Saturday, February 26, 2011

Francis King Rainforest and Fungus Photo Tour: Lush!

Welcome to Francis King Park, a lush tropic rainforest visited just before the snowfall. It is nearby, wheelchair accessible (kinda) with boardwalks and most of all: verdant views.

This is where I would stand and mumble, “My name is Beth, and I….am a camera whore.” Yes, it is an addition, more than a hobby, I want to see what can’t be seen. And relish in what can. This is a forest ALIVE in winter: rivers of green running up trees.
I like green. Along the wheeling path the planners even had a hut to rest out of the rain. It too had been taken back by the forest, as spores and moss can’t tell the difference between fallen logs and these nice cut up logs and that you nail together for them to cling to. It is scenic plus a reminder to not stay and stare TOO long. Here, a rolling wheelchair grows no moss, cause everything else does!

We have a friend who likes fungi, and personally, I would like to know more about the fungi we find (so please help identify if you know – moss I think I can spot!). So whenever Linda or I see Fungi in the rainforest, we get excited to take some photos (unlike the other 92 photos we took on this trip). I have the camera with macro and most important: a complete rotational swivel screen to help me shoot pictures in macro upside down while seeing and aiming the camera. It is the Canon’s wheelchair friendly digital camera (this ‘old’ $299 camera costs over $600 now if you can find it, it is that popular).

As we wheeled and walked and took pictures, the sun would come and go, adding and taking away colours. One stump looked like something out of a Lovecraft or William Hope Hodgson’s story: where a ship, or forest camp, lulled in doldrums, has shambling human outlines in the fog, tinted green with soft and spongy gaits, saying, “Too late for us, too late.”
The truth is, the very thing that we fear, is often the most beautiful (and I fear fungi, a little). But how can I fear this, which was on the stump I was taking pictures of earlier: they are sculptures, mixing fractals with marble works in miniature.
One tree had two different colored growths, which ran up and down it like steps, or lost colonies, alien ones, which we can barely visit or glimpse.
Down around the other side of the tree, Linda was able to carefully step off the trail to capture some of the overlooked fungi, a colony unattached to a tree.
Here it reminds me of glass, blown glass from Venice, or the kind you have in vases and plates, with the candy crackled edges.
Here is what that looks from above, a fungi most people would have walked by. It is smaller than a hand, and easy to miss when looking up, unaware that sometimes, it pays to look at things from a different viewpoint, and stop for a closer peek.
If we ever find wild mushrooms, you will be the first to know.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snowstorm: Victoria BC, Feb 23rd, 6:00 a.m.

This is the snowfall from 4:20 a.m. to 6:15 a.m.(It was raining at 4:20 a.m., snow falling 4:25 a.m.)
Linda is sad about the flowers just emerged.

By the time I got downstairs, the walkway was not suitable for wheelchairs, limiting me. The sky and clouds were blue/purple with yellow spots of light dotting the street and coming through trees as I could see fat snowflakes whirling around and down.
A blogging thanks to Linda, who ventured out in Moccasins of deer skin and rabbit fur we got in Churchhill, MB, on Hudson's Bay in the arctic and got the shots I asked.

A cyclist rides on, disappearing into the fog, as they go up the steep hill towards town.
The sidewalks are untouched, and the snow drifts down over cars and trees. Twice, the weight of snow on an upper tree branch showered Linda with a silent snow deluge.

Though the sun is up, there is no light as yet, only a odd reflection of blue on the underside of the clouds, and the fat flakes, indicating it is just below freezing. I don't know if midday will leave us with a mucky mess, but now, it is both pretty and means delays.
I provide 'moral support' and most importantly, make sure the door is open when Linda returns.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Two top DVD's on identity: Temple Grandin and Charlie Bartlett

I watched Temple Grandin and Charlie Bartlett on the same night. Both films happened to be about individuals out of step with a culture/society and the obstacles overcome to find the place within it as a person of value.

Charlie Bartlett an ode to Harold and Maude, highlights not just the desperation of teens driven to BE…..something. I used to think that if I was busy enough, if I took enough jobs I would feel worth. Charlie does a variety of things at different schools to become popular, because popular equals happy, right.

