How a Hoaxer Becomes an Informant: HYPOTHETICAL

[This is hypothetical and about no one in particular. Revealing the identify of a federal informant can in some cases be prosecuted as a crime. I would never reveal the identity of an informant. This post is for informational purposes only.]

Daddy issues.

Imagine you're hungry for attention. Perhaps you didn't get much attention growing up and have serious daddy issue.

The best way to get attention is to convince people your life is in danger. There is nothing quite like a damsel (or dashing man, as this post could apply to men or women) in distress.

You grew up in a SJW culture where words have no meaning. If someone posts something you don't like, they are stalking you.

If someone writes about you and you go to that person's Twitter page to read it (because he doesn't reach out to you), he's harassing you. Forget that this "harasser" never wrote anything to you or even contacted you. Words mean whatever your crybaby gender studies course says they mean.

You grow up in a culture without consequences. Thus, you think nothing of sending yourself a few death threats.

The media and everyone else takes the bait. You're a big star who is finally getting that attention you so richly craved.

Enter the Feds.

Then the Feds come knocking. You foolishly believe that talking to an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigations is like talking to a gender studies professor. Tell them what you feel and they will blindly accept it. Feels > Law.

Since words have no meaning, you tell these agents you were threatened. (Hey, maybe you or a friend of yours sent the email. But words mean whatever you want them to. You did feel threatened by that fake email, after all, right?)

As it turns out, the Feds don't like being lied to. Lying to a federal agent is a federal crime, in fact. It's called obstruction of justice and it's a felony.

Snitches get hugs and kisses.

The Feds know that prosecutions are political. If you've been given the royal treatment by the media, perhaps the Feds might not want to prosecute you. Like other government agencies, the Feds are sensitive to public relations.

Some tight-asses (no one has tighter buttholes than Federal agents; do not ever lie to these people or even talk to them unless you have an attorney present) say to you:

"Hey, you're a felon. You have a choice - go to prison or be a confidential informant."

The Feds give you an idea. Go find some white knights to help you run Ops. Hack a few sites. You know, the usual.

This is nothing to you. You're an SJW and you don't care about anyone but yourself.

You enlist some hapless white knights to help you.

You avoid prison time and now the FBI has a whole bunch of people they can indict for violations of computer crime statutes. (Or the Feds can turn these white knights into snitches.)

That is how a hoaxer becomes an informant.

This is, of course, 100% hypothetical. 


#GamerGate: An SEO Love Story

I may have said some stupid stuff on Twitter, but I never failed to report a rape (Arthur Chu).

I may have said some stupid stuff on Twitter, but I was never a neo-Nazi (Ian Miles Cheong).

I may have said some stupid stuff on Twitter, but I never wished rape and murder on a person's family (Robert Caruso).

I may have said some stupid stuff on Twitter, but I never said anything worse than Gawker (Sam Biddle).

I may have said some stupid stuff on Twitter, but I never molested a child (Lena Dunham).

I may have said some stupid stuff on Twitter, but I have never said consensual sex is rape (Matt Binder).

I may have said some stupid stuff on Twitter, but I am looking into what you've done.

Hit hard but hit fair SJWs, because I play by your rules.


idledillettante's False Police Report

"I'm pretty sure what Cernovich is doing is civil harassment in the state of California; and I feel badly about Quinn being harassed like this on my account." - idledillettante.

1. You are wrong. My conduct did not even close to the line of harassment in the state of California.

2. Nobody cares about how  you feel. 

Ms. idledillettante, your conduct is a criminal violation of Penal Code Section 148.5, which makes it a crime to file a false police report. I would suggest you retain a criminal defense attorney to help you  withdraw your report to avoid criminal liability.

I do not have any control over what, if anything, the LAPD decides to do with you. I do, however, have the right to sue you. This is a right I intend to exercise.

The false police report you filed allows me to sue you for damages. What's more, you incited others to file false police reports, which itself opens you up to liability under entirely other theories.

You seem to think this is a joke, or that you may use the legal system to vindicate your feelings. You are in for a rude awakening. I suggest you print this out and go to your college's legal department immediately.

Ms. idledillettante falsely accused Mike Cernovich of harassment.

