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Monday, June 27, 2016

Scared?

Shit yeah.

We leave in a few hours for MGH – a follow up appointment with Doc Abramson’s nurse practioner – Brianne. I thought we were to have gotten the big bad cancer fighter, Ibrutinib, by now. Abramson said it would come by mail. Nope, not yet.

Meanwhile, The Amazing Bob’s exhibiting more symptoms of that vile bastard cancer’s return. He’s often short of breath, his appetite’s done a runner, his energy’s left the building AND he’s having chest pains.

I went to Nantasket to breath in the dawn this morning.

It helps.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Necessary?

Do I really need to know that Jim is at the Cranbrook Art Museum or at Dairy Delight, enjoying ice cream? Is it necessary that I get a message sent to my inbox every single time he appears at Logan Airport or dines out?

Do I really need an alert so’s I don’t miss yet another of Trina’s “funny/sexy” pics from one of her fruity cocktail fueled big nights out with her gal pals?

Syl just posted another of those “uplifting” memes….and I got an email notification.

Dina has one of those nostalgia/everything’s-shitty-and-skeevy-now-NOT-like-when-I-was-a-kid memes up and yes, I got an email alert for this too.

These are distant acquaintances at best yet Facebook feels the need to ping me every damn time they so much as break wind.

I get these but no communiques when Gina or Tim post fabulously interesting art pics. No bulletins arrive in my box when Sean posts his witty caffiene infused memes. None when Sue puts up fab party pics or Helen posts kiddle shots. And nada when Jim posts a fine political rant.

It’s all so damn random. I don’t get it.

Frankly, the only HEY-someone’s-posted-something-new email alerts I'd welcome are ones related to conversations that I might be in or when someone’s commented on one of my posts. I’m, to my perhaps misplaced embarrassment, on Facebook enough that I rarely miss a post from friends, family or random internet celebs that I choose to “follow.”

I tried “unfollowing”  Jim, Trina, Syl, Dina, etc. but I still get the email alerts. Would my inbox continue to be superfluity filled if I “unfriended” these folks? Probably but that's not the solution I'm after. I still enjoy seeing some of the stuff they all share.

I went into the settings section where, under emails, I fully expected to find this as my checked off option under WHAT YOU'LL RECEIVE:
Indiscriminate notifications from random folk who you barely know, when they sneeze, dine out, drink too many Cosmos, ostentatiously “pray,” post trite, sappy memes or take the latest hot “quiz.”
Nope. There wasn’t a box labeled like this so I couldn't uncheck. Assholes! How do I make this stop!

By the by, I know these pics have fuck-all to do with today’s blathering. So? Gorgeous dawn and sunrise here yesterday so I had to share.
Yes, you’re welcome.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Slouching Toward Understanding

Brexit that is. On top of the sober news columns, read yesterday, I consulted a few other word wizards.

From the Rude Pundit who went on to list 11 hilarious rat-fuck “upsides” to the disastrous vote.
While the vote yesterday in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union is a giant roach fuckball of awful consequences, many still to come, and while it represents a triumph of xenophobia and outright racism over the forces of reason and sanity, a sign of the apocalypse, and a demonstration that the Great Stupiding of the world is fully upon us (more on that next week), hey, we're human, so let's go into the weekend with a teacup half-full attitude.
Go read the 11 upsides – fabulous! My fave this morning is number three: Two words: Bargain corgis.

And Andy Borowitz reports that:
Across the United Kingdom on Friday, Britons mourned their long-cherished right to claim that Americans were significantly dumber than they are.
 A friend in Germany writes:
We are all horrified. Maybe less because of the tangled trade and tax issues — which eludes the average person living here or there anyway — and more because of the symbolical nationalism the vote represents. I think it’s obvious to everyone that the simplest minds in this game have been manipulated by divisive power hungry politics (i.e., UKIP party) who’ve played the migrant card to its most base effect.  Sad. The UK stands to lose much more now than it had before. If they dispel EU immigrants there will likely be a backlash over the enormous number of British citizens currently residing in mainland Europe.