He is told, by different adults that ‘popular is not the most important thing about high school’.

“What is?” he asks, knowing as we all do, that those who fit in, somewhere, anywhere, can at least have someone to talk to, to hang out with. The adults give no answers.
In a funny not-parody but actual session, Charlie is prescribed Prozac on the basis that IF he is more focused after he is on it, then he had ADD (This is still used by some doctors as a guide, despite that almost ANYONE will be more focused on Prozac, hence the use by exhausted moms, trying to do home and family, and college students).

Charlie decides to make a new business, where he listens to secrets, woes, or just listens to you, and also, can recommend the drugs to survive (prescribed to him by him rich mother’s shrinks). This works gangbusters because it is an easy, possible solution to making that empty ‘where do I belong’, and ‘why am I seen this way’, and ‘who am I’ feelings go away.

There are consequences and Charlie is told ‘It is not the popularity, it is what you do with it that matters.’

So, is there a way for Charlie to make a difference both for his friends, schoolmates and himself? Not without a few mishaps. The kickin song, Hey Man (now you’re really living), by the Eels, is the theme song of the DVD and back song to this taster. Charlie Bartlettis about $5 used, or $7 new.


I hesitated to watch the film Temple Grandin because I did not want to see exploitation of the ‘token’ autistic, as if this represented the diversity of Autism Spectrum (ASD) and hypersensitivity conditions. If it was going to be bad, I didn’t want to watch it. But I took a chance.
First off, Temple Grandin herself does the audio commentary on the DVD along with the writer (and it is clear that the writer does not ‘get’ Temple at some parts, and they are talking past each other). The actual tips and reality of how she survived, and adapted are in the audio commentary. For example, using reading to help with emotional over-stimulation and being around people is in the commentary along with why she uses medication (for anxiety and panic attacks, which happens to label as an anti-depression pill). She also outlines the things which helped her from various people growing up: having table manners, greeting manners, and other social issues drilled into her. But also what things can’t be changed, like over stimulation, and what can slowly be adapted. Temple Grandin, for example, does not use the ‘squeeze machine’ she invented anymore. It stopped working two years ago and she uses hugs from people instead.

For those who are interested in the details of one way to help in a non-physical (not hitting) way to teach some of these things, and socialization, I recommend Marla’s blog about raising Maize. the blog posts from 2007-2008 are particularly interesting on the day to day aspects of child rearing (as narrated through life experiences, noting what does and doesn't work). This includes from how to deal with the overcoming of emotions in leaving a friends house (or how to NOT have your child locked inside a room refusing to leave), to knowing when over-stimulation is about to occur.

The film on Temple is in HBO lush color and shows how fortunate Temple was in many ways. Her mother, a Harvard grad, simply didn’t take the doctor’s word, she wouldn’t give up. And getting a teacher, her high school science teacher, who understood her, cared and helped guide Temple’s life made a huge difference. His presence, advice and challenges in her boarding school, but also succeeding there and then again at university is due in part to his care and belief in her. To Temple, the obstacles and fears were ‘doors’ that her teacher promised lead to new opportunities and worlds for her, so she needed to go through them. It also outlines much of her love of cows and the designs she made. The trailer can be viewed here. I wanted more details about her in different environments but this movie watch pitched assuming that we might like Temple or want to know about her, but after an hour with her, we wouldn’t want to know more about what she was interested in (I slowed and stopped the film to try and get the titles of her articles, but they are cropped out).

I am not sure assigning a blind student as her roomie was someone in Admin being more kind and understanding than those in Academics, or whether (as I know happens) someone decided to room the ‘two problems’ together. As it happened, a student who saw the world visually and a student who saw the world from audio senses were a great match. In fact, when the new roomie came in, tapped the squeeze machine with her cane and told Temple that the machine didn’t bother her but to NOT MOVE IT, I smiled because that kind of room mate is just who she needed.

The film takes you to what is really the mid to late 80’s (stated in the film as 1981 and early 80’s) where for the first time a person with autism could talk to these parents who were tired of ‘experts’ debating if this or that was the cause, or beneficial. Temple was able to give concrete examples and statements that help, like she said in the commentary, she did poorly at algebra, but if she had skipped to geometry and trig, she would have excelled. She also said she met those who are the opposite, acknowledging the diversity within Autism Spectrum.

