October 8th, 2007

key to the kingdom

Project Download

Okay, I have something to ask y'all to help with. Erin, aka redscorner, needs to have brain surgery and can't afford it:

I suffer from two neurological disorders (Chiari malformation and cranial lesions) that will require a combined total of 2-4 brain surgeries. I'm unemployed and uninsured and the state I live in is so broke, they have strictly limited who qualifies for Medicaid. Because I have no children and am not pregnant, I don't qualify.

No, really. Yes, the state of American health care is that bad--the care itself is excellent, except that either people can't afford it, or people who are insured discover that insurance companies know a thousand ways to weasel out of paying for things. Yes, I know people like to scam others on the internet all the time. But she doesn't want your money. Instead, she's thought of a fairly painless, creative way to get someone else's money: projectdownload. Apparently MegaUpload will pay out $10,000 if you achieve 5 million downloads. This is limited to one download per unique user per day, but over the course of, let's say, ten days, you'd only need 500,000 people a day, if I'm understanding this correctly. It doesn't matter what she's put up there for you to download, so she's put up a very small, perfunctory text file that basically says, "Thank you for downloading this" (the actual text is also on her user profile page). I downloaded it myself just now, from a direct link she posted (you don't even have to go to MegaUpload's actual site at all; she knows how annoying the site can be), and it's a virus-free, spyware-free, malware-free text document. Absolutely painless, and now she's one download closer to the payout. Very easy.

Yes, things can get ugly when people in dire need dare to ask for help; it's happened before, and it's one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen online. But back in September, Erin typed up a letter from the hospital, and I've encouraged her to scan some actual paperwork in as well; I think she'll have it up this weekend, as she's having gamma knife radiation today, Wednesday and Friday. She's posted a good deal of information as to the location of the surgery, the names of her doctors, her condition, etc. (Why is she unemployed? I'm going to take a wild guess and say because of her health problems.) As she says,

One of the biggest frustrations I'm coming up against is the handful of people who have a hard time believing this isn't a scam. And I'm not frustrated because those people think that, I completely understand the hesitation. I think we've all seen more than our fair share of con artists in our days on the Internet. What's frustrating is that I don't know how to "prove" I'm a real person, with very real medical issues. Do I start providing names of doctors? I could, but it could then be argued I googled the information. I could provide the phone number for the Oregon Health Plan (Oregon's Medicaid program) and people could call and ask who qualifies for OHP. Again, it could then be argued that just because I know that information, doesn't mean I'm not trying to scam a bunch of people. I could provide phone numbers and email addresses for those who have been by my side through this process, but... but, but, but.

What it really comes down to is I can't really prove anything. And because of some very well-known con artists involved in different fandoms, people are inherently reluctant to get conned anymore than they already have.

And that's why I tried to find a non-monetary way of asking for help. It's why I was reluctant to provide PayPal information until I was asked by quite a lot of people to. Because ultimately, I don't want anyone to have that moment of discomfort when deciding whether or not they wanted to help out. Click a download link? Sure! Give someone hard-earned money? Um... herm.

And that's the thing: if you choose to believe her, all you have to give is three seconds of your day. I'm not even sure the download took that long. You have absolutely nothing to lose. And yes, this does open the door for a thousand other people to try the same thing, some of whom may really need the money and some of whom may not, which I'm sure someone will point out, so yes, I anticipate taking some flack over choosing to post this. It's hard to figure out how many things you can post about before people completely shut down and don't want to help anyone else, but: she needs brain surgery, and at no inconvenience to you. She needs to pull the money together by something like mid-November, I think she said. Let's use a round number--thirty days, let's say. Now, I can't math too good, but that's about 160,000ish people a day, isn't it? That's completely doable. So please consider trying to help out with this, and if y'all are okay with it, I can even put a direct-download button down there with the click-a-day charity sites I always have anyway. You know, for a month. Please?

ETA: Yes, of course linking to this post is fine. And feel free to steal the button, just upload it to your own Photobucket account or whatever. It goes directly to the download, for ease of daily clicking. : )

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Monday night, eyes kind of tired

So I expected to knuckle down on Black Ribbon today, now that my notes are typed up, and... well, actually, that did happen, but it didn't look like it at first, because my mother swept home from work at lunch and drafted me into a luncheon-making assembly line. Apparently she's supplying the food for a small informal lunch tomorrow (the university president may be involved?) and she ends up amateur-catering a lot of things at work, so I was put straight to opening cans and stemming two different kinds of grapes (green and blue-black, if you were wondering). By the end of two hours, she had made chicken salad, pimiento cheese spread, pasta salad, two pecan pies, a batch of fresh spaghetti sauce (actually, that was just for dinner) and her famous cold custard banana pudding. I really, really want to say that something else got made, but I cannot for the life of me think what. There will also be fresh fruit.

So after that whirlwind, I settled down and tried to write, and... you know what? I did. It was strange in a very satisfying way--I rearranged several note-chunks and then I just started writing full, actual, narrative sentences (instead of narrative sketchy, as I usually do). They weren't the most amazing sentences ever, I grant you, but I got into a nice, simple storytelling kind of groove, and it was working for me. So that was nice.

Also, skip down to the bottom of this page if you haven't seen my seasonal background already. WooOOooOOoo.

From the previous entry: Project Download--one click, two seconds, a lot of help.


ETA: A teaser for tomorrow night's new Golden Compass trailer. This is the first thing I haven't liked about the movie, but... I'm really not digging Ian McKellen as the new Iorek voice.

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