Oct. 20th, 2015 09:01 am
clevermanka: default (bonecruncher)
Once upon a time, I did Things. Lots of Things. [ profile] redheadfae once remarked that I was the busiest person she knew. I did yoga, bellydance, went to concerts, socialized/partied--all in a week's work! My planner (I've always had a planner) was filled with activities and events. I always had something going on. I loved it.

Last night I got home from work, ate dinner, and was so worn out that even though I didn't want to sit in front of the television for the rest of the night, that's what I did because I had no energy for anything else. I wanted to do some yoga god damn it, but I couldn't do strength poses (low energy + strengthening poses = bad combo) and I'm on a no-forward-bends diet right now because last week I indulged in some restorative forward bends and fucked up my right SI joint/sciatic nerve again.

[ profile] mckitterick was a doll, though, and listened to the first disc of Hamilton with me. He enjoyed it but I'm not sure how tonight's experience of Disc 2 is going to go. Act two is just kind of a train wreck, emotionally. Alexander Hamilton, man, you made some really bad life choices.

For your reading pleasure, today, I give you from today's Toast Link Roundup this charming story about an antique dildo and some great real life ghost stories.

[ profile] mckitterick and I had a great conversation about ghosts after we saw Crimson Peak. He posited that ghosts might just be things/beings/energy that we cannot see/perceive because they're so far from our spectrum of visibility. Rather like dark matter. All around us, but unknowable. I am unsure if that's a comforting thought or an unsettling one. Maybe a little bit of both?

I easily admit that I'm not convinced that ghosts (insert your own concept of unknown manifestations of energy here) aren't real. I'm pretty sure I lived with one in the house on Tennessee. It would regularly hide my birth control pills and other things. Occasionally it would pour water in the middle of the kitchen floor. And the back of the house always had a creepy vibe (both the downstairs back, which was the mudroom that led to the basement and my almost-outdoor back bathroom and the upstairs back, which had a window that looked onto the alley and a door that led to the attic).

Who's got their own personal ghost story to share?

Oh! And today Tumblr is Tuesday, October 20: Creepy Buildings.

Age meme

Sep. 27th, 2015 08:16 am
clevermanka: default (circus)
How this works: You comment, I give you an age (please tell me how old you currently are - I don't know all of your ages unfortunately) and you fill out the meme questions with what applied to you back then, and now. [ profile] tatjna gave me age 30.

At 30...

I lived in:
Lawrence, in my much-missed apartment on Tennessee Street. That was my last year in that apartment before Dean and I bought the house on Lawrence Ave. When I say "much-missed," I mean that I still look at that house every damn time I drive by it to this day which is probably at least three or four times a month since it's on a fairly commonly road in this burg. I lived there for seven years, three of those pretty much by myself. It was enormous. Two big bedrooms, two big living areas, a small but usable kitchen (with my first gas stove), one and a half bathrooms, and a nightmarish basement which was used for band practice for two different local bands. I got along great with my upstairs neighbors (although I hung out more with the two guys who lived upstairs, Smirl and Ritchie, than I did with Tracey, the gal who moved in when Smirl moved to Chicago and Ritchie disappeared off the planet as far as I could tell). It wasn't air-conditioned (I had three window units), and the main bathroom was a converted porch with no insulation or heat but I didn't care. It cheap, my landlord was the best, and it was walking stumbling distance from the downtown bars. It was perfect.

I drove:

My occasionally-missed Honda CRX. It was the car on which I learned to drive stick. I got it from a friend who traded it to me for $200 and some stereo speakers. It had a cheap, flaking, and faded purple paint job, the rear hatch had to be propped up with a tomato plant stake, and when you lifted the floor mats on the passenger side, you could see the road passing by underneath. It got good gas mileage, though, and was surprisingly reliable in bad weather. I eventually sold it for $200 and a dead deer to someone who is still driving it.

I was in a relationship with:

Dean. The less said about that, the better. It was still good at that point, so yay?

I feared:


I worked at:
Color Art, ugh. This is the place where the shitty-ass operations manager hated me for no reasonable reason I ever determined and because he didn't want to give me a raise at my first-year evaluation he said this about me: "Clever Manka unfortunately relies on the most efficient way of solving a problem instead of researching other solutions first." Not. Even. Kidding. After 18 months, I'd had enough of his crap and turned in my resignation (without even having something else lined up). The president of the company begged me to stay and promised he'd have me moved to a different supervisor. Two weeks later they laid me off because of failing financials. That's how absolutely terrible the ops manager was. They had to pay me a severance package and unemployment because the damn president of the company was so unaware of the state of the business that he didn't just let me walk. I still laugh about that. Eighteen months of hell, but what a punch line.

I wanted to be:

At a rockabilly show, probably.

- - -

NOW! (45)

I live in:

Lawrence, still, but in a house on Indiana St. I don't have the same feelings of affection for this place, but it does have central heat and A/C throughout.

I drive:

A Chrysler Crossfire which is registered to [ profile] mckitterick but is driven by me 90% of the time since he usually relies on his two-wheelers. Unlike my feelings about the this-vs-now living spaces, this vehicle wins over the CRX. It's sexy, fast, a joy to drive, and the hatchback door stays up on its own (although the hydraulics are getting a bit old and it's kind of slow to rise in the winter). Good job deciding to buy this car, [ profile] mckitterick. WELL DONE.

