spidra: (artist)
PEOPLE, we've got a problem. It's so ingrained in our society now that people don't even realize the gravity of it.

Imagine you were reading an article about how a loved one of yours was killed by a drunk driver. They were minding their own business, conducting themselves legally. Yet most of the comments on the news article were full of vitriol talking about how "people like THEM" were inconsiderate, had attitude,  and deserved to die. Instead of having any problem with someone getting behind the wheel of a vehicle drunk, or expressing any sympathy to the victim and their family, the comments rage online about the fact that the victim of this crime was "one of them".


This isn't a mere hypothetical. Read almost any article about the death of a cyclist who was acting in a legal manner. You'll see comments like that. Furthermore this is what happens with almost every article that describes anything, sometimes even the most tangential thing, having to do with cycling.

You will generally not find this kind of vitriol in the comments of articles about motorists/car drivers. Because people realize that the bad behavior of various motorists (a) doesn't give them license to injure/kill that motorist and (b) doesn't mean that all people who get behind the wheel are bad actors/assholes.  But somehow when it comes to cycling as a mode of transport, people lose their heads and think (a) and (b) are just fine.

Today is when CA's new 3 ft. passing law comes into effect. I have seen many places on Facebook, heard on the radio, seen on Twitter or various newspaper sites all sorts of "jokes" about the violence people should do to "those people". Not reasonable comments like "I'm confused, can you clarify how this works?" or "Okay, this is inconvenient but I can see how someone's life is more important than arriving at my destination 2 minutes faster."  Instead it is the most prejudiced vitriol.

Generalizing the behavior of individuals to an entire group that you can easily label is wrong. It allows you to dehumanize people. Instead of making individuals responsible for their own behavior, you're ready to demonize everyone who shares that one easy-to-point-at trait.

I'm pretty sure most of the people engaging in these violent "jokes" and peevish or road ragey complaints/threats would admit they don't think it's worth injuring or killing someone just to go a little faster if you talked to them outside of the haze of prejudice…when they'd maybe taken some deep breaths.

Comments like these on articles online, on Facebook, in conversation with others, create an environment that says just the act of riding a cycle makes someone worth less.  That it's okay to declare open season on an entire group, not because of the actions of the individual you see in front of you, but because you had a bad experience with someone who just happened to take that mode of transit. I've already been targeted a couple times in my life by people who have a hate-on for anyone riding a bike. In all cases I was riding my bike legally and courteously. I do fear that one day I may die, not by accident, but because someone has a hate-on for cyclists. If you think that's exaggeration, give me 24 hrs and I can hunt up a number of newspaper reports of incidents and probably some YouTube video as well of people who have on purpose tried to run cyclists over simply because they were cyclists.

I beg you all to please examine your attitude and words towards cyclists. Flip it over and see if you'd act the same way towards all motorists based on your bad experiences with various individual motorists. Any of us who drives sees numerous scofflaw drivers per day. Do you argue that motorists shouldn't have laws promoting safety or shouldn't get any infrastructure until all motorists obey the law?

Photo from BikePGH's "Drive With Care" ad campaign reminding people that humans ride bicycles.  http://bikepgh.org/care/
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It's been a slow process with many delays. It may continue to roll out to new venues but here's the news about where it's available for now.

First and most important is Bandcamp. Until they decide to be more aggressive about their business model, Bandcamp.com gives 100% of the price of downloads to the artist. Obviously, this is the place I most prefer that people buy my album if they're going for a digital download. To underscore that, I've provided an extra track that comes only with purchase of the whole album from Bandcamp. It's not a Warners track, but goodness nonetheless.  If you press the Share button on the site, it'll give you options to tweet, facebook, embed and other things that would really help me publicize the album. I have no manager, no agent, it's just me. So word of mouth is really important to me.


CDBaby is also carrying my album. They're supposed to carry and distribute the digital downloads but they seem to have screwed that up for now. I'm in touch with their customer support to try to get that fixed. But you *can* order the hard copy CD from them.  http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/MeganLynch  If you've heard the album, please write a review on CDBaby's site. You don't have to do a puff piece, just write what you really think.

