Monday, June 19, 2017

I feel as though someone made my pupils huge, held my eyes open, and shined light in them well passed the point of crying -OR- It didn't take two months

So when the came in this morning it turned out there was an open slot today at two thirty, which is somewhat different than the previous estimate of "maybe August" for when I could have an exam.

So now I've had my eyes checked which hopefully is covered by insurance but I remember them being wrong about that once before way back when I was still covered by my mother's insurance.  Good news: I don't have (a specific type of) cancer or diabetes.

Diabetes runs in both sides of my family, so I knew that was a risk, I didn't even remember the fact that there's apparently a mole in the back of my right eye that needs to be watched for fear it'll do the whole "I'm going to grow out of control now" that changes a growth from "mole" to "cancer.  It hasn't grown in the six years since my last eye exam, I think I'm good.

Those and other things are why I had my pupils dilated, my retina photographed and looked at, and so much light shined into my eyes that I couldn't really tell dark from light but I could sure as fuck see every god damned blood vessel in my retina in crystal clarity.  I'm honestly not sure exactly how that works, but something about shining a bright light in your eye allows you to see the inside of your eye.

While not having cancer and not having diabetes and not having [random other thing that sounds like badly written technobabble to me] are all good things, I didn't actually go there for any of that crap.

My eyes are actually continuing to improve, if you ignore the scratches and scuffs and such, the problem lenses in my glasses is that they're too strong.  And back when I got then-new glasses six years ago, that was also (albeit at a lower level) the problem with these glasses.  If I keep this up then after I die of old age (optimism here), get buried, and rise from the dead as part of the zombie apocalypse, my unaided vision might be normal or better.

Now wearing glasses that are too strong isn't a good thing, but in this case it isn't a horrible thing either.  The scratches that mar the surfaces of the lenses are a much bigger pain.  Still, even without scratches I'd be better off with the right prescription.

Fun fact: while my insurance covers getting my eyes checked out (though I have worries that it might not cover the detailed retina thing which would be bad) it doesn't help at all when it comes to frames or lenses.

If I want good glasses I need both.  These frames are beat to Hell.  (They've been crushed at least once.)

Now I have no idea how the fuck one reasons "We should allow people to get their eyes checked to see if they need glasses and then not let them get the glasses they find out they need," but such is life.  It also doesn't cover non-emergency dental even though it's much cheaper to not wait for an emergency and so not have one.  (Amoung my hopes and dreams is getting my teeth checked and cleaned by a professional.)  So I'm used to things not making sense.

The lenses cost 99 dollars, for an additional 89 they can be made non-glare, which I give no shits about, that has the side effect of making both sides of the lenses scratch resistant, which I give acres of fertilizer about.  (Standard lenses are only scratch resistant on the outward facing side based upon the theory that glasses will, once donned, create an eternal airtight bond with your face thus preventing any possible abrasions while wearing and preventing them from ever being not-worn.)

The frames . . . here's the thing, I know exactly what I like in glasses.  It's consistent and simple.  It and popularity don't exactly go hand in hand.

In fact, I couldn't find anything.  The actual glasses guy (entirely different than the eye doctor since glasses and eyes have very little in common and it would be silly to expect someone to specialize in both fields) had to search through his entire inventory, including the stuff that doesn't get anything like it displayed because, seriously, what are the odds?

Out of everything he has access to, he found one frame that matches what I wear.  Two if you count: I don't even look like myself because frame free glasses have achieved invisibility, and anyway, it's more expensive.

One style, two colors, such wonderful selection.  But actually, it worked out.  The style is perfect, and either of the colors would have been fine, but there's one I like more so that works out to a simple decision when it comes to aesthetics.

$219

But wait, I could take my prescription to a different place and they'd . . . nope.  The internet informs me that not only will I not be finding a cheaper option, but that glasses manufacturers in general, and frame creators in particular, have no idea what the fuck the word "oval" means.

I does not fucking mean "Rectangle with the corners slightly rounded."  No, no, fuck you, no.

Now I get that for some ungodly reason ovals are not popular, in point of fact the actual oval lens and frame glasses the guy did find appear to be trying to evoke a "retro stylings from the the 1900s" feel, but that does not change the fact that a rectangle with the points removed does not an oval make.

