graphic novel book group

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:10 pm
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[personal profile] boxofdelights
I went to Graphic Novel book group once before, to discuss Bitch Planet, when the group leader, Cameron, happened not to be there. He was there today. I don't think I'll be going back.

Maybe he would be diluted in a larger group? There were only four of us. And neither I nor the other two guys, whom I know from SF book group, are very good at grabbing the talking stick. Still Cameron seemed weirdly controlling. I think more than half the time was just Cameron talking, and he didn't leave spaces where other people could start talking if they wanted to; he'd call on us, like, "What did you think of it? Was there anything else that you liked?" And whenever anyone spoke up without being called on he'd say something like, "Yes, go ahead." He'd actually interrupt a person who was speaking in order to give them permission to speak. When he said he was a history teacher I thought, that explains it.

Final loading dose... DONE!

Sep. 21st, 2017 04:45 pm
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[personal profile] stonebender
I’ve had trouble writing the last two posts. I’m a slow correspondent, what can I say? I’m not sure this post gets to what I wanted to talk about, but it’s close. I may work on it some more, but I thought letting people know what’s going on was more important than perfect communication.

On September 5th, I received my last loading dose of Spinraza (Huzzah!). After six tries and four successful injections, it seems that I have learned how to advocate the best circumstances for success. Pain meds help in allowing me to stay on the table longer and the longer I can stay there, the more chances for a successful lumbar puncture. The pain meds also help with recovery. The first few times we tried an LP, successful or not, it took several days for me to stop feeling sore. I also make sure I’m not put on the table until the radiologist and doctor are ready to go. That way they have the most time to get the needle where it’s supposed to go with as little pain as possible. So although the last loading dose took a couple hours before it was successful. It was successful!

Most of the staff were new to me. I started explaining what needed to be done and the staff were paying attention. After a bit my morning worker started taking over just by saying things like, “Wasn’t Guy’s wheelchair parked over there and you brought the lift over here?” Basically, asking questions that clarified my instructions. After a bit it was fascinating to watch. She knew me and she has been through this dance with me several times now. She knew what had worked. So I let her take over the logistics. As usual, the staff followed directions and were concerned with my comfort.

I have been paying attention to any physical changes since the treatments began. I didn’t feel much at first. Except that my breathing is easier. I’m worried that the improvement is just a placebo effect. I want to feel like all this effort amounts to something. Seems like the beneficial effects of the treatment are so subtle. [personal profile] loracs and I will be the only ones to notice.

I’m really looking forward to the next pulmonologist appointment. Then I will have some objective evidence that I’m actually improving. Until then I keep racking up observations. Along with stronger lungs, [personal profile] loracs has noticed the grip strength in my left hand is stronger. I feel some strength in my arms, but it’s not like I can suddenly raise my arm above my head. It seems like I can gesture a little more. I think I have a little bit more motion in my right hand when I use my trackball. Nothing I couldn’t do before, but it seems like I can do it longer and with less fatigue.

After the third dose, I noticed that my neck seems to be stronger. Driving in the car is always a bit of a roller coaster ride for me. I can’t hold my head very well, so it flops around a bit. I try to ride in the car in a reclined position, but that cuts into the sightseeing. I usually alternate between reclining and sitting straight up. Still, my head flops around more than I like. I’m noticing now that I can keep my head up most of the time. I also noticed that I can lift my head off the bed if it is at a little angle. I can’t lift it from completely prone. I don’t think I could lift it at all before the Spinraza.

On the possible negative side, I’ve noticed some tension headaches since the fourth dose. They don’t last long and they could just be hay-fever. The pain is similar, but I notice it when I’m being impatient or a little pissed. I am not at all sure if this is related to the drug. That’s about all I’ve noticed at this point. I think I’ll be getting a follow-up appointment in the future. So they can see where I’m at and decide what to do. I may get some physical therapy. (So I can look buff.)