If you're local to the SF Bay Area, you can buy my album at Down Home Music in El Cerrito. It helps record stores see the value of carrying my music and in this case supports a great Bay Area business that is in trouble in our current depression.  I also have the album on consignment at Amoeba Music in Berkeley. It's available very cheaply there for a limited time.

If you're on Last.fm, please make sure you're scrobbling when you listen to my tunes. :)  As soon as things get straightened out with CDBaby's distribution, I should be able to apply to be an artist on Pandora as well.

If you're interested in news on any gigs I may have coming up, news about the album, etc. please sign up at http://www.reverbnation.com/meganlynch

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I get rid of loads of stuff every time I move. And always manage to accumulate more. As my memory gets shittier, it becomes even more important to me to hang onto things (I was always sentimental, though). I am absolutely BEAT after 6 days straight of little sleep and way more work than my RSI accommodates. I have so much to do I wanted to use my time wisely but I didn't have a lot of physical energy so I decided to see if there were documents  I could scan so that I could throw the original papers away. And I ran across the few mildewed papers I managed to salvage from a basement flood in Emeryville in the mid-90s that took out a lot of artwork, my jr. high and high school yearbooks, college notes and papers I'd saved.  And I always intended to scan the stuff one day yet here I am more than 10 years later still hauling it around.  I don't have time to get into minutiae now so I thought I'd try firing up MacSpeec Dictate and see if I could dictate it in but my experience doing that just reminded me that I really was basing my dislike for that speech recognition app on its real life shitty performance. So I dictated and then did EXTENSIVE corrections by hand. And I'll publish the results here. This paper was for a class on Finnish Folk Art & Technology at UCLA. It was a field exercise.

Ethnography Exercise: Finnish Lutheran Church, Los Angeles 4/20/1988

The Finnish Lutheran Church of Los Angeles is situated at 1345 South Burlington Avenue. The modest Gothic Revival frame serves several congregations, actually. Although the sides and rear of the church have ebbed into shabbiness, the facade is well-kept. Its tasteful brick exterior testifies to the wealthier days of this part of Los Angeles. In typically Angeleno style, a rather different interior has been grafted onto the church. The tinted stucco interior no doubt better suits the Hispanic congregation that celebrates their Mass prior to the Finns. It is certainly a long way from Helsinki.


A harmonious arrangement seems to have been reached as regards the use of the adjoining preschool and social rooms. When will. After the service, the majority of the congregation filed into a functional midsized room for coffee and pulla. I gather that on this date, things were a bit more than business as usual. A delegation of Finnish-Canadians from Thunder Bay, Ontario were paying a visit, congregants were getting their pictures taken for the directory, and a member of the congregation was to celebrate his 75th birthday. In short order, the pastor exhorted people to their feet to sing "Happy Birthday", two verses, the second punctuated by a "God bless you!".  There was a sporadic stream of people to the head of the room whether the refreshments table was located. As one proceeded right to left, one encountered disposable plates and silverware, cookies, pulla (a Finnish sweetbread), and fixings for the coffee dispensed adjacent to the table. After receiving your cup of coffee from the gracious woman who dispensed it, you could pour in some cream from a dispenser of obviously Finnish influence. A carton of half-and-half was nestled in a wooden holder bearing a resemblance to traditional wooden buckets with the exception that it was square, the better to hold the carton.


Although the room was cozy, it was able accommodate the 30 or so people who were seated in it. There were five or six round tables covered with vinyl tablecloths with the appearance of fine linen and lace. Groups of 3-6 people were seated at these tables to enjoy coffee and conversation. Others were seated at the side or head of the room. There was a dull roar of private conversation that was occasionally interrupted by announcements of the pastor and a musical presentation from the Thunder Bay visitors. The majority of the conversation took place in Finnish. Everyone had very good manners; I struggled to be as dainty as I could. The man next to me seemed to have some disability. He often gesticulated that he desired more cake or coffee and some caring person would visit the head of the room on his behalf. The younger people (I would say only 10% of the congregation was younger than 40) would often oblige the older members by helping with the serving in managing the cleanup.


There was unhurried atmosphere. Later on, people drifted into the preschool room in order to view a nostalgic slideshow and partake of a pea soup lunch. A former pastor was running a slideshow that consisted of individual and group portraits of former and present members of the congregation. He had a startling memory and even when he had the throw an identification question out to his audience, he was generally able to answer it himself given a minute or two. Many of the slide subjects were deceased but the general attitude was respectful one rather than somber. Heading out into the hallway one could see a bookshelf which had pamphlets and children's books in several languages. There was a booklet on the Kalevala (the Finnish folk epic) but I cannot recall whether it was in English or Finnish. One could bounce between the preschool room, the hallways and the coffee room; Conversations were going on throughout. There seemed to be a few happy reunions; People who had not stopped by in a while were lured back by the photo-taking sessions.


When I went out again, I could see the Korean congregation socializing in the large auditorium. It seemed as well. The smaller room better suited to tea-at-home atmosphere that I encountered at the Finnish Lutheran Church.


"No 'Poo"

Mar. 18th, 2009 08:47 pm
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In art school I read a biography of the director Preston Sturges. One of the colorful stories about him was that he didn't wash his hair. He rinsed his hair but didn't wash. I figured that was not really a huge problem in the age of brilliantine. However, my hair gets oily quickly so I figured I'd never do such a thing.  But I read the <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfmoms/detail?entry_id=36992">Chron's recent blog bit</a> on the "No 'Poo" movement and since I had already missed one of my daily shampooings and I hardly see anyone anymore, it would be easier to participate in the experiment and see how it goes.

I have very fine hair and less and less of it as the years go by (the baldness gene is on the X chromosome which is why women don't go bald as often as men do. Lucky me, my mom's family has a history of female baldness....). I normally wash my hair every day. If I don't, you can soon see the greasiness that reaches about the first inch of hair off the scalp and it gets worse as the days go on. On the other hand, my hair holds a style better and has more body if it's not freshly clean. So "bed hair" can actually look good on me!

I'm on Day 4 without shampooing right now. All but the last 2.5 inches of my hair is greasy. I rinse it when I take a bath and scrub well to keep the scalp clean, but I haven't shampooed. I look forward to what is supposed to happen after a week or so. There's a point where your body quits producing so much hair oil and just chills out. I felt like I got a preview of that last night after my bath. My hair felt clean but different.  Anyway, it's an entertaining experiment. And any excuse to cut another grocery item off my bill is good.  Of course, if I have to take any pictures for the album cover soon, I'm kinda screwed.
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I took the 43 Things Personality Quiz and found out I'm a
Creative Lifelong Learning Tree Hugger
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Every time I read of some tail wagging the dog university decision about sports, I've thought about this scene in "Horse Feathers". Unfortunately, I could never remember the scene word for word so I rented it from Netflix and have now transcribed it for posterity. Just think - even as far back as 1932 colleges had the whole point of sports programs bass ackwards.

Prof. Quincy Adams Wagstaff: And I say to you gentlemen that this college is a failure. The trouble is we're neglecting football for education.

Professors: (in unison) Exactly. The professor is right.

Prof. Quincy Adams Wagstaff: Oh, I'm right, am I? Well, I'm not right, I'm wrong. I just said that to test you. Now I know where I'm at. I'm dealing with a couple of snakes. What I meant to say is that there's *too* much football and not *enough* education.

Professors: (in unison) That's what I think.

Prof. Quincy Adams Wagstaff: Oh, you do, do you? Well, you're wrong again. If there was a snake here, I'd apologize. Where would this college be without football? Have we got a stadium?

Professors: (in unison) Yes.

Prof. Quincy Adams Wagstaff: Have we got a college?

Professors: (in unison) Yes.

Prof. Quincy Adams Wagstaff: Well, we can't support both. Tomorrow we start tearing down the college.

Hours Away

Oct. 17th, 2008 01:30 am
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I just loaded up my backpack and walked around with it for a while.  I have to seriously consider NOT taking the laptop.  The added weight of the laptop and the Wacom is significant.  I could deal with it if (a) I weren't disabled (b) I had a secure place to store the majority of my stuff at all times.  There are going to be days where I can't yet enter the hostel or home I'm going to and have to carry the pack on my back while sightseeing and traveling.  I"m not sure I can handle that kind of weight for hours at a time.  I wish I could decide.  It's a very hard decision to make.

