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At the emergency vet

I'm at the VCA emergency veterinary hospital in Mission Valley. Sammie is not doing very well. She was vomiting about once every hour this evening, was extremely listless, and her blood glucose level was sky high. I gave her her insulin and watched her for a while, but she didn't seem to get any better, so I decided to bring her here.

I spoke with the doctor on call about a half hour ago, and he wants to keep her here overnight for observation. I'm waiting for them to do some tests and so they can decide on a course of treatment and give me an estimate.

I have a bad feeling, though...

Awesome Dream Channel

I had one of the most kick-ass dreams in recent memory last night. This might take a while to transcribe, so bear with me.

Unlike a lot of my dreams I wasn't a participant, but just an observer, like I was watching a movie. The setting was a fantasy world something like a cross between that of The Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age. I was following a group of vampires led by a woman, and they were definitely the villains of the story. My memory of the dream picks up at a point where this woman is experiencing a vision of her victory.

In her vision, she is on a grand throne in "Heaven", surrounded by ... nothing. There's just a vast emptiness. As my view pans around, I see that she's actually in what's called "The Fade" in the Dragon Age setting, a dream land where spirits and demons live and where the fabled Black City (supposedly once the Golden City and the Holy Seat of the Maker himself before it was corrupted by the touch of humankind's hubris) can always be seen in the distance, but can never be reached. Her throne is surrounded by the ruins of everything she's tried to create, shadows of the empire she's envisioned. And she understands (because she's saying it out loud--I don't see into her thoughts or experience her feelings or anything) that no matter if she wins or loses, this will be her fate.

At that point, she looks up at the Black City and hurls invective at the Maker for so cursing her. But I notice, as does she, that beyond the Black City is a light. And that light is a sun (and anyone who plays Dragon Age games knows that the sun doesn't appear in the Fade). And that sun ... is the Maker himself, looking upon the vampire in her throne.

A doorway floats between the sun and the throne, and the doorway is a lens, and suddenly the sun is a thousand times brighter. Any flesh and blood creature would be reduced to ash by that much light, let alone a vampire, but the light doesn't burn her. Instead a voice comes from it, warm and compassionate. I can't clearly remember the words (it's been over an hour at this point since I got up), but the gist of the exchange was this:

MAKER: Child, this is not a punishment. This is a redemption. A cleansing.

VAMPIRE: But I've lost everything!

MAKER: Except what is most precious. Your soul. The vampires say "The blood is the life." They are wrong. It is the breath. And it is my breath that will purify you and give you back that which you have lost.

VAMPIRE: Who are you?

And there was a terrible, ferocious, roaring wind as if the entire universe were inhaling. And upon the exhale, the Maker said:

Don't click this until you've read everything elseCollapse )

Undercaffeinated zombies

Yesterday, both my brother and I got up early to make the trip up to L.A. to see our dad for both Thanksgiving and his 80th birthday. I was staggering out of my room just as he was pouring a cup of coffee for himself.

ME: Urgghhh...
HIM: Zombie?!?
ME: (thinking fast) GRROOUUUUUNNDDDSS!

My common sense is tingling...

As I was driving to work this morning, I saw a car with the following vanity license plate:


I'm not entirely sure, but I have a strong hunch that this person is a geologist. What do you think?

Listen close to everybody's heart

I was in a very bad place when I woke up today. The Doctor Horrible parts of "My Eyes" from Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog were running through my head, except I'd changed the Penny-specific lines to: "They say it's just our stupid luck/But no one seems to give a fuck/That soon the dark in us is all that will remain."

And then I read this post from Ursula Vernon about a frequent commenter of hers having committed suicide on Wednesday, apparently because she was going to lose her health insurance.

That's when I realized that giving up isn't an option.

See, Doctor Horrible gave up. Or, rather, he gave in. Penny was close to turning him into a good guy. But as soon as he hit a setback—and it was a major setback, that's for sure—he went full evil. He gave up on the path that would very likely have eventually won Penny's heart, and he gave in to his basest, vilest instincts.

And he destroyed his world.

The first half of the chorus of "My Eyes" is absolutely correct:

Listen close to everybody's heart
Hear that breaking sound
Hopes and dreams are shattering apart
And crashing to the ground

But the next lines, where Doctor Horrible declares that "evil inside of me is on the rise", are absolutely the wrong thing to do. For all of us. Yes, we need to listen. We need to hear how people are heartbroken, how their dreams are shattered, and how they're frightened and hopeless. Perhaps more importantly, we need to understand and acknowledge these things about ourselves.

And then we need to help each other.

Yes, many people are probably going to lose their health insurance. But ... that probably won't happen right away. Bureaucracy is slow, and for once it's slow in our favor. So there's time to make other plans, take other actions, and do what we can to weave a net to catch some of the people who might otherwise fall through. I'm fortunate enough to live in California, one of the most liberal states in the U.S., and I have a strong feeling that the CA state government will enact something to cushion the blow that any action taken against the ACA would otherwise cause. The same probably goes for New York, Oregon, and Washington. Massachusetts already had a plan in place before the ACA took effect, so people there are probably going to be okay. Not certainly, however, so don't let your guard down, MA people.

Those living in other states (including Denial, Confusion, Dissociation, and Abject Terror ... oh, and Texas) may have a harder time of it, so we'll all have to work extra hard to help those people. And by "help", I don't necessarily mean money, or volunteering, or even writing to Congresscritters—although, of course, all of those things will help should you wish to do them. I mean being there for our friends, listening to them when they hurt, commiserating with them, letting them know that we are here.

For those of us, like me, who are straight, white, cis-gendered, fully-abled, relatively healthy men ... our duties and burdens are even bigger, because although it may not feel like it right now, we play the game of life on the "Easy" setting. When we walk down the street, no one hides their wallets or surreptitiously crosses to the other side to avoid us. When we walk past large groups of women, we don't feel ice-cold terror at the idea of being surrounded and physically overpowered. When we hold hands with our loved ones, we don't run the risk of someone shooting us in the head from their car. When we apply for jobs, we aren't given bullshit reason after bullshit reason for being turned down when we know full well that the company just doesn't want the hassle of accommodating someone "different." The police give us the benefit of the doubt, usually. When we tell someone our profession, we usually aren't greeted with stark disbelief at the idea that someone "like us" could be a doctor/physicist/astronaut/accountant/professor/inventor/author/Master Sifu of Shaolin Five Animal Kung Fu/etc. (Okay, maybe we'd get some funny looks for that last one...)

THEREFORE, when we see any of these things happening to our fellow human beings who are non-white, non-straight, female, transgendered, androgyne, disabled, afflicted with chronic conditions, or any combination or permutation of the above, we need to do something! We don't need to be paladins about it, but people need to know that we have their back. And the perpetrators of whatever awful behavior we witness need to know that their behavior isn't acceptable. Even if those perpetrators are the police or some other authority. I'm not telling anyone to get themselves arrested, just to do what you feel is right to defend and assist the disadvantaged.

This turned into a much longer post than I intended it to, and I'm sorry if it's rambling. But I needed to write this. And I need to do this. And I hope that you'll do this, too. Don't overtax yourself, don't take on more than you feel you can realistically handle, but try to do something. One drop of water won't douse a forest fire ... but a few million of them can.


After Tuesday, even the calendar said "WTF"...


Fionn mac Cumhail

It is said of the great hero Fionn mac Cumhail that if a single day should pass without his name being spoken, the world will come to an end.

It's pronounced "Fin mack Cool."

Say it. Please.

Green no more

I just learned that Jill Stein, Green party candidate for President, and her running mate Ajamu Baraka are endorsing Trump over Clinton.