So a recommendation for the Temple Grandin DVD for the commentary (about $18 third party). For those within the Autism Spectrum, I think you will enjoy the audio commentary from the DVD, as well as recognizing actions (‘of course she’d respond that way’) from Temple, and the alienation from others. For those who want to know more about the world, and the people who continue to change it, and will, as autistic adults already make a difference in how you live your life, and will more and more as their ways of using information and data are better utilized. Temple does emphasize that learning to write, and write well is a great way to advance, as her jobs came from her articles, NOT from her ‘people’ connections.

I guess my highest recommendation is: I really enjoyed myself during BOTH films.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Beth the Dragon, Linda tames the beast: we rob banks!

After a few tough days, I decided to relax by going to boxing. A needed evil, healthwise which ended as a painful idea.

The class was small so we did ALL the time not doing sit-ups and push-ups on the heavy bag. This is not a good idea if, like me, you have muscles that tear like tissue paper. Somehow the idea that I access the muscle power, even when I am going ‘lightly’ to hit the heavy bag hard enough to tear the same muscles is odd. I did my 100+ sit-ups and 80 push-ups and several hundred combos on the bag (26 six punch combo's in a minute...ack, I am so slow!). Also I sweated a lot, whihc is sexy and good right? Sexy, like the commercials, and then I have a cold drink I slowly rub down my body or something. Only my care worker helping me with a shower was like, "My GOD did you sweat." and when I was trying to be sexy went, "Are you trying to drink that or drop it, I can't tell?"

Plus all that ripping up the muscles kinda hurts the next day, just to let you know (kind hurts that night, stops sleep and stuff).

So the next day (today), I move like a crab and I try to get sexy with a can of root beer and end up dropping it.

Also, where no nerves are has made some muscles atrophy so much that they are just covered with skin: the bone, sinew and blood vessels covered lightly over with skin, like a tent.

I have this compulsion to cut through the skin at a couple areas where I can feel the bone underneath, just to see it (is it always white?), and the blood pumping along. This I have been told by a couple people, care givers and those who care, is a BAD idea. All sorts of infections, sepsis and gangrene can follow – turns out curiosity can kill this kitty.

Linda was brill, she saved an extra pain patch though this morning it had NOT kicked in yet so I woke like a dragon, WHUMP, my fire breathing decimates a village, WHUMP, I burn down everything to the left. “AHHH, why are you making noise like the band section practicing?” I shriek. “T-A-L-K softly” I said with the intensity of my eyes bulging out of sockets as I seem to try to be strangling the care worker with my eyeballs. I had to send someone out of the room because the PENCIL was ‘too loud’ on the paper. WHUMP, the wild dragon girl has arrived.

Pain doesn’t make me pretty, makes me all want to eat the bitter, just to make it stop. Pain just makes everything loud and intense and I see myself being bitchy even when I don’t want to. And then, when the patch kicked in, which it did so noticeably that over 3 minutes, I went from, “AHHHH, why are you so confusing when you talk!” to “Ohh, this is really nice Linda, I really appreciate how you have put these tastes together, that was very thoughtful.”

Linda wanted to know what the patch was like.

I said, “Well, I still hurt and ache but……I can think complete sentences. Oh, and I now have control over the volumes at which I speak. I also don’t just howl at the computer screen when I can’t find a file. It is…nice.”

So, due to boxing, I have edema pushed back so much that I have a shapely leg again, and I can play with my boobies and feel more tingle than pain. Plus, I can be a tongue in cheek goth again and eat flowers and stare mysteriously (there is no fun being a ‘wanting to shriek all the time in agony goth’ because you’re not a goth, you just are...wanting to die). I am not sure where I can get the odd bonnet, or the amount of material – I guess I need sewing skills beyond mine. But I am good at eating flowers , which seems a requirement for all introspective angsty gals.

This is how Linda thinks of the patch and I think of the pain. Because Linda is about the ‘practical’ and ponders, and I just ‘ponder’. Which I am sure is good for something. Hold on while I eat some more odd stuff and get angsty while I ponder. Yes, look at Postcard Project post and how 'Nothing Matters': so deep, and gothy.

