Archive for November, 2006

BlackHawk remembers Van Stephenson

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

From Brad on 2:

Country trio BlackHawk (Goodbye Says It All) will make a $15,000 donation next week to the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in memory of their former member and co-founder, Van Stephenson, who died in 2001 from skin cancer.
van.gif
The group set up a memorial fund in Van’s name when he passed away. The $15,000 will be used for melanoma research.
The two other guys, Henry Paul and Dave Robbins, have taken on a new member, Anthony Craword, and they’ve now got a deal with newly-formed Rust Records.

[Sorry for the space-wasting picture layout, but for whatever reason, image alignment breaks in this template and I don't know why.]

First of all, I love this news. For obvious personal reasons, it touches me to see the $15K being donated and earmarked for melanoma research.

Secondly, the fact that they’ve regrouped and have a new deal inspired me to write a song. But it was taken from one of the 13 songs I already drafted this month, so my NaSoWriMo count didn’t increase. Oh well.

Thirdly, and I truly don’t mean to sound in any way disrespectful, but didn’t Van Stephenson (at least in that picture) look a lot like (a younger) Timothy Busfield (with a mullet)?

NaSoWriMo: Time’s up! 13 songs drafted, none really completed, but still a success.

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

It’s the last day of November, in case you hadn’t noticed, and that means all November writing projects are pretty much at their end. In my case, that signals the end of my 30-songs-in-30-days “NaSoWriMo” challenge, which I have once again failed to complete. But I don’t really care. All I’m really shooting for when I set about to do these things is to make myself write fast and get some ideas down, and I did do that.

I managed to draft 13 songs. I can’t say I really finished even one. But that’s OK. Because this was also a crazy-ass month. At work, we had a major scramble with a deadline of 11/30 (yep, that, too, is today!), and my weekly average number of hours shot way up. I’ve also been sick twice this month, including right now, which is why I’m not expecting to be able to churn out any more than I already have before tomorrow. And my current tummy troubles have me in a really bad mood and I’m finding it hard to concentrate on anything. So yeah, not the best conditions for creative writing.

So it’s over, and the count is 13 songs in 30 days, sort of. There might even be a few ideas worth going back and polishing up, which is a bonus because I was really just thinking of this as an exercise. Maybe I’ll try the challenge again in a few months when it’s not looking to be a crazy month at the day job and I’ve loaded up on multivitamins and echinacea.

In the meantime, the month of December is usually a wash for songwriting. Too many weekend activities, too much commotion, not even time to sit idly with my laptop, my guitar, and a cup of coffee and mull over an idea until I find just the right thing to say. So this is probably pretty much it until January. But I’m pretty satisfied with where things stand, so I’ll be happy to take a break and then get back into it come the new year.

Hope everyone else who participated in a writing challenge this month got something good out of it!

The crime level WAS nice and low…

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

S-townMike over at Enclave reports on a lock-down that occurred last night during the Salemtown neighborhood meeting (and then updates the story to clarify that the robbery actually took place on the edge of Germantown).

John H & Lynn mentioned the lock-down when we saw them a little while ago, and we were all talking about how many sirens we’ve been hearing the past few nights. There have also been a lot of police helicopters (cop-copters?) flying overhead with searchlights and all. It’s not unusual to hear a siren every so often, but in the past two evenings sirens have been more like our constant companions. And those searchlights are definitely weirding out the cats.

Can’t tell if it’s all related to the one robbery, or if there’s more.

Strange that it can feel so peaceful and relaxed in this neighborhood (like walking around taking pictures of holiday lights) while all this crime-fighting is going on.

Holiday lights are up!

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Karsten got our lights up, and I think they look great, especially with the new windows. We saw John H & Lynn headed for home while we were setting out on an evening walk, and they kindly complimented our windows, too.

We saw a few other houses in the neighborhood with lights up already, so in honor of Sista Smiff and her holiday light fetish, I took some pictures.

