Health twitter account (@BeMentallyAware), using the #mhblogday on May 16th, as part of the mental health blog day, and #mhm the rest of the May at various times,

For more information on how to be a part of the American Psychological Association Mental Health Month Blog Party, please visit: http://www.yourmindyourbody.org/mental-health-month-blog-day/

Also: Mental Health America Mental Health Month 2012

Second:

Meanwhile, on a personal level, we're trying to tread water over here, waiting for some things in life to fall into place, attempting to be cautiously optimistic...and doing whatever we can to be so. It's difficult to write anything interesting, at any level, with this kind of stress. We're forcing ourselves into a happy bubble. Crazy fun.

So, for now we leave you with the best of what we've written here on this blog (and some of what guests, and The Boyfriend, have contributed), a big selection out of over 500 entries so far. Maybe it will inspire you to share some of your own struggles, or, your triumphs!

~ Ivy et al
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Highlights of what we wrote in 2011, and new stuff from 2012.

We write about sex, life, mental ilness/health, relationships, current events, art, philosophy, food, and more. There are some repeated under different subjects, because some blog entries deal with more than one subject matter.

The Stories of Us - A grouping of all the entries we've written about our past. Contains some material not suitable for sensitive people and those under the age of 18.

The Mental Health Entries:
- Mostly Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder Related
2012
2011
The Other Girl - Stuff She Wrote:
General Health:
2012
General
2012 
2011
"Standby"
2011
"Fuck Face"
2011
James/The Boyfriend:
2011
Friendships:
2012
2011
Work:
2011
Life:
2012
2011
Travel:
2012
2011
Food & Cooking
2012
2011
Opinion/Philosophy:
2012
2011
Art/Poetry:
2012
2011
Humor/Fun/Sex/Random:
2012
2011
Social Media:
2012
2011
Guest Bloggers:Our Guest Blogger, Kerry Stott (@kerrystott), Writes About...
The Single Mom @singlemomdate
Jake @Onezees
Imported From Our Boyfriends Blog:
2011


If you have any questions for us we are very open and will answer to our best ability - this is totally the month to ask us questions.
You can either ask us on Twitter, in the comment section of a blog entry here, or e-mail us at justcallmefrank2010 (at) gmail.com.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Resources For You:
Mental Health Resources:

Dissociative Disorder Information:
·    DSMIV (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition) http://www.dsm5.org/proposedrevision/Pages/DissociativeDisorders.aspx
·    NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) http://www.nami.org/Content/ContentGroups/Helpline1/Dissociative_Disorders.htm

Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder Information:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Another Day










Some days...this is what the inside of our head looks like...and when someone happy tries to take over when we're not...

Close to manic on the outside...burning crazy on the inside. Out of control.

Poor Stimpy...


Today, was a jumble of WTF, including some crying on a public street corner...because we're irritating. In case you think we always seem externally "together".

BuT.

Tomorrow is another day, with a fresh start.

Happy, Happy, Fucking, Joy.

~ et al

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Another Day of Thanks


Another day, another hotel, another opportunity to be thankful we have a bed to sleep in.

[If this doesn't make sense, sorry...it's too much work to explain in detail.
In short, we are temporarily living in England, The boyfriend sold his flat, the sale completed a week after he didn't get a big contract renewed, and having owed his ex-wife some money, gave the proceeds of the sale to her. Not being in a place where we can take him back to the States with us yet, we wait...shifting from inexpensive hotel, to inexpensive hotel, while he tries to pick up contract work to provide food and shelter for himself, and us until...well, we're not sure yet.]

We can do nothing but have faith that next week James will nab another contract so we can enjoy a nice hot meal. Until then, creativity and water. At least we have crackers and bread, and the aforementioned bed. The hotels have been fairly decent, and for the low cost of usually around £35-40 a decent breakfast for James, and us, is included. We figure that drops the average price of the room, per night, by £10-15, and provides a good start to an otherwise food-light day.

We could be going home in two weeks time. We plan to go visit our good friend Kerry, in Cumbria, who had surgery two days ago. We hope to cook her some meals and pamper her a bit, before we fly back over the pond.

Time has been spent aimlessly, mostly, from what we can gather. We're been working on poetry a lot more the last week or so, we've even added a new one to our poetry blog. Somehow when the right combination of us gets stressed we seem to fall into some sort habitual rhyming place. However we can manage stress, we do.

Our adventure now has an adventure inside of it; the limbo is not very fun, but we try to make it so. The hardest part is trying to keep James' spirits up, as he tends to be hard on himself. So naturally most of us threaten him with violence, as any good girlfriend would do. It seems to work. Smiles all around.

It could be worse. It could be much worse. Having said that, it doesn't mean we belittle the experience we are having, only try to draw from it any positive aspect we can.

Plus, you know, being homeless and poor is a great relationship builder.



Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Saturday Running Post

11:24am GMT (UK time)
Running low on funds and nowhere to go for the night. Would have been great to have this information an hour before we're checking out of the hotel with a late checkout...but you know...who needs details. Too bad he didn't get the last two contract offers. Today is going to be fucking great. Did we mention a fucking raging headache. Great times. Panic attacks are fun, yes? Stop moaning up there.


2:50pm
After a long walk and some fresh air, keel is a little more balanced. Forgot our favorite pair of earings,the tiny elephants grandma gave us long before most of us can remember, at the hotel. Hopefully they find them and hold them for us. Still not sure what is going on, but it was nice to have the last few days of relative stability. There's been a Brooke appearance. This is not going to make the day any better, but hopefully not any worse.


4:48pm
Unexpected vehicle expense. (two front tires replaced that had worn to the meshing on the inside walls) Makes us happy we didn't drink that cheap bottle of wine last night. It will make a delicious dinner.


5:42pm
Checking into The Shinning hotel from last weekend. Too late in the day to go visit the alpacas and baby goats. We'll keep an eye out for little boys on Bigwheels and creepy twins in the hallway. RedRum.