Ms. idledillettante reported me to the Los Angeles Police Department (and encouraged her readers to file false police reports).  

What crime did I commit? In Ms. idledillettante's words, "I'm pretty sure what Cernovich is doing is civil harassment in the state of California."

As is turns out, California has a civil harassment statute. Anyone with an Internet connection can read it. 

California Code of Civil Procedure Section 527.6 provides:

527.6. (a) (1) A person who has suffered harassment as defined in subdivision (b) may seek a temporary restraining order and an injunction prohibiting harassment as provided in this section.

There is, of course, an important caveat. CCP section 527.6(b)(1) reads: "Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of 'course of conduct.'"

Even if the First Amendment did not exist (God Bless America), none of my conduct would have remotely fallen under harassment under California law. Again, the law (not your feelings) provides:

"Course of conduct" is a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose, including following or stalking an individual, making harassing telephone calls to an individual, or sending harassing correspondence to an individual by any means, including, but not limited to, the use of public or private mails, interoffice mail, facsimile, or computer email.

I never followed, stalked, or made harassing calls to anyone. I write about whatever I want to write about. If people read what I write and dislike it, that is their fault.

You cannot actively seek out "offensive" or "harassing" material that hurts your feels and  later claim that the person who wrote something you actively sought out harassed you. Well, you can claim that in your crybaby gender studies courses. You may not, however, make that claim in a court of law.

That said, even analyzing my conduct under the harassment statute is a red herring, as all of my conduct falls within well-defined protections of the First Amendment.

(Have you not noticed that there hasn't been a single licensed attorney who has accused me of any criminal or civil wrongdoing?)

It is impossible for me to harass anyone if I am engaged in constitutionally protective activity - such as exercising my rights under the First Amendment.

The police report.

Ms. idledillettante issues with my conduct stem from my blog post about Chelsea Van Valkenburg A/K/A Zoe Quinn.

I was well within my legal rights to write about a legal dispute. This is so obvious as to be baffling that anyone would contend otherwise. You can read all of the case citations here

Ms. idledillettante became outraged that I wrote about Valkenburg's case and "doxxed" me.

Much of Ms. idledillettante's gripes concern conduct that is entirely lawful and appropraite. THe conduct is lawful as I have a First Amendment right to write about issues concerning the court system. The conduct is appropriate as Zoe Quinn doxxed me.

Ms. idledillettante posted my full address on her site. She also posted a Google street image view of my house. She coordianted her dooxing of me with Valkenburg. 

Ms. idledillettante complained to police that:

  • Mike Cernovich is a licensed attorney in CA. He became interested in a restraining order filed by the victim against her ex Eron Gjoni in MA. Gjoni harassed the victim via internet postings until ordered to stop by a court. Cernovich believes that filing a restraining order against Gjoni is an assualt on Eron’s rights & requested court documents from MA about the case. He then posted them on the internet to the prominent hate group #gamergate, who has been harassing the victim since late August.

This is true as to me, with the qualification that #GamerGate is not a hate group and that there is no evidence #GamerGate has been harassing Valkenburg (who is an alleged victim); no comment as to the truthfullness as to Mr. Gjoni.

I paid a courier service to obtain a copy of the restraining order Valkenburg obtained against Gjoni. The restraining order was a public record. I broke no laws. I obtained records anyone could obtain.

My conduct was entirely lawful. No reasonable person would believe otherwise.

  • Attached to this complaint is the victim’s handwritten complaint which Cernovich posted on his blog on October 23rd. Here, he reacts to something I did (posting a Google Street View of his house) by calling out the victim repeatedly by her legal name, which was not widely known before.

I have the First Amendment right to call Zoe Quinn by her real name or alias. No reasonable person would believe otherwise.

  • He has also been threatening on Twitter to hire a private investigator to research the victim []. He has been repeating this story with the hashtag #gamergate, a poorly organized internet hate mob.

This is all true, except that #GamerGate is not a hate mob.

 I did in fact hire a private investigator to look into Valkenburg and her boyfriend, Alex Lifschitz. I also hired the same private investigator to look into Ms. idledillettante.

Hiring a private investigator is entirely lawful. No reasonable person would believe otherwise.

