Wednesday, April 26, 2017

National Pretzel Day!

I love pretzels! Especially the soft kind. I used to get pretzel rolls for sandwiches, but got kind of tired of them after a while. It's good to have occasionally. I also like honey mustard and onion nibblers, but can't seem to find them locally anymore. They're little hard pretzels shaped like pillows. They do carry the 'pieces' version of them still. They're like broken bits of the same thing. I like when they're whole. It's harder to portion them out if they're broken. They also have a ranch version, but it's not nearly as good. The plain is just meh. 

This morning, I finally called the Digestive Health Specialists. I was going to reschedule the appointment that was for Monday. It was to see the gastroenterologist that did my colonoscopy. They said when I had made that appointment, I needed to have a follow-up for it. I was going to bring up a bunch of things and talk about my meds. I just stopped taking azathioprine on Monday, after all. So, I'm without a 'safety net'. While I'm in 'clinical' remission, I still have to have something to keep it in check. They say people can flare again at any time, too. I was having weird side effects, and wasn't metabolizing it. 

Anyways, they said he likes morning appointments, and he doesn't have a slot for the afternoon until August. That's too long of a wait. So, they suggested that specialist that I can't stand anymore. They said these are the only 2 who 'specialize' in IBD at their Tacoma location. They said they can ask if one of the nurses that doesn't specialize in it can take me. That one has a lot of slots open for late afternoons. The problem is they have to do some going back and forth before they can schedule an appointment for me this way. They suggested other locations. Finally, I decided I'd make a phone appointment with my primary. I'll see what she has to say about it. I can bring up the other locations. A couple of them actually sounded closer to where I'm coming from. I'm unsure about what to do at the moment with this. I know when I saw my primary recently, she said she'd prefer that I stay in-network and go to their clinic in Seattle. This feels kind of messy...Why did I have to get something like this, when there aren't that many 'specialists' or gastroenterologists near me?

Lately, I've been seeing more things that misrepresent aro aces. It's starting to piss me off a bit. One of the recent comics I saw, that was shared by AVEN's fb page (I think...one of the big pages I follow), was really horrendous. It put romantic aces in a very positive light. I'm cool with that. That's the way it should be for everyone. However, they made the aro ace character a joke. First saying: "Let's not forget aro aces!" Then, off to the side, saying they're "forever alone, and proud". No, that's not what it means! Why do we have to be joked about? All aromantic means is not experiencing romantic attraction to anyone. That's it. It does not mean we want to be 'forever alone'. That phrase is also condescending and makes people look pathetic. Some aro aces do want to be alone their entire life, and that's perfectly fine. But, this also insults them. There was an outcry from a lot of aro aces on this. Many of the romantic aces shot back by saying things like: "I don't know what's the big deal. It's just supposed to be a short and sweet comic." "It doesn't have to be perfect." "It's ok to use stereotypes to get the point across." "They said everyone is different at the end." "It's a good way to introduce new people to it." No! I have ideas where it could have been much shorter and in broader terms. It's not cool to show that to someone that has just started learning about it. They'll get the wrong impression. If the comic misrepresented romantic aces, they would have issues with it, too. And, the 'everyone is different' thing seemed to be saying that about romantic aces. 

I'm amazed that it came from AVEN. I think a lot of aro aces have issues with them, though. I've seen some pretty nasty threads towards aro aces in the past on there. They aren't that often, at least that I've seen. One of the worst was someone saying they couldn't believe that aro aces don't understand love. Saying things like we must have something wrong with us, and we just need to be more open. So much wrong with this! People seem to forget that there are so many different types of love out there. Like, familial love (family in general), parental love, sibling love, neighborly love, platonic love, sexual (for those who are aro and sexual) love, love for one's country, pet love, love of cultures, love of food, etc. I think it's also normal to ask someone about a type of attraction they don't experience. In fact, that brings about some understanding for everyone. When I brought this up, I got a lot of likes, and the op said I opened her eyes. Aro aces shouldn't have to educate everyone about it themselves, though. We're apparently 15-20% of the population of aces on there. A minority within a minority. They shouldn't be saying such negative things about us, still. 

