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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Doctor Who: Into the Dalek

So, Spoilers.


So we're on episode 2 of season 8, and this time we were shrunk down with the Doctor and Clara and went inside the shell of a "Good/Moral" Dalek, aka. "Rusty".

Am I the only one who was disturbed that they defined a "Good" Dalek as a Dalek that wished to destroy other Daleks until the very end, when the Doctor did a Vulcan mind-meld with Rusty and Rusty saw the Doctors hatred of Daleks and through deus ex machina of a remembered birth of a star and the mind meld the Dalek became "Good" again, in that it wanted to kill other Daleks, not humans. But now, at the end of the episode this is no longer "Good" and the Doctor is upset that the Dalek wants to actively destroy other Daleks. But they didn't expound on the self-guilt that would have made that flip make any sense. Don't get me wrong, the guilt is there, as is the arrogance that he is right, but it feels like an afterthought.

That's the other thing. Classic series Whovians, please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that they are basing Capaldi's Doctor off of the 4th. Which is fine, I mean, he's not my favorite of the classics, mostly because he seemed to have a cruel streak. And it's that cruel streak that I think we're seeing in Capaldi's Doctor. 9 (usually), 10, and 11 especially tried to save everyone, and mourned the ones they couldn't. 12 will use those who he expects to die or who are about to die to further whatever crackpot plan he's got for the episode. Maybe I'll get used to it, like I did to 10 and then 11 when they had their turns. But damn, that cruel, or maybe the word is cavalier, attitude is disturbing. He doesn't care that people are dying to further his ends. It's exceedingly jarring.

And then to make it even more bizzare and uncomfortable for the viewer, they started and ended the episode with the Doctor asking Clara if he's a good man. At least her response is "I don't know."

I'm starting to think I'm watching hoping that Vastra and Jenny will show up because I'm certainly not coming back for Clara. Nor particularly for the Doctor. His character is, as of right now, one that I feel sorry for, but to whom I can't connect to. It's like.....it's like he's all-too-human in the worst possible ways.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Poor Puppy

My poor pug is 9 years old and his nails are very thick and curved, so he had chronic ingrown nails.

Well this time the vet didn't wrap his paw, but gave us a soft cone, excuse me, "Elizabethan Collar" for him to wear.

Edit 9/14/15: just realized the file location these were on no longer exists. If I manage to find them I will update again.

Here are the results.



He's a pissed off blue flower!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Next Doctor

I like Peter Capaldi as the Doctor.

I wish they would give Vastra, Jenny and Strax their own show.

I like that they took the time to allow us to get used to the new doctor, like they did for Ten.

As an American, Capaldi's accent got a bit troublesome, so I resorted to subtitles, but I think it'll only take an episode or two more for me to get used to it.

There were more back references to past (mostly new Who) moments in this one episode than I can ever remember in a single episode prior.

I think Clara is actually a better foil for Capaldi than she was for Smith. The chemistry feels more friendly and is more like what Ten and Donna had. It feels more natural. Personally, I appreciate the pointed removal of the crush/love interest companion, partly because I'd like to see River continue to make appearances.

Clara actually had personality this episode. She's been hit and miss to me, and this was one of the good ones.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Anniversary

Wow, time flies way too much as an adult. When you're a kid it always feels like it will never stop dragging.

Now, I would love for it to slow down, just a little bit.

Congratulations to my Husband, he's put up with my difficult, annoying feminist ass for the last 4 years as of today.

Love you, Sweetie!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

#Ferguson

Yeah, my title isn't real inspired.

I don't even know what to say.

We have a No-Fly Zone around and over the town.

A HuffPo reporter was arrested and forcibly removed by SWAT from a MickeyD's.
[Edited: Apparently one of the two I originally said was from the Washington Post, haven't found a good link confirming yet.]


I can't find any mention of what's going on on Yahoo.

The BBC has an article on their US news page.

If I'm honest I'm pretty well disappointed and flabbergasted. We have a military style occupation of an US town by US cops, who aren't military, and you have to go to Twitter to see what's going on.

America, I thought you were better than this. I know you can be better than this. Be better than this.





















Please?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Weird Al "Mission Statement"

Weird Al's new videos have gone straight to my funny bone this time. From proper grammar, to memories of marching band to the newest video of Corporate Gobledegook.

I have listened to so many Vice Presidents and other executives use so many of these phrases that I can't help but crack up while listening.

The artwork of the video is impressive as well.

Video below from Speakeasy in case the embed doesn't work.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hospital Update

Well I finally got discharged today.

Still have the sore throat, though it is marginally improving.

The pneumonia really isn't bothering me too much, I only have a little shortness of breath, and rare coughing.

I feel like a pincushion they stuck me with so many different needles.

I do not recommend hospitals for rest. They wake you up at the most ungodly hours to change IVs, take blood, shift change etc.

I passed out for like 6 hours as soon as I got home and I'll probably sleep the night through as well.

Posting is likely to continue to be light, as I fully expect to sleep the next couple of days solid.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I hate being sick part 2

Well dear readers, I'm in the hospital after about 8 hours at the er last night.

Might spike my posting, might not. Don't really know yet.