The lies contained in the police report.

Ms. idledillettante did not merely report me for a non-crime. What she did was even worse. She lied about me in her police report.

Ms. idledillettante told the Los Angeles Police Department several lies, including:

  • 1. "He has ... sent the victim [Valkenburg] threatening direct messages []."

Direct messages (or DMs) are a method of communication available by using Twitter.

I have never sent Valkenburg an email or DM. In fact, I do not even send @ Tweets to Ms. Valkenburg. If Ms. Valkenburg is bothered by what I write, it is because she actively reads me. I send her nothing.

  1. 2. He "seems convinced that the victim doxxed him when in fact she did not."

This is false. I have proof that Valkenburg and Ms. idledillettante acted together in doxxing me. 

Ms. idledillettante has a big mouth and it wasn't hard confirming that she coordinated her doxx of me with Valkenburg.

The causes of action.

Get a lawyer, Ms. idledillettante.

He or she will walk you through the many causes of action I have against you. You may talk about defamation (both for your blog post and the police report), abuse of process, harassment (filing a false police report is not constitutionally protected), intentional infliction of emotional distress, and more.

Because you used the interstate wires to transmit your false police report, there may be federal causes of action there, too.

Again, please consult with a licensed attorney. Go to your university's General Counsel. Get help. You need it.

The lawsuit will be filed in California.

Ms. idledillettante is a student located outside of the State of California. She recently contacted the Los Angeles Police Department to file a false police report against me.

Since Ms. idledillettante contacted authorities in Los Angeles, jurisdiction in California State court would be proper. Ms. idledillettante will need to retain an attorney licensed to practice in the State of California. 

This will be my last open letter.

Ms. idledillettante, the false police report you filed was beyond the pale of what I could have expected. I understand that people play dirty on the Internet. I did not anticipate that you would break the law. You reported conduct that wasn't criminal. You also lied.

As you have neglected to accept my generous offer that you apologize and move on, I have instructed my attorney to file suit.

We will likely wait until the holidays are over, as we are good guys. 

Have a good day, Ms. idledillettante.


Anil Dash, Doxxing, and SJW Lies

"Doxx up, don't doxx down." - Anil Dash (source)

Anil Dash claims I doxxed him. Does his claim hold water or is he being dishonest?

The alleged doxx.

Several years ago Anil Dash wrote about his apartment hunt. He mentioned that he would likely be moving into a certain apartment building. He identified his apartment building by name.

Over a year ago I asked Anil why he, a man who hates white people, lived in a nearly all-white neighborhood. I pointed out that he lived in a certain apartment building to prove my point.

I did not identify Anil's unit # or even the floor he lived on.

The apartment building.

The apartment building Anil lives in has 200+ units and over 30 floors. Further, this apartment building has a door man and security. You can't just walk up to his front door.

I pointed out that he lived in a very privileged neighborhood. He hates white people yet chooses to live with them.

I asked Anil why he chooses to live in a bastion of wealth and white privilege rather than with the downtrodden.

The neighborhood - the Upper East Side.

Although I will not identify the apartment building Anil lives in, I will identify the 'hood this hero of the downtrodden lives in.

Wikipedia notes that the Upper East Side is a bastion of power and (by Anil's logic white) privilege:

The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 88.25% White, 6.14% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.34% African American, 0.09% Native American, 1.39% from other races, and 1.74% from two or more races. 5.62% of the population were Hispanic of any race. 

Not only does Anil Dash choose to live among white people, he chooses to live among rich white people:

The Upper East Side maintains the highest pricing per square foot in the United States. A 2002 report cited the average cost per square meter as $8,856; however, that price has noticed a substantial jump, increasing to almost as much as $11,200 per square meter as of 2006. There are some buildings which cost about $125 per square foot (~$1345/㎡).

I did not doxx Anil Dash. 

I pointed out that Anil Dash lives in a huge complex.

Anil Dash himself has spoken about where he lives.

Over one year after the aleged doxx, Anil Dash's complete address is still listed in his WHOIS. Clearly this is not a man who is concerned about his personal safety. He is playing the victim, as he often does.

Anil Dash believes in doxxing. 

Even if I had doxxed Anil Dash, that would have been my prerogative.