I'm in a relationship with:

[ profile] mckitterick. This dude, I tell you. He occasionally drives me up a wall, but he's an amazing partner. He works harder at being a good person than anyone I've ever known. Sometimes his faith in humanity is shaken, but he continues to believe that the world can be saved and that it deserves saving. He is generous, compassionate, and intelligent. I mean, he's really, really smart. I sometimes forget because (ILU honey) we don't share the same sort of smarts and his type of intelligence is simply not on my radar. Also he is kind of a goofball. But then he goes to elite workshops on quantum physics and engages with the scientists there on their own level and when he comes home to talk about it I'm all o_O. Also, let's face it, the guy is fucking fit.

I fear:


I work at:
My paycheck comes from the University of Kansas, specifically the English Department, where I herd graduate students and enforce policy like a gentle and benevolent dictator. I have good times and bad times here, but I'm mostly content. At the moment. I also work really hard at not succumbing to chronic illness (Hashimoto's disease and all its accompanying effects). That takes up most of my life outside of my job. I'd rather spend more time working on art projects or my '68 Chevelle, but that's how it goes. I don't let myself get bummed about it because what'd be the point?

I want to be:
Healthy and wealthy so I'd have more time to do the things I want to do in addition to the things I need to do.

Old movies

Jun. 25th, 2015 08:36 am
clevermanka: default (bangbang)
Serger lesson one went great! I scheduled a second one for the week after I get back from Vegas.

On Tuesday, [ profile] fionnabhar commented on my dancing Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor gif and I wondered how many people have seen Singin' in the Rain. Or any old movie. By old movie, I mean pre-1965 stuff. I've seen a lot of old movies.

When I was a kid I didn't much like other kids, so I didn't spend much time playing with them. My parents both worked outside the home and I spent a lot of most afternoons watching old movies on television. From age nine (which is, I think, when my mom moved to day shift at the hospital and I came home to a blissfully empty house every day after school) to sixteen (when I didn't have to come home at all if I didn't want to, except to sleep), I watched probably five to six movies a week. That's not counting the numerous times I watched The Adventures of Robin Hood or Journey to the Center of the Earth on Saturday morning for a change of pace from Looney Tunes and Land of the Lost. I don't know why those two movies in particular were so frequently shown on Saturday morning television in the late 70s/early 80s, but there they were.

Seventh grade year my best friend was Jaime T, who introduced me to noir movies and her mom's romance novels. Let me tell you there are few things that can help develop a personality like a combination of erotic literature and The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. I'm not saying those things made me the way I am, but they certainly sped the process to getting where I was headed anyway. Side note: My favorite books of hers were the Silhouette Desire "Second Chance at Love" series because the women were all either divorced or widowed or something but definitely not virginal and the sex was much more interesting.

Anyway, old movies. Even though there are very few car chases, intricately choreographed fight scenes, or explosions (three of my criteria for seeing a movie in theaters these days), I love them. I think because I saw them as a child outside of the eras in which they were produced, I was able to see them as a glimpse into a slightly more realistic Narnia. I understood that these movies were never meant to portray a world I inhabited. But in spite of that (or maybe because of it), I loved those worlds. Even the bleakest of the noir films had a sort of grim and ruthless beauty that I could admire without actually wanting to share.

Modern movies have a couple strikes against them as far as I'm concerned. One, they're so fucking long. What the hell, people? Ninety-minute movies used to exist outside of kid movies. Just like bands used to start playing before midnight. What happened? The second is that I don't have the pleasant disconnect with modern movies. Modern movies, even outrageous speculative-fictions like Jupiter Ascending, or heck, even the Fast and Furious franchise, all feel firmly set in my current reality. It's a far-fetched reality, but it feels very present to me in a way I can't explain. It's one of the reasons I love modern animated movies. Simply by being animated, they remove themselves from the universe in which I exist and I can enjoy them more...purely? Simply? Easily? Also, they're usually shorter.

Anyone else here an old-movie fan? If so, what were your favorites? Which have you introduced to other people? Which do you still watch occasionally/regularly? Anyone else have positive formative experiences from media consumption (I pretty much assume everyone's got at least some negative ones)?
clevermanka: default (tasty ham)
Icon for no other reason than the Darling Rats tumblr has been particularly cute of late and I am missing my Hefner boy today.

Looking through that photoset (my photo-a-day tracking my 39th year) gives me some feels. My pets! My glasses! My growing-out hair (which was a PITA but did look pretty good for growing-out I gotta say)! Eating at restaurants! So much booze! I look at those photos and I see me. But as the year progresses, I see myself slipping into un-health, even though I didn't recognize it at the time. Earlier in the year, my moods are still variable--I look happy in some, grumpy in others, but I'm in some way engaged. By the end, the photos start to look monotonous and I can tell I'm sort of calling it in. Which might be due to being tired of the 365 project, but I think it's more than that. I did another 365 project a couple years later and I have the same issue with not looking like an active participant for pretty much the entire year. [ profile] mckitterick has asked me more than once to do another project like this, but I cannot bring myself to even think about taking a photo of myself every day.

Which makes me think maybe I've been depressed on some level since late 2009?

This morning I realized why I hate so much doing stuff for the CSSF. I have no connection or investment with anyone but [ profile] mckitterick. With the graduate students I have a sort of condensed cradle-to-grave relationship with them while they're in the graduate program. With the summer people, not at all. They're like retail customers.

