Cricket updates

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:26 am
rebeccmeister: (cricket)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
As of yesterday, we are still getting a lot of adults with deformed wings, like so:

Crickets with deformed wings

I am reading the tea leaves pretty hard, but think I am seeing a small improvement, which means I could be up and running again in another week and a half or so, at the soonest. If my tea leaf reading skills are terrible, it will be longer than that, which would push back completion of the lab circadian experiments to sometime in late October, if I'm lucky and this disaster actually comes to an end. When I dissected the above crickets, their innards looked completely normal, and their fat body (analogous to the vertebrate liver) looked fine under the scope. My labmate has found someone who knows the relevant procedures for testing for deformed wing virus, so that's next on that agenda.

Meanwhile, time to make progress on the thousand other fronts that deserve attention. One project that has been fun has been figuring out how to estimate cricket ages for field-caught crickets. I'm trying to work out the logistics for a method from a paper published in 1987, where a famous cricket biologist would take a cricket leg, slice a thin cross-section of it, and then would view it using a phase-contrast microscope to count the daily growth layers of chitin. My mentor in Nebraska suggested setting up a simpler polarizing light microscope, but for various reasons it has taken me a while to figure out how to do that. Finally, I found this tutorial, and watched the linked video, and finally got that part sorted out. Very satisfying!

But now I'm stuck on the cross-sectioning method. The author of the 1987 paper described a process of wedging the cricket's leg in a chunk of potato (to stabilize it), then cutting thin slices with a hairdresser's razor. My attempts to replicate this method have been comically bad so far, and I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. So I'm still scratching my head over how to proceed, and hoping that I don't wind up having to go through the arduous and tedious steps involved in more conventional tissue sectioning methods.

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:58 am
vvalkyri: (Default)
[personal profile] vvalkyri
So what I'm trying to do right now is test out the mobile version of dream wits in the hopes I might spend more time posting to it, especially since I can talk to the phone. It has been a mixed couple of days. The impromptu wake at Diane's was good Dash small and quiet, with generally about six to eight people at any given time, allowing whole group conversation. I'm looking to create a remembering Keith Facebook group or perhaps something else I'm not sure. Tonight's lumsfs up in Columbia will be another impromptu wake and there will be a slightly less impromptu wake via mumsfs next Thursday in Gaithersburg. Bsfs is looking at their space for a more formal Memorial. I currently have no idea what's going on with a family funeral or anything.

In other news, it was a good choice to get the multipass for fair, because when all this went down on Saturday getting there at 5:15 was perfectly fine.

And I got a crow both Monday and Tuesday and well it's been a wonderful thing I wish I understood why my wrists and hands hurt as much as they do, and I'm really hoping that it doesn't have anything to do with ceasing doxycycline for the Lyme. I consulted with an infectious diseases doc on Friday and I'm relatively sanguine about the amount that I've done . But I do want to email about stuff that's happened in the last week.

I'll admit I haven't been all that politically engaged. There's so much going on it's impossible to keep up and the things good. Those who have the energy and especially those who have Republican Senators might like to spend some time calling said Republican Senators to push back on their final last-ditch kill the ACA legislation that were looking at this week .

All of the above courtesy the somewhat newer phone I have finally changed too, which seems to have fairly awesome speech to text.

Many thanks to free, for giving me the link to the dreamwidth mobile.

Let Life Happen.

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:13 am
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

“I’m not up for sex,” she told me. “I’ve had a lot of medical issues lately. It’s more painful than not to even try.”

“Cool,” I said, and we spent the day going to a street festival.

I woulda liked sex. But life happens.


“I’m in the middle of my seasonal affective disorder,” I told her. “You show up, I might not be able to leave the house. I might just curl up and cry all day.”

“Cool,” she said, and I was pretty morose but we cuddled a lot and eventually managed to go out to dinner.

I woulda liked to have a working brain. But life happens.


“I’m not sure I can make it through this convention,” they told me. “My flare-ups have been really bad this season. I might not be able to go out with you in the evenings.”

“Cool,” I said, and I went out for little hour-long jaunts before heading back to the room to cuddle them, then charging out again to circulate.

I woulda liked to have them by my side when I hit the room parties. But life happens.


I’m a massively flawed human with a mental illness. I need to have poly relationships that include for the possibility of breakdowns. Because if I need to have a perfect day before I allow anyone to see me, I might wait for weeks. Months. Years. And then what the fuck is left by the time I get to see them?

I know there are people who need perfect visits. They have to have the makeup on when you visit them, and they’ll never fall asleep when they had a night of Big Sexy planned, and if they get out the toys there’s gonna be a scene no matter how raw anyone’s feeling.

But I can’t do that.

My relationships aren’t, can’t be, some idealized projection of who I want to be. If I’m not feeling secure that day, I can’t be with a partner who needs me to be their rock so the weekend proceeds unabated. And if they’re feeling broken, I can’t be with someone who needs to pretend everything is fine because their time with me is their way of proving what a good life they have.