Anil Dash has power and privilege. He is a rich man who can afford to live among the power elite.

Even so, I never doxxed Anil Dash. He lied once again.


Chelsea Van Valkenburg A/K/A Zoe Quinn v. Free Speech

"You are also ordered not to post any further information about [Chelsea Van Valeknburg] or her personal life or online to [unclear] hate mobs." - Chelsea Van Valkenburg (AKA Zoe Quinn) v. Eron Gjoni.

When people say mean things about us online or even smear our reputations, our first impulse is to fight back. Some people file frivolous defamation lawsuits - called strategic lawsuits against public participation - or SLAPP for short. Others combat speech they disagree with by getting their own message out.

Still others call the police to arrest their criticis. That is what Chelsea Van Valkenburg elected to do.

Chelsea Van Valkenburg (who goes by the alias Zoe Quinn) cheated on her boyfriend, Eron Gjoni. More than that, according to Gjoni,  Valkenburg mentally and physically abused him by exposing him to STD risk, as she cheated on him with several different men and it's uncertain if she used protection.

(Gjoni weighs 135 pounds and has a fondness for cats.)

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 12.25.53 AM

(Zoe Quinn is much larger than Gjoni and possess a dominant physical presence. She is, in all ways, an alpha female.)

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 12.23.30 AM

 

Zoe Quinn obtains a restraining order against Eron Gjoni.

In Massachusetts a victim of domestic violence may obtain a protective order - a 209a order for short. A 209a order is nothing unusual. It's what we all understand of as "restraining order" or "peace order."

Essentially, a person subject to the 209a order is not allowed to come within 1,000 feet of the person who has obtained the order. He may not call her or contact her or stalk her. Pretty basic stuff.

Zoe Quinn made several frightening allegations against Gjoni. The truth of those accusations are not at issue here. In fact, I have no interest in their personal squabble.

My interest lies solely in the free speech issue. Gjoni's has been silenced. Much worse, he has been ordered to appear in court for allegedly violating the court order.

Gjoni may go to jail for merely speaking his mind and sharing his story.

Zoe Quinn's conduct is lawfare.

Quinn's actions were not surprising. In fact, First Amendment wonks have a term for it. It's called a Kimberlin v. Walker issue, and it is a form of lawfare. 

Kimberlin v. Aaron Walker was widely covered by a politically liberal blogger who also has a high regard for free speech.

As Ken at Popehat observed in his discussion of Kimberlin:

3. Aaron's arrest illustrates how well lawfare can work and how dangerous unprincipled rubber-stamping of protective orders can be. Imagine it: you write something about a dispute. Someone involved in that dispute goes to court in another state and accuses you of harassment and gets a "peace order" against you. That person claims that your writing is threatening, that it has led to threats, or that it constitutes persistent harassment. If you are very lucky, the judge denies the application because it is too vague, or because it seems to complain about protected speech — but if you are unlucky, the judge rubber-stamps it without even demanding to see the allegedly offending posts.

In Kimberlin, the plaintiff "sought, and obtained, a new 'peace order' (Maryland law-speak for a restraining order) against Aaron, trying to portray Aaron's protected expression as harassment and threats." The protective order prevented Walker from exercising his free speech rights by providing commentary critical of Kimberlin.

Walker was arrested, "apparently on the grounds that by blogging about Kimberlin's behavior, he had violated the peace order."

As Ken at Popehat observed:

Brandenbug, as I mentioned in my earlier post, is the United States Supreme Court case that articulates the relevant standard: speech may only be banned on the theory that it is incitement when it is intended to create, and likely to create, a clear and present danger of imminent lawless action.

One might argue that Gjoni's earlier blog post describing the alleged physical and mental abuse he suffered "intended to create, and likely to create, a clear and present danger of imminent lawless action."

In that case, the protective order should have clearly stated what sort of speech Gjoni was not allowed to make.

Instead, the order was vague and overbroad, as its very terms cover any and all speech Gjoni would make.

The order read, "You are also ordered not to post any further information about [Chelsea Van Valkenburg] or her personal life or online to [unclear] hate mobs."