Friday, July 11, 2014

I hate being sick

Man I am such a wuss when it comes to being ill.

I've had an unbelivebly sore throat since Monday night, didn't really sleep. Went to the doc-in-the-box Wednesday morning but got a crappy doctor who didn't believe that over-the-counter pain meds weren't touching it, all he was concerned with was "Is it Strep or not?" (it's not, fucking viruses).  So he sends me back home, I go into work for half a day Wednesday, feel ok-ish until about 1am Thursday morning (yep no sleep again, oh and I hadn't managed to eat anything either, since Monday night) started having bowel issues, and dry heaves, and just generally panting to breathe, and by 4am was a complete emotional and physical wreck.

Woke poor husband up (he'd gone to bed around 1) and had him take me back to the doc-in-the-box at 4 in the flipping morning on Thursday. This time I got a nurse who listened to the no sleep, no food,  feel like complete shit and she sent me to one of the faux-ER docs (as opposed to the first doc who was more of a normal doc-in-the-box type doc). He was fucking brilliant. Listened to what I told him, and that the newest bizarreness that started while I was there was that I was tingly all over. He asked if my lips were tingly too, and when I said yes, he was like, well, your hyperventilating, looked at my chart (the doc-in-the-box is run by my healthcare provider, so they have access too all my history) saw that I have anxiety issues and ordered a saline IV to get fluid in me as well as an anti-nausea med and a Xanex type med to halt the panic attack that was causing the hyperventilation. 

The nurses were lovely, even though I was dehydrated enough that it took her two tries to get the IV in me. The Xanex type med did its job nice and quick, so I stopped hyperventilating, which got rid of the tingling and general numbness of my extremities.

Another nurse realized I was freezing from the cold saline IV and brought me *two* warmed blankets! and tucked me in.

I still hurt really badly, and the lidocaine has been triggering my gag reflex rather than numbing my throat, which sucks massively as it puts me right back where I was with not being able to swallow (without crazy amounts of pain).

So where I'm at right now is not being able to go into work, not being able to  swallow for all practical purposes, and not really being able to talk because pain either.

All you medicine researchers out there, for the love of being able to breathe, swallow and talk, please invent some more anti-virals so that this kind of shit only lasts a few days, rather than an entire fucking week. Please?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

#LikeAGirl

I'd been semi-avoiding watching this because I'd heard that it was an ad.

Now I wish I hadn't waited. An ad it may be. But damn! it's inspiring. I teared up.


The Dresden Files

So. I am completely addicted to the Dresden Files. I mean, Urban Fantasy is one of my staple genres, so I'm actually a bit surprised it took me until December of '13 to even discover them. I read the first 14 between December and March.

The 15th book Skin Game came out last Monday, I'd had it on order from Amazon, so I got it right off. Of course, I couldn't read it until today, as I've had family in town for a ridiculous length of time.

I've put one of the funniest conversations below the fold. There are no spoilers, but I know some people like to avoid all information about a book this far in the series.

Word of the Day I

So, in my line of work, I come across old, unused, underused and simply bizzare words in the English language.

Some of this is due to reading documents from as far back as the late 1800's, some of it is translation oddness, and some of it is people trying to prove their vocabulary.

If this is found amusing, I will continue to post more "Words of the Day"

Today's is "Squab"

This is a chair cushion that is usually removable or otherwise non-permanent (in current usage).

According to Etymology Online:
1680s, "very young bird," earlier (1630s) "unformed, lumpish person" and used at various times for any sort of flabby mass, such as sofa cushions; probably from a Scandinavian word (compare dialectal Swedish skvabb "loose or fat flesh," skvabba "fat woman"), from Proto-Germanic *(s)kwab-. Klein lists cognates in Old Prussian gawabo "toad," Old Church Slavonic zaba "frog."

I'm not even surprised anymore that it is derived from a word that means  'fat woman,' or 'fat' more generally.

Oh English, and your hidden ways of insult.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Storm Stormy Storm Storm

Watching a thunderstorm roll in, doesn't look likely to be a bad one, but man has the wind kicked up.

The idiot construction people across the street didn't dampen their city-block square, 3-ish story deep hole before they left, so I'm watching all the dust devils and smut and dust clouds blow into everyone who is walking and biking trying to get home before the storm hits. Jackasses.

The band looks fairly narrow so that's good, and the clouds aren't funky colors like I used to see in Texas.

So I think I'm gonna sit back, watch the lightening show and drink me some green tea.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Fireworks Fail

Man, we've got friends coming over tonight, and I've checked with my apartment like 3 or 4 times to make sure we could watch the fireworks shows from the 12th floor pool balcony.

Checked one last time just now, to verify pool access protocols, only to be told that the pool is closing an hour early, at 8 instead of 9, and that we are SOL, because our city requires even privately owned pools to have a lifeguard present.

We should have one of the best fuckin' views of the cityscape. But no. They couldn't possibly pay the lifegaurd to stick around for one extra hour. Nope.


/end rant

RetroN5 Unboxing

So our black RetroN5 finally showed up from Amazon on Tuesday night.

For those of you who don't follow the retro gaming scene, the RetroN is manufactured by a small company called Hyperkin.