Meanwhile I just wasted a half hour because my mom forwarded me an Obama smear email.  I've almost trained her to check Snopes before passing on crap she gets from her AOL friends.  But she doesn't do general fact-checking on Google so if it isn't on Snopes yet, she's liable to take things at face value.  So I spent time doing my own fact-checking, citing references, and composing an email response to her.  My dad is very on board the Obama train.  I thought my mom was, too, but I guess she's been hiding her real opinions a bit around this pro-Obama household.  A week or so ago she mentioned the "57 States" gaffe Obama made and drew some bullshit Islamic connection with that.  I can't believe she didn't give him credit for being tired and making a (funny) slip of the tongue - this is the same woman who will run through the names of my other sisters when she means to call me.  She should have some empathy for slips of the tongue.

I'm so disappointed.  My mom is an intelligent woman.  The fact that she falls for some of this crap is really scary because the many people in this country who are less intelligent than she is are probably biting hook,line and sinker.
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I read an actress' bio on IMDB tonight.  She was signed as a model at age 14. Bought her first house at 20.  I know there are tons of talented actors out there who don't get work on TV or in film because they're not pretty enough.  Yet models make the transition to acting all the time now.

I hate how shallow we are.  How shallow I am, much as I try to fight it.  Is it ingrained in us?  Why should looks count for "survival of the fittest"?  What possible evolutionary end is served by selecting for people who look like models?
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Almost all of my time in the Bay Area has been spent living on the edge of ghettoes.  Because that's all I could afford.  I'm not an easy-going person.  I'm a worrywart.  So I've spent most of my adult life wrapped in tension. A stressball.  When there's no cause to worry, I worry. When there's cause, I worry like crazy. Since moving to the Bay Area, I've had my car broken into 3 times, car tires spiked once, been held up, been robbed at an ATM, been sexually assaulted 3 times, caught a guy redhanded (and foiled him) trying to steal my bike, caught a guy redhanded (and foiled him) trying to steal someone else's bike, and had my apartment burgled of just about everything that could be resold.

Now, it's not that those things don't happen in LA.  It's not even that they never happen in my small-townish suburb of LA.  But it's decidedly nicer here.  People don't litter everywhere.  People don't conduct every conversation at the top of their lungs.  People don't block your driveway because they don't want to walk the 5 extra feet a legal parking place would require.  People don't jaywalk while giving you the evil eye, daring you to have a problem with them.

I like that.

I miss the architecture here.  I like the architecture in Berkeley, too. That's why Berkeley felt like home to me.  But we seem to have fewer crappy apartment buildings here. And we DEFINITELY have less blight.  Berkeley City Council is way too PC to consider a "broken windows" policy that would treat vandalism and graffiti appropriately.  Anyway, there are loads of beautiful bungalows in this town.  And one thing they have that I *don't* see as much of up north is river stone.  The <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arroyo_Seco_(Los_Angeles_County)">Arroyo Seco</a> runs through Pasadena and South Pasadena. Back in the day, that would have provided plenty of river stone.  You can see walls and pillars of Arts & Crafts-era houses that are constructed with stone taken from that bed.  But not just that.  There are really nice examples of many architectural styles.  My parents' house (before post-earthquake reconstruction) was a 1910 Mission Revival.  There are many nice Mission Revival houses here.  Ours had tile accents by Ernest Batchelder and other houses in this area have that, too.  There are the occasional Victorians.  They're "stealth" Victorians because few people down here go for the "painted lady" paint jobs, unfortunately. So you don't notice the Victorians right off the bat.  There are modernist places, for those who like that sort of thing.  There are a few Storybook Style houses around although not anywhere near as many as in Burbank and further west.  There are '20s and '30s cottages.  There are old "motor court" style apartment complexes..one of the few apartment building styles I actually like.  There's just loads of good architecture here as well as a few GREATS like houses built by Greene & Greene.  (There are some Frank Lloyd Wrights in LA but not in my parents' neck of the woods.)