On the reimbursement front, I received one of those “this is not a bill” statements from Medicare. It seems to say that all the hospital stuff is covered, but it doesn’t specifically say anything about whether the Spinraza has been covered. It even says that Connie’s services are covered but nothing about the drug. Connie seems optimistic they will get reimbursed. I’m disconcerted, but I’ll cope. Thanks everyone. I’ll keep you in the loop.
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[personal profile] submarine_bells
After her night spent schmoozing at the local diner, Melanoma returns home and notices that Tangerine is up and awake (finally!). She immediately collapses, exhausted, onto the couch.
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Meanwhile Tangerine, still hungry, orders some pizza. He heads out the front door in the hope of intercepting the pizza before anyone else (Melanoma, say) can get to it. There he encounters Oliver the Paper Boy dropping off another newspaper to add to the growing mound of papers composting on the front porch. Sensing a potential audience, Tango begins a tirade on the virtues of whiteness. Oliver is not delighted by this.
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Oliver is still quite young, but he's old enough to recognise bullshit when he hears it. He responds with a counter-argument as the pizza delivery person arrives with Tangerine's breakfast.
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"Hey matey, do you want this pizza, or would you rather just stand there arguing with the paper boy?"
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All of a sudden, the pizza is forgotten as Tangerine, Oliver and the pizza chick are overcome by an irresistable urge to perform The Dance Of Horrified Greeting for... a repair person?
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Startled awake, Melanoma concedes that yes, maybe the TV could do with a tune-up or something...
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Wait, what? That's not a TV repair tool!
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WOOOP WOOOP WOOOP!
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WOOOP SCHLOOOP SCHLUUURRRP! There goes the TV...
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Tangerine bawls his eyes out, weeping for his lost TV, his lost innocence, his missing personality. Without a TV, how will he pass the time now?
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He recalls his breakfast, still sitting out on the front porch.
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Melanoma's response to the TV being reposessed is withering. "You idiot! You haven't got the brains God gave a pickled onion. I TOLD you to pay those bills. This is YOUR fault."
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"Ah well. We'll always have Paris pizza!"
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submarine_bells: (hahaha)
[personal profile] submarine_bells
The story so far: Tangerine and Melanoma Hitler are doing their best to survive in a house with no lavatory, beds or fridge... which is a challenge, since they themselves have no charm, intelligence or life-skills.


While Tangerine (who has, you may recall, claimed the only couch in the house) sleeps, Melanoma is overcome by hunger pangs and visits the local diner.
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But wait! What light through yonder window breaks? Is it Juliet? No, it's a Zombie-American rising up through the footpath while Melanoma dines inside.
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She finishes her meal and emerges from the diner, only to be accosted by the zombie. She is not in the mood for this shit.
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"Arrrghh, mmbblgggghhhrrrr! Hey lady, those are awfully tasty looking thighs you have there!"
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Melanoma snorts disdainfully, spins on her heels and heads straight back into the diner for another cuppa. Clearly it's gonna be one of those days...
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It seems that the Zombie-American is still waiting for her when she's done with her second coffee. Impressed by her unbelievable body odor, the zombie tries to make friends with her. This is not easy when one's first language is groaning.
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Zombie: "Okay, arrgghh, mumbbllerrggh, seeya round!"
Melanoma: "I hate my life."
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Mel decides that this unpleasant encounter might as well be useful for something, so she grabs a pic of the Zombie-American as she departs, with the idea that she may post it on the blog that she's just starting up.
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Unfortunately, Melanoma's photography skills are at approximately the same level as the zombie's hygiene skills. Her blog's certainly not gonna go viral this week.

The Sims 3 as Therapy

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:56 pm
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[personal profile] submarine_bells
It's been a rather frustrating week or two, what with one thing and another. So I decided to vent some of my frustrations via The Sims. Using a fairly high profile couple as inspiration, I attempted to create more-or-less lookalike sims, and then picked traits that I deemed appropriate to them. His traits were fairly straightforward to come up with; but for her I had to guess a bit more, since the person she's based on maintains a fairly enigmatic public facade. And so I give you:

The Travails of Tangerine Hitler and Melanoma Hitler

Tangerine & Melanoma Hitler

Since this supposed to be a cathartic exercise, it wouldn't do to have things go too smoothly for Mr & Mrs Hitler. I've set them up in a basic starter home, but removed a few, um, optional extras. For example, their house has no lavatory. It also lacks a fridge and has no beds. But they have a couch and a TV, so surely they'll cope, right? Lets find out!

My self-imposed rules are this: the sims themselves set the pace. Most of what they do is entirely generated by them. If they have wishes, then I'll attempt to fulfill them (or at least, the wishes that appeal to my sense of whimsy). If they seem to develop an interest, I may nudge them further in that direction; and I'll occasionally push them into going outside and saying hello to other sims in the neighbourhood. The rest is up to them. Lets see what happens.

As soon as they arrive in their new abode, Tangerine makes a beeline for the bathroom mirror for a nice inspiring round of pose-a-rama, while Melanoma chats up the local Furry then checks out the offerings on TV:
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This seems to be a bit of a theme for Tangerine. Whenever he's bored or unhappy, he immediately decamps to the bathroom to admire himself in the mirror. When he's within eyeshot of it there is no dragging him away from its magnetic allure. Who needs cocaine when you can admire your own reflection for hours on end?

