Reasons to like a song

My dad clipped out this article on the woman from “My Sharona” (who is indeed named Sharona) & mailed it to me. It’s been a while since my parents sent me newspaper clippings. It felt nice… Anyway he sent it because i liked that song and used to play the album, which was possibly the first album I bought with my own money, in 1980 (either that or the Freedom of Choice Devo album – I can’t remember).

I also named one of my Breyer model horses “Sharona”. It was a very beautiful one!

Here is the secret, which my dad may or may not know, as to why I liked the song. It was because my cat was named Motor and I could sing the line “Oooh you make my Motor run, my Motor run” and think of my adorable cat, who was named Motor because we lived in Detroit, my dad worked for Ford, and obviously because of loud purring (from reading the book The House of Thirty Cats, I took cat naming very very seriously. You have to name the cat something appropriate to its particular personality.)

I like the song M-bike by PJ Harvey for the exact same reason! Good chorus: “MOTOR! MOTOR!! MOTOR!!!”

I guess the new “sending clippings to your grown kids” is just sending tumblr memes over whatsapp since that what I do to mine.

Extra sizzled smell

It took most of the day but I successfully got across town and got this wart thingie removed from the edge of my eyelid. I had two injections in the eyelid to numb it (novocaine eyesocket!) and they did a lot of other confusing and scary stuff and then neatly, quickly, cut out the wart. The tiniest little weird shaped forceps! Then it was cauterized. And swiped with mysterious substances.

All the way home on the bus I could smell it, too — like singed hair and extra crispy bacon.

I was trying to think what it reminded me of because I was having a vague proustian memory feeling and then realized it was when I got that brand on my arm, but also the time that I first lit a gas oven when i was 17 and burned my own eyebrows and bangs off, and then wayyy back to where I got on my friend pam’s older brother’s motorbike and burned the fuck out of my calf on one of the tailpipes (I still have just a trace of the scar).

While the surgeon was doing his thing I began to babble from nervousness and to get my mind off of creepy steel instruments coming towards my eye. I asked him about his practice (out of UCSF where he does reconstructive eye-related surgery) and then was like “Oh you know I read an interesting book about the clinic in World War I run by the guy who basically invented plastic surgery, Gillies, by this guy who was a pilot and had his eyelids burned off.” Somewhat taken aback the doc said, Yes, he knows about Gillies! and there is a procedure still named after him. This was ridiculous, but I couldn’t help it – it just popped into my head and it really does help me stay calm to get an interesting conversation going. In retrospect as I look at the Wikipedia entry I think I am actually mixing up at least 2 different books, one about Gillies’s clinic and one the memoir of the RAF pilot much later about the Guinea Pig Club, called The Last Enemy.

It took a ridiculous amount of time to get to the clinic and back (note to self, next time, take the 24 and just scoot half a mile, because, the J is a PITA and the 22 is possibly the worst slowety-ass bullshit bus, somehow) and I also had to wait very long times in between mysterious Things happening in the eye surgeon waiting rooms.

Eye surgeon waiting room was very full of older people hobbling painfully or with walkers or being pushed in those hellish “transport chairs” that give you no autonomy (and parked by their relatives/caregivers in humiliating places) Anyway older people with not very good mobility looking me up and down having some thoughts. Like planning to chairjack me I’m sure! You… yes you… you too could have this freedom…. take the wheels! *puts on mirror shades, fake-smokes a long candy cigarette* Don’cha wish your walker was hott like me, doncha wish your crutches were wheels right nowwwwww, doncha… I wish I could pep talk and liberate them all. Lovingly….

I worked a little when i got home but my eyeball feels weird. My eyes both keep watering and my eyelid on the formerly-warty side feels swollen and unpleasant.

So glad I got this over with! I’ve been putting it off for 2 years. Next up, a painful wart on my finger and then the dentist (way worse than eyeballs – dental phobia – I am going to try a new super nice sounding dentist who specially focuses on disabled/ phobic people hoping that I won’t throw up and cry when they even do the xrays and also I don’t want to be molested by any more creepy dentists and it’s an all women office, whew…)

Another pleasant day

No earthshattering thoughts here. I’m up to 1917 in the Morland Dynasty books, I did a ridiculous amount of bug triage, then took a friend to late lunch and got my toenails painted (copper colored with black and gold flowers on the big toes). Also worked on the sidewalk tree garden but not too hard – I did half of it and left the other half for tomorrow.

Early to bed with my book – that’s the plan – I feel a little boring today! But nice!

A warm woolly bed

Dashboard the Cat likes her new warm, woolly, felted bed that looks like a rock. She hasn’t much taken to cat beds in the past but she seems to like this one! It’s so cute!