Sometimes, me and my lovers hoped for a weekend retreat of pure passion and what we get is curling up with someone under tear-stained covers, holding them and letting them know they will not be alone come the darkness.

We cry. We collapse. We stumble. We don’t always get what we want, not immediately.

But we also heal. We nurture. We accept.

And in the long run, God, we get so much more.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Wednesday's story!

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:47 pm
murgatroyd666: (von Zinzer Trilobite)
[personal profile] murgatroyd666 posting in [community profile] girlgenius_lair
http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20170920

Happy birthday, Cheyenne! (And stay away from that onion vodka!)
sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
[personal profile] sonia
For September, I donated to Shift Stigma Relief Fund, which is helping to fund abortions for people affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. This includes travel and lodging assistance, since Texas has a 24 hour waiting period and few clinics for its huge area.

Here's more about the program. Women's Health Clinic Provides Free Abortion Care to Texas-based Hurricane Survivors

I've been continuing to pull back from engaging with daily news. I read whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com, as well as skimming the Shakesville news summaries, but don't delve into a lot of articles.

A friend's grandparents were bystanders to the Holocaust in Austria. Her parents taught her a strong anti-bystander ethic. My grandparents fled the Holocaust in Germany, and my parents taught me to stay alert to similar patterns. I don't want to be a bystander as others are harmed either.

I'm sitting with my limitations and privileges, my fragilities and strengths. I feel like my awareness, my donations, my support to others are not nearly enough. And, they are what I can do, what I am doing right now. As I reassure others, doing our own healing work reduces the harm in the world. Keeping our eyes open to the truth, and speaking it with others, reduces the effect of gaslighting in the world. It's going to have to be enough.

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 06:56 am
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Saturday i worked in the yard, mainly eradicating stiltgrass and stands of Boehmeria cylindrica (False nettle, by which they mean "non-stinging nettle") by mechanical means.

Boehmeria cylindrica clearly reproduces successfully, so i want to get rid of it in a number of places where it is "weedy." On the other hand, it is native, so i should find some place(s) for it to thrive. I see one resource claims it prefers sandy or loamy soil: i wonder if there's actually loam in the places it is growing. I generally assume everything is clay.

So, in the first area of work there was the manual pulling out. The stilt grass is about a meter high, and heaven only knows what has made a home in the thick stands. I've not seen any snakes yet, but spiders and toads and bright green leafhoppers seem disrupted. I found one milkweed growing in the stand, Asclepias variegata (White milkweed) or A syriaca (common milkweed): that was delightful! And i found a good number my current favorite little plants: moonworts (or grapeferns). These have a single frond, and then a spore bearing structure lifted like a flag above the solar panel that is the leaf. This 2014 literature review describes them as rare but (at least) one species is definitely common here. I believe i've had success transplanting them, despite comments about them being challenging. I take that to mean that the interdependence with fungi is supported over the small distances in which i have moved them. Transplanting to potting soil would likely be bad.

I also rediscovered one of the colonies of Goodyera pubescens (rattlesnake orchid). It too is usually accompanied by the warning against transplanting because of the mycorrhizal interactions: i may try moving some to some places i feel i can more easily protect from trampling over time.

Later in the day i used the sling blade and the weed whacker and the lawn mower. The mower can deal with the tall stands, but i don't want to hit hidden stumps, any more than i already do. The weed whacker gets the grass all tangled in the drive: it's not a particularly good tool on the tall stands.

I grew a little disappointed in the lawn mower repair. I don't think the mechanism for raising and lowering works the way it is supposed to: it's as if the front is now at a fixed height. The lawn mower repair process was so distressing for Christine, i don't want to bring it up. But, fie, it was useful to have the great range in height.

--== ∞ ==--

Sunday began with me breaking the stylus on my phone. The version of the Galaxy Note i have was reported to have a stylus issue in that if you inserted it in the storage bit backwards, it would jam and there was little that could be done. Now i understand: while one can pull out the stylus, the little springy top, like the "clicker" on a retractable ball point, breaks off and jams in, disrupting whatever signal the phone has to turn on the pen functioning. I am glad that the new note has been released but i believe it is a bit larger than this phone - so my nice case wouldn't be used. And we bought this phone outright. After spending some time thinking about it, i decided that i am ok giving up the stylus and just using the phone as any other phone for a while longer. All the critical phone functionality still works, and i can always take a pad of paper outside with me.

If i were doing real field work, i would have a reason to spend the money on a new phone, i don't really now.

And there's also the question of the iPad, which has superior drawing applications, and whether i really need a second digital pad (that's smaller and lighter and "always" with me, sigh).

I worked myself up into other dithers on Sunday morning as well. Things i hadn't done for Meeting, baking for meeting for business potluck with a recipe that i hadn't used before, realizing i hadn't really left time for the longer than expected baking time, discovering i didn't quite have the right quantities of ingredients, running late....