This is Linda and I to a T, as I am using waxing on mentally about how things connect and the the historical and human connections, how this feeling has universal meaning and Linda is looking up going, “Oh yeah, did I remember to bring the towels in from the dryer yet?” Hey, we all need people to care about towels being brought in from the dryer.

Meanwhile, I am high on a bit of hot sauce (the endorphins make me want to drink and either take my clothes off or kick some butt).

So thanks to Linda thinking about pain patches and laundry, I have a nice bed, and sanity, of a sort. I hope you have a good weekend. Linda and I are going to carve up the town, starting maybe with the banks, then onto robbing other things. But first off I want to find out exactly what kind of webbed panties she is wearing – I told someone yesterday, I would try anything once, twice really, except for some sexual positions (once is enough to know, ‘Yeah..um, no, that isn’t doing it at all!’). So you have a kicking weekend!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Long Road: horror and beauty

How was my valentines day? Oh, it was an emotional boiling, rolling fiery cauldron of emotional pain, isolation and hurting, both at each other and ourself, holding on to that thin thread and refusing to give up on the good, though it couldn't be seen. And we didn't, not even after 10.5 hours of it. That was followed the next day by heat stroke, paralysis for over three hours while my brain boiled, and my body shook and a loss of an eye for, well, I don’t know yet. Oh, yeah, there was pain plus a guest star, thanks to my doctor: a surprise monster hormonal period.

My doc decided I wasn't in 'teeth clenching until they crack while I sleep' pain but I was more ‘achy’. Yeah, the 'achy' is why my hands shook so bad today I had to be helped to eat today. And because women low on estrogen get ‘achy’, he doubled it, which is good in theory, but in practice, put me out of synch with Linda and triggered a monster pain/emotion implosion for two days (for the guys here, this is know as, 'the time I need to leave my wife/spouse/friends who are female alone, and get them chocolate donuts')

And this was a monster implosion. I hear they can see the crater from space. The international space station is wondering what that is. It is a woman with so much pain in her spine that it hurts to lie down, who suddenly got the ability to shoot fire out of her eyes.

So I have been a wee insane. Linda noticed tonight that my OCD was getting more and more intense, and the more I tried to ‘control’ it, the more I looped that energy back into it. Plus my heart rate while sitting relaxed was 115 bpm. So maybe, I'm not that relaxed.

Control. We want it, we hate it when other people have it. It is beyond the pain, the whole body falling apart in different ways, the things which makes being ill suck. Today, I couldn’t move, I could just lie there, burning and burning in my skull, wanting to vomit, and pee and all my nerves were paralyzed so I just stared out and felt that part which has the best of me being boiled alive.

In the last two days I have bleed from my nose, from my mouth, twice from my ear, and that just is. You know, I wipe the blood off and continue the conversation, which might be, ‘No, I won’t take that pill, you touched it and it has germs.”

For those who have gone down The Long Road, the one that has no future, no plans, no hope, you know what I mean. No hope: that’s the worst, the knowledge in your gut that this is it, that pain and blood, and knowing that there isn’t a person to talk to about this is all life will be.

A caretaker SEES, but they don’t feel it. When a caretaker messes up, and we all do, the person cared for suffers. When I mess up, I suffer, when Linda messes up, I suffer, when the care worker messes up, I suffer. And for the last days, that is all I was able to see: the eternity of time between now and death filled with twists and turns of suffering both emotionally and physically each day. The LONG ROAD.

Maybe you know it. Those who are bipolar should. And those with depression, and chronic illnesses. The long road. The time when each part of the day is gutted out because you’ve given up on dreams and anything besides THIS. The what is.

There is no easy cure for The Long Road. You just got to gut it out. And then somehow, all those things which have to be done, which are your future become both horror and beauty. The little laughs or a limp smile from a comment that has nothing to do with anything but makes it somehow okay for that minute, and maybe the next minute too. And that is how things are sometimes.

It took me three hours to eat my breakfast which has: bowl of stuff to help digest in intestine, laxative, soft roughage, laxative, tea I don’t like because it helps the edema, stuff I hate but have to eat in order to create lower intestine lubricant to limit the amount of anal bleeding, another bowl of laxatives, three bowls of pills for heart, liver, and so much else, and water. I have had the same breakfast, every single day for the last 900 days.

