How’s Lance Doing Now

John H. Richardson checks in {esquire} with the disgraced cyclist in a long-ranging, thought-provoking piece that chronicles his life after admitting guilt and the general public’s complicity in the creation of the Lance myth.

This part really resonated with me:

The rest of us profited in more subtle ways. In the dark days that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Armstrong was a living American myth, the troubled and cocky natural who fought testicular cancer and came back to win the hardest sports event in the world seven times in a row. Seven times in a row! It was a resurrection, a modern miracle

The guy gave me a lot of hope during my recovery with encephalitis. Even though my bout was nothing like cancer, his determination and incredible comeback gave me hope and a reason to carry on.

My (Not-So-New) Side Project

So I alluded to this back in November, and now I’m ready to share a little more. It’s a project I’ve been working on—in one capacity or another—for nearly a decade.

It’s a book and a website/blog I’m working on at the same time. Here’s an excerpt from a recent post I wrote explaining the book:

I’m writing the book I wanted to read when I first got out of the hospital, back in 2004.

I’ve been trying to write that book since then. I’ve had a ton of false starts. But I think I’m finally getting somewhere.

This time, I’m keeping three key things in mind.

The site is very much a work in progress; many sections are just placeholders. But feel free to poke around and let me know what you think. Thanks!

Friday Link List

1. The People’s Bailout {huffington post}.

Cartoonist David Reese’s take on the latest Occupy Wall Street initiative:

Like a lot of people, I used to think Occupy Wall Street was just a bunch of weirdos eating day-old bagels and banging pots and pans downtown. Not that there’s anything wrong with day-old bagels — they make excellent doorstops — but I always wondered what would happen if OWS took all their energy and applied it towards specific, practical goals…

The Rolling Jubilee has one simple purpose: To buy distressed debt for pennies on the dollar and then abolish it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT.


2. A Young Reporter Recounts Her Descent into Madness {npr}.

This one strikes a personal note with me (although hers was way more rare/intense than my experience.

As Najjar put it to her parents, “her brain was on fire.” This discovery led to her eventual diagnosis and treatment for anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a rare autoimmune disease that can attack the brain. Cahalan says that doctors think the illness may account for cases of “demonic possession” throughout history.


3. Symcat {via very short list}.

Cool site.

Tell Symcat your symptoms! It estimates, based on hundreds of thousands of patient records, which ailment you most likely have.


4. Ross Mantle.

Ross Mantle is a photographer who splits his time between Brooklyn, NY and his native Pittsburgh, Pa. His work often focuses on contemporary American life and the relationships between person and place.


5. Is the Web Driving Us Mad? {daily beast}.

An article about Jason Russell, the man who began the “Kony 2012” viral video sensation, and his subsequent breakdown:

Afterward, Russell was diagnosed with “reactive psychosis,” a form of temporary insanity. It had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol—his wife, Danica, stressed in a blog post—and everything to do with the machine that kept Russell connected even as he was breaking apart.

“Though new to us,” Danica continued, “doctors say this is a common experience,” given Russell’s “sudden transition from relative anonymity to worldwide attention—both raves and ridicules.” More than four months later, Jason is out of the hospital, his company says, but he is still in recovery. His wife took a “month of silence” on Twitter. Jason’s social-media accounts remain dark.