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

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

They're not monsters

[This is what think of whenever I hear about a game, movie, or TV episode where some signal or radiation or whatever turns part of the population into mindless killers while protagonists remain immune or resistant.]

I woke up to someone's face in mine, I gave about a 90% likelihood that it was male, but you never could be sure.

It was presumably attached to the hand that was snapping at one side of my vision, darting to the other side, and snapping again.

"Your visual tracking looks good, you hearing me ok?  You understand me?"

"Yeah."

"Ok, how do I look?"

"What?"

"Do I look human?"

I pushed myself into a sitting position and asked, "What kind of a question is that?"

"Ok, so no deformities, grotesqueness, or stuff of nightmares; that's good."

I looked around.  Hospital.  Abandoned.

"What's going on?"

"The human race is killing itself off, more or less."

"Start making sense."

"Hear that weird noise on the intercom?"

Not at first.  I looked around, all of the nearby speakers had been smashed.  But after a few moments I did.  It was, difficult to describe.  It played with your senses like music, but it seemed to have no pattern.  No melody.  As if it were just random noise that drew the improbability drive lottery and managed to be be evocative by sheer chance alone.

Though I couldn't pinpoint what exactly it was evoking.

"What about it?" I asked.

"That is, for lack of a better term, the signal or the transmission.  It started broadcasting about two weeks ago and it broadcasts on everything.  The intercom here, phones, tvs, computers, radios, anything that can make noise or light is putting out its version of the signal.

"And don't bother cutting the power or anything; it doesn't help.  You've got to destroy the damned thing."  My host gave a sigh.  "You try tracking down and destroying everything remotely electronic.  Damned phones alone are--"

"You haven't said what the signal-slash-transmission does."

"If you ask most anyone else, it turns people into violent monsters; it doesn't."  A pause.  "It induces hallucinations.  You and I are on the same frequency, the same wavelength, that's why you can see I'm human and understand me as speaking English.  People on different frequencies . . ."

My host sighed again.  "Humanity is now divided into, I'd say, five to twelve different factions each of which thinks that they're the only people who are immune and everyone else has mutated into grotesque and dangerous abominations."

Skeptical me came to the forefront when I asked, "Really?"

"I'll show you once you get dressed, you're not the only one who has slept through the whole thing so far but I figured it was best not to leave people on different frequencies in the same rooms.  Could lead to unfortunate things if they woke up when I wasn't around."

I was tossed a ball of clothes.

"I think they're your size."  My host started to leave.

"Oh, one other thing about the signal-transmission-thing.  It doesn't just induce the hallucinations, it keeps them synced.  If you see a zombie looking creature instead of a person, that's what I'll see too.  Reduces the chances of any of us noticing inconsistencies and starting to doubt that the monsters are real."

"If you're hallucinating just as much as anyone else," I asked, "what makes you right and everyone else wrong."

"Observation, thought, faith."

"You haven't told me your name and pronouns yet," I said.

"You haven't told me yours," my host said.  "Get dressed, we have an apocalypse to deal with."  Then my the host walked away.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Do human females usually .?.

[Apparently I last worked on this on Februrary 25th, so between breaking my ankle and getting surgery; feels like forever ago.  Might have a somewhat jumpy voice as a result]

For some reason this is in my head, jumping up and down, screaming to get out, and trying to drown out any other thoughts

Elina is an alien.  That's not her actual name, nor is it a translation.  Instead it's as close as American humans can reasonably be expected to pronounce.

Eff is a fairy.  She's one of the ones where knowing her "true" name gives individuals power over her.  When she first came to earth she almost said her true name, but stopped herself almost as soon as she started and acted as if the resulting sound were her name.  She's been using "Eff" so long now that she considers it her real name with the other being little more than a magical weakness she keeps hidden.

Tasha is a human being.  Probably with some superpower or other.

This is likely in my super person universe.

* * *

When you've just dropped your shorts and exposed yourself to your two best friends, it sort of makes your mind stop and go, Wait; what!?  How the Hell did we get here!?  Which is honestly a better thing to think about than how they won't be your two best friends any longer given what you've just let them see.