I indulged myself the rest of the day after Meeting, going to a historical society presentation (the president is a member of Meeting as well) and reading a novel (a Maisy Dobbs mystery). I finished the book after dark and needed to take Carrie for her walk, so i went into Pittsboro and walked her on the streetlamp lit sidewalks. I think Carrie was delighted with the novelty, and i enjoyed it too. It will be agreeable to walk there this winter.

Monday was a long work day, mainly meetings. We had the first visit of the young woman we have hired to clean our bathrooms. She's incredibly professional, and someday she'll finish her vet school training and will take her professionalism on to her own vet practice. Until then, i think we'll be delighted with her help.
radiantfracture: (Default)
[personal profile] radiantfracture
I was nearly welded today.

Our main building, containing cafeteria, store, offices, classrooms, is under construction. An enormous scaffold surrounds the front doors. Today, exiting with a sustaining bannana in one hand, I heard the burr of welding and then felt a sudden hot-cold shower on the left side of my head, just about the region of the parietal lobe. I put up my hand and plucked a speck of grit from my hair.

As I crossed the quad and mounted the stairs to my building, I began to work out that I'd been sprayed with tiny bits of metal -- little curled chips of aluminum were in my hair and speckled my sweater-vest like glittering lint.

It was not a great cascade of sparks or anything -- just a smattering and a peculiar sensation -- but Jesus. That could have gone into my eye. I spent the whole of my lesson on proper quotation partially convinced that a speckling of tiny holes might newly pepper my skull, like a thought-colander.

The Thought-Colander

After Ted Hughes

I imagine this midday moment's sensation-salad:
Something hot but lifeless
burrows into the occipital
makes a blank page of this field where
newly kindled hallucinations move

(etc.)

Sorry, Here's "The Thought-Fox" to Make Up for That

Actually by Ted Hughes

I imagine this midnight moment's forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock's loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow
A fox's nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox,
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.


* * * * *

I feel like "midnight moment's forest" must have kinship with Hopkins' "morning's morning's minion" from "The Windhover." Discuss.

Fine, Here's "The Windhover" As Well

Gerard Manley Hopkins

I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.

* * * * *

Nobody alliterates like our Gerry.


Downdates (What an Update Isn't)

I skipped the monthly reading post for August because, well, there was so little to discuss. I have trouble directing sustained attention under conditions of anxiety (such as term prep). Combining with September will give the list a more respectable heft.

At least I'm transparent in my machinations.

Likewise I think if I'm writing a report on how the term is going -- which is an idea I like a lot as a way to chronicle the development of this course I love -- it'll have to be a biweekly report at best.

A propos of some (very positive) recent events -- I wish I didn't feel so terrible when happy things breathe themselves across the membrane.1

Something wonderful takes place and afterwards it feels like a crisis -- I can't be happy because I'm so convinced that it was secretly a disaster or I am about to make it one.

Too much jouissance. Not enough swimming laps and meditation.

{rf}

1. Isn't transpire a great word? All those spire words are a gift basket from Latin: conspire (to breathe together); inspire (to breathe in); aspire (to breathe on); expire (to breathe out) -- my library card is about to breathe its last -- what else? What others? I love them.

2. Actually, if I weren't so tired I might write though the whole of "The Thought-Fox" just for the exercise.

Delta

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:54 pm
rebeccmeister: (Default)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
What with the impending change in life circumstances (the cliff at the end of the year), [personal profile] scrottie has been keen to check out some marinas in the Sacramento River Delta. The Delta as a whole is fascinating. It covers a huge area. Recognizing that a lot of the lower stretches have incredibly rich soil, people have put in an extraordinary amount of effort to claim land back from the river waters. The outcome is a reticulated network of waterways surrounding tiled islands kept (mostly) dry by levees. It's like an American equivalent of the Netherlands. The only thing is, a lot of the reclaimed land consists of peat bogs, which start to sink if they aren't periodically recharged with new nutrient and plant inputs. So occasionally, there's a watery hole in the island network.

Anyway, not too long ago, S got his boat back from Bethel Harbor, and they suggested he go and check out a place called Owl Harbor as a potential alternative to his current mooring at someone's house in Discovery Bay. Initial investigations suggested Owl Harbor was accessible by a multi-transit expedition, so we decided to go for it on Sunday. We rode over to the Richmond station and threw ourselves and our bicycles onto an Amtrak train bound for Antioch. Then we picked up our bikes and rode along the heavily industrial waterfront over to the Antioch Bridge.

Things didn't look so promising at the bridge. The southbound onramp had a sign posted saying that bicycles and pedestrians were prohibited. The OoGley-derived directions had us heading up the southbound off-ramp, which lacked any sort of promising infrastructure and sounded like the worst of all terrible ideas. It was starting to look like the trip would be a complete flop. But at least the weather was nice and we were out on our bicycles. I proposed crossing under the bridge to examine the northbound onramp, where we finally spied a promising sign that read, "PEDESTRIANS BICYCLES MOTOR-DRIVEN CYCLES PERMITTED." There was a toll booth slightly ahead, so we cautiously rode up to it and confirmed with a tool booth worker that yes, indeed, we could ride our bicycles across the bridge. No toll necessary, for bicycles.

So I paused to snap a photo, as evidence:
Yes, you can cross the Antioch Bridge by bicycle

And we proceeded across.

The bridge reminded me of a number of the bridges I drove across in Louisiana. You feel like you're going to climb forever into the sky, but then eventually you reach the crest and cruise back down on the far side. The whole thing feels impossibly narrow and ridiculously high, but I guess that's what it takes to make sure that enormous shipping vessels can fit through.

I don't think I'd ride over that bridge just for fun, but I've ridden in worse places.

I didn't take any photos at Owl Harbor, but it was indeed a very nice marina, and there were many lovely boats of different ages and character moored there. The person working in the office that day suggested we fit in a 10-mile expedition around the "Delta Loop" to learn more about the local geography, so we did.

We had lunch at another nice little marina, just down the road:
Lunch stop at a marina along the Delta Loop

And as we continued to ride along, we saw all manner of other watercraft, in all sorts of shape, ranging from well-appointed river barges to half-sunk catastrophes. I could spend all week ogling boats.

We didn't pause for more photos, however, aside from this one:

Cycling around the Delta Loop

Then it was time to head back to Antioch to catch our return train.

We couldn't stop marveling about the whole bridge experience. Here's the Antioch bridge, viewed from near the Antioch train station:
View of the Antioch Bridge

Now I'm really curious about how it came to be, that the bridge is all-access. Was that included in the original plans, or a product of bike/ped interest groups working hard to advocate for access? Why is the Antioch bridge open, while the bridge between Richmond and the Marin Headlands remains only a dream?

Anyway, it was cool to have that sort of adventure in that pocket of California. The Sacramento River Delta is a fascinating place.

dealing with other generations

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:33 pm
sistawendy: (drama)
[personal profile] sistawendy
Bad: Dr. Kidshrink is moving to Hawaii next month.

Good: He'll do at least a few sessions with m'boy via Skype.

Bad: Mom apparently has had fraudulent activity on her credit cards, enough to max them out. That's likely due to Mom's giving out her personal information exactly as Good Sister told her repeatedly not to.

Worse: Mom tried to cancel the cards instead of just reporting the fraudulent activity, so of course the credit card issuer shunted her to someone who tried to talk her out of it. In other words, not only is Mom's addled pate getting her into more financial messes; it no longer helps her get out of them.

I missed the usual Sunday morning call time because I was brunching with the Tickler, for which I now feel a tiny bit guilty. I haven't talked to her since what, Friday? Mom, like much of Florida, still has no internet because of the hurricane, so she hasn't been emailing me every morning as usual. GS & I shared a dark laugh that Mom's coming unplugged isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I'm less cranky now about GS dragging me to Florida in January. Watching out for Mom from DC is no mean feat, and she's been doing it for a few years now. She's earned some slack from me, I think.

Where's Evil Sister in all this? Her name hasn't come up. I guess she's in San Antonio, TX, and that's all I know.
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

I knew musicals could cheer me up, but I’d never heard of one that gave me new tools to deal with chronic illness and depression. Yet when I saw Groundhog Day last Wednesday, I was so stunned by what a perfect, joyous metaphor it was for battling mental illness that I immediately bought tickets to see it again that Saturday.

I would have told you about this before, but it was too late. The show closed on Sunday. A musical that should have run, well, for as long as Phil Connors was trapped in his endless time loop only got a five-month run.

But I can tell you about it.

I can tell you why this musical made me a stronger, better person.

———————————–

So let’s discuss the original Groundhog Day movie, which is pretty well-known at this point: Bill Murray is an asshole weatherman named Phil who shows up under protest to do a report from Punxatawney, Philadelphia on Groundhog Day. He’s trapped in town overnight thanks to a blizzard. When Phil wakes up the next morning, it’s Groundhog Day again. And again. And again.

Phil goes through several phases:

  • Incredulous as he can’t believe what’s happening to him;
  • Gleefully naughty as he uses his knowledge of people’s future actions to indulge all his greatest fantasies;
  • Frustrated as he tries to romance Rita, his producer, but he’s too cynical for her and nothing convinces her to hop in bed with him unless everyone else in town;
  • Depressed as he realizes that his life is shallow and there’s no way he can escape;
  • Perplexed as he tries to rescue a dying homeless man but realizes that nothing he can do on this day will save this poor guy;
  • And, finally, beatific as he uses his intense knowledge of everything that will happen in town today to run around doing good for people.

Naturally, that’s a great emotional journey. It’s no wonder that’s a story that’s resonated with people.

Yet Groundhog Day changes just one slight emotional tenor about this – and that change is massive.

Because when Bill Murray’s character gets to the end of his journey, he’s actually content. He’s achieved enlightenment where he enjoys everything he does, toodling around on the piano because he’s formed Punxatawney into his paradise. He laughs at people who ignore him. He’s satisfied.

And when Rita, who senses this change even though she doesn’t understand why, bids everything in her wallet to dance with him at the Groundhog Dance, the Bill Murray Phil is touched but also, on some level, serene.

Andy Karl’s Phil is not happy.

We spend a lot more time in Andy’s Phil’s headspace, and at one point he breaks down because of all the things he’ll never get to do – he’ll never grow a beard, he’ll never see the dawn again, he’ll never have another birthday. Anything he does is wiped away the next morning.

Bill Murray’s Phil gets so much satisfaction out of his constantly improving the town that his daily circuit has become a reward for him.

Andy Karl’s Phil is, on some level, fundamentally isolated. People will never know him – at least not without hours of proving to them that yes, he is trapped in this time loop, he does know everything about them.  No matter what relationships he forms, he’ll have  to start all over again in a matter of hours. There’s no bond he can create that this loop won’t erase.

And so when Rita finally dances with Bill Murray, it’s shown as a big romantic moment. And in the musical –

In the musical, Rita moves towards Phil and everything freezes in a harsh blue light except for Phil.

This is everything Phil has ever wanted in years, maybe decades, of being in this loop – and instead of being presented as triumphant, everything goes quiet and Phil sings a tiny, mournful song:

But I’m here
And I’m fine
And I’m seeing you for the first time

And the reason that brings tears to my eyes every fucking time is because this Phil is not fine – he repeats the lie in the next verse when he says he’s all right. Yet this is the happiest moment he’s had in years, finally understanding what Rita has wanted all along, and this moment too will be swept away in an endless series of morning wakeups and lumpy beds and people forgetting what he is.

Yet that mournful tune is also defiant, and more defiant when the townspeople pick it up and start singing it in a rising chorus:

I’m here
And I’m fine

Phil knows his future is nothing.

Yet that will not stop him from appreciating this small beauty even if he knows it will not stay with him. Trapped in the groundhog loop, appreciating the tiny moments becomes an act of rebellion, a way of affirming life even when you know this moment too will vanish.

Can you understand that this is depression incarnate?

Which is the other thing that marks this musical. Because I said there was joy, and there is. Because when Andy Karl’s Phil enters the “Philanthropy” section of the musical (get it?), he may not be entirely happy but he is content.

Because he knows that he may not necessarily feel joy at all times, but he has mastered the art of maintenance.

Because tending to the town of Punxatawney is a lot of work. He has to run around changing flat tires, rescuing cats, getting Rita the chili she wanted to try, helping people’s marriages. (And as he notes, “My cardio never seems to stick.”)

When Bill Murray’s Phil helps people, it seems to well up from personal satisfaction. Whereas Andy’s Phil is thrilled helping people, yes, but his kindness means more because it costs him. On some level he is, and will forever be, fundamentally numb.

This isn’t where he wanted to be.

Yet he has vowed to do the best with what he can. He helps the townspeople of Punxatawney because even though it is a constant drain, it makes him feel better than drinking himself senseless in his room. He doesn’t get to have everything he wanted – also see: depression and chronic illness – and it sure would be nice if he could take a few days off, but those days off will make him feel worse.

He’s resigned himself to a lifetime of working harder than he should for results that aren’t as joyous as he wanted.

And that’s okay. Not ideal, but…. okay.

Andy’s okay.

And I think the closest I can replicate that in a non-musical context is another unlikely source – Rick and Morty, where Rick is a suicidal hypergenius scientist who’s basically the Doctor if the Doctor’s psychological ramifications were taken seriously. And he goes to therapy, where a therapist so smart that she’s the only person Rick’s never been able to refute says this to him:

“Rick, the only connection between your unquestionable intelligence and the sickness destroying your family is that everyone in your family, you included, use intelligence to justify sickness.

“You seem to alternate between viewing your own mind as an unstoppable force and as an inescapable curse. And I think it’s because the only truly unapproachable concept for you is that it’s your mind within your control.
You chose to come here, you chose to talk to belittle my vocation, just as you chose to become a pickle. You are the master of your universe, and yet you are dripping with rat blood and feces, your enormous mind literally vegetating by your own hand.

“I have no doubt that you would be bored senseless by therapy, the same way I’m bored when I brush my teeth and wipe my ass. Because the thing about repairing, maintaining, and cleaning is it’s not an adventure. There’s no way to do it so wrong you might die.

“It’s just work.

“And the bottom line is, some people are okay going to work, and some people well, some people would rather die.

“Each of us gets to choose.

“That’s our time.”

And yes, Groundhog Day the musical is – was – about that lesson of maintenance, as Andy comes to realize that “feeling good” isn’t a necessary component for self-improvement, and works hard to make the best of a situation where, like my depression, even the best and most perfect day will be reset come the next morning.

And yes. There is a dawn for Andy’s Phil, of course, and he does wake up with Rita, and you get to exit the theater knowing that no matter how bad it gets there will come a joyous dawn and you get to walk out onto Broadway and so does Phil.

But you don’t get to that joy without maintenance.

And you might get trapped again some day. That, too, is depression. That, too, is chronic illness. We don’t know that Phil doesn’t get trapped on February 3rd, or March 10th, or maybe his whole December starts repeating.

But he has the tools now. He knows how to survive until the next dawn.

Maybe you can too.

—————————–

Anyway. There’s talk that Groundhog Day will go on tour, maybe even with Andy Karl doing the performances. He’s brilliant. Go see him.

The rest of you, man, I hope you find your own Groundhog Day. I saw mine. Twice.

Perhaps it’s fitting that it’s vanished.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

The b(r)e(a)st of science marches on.

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:37 am
sistawendy: (weirded out)
[personal profile] sistawendy
A little over seven years ago, I posted a poll in an attempt to learn something about relative breast size vs. hand preference. My conclusion was that which of your boobs is larger doesn't correlate to hand preference, but asymmetry in general just might.

But the original study isn't quite what this entry is about. A few of you breast owners told me then that breasts are changeable creatures, and which one of yours is larger can be influenced by lots of factors. In other words, boobs happen. I've finally experienced this in the last few months: my left one used to be bigger, and now my right one seems to be.

I haven't changed my hormone dose since around the time I posted the poll. I've been eating & exercising the same for years. Could this be a breast explosion like the ones some of my cisgender friends report undergoing in their teens? I don't think so, but if I find myself in need of 38D (!) bras a few months hence, that'll will be a) scientifically interesting, b) rare as hens' teeth because yo, trans, and c) not unwelcome because a 38" chest makes even reasonaboobs look small.

Monday's story!

Sep. 18th, 2017 01:41 am
murgatroyd666: (von Zinzer Oy)
[personal profile] murgatroyd666 posting in [community profile] girlgenius_lair
http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20170918

Pirates! Blackmailers! Smugglers, brigands, and cutthroats! The pillars of the community!

(no subject)

Sep. 17th, 2017 05:04 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
Water temp meter part II:
I left the project half-finished last night, intending to fill the radiator with the water that had been lost in pulling out the water temperature sensor. This morning I got up, intending to drive the Spitfire over to the Annual Little British Car Show, poured a bunch of water in, and watched it cascade out of the sensor recess. Tightening the nutbolt (a bolt with a hole through the center that the sensor lives in) down didn't help. I drove my normal car over, checked out some pretty cars, and drove back, and then removed the sensor and started poking at it. Halfway up the bulb that lives in the water, there's a tapered ring of metal. I thought it was a precision tapered ring, that sealed against the matching taper inside the water pump. But this is automotive: there is nothing precision outside of the innards of the engine and transmission. Instead there was secretly a rubber gasket that, when I removed the old sensor, had stayed inside the water pump housing. It was totally shot, and no amount of trying to carefully put it back in was going to save it. I ended up getting an o-ring from my collection of high temperature water-resistant o-rings and using that instead, but because it was smaller, the nutbolt no longer managed to press the sensor down well enough to seal. I had to cut a little collet on the lathe, like a thick washer but sawed in half so it could be put in two pieces around the sensor line. With that, everything sealed correctly, as far as I can tell, and the car is ready to go again. A quick jaunt around the block shows the water temperature gauge indicating roughly the right numbers. I'll check tonight to see if the radiator is full of water.
yam: (Clinic doll)
[personal profile] yam
HOORAY! My fiddler is on an airplane heading to my house EVEN AS WE SPEAK well she might be on the ground making a connection but YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. I'm going all out and changing the sheets and possibly remembering to empty the garbage, because I got my Brownie Hostess badge, baby.

BOO! Sammy has developed a taste for cables. Every cable. He has eaten 3? 4? headphones and one mouse and one 3DS charger. I have a bluetooth mouse now, which is a little weird, but at least will not be displayed proudly covered in saliva on my pillow I ASSUME. Fortunately I had an extra DS charger because I keep accidentally stealing them from Seanan. (Sorry!)

HOORAY! I'm at work and it makes me feel so good. I'm an expert and I'm ON and I'm really good at my job and I have energy and a bounce in my step and I can forget for a while about being my headache. On Sundays I'm euphoric and even feel like I'm faking my disability. Mondays are harder, I'm still enjoying the heck out of work but feeling the strain and counting the hours and am relieved to close up shop.

BOO! ...and Tuesdays any feeling of being a faker are gone, as I spend the whole day at minimum being flat-out exhausted, having headache exacerbation, blah blah blah, alternating sleepy pain and painful sleep. It's all one headache now, it gets better or worse, but never goes away.

YAY! My pain control is a little better this month! I got switched from *drug that is rendered less potent by other drugs I'm on* to *drug that doesn't have an interaction*.

BOO! ...which is probably only a temporary improvement, though. This is a drug that you grow tolerant to, and I flat out can't follow it up in dose and keep working. So I'm using it now until it stops helping and then... it's me and advil, I guess. And waiting for new migraine drugs to hit the market. My neurologist has me in her jar of patients she can't wait to spring the new stuff on once it gets through regulatory approval.