The last year has been one fiasco after another. Pre-orders went live September 12, 2013 with an expected October release date. Which got pushed to December. Which got pushed to January. Which came and went with no information. Which got pushed to March, April, May, and the console finally released on June 9, 2014. Not that they gave hardly any to Amazon preorders, which is why we only just got ours.

So anyway. Here it is, the big reveal.












The packaging was nice and sturdy. It did work out of the box, and we were able to run the updates from our iMac without any issues.

I do not like the controller. It is too thick, bulky, and response for the right arrow key is kinda shit.
The analog stick isn't a true analog, they went with microswitches, so if you pay close attention, you can feel each direction of the d-pad it sits on top of move.

I would have preferred a real d-pad. The faux-analog just isn't accurate enough.

Husband just gave up on it, and is using our original controllers, which we luckily have for every system the Retron supports.

Screenshots of games will be coming later, as we work through our collection and see if we own anything that is not compatible.

Independence Day

Happy 4th folks.

News the last week has been depressing, but the US is still often a pretty great place.

And I really love fireworks.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Facebook and the Hobby Lobby Decsion

So, Monday, I came in and wrote this, while completely pissed off. I've had time since then to both cool down and see what people I know are saying, mostly primarily Facebook, both pro and con. I won't be going into the details of the ruling here. Others much more qualified than me have been addressing the legal issues since the ruling was given.

Rather, I want and hope for this post to be something you can show your roommate, you parents, your boy/girlfriend.

I am going to address the two views I've seen the most that are for this ruling, that is, those who support Hobby Lobby in their decision to not fund certain contraceptives.

The first is, "Why do you (people against the decision) care? It doesn't affect you, you don't work for Hobby Lobby."

The second is, "Good! No company should have to pay for abortions or abortion-causing contraceptives."

I'm addressing these arguments in this order because for me, this is the easiest way to explain. The first leads into the second.

So, why do I care? After all, it's true that I don't work for Hobby Lobby.

The answer to that is twofold. The foremost and primary one is that I do use one of those newly-not-required-to-be-funded birth controls.

Specifically I use Paragard, the copper intra-uterine device (IUD). As for why I use this method of birth control, it's primarily because my husband and I (mostly I) are not currently ready to have any children, as a result of where we are in our lives. Husband and I just started two new careers. We've moved three states in the last year. We have a small apartment. We plan to move states again in about two years. None of which is particularly conducive to wanting a small human running around.

My other reason is medical. Conventional hormonal pill birth control was causing debilitating migraines for me. This was seriously affecting my quality of life and my ability to perform my job.
So my doctor and I, with no needed input from my then-employer decided that the 10 year lifespan and non-hormonal copper IUD was the best choice for me.

So, yes, I care because this option that is needed for women who know they don't want children in the near future, or who cannot take hormonal birth controls just had one of their best, if not one of their only options removed from them.

Now, I know what you're probably thinking. "But what about condoms?"

Well, condoms might be a great choice for some people. But believe it or not, you are making several assumptions. Amoung them that a womans partner is willing and capable of wearing a condom. In this case, willing means a partner who will take the time every time to put a condom on correctly. Willing means a partner who isn't abusive. It also assumes that both people are not allergic or sensitive to latex.

And this is another issue I've dealt with. I have latex sensitivity. I won't break out if I handle it or touch it, but condoms can range from uncomfortable to downright painful for me.

And yes while female and latex-free condoms do exist, they are often considerably more expensive, or in the case of female condoms, more expensive and quite rare. This means they are impractical for frequent use for many people.

Now, on to the second point I've been seeing, that companies with religious leanings should not be required to pay for abortions. This use of abortion includes contraceptives which are generally accepted to function by causing abortions, which include various IUDs and pills like Plan B.

The trouble with this common knowledge is that it simply isn't true. IUDs and Plan B do not cause abortions.

Now, different IUDs function by different methods, and I'm going to deal with the two most common.
  1. Paragard -- These are copper wire wrapped around a plastic "T"--They function as a spermicide via the copper. This is no different from the sponges, foams, or jellys that are apparently perfectly OK to use. This IUD is effective up to 10 years.
  2. Mirena -- These are a plastic "T" with hormones in them. These function the same as a low-hormone dose pill. It even still uses levonorgestrel, like a many kinds of "the Pill." This IUD is effective for up to 5 years.
Both Paragard and Mirena use some mechanical means as well. By that I mean that the T shape naturally inhibits a sperm from reaching eggs, further preventing chance of pregnancy. It is this mechanical shape-based inhibition that is often referred to as 'abortion.'

Next we have Plan B. Plan B is either a single dose or a two-dose system of levonorgestrel, just like Mirena, and just like many contraceptive pills. The difference is that the dosage is much higher than a daily pill would be. The window in which Plan B is effective is 72 hours. This window exists because all this pill does is trick a womans body into thinking it is already pregnant, which prevents conception by preventing the release of an egg from the ovary. HOWEVER, if you are already pregnant, it will do nothing. It will not harm you, it will not harm the fetus.

Repeating myself for emphasis, Plan B does not and cannot end a pregnancy.

