Veni, Vidi, Ventus --
The randomly chaotic and crafty scribblings of a deranged, wannabe artist allowed too many colours in her Crayon box.

Surgeon General's Warning: Some content of "From Pooka's Crayon" may not be suitable for: work, blue-haired little old ladies, the politically-correct, rabid moonbats, uptight mothers, priests, chronic idiots, insurance claims agents, Democrats, children, small furry quadropeds from Alpha Centauri, or your sanity.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

If it weren't for bad luck....

Well ... no surgery -- YET. Yet being the important phrase.

Adult Chiari Malformation, and five scattered lesions. Uncertain if the lesions are helping cause the pain, or are damage FROM the pain.

Adult Arnold Chiari I Malformation Fabulous link, pretty much explains -all- of the problems I've been having. I'm textbook on it.

The bizarre thing is, the Chiari was NOT on my last MRI. So it's growing.

Right now, the risks of surgery are greater than the risks of leaving it alone.

I get another MRI in 6 months or so, to check on the size, and see if surgical correction is required. In the meantime, a whole slew of new meds, including blood pressure (and the Chiari explains why my BP has gotten weird) medication to try to keep the worst of it down, and new anti-inflammatories specifically to help with this sort of thing.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Updates or Something

All right, an update before we head out to hell Houston tomorrow.

Since late August, I've been having debilitating headaches. Puking, passing out, blurred vision, massive pain. Brain spikes on top of the constant 24/7 pain, those are the worst. Gone through so much hydrocodone, I may as well buy stock.

AETNA, the usual asshats, fought and denied against helping me. My neurologist finally got an MRI scheduled, they pissed around, but I finally got the MRI. Say hello to my last several months of life, unable to function or think.

So I call, but the neuro is out of town this week. Perky bright happy chick at the desk knows me well, though, so she checked my chart for me, and said that if the results were normal, she could at least tell me that much.

When she came back, she was nervous and stammering and told me I had to wait for my appointment. That's Tuesday. I called THIS Tuesday. That's me waiting a week for answers.

The MRI found something wrong inside my brain. Part of me is relieved that something was actually found. I know it's not life-threatening, at least not immediately, or I'd already be in the hospital with him out of town.

All but collapsed while Christmas shopping yesterday afternoon as a brain spike hit. Bad one. I'm sprawled in the middle of the store floor, trying not to puke or pass out. It finally fades enough for me to be functional, but of course the regular pain remains.

About midnight last night, the spike returned -- and didn't go away. I don't know how many times I puked, the pain was unbearable, all I did was sit and cry and whimper. DG finally took me to the ER.

NINE FUCKING HOURS in the ER. CT scan, a spinal tap (note: OW), failed IV attempts and a hand all swollen and black. But mercifully, they took the pain seriously. Hellooooo Morphine!

Spinal tap was normal. CT was normal. Whatever is wrong with me only shows up on the MRI.

.... waiting games. I hate them.

So, this is my life right now. Hurry up and wait, while crying from constant pain.

How the hell are you guys doing? *whimper*

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Not dead but tryin

So. About two weeks ago, I got stung by a wasp on my foot. I'm allergic. This was PAIN in new ways. I thought I'd been stung by a scorpion at first. Bees don't hurt like this. Fire ants don't hurt like this. The European Paper Wasp is a cast iron BITCH of firey death and destruction. It felt like someone had put a cigarette out on my foot. Luckily, it was a single sting on top of my foot, and I got ice on it and benedryl in me fast, but I was miserable for days.

In the middle of that recovery, with my system already weakened, I went on a rabid cleaning spree of my bedroom, the full dusting/vaccuming/bagging/sorting/washing chaos associated spring cleaning or massive nesting. Without a dust mask. Having four cats.


Cue massive sinus infection. I'm still recovering, it's been about a week. Although, it seems as though nature used it to help me make up for the last six months without decent sleep. I've spent the last week in a near-coma, doing little more than sleeping. And of course, the ragweed count has been topping the charts for the last few days, which isn't helping.

Rita is coming.

My parents, who have stayed through every single hurricane since they moved into that house 40 years ago, have bugged out. They got my grandparents out, up to Wylie at my aunt's, which makes perfect sense. They aren't in good shape, and MUST have electricity, and besides, just wussy Allison flooded their place.

But even my baby sister, who hiked across Europe alone, has bugged out. As I said before, Houston is a swamp, and has every intention of returning to that state with even non-hurricane heavy rainfall.

Mercifully, they aren't coming here, or -I- would have bugged out. So we do have some emergency crash space, but no room for pets brought in, considering Zamboni doesn't take strange animals well and tries to eat them, and I don't think our short little gate would keep a dog in the yard. Besides, it's just too damn hot to leave a dog outside right now. We've been breaking heat records this week.

Current projection is that even this far inland, Rita will still be a Cat 1 when she hits us. Not much of a big deal, we desperately need rain, and the only way our position would flood would be if pretty much all of DFW was under about 10 feet of water. The real threat is the potential of tornadoes spawned by the storm.

Freeways are parking lots. There are No Hotel Rooms in TX, period, evacuees are having to head out of state to find places to sit out the storm. I-45 is totally northbound now, the southbound lanes opened up to northbound traffic to speed the evacuation.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Dateline: September 11, 2001

The first plane hits. DG wakes me up, in time for me to see the second plane strike the WTC.

After some deliberation, and a sheer mental and emotional need to have them with us, DG goes and brings the kids home from school.

Dateline: September 8, 2005

Thing 2: Mama?
Me: Yeah, rabbit?
Thing 2: You remember that day when the bad guys attacked? And you came and got us out of school and brought us home? And I held your hand while you cried?
Me: (quiet hug) Yeah, baby, I remember.

She was in kindergarten. Four years. She still remembers. Not all of the details, of course, but she remembers.

Time passes, but is not forgotten.

(while watching CNN video)

Thing 2: Mama ... is that from the hurricane?
Me: Yes, baby.
Thing 2: Oh. My. God. I HATE hurricane Katrina. (note: I wasn't aware how much she even knew about it.)
(long pause)
Thing 2: Mama? What about all of the little kids down there? What happened to them, and the babies?
Me: (sighs) Some of them managed to get out with their families. But not all were able to. A lot of people died down there, and some of them were kids.
Thing 2: It's not FAIR!

You can only shield them from so much, and even when you do, they are going to find out. And some things shouldn't be forgotten, or glossed over, or ignored.

Insomnia Zombie

It was past 7 am this morning when I finally fell asleep. That was WITH medication assistance. I won't admit to how much I had to take to finally pass out, however, for the paranoid, I know well my own medication limits (and how my body does or doesn't to it, with my effed up brain chemistry), but it hasn't taken that much in a long time.

Out of that, I got less than 7 hours sleep. Probably closer to 6.

Haven't had a cycle quite this bad in a long time. Sure, I go through the phases, but with chronic insomnia, it tends to sneak up on you, and you don't realize just how bad it is until you have nights like last night, or the 48 hour days. I've gone more than 72 hours solid without a single hour of sleep before. And I ACHE from the lack of real sleep. Both brain and body hurt, and I feel like I'm in a fog.

On Insomnia.

There's multiple ways in which insomnia affects people. There's the "can't go to sleep" folks (sleep onset insomnia) that can lay in bed for hours without passing out. I'm one of those. There's the "early wakers" (sleep maintenance insomnia) who go to bed with no problem, then will suddenly snap wide awake well before they've gotten enough sleep. Occasionally I have this problem as well, but I'm lucky enough that if I don't move, usually I can drift back off.

But then there's a third problem, and it's very common to those with fibromyalgia, RSD, and other chronic pain disorders, as well as those suffering from depression. REM disturbance (REM rebound, excessive dreaming, where the body leaps right into REM instead of going through the stages). Or rather, in my case, Too Damn Much REM sleep.