Cat in a felted bed

I’m tired from a very long work day, so that’s all! I didn’t even leave the house today, omg. At beta 7 of…. 13 I think, plus another release candidate or two in the last week. The pace is starting to feel hectic.

Starting to think about WisCon43!

I just booked our tickets to WisCon and am feeling excited about going! I haven’t been since 2014.

Next Monday is the deadline to suggest panel or talk ideas. If you think of a panel you’d like me to be on, feel free to suggest me (or talk with me about it).

It’s going to be fun to get to explore Madison a little bit in my powerchair – I’m hoping it will really free me up to roam around!

Not that it is easy to leave the hotel. It’s weirdly utopian. I’ll see so many people I absolutely adore!!!

The Emperor and The Victory

Still plowing relentlessly through the Morland Dynasty books. I am up to a quite exciting bit of the Napoleonic wars. The books have unexpectedly morphed from mostly Yorkshire drama to naval life and battles, including the Glorious First of June, the Battle of the Nile, and Trafalgar. Including something of the lives of women on board the ships.

I think that will continue for another couple of books, so if you like this sort of book (Master and Commander, Hornblower, etc) and the Regency and so on, you might want to start at book 10 and go till book 14! You won’t get some of the references to earlier family history but that doesn’t matter much – the books stand on their own.

They’ve well written & with tons of solid historical background – I recommend them!

Going off sleeping pills

I’ve dealt with insomnia ever since I can remember and it changed my life for the better to go on sleeping pills, helping me feel secure that I would sleep and helping me have structure in my life, be healthier, get to work on time, and so on. It’s hard to describe the desperation of not being able to sleep and the way the night goes and how I’d then sometimes fall asleep just as the sky turned grey and the birds started up.

Given the current research into the down sides of hypnotics I’m going off them as best I can. It sounds like your risks go down substantially when you stop. I went to a 3/4 dose, then a half, then a quarter and now had 2 nights of ok sleep with zero and with no rebound effect. I have been scared of the rebound thing (where you just can’t sleep for a couple of nights at all) because it would be physically painful and put me at some risk for a general flare up of problems. But, all was well, tapering worked, and I’m feeling positive. I’m hoping that my life is stable and settled enough that maybe I won’t have this problem so much, also, since I have slowed down my pace of life a lot maybe I won’t end up in such pain at the end of the day that it keeps me awake.

Some science fiction/fantasy with disabled characters

Or with an interesting take on variations of ability or human/machine integration/enhancement.

I might mention some or all of these in the panel today at CripTech. And, I’ll come back later today and add links to this list and some notes on the panel.

“Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction” – magazine issue/anthology
On the Edge of Gone – Corinne Duyvis
Murderbot by Martha Wells
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Various books by Becky Chambers
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
Brain Plague and The Highest Frontier by Joan Slonczewski
Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
“We Who Are About To…” Joanna Russ
A Study in Honor, Claire O’Dell
Borderline – Mishell Baker
Of course, the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold

Milton Mayer book

In between much lighter reading I’ve been plowing through “They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-45” by Milton Mayer, published in 1955. OK, first off I wish it didn’t have a giant swastika on the cover since I can’t even leave it lying around the house without feeling embarrassed. Thanks, book designer?

The book feels like one of those mish-mash books created from already published magazine articles. Mayer is trying to complicate various explanations of “why the ordinary (non jewish) German in the 30s and 40s were in the Nazi Party or just went along with things and what that meant for them. He works in details about ten “friends” he made in Kronnenberg, along with a bunch of German history and some psychological/sociological speculation. Also trying to tell the narrative non linearly, but not very well. I didn’t think the book was very good, but stuck with it till the end.

There was a middle section that was pages and pages of him quoting another extra 11th “friend” or colleague who was a professor (maybe in Germany, then in the U.S. or England) basically outlining some thought on frog-boiling and considering the beginnings and endings of one’s actions.

Basic premise of the book of his “friends” was a bit gross since he was lying to them, was not their friend, they weren’t or wouldn’t have been his friends, and so on. Also they all sound super racist and anti-Semitic to the core so it was deeply unpleasant to hear their mild doubts of their actions leading up to and during the war.

Mayer makes some brief comparisons of race politics in the U.S. with the situation in Germany including mentioning racism against black people and the internment of Japanese Americans.

Better off to go read Hannah Arendt rather than this stuff. The last chapter had some interesting stuff about the CIA in the 50s training assassin squads of former SS officers – in Germany – to go after people they thought were dangerous communists – despite this being totally illegal in every way.

Link: http://press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/511928.html