I like that in most parts of town the utilities are underground.  No telephone poles.  No wires criss-crossing the streets and making it hard to plant trees.  And trees!  My hometown has won awards from the Arbor Day Foundation for years.  We have plenty of trees in this town.  Berkeley has a fair amount of trees, too, but not where I live. No street trees at all.  In fact, the sidewalk is hardly wide enough for two people to pass in some parts. No wonder you see wheelchair users out in the street rather than hazarding the sidewalk...   The street trees on this block are palms (meh) and Jacaranda (better).  Other blocks have oaks. There are many native California oaks in my hometown. We have a landmark oak (older than the United States) in our backyard.

And this is stuff I miss.
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I've really been struggling with planning this trip because of the many "Terms and Conditions" that Wells Fargo applies to redeeming credit card points for air travel.  For weeks now I've done research, visited the reward site, tried to figure out the limitations and how to book from the site, etc.  Only recently did I just give up and look for a phone number to call.

I called, worked with the agent at Wells' contractor (Quality Rewards Travel), and was almost entirely through booking it, I was even given a confirmation number.  But then the agent noticed I was booking less than 21 days ahead.  So now instead of my 40,000 points being worth $800, they were worth $613.  I was really upset.  Particularly because Wells charges you $24 for the privilege of redeeming your points (and it says that nowhere on the website that I could see). Now instead of paying $157.30 out of pocket for a trip to London, I would have to pay $344.30. I decided to hold off so I could check out my options and decide whether I was going to have to give up on this trip entirely.

I was completely awash in anger and depression.  I tried to see alternatives that would still allow me to take the trip on the dates I needed without going further in the hole.  I couldn't.  I very seriously considered calling it all off.  But I realized my depression would get worse and worse (and we're going into winter anyway) if I had to wait 'til spring at the earliest to go on my trip.  Plus I couldn't guarantee I'd have the $ or the ability to leave.

I called them back.  But that's not all.  I had the option of using some of my points to pay the $24 fee to Wells so I did.  When we backed out of the first transaction, I didn't get those points back. They're in limbo until the "billing dept." could review them and give them back to me.  End of Monday at earliest.  So when I finally caved and decided to get the flight at the crappier point rate, I had to pay $24 in cash/credit because I didn't have another 1,600 points leftover to double for the ones in limbo.

I just finished writing a letter to a Wells Fargo executive though I doubt it will do much good.  I'm pretty depressed right now.  I tried so hard to follow their rules and I was careful about what I did because the tickets aren't changeable without stiff penalties.  Yet another example of where my rules-awareness holds me up.  If I were more reckless and had gotten the tickets when I first starting looking nearly a month ago, I'd have been better off.
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Italian-Americans for Obama Sticker

Today in the parking lot of Trader Joe's I saw an "Italian-Americans for Obama" sticker.  I was really surprised to see it. In North Beach or NYC's Little Italy?  Sure.  But in Southern California, most European-American ethnicities have no particular nexus of power.  They're too spread out.  In fact, I'm having trouble finding a travel agent who specializes in Ireland whereas I'd have no problem finding one on Geary Blvd. in SF.

So I just Googled to see what the deal is and it turns out there are different parts of My.BarackObama.com that are customized. So there's an Irish-Americans for Obama page, too. Actually, there are two Irish interest groups. But there's a whole Irish-Americans for Obama website that isn't even part of the official campaign site (and its inferior content and web design illustrate that, sadly).  I tried to see if I could buy one of the Italian-American stickers so I went to the Obama Store.  There are quite a few SIG group breakdowns: GLBT, Jewish, African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander-American, Latino, Women, Veterans, etc.  THere were even bumper stickers in Hebrew.

I decided to see whether the party with the "big tent" also had such groups.  You *do* get something when you Google Irish-Americans for McCain and Italian-Americans for McCain but they're just placeholders.  Their content is the same.  You also get an article about McCain being the first Republican candidate to appear at the Irish-American Presidential Forum since it was founded.  There are *tons* of Americans with Irish ancestry but it's not a super-cohesive voting block.  Particularly since more people have fallen away from the Catholic Church.  Back when WASP persecution of Catholics was mainstream, Irish-Americans hung together more if only in reaction to that. (I'm actually really struggling with how to phrase the concept I'm talking about here...)