Further, I don’t know if you’d had a look at the UK map on this vote. All of Scotland voted to remain. This only adds fuel to the fire of their feelings of historical disenfranchisement.
J.K. Rowling has a MUST read post up. A few BRIEF snippets here:
I'm not an expert on much, but I do know how to create a monster.
~~~~~~~~~
The 'Leave' campaign is benefiting from our widespread cynicism and, unsurprisingly, fanning it. 'People in this country have had enough of experts,' Michael Gove declared recently on television. So what if the Financial Times, the markets and the heads of the Bank of England and the International Monetary Fund agree that Brexit will do severe damage to the economy? They're just scaremongering, says Gove. Leaders of both campaigns want us frightened only by monsters of their choosing.

For some on the Leave side, the EU is not merely imperfect, or in need of improvement: it is villainous.
~~~~~~~~~
Immigrants, of course, have been at the centre of some of the nastiest arguments of this campaign. Reasoned discussion has proven nigh on impossible.
~~~~~~~~~
It is dishonourable to suggest, as many have, that Leavers are all racists and bigots: they aren't and it is shameful to suggest that they are. Nevertheless, it is equally nonsensical to pretend that racists and bigots aren't flocking to the 'Leave' cause, or that they aren't, in some instances, directing it. For some of us, that fact alone is enough to give us pause. The picture of Nigel Farage standing in front of a poster showing a winding line of Syrian refugees captioned 'Breaking Point' is, as countless people have already pointed out, an almost exact duplicate of propaganda used by the Nazis.
Go read the whole thing, it’s way worth it.
OK, one last bit from her post –
Your country is the greatest in the world, the nationalist cries, and anyone who isn't chanting that is a traitor! Drape yourself in the flag: doesn't that make you feel bigger and more powerful? Finding the present scary? We've got a golden past to sell you, a mythical age that will dawn again once we've got rid of the Mexicans/left the EU/annexed Ukraine! Now place your trust in our simplistic slogans and enjoy your rage against the Other!

Look towards the Republican Party in America and shudder. 'Make America Great Again!' cries a man who is fascist in all but name.
She goes on to brilliantly nail Trump’s temperament – that of an an unstable nightclub bouncer. Exactly – a steroidal, tweaking meth head.

Yes, I am worried, saddened, angry and scared over the Leave vote – not just for Britain either. Will this horrible choice bolster Trump and the Republican/Tea Party? Will more Americans jump on the ratfuckery train because, “HEY, the Brits did it and they’re smaht!”

Laurence Lewis at the Daily Kos had this to say:
You’re going to be reading a lot of stories about the Brexit vote being a warning that Donald Trump can win. Those stories will be wrong.
He goes on to tie the Leave vote to the brutal austerity measures imposed by Cameron and Osborne. We’re not in the same leaky boat even though Obama has had to battle mightily for every millimeter of forward progress won (and he's not won anywhere near as much as he (WE) should’ve).

OK, I sure as fuck hope Lewis is right. A Trump presidency would most def be the end of us all.

Oh and BuzzFeed notes that Brexit Happened On The Anniversary Of Voldemort’s Return just FYI and all.

Friday, June 24, 2016

I get back up again

Coco, the nap queen
Wanna know how flat out exciting I am? Yes, of course you do!

Yesterday, after a brief appointment with my PCP (follow ups, blood tests – yes, I have some – and just general pit stop shit), I ran a few errands, made lunch for TAB, Rocco and Coco and then took a long beautiful, interesting and happy dream filled nap. It was awesome. Then I went for a long-ish, not epic trike ride.

But that nap – Ooo baby, it was a beaut. A real highlight!
~~~~~~~~~~~~
I’m trying to understand Brexit – the British exit from the European Union. I’ve read a few articles which outline the pros and cons but am still, unsurprisingly, unclear. Will my niece, Maya – a German citizen, be able to stay in school in Edinburgh? Will Scotland, whose citizens voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU, vote for independence from the UK?

How does Brexit effect me and mine?

I see that the pound is now worth $1.39 – the lowest it’s been in decades. So then, maybe I can now actually afford to go visit Maya.