The revelation came to me when I arrived this morning and a grad student came to ask me about fixing the printers in the grad student lab before I even got my computer turned on. It didn't bother me in the slightest that I had to go deal with a printer (ugh printers are the worst) before I'd settled in. In fact, it felt kind of nice to offer such immediate help first thing in the morning. If that had been a CSSF issue, I wouldn't have had the same emotional response. I have no involvement or motivation for helping them and honestly there's nothing that's going to develop the sort of relationship like I have with the graduate students.

It's no wonder my job dissatisfaction tends to crest this time of year, as I'm gearing up for summer CSSF stuff. If I wasn't doing that stuff, this would be the easiest time of my year and I could look forward to summer. Instead, I dread the end of the spring semester and I honestly have not had a memorably good summer since...2006? Whenever I took over management of the CSSF summer program logistics. That sucks. It also sucks that I have no idea how to stop doing it. It was great when someone took over management of the Campbell Conference, but it wasn't enough. I want so much for someone else to deal with the summer writing and institute bullshit because god damn it, I am tired of not enjoying my springs and summers.

Last night's chanting was lovely and so far I'm very much liking their new CD. The last track, which they performed second-to-last was especially lovely. I could pick out a high harmony and started singing it softly, which Kaminaya maybe could hear because she invited people "Please harmonize if you wish" after the third call-and-response and enough people did that it sounded amazing. Since I gave up on maintaining my voice years (decades) ago, kirtans are the only time I do any group singing. Even though I don't buy into a shred of the religious aspects, I do think singing with others can be a spiritually fulfilling experience. I don't need to do it frequently, but it's nice once in a while. Everybody is always so happy at these things, too, and while I will never be that happy of a person (it's just not my nature and that's fine), it's fun to see people being so unabashedly joyful for a couple hours.

I don't want or need to feel that kind of bliss all the time, but I would like to get back to my mental space of early 2009--at least what I see represented in those photos. But I don't even remember what that was like. How do I get back there from here? I haven't a clue.
clevermanka: default (circus)
Random memory:

I was singing along to a CD while my mom was visiting (we were doing something in my apartment kitchen) and I forgot that there was a lyric with "fuck" in it until I was in the act of singing it. Fumbling over the word would've been painfully obvious, so I just kept singing and neither of us have ever acknowledged to each other that it happened. It's been more than twenty years.


Feb. 13th, 2015 08:24 am
clevermanka: default (Boozin')
Yesterday I mentioned my departure from active involvement in some fandoms. Last year I removed all fitted skirts and button-down blouses from my wardrobe. Last night a friend took away my massive Salem Biscayne vintage china set.

Personal tastes and hobbies shift and change during our lives, and that's normal. It's sometimes a little sad when it happens, though, especially when the decision to change isn't completely internally motivated.

The fandom thing--that's entirely my decision. I choose to no longer overlook Marvel's blatant racism and sexism even though I continue to overlook it in regards to Sherlock. My biggest gripe with that production is the overall degeneration of writing, plot development, and character behaviors. I'll continue to remain active (as active as I've ever been) in the Sherlock fandom at least until I see how Season 4 pans out.

Regarding the wardrobe shift, that was motivated by my physical discomfort (caused by my inflammation issues) wearing non-knit clothes anymore. I refuse to feel pinched and restricted in a daily-wear outfit. I love clothes and I won't let myself hate my clothes or hate myself in my clothes. There's a time and place for wearing restrictive clothing (high heels, corsets, shapewear, push-up bras) and daily office and casual wear is not that time or place for me. Again, my choice, and a choice that makes me feel (literally and figuratively) good.

Those dishes, though. The giving-up of those dishes represents something else.

A long time ago, so long ago in both years and mental/emotional development that it seems like a different life--I guess it was a different life--I was a rockabilly. I was active in my local scene and even more active in the (inter)national scene where I wasn't one of the biggest Big Name Fans, but I was kind of up there.

Some of the best-known names in current rockabilly music knew me, and when they toured through Lawrence (which was frequently because our live music scene used to be fucking amazing), they'd stop at my house for dinner before a show. I once served five racks of ribs and five pounds of mashed potatoes (as well as multiple salads, vegetables, and two casserole pans of Dump Cake) to Deke Dickerson and the guys touring with him that year.

My god those men ate a lot. I was honestly concerned they'd be fit to perform that night.

If a band didn't have time for a sit-down dinner at the house, I cooked them two or three meatloaves and packed them in a disposable cooler with bread, condiments, and a couple quarts of home-made slaw. I did that for The Derailers at least three times (and the last time, got to hang out after the show in their amazing tour bus while they scarfed down the chocolate chip cookies I'd brought for dessert).

When I used to regularly attend the annual Viva Las Vegas convention (which used to be about 2,500 to 3,000 people--it's much bigger now), I was one of the lucky hundred or so who was invited to Ronny Weiser's get-together at his (amazing) house in Las Vegas.

Anyway, my point is, I was super invested in rockabilly and rockabilly culture. Like, hardcore invested.

I'd started listening to rockabilly and rockabilly-related country because I was not into the music getting radio play in the early 90s. I was already hanging out with some of the local retro-type folks, and I discovered that I really, really dug it. I dressed it (every day--to work, to play, to the shows), I danced it, and most of my home furnishings, from couches to kitchen, reflected a rockabilly aesthetic. I wore cat-eye glasses for nearly a decade, for godssake, and not to be edgy or ironic. It's just what else would I wear with my pencil skirts and Marilyn haircut?