I am a Stage 5 sleeper. I go from Stage 1, which instead lasts at least an hour or longer when I finally start to drift, to Stage 5. Stage 3/4 damn near doesn't exist.

Active sleep. I wake up TIRED, because my brain is active all night.

And I've been doing this for 25 years. Are we having fun yet?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Does a Body Good?

I saw the commercials for the new Quaker Oatmeal Breakfast Squares, and grimaced. I figured the things would be absolutely terrible, as bad with the excess "garbage" as granola bars and other so-called "healthy" portables.

I was actually pleasantly surprised when I looked at the labels. The calories are a bit high, as is the sodium, but for the most part, they really are no worse for ingredients than the instant oatmeal packets. And vitamin-wise, they're surprisingly high in nutrition value. Of course, they don't stack up to Real Oatmeal, IE, the stuff you actually have to cook, but not bad at all.

Let's see, comparatively, against old-fashioned plain oatmeal, unflavoured, nothing added:
--220 calories, versus 150
--Total fat: 4 grams, versus 3.
--Cholesterol: oo, not so great, 15 mg versus 0.
--The killer is the sodium. 230 mg versus 0. Ow.
--Carbs: 44, versus 27. Dietary fiber 3, versus 4.
--Protein: 4 g, versus 5

HOWEVER ... then you get to the vitamins.

--Vitamin A: 20%, versus 0
--Calcium: 20%, versus 0
--Iron: 20%, versus 10%

The rest is the Breakfast Squares only, as the plain oatmeal has none. Vitamin E 10%, Thiamin 20%, Riboflavin 20%, Niacin 20%, Vitamin B6 20%, Folic Acid 20%.

Granted, there are things in them that are not exactly on my diet. But in controlled amounts, and especially as a "sweet" treat, they sure as hell beat out banana bread, or any other form of sweet delivery besides fruit.

The biggest surprise came when I went ahead and bought a box, figuring I'd try them. The store didn't have the Oatmeal Raisin version, which I will now be hunting down. They did, however, have Banana Bread. Hmm. So I grabbed them.

There are chopped dried banana bits in them. Not bad. *nibble nibble* Moist, but not sticky. Hmm. You know I think I kinda like these. *nibble chew*

Maybe I better eat another to find out. Heated it this time.

Even my picky husband who will not eat a bowl of oatmeal decided they were pretty darn good.

Granted, I still want to try to make Alton Brown's homemade granola and protein power bars, but these will do just fine in the meantime. Alton had an entire show on granola, power bars, he even made "healthy" Rice Kripsie treats that looked most yummy. Granted, they don't have the preservative-laden shelf life of commercial bars, but nutritition, taste, and texture are probably at least 100 times better in his. And the way he worked the recipes, he left a lot of room for maneuvering them into something that works for each person. Lots of substitution options. I don't know if you can check the Food site for a re-run of it (in fact it was again late Tuesday night), because I'm not sure they list the late night episodes. I think last I checked, it was only new ones on the schedule.

HOWEVER ... The Power Trip. Recipes from the show. :D

Oatmeal. It's good for you.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Image Stream: Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass

Time After Time.
I actually own the dress she's wearing in this one, though you can't see the detail in this small of an image. There's knotwork (mostly triskeles) along the hem, the sleeves, and around the collar.

Mischief, Mayhem, and Manslaughter.
Hail, hail, the gang's all here -- and one's about to be in some serious trouble.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Death by Furby

T2: (grim-faced) Mommy, that does it. I have bad news. The world is going to come to an end.
Me: (concerned) Oh? Now what?
T2: Furbies ... are BACK. That does it. Get the torches and pitchforks. EVIL, I tell you, EVIL!

But wait, there's more.

The far more ominous one with the Daddygod went as follows:

T2: Daddy, Furbys are back!
DG: Back?
T2: Yes, back, but this time they talk, and walk, and...KILL!
DG: They kill?
T2: Yes, they are the embodiment of evil. Now I have...MINIONS!
T2 meanders out the door mumbling to herself: Well, minions unless they rampage, then I'd have to put them down.

Why Parents go Grey

T2: Daddy, do you want a state?
DG: Say what?
T2: Do you want a state?
DG: What kind of state?
T2: When I take over the world. Do you want a state, or would you prefer a country, or a planet?
DG: Well, if you take over the world, that's only one planet, so I can't have one of my own.
T2: Well, I'm not stopping there, I'm planning on taking over the entire Milky Way.

She has a notebook, wherein three full pages are dedicated to who gets what portion of the planet when Little Miss Empress takes it over. She hasn't quite started on the rest of the solar system yet.

T2: Mama, you want a state?
Me: A STATE? That's all I get, a lousy state? You offered DADDY that much.
T2: (snorts, sounding SO like me) You get more than him, cuz you're better, Mama.

I held out for several countries, including joint rule of a few, and collected several states in the process.


Found in 8 year-old Thing 2's schoolwork (posted verbatim, spelling and all).

"We are learning about bugs. So Mrs. Wagner (ed. note: her teacher) brot a bee. It was died so we did not worie. It started to rain wene a strok of lightening and the bee was alive. We were scared, so Mrs. Wagner killed the bee so we did not worie aney more."

Apparently zombie thoughts begin early around our house.

So do thoughts of taking over the world and acquiring minions.

"One day a bunny named Mr. Bunbuns lived in a forest he wanted to tak over the world becuse they made Mr. Bunbuns mad so he need some help. So he hoped around to look for help. He sees some friends and they sadly say yes to help take over the world. Mr. Bunbuns made the friends minions to take over the world. And the world came to an end. Becuse he take over the world."


Another one during "family time".

DG: (as an aside) Pooks, watch this.
DG: Hey T1, get out of our room now, mommy and daddy want to have sex.
T1: AAAUUUUGGGGHHHHHH! Nasty! That's just gross!
Me: Gee T1, how do you think you were made?
T2: Huh? You mean you guys humped or something to make her?
DG and Me: ::thud, laughing like idiots::

It's Texas, y'all ...

... and even the freakin cats are armed.

Felines are clean beasts, and they even know to keep their hardware cleaned properly as well.

Nothing like a nice long catnap after a day huntin them damn dawgs! Them Maine Coons don't tolerate none of them strays a'trespassin on their turf.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Katrina responses

This is me avoiding any political commentary on the situation. Frankly, there's enough of that shit already, and it's not helping anybody. Might buy some of the louder complainers their Fifteen Minutes, but it's not getting anything constructive done. Foamy the Squirrel sez it all for me on that, really. I'm just sayin.

Having grown up in Houston, I 'grok' the hurricane. All too well. I've lived through several of them, some major, some minor, a few tornadoes, and generic floods to boot. Face it, Houston started life as a swamp, and has every intention of trying to return to that state when water comes in hard and fast.

Houston is one of the cities getting refugees, and so is the area I'm living in now. So, I'm trying to keep things in a proper human perspective.

Among all the AP Wire photos of destruction and chaos and insanity, there are dozens of Human pictures. Pictures of people remembering to care for something other than themselves, pictures of people rescuing abandoned pets, pictures of parents trying to soothe their children, pictures of groups sitting around doing Basic Normal Human Things like fixing their hair.

And sometimes, it's the little things that make you remember you're human.

People not in the middle of a disaster area tend to forget it's the little things that can help us hang on, little things that make us feel human again. Something as simple as fixing your hair, or having a baby wipe to do the PTA bath -- Pits, Tits, and Ass for the uniformed, and yes, tits can get seriously funky, especially if you're over-endowed. The sweat funk can be seriously unpleasant. Your skin is screaming for all sorts of fun rashes to appear. Wear an underwire? Ooo, go ahead, get a blister in that sweat funk, and wait for infection. Sweat build-up in confined territory can get nasty fast. Now add in panic sweat, crowded conditions, the lack of ability to get any sort of shower (or even turn a hose on yourself), funk from fouled water ... Ick -- can go a long way as a restorative.