Oval is a loosely defined term and can cover everything from an egg shape (from which the word derives) to an ellipse (which is what I go for in my glasses), but it doesn't cover "clearly four sided figure, but shaved some around the corners and/or edges".  In the field of athletics it can also mean a figure with two (really fucking straight) sides which are connected by two semi-circles, but even that really-stretching-it meaning doesn't cover the bullshit frame makers are trying to pass off as ovals.

Words mean things, people.  For fuck's sake.

* * *

So, in conclusion, $99 for lenses, which becomes $188 if I want them to resist abrasion.  And if I want them to be things I don't hate, the frames make it add up to $407.  Presumably there's some kind of tax, but I'm not even sure what category a medical device falls under.

And I'm already in deep debt, and I owe the insurance, which --if it hasn't changed-- is $267.50 according to a Google search of what I've said before, and quarterly property tax ($657.72) comes due in August, which I obviously haven't saved up for.

So, yeah.  I've got a new prescription, there's a decent chance I'm not going to be getting new glasses because: holy fuck; the price.

Friday, June 16, 2017

My cat is safe

So, good news.  The creepy neighbor who --she herself claims-- looks through my windows (with her camera) every night because she's terrified of the raccoons, which defy the laws of physics and biology, she sees there, did not in fact abduct my cat.

My cat is here, she is fine, she hasn't been abducted by a creepy neighbor who thinks that she can do a better job of taking care of her.

So now we just have to figure out what's up with the "raccoons" that leave no physical evidence but apparently provide justification for peeping through my windows and snapping pictures.  Every god damned night if creepy neighbor's self reporting is to be believed.

The Horse can talk -- The Matter of Aravis

[This was supposed to go up yesterday, fucking auto-posting-schedule-thing failed me]
[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings, but it would have gone with this post if not for the fact comments are long since closed.]
[You know the content notes for these by now, slavery, child abuse, lack of self worth, stuff like that.]

The donkey was laying down, as it always did when a horse was in the stable.  The donkey knew that it meant Shasta would be sleeping with it, and so it made it easy on Shasta, whom the donkey knew could not sleep standing up.

That was where Shasta found the donkey when he ran into the stable.

Shasta moved to the ground near the donkey in something that was part lunge and part collapse and threw his arms around the donkey's neck.  For a time Shasta just hugged the donkey and cried.

When he finally could manage it he said, "Father is-- I mean Arsheesh, apparently he isn't my father, is . . . he's selling me.  Right now.  He's selling me to the one who owns the horse.  The man, Arsheesh calls him Tarkaan, said when he came that he only needed to stay the night so in the morning I'll be taken away from you.

"I don't want to lose you," Shasta said, he kissed the coarse fur on the donkey's neck, then cried even more.

"If I'm lucky this Tarkaan will be good, I'll have a better life, and . . ." Shasta buried his face his the fur of the donkey's neck.  It was a while before he spoke again: "Just, just hope that I'm happy when you think of me and--"

"You won't be."

Shasta's entire body jolted.

"Who said that?" he asked releasing the donkey and trying to sound brave.

"I did."

Whoever it was was right behind him.  He stood slowly and turned around. "There's an armed man in the house and--" having turned completely around Shasta saw no one. "Where are you!?"

"I'm right here."

The horse's mouth had moved.  The sound had come from the direction of the horse.  There was no space for anyone to be hiding behind the horse saying those words.  No sense was made.

"What are you?" Shasta asked, trying at once to hide his fear and to avoid offending this creature.

"I'm a Horse, obviously," the Horse said.

"Horses don't talk," Shasta said uneasily.  Then he felt comfort, the donkey had stood up too and gently rubbed against his left side.

"The unthinking animals you're used to here don't talk," the Horse said, "but where I come from nearly all the animals talk."

Without even thinking Shasta had rested his left elbow on the donkey and was stroking it with his left hand.

"Where do you come from?"

"Narnia," the horse said.  "The happy land of Narnia—Narnia of the heathery mountains and the thymy downs, Narnia of the many rivers, the plashing glens, the mossy caverns and the deep forests ringing with the hammers of the Dwarfs.  Oh the sweet air of Narnia!  An hour’s life there is better than a thousand years in Calormen."

Then it made a whinny that sounded a lot like a sigh.

Shasta's first thought was to ask where Narnia was, but then he remembered the first thing the horse had said to him.

"What did you mean: I won't be?"

"You won't be happy," the Horse said. "My master is bad.  Not too bad to me, for a war horse costs too much--"

"You're a war horse?" Shasta asked with a kind of awe.  There really were wars?  There were enough people in the world to have wars?  There were special horses for wars?