Then there was A Breakup and because I didn't have the emotional fortitude to continue that lifestyle on my own (seeing him at shows, dealing with the awkwardness at parties being both there-but-not-together), I completely dropped out of the scene, pretty much overnight. He kept most of the furniture (and the vintage house), as well as the rockabilly lifestyle. I gradually shed my retro wardrobe. I stopped swing dancing. I was never a popular dance partner with anyone else to begin with. I honestly have no idea why. Maybe I'm a terrible follow? Even the music itself was tarnished for me and was pushed further down the listening choices when [ profile] mckitterick proved to be less than a fan of the genre. Anyway, it's just not the same listening to Cave Catt Sammy and not being able to grab my partner for a quick swing around the living room. Rockabilly like no other genre cries out for me to dance, dance, dance and solo groove-type dancing just doesn't cut it.

So anyway, where I'm going with this is those dishes. Getting rid of those dishes, man. It's been a long time coming, and I'm not gonna lie, it fucking hurts. They've been boxed up and stored in the garage since I moved with with [ profile] mckitterick, like, what, seven years ago? And I don't want to keep them. I don't. But they're some of the last few things I've got from a huge and important part of my life and it feels like ripping off a scab to send them away. And I know, I know, it's not about the fucking dishes. I know this.

It's about (still, over a decade later) dealing with a life change that I didn't want. Yes, technically I chose it. I chose to stop going to shows and I chose to drop out of the social scene, but those weren't the choices I wanted to make. I simply wasn't emotionally strong enough to choose otherwise. It makes me sad, and even sadder for the fact that there's no going back now. The local scene has largely dried up, and the national scene is so huge that I wouldn't go to a VLV weekender even if I wanted to (I hear over 7,000 people pack into the hotel ballrooms and over 20,000 come to the car show). That whole era is just completely and irrevocably gone from me. Gone like those friends, those clothes, that dance partner, and now those dishes.
clevermanka: default (bonecruncher)
I'm having a difficult time returning to reasonable eating. I have a strange combination of loving to eat (I mean, wow do I fucking love food) and loving how I feel in a fasted state (decreased inflammation, clarity of thought, control). Coupled with a 30+ year eating disorder that was/is a combination of anorexia and compulsive/binge eating, it's a nasty thing. I am alternately controlled by my desire for food and my desire to have control over food. I love how I feel when I (over)eat and I love how I feel when I don't eat.

Confusing, isn't it? On one hand, it's like win-win I'm happy either way! But on the other (rational, reasonable) side, it's super fucked up.

I've talked about my eating problems before, but for those who haven't heard the story: My compulsive and binge eating habits started when I was a kid, visiting my paternal grandparents. Of course both sets of grandparents loved me (because I was a fucking awesome kid), but my dad's parents, man. They doted on me. Adored me. Had pet names for me like Baby Doll and Pistol Packer (no idea). I was the only child of their only child, who was born very late to them and was himself a spoiled Golden Child Who Could Do No Wrong. And Gramma, well, her favorite thing to do was eat and her favorite thing to eat was sweets and that is what she shared with me. She was the one who introduced me to miniature powdered sugar gem donuts, eaten straight out of the white paper bag. When I visited them, I would sleep in her bed with her and we would secretly eat bagfuls of Reese's Miniature Peanut Butter Cups in bed after tooth-brushings so my parents wouldn't know. My mother limited my sugar intake at home (in all the wrong ways, poor mom, you tried) but there was no monitoring when it came to visits with Gramma. Clandestine eating was a joyful experience and it's something I still struggle with because secret eating feels god damned delightful.

And now, forty years later, I still (less often than before, thankfully), want to occasionally hide myself in a room and eat sweet things until my tongue is sore from sugar burn. I am (again, thankfully), past the times when I would become psychologically consumed by the idea of consuming a certain food (usually miniature powdered sugar gem donuts), but the general feelings are still there, lurking in the back of my brain and whispering "you know you'd feel better" because I know I would feel better. I never felt (or feel) guilty about my secret eating unless I am caught doing so. If I get away with the binge, nobody the wiser, I don't feel a shred of guilt. In fact, it pleases me--both the eating and the getting away with it.

In seventh grade, I discovered the joys of deprivation. Thanks to a childhood of questionable eating habits and absolutely no encouragement to physical activity (in my parents defense, no one has ever been able to convince me to do anything I didn't want to do and I most certainly didn't want to do sports because people, ugh), I was a pudgy pre-teen who was tired of being one of the fat girls in school. I started not-eating. I was selective about it, though, and my eleven-year-old brain discovered that the satisfaction I'd found in secret eating could be approximated (if not duplicated) by secret not-eating. I stopped eating breakfast, ate a minimal lunch, and had a regular dinner in the evening with my family.

My mother, if she noticed, never said anything. Perhaps she was relieved I was finally cutting back on my food intake. After all, she was the first person who pointed out to me (when I was in fourth or fifth grade) that I was fat. She'd struggled with her weight since she was pregnant with me. Maybe she was grateful to see a sign that maybe I wouldn't go through the same thing. Honestly, though, she probably never noticed.

Didn't notice, that is, until in eighth grade home-ec, we had to make a food diary. I didn't bother lying, and at the end of the week the teacher pointed out to me that I was eating only 800 calories a day. And then it was never mentioned again. Probably, you know, because I was fat and they were all trying to save me from life as a (god forbid) fat adult. And sure enough, a few years later, my body went through puberty (very late, and gosh I wonder why) and my chub just...went away. At sixteen, I was 5'7", 130lbs, and 34-24-36. Not eating had totally paid off. Score!

