Monthly Archives: February 2007

IRB issues covered by NYTimes

In the New York Times today, there’s an article on Institutional Review Boards (the board that handles human subjects issues for academic institutions). I’m definitely amongst the people who constantly bitch about the absurdity of IRBs (even if their intentions are good) and this article discusses my frustration in much more polite terms than i ever could. I’m glad to see this issue being publicized because it’s at the core of my existential crisis. I am most likely going to graduate next year. I’m trying to decide whether or not to go on the academic market. Currently, i’m leaning against it purely because i want to get some research done without the limitations and bureaucracy of an IRB. There’s a part of me that finds that unbelievably depressing. I wonder how many others slink away from academia or choose not to pursue a particular research question purely because of IRB.

(Tx Irina)

calling Steve Jobs an opportunist

In Salon today, Cory calls Steve Jobs out on his coy efforts to throw up his hands and say “not my fault” when it comes to DRM.

Actions speak louder than words. Artists have asked — begged — Apple to sell their music without DRM for years. From individual bestselling acts like Barenaked Ladies to entire labels of copy-friendly music like Magnatune, innumerable copyright holders have asked Apple to sell their work as open MP3s instead of DRM-locked AACs. Apple has always maintained that it’s DRM or nothing. These artists believe that the answer to selling more music is cooperating with fans, not treating them as presumptive pirates and locking down their music.

As Cory rightly points out, if Jobs was sincere, he wouldn’t wrap Creative Commons publications in DRM and he wouldn’t prevent artists/labels from putting their music up as MP3s. By blaming everything on the corrupt music industrial complex, he’s trying to make himself look clean, but the truth is, his shit kinda stinks. For anyone interested in the issues surrounding DRM, music, and Apple, this article is a must read.

At the end of the day, DRM is the biggest impediment to a legitimate music market. Apple doesn’t sell music because of DRM — it sells music in spite of DRM. The iTunes Store proves that you can compete with free. People have bought billions of dollars worth of music from Apple because it offered a better user experience. But no one bought for the DRM. Some people bought in spite of it, some bought in ignorance of it, but there’s no customer for whom DRM is a selling point. No one woke up this morning wishing for a way to do less with her music.

musing on making things real

“The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear assures us of the reality of the world and ourselves.” — Hannah Arendt

Have you ever found yourself not saying something that is on your mind because you’re afraid that if you say it, it will become real? This is a really interesting conundrum in the context of blogging because it has to do with the ways in which public performances make ideas real. Arendt argues that one of the primary roles of the public is to make things real. People seek out witnesses to validate their emotions, ideas, actions, or mere existence. Our stories become real when we have other people to share them with, when other people saw and experienced what we experienced. Having no access to public life can be maddening (literally) because everything might as well be a fable with no witnesses to validate what took place. Ah, Pan’s Labyrinth.

The Internet has allowed us to take the most “intimate” thoughts and ideas and perform them in a public before witnesses. This makes real every neurosis and stupid act – stuff that might simply have slipped away before. It makes it possible to be heard. But at the same time, when you know you’re going to be heard, you have to think twice. Do you really want that fleeting thought to be that real, to be that present for collective memory?

I was going through some notes i took when interviewing bloggers and teens about the things that they did to try to erase relationships that once existed. They went through a series of public and private erasures. De-Friend on every site imaginable. Erase all blog entries and profile posts professing love. Change from “in a relationship” to single. Erase from address book and block on the buddy list. Erase all SMSes. Erase all emails. Erase all comments. Burn all letters. The goal of course is “out of sight, out of mind” but the problem with the entwined nature of technology is that it doesn’t work out this way. People stumble across their exes on others’ profiles, in their friends’ comments. They pine away, obsessively checking their ex’s blog/MySpace to see if there’s any sign of misery that will make them feel better because even if they know better than to track them down in person, they can’t resist the anonymous stalking online, even if it prolongs the hurt.

Relationships are funny things because while they are extremely intimate, they are also quite public. Going back to the horrid holiday of pink confetti, it’s interesting to think about how relationships are to be performed in public through romantic dinners, PDA (even holding hands), and simple physical proximity. People want to be seen to be in an intimate relationship – no matter how rough that relationship is in the backstage, there’s a desire to make the frontstage look all rosy. Yet, when it ends, the desire to erase all is confounded by the public performance of it. Sure, Amy can erase all of the “I (heart) Kevin” comments on her profile but the effects of a public performance of a relationship can outlive the documentation of it. And the publicness of each person means ongoing heartache and reminder. This, in many ways, is the flipside of being able to continue friendships after one moves or goes away to college. Relationships continue even when one wishes they wouldn’t.

I can’t help but wonder about the “realness” constructed by networked publics. How does persistence of some performances screw with this? How does the intertwined nature of things not allow for forgetting? How do people respond by refusing to acknowledge aspects of themselves in networked publics? Why is it that some people desperately want to make real the most sordid “intimate” details?

Enough musing… back to work…

Facebook’s little digital gift

Last week, Facebook unveiled a gifting feature. For $1, you can purchase a gift for the person you most adore. If you choose to make the gift public, you are credited with that gift on the person’s profile under the “gift box” region. If you choose to make the gift private, the gift is still there but there’s no notice concerning who gave it.

Before getting into this, let me take a moment to voice my annual bitterness over Hallmark Holidays, particularly the one that involves an obscene explosion of pink, candy, and flowers.

The gifting feature is fantastically times to align with a holiday built around status: Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is all about pronouncing your relationship to loved ones (and those you obsess over) in the witness of others. Remember those miniature cards in elementary school? Or the carnations in high school? Listening to the radio, you’d think Valentine’s Day was a contest. Who can get the most flowers? The fanciest dinner? This holiday should make most people want to crawl in bed and eat bon-bons while sobbing over sappy movies. But it works. It feeds on people’s desire to be validated and shown as worthy to the people around them, even at the expense of others. It is a holiday built purely on status (under the guise of “love”). You look good when others love you (and the more the merrier).

Of course, Valentine’s Day is not the only hyper-commercialized holiday. The celebration of Christ’s birth is marked by massive shopping. In response, the Festival of Lights has been turned into 8 days of competitive gift giving in American Jewish culture. Acknowledging that people get old in patterns that align with a socially constructed calendar also requires presents. Hell, anything that is seen as a lifestage change requires gifts (marriage, childbirth, graduation, Bat Mitzvah, etc.).

Needless to say, gift giving is perpetuated by a consumer culture that relishes any excuse to incite people to buy. My favorite of this is the “gift certificate” – a piece of paper that says that you couldn’t think of what to give so you assuaged your guilt by giving money to a corporation. You get brainwashed into believing that forcing your loved one to shop at that particular venue is thoughtful, even though the real winner is the corporation since only a fraction of those certificates are ever redeemed. No wonder corporations love gift certificates – they allow them to make bundles and bundles of money, knowing that the receiver will never come back for the goods.

But anyhow… i’ve gone off on a tangent… Gifts. Facebook.

Unlike Fred, i think that gifts make a lot more sense than identity purchases when it comes to micro-payments and social network sites. Sure, buying clothes in virtual systems makes sense, but what’s the value of paying to deck out your profile if the primary purpose of it is to enable communication? I think that for those who actively try to craft a public identity through profiles (celebrities and fame junkies), paying to make a cooler profile makes sense. But most folks are quite content with the crap that they can do for free and i don’t see them paying money to get more fancified backgrounds when they can copy/paste. That said, i think it’s very interesting when you can pay to affect someone else’s profile. I think it’s QQ where you can pay to have a donkey shit on your friend’s page and then they have to pay to clean it up. This prankster “gift” has a lot of value. It becomes a game within the system and it bonds two people together.

In a backchannel conversation, Fred argues with me that digital gifts will have little value because they only make people look good for a very brief period. They do not have the same type of persistence as identity-driven purchases like clothing in WoW. I think that it is precisely this ephemeralness that will make gifts popular. There are times for gift giving (predefined by society). Individuals’ reaction to this is already visible on social network sites comments. People write happy birthday and send glitter for holidays (a.k.a. those animated graphical disasters screaming “happy valentine’s day!”). These expressions are not simply altruistic kindness. By publicly performing the holiday or birthday, the individual doing the expression looks good before hir peers. It also prompts reciprocity so that one’s own profile is then also filled with validating comments. Etc. Etc. (If interested in gifting, you absolutely must read the canon: Marcel Mauss’ “The Gift”.)