"Yes, and we mustn't waste time with idle questions," the Horse answered.  "Human slaves are not expensive, and so it would be better for you to die tonight than to be a human slave in his house tomorrow."

Shasta didn't respond.

"Things will get much worse for you if he becomes your master."

"Things things really can be worse?" Shasta asked.  It felt like all his strength had left him and he'd collapse right there."

"Yes," the Horse said, "they can."

"I-- I have to go," Shasta said, "I have to leave."

"Yes, you had better do that," the Horse said, "but why not leave with me?"

"You're going to run away?"

"All of these years I have been a slave to foreign humans, pretending to be dumb and witless like their horses," the Horse said.  "I've been waiting for a chance to escape and this is the best chance for both of us.

"You see, if I run away without a rider any human who sees me will say, 'Stray Horse,' and be after me as quick as he can.  With a human I've got a chance to get through.  That's where you can help me.  On the other hand you can't get very far on those two silly legs of yours --what absurd legs humans have-- without being overtaken.  But on me you can outdistance any other horse in this country.  That's where I can help you.  By the way, I suppose you know how to ride?"

"Oh yes, of course," said Shasta.  "I've ridden the donkey many--"

"Ridden the wha-ha-ha-ha!?" the Horse said with such contempt he was unable to finish the final word.

Shasta looked at the donkey and said, "Don't listen to him."

"It can't understand me," the Horse said.

"You've ridden the donkey," the Horse said, again speaking with contempt.  "In other words: you can't ride.  That's a drawback.  I'll have to teach you as we go along.  If you can't ride, can you fall?"

Shasta was confused by the question, "Anyone can fall."

"I mean can you fall, get up again without crying, mount again, and fall again, all without being afraid of falling."

"I-- I'll try," Shasta said.

"Poor little beast," the Horse said in a gentler tone, "I forgot you're only a foal."

---

While I reserve the title "Bree the Liar" for a horse that will be like the Bree described in gehayi's wonderful rendition, Bree here is lying his ass off. He's not a war horse, he's not the fastest horse in Calormen, and the Tarkaan isn't notably horrible. He's not a saint either --he lives in a slave holding culture and isn't exactly hosting abolitionist strategy meetings-- but Shasta's life would have been much improved had the sale gone through.

(And I also take issue with Bree's claim that nearly all the animals in Narnia talk.  Maybe it's just me, but I really don't see that working for an ecosystem.)

Bree happens to be a slave who is completely willing to lie if it'll help him escape.  Which, I think, is a completely reasonable position to take.  Mind you this Bree is still an asshole, but that's complete separate from lying to Shasta as part of his escape attempt here.
-

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I'm finally going to get new glasses . . . in two months or so

The title of this post was originally going to be "FUCK!" or maybe "Fuck."  The point is that capitalization and punctuation are unclear, but the letters were never in doubt.

I just got off the phone with the office of the eye doctor I was, years ago, used to.  And then, as I was hanging up the phone, I found my right lens.

Now for two hours (probably a bit less, but I don't have exact times) before this I scoured the house and even followed the path I took walking the munchkin weasel to school, and the slightly different path I took back, looking for the damned lens.  No luck.

Now, just to recap, when I first needed glasses I only needed them for my right eye, which caused everyone I talked to about them to suggest I should have gotten a monacle.  My left eye is no longer a paragon of perfection, but it's still way better, and that will matter, but first:

For a very long time I had no insurance and just kept wearing the glasses I had instead of getting new ones even though my eyes are not ones to stay the same and so my prescription likely would have changed had I ever gotten one.

So I was already wearing outdated glasses at the start of the epic eye adventure.  Then they fell down a toilet.  I think they stayed in there for a year or more (two?  I never was good at keeping track of time.)  Thus I switched to emergency backup glasses which were a prescription out of date when the toilet glasses were up to date.  Then the screws gave out (one at a time) and they started being held together by the twisty ties from bread bags.

I'd actually just recently re-wrapped the left side and should have done the same to the right but never got around to it.  (I have now.)

I was doing something that made my glasses fog and risked sweat dropping on them so I took them off.  A while later I put them on.  Things were very not right, if anything I was seeing worse.  Often means that the lenses need cleaning, and it was when I went to do that that I realized the right lens was gone.

The left lens might not have been a problem.  My left eye is still pretty good.  The right lens was catastrophic.  Want to induce a headache in a hurry?  Make one eye see for crap while the other sees at or near 20-20.  With the exception of people with special training or innate talent, having your eyes not agree causes dissonance in the whole visual cortex brain-thing and the result is unpleasantness.

I was better off without my glasses, with my only limited salvation being that by the end to the day today I'll be in a position to pick up my emergency back up emergency back up glasses (never throw shit out, it can be very useful to have glasses that are three prescriptions old.)

And that was enough to get me to finally start the ball of eye exam and new glasses appointment rolling.

Immediately after which, I found the missing lens.  I re-wrapped the right side so I should be good for a while, but they don't think they have anything until August (or later) and I'm betting that:
a) it won't be in time for my birthday on the 3rd.
b) no one will be willing to pay for any expenses not covered by MaineCare (the good frames have a habit of being ones insurance disapproves of) as a birthday present.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Monthly Financial Update

Ok, so, beyond the neighbor who has been taking pictures through my windows, beyond my missing cat, and beyond a possible family of possible raccoons possibly collapsing my porch ceiling (and I use the word "ceiling" loosely here), everything hurts and nothing is beautiful.

It doesn't, mostly, have to do with money, but that's a still a big factor because it always is.  Insurance had to be paid this month which, because of the kind of landlord my mother is, means that it was paid (yay!) but I still have to pay her because it's not a gift, more of a reprieve.

That's $250-something.  (Very specific, I know, but the cat and neighbor and possible raccoons took up most of the conversations.)  Do I have that?  No.

In fact I just had to take back money that had been intended to be a gift to someone but ended up as more of an extremely short term loan just to get the monthlies done.  And one of them I did late which, when the late fee is combined with interest, means my balance went up instead of down.

Not counting things with deferred interest that will come back to bite me starting in July and bringing about the apocalypse by October, my worst interest debt (worst first) is:

$357.00 on a card that was supposed to be paid off, but I needed it.
$1,521.76 on a card I had hoped to pay off a while back but obviously didn't.
$534.29 on a card I had hopes of paying off at about the same time.

I said I'd have reason to conclude that investing in stuff was stupid, that's part of the reason.  I could have paid down some of that.

Of course if I had, I'd still need to come up with the 250-something for the insurance, and taxes will come due eventually.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I am not, on the whole, doing well.

Yesterday and the day before I was tired all the time and ended up losing consciousness rather unexpectedly while I was in the lump of inactivity being tired leads to.  Yesterday that wasn't a problem, the day before it meant I slept through when school got out and thus didn't pick up a kid it was, basically, my one and only job to pick up.

There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth.  But I've probably done useful things elsewhere, you think.  Nope.  Not even close.  I've washed maybe three to five dishes and two sheet pans and other than that . . . I got nothing.  For almost a week.

And just to make sure we're covering all the bases, my failure includes two states.  I fucked up notifying the right people of the right things and my cat apparently got locked outside for days.  A nosy neighbor who has apparently, without my knowledge or consent, been doing up close photography of the view through my windows (nothing creepy about that) announced (to someone else) that she didn't like how I was taking care of my cat, and my cat has not been seen since.

Also, she claims that there's a family of raccoons in my attic.  Whether or not I have an attic depends very much on what you mean by the term.  If you think of an attic as a place where things can be stored or anything even remotely like that, then I very much do not have one.  If you're more of a strict definition person then yeah, there is empty space between my slanted roof and my flat ceilings.  I have not, in fact, filled that space with some form of solid matter.  So, by definition, there is an attic.

What there is not, is a floor.  Now the rooms of the house all have ceilings, so there's something there that will hold up a lighter animal even if a human foot would punch straight through, but there's a thing about the windows the neighbor would have to look through to see anything up there.

They're basically a facade to make my slant roof give the impression of a non-existent second floor (or at least the kind of attic in which [plot relevant thing] containing cardboard boxes can actually be stored) so that my house, which faces an entire street of two story homes and (on the same side of the street) is next two a three story apartment building, doesn't come off as pitifully small.  They weren't placed with any kind of care because they're nothing but decoration.  We've already established no floor anywhere up there, but for where the windows are there's no ceiling.  They're over the open air porch which isn't a room, wasn't built like one, and does not have a ceiling so much as a centimeter or so thick loose conglomeration of boards that are intended to serve more as part of the roof ventilation system than any kind of load bearing structure.

You can literally stand on my porch, outside of the house, look up, and see out of those windows through what passes for a ceiling to the porch.

