Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013 Year in Review (1)

I have used this format at the end of each year since 2004.  So, let the tradition continue.  I’m going to break it up in two posts.

40 questions about my year (Part One, 1-20):

1. What did you do this year that you'd never done before?
The most new experience was marching in the Atlanta Pride Parade.  There were a handful of other little things: Attended the Maryland RennFair; went to AnarchroCon, the Greenville Scottish Games, and the Domination parties in Asheville – witnessed a gay bashing in Asheville – saw Spank! the 50 Shades musical parody, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and Maya Angelou… and bought a Babylon 5 DVD from J. Michael Strazynski’s nephew.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I made two: (1) Finish and publish the family history book I’ve been researching/writing for three years.  Check.  (2) Sketch in my new leather, hand-made sketchbook at least once a week. No check.  I resolve to try that again next year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. Did anyone close to you get married?
Yes.  Loki and his husband got married.  Legally.  Yea!  :)

6. What places did you visit?
Continued to spend a fair amount of time in Atlanta… and SC.  Went back to Dragon*Con for the first time in like 5 or 6 years.  We went to the Maryland RennFair and visited Mertyl Beach to fly a kite; did Frolicon, SELF, SITS…

7. What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year?
 Vast cosmic power

8. What day from this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
 The day I got my vest at Frolicon, marching in Atlanta Pride Parade, and the CAPEX Halloween (in November) party were memorable.

9. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
 This is kind of an odd answer, but I think it was just being there for people who needed me to be there and hanging in there with them.

10. What was your biggest failure?
It’s not exactly a “failure,” but: I had to throw away five, big boxes of my books.  My 16 year-old cat started pissing all along the bottom of the book cases in the library and before we realized it she had destroyed most of my history and psychology books and Star Wars novels.  Kind’a sucked.

11. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A hernia… which required surgery to put back together – my first ever surgery

12. What was the best thing you bought?
 I didn’t buy it, but work issued me an iPad mini which I’ve come to enjoy – mostly for listening to podcasts; that’s 95% of what I use it for.

13. Whose behavior merited a celebration?
My friend Max who, after taking a few years off, re-started his career this year, and so far it’s looking pretty good.  I’m glad to see him getting his mojo back.

14. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
(1)  A couple of pieces of human garbage up in Virginia Beach took in my pack mate, Pup Hunter, and after Hunter started suffering some depression they kicked him out, kept (i.e. stole) all his belongings, and even, out of sheer cruelty, phoned in an anonymous tip to the air port security that he was smuggling drugs, which got Hunter detained and strip-searched by the cops at the airport.  *Growls*  People like that have no business cluttering-up planet Earth, and should be removed to some place that has less atmosphere.  (2)  One of my friends acquired his own Alex Forrest.  A girl whom I believe to be literally obsessive and delusional stalking him around online, bombarding him w/ text messages, etc. (even though he never responds to her).  Then some of her friends sent threatening messages to my Owner…  It’s actually a bit scary.

15. Where did most of your money go?
Technically I bought a car this year, but Ma’am is paying for that, so: Kitten’s beautiful Renn outfit and new hot tub parts!

16. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Our pack doing a puppy play class at CAPEX.  That was fun.  :)

17. What song will always remind you of this year?
Hmmm… probably Viva la Vida by Coldplay.  No particular reason; I just got stuck on that for a while this year.

18. Compared to this time last year, you are:
in a lot more pain.  (Recovering from open – not laparoscopic – surgery.)

19. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Same answer as last year:  Gaming and attending Trish’s philosophy salon.  Always enjoy both, but never get an opportunity for either more than a couple of times a year.

20. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Waiting for Max to finish the shit he needs to do for the book we’re co-authoring

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hobbits and Hernias. (I'm not Dead Yet.)

Just about 2 weeks ago I found a lump on my groin.  I was relatively sure it was a hernia, but hoped it would be something simpler that would go away on its own.  No such luck.  It was a hernia, and a hernia of unusual size nonetheless.  My Owner scheduled me for an operation.  I have never had surgery before, never broke any bones, never even had my tonsils out.  I'm pretty sure I've never even spent the night in a hospital for anything.  So I was just a smidg nervous about this.

