Q: Who says bitching and moaning doesn't get you anything?|
A: Not me!
Truth be told, I did this for myself.
I'm sure most of you have noticed the change in the points display, and some of you have already whined about it (fiend). I, and i'm sure alot of other people, was fed up with one-line posts (which encompasses 9/10 posts here) taking up half a screen. That has now been alleviated.
Also, as an added bonus, there are some points display options in your user options. You can:
- Prevent your points from being displayed to other people
- Choose not to see any points at all
This is sure to make Wraith happy, and sharing the same sentiment I am quite thrilled.
Cheers and happy point whoring
For all you image-hosting impaired, we now have a public image bin. |
It should be pretty straight-forward. Upload your image then consider it hosted. Some things to note:
- We will not host pornography of ANY KIND! If you upload pornography you will lose your access to the image bin. Bewbie pics are ok assuming the subject is of legal age (that's art, not pron)
- Do not upload copyrighted images.
- Do not upload depictions of illegal activities, or images that are considered illegal
- Maximum image size is 100k
- No hotlinking! These images are for display on asylumnation.com only. This is programmatically enforced, if you try to link an image from a different server you will get a picture of a sexy brunette in a bathing suit scolding you for hotlinking.
- You can only upload .gif, .jpg and .jpeg images
There is no limit to how many images you can upload (at this time at least). In fact, you are encouraged to use the feature in picture threads so we don't end up with a bunch of red x's when your hosting account goes kaputz.
IMAGE NAMES - When you upload an image, you will be asked to name it. This is not the filename of the pic, it is a title for the pic, what you want to refer to it as. This must be alpha-numeric, non-alpha-numeric characters will be converted to underscores (_). The name must also be unique, no two images can have the same name. You can then easily insert the image into a post using the following code: <~imagename~>
For example, if i upload an image named 'pic_of_my_ass' I can insert it into a post by typing <~pic_of_my_ass~>.
Also, anyone can view or use your images, but only you can delete your images.
That is all.
Well, actually nobody is waiting for it, in fact it's never been mentioned before to my knowledge, but you're gettintg it whether you like it or not.|
So I was setting some Winamp options a few days ago, and I saw the 'skins' menu which I usually ignore, but I said what the hell, let's get a new look. So I download all five 'featured' skins, and let me tell you, THEY FUCKING SUCK!!!!!!!!!! My god, how the fuck can these be 'featured'?
So anyway, I saw the 'make your own skin' button on the winamp site, and i'm all like "yeah baby!" so I click it and like 50 hours later I have a crappy half finished product that i'm giving up on. You can get it here: http://www.asylumnation.com/misc/asylum.wsz
So, there's alot of other shit i wanted to do with it, but I expected this to take a few hours and it's taken 10x that. Maybe, if people like, i'll finish it up.
I've set up an asylum mirror site at http://www.madsmackdown.com/asylum/asylum_index.php.|
If (and when) this server (shaggy or otaku) experiences technical difficulties you can always go there to satisfy your asylum cravings. In such an event, any discussions from there will be moved back here once the problem is sorted out.
Bookmark this site now, as you won't be able to access this news if this shaggy is down (duh).
In the event shaggy goes down you can still get into chat using galt.mindasylum.net for news and updates.
I was bored so i like made this signup board and stuff. k?thx.bing!|
I've redone the stalker map. You can now add yourself to, or remove yourself from existing dots. I went through the stalker atlas threads and it should be pretty up to date, but i could have missed some people. Either way, if i missed you you can add yourself to the map.|
If you need a dot added to the map, let me know by replying here and I will add it. Don't email me because it will be put off and buried forever amidst all the other crap i get.
- I will not add a dot for you if you live near (within 100 miles or so) of an existing dot.
- I will not add a dot for your little shithole coal mining hick town unless you are nowhere near a decent sized city.
- if your little shithole coal mining hick town is near (within 100 miles or so) a decent sized city or major metropolitin area i will add a dot for that city rather than your little shithole coal mining hick town.
- if you need a dot added post the city name, state or province if applicable, and country. I will disregard anything else such as lat/long coords or '100 miles west and 30 miles north of where karen lives'.
- Essex is part of London.
- Please keep this accurate, don't add yourself to fishnation just to be a funny guy, retard.
