(no subject)

The last 5 months, in a large nutshell:

You know that feeling when you're totally exhausted after a really long day (or maybe first thing in the morning after a rough night, before you've had a chance to get coffee), and you just can't handle anything? It's hard to think, hard to move. Just totally wiped. All you want from people is to be left alone because the tiniest request for attention is overwhelming.

Now imagine that several times worse.

Now imagine that, on top of that, you've got a condition where all your nerves are hypersensitive. To the point that a friendly pat on the back can leave a stinging ache that lingers for several minutes. So that moving through the world is a constant question of "is doing this worth the pain it will cause?" And your brain is so exhausted from all the constant noise that it's hard to think, and everyday noises and interactions can easily become overwhelming.

Now remember that when you get really tired in the way I described at the beginning, your nerves become hypersensitive and it's really hard to concentrate or hold a train of thought, and little things can easily become overwhelming. Now imagine that problem amplifying the chronic hypersensitivity you're already dealing with as a baseline.

Put that all together.

Exhausted. Overwhelmed. So woozy you can hardly sit up for hours at a time. Beyond hypersensitive. So tired you can hardly find the strength to breathe. There are times when you can feel the strain of your rib muscles just to keep going. Trying to muster the concentration to put words together, remember what you're trying to say, endure the pain and fatigue of pushing your ribs to take a deep breath, and coordinating the muscles of your voice box all at the same time is like running a juggler's marathon. You can't read a book because it's too hard to sustain focus to follow the plot. You can't watch half of what's on TV because it takes more concentration than you have to spare. You sit in the living room with the door closed, and the sound of someone gently clattering dishes halfway across the kitchen is like thunder. Just the weight of having someone physically in the same room becomes oppressive.

Then some doctor says, "Oh, it's a flare-up. If you could only get moving, you'd be fine." Except that it feels nothing like a flare-up, and you've never had one that lasted a week, let alone four months. But there's nothing else on the table, so you roll with it. He gives you a steroid. Now you've got chest pains. Your blood sugar is soaring. (That causes extra wooziness. Also, your brain is trying race because you've got a sugar rush, except it can't because it's too exhausted to handle anything.) And now you can't sleep because the blood sugar spikes and chest pains keep waking you up.

You can't think. You can't move. You can't breathe. Literally everything is overwhelming, and most of it is painful. You struggle to find something that will just let you zone out until you can try to sleep again.

You lie there, trapped, as your mind falls apart from sleep deprivation. You want to scream from the depths of your soul from the existential horror of watching your very self shrink and hollow and crumble, but you're too worn out to breathe. So you bury yourself in whatever you can tolerate, and try not to think. Which mostly works, except when you get too woozy to even watch cartoons.

But you're so experienced at putting this stuff into words and slowly typing out coherent sentences even when your head is spinning and you can hardly see straight that people have trouble believing you.

(no subject)

Things Donald Trump said in this weekend's Republican Primary debate:

  • The Iraq war was a huge mistake, and you shouldn't vote for someone who couldn't admit that until last year.

  • There were no WMD in Iraq.

  • The Bush administration knew that, and they lied us into a disastrous war that cost us trillions of dollars and netted us nothing.

  • The Iraq war destabilized the Middle East, bringing about the current situation.

  • We shouldn't cut funding to Planned Parenthood because, while he's against abortion, they do a lot of good work for women's health.

  • You can't just say that "Bush kept us safe" when 9/11 happened on his watch, and he ignored warnings from his own administration's CIA.

Man, that kind of reality-based rhetoric is going to kill his poll numbers. He's got to get out there ASAP and say something insane, hateful, or shockingly offensive (preferably all three) if he's going to have any chance of undoing the damage and winning over the GOP base.

(no subject)

Conversation with a friend sort of led to the creation of a new icon. Feel free to share/use/whatever.

Description: Robotic dog K-9 from Doctor Who. Caption reads DOG MATIC.

(no subject)

A decade or so back, Marvel did a miniseries about Daredevil's early career. Daredevil's original costume was yellow, so the book was titled "Daredevil: Yellow." (And that really influenced the coloring of the comic. One of the little things I loved about the Netflix series is that they took a cue from that book and had a lot of yellow backgrounds, with the gradual introduction of bits of red towards the end.)

