Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Breathing... it's a GOOD thing...

Well, this is a milestone of sorts.

This is the first time in years that I've made it through the entire month of November without getting pneumonia

"is chuffed*

Really, this is quite an achievement for me! Seriously. I've been wrestling with the Asthma Monster for well over twenty years now, and the last ten have sucked majorly. Seeing the gastroenterologist last year was the best thing that ever happened to me. Seriously.

Well, second best. The best thing that ever happened to me is meeting the Husbandly One. Period.

Anyhow, it wasn't like I was having major heartburn all the time. Just... every once in a while. Though there were foods I couldn't eat without getting major heartburn, like ... spaghetti. So, I never considered acid reflux an issue connected with my asthma, even after my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. That's why, when I had the major stomach pain last year and had to see a surgeon, I thought he was kind of nuts for suggesting that acid reflux was causing the majority of my severe asthma problems. But I took the medication he prescribed, because I was in serious pain and figured it couldn't hurt.

By the time I got to see the gastroenterologist three weeks later, it was as if I didn't have asthma any more at all.

It was the weirdest feeling, too. Not feeling like everything in my chest was too tight. Being able to draw in a deep breath and it didn't hurt. Coughing, and actually being able to clear my airway!

And it's still that way. Still. That's why I was throwing such a hissy fit about the Dexilant, the medication I take for acid reflux, because it feels like it's given me my life back, you know? I mean, THO and I finally decided to just skip the insurance and pay for it ourselves, and the drug company sent us a discount card that means it only costs $60 to refill it, instead of $150, which is a win in my book any day!

So, this year, I admit, when November rolled around, I was still kind of resigned to first getting bronchitis, and I did get a mild case of it, which would lead into pneumonia by the middle of the month. Usually just before Thanksgiving. Or immediately after, because driving into Houston is just asking for trouble on my part, as many of you very well know.

And... that didn't happen this year. If it's not the pollen and crap blowing around on the strong cold fronts that start in November here, it's turning on our heater that does it. But... not this year. And trust me, I'm not questioning it, I'm deliriously happy about it! This is a good thing!

So... I'm going to sit here and just... enjoy the breathing regularly without discomfort thing. Because that's just... totally awesome.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Drummer, beat, and piper, blow/Harper, strike, and soldier, go..."

The first book I ever wrote was about fire lizards. I loved the idea of fire lizards! I loved the idea of finding eggs in hot sands on the beach, and having one break open and a hungry little dragonet pouncing out, all hungry and creeling, and because I just happened to be carrying a lunch bag, WHAM!... Impression.

Of course, I was fifteen and the book was for my sophomore English class in high school. But I wrote it, illustrated it myself, and hand-bound it. It won first prize in a creative writing contest I didn't even know about, but my teacher entered it on the sly. I was very proud of that book.

And, of course, I wrote it because I was Pern-crazy.

I read my first Pern novel when I was about twelve. It was Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey, and I fell utterly in love with it. Well, actually, to tell you the truth, I fell in love with the illustration on the cover of the book, which is how I usually picked books when I was a kid. I would be intrigued by cover illustrations, and then get hooked by the words inside.

After that, I was doodling fire lizards all over the place. They showed up in my notebooks, in corners of my textbooks, on my piano music, napkins at lunch...

And then I discovered Dragonflight... and discovered there were more books by this wonderful, wonderful woman. Crystal Singer, and the Dinosaur Planet series, and her shorts in Get Off The Unicorn, and The Ship Who Sang...

I had always wanted to be a writer, when I wasn't wanting to be a astronaut/veterinarian/engineer/pianist/artist/scientist/dancer... well, you get the picture. My family is full of story tellers. But this woman... her writing set my imagination on fire, and I really, really started wanting it. Starting taking it seriously, and working at it. I started thinking it was possible.

Thank you, Anne McCaffrey, for all those wonderful hours sitting up on the roof, curled up in the shade of the tallow tree, reading about dragons and their riders, fighting against Thread, and Masterharper Robinton, and Menolly, and for the amazing Captain Sassinak and her brilliant fight against the Planet Pirates, and for Killashandra and the Heptite Guild, and the Rowan and Jeff Raven, and Afra and Damia, and... everything you taught me. I am going to miss you.

Rest in peace...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Congress wants to take away your internet! So PAY ATTENTION!!!

Originally posted by dynamicsymmetry Congress wants to take away your internet. Folks, I know you're tired of me yelling at you, but you should be aware that there's a hearing this morning being held by the US House Judiciary Committee on a "copyright" bill that will essentially break the entire internet.

You like the internet, right? I mean, you're here.

From the link above:

As drafted, the legislation would grant the government and private parties unprecedented power to interfere with the Internet's domain name system (DNS). The government would be able to force ISPs and search engines to redirect or dump users' attempts to reach certain websites' URLs. In response, third parties will woo average users to alternative servers that offer access to the entire Internet (not just the newly censored U.S. version), which will create new computer security vulnerabilities as the reliability and universality of the DNS evaporates.