Another one I saw in one of the closed ace fb groups. Someone had posted a chart they found and were confused by it. They recently realized they were ace. It was titled, The Four Primary Attractions. First of all, most people bring up 5. They had sexual, romantic, sensual, and aesthetic on one side. Totally leaving out platonic. I would say, platonic is actually the 3rd major one. Sensual and aesthetic are not touched on that often. At least, not to the degree of sexual, romantic, and platonic. Also, many aro aces go by their platonic attraction, so it kind of erases that. Then, they had asexual, aromantic, and average going across the top. There are huge issues with using 'average'. Better than 'normal', but still...They had x's for what we don't experience, and check marks for what we might. In the romantic part they used having a relationship as part of the example. The aro column had an x with that. It didn't even say something like desire a [romantic] relationship. Somehow we're incapable of having any sort of relationship...I've been in a romantic relationship before, so that's wrong. Also, they must not have known about things like qpr's. It's a relationship based on emotional/platonic love. I would love to be in one. For qpr's, aro aces go by their platonic attraction. This isn't 'just' friends, it's desiring a really close best friend. Mine's pan this way, but others could be things like bi, hetero, homo, etc. this way. Pan, meaning gender doesn't matter, I can be attracted to anyone this way. Some people are actually aplatonic. I can't imagine that for myself, but I'll definitely respect them. About 3 of the aro aces, including me, in the group spoke up about it. I'm going to try and speak up about stuff like this every time I come across it. Might be tiring, but how else are people going to learn?
 
I also read somewhere that in Bill Nye's new show on Netflix, Bill Nye Saves the World, there's an episode titled The Sexual Spectrum. So, I decided to check it out last night. I remember watching Bill Nye the Science Guy in junior high. Actually, it was apart of one of my science classes. He's always had a comedic side and tries to make things seem interesting to people. His new show seems to be mainly about debunking things. This episode was really about sex (chromosomes), attraction, gender, and gender expression. I'm surprised that he covered these. I think it would have been better titled The Sexual and Gender Spectrum. Just using 'sexual' gives people the wrong idea. Although, he seemed to use it that way to grab people's attention. I thought it was pretty well done, except for the song at the end. That was a bit much. Funny, but a little too sexual for me. It was very simplified, but I think it's hard to talk about such huge topics in only about 20 minutes. Also, he did say that people are a lot more complex with these aspects. Felt like it was a good starter to look into these things. A jumping off point, and people can look stuff up later. He did mention asexuality and other sexualities that aren't talked about often. Didn't explain them, though. They only covered sexual attraction for the attraction part, which is understandable if they don't have much time. They had a segment on how Kpop is changing views on gender expression. That was interesting. In a way, some subgenres of Jpop have changed those views, too. It doesn't seem to have had the same impact as Kpop, though. I liked his final thoughts at the end. It made the spectrum sound even more beautiful and cool. The panel he had was interesting. One of them was a cultural anthropologist. I wanted to eventually focus on cultural, when I was majoring in anthropology. So, this was cool to see. I don't think I've seen many things in the media that put LGBTQ+ people in such a positive light.

Started brainstorming my memoir yesterday. I'm still unsure if it'll be an autobiography or a memoir. I know memoirs are about the person's experiences and memories. Autobiographies sound a bit colder and more precise. I don't know, there seems to be a very fine line. I decided that I'll officially decide on which it is after I've written it. Just make it my own, and see later. I came up with a lot of topics. Thinking of using those as chapter titles. There are many layers to most of those topics I could write about. It's an interesting way of thinking about what I've gone through. I'm hoping to do a little of Alliance one day, and a little of the memoir the next. Keep that going for a while.

Finished watching Hotel Bon Sejour on Netflix. It's a Belgian, Flemish-language, supernatural detective show. It was really good and full of surprises. Apparently, they're going to make new seasons focusing on a different murder each time. The person who was killed sticks around until their murder is solved. With this one, only people that saw her on the night she died could see her. It might be that way for the others, too. She tried desperately to find who killed her herself. She was able to leave clues for the ones that could see her. That town was messed up, too. 

Finished watching the anime Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan or Saiki Kusuo's Disastrous Life. It was really good. I liked it pretty much since the first episode. The only problem is they spoke super fast. I found it interesting that Kusuo seemed so aro. Not sure if he's ace. Although, he didn't seem interested in sex, either. He would say that romance was such an alien concept to him. He just didn't understand it, but tried to help his friends if things got weird in their romantic relationships. He really cared about everyone, but kept telling himself that he wanted to be left alone. His friends had a birthday party for him during the last episode. Only, they misheard. It was really his dad's birthday, so he made his father look like him and didn't want to go. After watching for a while, he realized he really should enjoy the party they planned for him. It was nice to see him warm up a bit more to them that way. He never actually spoke out loud. Just talked to people telepathically. However, I saw him ordering stuff over the phone before. How does that work? Is he so powerful, he can 'talk' telepathically over the phone? There's going to be a 2nd season, just no date for it yet. It's still nice to know there will be more at some point.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Yom HaShoah

Or, Holocaust Remembrance Day. It'll end tonight. I was really into learning about the Holocaust in my early teens. Now, not so much. I think I became desensitized to the stories/events over time. I still think it's important to never forget what happened. Also, to remember that many other groups were affected by it, too. Although, we seemed to be their biggest 'problem'. People who were LGBTQ+, the Romani, people with disabilities, etc. were some of the other big groups.

