The plane trip back to Japan was nerve-wracking, because I wasn't sure they'd let me into the country. It was my second "visa run", and this time, I was coming back broke. I had no idea what might happen if they refused to let me in. Presumably, I'd be shipped back to Canada. No, no, and no. Drastic measures and creative thinking were required. I wasn't even sure what would happen if they did let me into the country. How was I to get out of Narita and back to Tokyo?
Creative thinking was needed when I filled out one of the forms at the airport. They wanted to know how much money I had with me. The exact sum was close to 200 円. I decided to stretch a point, and include the coinage - euros, pounds, dollars - in my luggage in my Ebisu locker that I couldn't afford to access - about 3000 円.
That one seemed to pass muster. However, immigration wanted to have a little one-on-one chat with me. I've heard horror stories about immigration at Narita, but these people were fine. I'm sure they tailor their approach to whomever they are dealing with, though. If they had wanted to get a rise out of me, and scare me, no doubt they could have: running their own forms of behavioural assessment must be the hourly routine, possibly running through a set number of various scenarios. They dealt with me efficiently. Of course, they are responsible for filtering out terrorists and slave smugglers as part of their job, so these techniques are necessary.
I sat in a room with a very pleasant-faced woman - between us was the "interpreter" - an apparatus about the size of a very large dictionary, with a speaker-phone set in it. The official wanted to know why I sought to enter Japan for a third time. I was pushing the envelope. I explained that I had first come to Japan in February with the intention of sightseeing and looking for work. I had been as sick as a dog for most of my stay. I had started to pick up in Wakkanai. In Seoul I was on the mend until I ran into an epic series of terrifyingly moronic online banking miscommunications that would have stretched the bounds of human credulity from any institution other than the RBC. This had set me back for another month. I had begun to look for work in Tokyo over the summer. I showed the official a few job interview invitations I had printed out at the Gimhae airport. She seemed mostly interested in ensuring that I had a realistic grasp of my situation. She wasn't crazy about my ipad. They will take my ipad out of my cold, dead hands. My ipad lets me control my own narrative. My ipad is the only thing on this planet that gives me the opportunity to talk about what I want to talk about. Every human on this planet wants me to sing to their tune, promising to graciously toss me little bits of food and money and small, token recognitions of humanity if I parrot the words they put in my mouth. Apparently, I deserve life only as a ventriloquist's dummy. Fuck that.
I'm getting away with myself. Back to Narita. I had no difficulty agreeing with the official that mine was not a good situation, and I outlined the steps I intended to make to rectify it: find a full-time job as soon as possible, with visa sponsorship. The pleasant-faced official agreed this would be a good approach. She said I could enter Japan (hurray!) and I bounced out of customs and immigration. It was about 10:30
at night. The place was packed with uniformed men. I don't know if that's normal for nighttime. I bought a can of Pringles (maximum kCal per yen; also, won't get smushed in a backpack; also, nostalgia factor - I haven't eaten them since childhood, because they don't taste that great.)
I left Narita at 23:30
. It was raining outside, but I didn't care. The rain of freedom! I pulled a towel over my head, and made for the expressway, hoping to hitch a ride into Tokyo. I walked along the side of the road at a good clip, and made it to the expressway about 2:30 am
. I was planning to walk until the rain let up, then catch a few hours of sleep at the side of the road, waking up in time for the 5-6:00 am
traffic into Tokyo. I had just reached the expressway when, out of nowhere, the cops showed up, lights flashing. I stuck my hands in the air, Hollywood style, terrified. Unlike "urban camping", I hadn't anticipated a problem with this one. I had walked along the soft shoulder of a highway many times in Canada. Not necessarily at two in the morning in the middle of a rainstorm, though. Apparently, this meets the definition of the Japanese police for "abunai." Pansies. I apologized profusely - they were very nice - and they spun the car around and hauled my ass back to sodding, bloody, Narita Airport - back over the kilometres I had covered over the last three hours in the middle of the downpour, with chilly feet in leaking shoes. I would have have cried - except that nothing could dampen my mood for long - provided they didn't stick me on a plane to Canada once we got back to the airport. The truth was, I wanted to burst into song. Why not? I had gained another three months' grace, provided I could find some way to feed myself. And I was sure I could get a job this time.
We only went as far as the police station: a little one first, where I was interviewed by a policeman, then a bigger station. I think the police were puzzled as to why I was so bubbly. They wanted to make very, very sure I wasn't psychotic before they sent me back out into the downpour. How could I explain? Worry over my bank had been dragging me down. Once I resigned myself to the fact that I had no money, and that I couldn't deal with my bank, the solution was simple - find a job as soon as possible, earn some money, and hire a lawyer to figure out what the hell was going on with the RBC. Besides, I wasn't in Ontario - happy! Additionally, I was a little lightheaded from lack of food.
I should point out that the thought of asking someone in Tokyo for help outright never occurred to me. They was literally no-one to ask. I am not in any position to ask someone in Tokyo for help now. Or rather, I keep asking for help, and no-one gives it to me, with the great exception of the people at Second Harvest. I can count on one hand the number of people I've met this summer who haven't acted like frightening, deranged lunatics. I can't go to the doctor about my neck, and I can't call up anyone I've met over the summer to ask for help or advice. Just about everyone I met was on a mission to frighten me or hurt me "for my own good", especially past coworkers or bosses, and I think I would vomit out of sheer terror if I ever met any of them again.
The Narita Police ran a priming test on me, for assessment of psychosis. I keep telling people these tests don't work, but no-one ever listens to a damn thing I say. They way the police ran it, it is only an implicit test to a certain extent, and even if it were implicit, that doesn't mean it effectively probes for psychosis, although this sort of assessment can help induce psychosis, in my opinion. Because, did no-one ever point out that those tests are fucking scary, especially when the unwillingly subject/lab animal is better informed than the people running the tests and knows exactly how they are screwing up? There's little more frightening than to have some dithering idiot tie you down and force your hand to stick a fork-full of food into your own eye, and the grounds that you don't know what's good for you, and you need to be fed.
Anyway, the police at Narita didn't do a bad job, all things considered. I slept out on a bench in front of their main office. The office was large, "open concept" - so I could hear what was going on inside. When I woke up about 5am
(but was still half-asleep) a group of them started up a clatter - talking about my situation
I just reread part of my post about job hunting in Tokyo and the problems I had. God, it's boring. I can barely follow what I wrote, and I lived through the whole thing. I don't know why people are reading the post, but the counter keeps on going up. I think there are probably two or three obsessive people logging into my blog every day. I've invented backstories for them.
I'm so happy and grateful I have this blog. As I was saying, this blog is the only means I have for expressing my own opinion. For years - decades - I had nothing. Every time I opened my mouth there would be someone screaming at me (Elin Thordardottir), insulting me (Marc Pell, Ekaterini Klepousniotou), or just plain wrong-footing me (Susan Rvachew). It was non-stop bullying effort to erase my personality completely, and it worked in the sense that it drove me into a nervous breakdown. Those stupid bitches hurt my brain as surely as if they had ganged up and together swung a baseball bat - hard as they could - against my frontal lobes. Talking about it feels like reporting a crime or a rape ten years after the event, when the guilty party has gotten away scot-free, but the victim is left dealing with the fallout. How did this happen? Why didn't I just flip them the bird, and walk away? Because I was lied to, that's why. Elin Thordardottir lied to get me into the programme, with promises that a) I would be allowed to do my beautiful research project b) she was capable of overseeing it. (That woman's a pinhead, an incompetent ----. She's just a ----ing lazy piece of garbage. You can't finish a research project if your supervisor won't read it and sign off on it, and that woman can't read, I swear to God). I said I would finish that project if it killed me, and it nearly did. Susan Rvachew is a stupid cow who insults her employees and students behind their backs, and was so dumb that she wrote me email telling me to falsify my thesis. After the legit version had already been published on the Internet. THREE YEARS PRIOR. Cause that's how they conduct academic malfeasance at McGill - with a paper trail and a bunch of witnesses. Jesus Christ. Marc Pell is a statistically-challenged, whiney little bitch with no imagination who does not see the virtue in using naturalistic stimuli to test an automatic response. I can say this here, and it's the truth. I would honestly rather be doing research - working to develop therapies - but when I was trying to do research there was always some slimebag trying to bully me into lying or spewing out some garbage. Susan Rvachew, Elin Thordardottir, and Marc Pell all have their little tricks to get the answer they want for their research. But in my blog, I have freedom. No-one can force me to lie. And because I've been able to express my opinions here, in my blog, I've started to talk more in real life. I feel I can express an opinion, or disagree with someone without being frightened. I expect to be treated better, and it's working, a bit. So that's why I'm very, very, very grateful for this blog. THANK YOU, BLOG, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.
As for Schulich medical school at Western University: it was a 20 000$ a year rich kid's party. No-one was remotely at risk for failing out for academic reasons, and everyone knew it. Half-assing your way through written assignments by cutting and pasting off Wikipedia wasn't a problem. Plagiarizing material wasn't an issue because we were specifically told we didn't have to reference work handed in. Stories of illegal drug use among students and residents were endemic - these stories were told to us by the faculty, and were winked at. I never heard of any medical student or resident having the police called on them for illegal drug use. The focus was on "rehabilitation". You would think that killing patients by accident would be the cardinal sin, but it was presented to us as being inevitable routine. The idea that we would kill people off out of carelessness, ignorance, or arrogance was discussed with us early and often, so we would have plenty of time to get used to the idea. Killing off the patients was considered a necessary part of the learning process. We needed someone to practice on, after all. Medical students are much more valuable than patients - there will always be another sick person begging for the doctor's help. It was just a really fucked up atmosphere. It took Schulich faculty about 2 months to instill a tin God complex in those kids, and most of them were pretty much spoiled, greasy little shits to begin with. The fact that we were flattered and given candy by the faculty at every opportunity - we were chowing down on candy and cookies during exams, literally - just added to the demented frat-house party atmosphere.
The fact that I got reemed out for outsmarting that misogynistic lump of pig faeces, Nadeem Hussain of Schulich Medical school, still ticks me off. I called him "The Lizard" in my other blog. (I should have used real names there. It makes them searchable). This is the slimebag who rained shit on me for refusing to dumb down a medical explanation for the pretend patient in our interviewing skills class. In this class, actors play the "patient" roles for the benefit of medical students. They're someone to practice on. It wouldn't be a bad idea if it weren't for the naked contempt for the pretend patients shown by Nadeem Hussain and some of the actors. The pretend patient I ran into trouble with was supposed to be a hospital cleaner. She was "played" I think by some kind of nurse or hospital staffer. By Nadeem Hussain's lights, this sort of person with this sort of job was obviously too dumb to deserve a full explanation for the questions I was asking her. There are PhDs in this country who work as cleaners and dishwashers. What a shitheel that man is.
Have you ever wondered why your doctor treats you like a mentally deficient 2-year-old? There's an easy explanation for it: your doctor is a spoiled, sheltered brat who was given acting lessons in medical school in which he was taught to treat you like a moron. It's not you; it's your doctor. Furthermore, they're not just treating you like that, they treat everyone like that. Medical students take classes in which they are taught by doctors like Nadeem Hussain to treat their patients like garbage. Part of the reason I went to medical school was because I wanted to gain readmission to the human race. I wanted to know why I had and have been treated like a sack of shit since my nervous breakdown in 2005, particularly by medical professionals. I wanted to answer the question, once and for all, "What the hell is going on with the shitheels in the Canadian medical profession?" The answer turned out to be... there's absolutely nothing going on with the shitheels in the Canadian medical profession. They're just a bunch of shitheels, that's all. There's no there there.
Do people actually read this blog? It seems very strange. I write my blog to vent. A lot of it isn't particularly coherent. The count numbers go up though, which is nice, I guess. Possibly the social worker at Regional Hospital was right and the people at Schulich Medical school do have to wade through this stuff. I write it as a reaction against bullies and incompetents like Nadeem Hussain and Elin Thordardottir. The bad feeling is getting out of my system, however, so the blog should start to be more organized soon. I miss doing fractals, but I don't have access to the Apophysis software right now. Unlike medical school, no-one slams you on DeviantArt for getting the fractal right. You don't have to dumb down to flatter someone's ego. I'm only a mediocre fractal artist, but I enjoy the way DA is set up as a meritocracy. I have no idea, for example, what someone like Claire Jones does in real life, but there's nothing that I know of that can prevent her from doing epic fractals, or me from enjoying them.
Update: Why the hell are people reading this blog? There's no way it can make much sense to anyone but me. The page-view counter goes up, but I suspect there is something wrong with it.
