Life is a Terminal Condition

If you know me, you’ve likely heard me say this. I stole it. It’s not my quote, but I have permission to use it. So, maybe I didn’t exactly steal it. This guy said it.

Michael Logan

I met Michael Logan 4ish years ago. I heard the whirr of his mobility scooter and I was trapped. It was a meeting of the Retro Gamers Society, a group Evyl and I had recently joined. Before me sat an older gentleman in said scooter with a flag attached. It was a black flag with a skull adorned in sugar skull styling with a Legend of Zelda motif. Different, but definitely a flavor of different that I could relate to.

I once cringed at the sound of that whirr. I knew, regardless of whatever else I was doing or where I was going that whirr meant I was spending at least the next twenty minutes of my life with Michael Logan. Didn’t take long before I started looking forward to those encounters and even sought them out. There was a distinct loss to those meetups where I didn’t hear the whirr.

Walk and talk

Evyl and I have been cat-herding the photography team for SuperBitcon! since year 2. In fact, my photos are still the official documentation for year one by crazy random happenstance. For these events, my extrovert tendencies turn up way past 11. I am a full-on pinball of Ooh! Shiny! Social Butterfly! I don’t stop moving. I high-five everyone.

So here I am in hyper-social my camera is my party cannon mode and there’s the whirr. Michael tells me to walk and talk. I slow down. I’d missed him as we hadn’t seen him for a few meet-ups. He told me he’d been in the hospital again but he was glad he got out in time for the convention. The guy had been on a mobility scooter and generally using oxygen for as long as I’d known him, so I knew he wasn’t in especially awesome health, but I had been unaware that he’d been so recently hospitalized.

I’ve been dying as long as you’ve known me, but everyone is. Life is a terminal condition.

He told me about how he had terminal cancer. The chemo, the bad heart, etc. I must have made concerned face because he assured me that it was all fine. He’d lived a great life and done things most people would never believe. He hadn’t always been the old fat guy in the chair, you know…

Terminal cancer or no, I just kind of expected to keep hearing that whirr, and it just became one of those constants that became a comfort. That whirr meant I was going to be regaled with a story which may or may not involve midget wrestling, or met with a unique bit of wry humor, or shown the newest bit of artwork by his daughter. I always knew I could find him holding down the fort at the Charity Bazaar during the convention. I believe it was year two and there was a super nifty if I do say so myself crocheted Legend of Zelda throw pillow up for grabs in the charity auction. Michael pointed it out to me talking about the hours and hours of labor involved in making it. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise until I could no longer control the giggling. Yeah, I made it. I know.

If I recall correctly, he got the second Legend of Zelda hat that I crocheted. Stole it fair and square in the annual RGS gift exchange. That whirr was the prelude to that laugh. A laugh that was always contagious and inclusive.

It was just assumed that I’d outlive Michael and now I have. That whirr is silenced. The day we all knew was coming has come. Far too quietly for my taste, but here we are. I still wasn’t ready. We certainly had our differing viewpoints on many, many things, but my life is richer and fuller for having known him and he will be missed. Please, read Evyl’s tribute as well. He was special to both of us.

As my friend so eloquently reminded me, life is a terminal condition.

Do Good, Win Stuff

Short version, one of ours could use your help. You can get not only the warm fuzzies of knowing you did something good, but you can win some pretty awesome prize packages. OldNFO has the details and pictures of the prize packages, start here. Keep checking back because more goodies are being added all the time. As of this writing, there were 14 prize packages 15 prize packages!

Still here? What are you waiting for? I’ll still be here when you get back.

So I know you’ve heard that Andi is a wife, mom, sister, small business owner etc. When I met Andi, she was coffee-slinger extraordinaire at the local purveyor of blogorado breakfast, aka Obligatory Cow. (She also brought bacon, eggs, and cinnamon rolls that could give you diabetes from across the room.) I don’t think you can fully understand the magnitude of slinging coffee and vittles to this rag-tag group of misfits. We take over a room. We switch seats. We tell tall tales which usually contain not insubstantial amounts blood, gore, and improvised explosives. Not really the kind of thing that could be described as polite company. We’re loud and often unruly. Andi took it all in stride with a smile on her face. Not only that, she kept coming back for more. This woman’s cat-herding skills even kept us out of the hair of the more regular clientele.

Now she makes amazing artwork out of metal.

Not only is she one of our own, she has served as caretaker of the tribe. And now she needs our help.  I know, it’s a terrible time to ask for money, but it’s a terrible time to need the help. She’s looking at 18 months of therapy that will have to be paid for out-of-pocket. It’s hard enough to do the work to get your life back without the extra anxiety about how to pay for it. In our house, we’re intimately acquainted with the challenges that come with recovery. I’m sure many of you are as well.