It is a safety back up for when primary birth control "fails."

I have used it twice. Both were when my husband and I were still relying solely on male condoms for our contraception. Twice while I was working a minimum wage job and he was in grad school, we had concern that a condom had broken or otherwise leaked. Rather than risk a pregnancy at that time, I took Plan B to ensure that I would not get pregnant.

So at this point, I've established that Plan B and IUDs are often good choices or the best choice for various women in various circumstances. Circumstances you can't know just by looking at her. And I've shown that none of them are abortion-causing drugs.

Rather, they are simply another contraception option. Some women use them. Some do not. Either way, it is not the business of the business she works for.

I should also point out that this won't just affect the women who work for Hobby Lobby, but also any employees with spouses or daughters who are also covered by the company insurance plan.

Contraceptives, in all their forms are not the same thing as abortions.

And you know what? Even If they were, it still wouldn't be the business of anyone but the woman and her doctor. Not her boss, not your boss, not her Pastor, not your Pastor, not her company, not your company.

Your right to do stuff around me ends at my nose. And my uterus is well behind my nose.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ni No Kuni

Just finished the PS3 version of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch.

First half the game, totally worth the $15 I payed for it, third quarter felt off, and frankly the last quarter was unbelivebly anti-climactic.

That said, gameplay and controls are tight, and the Studio Ghibli animation is a joy to watch the whole way through. Husband even watched me play!

If you like Pokemon/Zelda dungeon runners you will probably greatly enjoy this game.

Each familiar (read "monster") you collect has a secondary form and two tertiary forms you must select between. Add fantastic pacing and side-questing, and I completed it in about two weeks, when I am notorious for not finishing games (looks at Bravely Default guiltily).

Part of what made the pacing so grand was side quests have dedicated portions of your quest log, so you know when you have a new one, you know where to look for it and you get some nice gameplay perks for completing them, like a chance for better item drops or more XP awarded at the end of a battle.

The story has many high points, but the side characters are a touch underdeveloped compared to say, Tales of Vesperia. But since Husband just finished Vesperia, that might well be a biased perception.

Overall, good game, good value and definitely a must play if JRPGs are a genre you enjoy even if just on occasion.

Monday, June 30, 2014

SCOTUS and Women's Health

I'm going to say upfront this is a reactionary piece. The below opinions are mine and mine only. Sarcasm, bitterness and emotional assertions may follow.

Page break because cursing. A lot. Probably results in NSFW.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mmmmm Mead

So Husband, Friend and I were at a food and wine fest yesterday, and Husband and Friend got roped into talking to the one Christianist set up with a friendly young lady doing the “missioning”. I was tipsy as the nominated drinker of the group, so when I meandered back over to them right at the “Do you believe in God?” Part of the conversation, I merrily went “No!”. This seemed to be muse her greatly and she went, “So, not really, then?”
Turns out its extraordinarily difficult for me to say “No, not “not really,” not at all.” Took me three tries. Which is also when I realized I’d had more to drink than I was feeling.
She seemed quite bemused. Husband was laughing. Not sure what Friend thought.
***
On a related note, pumpkin spice mead is amazing.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Binge Reading

One of these days I will learn that binge reading is not a good idea. But I always seem to forget this every time I start a new series with more than 3 books in it.

This time the culprit was Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series. I think i started the first one a hair over a week ago. I finished the most recent one at 2:30 this morning. I know better than to do this as the result is invariably me tired due to lack of sleep and grumpy that I am once again fresh out of things to read.

As far as the series goes, they were pretty good. Delt with some themes I'm not used to seeing in Urban Fantasy, like being a stepmom.

Soooooo....anyone got some suggestions for me?

Monday, June 9, 2014

E3!

It's that time of year again, E3 has started, so we'll get to see what direction gaming is trending for the next year. I'm following along via IGNs live blogs.

So Far, Microsoft has announced Forza Horizon 2, Halo Master Chief Collection, and a new Assassins Creed. They bed also touched on Sunset Overdrive and project Spark.

I'll update and or post more as we get more information this week.


Update: yes! We're getting a Platinum Games exclusive on XBOne. Title is "Scalebound"
Also Crackdown 3 was announced.

Maleficent

So I went and saw Maleficent last night with a group of friends. It was better than I expected. I intentionally did not read any reviews because I didn't want to be influenced.

I thought the raven Diaval pretty well stole the show. He was a clever, sweet and a sympathetic character. Several times he was clearly able to anticipate what Maleficent was planning or needed.

Angelina Jolie did a much better job than I expected based on the past movies I'd seen her in. However, I actually liked "young" Maleficent better. She had a lovely Scottish accent that just kinda disappeared when we jumped to Jolie.

There were some cute callbacks to the Disney Sleeping Beauty, like the crazy messy cake for Aurora's birthday.

Phillip made an appearance, but they subverted the 'rescued by a White Knight' a couple of times. To the point that except for the few laughs his character gave, he really added nothing to the story.

I feel that there were several plot holes, but none so egregious as to ruin the movie.

Thankfully they did not add any blatant sequel-bait.