What does any personal information about Valkenburg mean? By the terms of the order, it would seem to prohibit constitutionally protected speech. After all, Gjoni has the right to talk about the alleged abuse he suffered at Valkenburg's hands.

Eron Gjoni has the right to speak out about the abuse he allegedly suffered at Chelsea Van Valkenburg's hands.

Eugene Volokh is one of the country's leading experts on the First Amendment. In his article Free Speech and Criminal Harassment Laws (here) he covers the use and abuse of protective orders as they relate to free speech.

Volokh's article distinguishes between speech to one person and speech to many people. Think of it this way.

You may obtain a protective order preventing me from harassing you or talking to you. That is one-to-one speech. You may not, however, prevent me from talking about you to other people (one-to-many) speech.

Volokh writes (emphasis added):

Restrictions on public speech about a person, then, stand on very different First Amendment footing from restrictions on unwanted speech to the person. Such restrictions on speech about a person can be constitutional when limited to speech that falls within the recognized First Amendment exceptions, such as threats, libel, and intentional incitement to likely and imminent criminal attack. But when one-to-many speech about people falls outside these exceptions, it should be constitutionally protected.

As I mentioned above, I don’t want to claim that one-to-many speech is less harmful than one-to-one speech. Indeed, many people might be much more upset about insulting things said publicly about them—to listeners who might be influenced by such criticism—than about insulting things said directly to them.

Nonetheless, for reasons discussed in Part I, one-to-many speech has full First Amendment value because it involves the expression of facts and opinions aimed at informing and persuading potentially willing listeners. It should therefore generally be constitutionally protected, notwithstanding the offense and distress it causes to its subjects. And this is certainly where current First Amendment doctrine points.

Eron Gjoni's First Amendment rights are being violated.

Gjoni has the right to discuss the abuse he allegedly suffered at Zoe Quinn's hands. The 209a order is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague under the First Amendment. It's overbroad because it could not possibly cover anything and everything that Gjoni might want to talk about. It's vague because it doesn't put a reasonable person on notice as to what speech is prohibited.

On a moral level, Chelsea Van Valkenburg's conduct is despicable. She is abusing the court system to prevent legitimate criticism of her.

Valkenburg's position on doxxing.

Indeed, in her affidavit for the 209a order, Chelsea Van Valkenburg complained about "doxxing" - the practice of posting a person's information online to harass others. Yet Valkenburg herself "doxxed" me.

Valkenburg and a co-hort have posted pictures of my home as well as my address on a website. According to Valkenburg, doxxing is done when a person wants  third partiess to torment, harass, or harm another.

By Valkenburg's logic, my life is in grave danger.

According to Valkenburg and her supporters (including many in the mainstream media such as Rebecca Vipond Brink), posting my personal information only and disseminating it out to a hate mob is OK, because I am an evil person who said some of the types of things people who write for Gawker say.

Not only does Valkenburg abuse the court system, she also is attempting to incite others to stalk and harass me.

Unlike Valkenburg, I will not be seeking a court order.

Instead, I will continue to exercise my First Amendment rights by talking about her case.

I have only just begun exposing Chelsea Van Valkenburg a/k/a Zoe Quin and her lies.

 


Rich Gaspari, Myofusion, Marc Lobliner, and Amino Spiking Lawsuits

UPDATE: Marc Lobliner and I had a long talk about this issue. Marc is a good guy and my issue is with Gaspari, not Marc.

Marc Lobliner is a supplement company ownder and he is the Chief Marketing Officer of Tiger Fitness Nutrition. Lobliner was one of the first supplement company owners to call out the practice of amino spiking protein powders. Amino spiking is the practice of adding cheap amino acids into protein powder and then falsely claiming on the label that the protein powder contains more grams of protein than it actually contains.

For calling out amino spiking, Lobliner earned a tremendous amount of goodwill. Forgetting Warren Buffet's warning, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to destroy it," Lobliner has now partnered with Rich Gaspari, a supplement company owner notorious for the practice of amino spiking his signature protein, Myofusion Elite Protein.

What is amino spiking and what does that have to do with Marc Lobliner and his good friend Rich Gaspari?