Probably too much detail.

It took me a caregiver and 20 minutes to eat the second bowl (upper intestines, and soft roughage). Because I can’t miss a day, I hate it, I have to eat it and finish before my heart sends me to the hospital, so if I don’t finish before I stabilize my heart (and if I just take the pills – that, I have found out, is a very quick trip in an ambulance!), I have incredible pain and a race to not go to the hospital.

“That’s not so bad” you think. Except that is just one of the dozens of things I HAVE to do, no matter how sick, or how cranky, or how much pain, if I can’t hold a spoon, they feed it to me, and if I can’t swallow, they massage my throat. So, tell me, in 900 days, how you never get down, or sad, or sick of the same damn food, never wonder if this is all there is? And they just keep adding more and more things I have to do at breakfast, so much now that it fills more than a tray (3 mugs, 1 bottle, 2 bowls with spoon, 4 bowls of pills, 1 bowl of lubricant, which must be chewed to a small pulp before swallowing, two full containers).

But that is the price for living the rest of the day, or one of the prices. And sometimes whether it is breakfast or just getting out of bed with the pain in the bones and muscles, it is, that day, just a hill that is too hard to climb.

Except there isn’t anyone else who can climb it for you.

Welcome to The Long Road.

I hope it is easier tomorrow.

Here is your reporter from the land of insanity, signing off.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Beth back in touch, Linda a perv, gifts for all, and good DVD film reviews

I apologize for being out of touch. I live on an island and a ferry brings over my post. Every year, the boat which brings the post has to repaint and fix things. That happened, only there was more to fix, so according to Linda, I have not be able to send postcards, or letters or gifts for almost a month. And the same is true for any things you have sent me. I feel frustrated and that I have failed people in being there for you. I feel so far away, unable to help or be there.
In health here are some baselines: I can speak two hours maximum a day, after that I cannot convert enough oxygen and pass out, stop breathing and go into seizures of brain damage. I can think clearly, but at about 1/5th your speed for two hours, and then it becomes very difficult to make a sentence. And I can focus at least one eye for four hours before needing to sleep. An average email will take 40 minutes if it is 2 paragraphs and 90 to 140 minutes if longer. I can look at books when just awake for an couple hours, then a couple hours of manga, then nothing, waiting for help to come, unable to read or see for the last few hours. If I can see, I watch DVD’s as I am able, using the visual aspects to stimulate my mind, reach the information on history or connect information to keep my mind from degenerating further. Because, sitting/lying around until assistance comes, with only sight in one eye, gasping to breathe and with the dragging weight of fatigue is not as fun as described in the 'Fatigue, illness and you: fun filled days' brochure. Don't buy the time share, and PLEASE don't buy the 'full package' (ohh that sounded rude!).

For example, thanks to an Amazon.co.uk gift card, I bought, waited then watched Beneath Hill 60 (region 2), a true event: exciting and tense war story from WWI about civilian engineers from Australia who, after Gallipoli, mined deep under the European trenches. The Germans did the same as it was a battle of expertise, with a war of mining to set explosions, counter mining, blowing up the area around enemies tunnels to bury them alive, all done up to 90 feet BELOW the trenches, and the man in charge of the Australian crew, high on awards and highly recommended.

Also this month, I have had to choose between pure survival and the energy needed to write or email or blog. On bad days, it seems like ‘This is it, however this ends, it will be soon.” And on good days, it is, “I can hang on for a good long time.” I end up my worst enemy as I use my energy to try and keep to energy levels of before. So on good days I spend energy ‘catching up’ until like a boat running into the shore, I hit the end of energy with a boom. Much like the last three days, when I sleep or am awake but unable to move, on a full oxygen mask with complete blue hands and purple arms, shaking in body shock.