Like Fred, i too have an issue with the economic structure of Facebook Gifts, but it’s not because i think that $1 is too expensive. Gifts are part of status play. As such, there are critical elements about gift giving that must be taken into consideration. For example, it’s critical to know who gifted who first. You need to know this because it showcases consideration. Look closely at comments on MySpace and you’ll see that timing matters; there’s no timing on Facebook so you can’t see who gifted who first and who reciprocated. Upon receipt of a gift, one is often required to reciprocate. To handle being second, people up the ante in reciprocating. The second person gives something that is worth more than the first. This requires having the ability to offer more; offering two of something isn’t really the right answer – you want to offer something of more value. All of Facebook’s gifts are $1 so they are all equal. Value, of course, doesn’t have to be about money. Scarcity is quite valuable. If you gift something rare, it’s far more desired than offering a cheesy gift that anyone could get. This is why the handmade gift matters in a culture where you can buy anything.

I don’t think Facebook gifts – in its current incarnation – is sustainable. You can only gift so many kisses and rainbows before it’s meaningless. And what’s the point of paying $1 for them (other than to help the fight against breast cancer)? $1 is nothing if the gift is meaningful, but the 21 gift options will quickly lose meaning. It’s not just about dropping the price down to 20 cents. It’s about recognizing that gifting has variables that must be taken into account.

People want gifts. And they want to give gifts. Comments (or messages on the wall) are a form of gifting and every day, teens and 20-somethings log in hoping that someone left a loving comment. (And all the older folks cling to their Crackberries with the same hope.) It’s very depressing to log in and get no love.

I think that Facebook is right-on for making a gifting-based offering, but i think that to make it work long-term, they need to understand gifting a bit better. It’s about status. It’s about scarcity. It’s about reciprocity and upping the ante. These need to worked into the system and evolving this will make Facebook look good, not like they are backpeddling. This is not about gifting being a one-time rush; it’s about understanding the social structure of gifting.

DOPA is back under a new title

While i was off getting my eyes zapped, Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) introduced a new bill into the Senate called “Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act” (S49). It has all of DOPA in it and then some. This time, it’s squashed between some small changes to child porn legislation (upping the fines namely) and restrictions on the sale of children’s personal information for marketing purposes. It’s just as infuriating and i can’t stomach the idea of going through these discussions again. God, i’d make a terrible politician.

As Marianne Richmond says, this DOPA, Jr. is definitely DOPA Extra and just as dopey as the last one. Le sigh.

Anyone have any good ideas on how to make this one go away? When will people realize that this is a bad idea?

a random shout-out

Lately, lots of folks have been asking me for a picture for this that or the other. I have a lot of low-res silly photos, but i don’t have many “good” photographs of me, let alone high-res ones. At Web2.0 2005, James Duncan Davidson took an amazing photo of me staring at my Sidekick. Somehow, i think it captures me quite well. So i begged him for it and i’ve been using it prolifically ever since. Anyhow, this photo keeps appearing all over the web associated with me and i feel guilty that he nevers gets any credit for that awesome shot. So i wanted to give him a shout-out. I’m not sure if he reads this blog so if you talk to him, tell him i say he rocks (go swarm love!).

Los Angeles is green!

Tonight, i had the fortune of attending a Hollywood Hill event featuring Deputy Mayor Nancy Sutley. She spoke about the moves LA is making to turn itself into a green city. The event took place at the home of the producer of “An Inconvenient Truth” and the room was filled with truly engaged Hollywood types invested in social change. The conversation was fantastic but what astounded me was just how many cool projects are taking place in Los Angeles.

My favorite project concerns “bio solids” (a.k.a. crap). When you flush your toilet, your feces is diverted to an old oil chamber where it is left to decompose. As this happens, the shit lets off a bunch of methane which is then converted into energy for the city. (Don’t worry – it’s clean by then.) How cool is that? Apparently, we’re the first city to really do this on a large scale.

Last year, 6% of the city’s energy came from renewable resources. By 2010, the goal is to have 20% of it coming from renewable resources. There are projects involving solar power, wind power, methane, and all sorts of other things. There are also projects underway to encourage the reduction of energy consumption. Building developers who are going to be LEED compliant have a much easier time getting their permits. There’s a group called 18 seconds working with large corporations to move everyone towards environmentally-friendly lightbulbs (lightbulbs can be changed in 18 seconds).