It was funny and cute, with no Disney singing or acid-trip  sequences. I would say see it at a second run/dollar theater or rent/buy when it comes out on DVD or digital. I don't feel like it was worth the $24 it cost me to see it at a theater. I should also note that I did not see it in 3D as I can't stand 3D movies.

Monday, June 2, 2014

I've Been the Lucky One

We have another report of harassment in the skeptic-atheist-sphere. Link Here.

I wish I could say I was surprised, but honestly, I'm just not anymore.

I wish I could say I was disapointed, but honestly? I'm just not anymore.

I wish I could say I wanted to go to skeptic or atheist conferences. But I don't anymore.

The pattern of harassment has become the pattern I expect. 

I've often heard it said that the standard you walk past is the standard you accept. Yet women are regularly expected to roll with, walk past, and accept standards of treatment that are unethical, unacceptable and downright frustrating.

I want to be outraged, to have something witty and brilliant to say. I want to add something to this conversation.

But all I can manage is sadness, and a lingering feeling of being a poseur.

I haven't dealt with the career-altering levels of harassment we keep seeing again and again and again. Maybe it's because I'm not in organized skepticism/atheism. Maybe it's because I only just started blogging and talking about these things.

Probably? I've just been damned lucky.

I wrote several days ago about a co-worker of mine who we had to set up an escape plan for since she occasionally rides the train with a harasser. I've never had to do that.

I haven't written about my friend in high school who couldn't go anywhere alone--at school or public--because the school and police didn't take her ex-boyfriends threats of killing her seriously. But it wasn't me.

I've never been turned down for a job to my knowledge because I'm a woman. And at previous jobs, a lack of perceived authority was more likely to come from my age and height, although I'm sure being a woman was also a subconscious factor.

I've only been cat-called to my awareness once.

I've slept over at male friends houses and gotten drunk with them, yet I've never been raped.

I've been the lucky one.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Mental Health-Anxiety, a Background

So I said a few days ago that I was going to start posting about my anxiety and the treatment I'm receiving for it.

So to expound on the background, I was diagnosed in October of 2011 with generalized anxiety. This came about because I'd had a panic attack while alone in a hotel room, and didn't know what it was. Our end of year self-reviews for my job were due that night, and I just started shaking and crying and it felt like someone was sitting on my chest, and I thought I might be sick. I called my mother who had experienced the same kind of attack, so she talked me through it.

Once I had a name for the sensation, I realized I'd had several over the past months, but none so severe as to be debilitating, prior.

I went to see a gynecologist because as far as I could tell they appeared to loosely line up with my period. She figured that between timing and my friends (rightly) considering me rather bitchy the week of my period, that it could be PMDD, so she started me on Zoloft and a pill birth control so that I would be able to take the Zoloft the week prior and during my period. She also told me that I could take the Zoloft daily if I felt it was helping more than just the week prior to my periods.

I wound up taking it daily, as it helped even my moods out a lot. But as can happen with meds, I was one of the people who had side effects with Zoloft, so she switched me to Prozac.

Prozac was magic. I'd not realized it, but I'd had worry and anxiety buzzing in the back of my mind pretty much constantly. The Prozac silenced that. After I started the Prozac I had one more panic attack then they just stopped.

As a result of changing jobs and thus insurances, I allowed my prescription for the Prozac to lapse for the first time since I'd gotten it back in 2011. So from February this year to late April, I was without my security blanket of the Prozac.

Whole I did manage to go those months without a panic attack, it was a stark reminder that my brain does not function "normally". I like me and my personality better with the help of the medicine. I don't stress over my job nearly as much, and I feel like I am much happier overall.

With the new health insurance I actually had to go see a psychiatrist to get a sign off on the medicine, and I am now seeing a therapist as well. The psychiatrist updated my diagnoses to "generalized anxiety", which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.

My therapist is having me start to meditate. Which as an ex-Christian, feels kind of odd as there is some overlap between the discipline for meditation and how I was taught to pray. So far the most difficult part of that for me has been getting my mind to focus on a single thing: breathing. I'm supposed to work on only focusing on that. Problem for me is that I have the ability(?) to hold multiple thought in my head at a time, provided my attention isn't being further split by something like a conversation. So while I'm trying to focus on breathing, I'll have one part of my internal monologue going, "breathe-in....out...." And simultaneously I'll wind up with a second part going, "ooh Squirrel!"

I assume that means I need more practice in getting my mind to shut up an focus on one thing.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Yarn Bowl

So while I was shopping with my mother this weekend, I discovered one of the local yarn stores actually carried handmade yarn bowls.

So, I picked up this lovely piece. The bottom photo has the sock I just started.

Unfortunately I can't make out the artists' signature on the bottom, if anyone can, I would appreciate it so that I can link to a website if they have one.

UPDATE: it is Pawley Studios out of Kentucky.


Monday, May 26, 2014

On Mental Health, the Santa Barbara Shooting & #YesAllWomen

The conversation over at Pharyngula with regard to the Santa Barbara shooting really drove home a couple of things to me.

First that the habitual knee-jerk reaction of equating horrific violence to mental illness needs to stop.

And that second, that I need to write and document my travels through mental health care.