Hitching my liver to the wagon

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

I haven’t mentioned it here, but I stopped drinking any alcohol for the month of November. I overdid it really badly on our company offsite retreat in Alabama, and I couldn’t stand the smell, sight, or thought of alcohol for days. And then I had a series of night sweats that I thought might have been detoxification. And so I thought I should probably dry out for a while, so I decided to give it the whole month.

And I really don’t miss it. Much. Well, sometimes when I get home from work after a particularly stressful day I think about pouring a vodka and tonic, but the thought actually stops there. With mixing the drink. I think I get just as much enjoyment out of preparing my drinks as I do from drinking them.

I don’t know, though. It’s getting close to the end of the month, and I’m kind of looking forward to my first drink in December as a test to see if I’ll still have the taste for it.

Vegetarianism and veganism, somewhat explained and somewhat defended

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Some controversy has been caused in the local blogosphere (historians, take note! I believe that was my first use of that word in this space) by the public declaration of veganism by Brittney Gilbert, who writes for Nashville Is Talking. A response appeared in Tiny Cat Pants, prompting dozens of comments, and various other references appeared in other blogs.

I like Brittney — she’s a good dude — and since I’ve been alternately vegan and lacto-vegetarian (or just veg*n for short — meaning any variant) for the past 10+ years, I thought I might weigh in with a few comments.


People choose to be vegetarian or vegan for any number of reasons. For me, my initial steps towards being vegetarian were tied to healthy eating, and reading Diet For A New America cemented my decision on ethical grounds.

The most impressive people I’ve ever met are Lorri and Gene Bauston, founders and owners of Farm Sanctuary. They learned about factory farming and knew they had to do something about it. To raise the funds to open their first shelter in New York, they sold tofu dogs at Grateful Dead concerts for years. Since then, they’ve been instrumental in lobbying for laws banning “downers,” foie gras, and much more. I’ve been to Farm Sanctuary’s California shelter quite a few times and shared a few meals with the Baustons. I organized the first Walk For Farm Animals in Portland, Oregon. I’ve met Howard Lyman and heard him speak about the importance of reforming the farming industry. I’ve met Lin Jensen and heard him speak about the qualities of inner peace that can be found in a peaceful diet. I’ve met Jennifer Raymond and heard her speak about vegan cooking (and even sampled her cooking!). I’ve met Linda Blair and heard her speak about being vegetarian and an advocate for animals.

Farm Sanctuary isn’t the only organization out there doing this work, of course — there are dozens of other organizations doing great things for farm animals and other animals, and much of that work protects non-veg*ns, too (such as work done to prevent the spread of BSE, or Mad Cow disease). And those organizations don’t all look or behave like PeTA, either. (Not that I don’t agree with PeTA — they’re just on the radical end of the spectrum. Radicals arguably help moderates make progress. But that’s a different discussion.)

Anyway, what I see in the discussion that’s been happening in the past few days — and what I’ve experienced for myself for years — is that there’s a lot of anti-veg misinformation out there, a lot of anti-veg mythology, and yes, perhaps a lot of pro-veg smugness too. The latter is hard to contain, but it may be just an evolutionary process: a lot of times it’s the zeal of the newly converted. After a while, most veg*ns probably learn that it’s easier to get along in mainstream society if you’re fairly low-key about your diet, and only offer up information when asked.

The anti-veg stuff is a bit harder. Once people have an idea in their minds, it can be hard to shake it out. If anyone has ever met even one smug veg*n, it seems like all veg*ns look smug for ever more. There’s also the issue of odd debates. Non-veg*ns often draw strange conclusions about the motives and attitudes of veg*ns.

From Aunt B’s veg*n-questions post at Tiny Cat Pants:

Many of you become vegetarians/vegans because of concerns about whether animals are treated humanely during the farming process.  Are you not also concerned about the suffering of human beings during the farming process?  Are the hands lost to augers during your soybean harvest less of a concern to you?  What about the inhumane treatment of migrant workers brought in to harvest fruits and vegetables?  Is it because you perceive they have some choice in participating in farming that makes their suffering more palatable?