Apparently, in the 1990s, the city had all of these initiatives to move everyone to using low-flow toilets (giving them out for free across the city). The result was a 15% water savings. This is crucial considering LA has to get its water from all sorts of weird places. There are now initiatives underway to bring back the LA river (which was paved over in the 1930s as a flood prevention technique). This will allow more water, more green space, more bicycle lanes, and fewer movie-ified high speed car chases. There’s also a million trees initiative where the city will plant a million trees by 2010 in areas that desperately need them. Aside from being pretty, trees are critical to environmental ecosystems because they like to eat carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen.

I can’t even remember all of the other initiatives i heard about tonite but i’m in awe of how conscious our city government is about these issues, how they are engaging with environmental organizations and city planners, how they are working on multiple levels to address environmental issues in the city, and how they are working to make it a better, more liveable city. I have to admit that i haven’t been that proud to live in land-o-Hummers but this event made me feel much better about Los Angeles, or at least those in charge of the government.

Anyhow, yay Los Angeles! And now, if we can only figure out how to get community sidewalks and eyes on the street…. (And sssshh all of you haters out there.)

about those walled gardens

In the tech circles in which i run, the term “walled gardens” evokes a scrunching of the face if not outright spitting. I shouldn’t be surprised by this because these are the same folks who preach the transparent society as the panacea. But i couldn’t help myself from thinking that this immediate revulsion is obfuscating the issue… so i thought i’d muse a bit on walled gardens.

Walled gardens are inevitably built out of corporate greed – a company wants to lock in your data so that you can’t move between services and leave them in the dust. They make money off of your eyeballs. They make money off of your data. (In return, they often provide you with “free” services.) You put blood, sweat, and tears – or at least a little bit of time – into providing them with valuable data and you can’t get it out when you decide you’ve had enough. If this were the full story, _of course_ walled gardens look foul to the core.

The term “walled garden” implies that there is something beautiful being surrounded by walls. The underlying assumption is that walls are inherently bad. Yet, walls have certain value. For example, i’m very appreciative of walls when i’m having sex. I like to keep my intimate acts intimate and part of that has to do with the construction of barriers that prevent others from accessing me visually and audibly. I’m not so thrilled about tearing down all of the walls in meatspace. Walls are what allow us to construct a notion of “private” and, even more importantly, contextualized publics. Walls help contain the social norms so that you know how to act properly within their confines, whether you’re at a pub or in a classroom.

One of the challenges online is that there really aren’t walls. What walls did exist came tumbling down with the introduction of search. Woosh – one quick query and the walls that separated comp.lang.perl from came crashing down. Before search (a.k.a. Deja), there were pseudo digital walls. Sure, Usenet was public but you had to know where the door was to enter the conversation. Furthermore, you had to care to enter. There are lots of public and commercial places i pass by every day that i don’t bother entering. But, “for the good of all humankind”, search came to pave the roads and Arthur Dent couldn’t stop the digital bulldozer.

We’re living with the complications of no walls online. Determining context is really really hard. Is your boss really addressing you when he puts his pic up on Does your daughter take your presence into consideration when she crafts her MySpace? No doubt it’s public, but it’s not like any public that we’re used to in meatspace.

For a long time, one of the accidental blessings of walled gardens was that they kept out search bots as part of their selfish data retention plan. This meant that there were no traces left behind of people’s participation in walled gardens when they opted out – no caches of previous profiles, no records of a once-embarassing profile. Much to my chagrin, many of the largest social network sites (MySpace, LinkedIn, Friendster, etc.) have begun welcoming the bots. This makes me wonder… are they really walled gardens any longer? It sounds more like chain linked fences to me. Or maybe a fishbowl with a little plastic castle.

What does it mean when the supposed walled gardens begin allowing external sites to cache their content?

[tangent] And what on earth does it mean that MySpace blocks the Internet Archive in its robots.txt but allows anyone else? It’s like they half-realize that posterity might be problematic for profiles, but fail to realize that caches of the major search engines are just as freaky. Of course, to top it off, their terms say that you may not use scripts on the site – isn’t a bot a script? The terms also say that participating in MySpace does not give them a license to distribute your content outside of MySpace – isn’t a Google cache of your profile exactly that? [end tangent]

Can we really call these sites walled gardens if the walls are see-through? I mean, if a search bot can grab your content for cache, what’s really stopping you from doing so? Most tech folks would say that they are walled gardens because there are no tools to support easy export. Given that thousands of sites have popped up to provide codes for you to turn your MySpace profile into a dizzy display of animated daisies with rainbow hearts fluttering from the top (while inserting phishing scripts), why wouldn’t there be copy/pastable code to let you export/save/transfer your content? Perhaps people don’t actually want to do this. Perhaps the obsessive personal ownership of one’s content is nothing more than a fantasy of the techno-elite (and the businessmen who haven’t yet managed to lock you in to their brainchild). I mean, if you’re producing content into a context, do you really want to transfer it wholesale? I certainly don’t want my MySpace profile displayed on LinkedIn (even if there are no nude photos there).