I mean hell, donating a few cases of simple deoderant might be seen as offensive by some, but damn, those in need appreciate every little bit. And Not Feeling Funky in unpleasant conditions is definitely something to appreciate.

Saw a whole lot of little kids that might have a few less nightmares if a few surprises were tossed in. If you're sending CARE packages to the refugees, and have it, toss in a few dozen yards of hair ribbons, ponytail holders, lip gloss (the protective stuff, chapped lips from lack of water are miserable), combs and brushes, small and easy to clean toys for the kids (stuffed animals in Funk conditions get gross fast).

May seem frivolous, but if you're sending anyway (and if you can, please donate resources, they're almost better than money, since you can drop them off at your local shelter/church organization/designated drop-off, and know that they won't have to wait a week or more to decide where it goes, unlike cash), send the stuff that will not only help the body survive, but the heart as well.

Suggestions of Things to Donate:
-- Clothing (come on, don't you have a box stuffed somewhere of clothing that doesn't fit anymore? Either yours, or your children's. Just buy new underwear if you're sending it, some things shouldn't be shared. Really. Ever.)
-- Cartons of cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays (Never dealt with nicotene withdrawal? Yikes.)
-- Toilet paper
-- Toothpaste, toothbrushes
-- Diapers, diaper wipes
-- Tampons, pads
-- Formula, bottles
-- Deoderant
-- Razors, shaving cream, soap
-- Hair brushes, combs
-- Shoes (Shut up, Imelda, just put them in the damn box) and socks. LOTS of socks.
-- Nail clippers, nail files (Okay, paranoid, just get the soft emery boards)
-- Bottled water, canned food, can openers.
-- Antibacterial creams, antacids, bandages, vitamins (adult and chewable), pain relievers (Keep it legal. Though I'm sure the addicts would love you forever for your stash of prescription meds, they won't get there anyway.)
-- Bedding. Blankets, sheets (stick with flat), pillows and cases.
-- Pet food

... and don't fucking spam me with stupid promos for your get-rich-quick scheme crap. Don't spam me with nothing but promos for completely irrelevant bullshit. Don't spam me with Idiot Links to hijackers and viruses and trojans, because Stupid, I am not.

Just. Don't. Spam. Me. Seriously. It makes a Pooka cranky.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

AETNA Asshats Revisited

"I reject your reality, and substitute my own."

And right now, I'd really like to substitute my own reality, thank you very much.

I'm supposed to have an MRI tomorrow. I'm not. Why?

Oh, come on. You KNOW the answer.

Insurance turned it down.

Because, you know, a neurologist and medical tests are not enough.


I am actually speechless this time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

SNAFU Central

So ... nerve induction was today.

My wonderful PCP set me up with meds so I could handle it, both before and after, so I'm not suffering nearly as much as I should be.

The good news: My left arm, the one that was totally rebuilt a few years ago, was textbook perfect for nerve response. YAY. My right arm, while not perfect, was still within normal limits. This surprised me.

The bad news: My right leg, which we have known was screwed up for some time (I walk with a cane, after all), showed marked neuropathy.

Guess who already has an MRI scheduled to take a look at my knee and ankle? Whee.

It's not like it isn't anything I didn't expect. I mean, I'm already 'permanently handicapped' as it is. However, since that right knee has been dislocated several times, it's entirely possible that the MRI will find something that's FIXABLE. Not that we'll be able to afford fixing it, what with insurance being a collective group of flatulating asshats.

AETNA did finally come through on accepting that I am Fucked Up, and approved my Neurontin dosage. But only for a single year, whereupon we will have to go through this shit all over again. Of course, by then, we'll probably have ended up with yet another insurance company, considering how amazingly organized and consistent the city is (Ha. Ha. Ha.).

I shall now go drug myself into a wonderfully insensible coma and try to forget that my ankle is in full protest over the treatment today and is trying to take itself off on a vacation elsewhere -- without me.

Friday, August 19, 2005

... And I'm here to save the world.

I refuse to accept that this might fall under the category of Guilty Pleasures.

Disney's 'Kim Possible'.

First off, you've got to be relatively proud of a show that manages to keep very strong female positive characters for kids to emulate. Kids get the whole Super Hero thing, but with a wonderful twist of Normal. Kim has Real Teenage Problems: her nemesis on the cheerleading squad, Bonnie, dating, zits, keeping the wardrobe 'perfect', annoying siblings (the Tweebs from hell), peer pressure. She's a strong, intelligent, and pretty female lead, doing damage to the old stereotype that Pretty Equals Dumb. There's a great deal of subtle instruction on keeping your friends close, and being loyal, no matter what. "Doesn't matter where, doesn't matter when, I will be there for you till the very end." She's a positive role model. Kudos.

Her galpal Monique is just as much fun, and provides Kim with some reality checks, while the 'high school evil" Bonnie is so perfectly annoying -- you -know- these characters. After all, you went to school with them too. And then there's Shego (stop drooling, DG), who gives the evil Dr Drakken his own intelligent reality checks. Poor girl, how does she manage to stand being a sidekick to an idiot? With STYLE, baby -- and a whole lot of perfectly timed comedic sarcasm.

And even though Kim's sidekick Ron is a Classic Sidekick with all the foibles you expect, he's her best friend through everything. A healthy example of a male and female being FRIENDS and it working. Sure, Ron's a goofball, but he's a perfectly loveable goofball, and his "pet", a naked mole-rat named Rufus, isn't so much a pet as he is a part of the family. Ron's a nerd, a goof, a geek, and he's proud of it. "Never be normal!"

Yes, all right, it's a cartoon. It's for kids.

But is it?

I love watching this show with my kids. I love watching it without them. It's FUN.

Check the opening credits for "So the Drama". Pure James Bond tribute, and how many kids in 2005 are going to really GET that? Buddy Wade, the kid genius, functions as the show's Q.

Or, there's the 'inside jokes' -- after all, her mother is a brain surgeon and her father a rocket scientist. Yes, anticipate the jokes there, but again, how many kids would get the absolute irony there? 'Golden Years' has a couple of 'Shaft' references. 'Vir-Tu-Ron' tackles Everquest. One episode, Senor Senror Sr. has a running monologue about how the villain is SUPPOSED to expose their evil plot to the hero before leaving them alone with the potential to escape the fate before them ("always leave the room after tying your foe to an overly complicated death machine"). 'The Fearless Ferret' is a tribute to old school Super Heroes, with Adam West doing one of the voices.

And that's another thing. The voice actors. All right, some are Disney staples: Kim is Christy Carlson Romano, Monique is Raven.

But Ron Stoppable? Dude. Will Friedel, aka 'Terry McGinnis', Batman Beyond's new Batman. Patrick Warburton is the voice for the coach. Ricardo Montalban voices a character that gives serious flashbacks to old roles. 'Simpsons' favs Nancy Cartwright (Rufus the naked mole rat) is an every episode regular, and Dan Castellaneta shows up on occasion. Fred Willard, Elliot Gould, George Takei (yes, THAT George), Michael Dorn ("Shall I blow it up for you, sir?"), R. Lee Ermey (yes, THAT R. Lee), Debbie Reynolds .... these are names the PARENTS know.

Fun spoofs abound, from Indiana Jones, to a jab at a Perfect Storm. There's so much to catch that not only do you need to be an adult, but a quick-witted ad sharp adult to not miss some of it. And you do not want to miss it.

Call me, beep me, if you wanna reach me.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

AETNA, acronym for .... ?

I'm trying to figure this one out. Asshats Everyday Throwing Need Aside ... no, that doesn't work, not firm enough. Asshats ... well, no matter what, it involves asshats.

Insurance is the current pain in our ass. No handshake, no reacharound, just the splintered broom stick. You see, when the department was taking bids for new insurance carriers, AETNA in all the wisdom they've shown since, seriously underbid themselves and screwed the pooch. Now we get screwed in return.

They're going to be doubling our rates, providing fewer services, more expensive copays, and a huge-ass deductible. Which means that I won't be able to afford the 400$ a month GENERIC seizure meds I MUST have and can't live without. Yes, that's 400 a month for the GENERIC version, not brand name.

But that's all right, because they don't want to let me have them ANYWAY. Saw the neurologist today, and he changed my prescription. Now insurance, who obviously knows FAR more than any specialist about my condition and how to treat patients, refuses to pay for the new prescription because they don't pay for that sort of dosage.


The pharmacy is helping out, and they're talking to the doc, and trying to get other paperwork handled to get it approved, but we go through this Every Fucking Month for my seizure drugs. I think CVS cringes when we drop prescriptions off, because they just know there's going to be a huge hassle involved to get it filled.

Then there's the fun of gas prices, school clothes for two wildly growing kids, school supplies, band uniforms ....

Neurologist, right. The man thought he had the wrong room. Nope, didn't recognize the New and Improved Diet Version of the Pooka. Now that we've established that although losing all that weight did wonders for SOME of my problems, it hasn't done Jack or Shit for the RSD, it was time to make some changes. My meds are getting increased, though only a small bit. But the new body means it's time for the fun we've all come to know and expect from doctors -- the tests.

Nerve induction next Wednesday. Universal ARGH. I hope to see my regular MD before then to get meds to prepare me for it. See, I don't handle needles well, especially not the kind involved in the necessary nerve induction tests to see just how bad the nerve damage is. And he wants to test ... yes, all four limbs. Which means that I will not only be in massive pain, but black and blue pretty much everywhere at this time next week. Suffering R Us.

In addition, he wants me to see a rheumatologist to get new baselines for connective tissue damage, to try to get a handle on the arthritis now that Vioxx is off the market (and Mobic, while it works, utterly tears my stomach up), and see if there's anything else undiscovered that we can add in so that AETNA begins to automatically decline everything the moment they see my name on the forms. Yay.

The headaches and nausea, well, he's hoping the increase in my dosage will help. IF I get my meds BEFORE next Wednesday, and IF they haven't helped, or if the headaches get worse/continue making me miserable, I get to go back for MRIs again. Which makes sense, as it's been several years now since my last one anyway.

I wonder if I can just blame AETNA for the headaches to begin with.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Waiter, there's Pr0n in my book!

You know, if I want porn, if I want to be stimulated in that way, I'll watch porn, or read erotica intended to be erotica.

Where do I NOT want to find gratuitous and graphic sex? In the middle of: action novels, sci-fi books, historical novels (the current source of my malfunction being Neal Stephenson's "Quicksilver"), or any other book that isn't intended to be SEXY.

It's disconcerting at best to be wading through something filled with detailed explanations of mathematics and alchemy and astronomy, and suddenly stumble into a relatively graphic scene involving someone's hand up another's ass. EXCUSE ME?

I think it's a "suspension of disbelief" thing for me. You're cruising along in your book, secure in how the story is going, your disbelief is appropriately suspended to enjoy the story unfolding before you, only to turn a corner and be smacked upside the head with a force relative to having the Mythbusters team dropping Buster out of an airplane from 2000 feet. Terminal velocity, and it's the sudden STOP at the end of the fall that kills you. WHAM. Suddenly, the spell of the book is broken.

Most of the time, I just roll my eyes and skip through the book until the scene is over and try to ease back into the story. It just didn't happen with Quicksilver. After that point, I had trouble enjoying it. I had trouble reading and paying attention, because little things kept creeping on back and throwing the whole pacing off yet again.

Don't get me wrong. Sex, porn, graphic, what have you, it doesn't bother me for the most part. However, as far as I'm concerned, there's a time and place for it, and if I want graphic sex, I know where to find it. Hell, I probably have over a full gig worth of erotic manga on my computer. But I know where I don't want to be finding it.

Look, authors, it's pretty simple. If you want to write erotica, write erotica. Don't hide it, flaunt it, be proud of it. And for cryin out loud, stop hiding it where I least expect to find that sort of thing. Give me porn, or give me literature. Just stop combining the two already!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Image Stream - Darkling Girls

Kiss in the Dreamhouse
My first and only attempt at pseudo-Royo work. Ow. My hand hurt after this one.

Bottle THIS!


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Zombies, Cabana Boys, and Sex Droids, oh my

TehMadScientist: What form would your heaven take, were you to choose?

Pooka: A big soft comfy squishy bed, lots of very sexy cabana boys all willing and eager to appease my every single whim, utterly pain free Pooka, nice temperate weather, not too hot, not too cold ...
Pooka: And being able to eat anything I want without it making me sick or fat. :D

TehMadScientist: Hmm.. (goes off to ponder how he can fit all of that into a UPS box .... "In pieces!" is heard in the distance)

Pooka: Cabana boys with removable parts. You know, that has a certain allure

TehMadScientist: Oh good. The other prototype I was going to test against were some form of zombie / conjured cabana boy look alike

Pooka: We can do without the zombies, although that would be nice for some target practice. I've got these new rounds for the Beretta that I haven't fired yet, you know

TehMadScientist: Oh? What form? Silver, gold? Osmium? Osmium would be hot against zombies.

Pooka: I don't know, Daddygod won't let me play with them, he just starts mumbling "MY precious" and gets all weird

TehMadScientist: Teflon coated osmium bullets with a suppressor = HAWTNESS. And my super-heavy bullet idea will be employed QUICKLY to get rid of these nasty sex-zombie prototypes. In hindsight, I don't quite get why I made them .. oh well.

Pooka: Well, it was a good idea in theory. I think. Or maybe you were sniffing the Soju a bit too much

TehMadScientist: Oh I see. The sheet with the 'pros' of the idea was on the table. The packing crate with the 'cons' is still downstairs on the forklift, and so I forgot about them. Eh. hindsight.

Pooka: Yeah. I mean, not having to worry about any number of communicative sexual diseases is nice. Unfortunately, the one contagious thing they DO have is sort of fatal.

TehMadScientist: well and the SMELL! I don't know about you, but I actually use my nose during recreational coitus, and the zombie's need something ALOT stronger than a shower to rid themselves of their funk

Pooka: And the tendency for body parts in action to sort of detach unpleasantly

TehMadScientist: bah, Gorilla glue fixed that part in the early trial runs.

Pooka: Yeah, but do you really want to dig it out?

TehMadScientist: the test zombies did have a nasty tendancy to get together, though. Should probably add that to the 'cons'..... here we go, section 5, paragraph 34, section 7, sub section 4: The dangers of decompsited organic material and forign substances

Pooka: Perhaps we just need to stick with willing and living participants for the frolicking cabana boy fest.

TehMadScientist: Microsoft word couldn't spell check the thing for me, it coughs and dies after breaking the 2 GB limit on doc size.

Pooka: Before it turns into the undead cabana boy feast. I mean, being eaten is one thing, but that gives it a really unpleasant little twist

TehMadScientist: Yes, I think so. Well, the sex-droids are behaving themselves well. Their batteries died. TehMadScientist: Want me to send them along? Assembly could be turned into a party game of sorts.

Pooka: Rechargable solar cells. Much better

TehMadScientist: especially the later ones, their bodies are fully modular

Pooka: Mix and match! Yes! Perfect! Upgrade city!