So that cycle of hidden binging/hidden fasting continued until, well, today if I'm honest because after last week's bout with the flu and three days of minimal intake, it's been super difficult for me to return to normal eating. This happens every time I have an extended period (two or more days) of near-fasting. I already don't eat that much, even normally. My 800-calorie-a-day eating habits (which continued through high school) took their expected toll so that my resting metabolic rate (I've had it tested--twice) is about 1,190 calories a day. So when I say I'm not eating much I'm really not eating much. And that's obviously a problem.

Fucking eating disorders. Even when I'm past the body-consciousness stuff, when I no longer care about my round belly, when my self-worth is not defined by how much or little space I take up, the psychological tug-of-war between eat and don't eat still affects me. Because damn it, either extreme still feels really, really good. Do they feel better than healthful, mindful, appropriate eating?

I wouldn't know.

I am thinking about revising this into an article for The Toast. If anybody who has experience with writing/critiquing personal essays wants to help me with that, let me know and we'll work about some sort of equitable repayment, possibly in bloomers or somesuch. Dang. Just checked their submission rules: "We accept only original material; we cannot publish anything that has appeared elsewhere, even if it’s just on your personal blog or Tumblr." Guess I shoulda read that first.
clevermanka: default (Respirator)
I've been doing some research and so far, this Adjustable Standing Workstation and this Anti-Fatigue Mat are winning the What Looks Best To Me competition. I'm going to send those to the chair of the department today to see what she says about purchasing them.

Because everything else health-wise is shit right now, I keep forgetting to talk about the success of the vibration platform [ profile] mckitterick bought for me. It's totally working y'all. Nothing that's noticeably helping my current woes, but I have visible proof that even occasional use is improving my circulation. My varicose veins are disappearing. The large one on the inside of my right calf has diminished by probably half. I need to take pictures. Wish I'd thought to get some before I started, but I didn't even think about them being affected/improved by the vibration platform. They're just spider veins right now, so they've never caused me pain or itching, but I'm sure they would have eventually and if I can avoid the horrible varicose veins that my mom and nana have, that'll be a Really Good Thing.

That's the only thing going well for my body at the moment. Yesterday I walked down to Malott Hall to pick something up from [ profile] the_lucky_nun and on my way back to my office I had to rest after two flights of stairs because my legs were so weak. When I finally got up to my floor my legs were shaking and I was gasping for breath. I would have cried except my embarrassment was worse than my grief and so I didn't cry about it until this morning when I related the incident to [ profile] mckitterick. So, hurray for another "cried before 8am" day.

The September Sisters launched a petition on regarding KU's response to the problems with sexual assault (and the consequences thereof) at KU. It currently has fewer than 1,500 signatures.

Talking about the Tai Chi breathing exercises with someone in the comments to yesterday's post, I mentioned the drill that my voice teacher used to help me develop breathing from my diaphragm (I would stand with my back against a wall and she would press into my diaphragm with the spine of a dictionary--I had to push the dictionary out toward her when I inhaled before a phrase). It reminded me that hardly anyone who knows me knows that I used to sing--and sing well. When I started private lessons at fifteen, I had nearly a four-octave range and we attained those four octaves by the time I quit lessons when I graduated high school. Then I came to college, stopped singing, and started smoking. I haven't let anyone but a few select people hear me sing more than basic humming to pop songs in years. Sometimes it makes me sad. I can't even stand to hear myself sing a lot of the time, much less subject others to it. It's one more physical thing I've lost, but it's not something I'm willing to work to recover. Maybe if I wasn't working on recovering so many other things.

Thank gods I've got another four-day work week. Off tomorrow. We'll see if I have the energy to work on the car.

Update: This morning I typed up the minutes from Tuesday's meeting in readable format, filled out the pre-registration forms for the 2015 CSSF summer stuff, and called my HR department for clarification on flu shot clinics and how to increase the amount of money I put into my retirement. After that I was mentally exhausted. This is ridiculous and unacceptable.

Now I get to call my PCP to confirm they sent my followup request for an appointment to KU Med because nobody has called me back after I canceled the appointment with the endocrinologist and I get to call my naturopath about the possibility of some new blood tests we haven't done yet (testing for indicators of inflammation levels and oxygen saturation).

clevermanka: default (Reefer Madness)
Breaking Muscle has suggestions for improving your alignment, stability, and motor control. I'm pleased to note that Andrew includes at least one of these in every weekly routine for me. Nerd Fitness posted an article about being anti-fragile that's pretty great, too. And [ profile] ms_danson posted a link to this fantastic essay on breaking a Low Mood cycle. Happy Health Reading!

A recent Toast Link Roundup posted a link to an article about people taking pictures of fireworks with their phones. It prompted me to share this memory, there and here:

When I was fourteen, I entered to the State Fair a photo I took of my godparents' dog in their lake. He was an enormous golden retriever, standing armpit-deep in the shallows and looking down into the water at a fish. His nose was an inch above the water and the water was so still that his entire body above the surface was perfectly reflected. I'd taken one photography course and was avidly applying Fibonacci's Ratio to EVERYTHING. Thirty years later, I still believe it's one of the best photographs I've ever taken. I got second place. First place? A generic photo of a bunch of fireworks. I AM STILL BITTER, Y'ALL. Still bitter.

I mean, people can take all the phone photos they want, and see the world through their phone as they please. What pisses me off is ALL THE PHONES BLOCKING MY VIEW OF THE EVENT. And photographs of fireworks taking first place at the state fair photography competition. Fuck you, 1984 Kansas State Fair Photography Judges. JUST FUCK YOU.

[ profile] mckitterick and I re-watched this old episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast a while ago and just...oh my god you guys. I remember a time when I watched this thing like, once a week. My ex and I had it saved on our TiVo and we would just...oh, watch it all the time.

My back is slowly feeling better. [ profile] mckitterick was kind enough to give me a backrub last night and it helped loosen things up. I have another chiropractor appointment for Friday afternoon. And I told Andrew that I'm still a bit tender but I want/plan to see him Sunday--just taking it easy on low back stuff.

clevermanka: default (Fetish nose-to-nose)
[ profile] mckitterick is at a local SF con this weekend and I'm enjoying the time alone in the house. I've had a wonderful evening of loud music and porn, but as I was getting ready for bed I had an overwhelming moment of grief for missing my Fetish girl that nearly brought me to tears.

God damn it I still miss my cat like she was here yesterday.



May. 23rd, 2014 10:40 am
clevermanka: default (winter)
I went down to the basement of the building where I work yesterday and there was a door propped open that I had never seen open before. I peeked through and it showed me a giant corridor leading straight ahead. To my left was a ladder leading down into darkness. To my right was a ladder leading up about five feet to an arched tunnel that looked like a Victorian-era sewer. I slipped in the door and looked around a bit before I heard voices of the workers calling at each other. I walked up to the ladder on my right as a man came out of the tunnel.

"This is amazing," I said. "Is it okay if I come in?"

He said it was and I asked if I could climb up to where he was so I could better see the old tunnel. He warned me it was pretty gross and I assured him I didn't care. I hiked up my skirt above my knees so I could climb the rungs and got myself up the ladder. Once I was on the landing, I got a better look at the tunnel. It was only about five feet high, with curving brick walls that joined in an arched ceiling. The mortar holding the brick together was sloppy and not terribly safe-looking. A large metal pipe ran along the floor and a smaller PVC pipe, about waist-high, accompanied it. The pipe on the floor was half-covered in dirt and...more dirt. I regretted the decision to wear my Good Boots and a skirt today because the old tunnel screamed to be entered.

Worker dude was friendly, dressed in filthy jeans, giant rubber wading boots, a bright yellow tee shirt, and a suspiciously large (fake?) diamond earring. He explained that the particular tunnel we were looking at led across the street to Strong Hall, which is KU's Building of Bureaucracy. The newer, cleaner corridor I'd seen when I first looked in the door led clear across campus to a junction that goes as far as Allen Field House, the building where KU plays its home basketball games, probably a quarter mile from where I was standing. The tunnel to the left went into Malott Hall, where all the hard sciences are located.

I wanted so much to crawl around those tunnels with nobody else around. Just me, a flashlight, and my imagination, pretending that one of those tunnels held a secret passage to a different world. Because not only do I love creepy, cave-like structures, I'm still not over my desire to believe that somewhere, somehow, there is a doorway to Elsewhere.
clevermanka: default (Fetish nose-to-nose)
Today is not a good day for me, friends. January 28, 2011 I euthanized my beloved baby kitty girl, Fetish.

I have no appetite, despite going to bed hungry last night (didn't eat enough for dinner, but didn't want to eat past 9pm). The idea of food is revolting to me but my body is so hungry I'm sick to my stomach. I'm even suffering that hunger -->nausea --> vagus nerve trigger that makes me sneeze constantly (does this happen to anyone else here? it's not uncommon). I'm getting ready to force down some breakfast but UGH. These are the only circumstances I'm ever tempted to ditch Paleo style eating because a bowl of grits and butter would go down a lot easier than this beef and cabbage soup I have sitting in front of me.

I dreamed about her last night. And now I am sad.

So that's where I am today.
clevermanka: default (Default)
Today is not a good day for me, friends. January 28, 2011 I euthanized my beloved baby kitty girl, Fetish.

I have no appetite, despite going to bed hungry last night (didn't eat enough for dinner, but didn't want to eat past 9pm). The idea of food is revolting to me but my body is so hungry I'm sick to my stomach. I'm even suffering that hunger -->nausea --> vagus nerve trigger that makes me sneeze constantly (does this happen to anyone else here? it's not uncommon). I'm getting ready to force down some breakfast but UGH. These are the only circumstances I'm ever tempted to ditch Paleo style eating because a bowl of grits and butter would go down a lot easier than this beef and cabbage soup I have sitting in front of me.

I dreamed about her last night. And now I am sad.

So that's where I am today.
clevermanka: default (Fetish on lap)
The people who did this study never observed my Fetish Girl when I would come home from work. Or try to do yoga. Or sew. Or do anything else in the house ever. If anyone had told me that Fetish wasn't emotionally attached to me, I don't know that I would have punched them in the face (although it would have been a possibility), but I would have gotten a good laugh out of it.

God I still miss her so much. Like, prickly feelings in my eyes when I think about her. It's coming up on three years since her death, but I still have moments of crushing grief if I let myself reminisce too much. And people wonder why I absolutely refuse to get another pet. NO. Just no.

In also JUST NO news, there is a shit-storm of well-deserved fangirl wrath raining down on Caitlin Moran right now. She behaved like a horrid person at the Sherlock Season 3 premiere, and continues to act like an asshole despite world-wide protests and call-outs. Does it sound horribly arrogant and petty to say "Nyah nyah, I never liked her from the start!" because I really, REALLY didn't. I felt like there was something off and fake about her from day one and although it's sad the way she showed her true colors, I can't help feeling just a teensy bit smug for never jumping on her bandwagon. She's a sadistic bully and I want to wash her mouth with soap every time she claims the Feminist label. Because FUCK YOU, Caitlin. You are a bad feminist if you are a feminist at all.
clevermanka: default (Default)
The people who did this study never observed my Fetish Girl when I would come home from work. Or try to do yoga. Or sew. Or do anything else in the house ever. If anyone ever told me that Fetish wasn't emotionally attached to me, I don't know that I would have punched them in the face (although it would have been a possibility), but I would have gotten a good laugh out of it.

God I still miss her so much. Like, prickly feelings in my eyes when I think about her. It's coming up on three years since her death, but I still have moments of crushing grief if I let myself reminisce too much. And people wonder why I absolutely refuse to get another pet. NO. Just no.

In also JUST NO news, there is a shit-storm of well-deserved fangirl wrath raining down on Caitlin Moran right now. She behaved like a horrid person at the Sherlock Season 3 premiere, and continues to act like an asshole despite world-wide protests and call-outs. Does it sound horribly arrogant and petty to say "Nyah nyah, I never liked her from the start!" because I really, REALLY didn't. I felt like there was something off and fake about her from day one and although it's sad the way she showed her true colors, I can't help feeling just a teensy bit smug for never jumping on her bandwagon. She's a sadistic bully and I want to wash her mouth with soap every time she claims the Feminist label. Because FUCK YOU, Caitlin. You are a bad feminist if you are a feminist at all.
clevermanka: default (Default)
I waited too long to post my write-up of Crypticon and I'm afraid I've forgotten things. I'll do my best to cover the highlights. I figure nobody wants to read about the lowlights because the lowlights weren't funny--just sort of dull and tedious.

Our table was adjacent to Bai Ling's autograph booth. The first thing I saw when I came down from dropping my luggage in our hotel room was Bai Ling at our table, getting change for a $20 from [personal profile] orrin. "Was that..." I asked. "Yep," said Orrin. So that was an interesting start.

Our table was also right across the aisle from Richard Kiel who is, as far as I can tell, an incredibly sweet man. I spent Saturday shuffling around the vendor area as Dead Girl, being creepy and (hurray!) actually making a few people uncomfortable--quite a feat in this crowd, TBH. When I got tired of walking around the ballroom, I would plant myself on the floor in front of the table, hunch over, and stare up at people through my hair. I'd move as little as possible, tracking mostly with my eyes and tiny head movements. Several people thought I was a mannequin until they met my eyes. I never, ever smiled or broke character. At one point, Mr. Kiel called across the aisle "You're a good actor!" DAY. MADE.

Another good experience with Dead Girl was when one of the other Wandering Monsters tried to startle me. He snuck up on me and made a loud hissing screech noise in my ear. I didn't react at all--not even a tiny jump. I just turned around slowly (I did everything slowly as Dead Girl), and by the time I'd fully turned around he was already back against the wall where he'd originally been standing. I shuffled over to him, raised my head just enough to meet his eyes...and handed him one of our table flyers. Then I walked away. Win.

The only time I broke character as Dead Girl was when Predator came over to our table and I got to take those kissy-kiss photos with him. I was bouncy and giddy for probably fifteen minutes afterward. I HAVE A HARD-ON FOR PREDATOR, OK? To make that interaction even better, we had a follow-up photo that night after I was out of costume and makeup. [profile] sdemory, [personal profile] orrin and I were hanging out waiting for the room party to start (which it didn't ever, really, did but never mind that) and Predator walked past on his way to leave. I just happened to be wearing my Alien/Predator Yin/Yang tee shirt and I waived him over to show. He was super excited about that and had his photographer assistant take a picture of us. I've been promised a copy, but haven't received it yet. I have faith that my lover won't completely let me down, though. DON'T LET ME DOWN, PREDATOR LOVER OF MINE.

On Saturday, while I was taking a break from Dead Girl and just hanging at the table with [personal profile] orrin, some guy who claimed to be one of the event organizers came up and asked me what movies I'd been in.

I am uncertain if he was serious or if this was some sort of weird pick-up line. In any case, he was pretty drunk.

Overall, people reacted much better to Dead Girl than Pit Girl. It was pointed out to me that perhaps people didn't see Pit Girl as a costume so much as just a funky way of dressing. Point. I hadn't considered that. Also, I was more Pit Girl and I know that my giant personality can be intimidating--this is something I've never understood or necessarily cultivated, but it's what I've been told and so there you go. Or I go. Whatever. In any case, if I do this next year I'm going to keep in mind that I should lean more toward the obvious in costume. Subtlety (intentional or not) doesn't fly at this con.

Finally, the most memorable experience from the weekend that had nothing to do with me or what I was wearing.