What. The. Ever. Loving. FUCK?!?

I did some more digging on this, and as it turns out the Greens have been spoiling for Republicans for years. Why? To put it in the words of this article from Patheos, "in order to heighten public anger and desire for revolt."

In other words, to make things really, really bad and then position themselves as the saviors.

That's not just devious. That's supervillainy.

Bloomberg News headline could depress the vote

Dude, I'm always depressed when I vote...

A few recently-watched TV shows

I've been catching up on some TV shows lately. Here are my opinions of them, in no particular order:

Marvel's Luke Cage, Season 1 (Netflix): Rating: ✭✭✭✭✩ — There's a lot of opinion about this show being slung back and forth on the internet right now, and I don't want to add to any of the ill-feeling going around. I'll just say that I loved this show . . . except for the main villain, Diamondback, whom I thought was just fucking ridiculous. I seriously could not help rolling my eyes every single time he was on screen. It's like they were trying to make him the Joker, just without the clown makeup.

All of the other characters in the show, even the villains, are awesome! All are well-rounded characters with complex motivations. All have sympathetic qualities (no matter how vile they are) and serious flaws (no matter how virtuous they are). Each of the heroes has strong convictions, and there are times when you think one or more of them might start doing the wrong thing for the right reason. And each of the villains has at least one moment where you think, hey, maybe this guy/gal isn't so bad after all.

Except Diamondback. He's just a caricature of the bat-shit insane villain all the way through, and that really diminishes the show in my opinion. I hope they don't bring him back in season 2.

The Flash, Season 2 (CW): Rating ✭✭✩✩✩ — The sweetie and I were watching this as it came out via iTunes for a while, but we only got up to Episode 9 (the Christmas episode, with the Trickster guest-starring for the second time) before she said, "This is getting too silly. I'm done." It was getting pretty silly for me, too, so I just waited for it to become available on Netflix's streaming service. Then I binge-watched the rest of the season.

My review in a nutshell: Enh.

I mean, it's fun, yeah. But it's also just . . . really, really stupid in places. And the major storytelling device seems to be "stretch out the pathos for as long as we can so we can avoid resolving anything and keep viewers watching." I mean, I understand that some tension drives the show, but if you can't keep it going organically, it's just bloody obvious when you try to extend it artificially.

Season 3 just started on CW, but I have no desire to continue watching.

Preacher, Season 1 (AMC): Rating ✭✭✭✭✭ — Wow. Seriously, just wow! I'm on tenterhooks waiting for season 2. This show is truly amazing. No, it's not the same story as the comic book, aside from the very basic overall premise and the fact that it starts in Annville, Texas. But it is just as compelling, maybe even more so. All of the characters from the comic are there, but all of them are different—some only slightly, some more so. However, all of them are recognizably the same people. Jesse Custer is Jesse Custer. Maybe not as badass as in the comic, but still Jesse Custer. Tulip O'Hare is also still Tulip O'Hare . . . and if it's possible she's even more badass than in the comic!

But my favorite is Cassidy. I mean, Cassidy was bloody awesome in the comic, but he's super bloody awesome in this show. More complex, more badass, more likable, but also more despicable in some ways . . . and somehow that just makes him all the more compelling.

According to AMC, season 2 starts in March of 2017. Those five months can't go by fast enough.

Supergirl, Season 1 (CW): Rating ✭✩✩✩✩ — I hear that season 2, with the debut of Superman as an on-screen presence, gets better. It has to, because it can't get any worse. I watched the first episode when it first became available on Netflix, and I could barely get to the end of the thing. It was truly awful. Then I heard about season 2 and Superman and watched the 3-minute preview clip (which was quite good), so I thought I'd give season 1 a second chance. But no, episode 2 was just as bad.

Maybe I'll just skip over season 1 entirely and start watching with season 2 . . . but only if the rest of the episode is as good as the 3-minute preview clip. Otherwise, forget it.


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