Regarding the first point, several commenters brought up that having a mental illness makes it more likely that you will be a *victim* of violence, not more likely to perpetuate it. Further, othering mental illness as default violent doesn't do anyone any good. It just inhibits our ability to have a conversation about the cultural issues that trigger a situation like the Santa Barbara shooting.

I have mild to occasionally severe anxiety. My triggers are often work or stress related. For example, at its worst, needing to perform a telephone call resulted in a debilitating panic attack. That three month period prior to getting a diagnoses I was having one or more debilitating panics a week.

My attacks consisted of shaking, crying and an infi-loop of "I can't do X" where X was whatever task was my trigger. I remember the first one I had (that I realized what it was), I was alone in a hotel room on a business trip. I think that was quite possibly the loneliest night of my life.

I'm lucky. Most of the time my anxiety is not that level crippling. Even luckier, Prozac is able to keep it under enough control that I still occasionally get the brain loops of "I can't do that," but I don't get debilitating attacks anymore.

I'll repeat that. To be able to function "normally" I have to be on an anti-anxiety medication. 

So when you paint this kind of behavior as "crazy" or "insane" you are tarring all of us on the wide spectrum of human experience who don't fall in your little nook of normal with the same brush as a mass-murderer. I don't fuckin' appreciate that.

The guy who did that shooting wrote a manifesto. Was a member of known MRA and PUA websites. No. I will not provide links to those corners of the internet. You go there at your own risk. For certain misogynistic values of "normal" what Rodgers did was the logical conclusion. Because it was never his own fault he couldn't get a date or laid or what-the-fuck-ever his goal was. It was the woman's fault. It was all women's fault.

Fuck that noise. #YesAllWomen have had to deal with smaller slices of that shit on a daily basis. No it's not nearly as much of an outlier as wiping it away with a simple "he was insane" implies. So stop trying to claim it is.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

That "Creepy Guy"

UPDATE: I wrote this prior to gphearing about the shooting in Santa Barbara. I don't have a coherent  opinion on that incident. Surprise, sorrow, and anger are all I manage right now. My heart goes out to those with friends and family who were hurt and killed.

---

You know the one I'm talking about. That somewhat friendly guy at work who is ok to have a short chat with in the hall, but has a tendency to insert himself into conversations and then over stay his welcome?

Or if he sees you on the train, he will sit as close as possible and talk over or around other people in order to engage you in conversation?

The same guy has done the former to me and a friend of mine regularly, and recently escalated to the latter with my friend.

This pisses me off because it's a classic case of a WASP not taking women's socially allowed "no's" as the final answer.

She has mentioned several times that she is married, as that is generally the most accepted way to tell someone to back off. I'm taken. I have a boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband. She has tried not being around him, though through sharing a workplace and a public transit method, this isn't really practical.

I'm pissed off because those approaches to 'leave me alone' rarely work. Quelle surprise, it didn't work this time.

I'm pissed off because I had to sit down with her and plan an escape route for the next time he manages to corner her on the train. She couldn't think of a way out because he gets off after her, so he knows where her stop is. Luckily(?) there is a mall only a few stops away from work and before her final stop where we've agreed she can get off if he does it again.

But this means she has to actively change her behavior due to this guys 'social awkwardness'. 

I'm pissed off because her first instinct was to give him the 'socially awkward' pass. As discussions of harassment in the atheist community have evolved over the last few years, I've found that I don't buy this as an excuse.

I am not the most socially savvy person, I have friends some male, some female, some inbetween, who are not the most savvy. We are terrified of violating boundaries the way this guy has on a regular basis. The instant we suspect we've violated a boundary, we're falling over ourselves trying to apologize and make it right.

To be fair, the guy in question has not said to us, "I'm socially awkward, therefore you have to give me a pass." Rather, I think he is either consciously or subconsciously depending on our ingrained  habit of passing off creepy behavior has simply 'socially awkward' to keep us from being able to act or react in the manner we would like, which would be telling him to fuck off.

I want to know why this is the goddamn expectation. Why am I supposed to give him an automatic pass when he's freaking one of my friends out. 

-----
For further reading on socially awkward vs. creepy, here is a great article that is quite probably more eloquent than I.

Friday, May 23, 2014

ShopHouse Resturant

So my mother is in town, so I took her to Chipotle's new Asian-themed chain ShopHouse.

The food was pretty good, I had the chicken and red curry sauce on jasmine rice, and she had the minced steak balls and the green curry on jasmine rice.

I am happy to report that she loved it.

I am disappointed to report that we weren't even able to make it back to my apartment before I had to go to the restroom and lose everything in my guts.


Since she didn't get sick I'm forced to conclude it was either the curry sauce or the chicken that did me in.

I hope ya'll have a more successful Memorial Day Weekend.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sailor Moon Comes to Hulu

Yes! *happy dance*

Toei has partnered with Hulu to bring a subbed version of the original Sailor Moon series here to the States starting Monday May 19. According to Crunchyroll we will also be getting the 20th anniversary show, Sailor Moon Crystal when it airs on July 5!

Yay for cheesy monster of the week shows that are inexplicably addictive.

FreethoughtBlogs Offline?