That became something of a tradition for Marvel. In the years since, they've done flashback miniseries about other characters, each named for a color prominent in that character's costume. Spider-Man: Blue, and so on.

More recently, Marvel made a big move by depowering Steve Rogers and having his longtime partner, Sam Wilson (The Falcon) take over as Captain America. You may recall the media buzz over a year ago about the new Captain America being a Black man.

Right now, Marvel is in the midst of what may be their largest event yet, resetting the entire multiverse to introduce a new, more up to date status quo. Spider-Man will be Miles Morales, the biracial teen who took over as Spider-Man in the Ultimate universe, there will be more emphasis on female characters, including an all-female team of Avengers, a spotlight on the new Ms. Marvel, a Muslim girl, and so on. On the other hand, while Logan himself will be dead, there will be two characters who go by Wolverine. Because you can never have enough Wolverine, apparently.

It's not clear yet what will happen with many other characters. The event is just starting, and Marvel themselves may not have decided. But they did announce a new flashback miniseries about Captain America's early days in WWII.

See if you can spot the problematic part of that.

I really wonder what they were thinking.


Text: Captain America
Image: Steve Rogers as Captain America shouts as he powerfully holds up his shield.
Text: WHITE)

(no subject)

I don't know how much this will help, but I'm going to try to clarify some things.

1. Drug testing welfare recipients is a bad idea. Florida implemented this law. Very, very few of recipients tested positive. The state ended up paying out orders of magnitude more in testing fees than they "saved" by withholding the pittance from the few who did test positive. And the tests are prone to false positives. Eat a poppy seed bagel a week before the test, and it will show positive because it can't tell the difference between lingering opiates from that and traces of heroin. It's just a further indignity and bureaucratic hurdle heaped upon people who are already having to swallow their pride and ask for help. The law has been a disaster for everyone involved except the woman who owns the company that does the tests... Who just happens to be the governor's wife.

2. The Confederate flag is racist. I cannot believe this is in dispute. The leaders of the Confederacy made it explicitly clear that they were fighting for the right to subjugate Blacks and keep them as slaves. The Confederacy were also traitors, starting the bloodiest war in American history against the legitimate Federal government with the goal of breaking the country apart. The flag itself did not go up on state capitols until the 1960s, as a direct protest against desegregation, and as a visible symbol of the entrenched power of Whites over Blacks. Oh yes, and in much of Europe, where swastikas are banned, the Confederate flag is used by neo-Nazis as a proxy. Just in case you had any doubts about how racist it is. And that attitude and the symbol of the flag itself directly inspired the Charleston shooting.

3. The rainbow flag, on the other hand, is a symbol of pride from an oppressed minority. People who are asking for equal treatment, protection, and respect. They're not out to hurt anyone or take anything away from anyone. Rights aren't a zero sum game. Giving them to others doesn't deprive you of anything.

4. Marriage is a legal contract. It's entirely in the government's hands. A church can preform a wedding, and that's within the laws of the religion. But a marriage is a matter for the state. And, in this country, we have separation of church and state. No one gets to impose their religion, especially not when it means taking rights away from others.

5. That your religion describes homosexuality as a sin is irrelevant. In my religion, pepperoni pizza is a sin. It is an abomination before the Lord to eat the meat of a pig. And even worse when you cook that meat with dairy. Guess what? I don't get to outlaw it. I can't tell you that you're not allowed to eat it because my religion forbids it. I don't get to impose that on you. My religion applies to me and those of my faith. No one else. And it has no place in secular law.

(no subject)

A friend on FB was looking at all the happy rainbows and lamenting that the culture and laws of her own country are still so incredibly homophobic. This is what I told her. (The "posts just like this one" at the end refers to her OP about thinking her country should be more accepting, and wishing it were so.)

Here's the thing.

In the early 80s, rampant homophobia was so much the norm that I would not let my father kiss me on the cheek because I'd internalized how terrible it was for a man to kiss another male.