If you can, please contribute to her GoFundMe. Email the confirmation of your donation to 4anditherapy@gmail.com to enter the raffle. You’ll get a response which is most likely keyed by yours truly since I’ve volunteered to collect this data and make with the magic. It may just say ‘Thank you,” but I promise, I am really reading those messages and passing them on as appropriate. I’m a bean counter in my day job, I can count the beans for this too. I can even sort them out and make pretty charts.

You guys are awesome, each and every one of you. If and when I meet you in real life, you’re getting hugged. I’m pretty serious about my hugs too. No hover hands or side hugs. You should warn me if you’ve got any injuries like broken ribs prior to said hugging.

*Tap*Tap*Tap* Is this thing still on?

So, hi.

I know, I haven’t been around much. Work is busy. Home life is insane. And did I mention I got the bright idea to go back to school? You know, when you major in music they don’t make you sit for a single accounting course. And since my end goal is to get my CPA… Well, you see my predicament. I know, extroverted accountant sounds like an oxymoron, but since when have I been the normal one?

But hey, I got to play with a cannon over the weekend.
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Lumpia was made and consumed

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And most of all, my soul was rejuvenated by the company of the very best people. You know who you are. My tribe. My heart. I am blessed beyond measure.

Here’s to you
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I’m on a break between trimesters (accelerated classes so there are 3 sessions per year), so I will attempt to get the free ice cream flowing again. You know what happens when you let dairy sit too long, so there may be some clean-out and overhaul needed. Do ignore the smell.

I don’t know what’s coming next, but I hope you’ll stay along for the ride.

How to Celebrate Straight A’s

With an AR-15 and explosives, of course.

Sighting in
Fire in the hole
May as well give the 44 Mag a try
Feeling Lucky?
Guess those bottles weren’t so lucky.
Bullseye
Gotta love that grin!

This was this young lady’s first time out with the AR. Looks like she’s got the hang of it. This was her reward for finishing the school year with Straight A’s. The Evylrobot and I were thrilled to help make this happen. She’s got a great future ahead of her, and we’re proud to be a small part of it.

I Just Can’t Deal With This Right Now

Photo courtesy T Michael Hast

Aww, cupcake. I’m so sorry.

Here, let me pat you on the head and guide you to a safe space while the adults just fucking deal.

Look. I get it. Real life is hard. There’s, like, bills and responsibility and alarm clocks and evaluations. It’s, like, seriously style and cramping, ya’ know? You really put your heart and soul into that expletive filled rant against capitalism and someone just stole your freaking intellectual property and shared without even so much as a link back. That sucks! No one will ever know that you wrote that!

How will anyone ever know that you are the super special snowflake that really participated? I know, I know. You just can’t even.

Well then maybe you should odd.

Someone hurt you right in the feels? Take a moment. Breathe in. Let the hurt flow through you. Can you show me on the doll where it tingles now?

Listen. Really, listen. I don’t care how much melanin content you’ve got, who or what you want to consensually rub your gooey parts against, or how you’d like to identify yourself. Are you useful? Can you make me a sandwich? Mow my lawn? File my taxes? Massage my feet while painting my toenails? Entertain me?

No?

Really?

Nothing…

Then why for any deity’s sake should I give a flying flip about your well being? Because you feel discriminated against? Show me.

Let’s play.

I’m a woman of color* in flyover country. I’ve never been able to pass**. I’m a survivor of many things I never deserved, but the sun just keeps rising so I better keep on.

The world has crapped on me and my own over and over and yet, we persevere. You, my dear snowflake, really can too. Yes, you too can own a tiny house in the suburbs with innumerable plumbing problems and mice so your children can go to the right schools and you’ve got the bragging rights of living in the right suburb.

I digress. This is you and your micro-aggressions.

Breathe in. Feel it fully from your forehead all the way down to very tips of your toes.

Mmm.

You. Think of you.

Meditate on you.

Good?

So you’re a socialist? That’s awesome. What, exactly, are you contributing to society? From each according to his ability, yes? So, what are your abilities? What are you throwing into the pot for redistribution?

Oh! You have a bowl.

Um…

There’s kind of a lot of people showing up with bowls. I might have some pepper. It might be in spray form.

Someone maybe ought to wash all these bowls people keep bringing. No?

I’d direct you to the ball pit, but you have to sign a waiver. We had to let some un-vaccinated children play there so there might be a touch of polio.

You don’t want to hear me, do you? In fact, you’ve probably stormed away with your spittle rage to your keyboards and are furiously telling reddit what a terrible human being I am. Post a link while you’re at it, ‘k!

I am! I am the awful human being that thinks maybe, just maybe, you should be capable of contributing to what ever perfect society you believe you deserve a place within. It’s true. If you are useless, I believe society should shun you. Kick your worthless butt out. You. Should. Starve.