TehMadScientist: that, combined with the extensible learning algorithms I had to include to surmount certain ... difficulties ... make "pin the tail" MUCH more exciting! Is is a man-droid? A fem-bot? Why not both? How many arms does it need? How many do I need it to need? All these questions and more ... so many more ... DAMNED CRITICS! Always asking questions ...

Pooka: Both. Hmm, she-male sex droids. With multiple arms. This has much promise. Perfect partner for the couple that just can't decide what they want their third to be.

TehMadScientist: Yes, well ... Like I said, their batteries died. I'm taking the opportunity to finish some of the bug fixing that is apparently needed... I mean, those trials progressed well through the initial stages before even the slightest hint that something was amiss emerged...

Pooka: I'm tellin ya, rechargeable solar cells, wave of the future, you don't brownout entire cities when you turn the vibrator up to High

TehMadScientist: And it's not so much of a bug, really, just more of a needed feature control of sorts. Perhaps a questionaire built in for use at each start-up

Pooka: Passworded override system, yes? Voice recognition?

TehMadScientist: Erm, more like selectable comfort limits. Perhaps a dual layered system, yellow zone and red zone sensibilities. for those who don't mind certain surprises. Yes, I think I am onto something here!

Pooka: Learning mode to figure out that the red zone isn't off-limits, but needs to be built UP to.

TehMadScientist: OHHHH! Excellent as well! Hmm, a fourth black zone will need to be added

Pooka: I mean, there are certain places you just don't go without at LEAST some sort of warmup drill

TehMadScientist: green, yellow, red, nono's

Pooka: Indeed, absolutely. Cover those Absolutely No Way In Hell EVER bases

TehMadScientist: Commandeering livestock for ... uses ... I think will be hard-coded black. It will also be programmed to ignore the phrase "Think of the children!"
TehMadScientist: *shudders*

Pooka: There is now great fear in my heart. Excuse me while I cower under my desk

TehMadScientist: So lets see...We have the DIY droid toys ... some mandatory attendance plane tickets for some of your choice vic... sla.. erm .. servants? ... that will do ... and catering by Whole Foods grocers? TehMadScientist: I think that should round things out nicely.

Pooka: With Alton Brown to do the cooking

TehMadScientist: One more plane ticket, check. *pondering* Still, I wonder ... nono, it would never work...

Pooka: Never is such a harsh term

TehMadScientist: Well, the third series of prototype was more of a research venue

Pooka: Got to earn that grant money somehow

TehMadScientist: The information is still ... unsatisfactory. My data-mining tools have yet to recover any completely effective demon-summoning rituals, for the particular spectrum of species that I have selected

Pooka: Oh, well, Google.

TehMadScientist: Oh. duh. *runs off*

TehMadScientist: that's just returning erotic fiction to start with. Perhaps I need quotes around my string?

Pooka: That usually helps. You have to be very specific to weed out the trash, although at least now you got your porn

TehMadScientist: fascinating, according to this page I need to get together a more extensive list of reagents than I had first anticipated... ew. Some of them are yucky.

Pooka: Well, demon summoning isn't pretty

TehMadScientist: well that has been the problem. I have summoned MANY test subjects at this point, usually while waiting for the droids to recharge but they have all be very unsatisfactory, usually not even from the right genus, let alone the individual merits of a subject. Most have been entirely incompatible with human anatomy. Like the cactus demon. NOT COMPATIBLE.

Pooka: More research for true names required, perhaps some arcane literature with more information on the species you are attempting to acquire

TehMadScientist: perhaps. I should run off to the local library, they are always advertising how wide the range of books they have is.

Pooka: Just avoid the whole new age bookstore thing, they're useless, really, except in bad movies

TehMadScientist: Oh I know! That whole Blair Witch thing? ugh ... I actually got physically ill during that movie.

Pooka: Never watched it, mercifully

TehMadScientist: And then all the copycats afterwards! Freshman college students thinking they can all be witches now just because they butchered their roommates in a field at night.

Pooka: Though it does do wonders for bringing down the population of idiots. Has to make it easier on dorm housing too

TehMadScientist: Yeah, but I was a glorified janitor through college. Hence, where I found all the parts for the zombies.

Pooka: So what you're saying is they were already partially decomposed when you started. Maybe it would work better with fresher corpses

TehMadScientist: No, it really doesn't. Even if you get to them before the smell, the cold clamminess is still there. And those dumb hand warmer heat packs can only do so much.

Pooka: Right, I suspect the zombies are pretty much a dead end. (snicker)

TehMadScientist: No, I am going to call that line of research terminated.

Pooka: Deceased, even

TehMadScientist: Well, I'll just bury it with the other paperwork I never want to see again.

Pooka: I don't know, subjects like that have a way of returning to life when you least expect it

TehMadScientist: I hate when dead projects get reanimated, it's always embarassing to have to explain away your closet skeletons.

Pooka: .... we are so sick. *laughing*

Image Stream - BTRC

The following illustration images of my work were all used in BTRC gaming modules.

"Do you hear that?"



Critter Patrol

"Mama, Mama, you gotta come look, we've got an armadillo in the yard!"

Thing 1 and I look at each other in disbelief. Yeah, right.

"No, really, Mama, you gotta come see it!"

Sure enough, not only has Thing 2 spotted, but correctly identified an armadillo, having never seen a real one. A big one. A HUGE armadillo, and one that has in the space of about 24 hours, torn up a large portion of our backyard.

Awfully cute, really, for an armadillo, but that destructive little critter has got to go!

Our neighbor said she saw one about 6 months ago, but hasn't had a problem. Her yard looks perfect. Ours looks like a mortar range now. She suggested calling Animal Control to get a trap to remove him to somewhere a little more appropriate. I think we're going to do this. We've got enough erosion problems as it is without this little guy helping the damage along.

Probably could have just picked him up and moved him ourselves if we'd had gloves. He wasn't the slightest bit afraid of us, and I swear to God he SHRUGGED at me. The critter looked up from his hole at us, wrinkled his little face, twitched his ears, SHRUGGED, and went right back to digging.

A day in the life, man.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Image Stream - Deviation:Android

I'm going to start posting a few of these, various pieces of illustration work from the past. Blah blah, Copyright of, etc.

"Work is Hell"

Catch My Fall

Liya by Gaslight, from a slightly gothic cyberpunk tale.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

In Search of the Lost Chord

I'd like to know where the words went. If you find them, please send them home with a nice note pinned to their lapel so that I might properly recognize them. I haven't seen them for so long that they've become strangers to me.

Part of my brain told me very early on that I was going to be a writer. That subversive element was encouraged by a handful of family members, gently molded and warped and coaxed into growth by those that believed in me. It was a thing that wanted to become so very real to me, and I've clutched desperately at clinging tendrils of coherent thought for as long as I can remember.

That part of my brain didn't listen to the other bits that decided to develop a debilitating neurological condition that is slowly eating away at not only my ability to think clearly, but to remember.

The words are nowhere to be found.

Yes, the words filling this post are words, but they aren't The Words, the elusive ones that remind me what it was that I wanted to do with my life. They aren't the words I've been searching for, you don't need to see our identification, move along.

I fear that my condition is growing worse, a stealthy intruder that only steals away the bits and pieces that you think you won't miss until one day you're looking for them, only to realize that they've simply vanished. Teri had a brief bout with my hysterics over it one afternoon when we were discussing the glories of her new DSL, and I suddenly discovered ... that I didn't know anything anymore.

I couldn't tell her what we were using, if it was a switch, or a router. I didn't KNOW anymore. I eventually had to ask DG, King of the Luddites, because I couldn't wrap my brain around simple concepts that I SHOULD have known.

I'm living a Jackie Chan movie, where everything new I attempt to learn and everything old that I struggle to remember is peppered with a loud chiding, "Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?"