Anyway, I thought it was interesting to see the various ethnic SIGs.


Sep. 27th, 2008 11:51 pm
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Looking into buddhist retreats that might have a work/study program.
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Hands hurt so I'll just paste what I wrote to my brother:

It was good, not great. Some great performances with the material, though.  Very strong cast.  Really efficient and imaginative set design. Allison Janney can sing like Rosalind Russell can sing.  Actually, probably a bit better than that. But she has yet to learn the difference between merely projecting and singing.  There are times when she speak/projects when she shouldn't.  Although I agree that I'd rather have a singing actress who can really act in a major role than a good singer who is a so-so actor and has a good instrument but unimaginative interpretation.  Was happy to see a couple heavyset women and a bald guy in active roles in a musical.  Gives me hope.


Sep. 21st, 2008 10:23 pm
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I missed nearly the first hour of this due to family upset that I may blog about later.  This year's ceremony is striking to me as the most political Emmys I've ever seen.  There have been scripted calls to get out and vote in November.  There have been oblique references to the age of McCain. There have been references to the inarticulation of the current President and the articulation of at least one of the current candidates.  There's only been one of these that was stomped on by the ceremony's orchestra. After reading the Newport Beach letter to the editor about "the Hollywood Elite", I sorta worry that there are a lot of Americans who would take the very slight politicization of the ceremonies as evidence of "the Hollywood Elite".

I was surprised that some of the acting awards were split off into the "working class grunt" ceremonies.  (I feel very strongly that both the Emmys and the Oscars are full of shit by sequestering the majority of the non-acting awards into a separate ceremony.  TV and film are collaborative arts and  they cult of pretty faces is only exacerbated by not acknowledging that fact.)  I suppose it could make the "creative awards" ceremony less second class in treatment if the "bait" of name actors and actresses attracted more press coverage to the junior ceremonies.  Naaaaaah.  It'll never happen.
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1. The sponsor on Hulu of many of the Bab5 episodes (and "Burn Notice" as well) is the US Army.  As I listened to the propaganda and once again became disgusted with how much of George Orwell's 1984 the current administration has taken as a playbook, I realized that I'm old enough to remember something different. My formative years were spent in a time of relative peace and at a time when the fruits of the Civil Rights Movement were beginning to come to ripeness.  I have something to compare all this to.  Kids born in 1980 don't.  How many of them just swallow it all hook, line and sinker?  Well, my brother B. was born in 1980 and I have to say that one thing that opened his eyes was serving in the Navy.  He's been sent to Iraq twice and Afghanistan once (or was it twice?).  He was apolitical before going and probably as easy to gull as most Americans today seem to be.  Not every service member who's been sent to Iraq automatically becomes a foe of this administration.  But my brother did, thank god.

2. I still like the costume work on Bab5.  The costumer for that show did a better job than any SF show costumer I've seen before or since in creating really interesting future fashion.  Yeah, a lot of it has to do with lapels or absence thereof. But it really succeeds in seeming fresh, not just a Time Bandits mish mosh of existing historical fashion.  Honestly, I'd duplicate some of the designs on that show and wear them as everyday wear if I had the pattern drafting talent needed.  Not all of it works.  The Earth uniforms prior to the alliance with the Minbari are very unflattering.  Not that it isn't realistic to have badly-designed uniforms.  I think I've seen at least a couple countries that have those...  In fact, I was looking at one particularly unflattering outfit worn by Catherine Sakai in "Mind War" and thought that it's really interesting and looks futuristic or heretofore unknown despite the fact that I thought it was ugly.  And, really, some people wear ugly things.  In every era there have been unflattering nasty fashions.  So even having something ugly in there is more realistic than having every single character, regardless of class/species/culture, wearing extremely flattering runway wear.  Anyway, props to <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0115835/">Ann Bruice</a>.

