research * the future * culture

Halloween 08: this story ends with vampires.

You know how you’re supposed to eat a lot of food and drink a ton of water before you give blood? Turns out, you’re really supposed to do those things. Otherwise, you might have a moment of complete and epic FAIL after donating, and have to prevail upon the graces of some poor guy who doesn’t even believe in altruism when you collapse to the floor in an unconscious heap.

Signs You’re About to Faint:

  1. You feel completely fine.
  2. Fine enough to get up and move.
  3. That swarm of dazzling blue light? That’s just your naturally-low blood pressure. (92/64, baby!)
  4. You can totally make it back to the chair.

Judging by my bruises, I fell on my knees, then my face. My jaw, specifically. (The same spot where I split my chin open in first grade! Old habits never die.) No one saw me fall. I imagine that someone turned a corner and stumbled over me, because I remember slowly coming to and thinking: “Wow, my bed is really hard this morning.” (Of course it was! It was the floor!) Then people were rolling me onto a cot and covering me in icepacks and asking me what day it was. (I had a moment of horrified doubt when the doctor smiled gently at me and said: “Oh, it’s Halloween, is it?”)

A few phone calls and some waiting later, and I’m being steered down the street by Peter “I Smell A Lawsuit!” Watts in search of pizza and maybe a nap. (“You take care of this girl!” the nurse admonished.) Which is how I got to watch the first two episodes of this show:

Which I quite liked, and was even able to stay awake for, having elected not to go to the emergency room, despite Mr. “Let Me Check Your Pupils!” Watts’ offers to the contrary. (Note: the follow-up nurse who called me today wants me to get my head checked. Literally.)

For all the unexpected scares, however, yesterday’s truly strange moment happened when the girl sitting next to me learned I’m a registered donor with the OneMatch bone marrow and stem cell registry and said: “So, wait, you’d really give your stem cells to a complete stranger?”

Why yes, I would. If it’s good enough for vampires, then it’s good enough for me.

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  • Madeline Ashby… a science fiction writer, futurist, speaker, and immigrant living in Toronto. She writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen. She is represented by Anne McDermid & Associates, and Jason Richman at UTA. You can buy her books here.

    She has worked with Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, The Atlantic Council, the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination, and others. Her short fiction has appeared in Nature, FLURB, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, and Escape Pod. Her other essays and criticism have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity,, MISC Magazine, FutureNow, and elsewhere.

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    Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices (2nd Edition)Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways: To Incorporate Whole & Natural Ingredients into Your CookingGluten-Free Girl and the ChefPeople Crossing Borders: An Analysis of U.S. Border Protection PoliciesHalf the Day Is NightThe Magicians

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