Promoted Sweet Endless Terror a bit more on facebook through its page and my new author page. Not surprisingly, that author page goes by my pen name: R C MacDonald. There's not much to it at the moment. I might make people hungry when they see it, considering I'm using one of my food pics as a cover photo. I guess that's not a bad thing, though. 

I also just started writing a sequel to Alliance. Not sure what I'll call it. At the moment, it's Alliance 2. I didn't come up with a name for Alliance until probably 3/4 of the way into writing it. With Sweet Endless Terror, I think it was after I wrote it. Before that, I referred to it as a Nightmare Anthology. Titles are weird. Sometimes, even with chapters, I won't have a title for them until after I write them. Other times, I might have the title before I write the chapter..I think it sounds interesting so far. Only got a couple of pages done. Even though I have notes from a little while ago, I'm still not used to actually writing again. I also have to flesh out those ideas, so it takes longer. I might write a memoir, too. Switching from one to the other, and back again. Normally, I just write one story at a time. Maybe this will keep both of them 'fresh'. Not exactly sure what the memoir's going to be like. Hopefully, these won't take me very long to write, too.

I had an appointment scheduled for today to see the gastroenterologist that did my colonoscopy, as a follow-up. For some reason, I was not feeling up to it. Also, the time was really weird. It takes about an hour to get there, and they wanted me there by 2:30pm. So, I emailed the Digestive Health Specialists Saturday morning, and this morning they cancelled it. 

I do need to see him soon, though. For me, today's the last day of taking azathioprine. So, I'm without a 'safety net' until I'm on a different med. The only meds left are heavier and more potent. They're all stronger immunosuppressants, too. I have a lot more risks for symptoms and complications with them. One of the options is Humira, which is through injections. Someone from a closed fb IBD group live-streamed the first time she self-injected it. Apparently, she said that nurses had to inject her for about 6 months, before she was allowed to do it herself. It looked scary just seeing her set everything up. Another option is Remicade. This one is through an IV infusion. I think I'd handle that better. Nurses hook you up to the IV, and you wait until you've gone through the bag. Kind of like I saw when my mom had chemo. People had snacks, brought books, and messed around on their smartphones while they waited. The chairs were comfy, too. Sometimes, it might need to go slower than normal, since some people's systems can't handle it that fast. I think for the first time, it has to be slow, because they don't know if it'll cause an allergic reaction. It's not often, either. Also, want to bring up the pain and lack of sleep with him. That hasn't been touched on, yet. (And, other symptoms I still have.) After I eventually see him, I have to make a phone appointment with my primary to update her on stuff, and figure out what to do from there.

The manga, Kuroshitsuji or Black Butler has been really intense with the current arc. Every time I think the arc has drawn to a close, something big happens. They managed to take down the group that was performing at the music hall. They found out that that group was collecting blood while people were passed out, and giving that blood to older rich politicians to keep them alive. If they took too much blood from people, and they died; they buried them. That group was also rounded up and sent to jail. Except, no one knows where Bravat, the leader, or Lizzy is. They think Bravat might have moved his 'operation' somewhere else. Lizzy, they know even less about. The most recent chapter, was really sad. One of the shortest, too. With the chapter before, Soma and his butler Agni were essentially watching over the mansion. Agni had put together and looked at a photo that Ciel didn't want anyone to see. He had ripped it into pieces, and threw it in the fireplace. He looked shocked by what he saw. Ciel had said it was a photo of the family when he was a little kid. There's this theory going around that Ciel has an evil twin, and it might have been his twin in the photo. I'm still not sure about that...Anyways, a visitor shows up, and it seemed like Soma recognized them. He let the visitor in, and they pulled out a gun. That chapter ended with a gun shot. With this chapter, it seems there are actually 2 visitors. One uses a gun, and the other a knife. Agni tries to defend Soma, and eventually throws him in a room. Agni closes the door, faces it, and holds the doorknob while the 2 visitors repeatedly stab and shoot him. Eventually, Ciel and Sebastian arrive, and find Agni still holding the doorknob, with lots of knives in his back. Apparently, he died that way. Soma survived, but I think his sunny disposition's going to change after this. They were really close. I think this shocked a lot of fans, too. Agni was an amazing character, and to have him killed off like that was disturbing. Maybe they can still somehow save him? I doubt it, but never know with this series. Soma's in the pic above. We still don't know who those visitors were.

Youtube (it's been a while, and youtube has been on a roll with suggesting interesting vids lately):

Fairy Tail:



Bungou Stray Dogs:



Trickster:


Gintama:



This is one of the best tributes I've seen for the series. It has scenes from all of the first 300 episodes:




Kekkai Sensen:



Pandora Hearts manga: