Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Kim Jung Un on Ski Lift


















I know there's a story that goes along with this picture HERE, but I find the picture amusing. Knowing how much North Korean leaders have to posture and photoshop their way to seeking respect, then to release a ridiculous photo of being VERY SERIOUS while riding a ski lift - a ski lift which none of the population has probably ever used.

Let Them In, But Go Easy on the Tour

An unexpected wrinkle has appeared in my plans to open up my romantic thoughts and dreams to other people. Over the past few years, I've told more and more people about the various ups and downs in my love life. It's still a small company, and it's still not a whole lot of information, but the fact that I actively seek out situations is astounding. I mean, do you believe that I once responded positively to someone who sent me a message that said, "Do you want to vent?"

I can still barely believe it myself.

It's deepened friendships and brought me a lot of pleasure that I have friends who are interested enough in me to listen to me blather on, and who are supportive enough to give me words of encouragement when things aren't going well.

And let's be honest: things don't ever really go well. That sort of leads me to that wrinkle I mentioned at the start.

The problem with sharing details about my life is that I then have the unfortunate task of keeping other people in the loop.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What the duck?

The only dynasty of ducks I know anything about.
Oh, for the love of marzipan: this beard-guy fuss is NOT a free speech issue. It would be if he had been arrested for saying these things. Or if Congress had passed a law saying that he couldn't say those things.

If I am the CEO of a left-handed scissor company and I say, "Left-handed people are the scum of God's shoes and should be run out of town on a rail and forced to clean aquariums for all time," the government has no right (under the 1st Amendment) to abridge my speech. The government cannot make me stop talking or punish me with imprisonment or threaten financial hardship if they don't like what I'm saying.

However! The *company* has every right to can my ass for damaging the product, if my remarks are perceived to harm the bottom line - even if a bunch of people then stand up to support me and say, "Damn right! Those lefties are the devil's asparagus and not fit for humanity! Our religion allows us to hate them, even as we stress that our God loves them!"

I can also seek employment at the competing local right-handed scissor factory and continue to rant against the sinister heathens, selling millions more if the glorious right-handed master race decides to support me and my new company.

These are all of the things I can do.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"And I am not afraid of snakes."

You make a good point, Insanity Wolf.
--from "Adam and Eve," written and performed by Ani Difranco on Dilate (1996)

Life is not fair. Parents and grandparents repeat this old saw whenever we stub a toe or complain about taking out the garbage. Every third commercial reminds us of this, while selling us insurance. Every viewing of "The Princess Bride" hammers the quotation home.

I've been told this my entire life. I get it, at a cellular level. Despite filling young people's heads with stories about retribution and ends justifying means (also known as fairy tales), the world observes no such narrative conventions. That shallow woman who treats everyone poorly and doesn't seem to have any common sense? She's got a cosmetics contract and her own TV show. The priest who never abused children and runs a soup kitchen on his own time? There's a reporter combing through his back records looking for scandal and paying people if he can't find anything. Even Jesus of Nazareth, who was big on providing loaves and Omega-3 fatty acids to the multitudes and tried really hard to make people nice to each other, has people debating whether or not he was "white." [As an aside, Jesus was a Mediterranean Jew. He wasn't from Norway.]

My point is that I have been raised in a time and culture that teaches me to temper my expectations. The good guy does not always win. A white hat does not signify what it did for kids two generations ago. I have learned to be cynical and wary.

And yet...

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

"...for the rest of your life."

I'm writing this on my phone, from the waiting room of my local Walgreens pharmacy. Any irregularities can therefore be attributed to this.

I just left my physical follow-up appointment at my doctor. Last week before I left town, I had blood specimens taken. Today I went back in to hear the analysis and professional opinions of my doctor.

He said the things I'm used to. I've lost some weight, but I should lose more and exercise. I'm making my progress on that, considering how much my belts complain that I'm using tighter notches.

Once again, I have a multi-page summary of what my blood and urine betray about my general health. Once again, almost everything is within the normal limits. My HDL cholesterol is very close to being in the normal range, so my sporadic use of fish oil tablets ("now with less fishy burp!") is fine.

The big concern is my levels of vitamin D. It was low last year, and it's lower this year, even after a mid-year course of supplements that raised the level. And as my doctor prescribed the tablets again, he said words that shocked me into nervousness. 

"You'll have to take vitamin D for the rest of your life."

Granted, the part that concerned me was the "rest of your life part." The circumstances that have him talking about vitamin D sort of... mitigate a lot of that anxiety. But a doctor saying that anything needs to be done forever (or as good as forever, from my perspective) is always a bit alarming. Probably because it reminds me that there will be an end to my life at some point. And that the end may very will be hastened if I don't take the little green pills.

So I pick up my super D pills. I take one every week, and it's good for 50,000 units of D-ness. Symptoms of low vitamin D include susceptibility to viral attacks and weakened bone structure, so it's not like I'm going to grow an inch or change color. The positive benefits of this will be that I continue on feeling like I do right now. That's always a bit of a hard sell for any kind of prescriptive drug, but I just need to let the logic and the numbers wash over me.

But it is the first one of a parade of things that I'll do until the day I die.

(Unless I forget. Because vitamin D isn't so dire that I need to take it every week. Yay!)