There's basically nothing there (there's not supposed to be much of anything there), which is fine if you're a squirrel or small bird, but the weight of a raccoon could conceivably bring the whole thing down which would be bad.  It is, quite literally, the single hardest part of my house to make repairs to.  That's why I've never got around to fixing the whole "You can see through the house from here" thing.  That's basically a cosmetic problem (remember, it's not supposed to be airtight) repairs would need to be done from the inside, and the inside is where there's zero support.  (The underside at least allows the possibility of a ladder.)

Then again I'm not sure how much I have to worry about the claims of someone who admits to peeping through my windows and taking pictures and may have stolen my cat.

But, back to matters of the self, as opposed to one adult and three baby raccoons that may or may not exist.

I haven't just been tired and generally lacking in any kind of usefulness.

I've been feeling hopeless, and helpless, and worthless.

Though, I do have a small backlog of fiction fragments so I should be able to put some more content on here regardless of whether or not I start feeling better.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Still begging for you to nominate me for meaningless awards (since the deadline was extended)

Here's how it works:
  • I can't nominate myself or my works, but I can promote them, thus the begging. (Please, please, please.)
  • Nomination is done by sending, basically, a copy and pasted form into which you have inserted your nominations either:
    • via email to sharper1988 [at] aim [dot] com
    • or, if  you have a fanfiction.net account, via a PM to the exact same person.
  • You can nominate two things per category, but you don't have to nominate anything for a given category, I certainly never have nominees for every category.
  • If you want non-[chris the cynic] options, there is a self promotion thread you can look at.
What follows is a form you can copy and paste that already has my works filled into eligible categories and is otherwise blank.

If someone were to send just that I'd be rather pleased, but it could also serve as a base to which things can be added (see the self promotion thread) and from which things can be removed (for example, if you don't find Life After: Terminology funny.)

* * *

1) Best KP Style Name (include the story/series and author they're from):
          -

2) Best Original Character (include the story/series and author they're from):
          - Leela Place Possible (Place) from Being more than a Simulacrum by chris the cynic

3) Best Minor Character (include the story/series and author they're from):
          - Joss Possible from Being more than a Simulacrum by chris the cynic

4) Best Villain (include the story/series and author they're from):
          -

5) Best Songfic (include who the author is):
          -

6) Best AU Story (include the author they're from):
          - Life After by chris the cynic

7) Best Crossover/Fusion (include mention of what is getting crossed over or fused and who the author is):
          -

8) Best Alternate Pairing (include the story/series it shows in and the author):
          -

9) Best KiGo Story (include the author):
          -

10) Best Kim/Ron Story (include the author):
          -

11) Best Comedy Story (include the author):
          - Life After: Terminology by chris the cynic
          - Life After: Dancing by chris the cynic

12) Best Romance Story (include the author and it might be good to indicate who is focused on romantically to give context for voters later on):
          -

13) Best Friendship Story (include the author and it might be good to indicate the people involved to give context for voters later on):
          - Being more than a Simulacrum (Place and Joss) by chris the cynic

14) Best Action/Adventure Story (include the author):
          - Bent, not Broken by chris the cynic

15) Best Drama Story (include the author):
          -

16) Best Unlikely/Unique Story (include the author):
          - Life After by chris the cynic

17) Best One-Shot Overall (include the author):
          -

18) Best Novel-Sized Story (include the author):
          - Being more than a Simulacrum by chris the cynic

19) Best Short Story (include the author):
          -

20) Best Series Overall (include the author):
          -

21) Best Writing Team (clarify who the members are as well as providing their combined nickname):
          -

22) Best Young Author:
          -

23) Best New Author:
          -

24) Best Single Line (say what story it appears in and who the author is, and please provide some context on this line to help people understand why it's cool):
          - "The dogs were big, the dogs were scary, the dogs were fast, but they were incapable of changing direction as quickly as a human being who could reach out, grab onto something, and pivot around it as if they hated their shoulder with a fiery passion and were just begging it to become dislocated." from Life After (Part I, Chapter 3) by chris the cynic

25) Best Reviewer (and tell us why you like them, whether it's number of reviews, insightful reviews, funny reviews, or something else):
          -

26) CPNeb Kimmunity Award (who, and try to say why just in case people aren't familiar with them):
          -

27) Kimmunity Achievement Award (Who? Doesn't need to have necessarily published in 2016):
          -

28) Best Story Overall (say who the author is):
          - Forgotten Seeds by chris the cynic

29) Best Writer:
          - chris the cynic