3. I wonder if it will ever stop being highly risky for an actor to take a regular role in an SF/Fantasy/Geek series?  While some of the acting on Bab5 was wooden, there were some very fine actors on that show.  Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas in particular come to mind.  Yet when you look at IMDB, you see that many of these actors didn't go on to bigger and better things after Bab5.  Shit, how often have you seen James Marsters post-Buffy?  It always seems weird to me that I can see actors I think really have chops (aren't merely cast well) and then they disappear after the series ends, presumably because they were looked down upon for doing SF.  With the rise and re-rise of comic book movies, the reinvention of Battlestar Galactica and more, I hope the "George Reeves" syndrome stops.
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Today I drove down to Newport Beach.  When I finished my appointment and approached the parking lot again, I saw a guy just finishing parking his black SUV, which was covered with a McCain bumpersticker, something decrying the prohibition of prayer in public schools, a Jesus dove, NRA sticker and something else.  He was a guy in his late 50s wearing old fatigues.  I waited 'til he disappeared so I could snap a picture of his vehicle.  It was just too perfectly Orange County.

Then I got home and read a letter in the LA Times Opinion section that seriously referred several times to "the Hollywood Elite" and their (presumed) support of Obama.  And talked about how they can't understand the travails of the average American worker.  I was completely dumbfounded that someone could seriously believe that.  And seriously believe that a guy who doesn't even know how many houses he owns is a better bet for understanding the lives of ordinary Americans.  Horror, disbelief, and amusement were having a three-way in my head.
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I just arrived at my parents' tonight.  They have a swimming pool.  I was very hot from the drive through the Central Valley so exercise I was already planning on doing sounded even better.  My RSI is so bad right now that I even have to be careful swimming.  I did a couple laps of breaststroke interspersed with backstroke (not using my hands much) thrashing my legs as much as I could.  I used the water as resistance for exercise for both my legs and my arms/lats.  There are a lot of things about being at my parents that are going to drive me nuts.  But I'll be doing my best to take advantage of the good things.
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Okay, like many I've nursed a crush on Bill Nye the Science Guy for a number of years (at least before I read about the restraining order).  I was just Googling a bit and read an old NY Times interview with him in which he said he swing dances a couple nights a week.  ZOMG.
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Alright, folks.  Not counting classical pieces, which songs you learned from Warner Brothers cartoons do  you like the most?
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Counting your blessings is something I need to be better at.  I used to do semi-regular gratitude lists and I should get back to that.  However, this time I'm going to tell you what most of you should be grateful for: be grateful you're not disabled.

I've been in a LOT of pain for several weeks running now. I shouldn't be typing but I'm too dumb to refrain until I physically can't move at all.  I've been increasingly frustrated by not being able to do DIY stuff.  I've nearly always been broke in my adult life.  Before I was disabled, I could at least save some money by doing and making things myself.  Now there are so many things I can't do.  So it forces me to spend $.  Sometimes spending $ on stuff I NEVER would have spent money on before, like hiring housekeeping help.

I last traveled outside of the US two years before I became disabled.  I could contemplate carrying a heavy backpack all through Europe.  I could camp to save money because I had no problems that would be worsened by NOT sleeping on a mattress.  I could carry something heavy like a folding bike so that I could have more fun and mobility at my destination.  I can't do those things now.

You'd think after over 10 years of this, I'd be past the mourning stage.  I would just accept that there will nevermore be a single day I'm not in pain.  I'd accept that I can't have sex in many positions other than missionary should I be lucky enough to ever have sex again.  I'd accept that I have to be having an especially good RSI day before I can even contemplate masturbating. I'd accept that while I have bought a recumbent bike that doesn't hurt to ride, it DOES hurt to walk it and lock it up.

But, no.  I go back and forth.  Sometimes I acknowledge it and sometimes it's almost as crushing as the first time.

After having this since 1995, I have nerve damage.  It's been measured and proven.  But some of this has to be reversible and I pray I find the discipline and drive to revisit all the PT exercises and recommendations for lessening the pain and increasing my strength and mobility.

Anyway, kids, they ain't kidding when they say "At least you've got your health!"


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September 2014

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