After Xmas, there were some DVD sales, which I got, as well as some presents, which I bought, but have yet to find people to give them to (as I forget the 'right person') or energy to wrap them. Five boxes of gifts, waiting, because for those who care about me, and act, in kindness or even to pity me, I want them to know that if my life is better due to them, I hope I give them something to make their life better as well (like Emily the Strange!). Do they like puzzles? I have one puzzle left from my visit to the Ghibli Museum, a Victoria Francis gothic rarity, and some Yaoi fun.
Though due to limited funds, I cannot give as I might wish, flooding every person with exotic and rare treats: because often my disposable income is limited, I might have $1 to someone’s $10, so I want to make sure my $5 or $10 or $20 finds something wonderful, a TREASURE.
I try to make sure to send a gift to anyone who sends me something, but am frustrated because with the disease either destroying or limiting my access to remembering people, I can’t remember what a good, a great, or a perfect gift is for you. I have everything from the lush and rareyet totally cool Sui Journals (plus many other journals), and limited edition stationary, goth heaven, and things both wild and wondrous. So if you get something from the Wish List, can you please help me and let me know the kind of thing you like, so I can send it to you?

Things added to the Wish List include: the last volume of a manga series which is now out of print (2 different series, I am so close to getting all of Land of Silver Rain!), also several romances by authors for Linda – one cent plus postage and up a bit. I look at the covers and go, 'Linda is a perv' with the perv titles and the odd shaped male chests on the cover (does this really turn on anyone but gay guys?). Hard and Fast? Hot Finish? Linda says covers do not reflect the funny writing inside (err…okay, but those covers are very, PERV but um, well, she does need down time - and we all have our little secret reading material)

Speaking of my secret reading material, Moonlit Promises, a BL book about caretaking (which is going out of print, ahhh!), two highly rated YA books on identity while dealing with lymphoma (which my grandmother had) and heart transplant (I look for books close to my medical experiences, and having to face the future of no-future, and dealing with it). Also on the second page, there is a set of cutlery as I cannot use half of my mouth anymore, and have limited mobility in my hands, but only have one set of the built up cutlery. And manga from Black Jack to a game of my heroine, Joan of Arc, which is TURN based and does not rely on my 1/5 speed nerves (I will blog about the intersex heroine Joan of Arc a bit later) for about $10.

But you can see, I hope, how it would help me if you could let me know what kind of cool things to send you, your interests, from Bettie Page to Vampires. Our wishlist has needs which may appear random but are specific for specific reasons: Supernatural: The Complete Second Season (about $20+ from vendors) is on the wishlist because I have two main problems watching DVD's. One is that in the time after the stroke, the hospital said my brain would not record long term due to trauma, also damage to the temporal lobe means I don't write long term memory. I also have a limit of 18 to 36 hours on my memory so unless it is emotional I honestly have no memory of it (including seeing my workers for the first time, every week. ME: "Have you been here before?"). A DVD set that I don't watch every day (in order to remember the characters) I remember nothing, so I am completely confused if it requires a large arc story. I watch things like House, In Plain Sight, Criminal Minds, Law and Order because the episodes are single, and I don't need to remember a bunch of characters and who is pregnant and who is lying about this or that. Supernatural and Moonlight are on the wishlist because both are highly recommended, both are in the 'dead' zone of time after my stroke, and Supernatural has a mini-horror film in each episode, which I like, I am told I have seen it, and liked it, but I have no memory of that, so I can watch it every 2 or 3 months. So when I get set, and am away from watching an episode for a week, no problem with Supernatural, I have a computer program that starts me at the place I left off. And after watching an episode, I always start the first 10 seconds of the next one so the computer can remember FOR ME what I have watched and where I am. So this is a DVD set chosen for the best use specific to my disease (Due to an increase in pain, I need more action DVD's, and Moonlight has over 630 5 star reviews, so I am hoping it is riviting. The functional aspect of the wishlist is the same with the pancake maker for Linda, who uses pancakes to make our food budget stretch out and give me food with the right amount of texture for me to use part of my tongue (I can’t use half of my tongue as it is nerve dead) and teeth on one side to eat. The manga Black Jack is about a Doctor who works outside the law because he is not constrained and can act with compassion then. The Wish List fills very specific needs, from Firefighter Diago manga about Diago who fights to make sure everyone comes home alive, to learning how to care about himself and make sure he survives as well (an idea I am slowly getting - saving everyone includes me too!). They all work toward specific emotional and physical needs: a bump in the quality of life, and choices, encouraging me to keep trying, or to be there when I or Linda need to rest (or I can't move - which is LIKE resting).