This is a strawman. The suffering of human farmers and farm-hands has nothing to do with the suffering of animals, in that, just because I choose to modify my diet in such a way as to reduce my burden on the suffering of animals, it doesn’t follow that I don’t care about the suffering of humans. On the contrary, the stories I’ve heard first-hand from people who’ve worked in slaughterhouses and factory farms are enough to convince me that avoiding animal products not only has a positive impact on so-called “food” animals, but also stands a chance of positively impacting human work conditions.

Similarly, Aunt B asks:

Do you believe it’s possible to live a morally uncompromized life?

No, and I think this line of questioning is useless. Non-vegetarians frequently take vegetarians to task over what they consider inconsistencies in their reasoning. Yet I’ve never heard a veg*n claim to be perfect, or claim that they had no impact on the earth or its fellow inhabitants.

Yes, I realize how ridiculous our choices are to many of you. It’s fun to make fun of us. My friends and coworkers do it all the time. (”Let’s go to the steakhouse for lunch today, Kate!” Ha ha.) Odd how few people consider it appropriate to make fun of other lifestyle choices or beliefs. But I’ve got a thick skin and I don’t mind it. Not everyone does, and I actually met someone once who said she used to be vegetarian but she couldn’t handle the social awkwardness. Whether you think it’s silly or not, isn’t that a bit unfortunate?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people point at my shoes and ask if they’re leather. They’re not, but what’s the idea? Is there a vegan lifestyle police force I don’t know about?

Some veg*ns are pompous holier-than-thou jerks, some are judgmental of non-veg*ns, some are looking for opportunities to make meat-eaters feel bad about their diets. But a lot of us are not. A lot of us are trying to make the world a kinder, gentler place, and our actions are not an indictment of your actions, even if you choose to interpret them as such. Our actions have nothing to do with you.

Speaking for myself, I can say that I know of at least 6 people who’ve become vegan or vegetarian citing my indirect influence, and that flatters me. But I don’t set out to convince anyone to stop eating meat, let alone cheese (it’s amusing to me that I hear from people so often “I could give up meat but never cheese!”). On the other hand, I would love to convince people to stop participating in a process that marginalizes both the farmer and the farm animal, but that goes well beyond where we decide to go for lunch together.

Gingko Tree, Autumn

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006
Gingko Tree, Autumn
Gingko Tree, Autumn,
originally uploaded by historicgermantown.

Isn’t this gorgeous? It’s a block and a half from our house, but I somehow didn’t catch it when it was in peak color like this. Photography is a wonderful thing.

Ka-yooot!

Friday, November 24th, 2006

Okapi, okapi, okapi! How I love thee, okapi.

Just look at this bay-bee okapi, born at the Brookfield Zoo in the west suburbs of Chicago:

Adorable!

Major micro-management

Friday, November 24th, 2006

Good observation from John Oates:

[Hall & Oates] had been in the traditional music business for over 25 years and in the mid-90s it had changed so drastically that it really didn’t have much to do with us and what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do things. The record labels became very proactive with artists, in terms of choosing material and deciding what they were going to be and what type of music they should make, and that really was completely one-eighty from the way we approach music and how we grew up in the business.

In the ‘70s and ‘80s they let us pretty much do what we wanted and they figured out a way of marketing it and that was the kind of the paradigm that we operated within.

I’d read this sort of commentary before, but it usually has more of the flavor of “the labels don’t nurture the artists like they used to.” This slant on it is different and perhaps more accurate. Increasingly in the past few years I’ve seen calls for band demos that dictate the sound the artists should have, such as “Looking for male singer-songwriter with Jack Johnson lyrics and John Mayer guitar sound” or whatever. Instead of relying on A&R scouts to find something original and interesting happening in the clubs, the labels have already decided what copycat sound they want to release next, and are out looking for someone to be good impersonators.

Some of my in-the-know friends would probably make the argument that that’s always been the case, more or less. But it feels more like truth than ever. If you’re a true original, major labels are probably not the place for you.