What else is different?
~~~~~~~~~~~~
 When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.
~ Augusten Burroughs, Dry 
Rubens, Hygeia and snake
Medicine, 1900-1907 by Gustav Klimt
I don’t hold with absolutes.

Very little in this world is all one thing or another. The whole Me Before You bullshit is just that. The character, Will Traynor, sounds like a spoiled prat. That is, he had a, supposedly, bright, functional mind, wealth and a woman who loved him, yet, because he’s had an accident that leaves him in a wheelchair, he’s suicidal.

OK, got it. Understood – the whole to be or not to be thing – is mega important. Self-determination – we can only make that decision for ourselves.

Still – SNAP OUT OF IT!

I don’t have brill physical health, not even close, but I do OK. Let me rephrase – I do reasonably well as long as I remember my limitations and prepare. I can hike as long as I’ve got a walking stick. I can still go to clubs, catch a band and enjoy – as long as they’re ultra heavy on percussion. I can still swim laps BUT I gotta make sure I’ve got a lane all to myself. Conversation isn’t smooth – shit’s gotta be repeated a LOT, pad and pen are always at hand and some folks just can’t be arsed to slow down when they talk (yeah FUCK THEM!) – but I still have ‘em – the conversations.

Things are different, more challenging now.

It’s true that I’ll never hear Gregorian chants, the B side of Abby Road, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, the Carmina Burana,  NIN’s The Downward Spiral, Dylan – I could go on and on and more on… I’ve mourned and continue to mourn this big loss BUT I get back up again. I’m never gonna keep me down, etc. and thank you Chumbawamba. What I have, in lieu of fab physical health, is damn good mental health (REALLY!). I’m creative, enjoy the hell out of a good book; I’ve got a bunch of fab friends, cats and The MOST Amazing Bob (BESTEST husband EVAH!) and I live in Valhalla.

Will Traynor's choice is not mine and fuck you Jojo Moyes and Augusten Burroughs.

*ahem* Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Northampton Redux

Mo Willems at the Michelson Gallery
Northampton – this is another town, after Brattleboro, Vermont, where I feel sure I could happily live. I'm imagining a little one bedroom apartment just outside the downtown area. A crib within molto convenient walking distance of shops, galleries, restaurants and public transportation. This'd be lovely.

BUT, and this is big, apartment rentals IF you can find one, aren’t cheap. I just looked online and found a one bedroom, near town center going for $1350 a month. Ouch. Mostly there’s lots of buildings with “no availability” noted. Understandable since Smith College, Northampton Junior College, Smith Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College, Holyoke Community College and UMass Amherst are all in the area.

In comparison, the average Boston one bed is two Gs a month. So, Northampton’s less pricey but not cheap.

If I was looking to buy, home prices seem more doable. I didn’t see physical descriptions (i.e., “handyman’s special” or "turn key"  condition) on the site but, there are ranch and cape style joints listing at or below $200 thou and there’s a nice looking multi-fam near town center for $259,000.

What does Northampton have besides the awesome Michelson Gallery?

Raven Used Books – fabulous shop, always a great collection!

Ye Ol’ Watering Hole – from the outside, and in for that matter, this LOOKS like a total dive but, and this is key, Helen and I didn’t spot even one biker or truck driver type. Also, ya know what was playing on the telly over the bar? Jeopardy. Not sports or sports chat shows, not Fox “news,” no. It was Jeopardy. There were pool tables but, make no mistake, this is NOT a Big Dan’s kind of a place.

Oh...this is also the home of the Beer Can Museum. So yeah, this IS a dive but without the scary, skeevy clientele. Cool.

The Northampton Farmers Market. It's big. It's awesome. We were there on a Tuesday – not exactly a huge shopping day yet there was a crowd of sellers and shoppers. The shoppers were all hanging around chatting too – more than a market, this was a social scene.

For you hearing folk, there’s The Iron Horse – a great place to catch bands, big names and small.

And, I had no idea, Smith College has an art museum!
Coming up in August is the show, Eric Avery: AIDS WORK.
Eric Avery: AIDS WORK includes more than 30 prints and books by Dr. Eric Avery acquired by Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) and the Mortimer Rare Book Room in 2014. This group represents a cohesive and important body of work that documents three decades in the life of the major public health crisis of AIDS (Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome).  As an artist, physician, and gay man, Avery was at the center of the crisis both personally and professionally.
Yes, I am SO going to this show!

Northampton also has about a zillion and a half great restaurants, at least two tie dye emporiums, craft galleries, a nearby hikeable mountain (for those of you not of the klutz clan), a school for the deaf and a metric fuck-ton more.

But no ocean. Ah well, no place is perfect.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

In Transit Art

Heading home from Northampton where I've had a quick, wonderful little getaway with Helen. In lieu of words, here are a few of the fab pieces we saw at the Michelson Gallery.
Horton!
Seuss Shark
Hilary Price
Mordicai Gerstein
  
More Mordicai

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Shocked?

No, I am not at all surprised.

That so many hoops had to be jumped through JUST to get the “Right” to agree to vote on such an obvious smart move, amazed me. That it was voted down isn't at all unexpected. Sadly. Tragically.