UPDATE: Looks like FTB is back.

******

Hey, I know a few people have read here thanks to my commenting on Pharyngula.

Anyone know if FTBs servers are just down or if it's a DDoS attack?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My afternoon at an Infusion center

So, I'm with my husband at the hospital, waiting for them to call us back so that he can start his first infusion of Remicade.

Remicade. Here's to hoping it's the cure-all it's been touted as.


But, I should back up.

Husband has had gastro issues for as long as I've known him. The year after we got married, he had 3 kidney stones, which is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Last year, while we were living in Atlanta, he started having issues with hemmeroids. About September of last year, he then developed an abcess/fistula.

October we moved to our current city, and new jobs. This came with better health insurance than we'd previously had access to. The doctors here looked at his history including some fairly significant weight loss that the doctors in Atlanta had completely ignored.

The conclusion is Crohn's. An infilmation of the upper and/or lower intestines. Crohn's causes weight loss due to malnutrition, fistulas, kidney stones and hemmeroids.

He was officially diagnosed about 3 weeks ago by a full colonoscopy.

Since then, he's been on steroids, thankfully with no obvious side effects, which brings us back to today.

A 40 minute IV of Benadryl to prep, and now 3.5 hours of the Remicade.

I hope the Remicade works as expected since he has to go through this again in two weeks. Then six weeks after that, then every 8 weeks until it stops working, or research finally gives Crohn's patients a new option.

This fucking sucks.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Off to see the Wiz--

Oh, wait, that's just the DMV. Damn.

Why does each state make it so unbelievably hard to get your license and car transferred. We have an additional layer of headache as Georgia misspelled my husbands name on his liscene. So extra documentation must be brought.

I opted to change my last name when we got married, so I have to bring my passport with my current name, my marriage license, and my birth certificate just to prove that I am me.

Here's to hoping we got all the correct documentation printed off the DMV's website.

ROUND 1: Start!

Friday, May 9, 2014

2014 Most Anticipated Games



So Husband and I put our heads together and came up with the games we're most excited to see this year.

In no particular order they are:

  •  the Evil Within--looks to be Shinji Mikami taking survival horror back to its roots. Dark, freaky, and fucked to hell.

  • SuperSmash Bros. WiiU/3DS--it's SSB. Of course we're excited. The introduction of MgeaMan to the franchise is just icing on the cake.

  • Destiny--as big fans of Diablo and Borderlands, we're hoping Destiny gives us a way geek out over loot piles, while bringing a fresh perspective to the genre.

  • Bayonetta 2--Crazy-ass action from Platinum. The first one was a lot of fun, here's to hoping this one lives up to the original.

  • The Order: 1886--Because who doesn't want a steampunk shooter?

  • Mariokart 8--Dear god, are we at the 8th installment already?

  • PhantasyStar Online 2--We'll be excited if and when this one actually happens. I went through the effort of downloading and playing the Japanese edition last year, so I already know it's fun, I just want to be able to read the damn menus.

  • Dreamfall Chapters--I am sure you, dear readers, are plenty smart enough to guess my excitement levels, considering this is the (probably) final installment of the series I named this blog after. 

  • World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor--We're WoW nerds. Don't judge. 

  • Pok√©mon Alpha and Omega--Remakes of the third gen Sapphire and Ruby. Hope they update it to include all the lovely things like the mystery trade from X and Y. 



*sigh* and Husband says laundry needs to go get done, so while I'm off doing chores, feel free to post the games ya'll are looking forward to. Did we miss any?


BravelyDefault, First Impressions

So I picked up Bravely Default a few weeks back, and it has taken me until now to get far enough into the game to feel like I have a good grasp of all the mechanics.

Overall, it is a pretty straightforward J-RPG. If you don't like that genre, you probably won't like this game. Personally, I love me some J-RPGs.

The intro was gorgeous. Oddly, you trigger it with an AR-card that is printed on the back of the info booklet provided with the game. You can also download the initial one and some others from the Bravely Default website. I opted to watch the intro with the 3D on. This is the Right Way to start a tale. The narrator fairy (*cough*Navi clone*cough*) jumps out of the AR-card and starts begging you to rescue her friend and partner the Vestal of the Wind. The animation was extremely well done, smooth, and when you moved the 3DS around, you could see different portions of the character who was talking. It really gave the feeling of looking through a window into a different world where faries can just come hurtling at you, begging for help.

The overworld map and overall gameplay feel like an updated Golden Sun, which is enough to endear this game to me, as GS is one of my all time favorite games.


Core gameplay consists of selecting if you are going to attack or defend each turn.

Defending is called "Default." This builds up BP (Brave Points) which will allow you to attack up to 4 times in a single turn. When you select Default, you also take less damage from enemy attacks.

When you attack you have two options, "Brave" or normal attack. An attack uses one BP. You can go into "debt" by up to 4 BP. This is the opposite of storing BP with Default, although the effect of waiting 4 turns before your next move is the same.

So battles are a balance of do you think you can beat the baddie quickly or do you need to be cautious? I've found that I tend toward aggressive (going into BP debt) with my DPS characters, and conservative (storing BP with Default) with my healers.