I want to ensure that I can do the same uplifting of living for you, from wallscrolls (anime girls, couples together, spring time, sword maidens), stationary, Hello Kitty stationery, or these Hello Kitty band-aids, face masks and other medical supplies going to the Peds unit here in town. There are Toroto special washclothes from Japan, the Ghibli films and other DVD sets, mousepads of all kinds, manga for those who have never tried, cult light novels, fun manga and manga about chronic illness,
Emily the Strange art and rare stickers along with Edward Gorey Art and limited Stationery for the goth, to just fun NEW Supernatural books ready to be sent to YOU.
So please, if you are one of those who chose to help our quality of life (from down time for Linda with books, or Supernatural with me) off the Wish List PLEASE let me know if you want to try Burn Notice, or what you might like (DVD’s, books, manga, stationary, art, graphic novels, plushies, and more) – PLEASE. If you help me understand you in an email, I can do something, that is a gift for me, helping me understand you, because I can’t do it without your help. When the issue is the disease I don’t take responsibility for the disease, I try to figure ways to work around it. Your sending me an email is one way to work around it.

Linda has put items on ebay here, a prelude to a large ebay sale in April. Thanks to Linda who has put it up for me, so I can pay for some children’s books, graphic novels, manga, and boxes of gifts from a friend I have made who gets some of the remainders from the publisher and lets me choose what I think would make a good gift. I hope to be able a) pay it off an b) start sending them out so kids don’t think nice things only come at Xmas (adults too I hope).

I am thankful the Amazon.co.uk gift certificates given to me as they help me see DVD’s on history which have been hidden or ignored over here. In the UK, Australian, New Zealand, Chinese, Japanese, European war films (which I enjoy as a war historian), I can get and have sent to my house from Amazon.co.uk. These are films not available here because US audience don't care generally about Austalian fighting in Indonesia in WWII. I do, I love watching these and seeing the connections come together in my mind.
Sadly, for US audiences, if it is complex, the public would rather choose a ‘bad’ US hero, like Inglorious Bastards, than an actual ‘good’ German in WWII. I was riveted by the film City of War, the story of John Rabe, a German for Seimens’ Electric in Nanking since 1910. A film was made about him with high name A-list actors, by an Academy Award winning director. It showed how he ended up, without guns, or any support, to save over 200,000 civilians from the vast destruction in Nanking. Because he was a member of the National Socialist (in 1937, he was imprisoned back home), and used an unopened giant Nazi flag sent to him as Director, lighting it up to tell the Japanese Airforce to not attack that area. The Chinese came to believe the flag itself was bulletproof. John Rabe, having saved so many, his house a museum in China, he was arrested in Germany, his diaries taken, interrogated by the Gestopo. Yet when the film was released, a budget of 20 million plus, the thought of a ‘good’ German meant the city of Amsterdam made more in the opening of the film than the entire United States (as it opened in only 4 screens and quickly fell to 1 screen then none). It is the willing ignorance that confuses me. Do people not have the faith that they can approach that which is complex? Perhaps I see my own disease and the avoidance of care due to ‘too complex’ in this attitude. I recommend seeing the film. I wish I could have saved 50, or 100 much less 100,000 or 200,000 human futures, dreams and lives.

One I wish to see, also from the UK, not US ironically is This is War, and is a documentary of a marine who invaded Iraq. For the first tour, one Marine, Mike Scotti, took a camcorder and filmed what he saw. It is the genuine feelings and responses of the front lines of the invasion of Iraq. It has won over 10 awards and is likened to Apocalypse Now and other great films. But is not distributed in the US, except by online DVD (under title Severe Clear). Released in UK theaters I will order it from the UK when I am financially able, along with other films about Poland, and Afghanistan (seeing the Russian Outpost 9 and the documentary Resperto of the US in Afghanistan is illuminating). I think the people who read here are not afraid of complexity, and are curious and trust themselves enough to decide for themselves.

Oops, so much for a short update, time now for me to rest, Linda is here. I will add the rest of the reviews and news next time.