The new stalker atlas is here: http://www.asylumnation.com/asylum/asylum_map.php
It is also listed on the members menu on the front page.
To add or remove yourself from a dot click it.
happy days to you
We will be doing some work, upgrades, remodeling and revamping of some sections of the site, including this one. Love each other, and your cheese..
We've removed the Suggestions forum from the site ... I'm sure you noticed it was the slowest one on the site, and many times wasn't being used for the intended purpose. All threads that resided in Suggestions have been moved to TLF, and the titles have been appended with [suggestions] in case you want to do a search for them. In the future, feel free to use TLF for suggestions, PMs to admins, or email.|
Hall Of Dys is gone too. The threads have been moved to TLF but they have been marked for a hall of fame page. When I'm finished with them there will be a hall of fame page, hall of fame search option, and special icons for hall of fame threads. The threads, however, will always remain in their originating forums.
i'm temporarily disabling the new points system until i figure out what's wrong with the database. I don't think that's the problem but to rule it out they will be shut off.|
Sorry for the inconvenience and whatnot.
[update] I believe I found the problem... although the only way to tell for sure is to wait and hope it doesn't break again. If everything is fine and dandy tomorrow night ill turn the points back on.
Crashing through the thick brush, the leaves and twigs crunching under my feet as I fled, I can’t remember if the tears were because I was screaming inside or if they were because I kept getting whipped in the face with errant branches. I was trying to hunch down, an arm thrown forward to make my way, as I ran down the small hill into a heavily wooded ravine. It was late at night, and the lights from the neighborhood were fading away behind me as I made my way through the overgrown forest. |
In one hand I had a pack of my mother’s cigarettes. Merit Ultra Lights. Normally I would only pick off one or two at a time when I found an open pack lying around. Tonight, I had been brazen enough to just grab an unopened one from the cupboard, consequences be damned. In my other hand I was holding on to the cardboard handle of a six pack of wine coolers. There were only 4 bottles there. The wine coolers had been on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator door for what seemed like years. My mother wasn’t a big drinker. She went through a period of a few years after the divorce where she would go through a large cardboard box of white zinfandel in two days, but that had tapered off over time to the occasional glass of wine or two before bed. I was only 16, but in my household, you noticed such things.
They say if you have one parent who is an alcoholic, you have a 50/50 chance of becoming one yourself. My parents had split up when I was 12 because of my father’s drinking, so I suppose it’s lucky alcoholism never took with my mother as well, because then I would have really been screwed.
Because of my father’s drinking, alcohol was a taboo thing in my household, save for my mother’s occasional indulgence. My siblings and I had been indoctrinated for years about the evils of alcohol. We were told how it could turn a good man like my father into an adulterous bastard who would leave his family for beer and women half his age. We were warned over and over again how easily we could fall into the same trap. If we ever get drunk for the first time, we may very well fall into a downward spiral of alcohol and shame was the message. We were told how quickly it could all get out of control, especially given the history of my family. Alcohol was a grave, grave danger; that was the closest thing to a religious conviction my immediate family had.
Something had happened to me that day. A girlfriend had broken up with me. I failed a test. I had a fight with my best friend. I can’t recall what it was, but it was something that seemed vitally important to a 16-year-old boy and would just seem silly to me now. Whatever it was, it was so crucial that it had driven me to steal a pack of cigarettes and some wine coolers and to run out into the woods behind my house set on getting drunk for the first time in a place where my family or neighbors wouldn’t be able to see me. All the warnings of my mother and what I had seen of my father screamed at me that what I was about to do was akin to suicide. But at the moment, self-destruction seemed like a pretty good idea.
I hustled down the hill and finally found myself in a small nook behind a large felled oak. I carefully placed the wine coolers on the ground and lit myself a shaking cigarette as I stared at the Bartles and James at my feet. The cuts on my face from the heavy brush were being cleaned with the warm tears washing down my face leaving trails of warm stinging liquid mixing with blood. I looked hard through the smoke at the wine coolers in front of me.
“I really shouldn’t do this,” I thought as my hand went for a bottle.