Yes, I know, the icon is Daryl, not John. But I don’t have a John icon, nor do I want one. Daryl is so much nicer to look at.

It’s so bad, it’s funny

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Karsten always says I’m at my funniest when times are bad. Or, put another way, when I’m really cracking him up, he knows I’m really feeling down.

I knew I wasn’t the only one:

A Hurricane Katrina evacuee walks up to a woman in a bar and says, “Want to go back to my place?”

“I’d love to,” the woman replies.

“So would I,” the man says.

In New Orleans, struggling to get back on its feet more than a year after Hurricane Katrina, stand-up comedy and satire are surging in popularity, as survivors of the storm turn to humor, the darker the better, to cope with their plight.

Hey, we all need something to get us through. I’m glad some of these folks have found what helps them. I’m sure they’d find it even more relieving, though, if they could actually get back to normal.

This holiday season, when you think about gifts and homecomings and all the rest of it, maybe you can send a little something to the Red Cross so they can help Hurricane Katrina survivors get back on their feet.

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Dead mice and droppings and old shoes, oh my!

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

This is all good and well, but I don’t want to think about what qualifies as “aromatherapy” for most dogs and cats. Eww.

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Inspiration, perspiration, and success

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

Cool story, and a great lesson.

And I love the song the author of the article is referring to. Karsten and I had just finished demo’ing a song called “Moved On” when this song, “I’m Movin’ On” hit big. At first, I rolled my eyes and thought, “great, now no one’s going to touch ours” since the general consensus about titles seems to be that music biz people shy away from anything that sounds too similar to anything else that’s been popular recently. (And that’s a very fine line, of course, because popular music is all about working within what sounds similar to everything else that’s out there. But it just can’t be too similar.) Anyway, then once I really listened to the song, I fell in love with it.

I can say this about the article: I do know that it’s incredibly hard to work so hard for so long at something you want so badly with so little return. I have no trouble understanding why so many people give up and leave Nashville (or give up and stop working at whatever it is they’re trying to accomplish). The phrase “believe in yourself” has been overused to the point of meaninglessness, but here, you are only as strong as your ability to smile when people tell you you suck. And you’re only as good as your ability to cannibalize your own heartbreak. And it’s either all about reinventing yourself, or all about staying true to yourself, or both. And it’s either all about marketing, or it’s all about soul, or both. And heaven help you if you can’t make sense of all that.

But my big successes as a songwriter are still ahead of me, so other than that, I have little to add to Williams’ wisdom. I just hope that someday I’ll be writing articles of my own to inspire up-and-coming songwriters to stick with it and “believe in themselves.” It’s a powerful feeling when you really realize what  that cliche actually means. 

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Observations from my web site stats

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

Web stats are fun.

Thanks largely to the mytreo.net article, Honeybowtie.com received triple its average number of unique visitors in October, using something like four times the normal bandwidth. Wow.

The next-most voluminous referrer, though, is http://www.polyamory.org/SF/poly-folks.html, and has been for some time. I would never have guessed that so many people would click on my name, midway down the list, out of all those names on that page. Weird. And then they probably think they ended up in the wrong place. Maybe I should have that changed that to point to my LiveJournal user profile. That would probably be a more useful landing place for someone looking for poly and poly-friendly people.

Someone actually ended up on honeybowtie.com after searching for “gpyoua42yb5xz3jp”. Someone else ended up there by searching for “k&k flowers chicago”. You’d think they’d have been able to tell from the title “Honey Bowtie Music” in their search results that we’re not a florist web site.

A fairly steady stream of people wander onto our site by looking for information on the producers, studios, and demo singers we’ve worked with. I’m going to think about how to play that up, because that’s the kind of traffic we want.