It gets worse: Under SOPA's provisions, service providers (including hosting services) would be under new pressure to monitor and police their users’ activities. While PROTECT-IP targeted sites “dedicated to infringing activities,” SOPA targets websites that simply don’t do enough to track and police infringement (and it is not at all clear what would be enough). And it creates new powers to shut down folks who provide tools to help users get access to the Internet the rest of the world sees (not just the “U.S. authorized version”).

This is being framed as an attempt to fight hackers and pirates. Don't buy it. And don't think for a minute that it's going to stop there. This is bad. And at the hearing today, only one opponent of the bill is being allowed to testify.

Please do whatever you can to fight this. Email congresspeople. Sign petitions. Yell about it in every venue you can.

And just to add my own personal note to this, the wording in the S.O.P.A. bill has changed somewhat. The new wording suggests that ATT, Comcast, and other web providers would be the ones blocking your access to certain sites.

They also want to add a technology called "deep packet inspection" which is "designed to monitor each and every bit and byte sent across a network, and has been heavily criticised as a targeted, privacy-invading approach to anti-piracy."

Yeah. Sure. And there's a bridge in Brooklyn you want to sell us, too, right?

Folks. Again, contact your congressperson. Complain. Tell him/her you won't be voting. Then call the tech companies that, unbelievably, are supporting this. Tell them in no uncertain terms that you won't be supporting them either. You won't be buying their products, using their services, and not only that, you are going to tell everyone you meet what they're trying to pull and encourage them to vote with their pocketbooks, too. Seriously.

Want to know who they are? Here's the top nine...

!. Apple
2. Microsoft
3. Adobe
4. Dell
5. Intel
6. McAfee
7. Rosetta Stone
8. Kaspersky
9. Symantec

I'm sorry to see Apple in that list, but it's more because they haven't spoken against it than what they've directly said. Still... silence implies compliance.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Keep It Up!!

Round one of the SOPA wars goes to us!!

Now keep it up! Because we're not done yet. Not by a long shot. You know, it's funny, the entertainment industry tried to kill VCRs, mp3 players, and digital music... and now they're trying to kill the internet as we know it.

And if you can't quite bring yourself to worry over whether or not websites you enjoy get shut down or whether you might get slapped with a fine (or jail time) because you used a Marilyn Manson song in a video you shot of your cousin Matilda's wedding, because it was just so awful and tasteless, and then you put it up on YouTube to share the horror, then think on this...

Think of all the protests organized over social media over the last year, not just here in the U. S., but in Egypt, Syria, Libya...

Now, think of the government's ability to shut down websites that they feel infringe on copyrighted media.

That THEY feel infringe on copyrighted material.

Yeah, that's a bit more sobering, isn't it?

So, keep up the pressure. Keep writing. Keep calling. Keep pestering your representatives, even if you didn't vote for them or agree with them, just keep doing it!! Keep letting them know, loud and clear, YOU DON'T WANT THEM TO FIX SOMETHING THAT AIN'T BROKE!

Keep it going. Be calm. Be rational. Just don't stop. Don't stop until they get the message. Yeah, the copyright laws need to be fixed, but... this is not the way to do it, and it doesn't fix the problem anyway. So... keep pushing.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Internet Censorship Bill, Part 2...

Just in case you're not sure what I'm talking about, this pretty much describes it in a nutshell...

PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Pay attention, my dears.

Internet Censorship Billl...

You know, most of y'all have been awfully silent about this, and... I'm kind of shocked. But then again, it may be very well that none of you either know about it, or care about it, but... you should. Because it's going to affect you. It's going to make doing what you love here on your blogs almost impossible. It'll make what you do on Facebook, YouTube... whatever blogging site, video site, music site... whatever you love to do on the internet, this is going to make it nearly impossible.

And possibly illegal. And therefore... expensive.

Internet Censorship. Today, Congress is holding hearings on the first internet censorship system. And it looks like a wrecking ball. Are you going to just let this go? Are you going to just sit there, shrug, and browse on and not worry about it? Because... you should. You really should.

Read THIS. Then do a Google search. See if this is something you can live with, or something that makes you want to spit nails. Roofing nails.

If you can't, get on the phone and call your representative. Express your disapproval. Tell him or her exactly how you feel, and that you don't support this. Tell your friends to call their representatives, their Congressperson, and complain. Mention that you are a registered voter that takes your civic responsibility seriously (and gods, I hope you do, I really do) and that you will use that vote to express your feelings about this.

Read THIS, too. Read everything you can find on it, but do it today. And act on it. Don't sit there. Do something.

I'll admit it, I didn't realize the hearing was TODAY, and I went to my Tumblr, planning to put up some more lunch notes when I got the shock of my life. Every single picture I had put up was blank, with a "Censored" stamp across it. Which kind of freaked me out. So, I logged in to find out WTF was going on and saw the link and said, "Oh, it's today. Wait... today??? I thought it was next week!!"

So... educate yourself. Find out. And take action. Because I have a feeling this will slam fanfiction writers upside the head. Hard. Think about it.

And do something about it!