Several lawsuit have been filed against various protein powder manufacuters for adding cheap amino acids like taurine and glycine to their protein powders. I am currently researching a lawsuit against Rich Gaspari and Gaspari Nuturition, as I purchased Gaspari Myofusion under the belief that it contained the amount of protein listed on the front of the container.

For some reason, Marc Lobliner is now heavily marketing Rich Gaspari's products. Lobliner is using his popular YouTube channel to rehabiliate Gaspari's reputation.

Rich Gaspari has never apologized for amino spiking Myofusion Elite Protein. He has never given me a refund, even though I used Gaspari Myofusion protein for several years. In fact, I have two jugs of amino spiked protein sitting on my kitchen counter.

Lobliner claims that no one should care about Gaspari's past, telling me, "I care about NOW." I care about NOW too, Marc. Right now I have jugs of amino spiked Gaspari Myofusion protein sitting on my counter. Right NOW I have emptier pockets because Rich Gaspari tricked me into giving him  my money

As a licensed attorney in California, I believe it's my duty to call out fraud when I see it. I believe that Gaspari committed labelling fraud when he marketed his protein as containing 25 grams of protein, as taurine, glycine, and other amino acids are not protein and should not be counted as part of the claimed protein content of Myofusion Elite Protein.


Adam Taylor of the Washington Post Caught Plagiarizing Government Propaganda Site

Adam Taylor of the Washington Post proves that journalistic integrity and independence is a thing of the past.

Thanks to the careful eye of the much-maligned Roosh, we learned that Adam Taylor has no integrity and ethics. When he writes an article for the Washington Post, he simply lifts content from a U.S. government propaganda site. 

You think I'm joking? If only that were so.

Like many of you I've been seeing headlines regarding the "crisis of democracy in Ukraine." I don't really have an opinion on Ukraine. I don't live there. I've never even visited. 

All I know about Ukraine is some call it Ukraine where as others refer to it as the Ukraine

What's going on in Ukraine? Beats me. I can only go by what I read - that is, by what "journalists" like Adam Taylor report. 

As it turns out, Adam Taylor doesn't do much independent reporting. Instead, he ripped off a government propaganda site know as Radio Free Europe. As Wikipedia notes:

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress that provides news, information, and analysis to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East "where the free flow of information is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed".

A Radio Free article states:

Skirting open calls for separatism, the affable and energetic Podyachy is pushing for Kyiv to lease the entire peninsula to Russia in exchange for the cancelation of Ukraine’s debts to Moscow.

Adam Taylor's Washington Post article reads:

RFE/RL’s Robert Coalson recently went to Crimea and spoke to members of the pro-Russian separatist movement there. One politician he spoke to had the novel idea of leasing Crimea to Russia in exchange for a cancellation of Ukraine’s debt to Moscow.

Roosh has more details in this post

Incidentally, some of you might not like Roosh. That's fine.

But your opinion of Roosh has nothing to do with what Roosh has exposed. Everything Roosh wrote has been carefully sourced. Hate Roosh. Fine.

But if you ignore what he's uncovered, then you're simply pathethic and nothing more than a mouth breathing boot licker.

By the way, when Roosh confonted Adam Taylor about Taylor's plagiarism, Adam Taylor called Roosh a "teacher of rape." Taylor's full tweet read:

@rooshv this may surprise you, but criticism from a man who makes his living teaching date rape doesn’t really sting much

How is this appropriate conduct for a supposed journalist? Adam Taylor's accusation that Roosh "makes his living teaching date rape" is both false and defamatory. Roosh won't sue him, but he would absolutely have a libel case against him and could sue him.

Why is the Washingotn Post publishing stories by someone who steals content directly from government sources and who also libels people online?

Readers of Adam Taylor and the Washington Post should be careful. If they want real journalism, they'll need to look elsewhere.


How Steroids Almost Killed Me

With recent revelations showing that Alex Rodriguez was a user of performance enhancing drugs, steroids are back in the news. Now seems like a good time to talk about how steroids almost killed me. Here I am, about to die while on steroids:

Photo-11

 

WAIT, THAT'S THE WRONG PICTURE.

Here's what steroids did to me: 

Photo-93

 

 

Horrified? Well guess what, sheep, the steroids that almost killed me weren't anabolic steroids that I bought on the black market. The steroids that almost killed me were topical corticosteroids that my doctors gave me.