Veterans Day ponderings

Saturday, November 11th, 2006

It’s Veterans’ Day, and it’s my niece’s birthday. Prior to last year, that was a point most often acknowledged by the joke about how, the day my niece was born, it was also Labor Day for my sister. Last year, the overlap gained new significance as my dad — her grandfather — had just died (on 11/5), and was to be buried in a veterans’ cemetary. The funeral was on 11/10. I thought a lot that day about how hard my niece’s birthday the next day would be for her. In fact, one of my most daunting challenges all that week was trying find a birthday card that said the right variation on “hope you have a happy birthday anyway.”

= = =

My dad’s service in the Army back in the ’50s was as an Arabic linguist, so his work was in Military Intelligence. We didn’t discuss it often when I was growing up, but we knew it. I’ll never forget the first argument we had after 9/11. He’d been visiting me and Karsten in Portland on 9/10 while traveling on business, and then had to go on to Vancouver, BC. Following the restrictions of 9/11, he was stuck in Canada for a few days. When he came back a few weeks later to complete his business trip, we walked along the Cumberland River and got into a heated argument about why. If I could have it to do again, I’d shut the hell up and listen to him. I didn’t have to agree with him, but he was an expert on the region (albeit with dated expertise), and I just might have learned a thing or two instead of presuming he was coming from a place of conservatism and closed-mindedness.

= = =

Here’s a bit of trivia: I almost joined the military myself; did you know that? I was all set to follow in my father’s footsteps, as a military linguist. I scored very well on the ASVAB and absolutely rocked the DLAB. Highest score ever recorded in the state of Illinois, they told me. When I told my dad, he beamed and said he’d scored the highest ever recorded in the state of Maryland when he took it, and then he hugged his little language-learning-freak daughter. Over the next few weeks, though, the Army stalked me. Recruiters called me morning and evening, recruiters tried to give me rides home from school, recruiters made a nuisance of themselves. And I felt positively cornered. So I told them to get lost. It took a lot of repeating myself to get the message across, but eventually they did give up and go away.

So, this is embarassing to admit, but on 9/11, one of my first feelings was guilt. With my score on the DLAB, I knew I may very well have been an Arabic linguist, and there may very well have been something I could have done to better prepare us as a country. I know, I know, it’s a ridiculous, arrogant thought. Like I said, it’s embarassing to admit. But it was an honest reaction, and a well-meaning one.

= = =

My boyfriend during the first few years in college was an Army Ranger. He was in the reserves, though, so after basic training, he only had to report for duty one weekend each month. He came over to see me on a break from his duty one weekend, but there was a miscommunication and no one knew where he was. He was actually AWOL, which both freaked me out (AWOL? just to see me?!) and amused me greatly. The scariest part was when his grandmother found out. She got really mad at him. The Army should have recruited her as a drill sergeant. She was terrifying.

= = =

After writing all this out, all that’s left is to sincerely thank the people who’ve actually put up with the recruiters, gone through with enlistment, and who’ve done something for our country. There are many ways to serve a concept you believe in, and the military is one dangerous way to serve the concept of the greatness of the USA. It’s a concept that we don’t always live up to, but I deeply appreciate the work of those who believe in it enough to risk their lives for.

My review of “Stranger Than Fiction”: Brilliant concept, disappointing execution

Saturday, November 11th, 2006

The premise for this film excited me; at first glance, I even thought it might have been a Charlie Kaufman screenplay. (No, turns out it’s by a first-time screenwriter. Inspired by Charlie Kaufman, perhaps?) The trailer reassured me that there was hope for an original story and an enjoyable movie experience. I commented that the trap to avoid here would be the “hero discovers how meaningless his life is and undergoes a transformation into a new, more interesting person” cliche; if the filmmakers could avoid that and give us some original character development, we might just have a great film.

I’m disappointed to report that they did not avoid that trap. True, the transformation wasn’t quite as over-the-top as it is in some films, but it did rely heavily on ever-greater interaction with the love interest, a more casual wardrobe, a hip song performance, and a handful of other overused vehicles that scream “Look at me! I’m a character with an ARC!”