Add to all of this an astoundingly complex class system called "Jobs" that allows any character to be any class, and you have a recipe for a game that is guaranteed to suck you in for hours at a time.

The last battle mechanic is called SP (Sleep Points) that are earned one of two ways:
You leave the game running for 8 hours in sleep mode (game launched but 3DS is closed)
Pay SquareEnix real money

Yes. You read that right. A full-price full-length 3DS game with goddamned micro-transactions. Not with PlayCoins, not in-game currency, real money.

You can only have 3 SP at any given time, so if you are like me, and leave the game you are currently playing running all the time in your GameBoy, it's easy to not pay. However, what I have not yet figured out is how to turn off the option to buy SP in-game. I hope it's just buried in one of the menus somewhere, where I haven't seen it yet. So any of you with childrens running around, turning off the micro-transactions is a feature you are going to need to dig for.

And what, you may be asking, makes SP so special that it costs real money? Well, it lets you attack with a single member of your party out of turn, even if they are in BP debt. That's it. That is the feature that is so special that they added micro-transactions to this game. Like so many micro-transaction options before it, if you use the SP, the game becomes several degrees easier. It's not quite pay-to-win, since all the SP in the world won't let you beat a boss if you are too low level, but it's close.


The final aspect that makes this game stand out from its peers is the use of StreetPass to help rebuild a city that was destroyed in the intro. People with StreetPass turn into members of the city, which you can then task to help rebuild different shops. This appears  to be the way to access many of the more powerful weapons and armor in the game. Again, we have a downside. Not all StreetPass tags count. Only those from people who are also playing BravelyDefault. So give the game a year or two, and new players who don't pick games up when they are still expensive will have a very hard time rebuilding their town, which kind of sucks, given how integral to the game this mechanic seems to be.

As of this writing, I have just completed the Wind temple so I reckon I'm somewhere around the quarter way mark.

I'm not going to brief on story, as I'm not yet far enough in to be able to give a good synopsis without risk of spoilers. Suffice to say, I'm very curious how everything will turn out.

To sum up: if you enjoy games like Golden Sun or the Tales series, you should probably pick this one up sooner rather than later to get the full experience. If turn-based games annoy you, or if you don't make use of features like StreetPass, I would recommend skipping this one.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Whew! & Moving Update

Holy crap, I am still getting page hits!

The new job has started to level out. I'm loving it. Out of the training phase an in the learning-how-to-do-it-for-realz phase. It's a lot more rewarding and a lot harder than I could have possibly guessed six months ago.

Contrary to what I posted back in December, I will not be attending WIS3, mostly, I just don't have enough vacation time to spend on a conference right now.

*******

So the moving company we'd used this last time was Allied, which leases their name to independent movers cross-US.

So the Atlanta-based mover we used managed to scratch or break Every. Single. Piece. of furniture we own. The good news here is that I had bought the "no-deductible" insurance for the extra $500 bucks upfront. Yes, this is effectively the same as a $500 deductible. However, the deductible options were several hundred bucks for the claim plus an amount based on the estimated value of damage, so since we did use it, the $500 was considerably cheaper.

Among the items most damaged were a brand-new two piece hutch we'd gotten, they actually managed to break one of the corners on the lower portion. It is solid wood, not plyboard. They shattered the 24" LED monitor I'd gotten my husband for our wedding. They scuffed every flat surface, which is lovely and visible, as all our furniture is black. They broke the feet off two of our bookcases. Pretty sure they lost a few boxes, as there are a few items I still haven't located. We have metal trash bins both for the kitchen and the bathroom, both have massive dents. They totaled both of our (admittedly) cheap bikes by loosing the connector pins for the front wheels and scraping most of the paint off.

That's just the shit I can remember off the top of my head.

So I took my Grandma's advice. I dug up via the all-knowing internet who the CEO/President was. Turns out Allied is a name owned by a company named Sirva. I managed to get a hold of the line to the CEO of Allied, who is an employee of Sirva, and he had his very friendly secretary call me back.

I have strong suspicions that what happened from here out would not have gone as smoothly as it did if I had not done that.

I ended up filing all of the paperwork with the secretary, who was very through and helpful. She ensured that we had a reputable restoration company come out and repair the things that were repairable, and evaluate the damages. I am *very* happy that a disinterested third party did the valuation, as he had no reason to undershoot us. The restoration company fixed the visible dents and nicks, and even the corner of the hutch (which was done with good enough resin and paint that at a glance, you can't tell it was ever damaged).

This was all in December.

The paperwork finally wrapped up in March, and they sent us check #1, and a letter explaining the damages they were and weren't paying for.

This led to more phone calls and emails, as one of the things on the 'we won't pay for' list was the monitor, reason being it had been packed by us, therefore wasn't their fault...Except--you guessed it!--their people were the ones who had packed it. So we had to wait and extra 30 days for their review board to look at our records and go "Oh, we did pack that, our bad." For which we got check #2.

Overall I was able to tolerate the insurance claim process, they seemed to know what they were doing. But, it still sucked. I would much rather all our stuff had gotten here in one piece. BUT they did pay us very nearly the full cost of the move. So there is that.