Wait, wait?! Doctors heal people, they don't make people sick.

During law school ago I'd occasionally get a patch of red skin underneath my eye lids. It wasn't a big deal, but I went to a dermatologist anyway.

I went to a dermatologist who gave me some creams. I didn't know what the creams were but was assured the creams were safe. No biggie. If you can't trust a dermatologist from UCLA, who can you trust?

For years I'd put a little dab of magic cream on and underneath my eyelids. After a day or two the red patch of skin would go away, and I'd put the tube away for several weeks and sometimes several months.

Then something mysterious happened. 

A few years later, my entire skin broke out into some red rash. I had no idea what was going on. I went to a dermatologist who told me I was having a "full body eczema flare."

That didn't quite make sense to me. How can an adult male get a full body eczema all of the sudden?

I saw several dermatologists from the finest medical schools in the country. I spared no expense, as my life had become a living hell. I couldn't sleep, I was itching all day, and my face would turn beet run and burn with the intensity of a horrific sunburn that would never heal.

None of them could answer simple questions like, "What is causing this eczema?"

One dermatologist told me, "There was a huge bloom of pollen." I've never had allergies (allergies are beta), I told her. How could pollen make my skin break out?

She shrugged her shoulders and wrote me a prescription for stronger steroids.

Suddenly I was having trouble driving at night. The cars on the road were blurry. I thought my eyesight was failing me. When I learned that eye problems were a side effect of steroid use, I stopped using them and my night vision returned to its predator-like clarity. 

Another dermatologist gave me a prescription for prednisone. Prednisone is basically magic, until you look at its side effect, which include memory loss, increased appetite, psychosis, and diabetes. 

Still another (I wasn't kidding when I told you a lot of doctors were consulted) suggested an allergy to dust mites. On and on it went.

What if the drugs doctors were giving you made you sick?

 After 18 months of being prescribed stronger and stronger drugs, I learned what the problem was.

While unable to sleep yet again and performing Internet research, I learned about Kelly Palace and her organization, ITSAN - short for the International Topical Steroid Addiction Network.

Kelly had gone through what I had gone through, although her trials and tribulations were far more intense than mine. She started a non-profit to raise awarness and I got in touch with her group.

There is some percentage of people whose skin function gets destroyed even when using "safe" amounts of topical steroids. The only way for those people to get better is to quit using topical steroids.

Withdrawal was and is horrible.

Topical steroids work by constricting the blood vessels. Less blood flow to the surface of your skin gives you nice clear skin.

Once you stop using steroids, the blood vessels overreact. They vasodilate to up to 3 times their size. This casues the release of massive amounts of nitric oxide (which burns the skin) and extreme edema.

Steroids also disrupt the body's ability to produce cortisol. Long story short, this means you won't be able to fall asleep at a normal hour or have a regular sleep schedule.

Since cortisol mositurizes and lubricates the skin, it also means that your skin will peel off. I have shed pounds of skin.

(If you want to learn more about spreading full-body eczema, check out ITSAN.)

I stopped taking steroids on October 15, 2012 and that's when real Hell began.

Fifteen Months Later.

Yes, that's right friends. This doesn't just heal overnight. For someone with my steroid usage history, it'll take me around 18-24 months to fully clear.

  • I haven't had 8 straight hours of sleep in over a year. I wake up at least 3 times a night.
  • When in a flare, I have to sleep with an ice pack applied to my neck. I wake up once the ice pack cools, which is about every 30-90 minutes.
  • I wake up several times at night with my shirt soaking wet due to uncontrollable night sweats.
  • My skin sheds so rapdily that I can't be away from my "home base" for more than 5 hours, as I have to repaply creams before my skin completely dries out.
  • I have to sleep in plastic food service gloves or else my hands will dry out.
  • I can't turn my neck (the skin is so dry that it tears upon head movement) unless I apply a thick goo like vaseline to it.
  • I have to take scalding hot showers to numb the itch. (Itch and pain travel down the same neural pathways. Better to hurt for a few minutes than itch incessantly.)