For all of this rambling, perhaps i should just summarize into three points:

  • If walls have value in meatspace, why are they inherently bad in mediated environments? I would argue that walls provide context and allow us to have some control over the distribution of our expressions. Walls should be appreciated, even if they are near impossible to construct.
  • If robots can run around grabbing the content of supposed walled gardens, are they really walled? It seems to me that the tizzy around walled gardens fails to recognize that those most interested in caching the data (::cough:: Google) can do precisely that. And those most interested does not seem to include the content producers.
  • If the walls come crashing down, what are we actually losing? Walls provide context, context is critical for individuals to properly express themselves in a socially appropriate way. I fear that our loss of walls is resulting in a very confused public space with far more visibility than anyone can actually handle.

Basically, i don’t think that walled gardens are all that bad. I think that they actually provide a certain level of protection for those toiling in the mud. The problem is that i think that we’ve torn down the walls of the supposed walled gardens and replaced them with chain links or glass. Maybe even one-way glass. And i’m not sure that this is such a good thing. ::sigh::

So, what am i missing? What don’t i understand about walled gardens?

i can see

I’ve had glasses for as long as i can remember. As a kid, i hated them and begged for contacts. I stubbornly wore contacts for years even though they were irritating and i always fell asleep with them in. I did so because my coke bottle glasses were embarassing. In college, contacts became impossible because i never slept and spent too much time staring at computer screens. Luckily, i found out that i could spend an obscene amount of money and get relatively thin and cool glasses across the street from the computer lab. While visiting San Francisco a few years later, i found the best eye glasses guy ever. At a store on the west side of Castro by 19th, there’s this gay guy (a proper bear who wore leather the first time i saw him). When i walked in, i told him i was looking for new glasses. He looked at me and then grabbed a pair and shoved them at me with, “here. these.” I asked if i could look around and he made it very clear that this was not the right question. He was right – the glasses were perfect; I bought them. A few years later i bought another pair from him. They too were perfect. But due to my prescription, they were over $900 each.

I first heard about Lasik when i was in high school and i begged and pleaded with my mom to get the surgery. When she was sick of hearing me beg, she got the eye doctor to explain that it was not a procedure for minors and that my eyes needed to stabilize. I thought about it again a few years later, but my lack of income made it an impossible endeavor. Besides, what if something went wrong?

Over the last few years, i’ve heard people ramble on and on about Lasik. I started to realize that most of my friends had had it done. And they loved it. My friend Case started sending me links of everything i needed to know. He raved about his doctor and told me to call him. I actually did call him, but then a set of personal problems made me not follow up. As i was leaving San Francisco, i thought about again but i just didn’t have the nerve to call.

Moving to Los Angeles made the desire to fix this problem grow ever more strong. Perhaps the ever-present plastic surgery ads played into it, but more than anything, it was living five blocks from the beach and hating my glasses whenever i went to the beach. To top it off, the film on my glasses started flaking in December, meaning that new glasses were going to be necessary very soon. I started asking people if they had any recommendations in LA. I figure that LA, land of all things plastic surgery, had to be an ideal place to get Lasik done. Very few people knew of any good surgeons here but one name did emerge – a Dr. Robert Maloney. He was considered to be the best – he fixed other doctors’ fuckups, did way too many famous people, and had done a bazillion of these things. He got to do all of the FDA trial stuff and that ABC show Extreme Makeover used him as the eye doctor. He was extremely expensive and located in Beverly Hills – terribly surface-level indicators but, honestly, i wanted someone who would be good given how bad my vision is.