Beyond that, the characters lacked the kind of likeability it usually takes to rally the audience behind their development anyway. When the success of a story hinges on the audience caring about whether the hero lives or dies, the audience had better want him to live. Instead, I felt resigned to the idea that he might die and idly interested in what might happen next. In other words, the filmmakers never really reached me.

The dryness of the humor, the attempts at stylish special effects, the offbeat nature of the story, the pacing of it all — these are all hallmarks of films I love and should have been an easy “in” for the filmmakers with a viewer like me. Instead, I found myself bored by the cloying attempts to merely imitate great films rather than to invent something truly new and original.

For example, the side plot involving Emma Thompson as the novelist and Queen Latifah as her seen-it-all assistant sent by the publisher was as tired as it was tiresome. Emma Thompson was, as usual, more than competent in her role, but to what end? Even she couldn’t elevate the quality of this effort.

And however refreshing it should have been to see Will Ferrell take on a role with more substance than he had to work with in, say, Anchorman or Bewitched, the material here too often gave him miserably little to work with. The audience is left watching Ferrell brush his teeth while we have the nagging sense it’s supposed to be funny.

It should be noted that I saw this film in a theater that must have been full of forgiving Ferrell fans, because there were titters at many of these awkward, un-funny, mundane scenes. If you’re a diehard Ferrell fan, maybe it’s worth the price of admission to laugh at Ferrell as he ties his necktie and brushes his teeth. If you’re a more casual fan of Ferrell’s, you might want to wait and rent this one. And if you’re Ferrell-ambivalent, give this a miss.

- as contributed to Amazon (2 stars out of 5) and IMDb (5 stars out of 10)
(Yes, I know 2 out of 5 and 5 out of 10 doesn’t make much sense. But such is the logic of rating on different scales. We used to go round and round on what constituted the most sensible ratings scale when I worked at Netflix and we would debate allowing users to rate with half-stars. Case in point: 3 out of 5 feels too generous, but 4 out of 10 feels too harsh.)

Side note: parts of the film are shot on location at University of Illinois at Chicago, my alma mater. That was weird, mostly because they were clearly using the buildings for their harsh architectural feel to add visual tension. (What else would you expect from “Brutalist” architecture?) I worked for years in a building very similar to the one they shot in (when I worked at and later ran the Language Lab). It’s odd to see your old school / workplace used in that way.

Update: Roger Ebert disagrees with me, but that’s no surprise. Although I deeply respect his opinion and his work, I think he’s being too generous in his assessment. He’s not wrong in the points he makes about the film, but those points just don’t add up, and he’s doing the math as if they do.

(Oh, also, he does reference the location, saying the director often chose “spare and cold Mies van der Rohe buildings.” The UIC buildings weren’t Mies van der Rohe, but maybe some of the other locations were.)

Mostly, I think the screenplay could have used another edit. It could have been a really cool movie if it had been made better.

Standalone news reader for Windows?

Saturday, November 11th, 2006

On my Mac, I use NetNewsWire for all my RSS needs, and I love it. I’ve tried a few RSS reader plugins for Firefox on my work-issued PC, but I don’t like any of ‘em. Can anyone recommend a free or inexpensive standalone news reader for Windows, ideally very similar to NetNewsWire?

New windows!

Saturday, November 11th, 2006

New windows!
New windows!,
originally uploaded by Kate O’.

Here’s what cost me the scratch in my arm yesterday. It was worth it.

When it rains it freakin’ pours!

Friday, November 10th, 2006

On top of the issues I’ve been having with the weakness in my arms and legs, etc, I now look as if I attempted suicide on my wrist. With a cat.

We’re having our new windows installed today, and the installer showed up surprisingly early — 7:30 AM, in fact. So we scrambled to round up the cats (well, Karsten scrambled — I shuffled) and lock them in the cat room. We got all except one, the smallest one. Bopper, the Ninjakitten (see icon). The one who was a feral kitten when we adopted her and who reverts to wildcat behavior when she’s scared. For 20 minutes, Karsten and I chased her back and forth across the house, frightening her into a panic state. Karsten was ready to give up. I was ready to try a different approach.