No. I don't. And most of the time, I barely understand the words that are coming out of my own.

I'm not a particularly verbal person on an aural level. Conversation has never been particularly comfortable for me unless I'm surrounded by close friends. My stutter was beaten into submission years ago, but still chooses the worst possible times to reappear and torment me. The chemical reactions that link thought to word to speech don't connect properly, there's a short circuit in there that tangles even the clearest of thoughts until they come out jumbled and stammered. It isn't performance anxiety. I could make it through a script and belt out the lines without errors up on the stage. It's simple, normal, conversational speech that trips me up.

From thought to word to fingers, however, has generally remained constant. I type as swiftly as I can think up the words, my brain whipping along at violent speeds without my train of thought suddenly skipping over and taking Greyhound instead.

The words have left me. THE Words. In preparing a journal revue, I was horrified to discover so precious little of true substance to present. I could follow the slow seepage of coherent thought as I went through the years, seeing the words sliding away into some unknown place that I no longer seem to be able to access.

Where do the words go when they're cold? When they're lonely and scared, do they hide beneath the desk as I did when I was a child, with a blanket pinned down by books, reading in the near-dark by flashlight as I tried to ignore my parents screaming over the topic of the evening (usually "Where did we go wrong with that girl?" "It's all YOUR fault, you didn't ....")? Hiding in the sheets among the nest of pillows that only provide comfort and not protection from the harsh voices? Are they timid, like me?

Do they hunt for the sunshine like cats, languishing in puddles of light and waiting for someone to come along and stroke them? Are they out in the garden, drifting between the flowers and leaves and kissing the butterflies that pass them by? Have they sought the candlelight, dancing in the flames?

Where are the words? They're not in bottles of alcohol, or hiding under cigarette butts in the ashtray. They aren't littering the floorboards of the car, or hiding in the dirty dishes crowding the sink. I've looked there, I know.

Yes, these are words. But they are not THE Words.

I am searching for them, while my mind is still able to wrap around them, to caress and know them intimately, while I am still able to reach out and touch them and mold them into the shape that my thoughts desire.

If you find The Words, I beg you: Send them home.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Prevalence of Public Domain Thinking


Seriously. Last few days have been particularly unpleasant on a professional front. Lots of BS going on with several major players pulling copyright infringements, and of course the shit is rolling downhill and burying those that had made purchases. I'm lucky enough to have avoided all the products involved, but it's still making the whole scene really ugly. And like rats deserting a sinking ship, we're losing a lot of really good people that have had enough.

I've finally settled on being utterly disgusted with the whole mess.

If you park your car on a public street, does it become free for others who have not purchased the car to use?

When an artist's image is displayed in a public gallery, is it free for the taking?

So when you post an image/story on a public website, does it then become free for anyone to use?


No. Absolutely, positively Not.

The concepts are very much the same. Being able to view something in a public place does not mean that it has become "Public Domain." It is not "free," and the copyright and ownership belong to the creator, just as the car parked on the street belongs to whoever owns the pink slip for it.

For many internet users, however, the concept is foreign. They feel they have the right to take and use (and in too many cases, claim as their own) a piece that has been publically displayed.

Education of the legalities is a start, but it isn't a catch-all solution.

Time after time, the arguments crop up. Copyright is established the moment any form of intellectual property is created. A determined thief will claim this is incorrect, and unless it is filled with the US Copyright Office, the item is free for the taking -- a misconception that often leads to legal battles.

A signature and copyright line are most often not enough. A thief with graphic tools will merely remove them, and you're back to square one. In this case, your best defense is maintaining working files for proof that the image in question is your own. Posting your images in a public gallery can help, for it gives you a time and date stamp to assist in proof of ownership.

Watermarks are another solution, but as controversial as the entire copyright issue is itself. They deter theft by rendering an image unusable without obvious marks that it belongs to someone else, but they also ruin the image for viewers as well. It takes a lot of effort for a thief to remove one, but is the volume of complaints worth it?

Digital watermarking services such as Digimarc have their own problems. The effort required to remove one from an image is staggeringly simple.

And despite proponents claims, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act is little help. ISPs and web hosts are learning ways around it so that they don't have to defend copyrights. They require that your personal information be added to the forms -- which will then be forwarded to the thief -- without any information on the offender in return. This is how Lycos/Angelfire works, from personal experience with them.

Think about that -- if someone has already stolen your work, do you REALLY want them having your complete home phone number and address?

Community watchdog groups are showing better successes. "Know thy neighbor" has proven invaluable in many cases. Users wander internet galleries, and by knowing their fellow artists, are able to easily recognize works that are being illegally distributed and showcased by others. Unfortunately, all it does is point out the offenders. The copyright holder still has to struggle with the offenders website to get the infringing works removed.

So where is the solution? Obviously, education on copyright myths and law is a start. Awareness of the problem and the determination to make a stand and do something about it will get further than sighing and letting it go. It's not an issue to be taken lightly.

There are no hard solutions, at least for the moment.

If it's not YOURS, don't take it. Didn't your mother teach you better than that?

Potential infringers are being sent the message that as long as they and the store can make a few quick bucks off someone else's work, all they'll get is a little slap on the hand and a red face when they're caught.

What's the current tally on Important People in the texturing zone that have been caught with infringments in the last few months?

What is that telling the community?

Trust? What's that?

I do commercial images on a regular basis. I get paid for this. I can't afford disasters like this, and neither can anyone else that recieves money for their work.

I'm now to the point that I won't use ANYONE's textures for anything. Texture packs that permit commercial works from them have been tossed out of my folders and into personal use only. I won't use anything in products that I didn't take the photograph of myself. I don't care if I was given permission to use them.

Purchasing? Oh, just forget it. I've spent some 80% of my store income right back into the store in the past. I can't remember the last time I bought anything because I can't risk it.

Your average consumer may not be paying attention to what is going on.

But I guarantee that the professionals, and the potential infringers sure as hell are.

The Right Thing needs to be done, and the only way that can happen if there is a consistent policy towards infringement that is KEPT, regardless of who the merchant might be.

I'm not taking sides. I don't know any of these people. I don't care how nice or generally honest and caring they are, or how rude or obnoxious they are, or how long they've been ... (insert any and all "I know this person and..." comments as required).

If you are getting paid for your images, and something within it is an infringement, YOU can be sued for its use. YOU can be held responsible for that inclusion. Your client can be sued. You will no longer get work from that client because they were sued. As the end user, YOU pay the penalties for the infraction of another.

It isn't a matter of how nice someone is, what their personal standing in a community might be. As an end user, if I cannot absolutely verify the origin of something, I cannot allow myself to use it, especially in a commercial venue.

Bottom line: As an artist, and a fellow merchant, I'm concerned as hell about the results.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Image Stream - The Dragons

That's My Tail!

I Don't Get It

Sometimes the Dragon Wins

Go 'way, I'm sleepin!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ruminations of an Insomniac

Stray thoughts ahead. You were warned.

Why is the library or a bookstore so amazingly sexy? What is it about real paper, about the scent of the pages, the sound they make when turned or ruffled, that makes electronic media feel so flat?

I'm a book junkie, I admit it.

I have an intense predilection for hardbacks. They just feel so right, they read more comfortably: after all, you have no risk of bending the covers, they're easier to support during the process of devouring the book. Paperbacks are a weak and poor shadow of the reading pleasure, and yet my budget hardly allows me to buy hardcovers. The library makes a nearly acceptable substitute, and even though I won't own the books that way, there's always the joy of renewing what I've checked out previously.

Chronicles of the Lensmen: E.E."Doc" Smith. For hard sci-fi started in 1948, they still manage to hold my rapt attention, and I can see reflections of it in many more current works.