Does that hurt? Do you need a minute? A blanket?

Who am I kidding? You’ve left. You’re already telling me that I’m terrible in my comments. I like you. You’re going to tell your friends. They’re going to get mad too and visit. They will probably comment. You know what? Happy clicks and angry clicks are totally equal for ad revenue. Do that. I’m a damn evil capitalist. Angry is usually a lot more delicious, profitable clicks. Please, be mad. I like lobster.

Oh right! You can’t deal with this right now.

Hang on. I’m going to have to move some crap out of the designated safe space. The entire house is a deplorable mess, but that should definitely take priority.

Here you go, sweetie. Some gentle head pats. Maybe even a Popsicle.

Right now happens right now. Yep, that sucks the big one sometimes. Sometimes, your car decides that your gas pedal doesn’t really exist while you’re doing 75 MPH down the turnpike. Totally okay. You drive stick. Shove that bad boy in neutral, turn the car off and back on(rebooting the computer), and throw it back into gear at speed without impeding traffic. This is now. It’s a lot. It’s seriously, no doubt, scary. I’ve done it. You can too.

Forget the safe space. Own the scary space. Conquer and overcome.

*I really hate that term.

**Almost as much as I hate that one. In the second grade, I had to explain to my teacher that Filipino is not, in fact, a Native American tribe, but thank you for the paper work that could get me on the rolls.

Musing on Monkeys

So that little Dance, Monkey rant I wrote way back in 2010 has recently gained new life. You’ve probably stumbled across it since it has legs of its own now and walks free of its original creator (That’s called plagiarism, folks. If you see it, let me know). Sometimes it even picks up some extra words along the way.

Clearly, it resonates with people even still. I like that. I like when my words reach people. I like to think of all of you imaginary friends out there as real live people with thoughts, passions, experiences, opinions of your own. Something this response to my rant points out that I didn’t express well.

“You exist for my entertainment.”

Can you imagine saying that to another human being? I would hope that none of us could imagine it. Especially those of us who are Christians. The words go against the very foundation of our faith—the belief that God made us, loves us, and died to redeem us, and that His love gives us each worth.

She’s got a point, and I would never say that to another human being. Yes, my rant is worded personally, but it is directed self-important character these various celebrities play when they have an audience. Don’t get me wrong, I stand behind what I said in that rant seven years ago. The point is that despite what those in the public eye seem to believe, their opinions don’t matter any more than any other human being. Yes, they are human beings deserving of love and compassion with every right to their own opinions, but they do not have any authority to direct what you or I chose to believe.

My words were harsh and intentionally so. I make no apologies for them. I encourage you to read Gina Dalfonzo’s Rebuttal to me.  She takes a much kinder and gentler approach to reminding us all that no matter how many cameras are pointed at you or how much a platform you’re given, we’re all humans suffering the same human condition.

Aren’t You Just a Precious Little Thieving Troll, Robert Judware

First you try to pass off my content as your own (link goes to an archive), but once you got called on it, you made a snarky comment and blocked me from it before I ever got a chance to see it.

What a tiny ego you’ve got there! Not only are you so lacking in wit that you have to steal it without attribution, but you don’t have the courage to actually address me directly and instead decided to hide your clearly insignificant confidence. That’s so cute.

See, I don’t actually have time to research what you post. I have friends. I know that’s probably a foreign concept for you. I suppose my readers may want to reach out to you to thank you, though. I’ve been neglecting this space and your sniveling attempt to build yourself up inspired me to actually post something. Congratulations, Robert Judware, Thieving Troll! Have fun with that.

ETA: Peter of Bayou Renaissance Man is a prince and you should be reading him. Many thanks for letting me know about this infraction.

 

Lumpia! In pictures

The story of lumpia in pictures.

First you prep the ingredients
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Shredded carrots (2.5 ish lbs), chopped green onions (1 bundle), garlic (1 whole clove), a dozen eggs-separated (2 or 3 whole eggs go into the mix), and some soy sauce.
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Reserve the egg whites. They will be used later.
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Mix in the meat. Here it is 5.5 pounds of ground pork.
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Time to get messy. Each roll takes about that much filling. Close to a standard ice cream scoop.
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Personally, I prefer to work with the spring roll wraps. Start at the corner
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Roll tightly towards the center
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Fold the sides in
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Continue rolling. This is where the egg whites come in handy. You will dip that last corner in the egg white to glue the roll closed.
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Line them up carefully. Try not to let them touch.
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If you are planning to freeze them, it’s a good idea to let them sit for a few minutes to let the egg white set.
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They freeze well at this point. You can thaw them out to fry later.
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Or get them straight into 350ish degree oil
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Fry until golden
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Wait until they are cool enough to eat and enjoy.