She was cowering in a corner of the living room, ears down, hissing, when I approached her slowly and made soothing noises. I took my time reassuring her, and she gradually began to relax. After a lot of convincing, I was able to pick her up and carry her all the way across the house with only minimal struggle on her part. Only when we got to the cat room door did she start to freak out, writhing wildly and carving a 5-inch gouge into my left inner wrist and a puncture in my right palm. But by god, I got her into that cat room.

And then I started cussin’ and cryin’ about how bad it hurt. Yowch! I should have taken pictures of it, but it was kind of gross. I’m all bandaged up now, and had to put on an extra-long-sleeved shirt to cover my wrist so my coworkers wouldn’t think I was making a desperate cry for help.

What a week this has been!

More on the flu shot

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

This probably makes me sound like a hypochondriac, but after describing my progression of symptoms following my flu shot to a coworker, she did some searching on the web, found out about Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and suggested I read up on it. It was a good call; everything I’ve read about it resonates with what I’m experiencing. From a variety of web sites:

… some patients have developed GBS after receiving an immunization… . It typically begins with weakness and/or abnormal sensations of the legs and arms. …causes rapidly progressing muscle weakness… . The signs and symptoms of GBS usually appear rapidly over the course of a single day.

I’m using this entry to document the symptoms I’ve been having in case I need to go to see a doctor. (I don’t have insurance, so I’m trying to gather as much information as possible before making the decision to do that.)

As I wrote last night, the first oddity I experienced after the flu shot was a strong metallic taste in my mouth.

Within 15-20 minutes, I was starting to feel woozy and a little weak.

The weakness persisted throughout the day (as did the metallic taste) and by the time I went to sleep last night, I was feeling very “off.” My body didn’t feel right at all, and the closest I can come to articulating that better is that my nerves felt like they do when I had a fever even though I didn’t feel feverish.

When I woke up this morning, I commented to Karsten that my arms and legs felt like mush, and it felt like it was going to be an effort just to stand or walk. I also said that I had a strange feeling like my body didn’t fit right. I still had the metallic taste, and I still had the heightened awareness of my nerves across my body.

Most of the web sites say there is no real treatment and it’s difficult to diagnose, so I’ll just be monitoring these symptoms myself until/unless I notice anything of an increasingly alarming disposition. I’m hopeful that it will just run its course and I’ll be done with it.

Scatterlings

Thursday, November 9th, 2006
  • I got a flu shot today, and almost immediately began experiencing a strong metallic taste in my mouth. Within twenty minutes, I began to feel woozy. The nurse who administered the shot said she’d never heard of the metallic taste side effect, but advised me to eat and drink something. I did, but both symptoms have continued throughout the day. Only after getting the shot (and starting to experience my weird symptoms) did I have a conversation with a coworker who told me what she knew about the suspected hazards of flu shots (with mercury looking more and more like the culprit for my metallic taste), and now I really wish I hadn’t gotten that damn shot.
  • Work is pretty hectic right now, and looks as if it will continue to be hectic for the rest of the month. Can’t really talk about it, but hey! Great timing for NaSoWriMo, right?
  • But Rummy is out and Webb is in, so Democrats appear to have the Senate, and we can all wish Donald a fond farewell. That’s at least a halfway decent consolation prize for the shock and frustration that was the landslide passage of Amendment 1 in Tennessee.

Update: Just adding a link, for my future reference, to the entry I went back and found from three years ago when I got a flu shot and also described my state as “woozy.” So… I’m thinking this’ll be my last flu shot.

I can’t bring myself to be flippant about this

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

It looks as if Amendment 1 will pass, and that sickens me. It upsets Mike at Chez Bez, too, and he makes an interesting observation:

I see amendments like these and think that it’s just a ploy by one party to get people to the polls (”Don’t have an opinion about taxes? How about gays?”). But then, in a tight race where Corker is currently winning with 53% and the amendment winning by over 80%, that tells me that a lot of Ford voters are voting YES, too. (Or does that mean that a lot of YES voters aren’t casting a vote for the senate at all?)