Shortly before 6PM on Tuesday night, i decided to just call and see if i could get an appointment, just to see… The guy on the phone asked me which month. I said now? He said that he actually had a cancellation for tomorrow (Wednesday) at 2PM. I said perfect. I went down to the clinic. It’s poshy-poshy and no one working there has glasses. On the waiting table are these huge binders – Dr. Maloney’s CV. Harvard, Oxford, UCSF, award this award that, etc. I go through a bazillion tests. The first set are obvious – damn do i have bad vision. -10.0. That’s at the upper scale of what they are even willing to consider, but there are alternatives to Lasik. More tests. No glaucoma, no indications of macular degeneration, tear ducts work, average pupils, etc. Then, there’s the cornea thickness test – this is the one that really matters because they have to shave this off. Surprisingly, i have super thick cornea making it very easy to do the correction even with my atrocious vision. After going through all of the nurses and doctors (who are all amazingly nice and willing to humor all of my strange questions), i meet Maloney. It takes me two seconds to realize that he’s arrogant as hell (with Hollywood niceness coated on top). Perfect. I have to admit that i like arrogant doctors when it comes to this kind of stuff. He needs to be absolutely convinced that he couldn’t possibly mess it up. And he was. His success rate was astounding – there was no reason to think that i’d be the first person he’d leave blind after 40,000 of these damn things.

I decided to do it. Again, they asked me when i wanted the surgery. They typically have availability a week after consultations but i look at my calendar and realize that i have a million things scheduled next week and if anything went wrong, it wouldn’t be pretty. I asked her if there was anything tomorrow (Thursday). She looked at me startled and said she doubted it, but when she went to that date in the monitor, there was indeed one opening – 1.30PM, Thursday, February 1. I said i’d take it. They asked if i wanted the all laser version (Lasik Wavefront with Interlace) or the one that involved the blade (Lasik Wavefront only). I don’t think they put it that curtly but that’s what my head translated it to. I didn’t care that the all-laser option was an extra $800 – the idea of blades made my eyes try to jump out of my skull.

I left the office. And then i panicked. Did it make sense to do this so rash? It was a lot of money (or rather, a lot of credit card debt). Who would take me to the doctor’s? And then it dawned on me that Ronen was in San Deigo this week. Ronen, a dear old friend of mine, is somehow associated with all of my medical crises in my head because he’s picked me up and taken care of me far too many times. I called him and without asking, he asked if i needed company. And i wimpered, pleeeease. And he changed around his plans to find a rental car to come up and take me to the doctor’s and calm me down and spend all day with me.

I went into the doctor’s. They gave me three valium to calm my nerves. They did absolutely nothing but i pretended to be calmed. They put all sorts of drops in me. I laid back. Pressure – they put this thing on my eye so that it couldn’t move. Stare into the light (even when i couldn’t see the light). Laser round one – making the flap. Then the other eye got it’s flap opened. Eyes closed. Swivel to new machine. Weird tape to keep my eyes open. Stare into the light. Laser round two – reshaping the cornea. And then all of these weird brushes and a liquid and an air vacuum. Repeat on next eye. Keep eyes closed for a moment. Look up – see the clock? Holy shit.

Ronen drove me home with my eyes closed (while i was wearing these cool Burning Man-esque goggles). We cheated and stopped for B&J’s milkshakes. Took the ambien, slept for four hours. Woke up and could see, dropped meds in my eyes. Things were still quite blurry though. Had dinner, dropped more meds in my eyes. Listened to the Daily Show. Went to sleep, woke up and rolled over and could see my alarm clock. Holy shit. Drove myself back to the doctor’s for a check up (where they also fixed the itchy thing which turned out to be extra flap ness). Drove home, bought sunglasses.

The folks at the Maloney Vision Institute were unbelievably professional and reassuring (their routines during surgery were fascinating to listen to – amazingly precise). I was also a sucker for all of the little unnecessary but make you feel good things – they paid for parking, i got a little leather bag with all the meds pre-packaged and they gave me a prescript to go through Heathrow, there was coffee and tea (and valium and ambien). The clinic smelled good. They had soft fancy chairs. And the combination of down-to-earth nurses and doctors and an arrogant surgeon (who was still amazingly nice) really worked for me. Even though i was terrified, i was confident that this was the right place to be doing this.

Things are still slightly blurry, but not really that bad. My vision also seems to go in and out between 20/20 and 20/40. I’m told this should last for a little while, mostly because of the magnitude of the change. Stabilization should be in three months or so. The crazy red blobs on the side of my eyes should last two weeks. The dryness should go away (but it’s not actually that bad now). I’ll probably get some fun halos at night (again, due to the terribleness of my vision). But HOLY SHIT. I don’t have glasses anymore. ::jaw on floor::