Okay, so this hotel was crap. Run down, in general disrepair, and generally just sort of depressing. I mean, it wasn't some shady no-name dive, but it wasn't exactly four-star digs. Let's just say I checked the bed really well for unwanted visitors. It was so bad that there was only one ice machine for all nine floors. Fortunately for me, it was on the floor just one down from me--so lugging the cooler down in the morning to refill it with ice wasn't a massive deal. Since it was only one floor down, obviously I took the stairs down nearest the ice machine. Those were the only stairs I knew about at the time. When I headed down to the ballroom for Saturday's responsibilities, I took the stairs because there was only one working elevator (yes) and fuck if I was going to wait for an elevator to go down. So I headed down the stairs at the end of the hall (there were stairs by the elevator but they were unmarked and the door that I tried was, at the time of my attempt, locked--no I am not kidding). As I progressed down from the seventh floor, the landings got more grim. By the time I reached the first floor I'd passed various construction materials, stained floors, cigarette butts, broken light bulbs, and finally, on the first floor landing, a dark, unidentifiable, textured brown surface covering the entire area. The door to get out of the landing was stiff and creaky and felt like it hadn't been used for a long time. Turned out it probably hadn't. Turned out I had taken the really wrong staircase to the first floor because when I exited the stairwell I found myself in an abandoned wing of the hotel. There were ancient, enormous water stains all over the carpet. The "art" that had hung in the sleeping rooms was stacked up against the walls or lying on the floor. Splintered wood and dirty cloths covered the stained carpet, and many of the doors to the rooms were hanging open--because the cleaners/renovators gave up halfway through the job or because the doors simply couldn't close due to architectural issues I didn't know. I picked my way past all of this--keep in mind this was the entire length of the hallway that housed all the sleeping rooms on first floor--and finally reached another door. Miracle of miracles, it wasn't locked and I let myself out of that horrible hallway into an area just off the main lobby.

My thoughts going through that consisted (in order) of "Now here is where the horror convention really is," "I could die down here and nobody would ever find my body," and "Please please please don't let this door be locked."

My one regret was not going back down that hallway, dressed as Dead Girl, for one of the best photo shoots ever.

And that was Crypticon KC 2013.
clevermanka: default (minoan)
I did it. Bye, Chernobyl Red.

That was...more traumatic than I thought it would be.
clevermanka: default (STFU)
I was surprised and disturbed by two things I saw on FB yesterday.

One was all the bullshit about Thatcher's death. One of our former graduate students posted a couple "inspirational quotes" of hers, and a few other people posted things along the lines of "You might disagree with her policies and politics, but she was a strong woman."

What. The Actual. Fuck.

Yeah, well, you know, Stalin was "strong" but you don't see people going around marking the anniversary of his death because "even though you might disagree with his politics," he was "a strong leader."

This is a HUGE FEMINISM FAIL, people. Just because someone owns a vagina doesn't mean we need to mark her success or extol the virtues of her "strength" when she at last had the decency to lay down and die.

[ profile] alryssa posted this on her LJ, and I thought it was brilliant. Margaret Thatcher and misapplied death etiquette. The dictate that one 'not speak ill of the dead' is (at best) appropriate for private individuals, not influential public figures. Oh, hey, I just found this one, too.

The other thing was only one person remarked on the death of Annette Funicello. There's a passing to mourn.
clevermanka: default (Fetish nose-to-nose)
Two years ago today I let go of my beautiful Fetish Kitty. I still miss her so much.

clevermanka: default (made-up 2)
Why is it impossible to find a rental copy of Disney's Hercules around here? I mean, apart from the fact that we have only two rental places in town anymore (besides Redbox), but geez. It's available on Netflix and other online rental places, but we don't watch enough movies to justify a subscription to an online service. What's the deal, local stores?

I was going through previous entries to refresh myself on my health decline and I found this post from last December, talking about how good I felt. I said: It's amazing how suddenly--I mean really suddenly, just the past week--all the things I've been doing have come together like snap and I feel human. Or, at least, my version of human. Eating clean, acupuncture, realistic exercise, moderate chemical enhancement, all of these things I've been incorporating over the past, what? Year and a half? My body just reached this level of rightness and it is so so so incredibly amazing.

Here I've been thinking that my current decline dates back from November, but it appears no. As of December eighth, I was pretty feeling fucking awesome. I found the beginning of the end, which was only a few days after that. December 11 I started having that horrible hip pain. I wonder if the exercise-induced soreness was exacerbated by rising inflammation levels. What would've been standard muscle fatigue (from an intense exercise session resulting, ironically, from feeling so great) kicked the already-inflamed state of my body and pushed it over the edge. I've had no luck figuring out what triggered the inflammation, though. I think it's safe to say that the aggressive workouts (hello, cortisol) triggered the downward spiral. So that's...helpful? Maybe? *shrug*

Last night I stayed home, curled up on the couch, and watched the last installment of the BBC's Hollow Crown series. OMG SO GOOD. I had major problems with Richard II, some minor quibbles with Henry IV pt. 1, thought Henry IV pt. 2 was kinda meh (except for Falstaff, wow that actor is uh-may-zing), but holy crap Henry V was perfect. I teared up at the end. I was worried about how they were going to deal with the Narrator/Chorus aspect of that play, but it was beautifully done, with a surprise payoff at the end. So so so good. Really. So good.

And all the people who complain about York being played by a black man? I'm sorry, but, um. Well, there's no nice way to say this, so...just STFU. He was amazing and perfect and I love that the BBC had the balls to cast a person of color for a major Shakespearean role like it was no big thing because it shouldn't be and now I totally ship Harry and York (no, seriously, the eye-fucking is pretty intense, even more so than with Poins, IMO), so thank you BBC for everything on Henry V. WELL DONE.

I know most locals who read me are headed out to the Guy Forsyth show in KC tonight, but for any Larryville-dwellers looking for something to do this evening, may I recommend one or both of the Late Night Callers shows this evening? Their first is an early gig at Replay Lounge, and the later show is at the Bottleneck. I like to imagine myself going to both shows, but chances are (being honest, here) I'm only going to make it to the Replay one.

This is the last weekend of KCRF, y'all. Here's hoping we don't get flooded/tornado-ed out.


clevermanka: default (Default)

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