I woke up 4 years later in a small institutional room with three beds. The sound of an electric razor—they didn’t allow regular razors here--is what had interrupted my sleep, though without the booze in my system, sleep had been difficult to achieve and even more difficult to hang on to. I had spent the better part of 5 hours that night in bed, tossing, turning, and sweating. Chris, a guy I had only met the day before, was in the small bathroom that belonged to our communal “drying out” room. The door to the bathroom was wide open, and he was standing in front of the sink wearing only a towel around his waist. He was humming to himself and smiling broadly. This was his 6th time in rehab.
“Good morning!” he said cheerfully when he noticed I had woken up. I grunted something in return.
“Didn’t sleep well last night, did you? I could hear you fidgeting most of the night.”
Chris shrugged it off.
“Didn’t bother me, I couldn’t sleep either.” He began to crane his neck so the razor could reach under his chin. “When you finally did knock off, you were talking in your sleep a lot. Pretty funny.”
“What was I saying?” I asked, swinging my legs over the side of the bed as I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes. Another shrug from Chris in response.
“Couldn’t really make most of it out. Stuff about ‘get away from me’ and shit like that. I dunno.”
I let this pass as I hunted down some clothes. I didn’t want to talk to Chris. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I had spent the two days since my arrival trying to not look like a person who wanted conversation. Unfortunately, at Valley Hope, it didn’t work very well. Drying up drunks and rehabilitation counselors are so Goddamned chatty. The place was filled with 60 patients and 20 or so staff who did nothing but talk about sobriety all the time. The recovering crack addicts, like Chris, were the worst of the lot. In a few moments, if I let him, he’d start interrogating me about my sudden sobriety. Was I having shakes? Was I sweating a lot? Did it feel like somebody had yanked me out of a pool and was making me stand by the side, wet, naked, and shivering, while they lectured me about going swimming less than 30 minutes after having eaten?
Rather than answering yes to all these questions, I grabbed my jacket and went outside to smoke.
I sat in Theron’s office, looking down at my feet, not wanting to meet his gaze. At Valley Hope, they assign you a counselor and a chaplain. Theron was my counselor.
He wasn’t all that older than I was. He was a short man in his late 20s, who had been to Valley Hope himself years ago to shake off a rather nasty crystal meth addiction. Despite looking like a teenager, he had a brassy baritone voice and was never without a wry grin that always said to me “you’re nothing special. I’ve seen your kind hundreds of times before.”
This was our second meeting. The first one, days ago when I was still living in the drying out room with Chris, had been more orientation than anything else. Since that initial meeting, I had been moved into a room of my own where I wasn’t as closely supervised.
After a moment of silence in which Theron waited to see if I would open up first, he started chewing on his pencil. He was always chewing on pencils whenever he was thinking.
“So Brad, why do you think you drink?” This was a stupid question, and we both knew it. We both knew that I had no idea why I drank; not many alcoholics do. Theron was asking because he wanted to see how I answer stupid questions. He wanted to see the face I present before he got under the mask.
“Why not?” I answered, forcing a fake smile of my own. He grinned back at me and I felt like punching him in the face.
“Well why are you here?” Another stupid question.
“Beats me,” I said, shuffling my feet.
“Well, your mother told us a bit about you when she came in here with you,” he said, taking the pencil out of his mouth and reaching for my file. “You just got fired from two jobs, the sixth and seventh in as many months. Last year you dropped out of college because your drinking had gotten out of control. OUI charge in June. Your friends and family were all very worried. They came to you and you agreed to come here. That about size it up?” I shrugged.
He put the file down and folded his arms, instituting another unbearable silence. Theron was absently chewing on his pencil. I could hear the sound of the wood clanging against his teeth as I stared down at my shoes, paralyzed. His teeth kept banging against the pencil as he waited for me to realize he had more patience than I did shame.
“I don’t think I really need to be here,” I finally whispered. The clattering pencil was silenced for a moment. “I’m mostly just doing this because my mother’s so worried.”
“Well, if you’re here, then you obviously need to be here,” he said with that grin.
I finally looked up at him at that, and he smiled warmly at the small accomplishment.
“What the hell does that mean?” I asked honestly.
“Well, people who drink normally don’t normally go to rehab. If it’s enough of a problem that you ended up deciding to come here, for whatever reason, you obviously belong here.”
“That’s sort of backwards logic, isn’t it? People deserve to be here just because they are here?”
Theron unfolded his arms and his eyes lit up. He swiveled around in his chair and opened his desk drawer, pulling out a laminated sheet of paper that he quickly handed to me.