Murphy's amendment sought to close the so-called gun show loophole—requiring background checks universally for gun buyers, including Internet sales, as well as expanding the federal background check database.

The final votes on these two measures both came in at 47-53 mostly along partisan lines.
~~snip~~
"If they’re too dangerous to buy a firearm, they’re too dangerous to be loose on our streets," Cornyn said. "Islamic extremists want the American people to trade our liberties and values with fear and panic.” (source)
These whack jobs keep focusing on "Islamic extremists” despite the fact that 90% of the killers weren’t.
Of the more than 300 American deaths from political violence and mass shootings since 9/11, only 33 have come at the hands of Muslim-Americans, according to the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security. The Muslim-American suspects or perpetrators in these or other attempted attacks fit no demographic profile—only 51 of more than 200 are of Arabic ethnicity. (source)
Check out all the handy dandy analysis over at Mother Jones. Depressing but fascinating.
Also in December, a NRA-backed measure brought by Sen. Cornyn aimed to implement a 72-hour delay for gun purchases by people on the watchlist so that the government could investigate them. It also failed. (source)
It was approved by Big Daddy NRA and put up by the rootin’ tootin’ Right Wing double talker John Cornyn but it failed? WHY?

My guess? The Oppose-Anything-Obama-Wants-Or-MIGHT-Want crowd’s gone wild. They’re blind drunk on their own belligerent, hate-filled rhetoric and can no longer be reigned in by their “betters.” I honestly believe these greed headed, weasel brained, rat fuckers think that their job is nothing more than psychotic performance art – bluster, obstruct and deliver Palin-esque oratory. These are stone grifters who've taken the Republican party and their fanbois for the ride of their lives. We’re all paying for that.

These are the frauds, the oily miscreants who just voted against gun safety regs that would’ve prevented terror suspects from buying guns.

Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Burr (R-NC)
Capito (R-WV)
Cassidy (R-LA)
Coats (R-IN)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Cotton (R-AR)
Crapo (R-ID)
Cruz (R-TX)
Daines (R-MT)
Enzi (R-WY)
Ernst (R-IA)
Fischer (R-NE)
Flake (R-AZ)
Gardner (R-CO)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)y
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johnson (R-WI)
Lankford (R-OK
Lee (R-UT), Nay
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Moran (R-KS)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Paul (R-KY)
Perdue (R-GA)
Portman (R-OH)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rounds (R-SD)
Rubio (R-FL)
Sasse (R-NE)
Scott (R-SC)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Sullivan (R-AK)
Thune (R-SD)
Tillis (R-NC),
Toomey (R-PA)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)

VOTE THEM OUT!
They’re nothing more than prossies for death.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Traveller of Both Time and Space


I’d just finished Ghosts of Karnak and The Clown Service – both fun, if not great, bits of steampunk-ish escapism – and needed some new fuel for my reading fire.

What to do, what to do? I could drive into Harvard Square and hit the Harvard Bookstore (LOVE this place!) or Rodney’s or the MIT Press Bookstore but parking is hellish. Yes, I drive a microscopic smartcar – so small it could be parallel parked inside a postage stamp. One prob – parallel parking is MOST DEF not one of my superpowers. While I have been known to accomplish this major feat successfully, it’s up in the neighborhood of things I stress over monstrously. I avoid it whenever possible.

The other downside of motoring into town is, of course, I-93. It is always, ALWAYS rush hour on 93. No thanks. Here’s the thing though, out here in Suburbia Land the only bookstore around is Barnes and Noble and that’s in the next town over. It’s a shorter, less onerous expedition than driving into Cambridge AND there’s a parking lot – no scary parallel action

It’s really not a bad shop but I prefer independent booksellers.

Why?
  • Supporting the local economy – a good thing
  • Great, knowledgeable service – always
  • I’m always finding new authors and titles – ones that either aren’t carried by the chains or are buried under piles of the latest Ludlum, Patterson or Macomber.
  • CATS – the Independents almost always have a bookstore cat or two

In any case, there I am at B&N, surrounded by an ocean of remaindered romance novels, epic swords & sorcery fantasy tomes – all set in pre-indoor plumbing worlds *ick*, mysteries, assorted bestsellers and badly written, bulk-buy, soon to be convention give-away Republican diatribes.

After perusing the discount bins, I zipped back to fiction and sci fi (of course).

Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe totally popped out at me. Honestly, just LOOK at this great cover illustration! It's got a fabulous Hieronymus Bosch vibe goin' on. Why didn’t I buy? It’s a big, fat book and I didn’t want to invest the buckos in an author I’d never heard of without researching. Investigation accomplished and I WILL look for this next time.

What I did get was Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor.
Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'.
Ah but it IS a time travel story and I’m loving it! The hero is a strong, funny and wildly up for adventure woman. She's a fallible human too – not some '50s comic book cut out. YES! I'm happy to see that this is the first in a series.

Taylor's bio on Goodreads is pretty hilarious too:
Jodi Taylor is, and always has been, a complete history nut. It takes vast amounts of chocolate to get her out of bed for anything after 1485. And if it's raining, there's no chance.
I think I want to meet this babe – share a bottle and imagine what our lives would've been like in the 12th century or so.
Led Zepplin – Kashmir