So, how did I get here?  Well E&E, my wonderful lesbian friends and team mates, apparently aren't the monogamous individuals I thought they were.  They made me an offer that I very much would have liked to take them up on, but I knew exactly what would happen if I did, so I made up excuses.

I lied.

Somehow Eff being so nice in response made it worse.  I wish you didn't feel the need to lie to us, Tash.  You could have just said you're not comfortable sharing the real reason.  We'll respect your privacy; we won't pry.  Because of course the truth would become pertinent when talking to the person who could detect lying the way a hammerhead shark detected electric fields.

Of course it came up when Eff and Elina were offering to share themselves with me, making not telling the truth feel like more of a betrayal than an ordinary lie.

Of course what they were suggesting was something I really, really wanted.

Of course, of course, of course.

I'd sighed.  I thought that maybe I'd been in one place for too long.  At least if I were driven out I wouldn't feel guilty anymore, I'd thought.  But, I also thought that maybe a middle ground was possible.  Maybe I could be selectively honest, keep the core truth hidden, and stay in this place that was the first place to be home in so long I wasn't sure if there'd really been another such place or those were just childhood fantasies that hazy memory had mistaken for reality.

So I said, "If you knew why, then you wouldn't want me around, much less as a part of your relationship."

"Whatever your secret," Elina said, trying to be comforting, "it could never break our friendship."

What if i'm a monster? I'd thought.

"You just wouldn't want me," I said.

"Surely that is for us to decide," Elina said.

Eff tried to gesture for Elina to let it go, but I'd known it wasn't likely when Elina got like this.

Part of me had known I should back off, but another part of me was extremely frustrated.  Of course I would know better, "I know what I look like under my clothes, you don't.  If you did--"

"Are you scarred?" Elina asked.  "There is nothing wrong with scars, and we would--"

"Let it go," Eff said, her hand gently grasped Elina's arm.

"Many feel ashamed of their bodies," Elina said, "but in truth all bodies are wonderful and we would never-"

Yeah, right, all sorts of people said that kind of Saturday morning cartoon bullshit.  It never proved true.  The fact that Elina seriously believed it was just . . . I had so wanted to scream.

Instead I said, "You don't want me a part of your relationship," as forcefully as I could.

"But we do," Elina said.  "This is not something we took lightly--"

"I'm serious," Eff said, "let it go."

"We discussed potential problems, could it lead to jealousy, could it make the team function less well, was this really what we wanted or just an--"

"Let.  It.  Go," Eff said.

"But she hasn't said she doesn't want this," Elina said.  "She said we wouldn't want her."

"You wouldn't," I said.

"We would," Elina said.  "We do and that--"

I was so very fucking frustrated with the whole thing.

And that is how the Hell we got here.

Both of them looking at me in shock, my shorts and panties around my knees, everything laid bare.

Elina's look changed from shock to confusion and she turned to Eff, "Do human females usually have such anatomy?"

I pulled my shorts back up.  They knew.  They'd hate me now.  I'd be driven out, I'd wander again.

Elina's question seemed to break Eff out of her own shock and she said, "Not usually. . ."

Massive understatement.  Probably about to explain how I wasn't a real lesbian because I had a penis instead of a vagina.

"But I wouldn't say it's uncommon," Eff said.

Wait, what?

"Oh," Elina said as if she'd just had a question about breakfast cereal answered.

"You're not . ? ." I tried to ask but didn't manage to find the right words to finish.

"What?" Eff asked.  "Disgusted?  Angry?  Hateful?  Feeling like rejecting you forever?  No.  We're not."

"Why would Tasha think we would react in any of those ways?" Elina asked.

"Some humans think that people like Tasha are abominable --or sick, or any number of bad things-- because they believe that all females should have the most common female anatomy and all males should have the most common male anatomy and since Tasha is a female with anatomy more commonly found in males . . ."