I won't be fully better for another several months. (Some people take as long as 3 or more years to fully heal.) I'm looking and feeling much better, but this is a long road and a skin flare could hit me any day. 

STEROIDS ARE EVIL.

Without question, the legal stuff you get form your doctor will do more to destroy your life than anything some guy is selling out of a gym locker room.

Beware of steroids and never trust your doctor.

 

 

 

 


RIP Ed Post

Gold Dust Lounge

Years ago Ed wrote to me, asking for some assistance with his Blawg Review project. I gladly pitched in by suggesting articles to Blawg Review hosts.

We had the pleasure of working together for a while until a mild falling out. No one really "falls out" with Ed, and it's more appropriate to say that my rage caused a slight rift.

Ed was making a mark on the blogsphere. A parasite who marketed blogs to unsuspecting lawyers was jealous of Blawg Review's success. This weasal began making personal attacks against Ed.

Viewing Ed as a friend, I was outraged.

I spent dozens of hours gathering dirt on this lowlife. I was able to prove that he had been lying about the benefits of using his company. I was able to show that he was lying about his client's readership. Armed with this information I was pacing the room, ready to destroy someone who dared attack my friend.

Ed would have none of that. He suggested taking a concilitory tone. I brooded at losing a scalp and then lost interest in Blawg Review.

 

Years later I had the pleasure of meeting Ed in San Francisco. Almost three years ago to this day, he emailed me telling me he was going to be in my city and asking for a good place to have a blogger meet-up.

Ed had a geinune goodness about him. It's an energy or vibe that you can't fake. He cared more about the people he met than he did about himself.

He thanked me for not revealing his real name. While working together on Blawg Review, Ed accidentaly emailed me from his personal email account. A private person, he was panicking. I immediately deleted his email and years later could honestly tell him, "I'm not keeping it a secret. I deleted it from my mind."

He didn't avoid talking about himself to hide anything. He simply wasn't that interested in himself. He was more interested in connecting with and learning others.

He laughed at some of my off-the-walk remarks. I asked him if he put olive oil on his skin, because it looked so good - not just for his age, but for any age. His good skin genetics became a running inside joke.

After a few drinks the adults with responsibilites went home. That left just Ed and me.

Like Ed, I don't really talk about myself that much in person. Many people who have known me for years are always surprised to find out certain major details about my life. 

It was an interesting conversation. What happens when two people who usually let others run their mouths off are left alone?

Ed was a walker, and when I told him walking the streets of San Francisco was about a favorite pastime, we ventured through the city.

Most don't know that Ed was extremely successful. "I had all the fancy cars and big home and pools. It was fun and I'm glad I did it, but I don't miss it."

He switched to a lifetyle of minimalism. His goal was to be able to fit his entire life's possessions in a suitcase.

We talked about having money, losing money, divorces, heartache and fatherhood.

We talked a lot about how much he loved his son. Ed was overwhelmed with joy that his son's job took him back home. To Ed, it was a joy and privilege to live with his grown son, allowing them to share a father-son bond when both of them were men.

Ed taught me about his former life. "Stop. See the building. As a real estate developer, I can't just see a city block. I look at what is missing and what belongs there."

We talked about growing old. How does life for a man change as he passes thorugh his 30s, 40s, 50s, and into his 60s?

Even though he had a three decades on me, he was able to keep up and we marched up and down San Francisco's hilly streets.

During the entire visit I knew I was in the company of a superior man. Ed did not simply exist or pass the time. He actively engaged the world and everything and everyone around him. He was more alive than anyone I had ever met and I didn't want the night to end.

I walked him back to his hotel and never saw him again.

I'm not a sentimental person. People die every day. It's part of the cycle of life.

Yet here I am, unable to hold back tears for a man I only met once and spent a few hours with.

Maybe it's because I imagine the pain Ed's son must be feeling. Knowing how Ed spoke of his son, I can't begin to comprehend the pain he must be feeling. Or maybe it's because Ed was simply the type of man whose death is a loss all must feel.

When someone like Ed dies, the better part of what makes us human dies, too.

You simply do not forget Ed. He left a mark Ed left on everyone he met and he left a mark on the world. I miss him already and the world is truly a worse place without him.

Rest in Peace.