Update: On second thought, it probably doesn't matter who's reading the blog. The important thing is that I have a place to express myself. I want to talk about Elin Thordardottir today. Anyone who has ever met Elin Thordardottir will have heard about her laziness and her screaming temper tantrums. She is capable of "functionary" grunt work, such as data collection, but really isn't up to PhD level analysis. She has a bad habit, in her papers, of claiming that other authors said things that support her own argument, then citing these authors. However, when you actually read the papers she cites, you find that she is misrepresenting other researchers. The trick she uses is called "Wall of Words." In her papers she creates enormously long paragraphs in which she cites about twenty different authors - a "Wall of Words." There is no way the average reviewer is going to wade through all that, and the reviewer won't go to the material Elin cites, and double-check that Elin is representing other people's material correctly. It's the "tl;dr" phenomenon (Too Long Didn't Read). Elin can't actually read English all that well. (She presents herself as being hyperconfident in her English, and in most things in general, so she fools you the first few times you meet. She's actually quite nervous. When she begins to feel more comfortable around her subordinates, then she starts with the screaming insults). With regards to the "Wall of Words" technique - I was able to notice she was misrepresenting other authors because, after a year or so working under Elin, I had read just about everything she ever had. The Law of Diminishing Returns kicks in early when it comes to learning under Elin. I am not certain whether she is misrepresenting other authors deliberately. Her misrepresentations are probably due to wishful thinking on her part, plus poor English skills. She talks herself into her lies. Also, she is simply not a very bright woman. Fifty percent of the population is capable of getting a PhD. You don't have to be very intelligent to do that.
Elin Thordardottir. She's a waste of oxygen, but since I was talking about her sleazy research practices I might as well finish up. Susan Rvachew is willing to falsify research to get a publication consistent with her philosophy on speech/language impairment. When I worked under Elin Thordardottir she had her system set up so that she didn't have to falsify results. Her hypotheses were largely non-defeasible - by which I mean that they were so broad, that evidence could never show them to be wrong. We were working with a population of children with language impairment. I had to write up a research project proposal (which she finally managed to read after 18 months of screaming, yelling, temper tantrum throwing, and general f*cking around while I watched 30 grand of my fellowship money dribble down the drain). Her argument against my project, when she did manage to read it, was that it might not produce positive results. My project was defeasible. In her view, this was a problem because (again in her view), only positive results could get published. She wanted me therefore to create a project with a non-defeasible hypothesis, that was guaranteed to produce positive results. There is a very easy way to do this when you are working with children with language impairment. Elin did it herself for her PhD thesis. Get a database of speech samples from children with language impairment, then (tired, going to bed) (a week or so later) then analyze the speech samples for language errors.
There are a million ways of analyzing speech samples for language errors. This sort of research has been done and done and done. Elin Thordardottir did her PhD thesis on argument structure difficulties in children with language impairment. There had been many papers on argument structure difficulties in children with language impairment prior to Elin's PhD thesis. Elin tweaked the definitions and reran the analyses. Then she ran way too many F-tests in order to have some results to talk about. (Statistics isn't really Elin's strong suit. I once showed her an ANOVA table of results, and she had absolutely no idea what she was looking at). The point is you can always mess around and find new ways of analyzing speech samples. You can always tweak the language analysis. You can always run another 40 F-tests. You can do this until the end of time. You will get positive results eventually, if you look hard enough. If you look hard enough for failure, and are determined to dig until you find it, you will find it, especially in a population that is singled out for being cognitively fragile. It's ground that has been mined again and again, and Elin is continuing to scrape the bottom. It long ago became sleazy and underhand - Elin has a vested interest in setting children up to fail - that's how she makes her money in publications and government grants. Some research along these lines is necessary, and must be done, but there is always a cost to the children who are being "mined". Elin is an expert at milking the system, and is a cynically manipulative animal whose research benefits only herself.
[Interlude within the interlude]: To any doctors out there who think that "I'm busy" is sufficient reason for doing a bad job: drop dead. No-one else on the face of the planet gets to use that excuse. If you do a lousy job the first time around, it isn't on you, it's on the patient, who then has to clean up your mess.[/Interlude within the interlude]
I wish I were in the right frame of mind to post some more in this blog, but I'm not. I'm in the middle of a problem that's not going to resolve itself for a while.
Update: Oh, I lie, I love my blog to bits, and I'll post forever and ever. My ravings here contain more factual and socially relevant information about research in my field than does Elin Thordardottir's entire oeuvre. I am depressed because I am looking for work and I am running out of cash again. Employers tell me there are fifty to sixty applications for every position advertised. I need to stand out somehow, and the only thing I've come up with so far is making the rounds in person, schmoozing the manager, asking what they are looking for, trying some way to supply it, then following up in person with evidence. Fortunately, the people are as nice as hell in this town - very different from Ontario. Something will come up eventually, but in the meantime, it's a drag.