Eventually the thrill wears off a little and he rejoins Melanoma on the couch. She's starting to feel a bit tired and cranky by this time. "Whyever did it seem a good idea to buy a house without beds?" she wails. "All we have is this crummy old couch!" Tangerine rudely ignores her.
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Before long Tangerine is feeling a bit sleepy as well. Being a caring, sharing sort he tells Melanoma "This is MY couch! Off you go. I wanna get some sleep now."
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This is not received well:
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"You're a charmless, mannerless peasant!"
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"...And your genitalia are charmless, too!"
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Overcome with fatigue and humiliation, Tangerine proceeds to wet himself...
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...And then fall asleep in the puddle on the floor.
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Does Melanoma succumb to temptation and give him a good swift kick? Does their relationship survive this contre-temps? Tune in for the next thrilling episode and find out!
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[personal profile] autographedcat
A lovely walk in the woods by a river...
A lovely walk in the woods by a river...

(Sitka National Historical Park)

Juneau, Alaska!

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:09 am
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[personal profile] autographedcat
Juneau, Alaska!
Juneau, Alaska!

(Mount Roberts)
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[personal profile] submarine_bells
Remember my grumble last Friday about having a kidney infection? Well, they sent a sample of my pee off to the lab last week to culture it and find out what my kidney's been colonised by, and it came back showing Klebsiella. Yuk. So I've been on antibiotics since then, and while I'm no longer peeing in distubing shades of apricot and orange, I'm still in as much pain as I was when all this started. Since it hasn't shown much sign of clearing up, I had an ultrasound done of my infected kidney yesterday arvo, which showed nothing particular of note. When I discussed the ultrasound results with my GP this morning he was a bit surprised that I'm still in such strong pain after nearly completing a course of antibiotics, and thinks it's possible (though by no means certain) that there might be something else going on, such as a kidneystone that isn't showing up on the ultrasound. So the current plan is this: when I finish the current course of antibiotics (today) we'll switch up to something stronger, and if there's no clear improvement in my pain levels by the end of the week I'll have a CAT scan to see what is going on (which should hopefully show up anything that the ultrasound missed).

Gah. Not happy Jan. The last time I had a kidney infection (with bonus kidneystones) it wound up with me ambulanced off to hospital, and as a result of the infection my left kidney has so much scarring damage that it looks like the top chunk of it has been gnawed off by a beaver. This new kidney infection is in my right kidney. I will be quite peeved if I wind up with TWO damaged kidneys at the end of all this.

reading wednesday

Sep. 14th, 2017 11:29 pm
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[personal profile] boxofdelights
• What are you reading?

Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World, by Emma Marris. Marris's prose is just pedestrian, neither delightful nor efficient, but it covers the ground she wants to cover, which is intensely interesting to me.

Coincidentally, I just read two links from [personal profile] forestofglory on this topic:
http://edgeeffects.net/uw-arboretum-prairie/
Knowing Prairies, a short graphic essay (like graphic novel, but nonfiction and short) about prairie restoration: what it means, how possible it is, what it is worth. "When I visit the first restored prairie, I don't see a time machine nor a fake nature. Instead, I see a place altered by people negotiating their relationship with the natural world."

and http://uncannymagazine.com/article/packing/
"Packing", by T. Kingfisher, a short story about choosing which species we're going to save.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Beloved, by Toni Morrison, for Classics book group.

I thought this would be a bit easier to read the second time, but it wasn't. It was good to talk about at book group though. I really like the faculty sponsors and the grad student who lead this discussion.
She shook her head from side to side, resigned to her rebellious brain. Why was there nothing it refused? No misery, no regret, no hateful picture too rotten to accept? Like a greedy child it snatched up everything. Just once, could it say, No thank you? I just ate and can't hold another bite?[....]I don't want to know or have to remember that. I have other things to do: worry, for example, about tomorrow, about Denver, about Beloved, about age and sickness not to speak of love.
But her brain was not interested in the future. Loaded with the past and hungry for more, it left her no room to imagine, let alone plan for, the next day[....]Other people went crazy, why couldn't she? Other people's brains stopped, turned around and went on the something new, which is what must have happened to Halle. And how sweet that would have been[....]

I'd like to reread The Fifth Season and think about how it relates to Beloved.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

March, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, for Graphic Novel book group.

Here we go again...

Sep. 15th, 2017 02:17 pm
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[personal profile] submarine_bells
No flying for me this weekend. I haz a kidney infection. :-(

(no subject)

Sep. 14th, 2017 03:18 pm
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[personal profile] firecat
Saving to read later, Krebs's take on the Equifax security breach

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2017/09/breach-at-equifax-may-impact-143m-americans/

Which Steven Universe episodes

Sep. 12th, 2017 12:10 am
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[personal profile] boxofdelights
...to show someone what makes this show so great?

My daughter doesn't watch much animated stuff and had never heard of Steven Universe, but was intrigued by my description of Amal El-Mohtar's Wiscon GoH speech. If you were to pick a few episodes from the first season to help someone decided whether this is the sort of thing she might like, and you were really hoping she would decide yes, which ones would you pick?