The night before my first ever surgery, Ma'am was craving Asian food, so we went out, and decided why not take in a movie.  We wanted to see Saving Mr. Banks, but found it not out yet... So we decided to pony up for the second Hobbit.  I have not seen the first Hobbit; the reviews were so bad I had no desire to sit through it.  Knowing the book, I figured this would be the best of the three because the middle third is the best portion of the very short novel, and it did get better reviews than the first one.  I left the theatre not hating it... But it sure wasn't good either.  It can best be described as fan fiction run amok.  It's been a while since I read the book, but I think around 75% of the movie is not from the book.  Peter Jackson was just adding shit - as much shit as he could think of.  None of it actually leads anywhere or contributes anything to the story.  It's just all these tangents and rabbit trails that lead nowhere but eventually loop back around to Tolkien's story.   It's more like a video game than a movie, going from random fight to random fight way beyond the point where you give a crap.  You could seriously cut that whole film down to like 30 minutes and not lose a single story beat or plot point or anything of significance.  It would make perfect sense and be far less annoying at 30 or 40 minutes.  It really is like 40 minutes of story and 2 hours of filler mixed in.

So here is my theory.  There must be a maximin number of fight/action scenes you can put in a film before the audience really stops to care.  Whatever that number is, Jackson exceeded it.

Here's a corollary of that theory.  There is a maximum number of times that a hero can ALMOST get stabbed/shot/smashed before being saved JUST in the barest knick of time before the audience stops giving a crap.  Jackson exceeded that number.

I left the theatre saying it wasn't bad but wasn't good.  But the more I reflect on it... No, that was just bad.  I wanted to like it, but can't.  It's a shit movie.  Save your money.  Watch the old 1977 animated movie.  It has it's flaws, but it's also only 77 minutes long.

Oh, and before I move on, I have to quote my favorite description of Sauron.  Linda Holmes described him as "a fire-breathing Georgia O'keefe painting."  LOL

But I didn't come here to talk about that.  I was talking about my hernia... Which was only slightly more painful than that movie.  I was nervous, as I was saying, about surgery.  Never had one before and never want to have another one.  My Owner was, of course, awesome.  She held everything together and took fantastic good care of me.  I love her so much, and just can't imagine life without her.

They briefly took me away from Kitten when they took me back to get the IV in.  They had me change into a gown and sox... Both of which were purple and had paw prints on them.  I thought the paw prints was a good sign.  Ma'am was allowed to briefly rejoin me, and when she saw my paw print sox and gown she smiled big.  Definitely a good omen.

The surgery seems to have gone very well.  When they revived me (I had never been under general anesthetic before) they were surprised and encouraged when I reported my pain level as only a 2 or 3 on a scale to 10.  I wasn't trying to act tough, I really didn't feel much pain - certainly nothing compared to what Ma'am or Sir routinely put me through.  In the car, Ma'am had my collar and my squeaky dragon toy waiting for me.  Wedding band back on my finger, collar back around my neck and squeaky toy in my teeth, Ma'am drove me home.

So now I have a plastic mesh permanently implanted in the muscle lining of my groin.  His name is Malcolm.  Malcolm in my middle.  So now when you see me you can ask how Malcolm is feeling today.  And my new safe word when any CBT gets too rough: "Don't upset Malcolm!"

My lovely Owner has been fantastic through all of this.  She's taking very good care of me... While simultaneously getting the Treehouse (our rustic and eccentric home) ready for a small avalanche of guests to descend upon us in a few days.

Today was the winter solstice.  It's the time of year to gather family about to eat, drink and be merry.  I can't wait to have my family here in a few days.  Parents and pack, best friends and new friends, poly boyfriends and poly girlfriends... And poly girlfriend's boyfriends.  LOL.  A dog, a wolf, three cats, a partridge in a pear tree, and my new buddy Malcolm the Mesh in my Midsection.