Well that was a depressing little streak of points. Today is Sunday at work and I'm at euphoric still, I can do better!

YAY! Today is a particularly good day for patients coming in at the perfect time for long uninterrupted chats. I found a way to make two broken insulin pens in to one working pen so my patient would be covered until the replacement pens arrive. Someone coming in with a question about a drug selected at random from the shelf - they actually wanted to chat about their feelings as they await the birth of their second child after the first died of cancer, with someone outside the house. Talking a patient with dementia down from a panic attack over the phone. Their medication stopped six months ago but they don't remember that part, and we have this chat from time to time, on days when they remember that I'm their pharmacist. Giving some pneumonia shots. Flu shot season is coming, just one more month to wait!!! Other than that last stabby part, none of this really has anything to do with what I learned in pharmacy school. But I'm so happy my pharmacy ticket puts me in a place where people trust me with all these little confidences and burdens and services. I feel like a shrine maiden, like the work moves through me. If that makes sense.

I mean, and sometimes I'm just disposing of gross expired vitamins and cashing out my till and losing count when I'm counting 500 prednisone tablets and it's work and it's sure good they pay me. It's not all epiphanies and florence nightingale all up in here.

YAY! Employee. Discount. Hallowe'en. Candy.

YAY! Rain!!!

BOO! I forgot a rain jacket!

YAY! But whatever RAIN I MISSED YOOOOOOU

YAY! DID I MENTION I GET A FIDDLER TONIGHT BECAUSE DANG YO

YAY! Greg. We've been reading the Oz books - we're nearly done book 9 - and he's been asking for me to "do the voices" when I read and he is SO CRACKED UP by my silly voices. The way he begs for extra chapters. The way he reads other books on his own, ravenously. The way he runs in to my room to share random facts with me. The way he mournfully affects instant great tiredness when he doesn't want to clean up a mess / leave Gramma's house / whatever. On Friday my dad said no to making a whole separate dinner for him from the one that was already on offer, and Greg said in a sorry lamenting pout: "Go on your merry way, thennnnn." I just about died laughing. The way he sometimes sneaks out of bed after I've tucked him in, and then I find him passed out by the window where he was looking at the moon, or asleep at the foot of my bed, cuddled up to my feet. <3 <3 <3 <3

YAY! I have stopped the cats from going outside the litter box!

BOO! By putting an extra litter pan in the front hall, because apparently what PLEASES THEM BEST IN THE WORLD is to pee and shit where everyone can watch. Like, they both look around to MAKE SURE I'M WATCHING and proudly do their thing. Uhhhh. Thanks? Dear visitors: I'm very sorry that you must cross the poobicon as you enter my apartment. But it beats finding cat presents in my shoes.

YAY! But at least they're cute. And so, so cuddly. Sammy wiggles up through my blankets to my face like a... blanket sandworm? I'm not sure what the right analogy is here. It's adorable anyway and he doesn't have... lamprey teeth?

I'M GOING TO QUIT BEFORE I OUTDO LAMPREY TEETH

Much of the same ol' same ol'

Sep. 17th, 2017 12:14 pm
christina_maria: (Default)
[personal profile] christina_maria
 Life has been doing it’s usual puttering along at it’s zoomie speed. Daily routines and everyday usuals have been the norm for a while.

I find that when days vastly resembled each other I forget to come here and write. To be fair, during the same ol’ same ol’ weeks it probably would seem like someone just went wacky and hit the re-post button over and over if I did. No one wants that.

So I will attempt to catch you all up in my daily ho-hums in this post….

Let’s see (I’ll just skip past the usual household chore rambles for this, shall I):

  • Oh! I can’t recall if I mentioned in older posts or not, but my car is totally paid off now (as of July 14th). So no more monthly car payments for us. Aaron’s car was paid off the year prior, so…  now we just need to figure out the best way to smush the mortgage with out lots of penalties …. smush smush
  • Aaron’s mom was supposed to be over for a two week visit at the beginning of September because she had time scheduled off at work, but caught a nasty flu and couldn’t make it. And so she’ll be over mid October for a weeks visit instead.
  • So far the deer are staying out of the fenced area I made. So I actually have a few tall Canna plants growing in there right now, as well as gladiolus and mini roses!! In a last ditch effort to get ‘something’ to grow a while back (when the fence bits first went up) I had scattered some left over tomato and pepper seeds any where/every where. One pepper seed seems to have germinated next to the big Canna, and has flowers on it. I am staggered. That, to me, is amazingly cool.
  • I seem to have killed off my poor iceland poppy plant. But I think the seeds from it have sprouted in a few spots, so maybe all is not lost?
  • This year has been pretty smokey and miserable outside due to all of the fires around the US and here, and so for once I can honestly say I am looking forward to the rainy days of Fall.

