r_grayjoy: (Default)
Listen up, folks.

It's two plus days later, and an enormous number of us are still sitting here in shock, asking over and over, "How did this happen?!" That's completely understandable. I'm still in that state myself. But, everyone, there are some cold, hard truths we need to understand immediately.

We need to quit playing the blame game against each other. It's incredibly, deeply counterproductive. When it comes right down to it, Trump won because there are far more rednecks in this country than we realized, and those varying shades of rednecks are far more cohesive and unified than we intelligent, educated, socio-politically aware people are. And he can and will do unspeakable damage that will extend far beyond his four to eight years in office if we do not QUIT BLAMING EACH OTHER AND GET IT TOGETHER. Not in six months. Not in a year. RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

I'd like to point out that Trump has not, in fact, technically won yet. That it isn't official until December 19 when the electors actually vote. The possibility exists that this can still be stopped. Yes, it's a very slim possibility. An incredible long shot. But long shots happen. HISTORY HAPPENS.

The protests immediately following the election were a good start, but they need to continue. Every damn day in every city possible for the next five weeks. Nonviolent, coherent, and, loud protests. The only way to beat this is to demonstrate that we will not quietly accept this outcome and bend over and take it. That we can be unified in our basic desires and goals. That we can make life exceedingly difficult for those in the government who would work against our equality, our safety, our basic rights as U.S. citizens.

We could conceivably convince a handful of electors that what the majority of Americans want is not Trump. And if not that, government officials on the whole could at least be made to see that we are far more unified and willing to take action than they realized and that we will not be quiet and complacent.

Maybe -- probably, even -- it'll turn out that we can't make a difference in the outcome of things before mid-December. But we can still make our voices heard, and we can continue to do so well beyond December. We can prevent a lot of damage from occurring, both within the U.S. and globally, if we UNIFY AND FIGHT. RIGHT. NOW.

You are all intelligent and informed people. You know what is at stake here. This is not just an ordinary election. This is not a "keep your head down and wait out the next four to eight years and hope it'll get better again" scenario.

Some food for thought: Trump just Tweeted (yep, he's already at it again) that protesting the outcome of the election is "not fair." Take a moment to really digest that. Exactly how many First Amendment rights does that contradict? I count at least three: the right to freedom of speech, the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and the right of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances. But Trump -- the next president of the United States if we can't do anything about it -- cares less about the Constitution than he does throwing a temper tantrum like an eight-year-old shouting, "It's not fair!" (I fully expect him to follow it up soon with, "You never let me do anything fun!")

Also, for anyone who's been largely focused on the damage Trump can do within this country, allow me to direct you to a very enlightening video clip that succinctly sums up Trump's foreign policy -- such as it is.

Oh, and it looks like he's appointing a guy who thinks global warming is an alarmist myth to head up the EPA transition.

Well, look on the bright side. A person's ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual identity won't matter so much once we're all living on a planet that resembles a post-apocalyptic landscape ala Mad Max...

IT DOES NOT MATTER how you feel about Hillary Clinton. About Bernie Sanders. About any of those things dividing us and causing us to place the blame on each other rather than where it should be placed. We need to be one enormous, unified front that can direct our shock and outrage where it can make a difference.

NOW.



(And yes, if you agree with this, please feel free to copy/paste and spread it as far and wide as you can. With or without profanity included. ;) I'll probably repost it on Monday for the benefit of those who tend to disappear from the internet over the weekends. Don't worry; I don't intend to turn my fandom space into a political blog. But some things need to be said.)
r_grayjoy: (Default)
As everyone probably knows by now (due to the fact that I've bitched about it so much), I'm currently getting over SHINGLES (not just shingles, but SHINGLES, because capslock is required in order to express the full measure of its suckitude). It was an unbelievably horrible experience, and I want everyone to know about it and to do everything that can to avoid it. I'm declaring October to be International Shingles Awareness Month (even though I'm not getting this posted until November because that's how much shingles sucks), and I'm telling you ALL ABOUT IT.

WTF is Shingles?!

I imagine most of you already know WTF shingles is, but for anyone who doesn't, here's a basic explanation.

If you've ever had chicken pox, the itchy outbreak goes away sooner or later and you get better, but the virus (vericella zoster virus) remains in your body forever (dun dun duuuuun). It bundles up all nice and warm in your nerve roots and goes to sleep, and often it's never a problem again. Sometimes, though, something happens to wake it up -- an illness, an injury, or just increasing age; generally something that causes your immune system to dip. And when it wakes up all refreshed from its nice nap, it looks around and says, "O HAI GUIZE! I'm back! Didja miss me?! Let's get this party started! WOOOO!" And it proceeds to put the lampshade on its head and go on one hell of a bender inside your nerves and then vomits all over your skin.

Which is to say, you get an itchy, hurty, disgusting, blistering rash (almost always limited to one side of the body, most often on the back and chest, the hips/waistline, or -- if you're very unlucky -- the neck and head) plus excruciating nerve pain in the general vicinity of the rash. The rash is the visible aspect, of course, and it looks really gross, so that's what people tend to think of when they think of shingles (...not that I imagine people think of shingles often...), but it's the horrible PAIN that makes the whole experience one of the biggest Do Not Wants ever.

...Just trust me on that.

Oh, and that pain? If you're very unlucky, it can go on for weeks, months, or even YEARS after the shingles infection. Or you can go blind. Just sayin'.

Who Are the Unlukcy Bastards Who Get Shingles?

Besides me, that is?

Shingles tends to be thought of as an "old people thing." In the past, it's true that it was primarily people over 50 or 60 who got it. The immune system becomes less effective with age, which allows the already-present virus to reactivate more easily. Now, however, it's becoming more and more common for people in their 40s, 30s, and even 20s to get shingles. (In the last couple of weeks, I've already talked to two people who had it in their teens.)

The leading theory is that this has to do with the advent of the chicken pox vaccine. Since relatively few kids/young people are getting chicken pox these days, those of us who already had it aren't being reexposed to it as often, so we're not getting the regular "boost" to our immunity. Thus we become more susceptable to a shingles attack, and the virus doesn't have to wait until we're old and slow before it leaps out at us with the booze and lampshade while shouting, "SURPRISE!!"

Modern medicine, you have failed me and my entire generation!! ::shakes fist::

The bottom line of that is this: Anyone who's ever had chicken pox can get shingles, and you can get it at any age. It's still a high concern for older people, but more and more younger people are getting it now. A couple of studies have projected that, if you've had chicken pox and you live to the age of 85, there's at least a 50% chance you'll have had shingles at some point.

The Shingles Vaccine: Yes, Have Some!

Do I really have to say more than that? Really?

Yes, there is a shingles vaccine! Unfortunately, it's typically only recommended for/discussed with/ given to people over 60 or so. This is changing, though, and in many cases doctors will give it to younger individuals as an "off label" use.

The vaccine is thought to be about 50% effective in preventing shingles. However, in cases where shingles does still occur after one has had the vaccine, the severity and duration of the infection is considerably reduced. Given what I mentioned above about having a roughly 50% chance of getting shingles by the time you're 85 -- and given how absolutely horrid shingles can be -- I'd say the numbers make it well worth getting the vaccine.

Unfortunately, unless you have insurance that covers it (which it ususally only does if you're over 50 or 60), the vaccine is pretty expensive. Something in the realm of $200, from what I read. Nonetheless, you'll potentially lose a hell of a lot more than that if -- like me -- you end up having to take several weeks off work while you recover. Even if you don't work or can afford the loss of income, there's still the complete disruption of your life to consider.

Will You Get to the Point Already?!

Yes! The bottom line here is that shingles blows a whole field of goats and you Do Not Want it and you should get the vaccine if it's at all possible!!!

If you're considered "at risk" for shingles -- that is, if you've had chicken pox and you're over 50 or have a weakened immune system for any reason, GET THE VACCINE. If you're younger but have a lot of stress in your life and are the sort of person who tends to fall victim to illness when stressed, or if you're just prone to catching every little cold and flu and germ that comes along, talk to a doctor and find out if they'll give you the vaccine. Try a couple of doctors if you have to. Find some sources that talk about the increased incidence of younger people getting shinges and the probable causes (I'll help you with that!), print them out, and take them with you. JUST GET THE DAMN VACCINE.

Seriously, I don't want any of you guys to have to deal with what I just dealt with (and am still dealing with to a lesser degree). If you blow off my warning here and you end up with shingles, know that I WILL say "I told you so!!!" and call you an idiot a whole lot while wincing and cringing in sympathy. Don't make me have to call you an idiot and wince and cringe in sympathy, I'm begging you.

Dano

Sep. 21st, 2011 08:43 pm
r_grayjoy: (Default)
Dano

Daniel Wilson
AKA [profile] dano_140
1/16/1967 - 9/19/2011


Not the most recent picture, no, but I always liked that one.

One of my very best friends for the last dozen years or so. It's sudden and a shock and... I just haven't wrapped my brain around it yet. I'm not sure I ever really will.

Now I feel kinda bad for all the times I said he was driving me nuts. Even though he often was. ;)

In the immortal words of Susan Ivanova: "At least I could have just boffed him once!" (Trust me, he'd get the reference. ...And I can totally hear him responding with, "Hell yeah, you could have!" LOL)

I'd say "rest in peace," Dano, but I suspect too much peace would bore the shit out of you pretty quickly. Just save me a seat; I'll be along sooner or later. While you're waiting, drink one (or several...) for me.

♥ ♥ ♥


Two more photos under here, just because. )

Live loud, y'all.
r_grayjoy: (Default)
Includes some mixed nuts stuff -- and not filtered this time; I think it's important to put it out there.

This afternoon, my roommate and I went to see the musical, Next to Normal, at the Kimmel Center. My reaction to the show is... mixed. And the subject matter hits close enough to home that I feel like I need to post about it.

For those unfamiliar with the show, it's about a "typical" suburban American family who are trying to hold it together in the face of mental illness. The lead character, Diana, the wife and mother, has been struggling with bipolar disorder for sixteen years. We see her symptoms growing worse as she tries to understand and treat her illness while coping with her own not-entirely-satisfactory life and trying to be "sane" for her family. The story examines the effects of mental illness on both the individual and the family as well as questioning the concept of "normal".

Brian Yorkey, the dude who wrote the story and lyrics, wanted to move radically away from mental illness as it tends to be sensationalized in the media and the resulting notion that it's something that only happens to tortured artists and serial killers. He apparently did a pretty extensive amount of research and interviewed both patients and doctors in his attempts to make the story as "authentic" as possible. (I'm paraphrasing/summarizing from this article, which is worth a read for its remarks on mental illness, misinformation, and stigma.)

Upon seeing the show myself, I'm not certain he succeeded. Although the situation he presents is very real, it still manages to be sensationalized and misrepresentative. Rather than helping to remove stigma about mental illness, this show might only be serving to bolster it.

Here's why. )

Final note after all of that: This is, I believe, only the second time I've blatantly "outed" myself as a person with bipolar disorder here in my journals. It's certainly no deep, dark secret, but I tend not to tell people about it until they've got to know me a little bit -- because of exactly the sort of misconceptions and stigma I talked about up there. ::points:: Anyway. I do keep a "mixed nuts" filter where I sometimes talk about what's going on with me and the loose screws in my head. Anyone who isn't on it but would like to be is more than welcome to say so and I'll happily add you. In all honesty, it's usually pretty boring there! Far more boring than this musical would have you believe. ;)

Jeez, all of this and I haven't even made it to an actual review of the show beyond this aspect yet. o_O

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