Considering that a vote for Ford is almost not even a vote for a Democrat, I can see where there’s little conflict with voting for Ford and voting Yes for Amendment 1. And I suppose it’s not a given that Democrats are going to be supportive of gay rights anyway (don’t ask, don’t tell!) and some conservatives have been making some good arguments against 1, like this amusing but logical-in-its-conservatism argument:

Constitutional Amendment #1: No. I make it a point not to care what other people do with their lives, as long as it doesn’t affect me. The gays getting married, though I believe inadvisable, isn’t my business. If your answer in this debate is to amend the state constitution to prevent the possibility of such a union, you should think about what that means. Rather than limiting the power of government over our lives, you are expanding it. What could be more Communist than that?

and this conservative’s argument about a better way to “protect” marriage:

Defense against threats–real or preceived–has won many elections for the Republicans, and so I guess they’re sticking to the “defense” guns on the marriage amendment as well. Even though it’s among the weaker arguments the Vote Yes camp can offer.

And even with all that sound reasoning, it looks like Amendment 1 will pass. Oh, Tennessee, I’m disappointed in us.

Confidential…

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

to the people who didn’t vote because it would have taken too long or been too inconvenient:

Yeah, you’re right. It really would be much more convenient to live in a dictatorship.

Long line at polling place, North Nashville

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

Long line at polling place, North Nashville
Long line at polling place, North Nashville,
originally uploaded by Kate O’.

I also posted this over at Nashville Metroblogging, but check out these lines out the door by 7:20 AM.

Corrupted voting? Or, oh no she didn’t!

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

And this is just the CMAs!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_P-aYADTkw

I have no idea what Faith was saying before the winner was announced, although some theories are that she was saying “I better fucking win.” But there’s no denying that she said “WHAT?!” when the winner was announced.

Update: Faith Hill and her manager are both claiming that she was making a joke and that she didn’t know she was on camera.

As for the joke: yes, Faith is known as a bit of a jokester, but really, this is a big misstep. For someone who’s been in the entertainment business as long as she has, she has to know that #1) perception is everything, and #2) awards ceremonies draw hyper-attention from the kind of casual crowds who have no insight into the personalities of the people involved. As such, most viewers were bound to perceive her reaction as a freakout and, well, see #1.

As for the camera: what human who’s ever seen even one awards show doesn’t realize that nominees are onscreen while winners are being announced? Not only that, but since she was on camera, that implies that she was standing right in front of a camera. I give her intelligence more credit than to buy that excuse.

In all fairness to Faith, it does seem a little odd that someone who clearly modeled herself after Faith took the award. Moreover, Carrie’s performance earlier in the evening was definitely not award-worthy. I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but it’s rather apparent that Joe Galante has a vested interest in the promotion and success of Carrie Underwood, based solely on the number of photo ops he’s posed for with her. A man as powerful as he is could certainly (directly or indirectly) influence block voting and sway a number of groups.

The funniest part of the whole thing, to me, is that a number of my coworkers were at the ceremony and had no idea about any of it until they came into the office this morning and heard it from those of us who watched it on TV or read about it from a liveblogging source. It’s probably some consolation to those of us who didn’t get to revel in all the glamour that staying home may have been more fun.

Anyway, I wonder what the fallout will be with Faith’s fan base.

No content, but a linky: feminism and (not) dieting

Monday, November 6th, 2006

I’m swamped with work at the moment so I’ve got nothing of my own to say, but I just peeked out at some of my favorite blogs and saw something I know some of my friends would appreciate. Many of my friends, especially here on LiveJournal, are very thoughtful and knowledgeable about beauty and size as it relates to feminism, so I thought you’d like to see this great post by Aunt B.

I’m sure she’d welcome comments at her blog, but feel free to add them here if you’re not comfortable leaving them in a stranger’s blog.