I don't think I've ever experienced a more surreal moment.

"They think that Tasha should change her body to match her gender?" Elina asked.

"No.  That would be unreasonable but at least make some sort of twisted sense," Eff said.  "They think that Tasha should spend her entire life pretending to be male and never, ever, show any signs of her true self."

"That is" some kind of alien profanity that likely couldn't be translated.  Elina talked like that in times of great emotion.  "It is beyond mere evil."

I finally found my voice again, "You don't-- everyone always-- I don't understand."

And I found myself in one of Elina's inescapable hugs. "I am so sorry that you have been mistreated," she said to me, "and I would never treat you like that."

Eff just looked at me with a slight grin.

Then she said, "Elina and I want you to be part of our relationship, hasn't changed in the least, so if that's what you want, just give a sign and we can move passed the chaste friend-hugs and onto the kissing."

I wasn't even sure this was real anymore.  Fever dream maybe.  But if it were real then it seemed important to do something before they changed their minds or came to their senses.  I'd lost track of my voice again, so I nodded.

Eff's smile widened considerably as she walked toward me.

Reflecting on being sold -- The Matter of Aravis, Susan Era

[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.]

Part of Shasta thought that he should feel relieved. All of these years spent thinking he was broken for not being able to love his father, shouldn't some weight be lifted with the knowledge that Arsheesh wasn't his father? That Arsheesh obviously couldn't love Shasta very much if he was willing to sell him? But there was no relief. Nothing felt better. He still felt like he was deficient for not loving Arsheesh, but now he felt even worse because he also knew he wasn't loved.

He was just something Arsheesh had taken from the sea, something Arsheesh was now going to sell. Arsheesh took things from the sea and sold them every day. So what if Shasta were more valuable than the usual fish? He was still just a thing.

A thing that would soon have a new owner.

What was slavery even like? Was this slavery? Slaves did work. He did work. Maybe this was slavery. But if he was never good enough for Arsheesh, how could he hope to be good enough for this stranger, this Tarkaan? True, Shasta wasn't entirely sure what a Tarkaan was, but it was obviously something Arsheesh recognized as being above “fisherman”.

Then again, if this were slavery, perhaps things wouldn't get worse. Perhaps they'd stay the same, perhaps they'd even get better. Perhaps the Tarkaan had many slaves and so no one of them had to do as much as Shasta had had to do for Arsheesh. If there were less work in need of doing, perhaps Shasta would be able to do some of it well. Arsheesh didn't always beat him, so he must be good some of the time. If he weren't so constantly occupied maybe he could be good more of the time. Maybe even enough of the time that beatings would be rare and far between.

Perhaps, for once, Shasta could actually feel like he was doing things right.

Or perhaps that was a stupid thought.

And then there were dreams about things that Shasta had never dared to believe. He still didn't believe them, but he allowed himself indulgence. One of the the stories the traveler from the north had told was of a slave made free for doing a great deed. Some feat in battle that saved his master or something. Another told of a slave that was discovered by its family and freed.

If slaves were just humans like Shasta, and Shasta wasn't the child of Arsheesh . . . Shasta could be anyone. Maybe the reason that Shasta had barely been to the village, and always was left with the donkey when village men came to visit was that he would be recognized.

Then he could be free and . . . what did that even mean? Shasta knew that freedom was good, but he'd always thought he'd had it. If he hadn't, then what was it? Did it mean not being forced to work all the time?

Could it be like the people in those stories, the ones who had cushions and cool days and warm nights and didn't even have to walk because slaves would carry them where they needed to go?

Shasta had always dreamed of being one of those people, even though he didn't believe they were real. Dreams weren't real either.

Shasta sighed.

None of this really mattered. He'd been sold. Arsheesh obviously didn't love him, he still felt just as bad about everything he'd felt bad about before, and after sleeping with the donkey he'd be taken away to an uncertain future.

And Shasta had learned something about uncertainty: it was never good. If you weren't sure what would happen, whatever happened would be bad.

He should just go to the stable, try not to think of any of this, and snuggle up next to--

The donkey!

If he belonged to the stranger, and the donkey stayed with Arsheesh, then they might never see each other again.

Shasta ran to the stable.

-

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

General life update thing

So I've done something that's probably stupid.

See, I got some money.  A bunch of money.  Well, a bunch by my standards, yours may be different.  Anyway a donation that had a comma in it.  (American system where a period is a decimal point and a comma is used to separate every three digits on the left side of said point.)  Instead of using it to pay down some of my high interest debt I decided to use it to do hopeful things.  I have new shoes on the way and as of yesterday I have three boxes full of stuff-making components so that I can fabricate again.

I also finally got around to fixing the spring on my kitchen overhead light so that it could be used without standing on the table and forcing the chain back into it to reset things.  Well, I didn't actually fix the spring, I took a spring from a broken pen, twisted part of it into the right shape, cut it to size, (beat up a toenail clipper in the process, oops,) put it in place of the old spring that had broken more or less in half and then broke in another place when I was trying to see how the damned chain light switch thing was supposed to work.

The kind of fabrication I do uses silicone molds and two part polyurethane.  I am now set up to do this in a variety of colors, even "Totally looks like metal in spite of being plastic" which I've never done before.  Honestly, the color thing is new to me anyway, I think I've done it maybe once before.  Not "one bottle full of dye before" one singular time.

Of course, to do that kind of fabrication you need to have masters to make molds of and I most definitely do not have the luxury of paying shape-ways to make them for me right now.  Plus the only 3d modeling software I know (Alibre) is gone and its replacement (Geomagic) seems to be taking the "High cost for professionals that can afford it" route.

I've got some masters from times gone by that are just waiting to be implemented and there's a hack saw around here somewhere.

- - -

I've never really done fabrication stuff at Stealing Commas since by the time I started this place up I really didn't have the money and my few attempts to make a comeback using the aging materials that remained from times gone by were abject failures.

It'll be a new side of me for you to see, if I can make it work.  And that's a big if.

But there are things I overlooked when getting all of this expensive stuff, mostly on the mold making side.

I do two part molds and part of what that means is I need the kind of clay that doesn't dry out or harden, and a lot of fucking Legos.  Standard building legos that are the rectangular things you find in just about every lego set, but a lot of fucking legos.

The legos are what you use to make the border of the mold so the silicone doesn't just flow everywhere and become a milemeter thick coating of your entire work area.  You just build a large lego wall around where you want to pour your mold.  Trust me, it's worlds easier and a metric fuckton better than trying to make your wall with clay.

The clay is positively essential to two part molds because legos, for all their benefits, are rigid objects.  Unless something has a completely flat side that would make a good place for mold separation, you want to be able to have your master partially submerged in an otherwise mostly flat plane of clay when you pour the first half of the mold.  The flat plane marks where your mold will separate.  Once the mold is hardened you remove the clay, clean up imperfections on the plane, and flip the thing over, apply mold release so the new silicone doesn't bond to the old silicone, pour, wait, and have a two part mold.

The reason the plane is mostly flat is that for alignment and other reasons you generally want to have a (rounded) ridge near the outer edge of the mold if you practice the style of mold making that I do.


- - -


My ankle is still recovering instead of recovered and some days are better than others.  I'm at my full walking speed.  I'm afraid to attempt a jog or run.  I definitely still feel the fact that it's injured.

I had my first look at X-rays last visit.  The plate, which I can feel through my skin, is attached by five screws.  The injury was such that I also needed One Big Screw that is apparently unrelated to the plate.

There's a dark smudge that might be nothing, or might be cartilage reacting in a bad way to the whole ankle thing.  It's apparently worth keeping an eye on, but not so concerning as to get another look taken before the three month follow up I was going to have anyway.

- - -

So, maybe I'll get a chance to show off the fabrication side of my life that you've never seen, but I need clay and legos (and skill) none of which are completely certain.  Ankle continues to recover.  New shoes on the way.