The bookcase purchased for my birthday is a black leviathan near my bed. A blank slate, shelves awaiting books, and the sides like a 2001 obelisk begging to be painted. Sorcha suggested silver knotwork, and I think it might just be the way I go unless there are other creative suggestions. The unrelieved BLACKNESS of it is so very formal, but it's crying out for More.

Of course, it's hardly a bookcase. That would be a misnomer of grand proportions. What it truly is, or rather has become, is a Dedicated Feline Napping Appliance. I've found cats happily sleeping on three of the deep shelves. I fear the bottom shelf lost forever to the four-legged interlopers.

Candle flames and lava lamps, the light of the laptop monitor, with old old X Files rumbling on the TV in the background as my only light. An oversized feline curled tightly against my leg as I type, purring like a motorboat and gently pawing at my leg for attention, then more insistently until I have to stop typing and adore him before the claws come out in a Demand For Attention NOW.

Rambling onwards. Uh-Oh Oreos. Uh-oh is right, the damned things are temptation enough for me, who isn't supposed to partake of the evils of refined sugar, but denying them is impossible. Damn you, DG. Now bring me more. Or better yet, cinnamon glazed almonds, which I have found a lovely online source for and will be begging to order quite soon, oh yes.

I want to kidnap my Trained Attack Wenches and run away for the weekend. Or a week. Just get away with the girls for a while. It doesn't matter if we do anything, if we just lie around, or if we pile into the car and aim for a random road trip. So what if it's more like "Thelma and Louise" meets "The Blues Brothers." We can do this. We must do this. I need the relief, I need my wenches, I need to get away and escape.

Am I escaping from something in particular, or just from myself? I don't think it matters. I'm pushing 40 with a stick now, I've lost all the horrible weight that dragged me down, and it's time I remembered how to live again.

Spent Saturday with my aunt and uncle. My aunt, sister to the Momster from Hell, and so totally different in every way possible. To know that she also has difficulties with the Momster was quite refreshing and comforting, to discover that I'm not the only one that thinks the woman is not only the poster child for Valium, but a dreadfully neurotic prude "in serious need of a good fuck," end quote. Endless wave pool, skinny dipping with my hippy relatives (who also pointed out the locations of all the N TX nudist colonies) in their indoor endless wave pool, or outdoors in the hot tub. This was the first time in many many years I've been able to spend time with them without the Momster around, and I think we were all a little nervous at first, wondering if we could just relax and be ourselves. It didn't take long to find many mutually compatible areas, and everyone relaxed and enjoyed themselves.

It wasn't a complete escape, but for a while it was another world.

A sound in the background, a guitar singing away, surprisingly melodic, to look up and see little tiny Thing 2 perched in a chair before the Wall of Guitars (including the ones signed by B.B. King and ... was it Eric Clapton, DG?), guitar in her arms. It was my 8 year old playing. DG got a few pics with his camera phone, but the Luddite has yet to figure out how to get them from the phone to anything else so they can be shared. My uncle also sent her home with two new sets of drumsticks. Yes, music runs deep in this family.

Some nights, I don't think there's enough Ambien in the world to still my mind and put me to sleep. I've been out of sleep aids for months, and for a chronic insomniac with 20 + years experience in the utter lack of sleep, I suppose it isn't so bad to go back to the dramatic cycles of sleeplessness, but damn what I wouldn't give for a night or two of perfectly normal sleep patterns. Such is my life, which at least I'm not sleeping through.

Found a vanilla scented candle that isn't disgusting. I didn't think they existed, and fake vanilla smells make me gag, all plasticy and unnatural. This is rather mellow with a whisper of cigar store vanilla pipe tobacco smoothness, instead of sharp and biting, and is missing the cloying sweetness of other vanilla attempts. I suppose I'm as pleased as I can be, but of course they were on dramatic clearance and will probably be impossible to find after this.

Damn Illuminations anyway. First they go and candle the Sacred Spaces candles that I utterly adored, then they discontinued my Tomato Vine candles, and now they've bloody well gone too far by pulling Every Single Illuminations Store out of the state of TX. You people are FIRED! The young Empress to Be is as displeased as her Mama. Bastards.

Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi is my friend, but the evil Pepsi company that does not provide said cold tasty beverage in a convenient 6 pack of BOTTLES instead of cans needs to be soundly thrashed. I don't do cans. I can TASTE the metal, and it's foul. And then there's the nose thing, which provides friends and family alike with a great deal of entertainment as Pooka comes away with a bruised schnoze because the Irish nose just isn't designed to be slugging any beverage out of a can.

You can all stop laughing now, thank you. I have stale pistachios, and I'm not afraid to use them.

Yep, I've got the 3 am blues.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Senile much?

You know you're getting old when ...

... you look at the date and go HUH, what? That can't be!

Only to discover, yes, the date is correct. Why is this relevant?

My birthday is tomorrow, and I totally had no frellin clue whatsoever.



Or maybe its just the fact that I haven't been to bed yet, even though my body passed out about 5 hours ago without the rest of me and my brain just refuses to shut down and accept that sleep is a relatively normal and necessary function of life unless you're a mutant freak with chronic insomnia like me, thus rendering the entire point moot.

Ooo, shiny!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Guilty Pleasures

I have a confession to make: I really adore David and Leigh Eddings. I know a lot can be a bit trite and formulaic, but their writing is charming and easy to read entertainment while still making the old brain cells work. But still, the Belgariad and Mallorean were fun reads, and then I discovered the Elenium and the Tamuli, and life was good (though the Belgariad and Mallorean were definitely more 'solid' reads, and there was a bit too much of the Deus Ex Machina in Elenium and Tamuli for my tastes. Mary Sues, anyone?)

I've just been charmed all over again.

Picked up The Redemption of Althalus at the library. I'm probably enjoying it far too much.

Well, come on, I needed something new to occupy my brain cells for a little while, especially a bit of fluff, after reading Stephen King's Dark Tower series. I was absolutely thrilled with it, and King hasn't held my attention that well since The Stand.

(Note: Anyone wanting to make a Pooka really really happy, her birthday is coming up fast and her "now pushing 40 with a stick" self would -really- like to own a copy of the entire Dark Tower series.)

Also in the Excellent Reads category: John Shirley's Eclipse "A Song Called Youth" series. Dark gritty cyberpunk with some post (and mid) apocalyptic flares.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Random Babble-0-tron

Thing 2 survived her tonsilectomy, the surgeon removing "extremely inflamed and enlarged tonsils", plus her adenoids. Her voice has changed, deeper, it's cute. Surprised at just how well this kid is doing. She was talking the same day, with only a little scratchiness. Next day she was playing as hard as ever. Only had to take the prescription pain meds three times, and only once was a crying session for pain. She's been sticking with regular ole kids Motrin since then, and doesn't need it often at all. Either she's amazingly resilient beyond what we already knew, or the procedure has come DAMN far in the last few years.

Finally saw "Batman Begins". There is approval, even if I missed half the movie because of Thing 2 babbling at me and squirming around. She loses points, she was bored. Oddly enough, I'm still unsure about Bale in the cowl, though he pulled all of it off well. A few minor "Huh?" episodes, but pleased for the most part. The script was highly refreshing after Revenge of the Sith, lemme tell ya, caught the appropriate dark humour of the comic well. No overdone CGI, the acting was solid enough, no camp, no Bat-nipples.

I'd been looking forward to "Land of the Dead," but now I'm unsure if it's going to be worth it. REALLY looking forward to "Undead" hitting the country, though. That has some serious promise. Read up on that one, and I wish it would hurry and hit the states. Grr.

Preview for "Sky High" looked utterly hysterical. Live action version of "The Incredibles", mixed with "PS 238." Probably going to have to see "Fantastic Four" as well, despite misgivings on that one.