 

  • Inside the house I have been continuing the downsize of useless clutter.
  • It’s going well, although I’ve pretty much given up on the donation place I used to use. They have been a no-show at least four times (Probably more than that, but I am feeling generous). And so now I just post things to the local FB group when I want to get rid of it. More of a hassle, as things take several days (or more) to be gone, and not everyone who says they will show up does. But hey, it get’s the stuff gone sooner than that donation truck, so at this point I’ll take it.
  • We upgraded the TV in the bedroom to a 55″ one.  I’m the only one that really watches TV in the house, so no beaking about how TV’s shouldn’t be in the bedroom because blah blah blah please. Aaron’s not a big TV watching person, period.  We generally don’t watch TV when we are hanging out together, unless we have decided to watch a film, and so there is no intimacy issue there. =P
  • The old TV from our bedroom has been moved to the guestroom now, and the old guestroom TV will be donated some time soon.
  • I’ve also been rearranging most of the rooms in the house. Aaron’s office and the exercise room still need a bit of a reorganize. But the rabbits live down there with him, and we don’t want to really change their space just yet. So that will be left alone for the time being.
  • I’ve been taking various barely used shelves and stands, ones where the sole use seemed to be as a clutter catcher, and tried to find them a more useful spot in the house. If I couldn’t find a spot where they were more than a clutter catcher, then I posted them on the FB group to get rid of.  I also went through the damn clutter piles and got rid of what was just a waste of space.
  • I got a few small profile comfy chairs for the downstairs front room, moved around a couple of the larger comfy chairs so that there is seating in Aaron’s office, and one more place to sit in the upstairs livingroom now. It’s funny, we had lots of shelves/bookcases scattered about the house .. but very few places to actually sit and read. I don’t know what that was about, but it’s been remedied now.
  • I downsized my nail polish collection, and made some local ladies on FB very happy in the process. My collection is now half the size, which is still quite massive. I also went through all of the makeup and passed most of those on to them as well.
  • I’m winding down a bit more on the whole go crazy and decorate everything outside on holidays thing, too. We’re at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, most of the neighbors before us don’t decorate, and so decorating to the nines is just too much for too few views. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ll still do it. The people across the street do enjoy it. But I won’t be going as crazy as I would have if we still lived on a busier road.  I will be going through the boxes of that stuff and getting rid of what ever has not been used in years of holidays (I’m looking at you ‘skinnier me’ halloween costumes.. time to go bye bye.)

 

  • Bongo kitty is still reacting well to the pills that keep him alive. One and a half pills every day. So he may see another couple years through with us. Knock wood. He’s more of a cuddle bug these days. He will play with his toys for a bit, but it wears him out pretty fast, and so he doesn’t bother most times. As the weather changes his joints get a bit more creaky, and so there are some failed jump attempts here and there. We just lift him up to whatever chair he was trying for, and he happily nestles down for a nap.
  • Our lop rabbits have become slobs of sorts. And so they keep us on their toes more than a few times daily as they potty wherever they please and proceed to lay in it if we are not quick enough to catch it. Bunny baths are becoming a regular thing. Cocoa Banana is still a sweet gentleman dwarf bunny, and we have no such troubles with him.

 

  • Since moving here we’ve gotten at least six new families moving into the neighborhood. So far we’ve been lucky and they’ve been pretty nice people (even the bear ignorant ones are nice, they just are not used to living near wildlife yet is all). Just recently a house a few doors down just sold, but we have no idea who has purchased it yet. Fingers crossed it’s more good people.
  • Oh, The people who purchased the empty lot beside us have been visiting there and spending the day there every now and again. Trying to get a feel for the space as they plan their new home setup, I assume. They recently brought their camp trailer and set it up, and so we’re getting a mini preview of what it’ll be like with neighbors there. Still have lots of deer that go through there, even when the new neighbors are hanging out, and so at least for now that isn’t changing.

I can’t think of anything else at the moment to add, and so I best post this. I can always continue on page 2, as it were, if I think of more.

(no subject)

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:26 am
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
The water temperature gauge on the Spitfire has slowly been dying. It was reading 120F when the car had been off for two days, and got up to 160F when the car was running. It was a really cheap unit. I bought another really cheap unit off ebay and replaced it last night, which was way more of a pain than it should have been, because the previous owner ran a LOT of extra wires through the grommet in the firewall and there was no longer room for the sensor to fit through. I also forgot that the first step is putting the gauge in the dash, because you can't remove the sensor from the gauge, so after routing the sensor through the grommet and along the engine and installing it in the water pump, I had to undo it, feed it through the dash, and redo it. But now it works, at least.

Yesterday I spent about five hours painting the house, getting a layer or two of exterior paint on all the sun-facing wood on the first floor, and getting a good start on the non-sun-facing wood. Today I'll get the small amount of wood on the second floor. Man this is sore work, all above my head, a lot of it from a ladder, but it should last several years and more importantly prevent the wood being damaged by being exposed, as it was. Looks a lot better, too, than all the flaking and peeling paint that had been there since we moved in.
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