In the mid-80s, mainstream broadcast news was pretty sure that if a woman turned up HIV positive, it must have been because her husband had been hanging around gay bars. Anchors noted in passing that there were respected clergy who were convinced that AIDS was a punishment from God for all the dirty icky sinful things gay people did. And everyone knew that a stable gay relationship was one where you stayed with the same man for the whole night.

In the 90s, a major question in the news and in Congress was what to do about the discovery that gay men wanted to serve in the armed forces. On the one hand, there were those who didn't want to exclude anyone willing to fight, but there were many who felt it would be inappropriate and hurt morale and destroy unit cohesion. Eventually, over many objections, we got the compromise of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Which seemed pretty fair at the time. Just stay in the closet and no one needs to worry. Problem solved!

In 2008, on the same night Obama was elected, thanks to a massive ad campaign financed by the Mormon church, marriage equality (still a fairly new idea that only the most Liberal states were even trying) was repealed by popular vote in California.

And now, here we are. DADT is gone, and we have nationwide marriage equality.

But DADT was a hard fight. And it's only in the last couple of years that marriage equality gained a tenuous majority of popular support. It was passed by various state legislatures, but never won on an open ballot. It had to be imposed by the courts. And still there are many deeply opposed.

We've got a long way to go. But look at how far we've come. In one generation.

And I think a fair amount of that came from the Internet, which gave people a place to find support, make connections, build a movement... And expose the populace to a new narrative, new realities. To openly gay friends.

Change is possible. And it starts with posts just like this one.

I have news!

I've finally bought out a restaurant and leased the space!

My manager did his first interview with a local news blog last week. (I see someone named Frank is skeptical of us. We'll do our best to be neighborly and earn his trust.)

So excited that we can actually start building and creating!

We had our first party this weekend. I met some of our new neighbors and one of our future bartenders and showed my family around the place. It was a lot of fun. Especially seeing my nieces and nephews' enthusiasm.

We've registered our domain name and are beginning to set up some social media accounts. We've got plans to redecorate the place. We're looking for a chef. After two years of waiting and false starts, we're finally moving, and moving fast!

(no subject)

The pollen this year is killing me. At least, I think and hope it's the pollen. Even staying entirely indoors with all the windows shut and the air filters on and everything, it's hard to sit up, let alone keep a train of thought going. Which is not good because we're trying to get all the paperwork in order to set up a lease deal. Not a good time for me to be out of commission. It also means I'll be missing a rare chance to meet [personal profile] cesy and possibly some others.

(no subject)

Summary of most of the last 18 months:

They adjusted my meds for one reason or another. It went badly. We undid the change, I got better. Just in time to try something new. Which went badly. Rinse and repeat.

Latest change is an increase in my Lyrica (the one thing that's been any help with my sleep or the fibro pain). I didn't feel anything for the first day or two, but then spent most of Saturday too lightheaded to do much of anything. Yesterday, I still wasn't feeling right, but better than before. Sleeping more than usual, but that could be a sign that the Lyrica is helping me sleep more deeply. I hope that's it.

At least I was well enough to make it to my cousin's wedding. Which is good in that everyone was glad to see me and the bride was very grateful I could make it and I got to spend a little time with my nieces and nephews.

Only problem is that the band had their amps turned up to 11. My phone's (somewhat unreliable) sound meter app tells me they clocked in at 85 decibels, which is on the edge of what can cause permanent hearing damage. (I suspect the band has long since gone half deaf from doing this every weekend.) Fortunately, I carry a bag of earplugs with me wherever I go (hypersensitive ears, thanks to the fibro). Which is still not as well-prepared as my uncle was. He brought two pairs of high-end noise-dampening ear cup protectors. Wish I'd thought to bring mine.

Managed to have a good time, though.

Still waking up today. Kind of fuzzy-headed. But better than this time yesterday. I think my body is adjusting to the increased dosage. Then we'll get to see if there's any benefit to it. That would be a nice change.

(no subject)

For the record, I'm still here and still reading. Life since January last year has mostly consisted of me not sleeping and/or dealing with side effects. (With the notable exception of a thrilling but exhausting August.) Stuff has been happening around me, but I've pretty much been too bleary to do much about it.

Good things are on the horizon, but I don't want to jinx anything before it's actually in black and white. I'll try to update more when I'm feeling better and actually have something solid to say.