Blackberry season is over, with two baggies full in the fridge awaiting a cobbler. Next year's harvest should be amazing. Black-eyed susans growing randomly wild in the yard are doing quite well. Bloody HOT, and the water situation is critical. August is going to be Hell at this rate.

Amusement -- hearing Thing 1 plunking out Rossini's "Overture from The Barber of Seville" on the keyboard earlier.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Stealing Back Tomorrow

Or stealing them back, anyway.

Ten years. A lot can happen in that time. Lots of close calls, not just the "almost" meetings that never happened, but life-threatening incidents that nearly took the tomorrows away. And I'm so very tired of losing chances and kissing tomorrows goodbye.

Ten years. That's how long he and I have been playing together, writing together, working together. It's how long we've been friends, and yet, we'd never met face to face.

Today, I stole one of those tomorrows back.

Pooka and the landshark, in the same place, at the same time. My partner at Deviation: Android, the brain behind Dax Knight, and Alex the Hunter, and Tarin. My partner in crime, the inspiration behind half the images I've created.

Surreal, how the moment drifts away already. Surreal while we were there, how perfectly normal it seemed. Ten years is a long time to get to know someone, and despite it being the first physical meeting, it was ... familiar, and thus quite surreal. Quite a few moments where neither of us had to say anything while Thing 2 and DG were going off on each other, just a Look that said everything. "You SEE what I have to live with?" Easy. Surreal.

Of course, surreal is also realizing just how tall 6'7" really is. I felt like a tiny little china doll sitting beside him. His hands are easily twice the size of mine if not more.

This time, I didn't lose "Tomorrow". I made it a Today instead.

Here's to another ten years, partner.

No dying, m'kay?

Sunday, June 19, 2005


It's a human conceit, I guess, to go through life as if we have all the time in the world. "I'll do it tomorrow, we can do that next week, we'll always get another chance."

The thing is, tomorrow doesn't always come. Sometimes, that one chance is the only one we ever get. And all too often, we let tomorrows slip away from us, only to discover that we wake up one morning, and it's too late.

That's how I woke up today. With a phone call, telling me that time had escaped, tomorrow is gone, the chance is lost. That I had lost another friend. Sonya is gone.

Oh, Sonya. I remember us being pregnant together, sharing stories. Remember how Coryisms and Rabbit Tracks walked hand in hand for a while as our girls grew up. We were talking all the time when you were pregnant with Lukey. I remember sending you out of work and to sleep a few times during it when you were stressing and needed to walk away, me the eternal big sister. The absolute joy when we started playing with paint programs, and you discovered your penguins.

I still have the cyberpunk penguin icon you made for me. It's going into a permanent place in my list.

We always talked about tomorrow, or next week, or next month. Finally sitting together on the porch, the kids playing in the backyard. We were so -close-, so nearby, and yet that distance got in the way so many times, and we let it happen, because everyone has more tomorrows, right?


I want my tomorrows back. I want to do them over again, I want to push and us be able to do what now we never can. It's selfish, and I know it. I WANT TO BE ABLE TO SAY GOODBYE, DAMMIT!

I'm sorry for not being better, for not trying harder, for not making that physical meeting we always talked about happen.

Cory, Lukey ... your Mama was very special. She was a wonderful, intelligent, bubbly woman that I utterly adored. She could make anyone smile, even if they didn't feel like smiling. She wrote about you two all the time, you were her absolute pride and joy.

The words are gone now, numb is starting to sink in.

I just wish numb could banish the ache.

I miss you, Sonya.

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Good, The Bad, The Weird

Okay, mostly just the Weird.

  • Having your own child look at you and shriek: "Mama, where did you GO?" or even more Weird, "Mama, um, you're HOT!"

  • Your husband reaches out for your leg, and in your new skinny jeans, has to pat a bit before finding you inside them, inspiring another "Where did you go?"

  • Putting on a ring that has been too small for years, only to have it fall off your finger. And then the next finger. And then the next.

  • Ditto for shoes that were too snug that will now no longer remain on your feet.

  • Trying on clothes that turn out to be comfortable, and not having a repeat of XXXs across the size tag.

  • Realizing that not only are the XXXs all missing, but there's an M there instead.

  • Your own doctor double-takes -- repeatedly -- before even coming close to recognize you.

  • Same for friends. And family.

  • .... yet you are recognized immediately by a Switch you haven't seen in months, who squeals like a schoolgirl that you've melted away. And then calls you a skinny bitch.

  • ... being called a skinny bitch. O.o (Score!)

  • Bending over to do gardening, having trouble standing up, and realizing you no longer have an ass for ballast against your chest. Gravity works.

  • Having to learn how to sit down all over again. Pooka has a bony ass. Sitting down incorrectly -hurts-. (stop laughing, damn you, or I'll flop down in your lap and impale your thighs with my bony ass)

  • Walking into an auditorium and realizing that except for the soccer moms that look like Kitiara and Evelynne, you're not only normal, but on the thin side of normal.

  • Picking up a pair of jeans, and gaping in wonder that you can fit into something that looks that small, instead of gaping that "Oh my God, is my ass REALLY that big?"

  • Looking at your reflection and realizing there's no longer any disgust at it. Then being able to grin. A lot.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Green thumb?

Hoo boy. The green thumb is waking up.

Got dragged out into the garden the other day to "supervise." Yeah, THAT didn't last long.

Already got gardening hands -- dirt under the nails, a few cuts and thorns. Yes, I know, Cairyn, I forgot to put my damn gloves on first, I know, I know.

My cannas all survived, even the one in the monster pot. I was thrilled to see all the new sprouts. Got rid of most of the dead canna growth from last year and cleaned those out. The chocolate mint in the canna pot survived. Maybe those cannas will bloom this year and I can figure out what they are. The growth is the deep burgandy leaves, striped with green and bronze, and with the bright bright green mint, it's just a lovely combination.

Spearmint was wilting off badly, got watered.

HOLY CRAP, I have strawberries! Fresh strawberries! Yum. I desperately need to weed the strawberry bed. Have strawberry babies growing in my canna bed, ack! Yes, the unknown cannas that were supposed to be Mme Butterfly survived, as well as all the cannas along the lower fence. Joy!

My blackberry plant, my single blackberry from last year is now, um, well, two or three plants. And COVERED WITH BLACKBERRIES! Time to get the mesh, I am NOT losing all these to the birds. I mean berries EVERYWHERE!

Blueberry survived and is blooming.

My butterfly bush has already tripled in size, and though there are no blooms yet, it's doing a lovely job covering that end of the flowerbed.

The star jasmine that I thought I lost has new leaves and is happily growing. Yay!

Lots of rosebuds already on the two bushes. Mmm. Lots of rosebuds starting to form in the front yard. The wisteria I planted has finally gotten some real size and has grown up the arbor like it was intended. I SO hope it blooms this year, that will be absolutely lovely.

Now I just need to get my butt in gear, get outside, get all the old dead stuff out of the pots and start seedlings. Managed to save enough of my chiles for seeds, so I should have more pepper plants -- yay!



Yes, it has begun.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Not dead yet

Hmm. An update thing.

Down to a size 12 now and shrinking. No idea how much I weigh, or how much I've lost. 28 to 12. Yeah.

Of course, there's a problem. Now you can see the damage done to me. You can see where the muscle has wasted away, where it's atrophied. I don't look thin, just frail.

Arthritis has been really bad. Flares have been bad. Stooopids have been bad. Had another seizure a while back, a really strange one, not like the others. Did -not- like the lingering after effects at all.

No gardening so far, and it's getting late to start. Been hurting too bad to even think about dragging myself out to do it.

Kids having growth spurts. Kids giving us more grey hairs.

Um. Not dead ... yet.