On the paper was a brief quote, set against a brown background.
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh you can’t help that,” said the cat. “We’re all mad here. I’m mad, you’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the cat. “Or you wouldn’t have come here.”
---Lewis Carroll, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’
I remember witnessing my first alcohol-withdrawal seizure. I had been at Valley Hope for a week by then, and had begun warming up to the community there. Having been sober for 8 days, I was actually beginning to feel good, physically and mentally, the side effect of which was me turning into a guy who liked to have conversations about sobriety.
Mike had been admitted 3 days prior. A construction worker from Kansas City, he didn’t say much. The most that you could get out of him was a nod or a smile, though he enjoyed playing chess, and would become chattier when sitting in front of the black and white board. He would start talking about his family, his children, and his job as his caustic leathery hands moved pieces around the board with an adroitness and intelligence that seemed to contradict his dirty flannel shirts, brown work boots, and green John Deere cap. But away from the chessboard, walking the halls of Valley Hope, he tried hard to not look like a person who wanted conversation.
He had been having a hard time of it since the moment he walked in the door. He couldn’t sleep, he had no appetite, and he was always shaking and sweating badly.
We were all in the classroom listening to the counselor talk about addiction and the lengths some are willing to go to fulfill their own imagined needs when from the back of the classroom there came a giant croak. I say croak because that’s exactly what it sounded like, as if some giant bullfrog were sitting back there and decided suddenly it needed a mate.
I looked around the room in stunned curiosity, scanning the room for the source of the surreal noise, and I saw a room full of people doing the same. Finally, all our eyes settled on Mike. His face was lifted in a pained sneer. One hand was dangling lifeless to his side; the other was raised as if he were a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The rest of his body was contorted and tight. You could see the veins in his neck protruding as if he were lifting something far too heavy for his strength.
When I spotted him, my brain shut down. It was too much for my senses to take, and so my body allowed me the mercy of simply stopping. The thought of running to help him never even occurred to me. I just sat there, glued to my red plastic chair, staring dumbly at the scene as if I were sitting in a theater watching some sort of crazy staged production that just didn’t make any sense.
The room erupted into chaos. A paramedic who was trying to get over an addiction to painkillers rushed over to him. The counselor tried to get us to back away and give Mike room. A few others ran out of the room to get the nurses. After a few minutes, we were all herded out of the classroom into the cafeteria, where we could calm down.
I remember the counselor looking at all our faces somberly as we stood in a group in the cafeteria, hushed and harried from the sudden experience.
“I’m really glad you got to see that,” he said quietly.
Days later I was walking to church with Chris. He and I had become friends by then; he seemed much less annoying when I wasn’t sweating alcohol out of my system. I had become close to a lot of people at Valley Hope. When you go through a major life-changing experience with a group of people, they become your family very quickly. Soldiers who find themselves in battle know this. Baseball players in the heat of a pennant race know this. By now, we knew it too.
Chris was rambling about the various going ons at Valley Hope. Gossip ran rampant among all of us. Who was sleeping with who? What former friend who had recently left the center had just relapsed? Who had stopped making their classes? What was that new guy like? What disparaging comment about Chris had John made, and how was Chris going to handle the situation? In a lot of ways, it reminded me of middle school. And it was very refreshing to us all. Caring about unimportant things is a step up from caring about nothing at all.
During my first week, a small group I was in gave me an assignment: write a letter to my father. It was not meant to ever actually reach him. I hadn’t heard from him for years and wasn’t quite sure where he lived. It was just supposed to be a way to put my thoughts down on paper. I had protested the assignment, assuring the leader of the small group it wasn’t necessary, that I really didn’t CARE about my father or my parent’s divorce. I was fine with it, I always had been. It had broken my siblings in various ways, and had torn apart my mother, but I had always been the strong one. I had always been the one who had “taken it well”. I was told to just do it anyway, and to take my time with it.
There were many times over the next few weeks when I had opened up a notebook, sat down with a pen, and just stared at the blank pages before giving up. During lectures I would sometimes let my mind wander to thoughts of my father and what, if anything, I had to say to him, always coming to the conclusion that the business with my father they kept harping on was nothing but a paper tiger. When laying in my bed at night waiting for sleep to take me, I would sometimes make a mental list of what I wanted to do the next day, always putting high priority on the letter to my father only to convince myself the next day that I had more important things to do.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, I would go to my small group session, and the first thing they would ask me was “Brad, have you finished your letter yet?” It got to the point where I loathed going to my small group because I knew they would pester me about a worthless assignment that held no meaning to me, or my recovery. Finally I got fed up with the procrastination and the irritating gentle reminders, and on my 21st day of rehab, I decided to just sit down and write.
By the time I got to “Love, Brad”, my face was soaked with tears and my eyes were red and puffy.
I stood outside the back door that lead to the parking lot, smoking a cigarette with eager anticipation, a backpack slung over my shoulder and a suitcase laying at my feet. twenty or so of my closest friends at Valley Hope—including Chris, Mike, and Theron--were standing around with me, all of us happily and anxiously chatting away, waiting for my mom to pull up to take me home for the first time in 28 days.
I was inundated with compliments, well wishes, and pats on the back from the group. All the attention was making me smile in spite of myself, warm blood coming to my cheeks in a blush as if I didn’t deserve to be this happy or this optimistic but just couldn’t help myself. Theron kept saying things like, “You’ve made a lot of progress here.” Chris would every once in awhile make a well-intentioned comment about how he remembered how happy he was the first time he left Valley Hope, followed by an uncomfortable silence in which we all allowed him the chance to amend his remark. Mike was telling me about how much the letter to my father moved him and how he had promised himself he would get back in touch with his kids because of it.
I just kept kicking at my feet with an idiotic “Aw shucks” look plastered across my face.
“Are you nervous?” Theron asked with that grin of his.
“Sure I am.” I answered, finally able to return the smile in kind. For the first time since I was 16, I felt really good. I felt like I was finally living my life again.
We all talked some more, as if it wasn’t just me, but all of us that were graduating into sobriety. The conversation was about me re-entering my life, sober for the first time in 4 years, but it felt more as if they were all building my confidence as I prepared to try to woo back an old lover. Take me back please, baby baby, please.
The moment we saw my mother’s car pull into the parking lot, we erupted into a sudden rush of hurried encouragements and a harried attempt at exchanging phone numbers. Last minute pieces of advice and happy returns were given as the group took turns jotting down their phone numbers in my notebook.
It took nearly ten minutes for me to finally get my luggage into the trunk and escape the small crowd before I slammed shut the passenger’s side door and my mother put the car in gear. As we drove away I was awkwardly craning my neck to look behind me at the people standing around the backdoor, waving me off. I still wonder what became of them all.
My mother pulled out of the parking lot, and after a few minutes, Valley Hope had faded away into the distance behind us. I turned around then to face the open road ahead, smiling broadly and letting out a deep breath of contentedness as I settled into my seat for the long ride home.
“Do they sell beer here on holidays?” I asked the clerk behind the counter. She gave me a puzzled expression in return.
“Ummm, yeeeah?” was her answer. My cheeks reddened at that. I wanted to tell her that I was from the parochial state of Kansas, where the liquor laws are so complex it was amazing that I had taken to memorizing them all. I wanted to tell her that I was moving to Maine. Look here, you can see my car outside with everything I own packed in it! I haven’t lived in the state of New York since I was 12, when my parents split up and my mother and siblings and I all moved back to Kansas. My father lives around here, somewhere, I think. At least he did when we left. It’s a valid question; in some states they won’t sell you beer on Veteran’s Day, which is too bad because that happens to be my birthday. Hell, this is the first time ever I’ve legally bought alcohol. I’m 21 today, you know, and I’m sorry if I’m not accustomed to this state’s liquor laws. After all, what do I look like, some kind of drunk!?
Of course I didn’t say any of these things to the clerk. I just nodded, handed over the 10 bucks for the 12 pack while she twirled her hair, and walked out.
When I got back to the hotel room I set the 12 pack next to the bed, turned on the TV, and plopped down in the chair. After a few minutes, I reached for the pack, ripped it open, and grabbed a bottle. The cool, wet glass in my hands sent a million sense memories shooting through my brain. I had cried the first time I ever got drunk. Then, it had seemed as if I had been setting into motion the mechanics that would one day bring death to me. Now, after 5 months of sobriety, it just seemed like something to do. It felt inevitable.
I twisted off the cap, flicked it across the room, and, holding the bottle by the neck, took a healthy swig.