Please, oh PLEASE, don’t spam this website!

(Content Notice: Abortion, miscarriage, Pediatric COVID)

If you spend Too Much Time On The Internet (Like me!) then you’ve probably already heard about a ridiculous anti-abortion website that has recently been created in order to assist with enforcing an equally ridiculous abortion ban.

“Finally! A site where I can pretend to care about children from the comfort of my own home!”
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

You may have also heard about various individuals and groups spamming this website. I realize that you are probably tempted to join them, but there are things you must consider first!

After all, when a bully is hurting other children on a playground, interfering just isn’t the American way– The American way is to let the bully break someones nose while we lecture the other children about being nicer to the bully so that maybe the bully won’t hurt them. At least, that’s the vibe I’m getting from the last five years of political and cultural discourse?

So let us be civil, dear readers. Do not spam this website.

Do not take advantage of their anonymous form to send them Shrek Porn, as one tik toker did. Yes, it was hilarious and non-violent, but it is important that we are all very polite to the folks who are ignoring the existence of ectopic pregnancies.

Certainly don’t send any info about the state of pediatric COVID in Texas. To do so would imply that their interest in stopping abortion is more about controlling women than helping children. And that’s bad! Because reasons!

And whatever you do, do NOT send them data that demonstrates just how common miscarriages really are. They believe that pregnancy termination is evil, so to explain to them that their god performs this deed more often than any human would hurt their feelings! Can’t have that!

Obviously, don’t remind them that some trans men can become pregnant. To accept the existence of trans people, and the possibility of their policies harming men….that would just be too much for them!

Additionally, there’s no need to remind them that Abortion existed before Roe and was relatively common. Their fictitious, imagined past of an abortion-free America is very important to them.

Indeed, you should definitely spare them from the reality that Norma McCovey (AKA the “Roe” in R v.s. Wade) was lying when she later became a figurehead for the anti-abortion movement. No need to dampen their day with the complicated details of her life!

Welp, that’s all for the moment. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go protest some neo nazis by sending them polite letters with frowny faces on them. Until next time!

You will never be Jeff Bezos- and that’s a good thing!

Oooof, that dystopia-induced writers block is real. That recent heatwave didn’t help either, nor did the fact that I spent the last few months moving.

And those are just distractions from my personal life. There are plenty of other distractions, many of which are somehow both very serious and incredibly stupid at the same time.

For one thing, House and Senate Republicans are desperately trying to lie about the thing in January that we all saw unfold in real time. I’d make a joke about how out of touch they are, but I think the awful truth is that they know full well what they did and are just trying to gaslight the nation into accepting it as normal.

Oh, and I could also do without the hordes of mediocre assholes talking shit about Simone Biles.

I dunno man, I just feel like it was kind of disrespectful of her to rest on her many significant accomplishments instead of risking her life for my amusement. What? No, of course I can’t do a backflip. Sheesh, why is that relevant?
(Photo by Nathan Cowley on

But no amount of distractions can keep me from writing about Bezos and his penis rocket- I mean……

…..Well no, that’s definitely a penis rocket. I’d post a picture, but then I’d have to blur it. This isn’t that kind of blog.

Even though the Bezos story is ancient history by our 24 news-cycle standards, I find that I can’t quite let it go. I do find space exploration genuinely fascinating, and I certainly won’t complain if any data from the project turns out to be useful.

But the media fawning and lack of difficult questions aimed at Bezos himself have left me a little queasy, and so here we are.

If you, dear reader, are starting to wonder why I’m not gushing about the AWE and WONDER of Blue Penis- I mean, Penis Origin- I mean, giant penis rocket, well, let me remind you that humanity has already traveled to low orbit (and beyond!) many, many times. The tech behind this rocket might be neat, but the project isn’t exactly the gushing fountain of innovation that some of the PR materials suggest.

And there’s another problem that hits closer to home: Bezos using his wealth to catapult himself into low orbit doesn’t change the fact that much of his wealth isn’t really his at all.

I’ve written about this before, but Amazon, like many other retailers, has actually relied quite a bit on food stamps and government subsidies in the past. This is especially awkward, given that Bezos, like many of his peers, likes to evade paying what he owes in taxes. Also relevant here is that his parents invested almost 250,000$ dollars in Amazon in 1995. While I can’t fault parents for wanting to support their kid, that’s not a startup package that most American entrepreneurs have access to.

Oh, starting a business isn’t THAT hard, just ask your folks for a 50,000 dollar loan- what? What do you mean they can’t afford that?
(Photo by Spencer Selover on

In other words, unless you’re a rich kid with questionable morals, you will never be Jeff Bezos. Regardless of your work ethic, skills, and tolerance for needlessly wordy emails during group projects, the deck is stacked against you becoming a billionaire.

And just to be clear- this doesn’t necessarily mean you will never be successful, or that you shouldn’t chase your dreams. You can still accumulate plenty of wealth WITHOUT owning your own functional spaceship, and you can still build a successful business WITHOUT denying your employees pee breaks.

And your business doesn’t have to rake in billions for you to be happy and successful- more income will make you happier to an extent, but the effect seems to taper off once the individual has secured enough for the basics and a little extra.

In other words, accumulating billions of dollars for oneself is largely a pointless endeavor. And yet, we glorify it. Why?

This is an important question to ponder, because far too many Americans make excuses for people like Bezos. We all want to believe that, someday, we can embark on an expensive vanity project that wows reporters into ignoring our tax dodging antics.

Hi, I’m the new CEO! Thank you for coming to this press conference, and please note that I will not be taking questions about the alleged badger pit incident.
(Photo by mentatdgt on

I also suspect that there might be an unconscious (or very conscious indeed) desire for a savior at play here. The future looks a bit scary right now, and the thought of one person “fixing” everything at once is actually rather appealing, if you don’t think about it too hard.

The thing is, we’ve tried that. Multiple times. Quite a bit of blood was shed in the last five hundred years in order to escape the divine right of kings, in case you’ve forgotten literally every history class you’ve ever had.

So be glad you’re not Jeff Bezos. The world really doesn’t need any more of those.

February Link Salad

Many things have happened that I would like to write about/draw attention to/recoil from in horror, so it’s time for a Link Salad! Will this silly name stick? I don’t know! Maybe!

  • The situation in Texas is still grim and will be for a while. Here is a good list of charities that can help, if you have funds to give. As for whether or not Texas deserves to be “shamed” for the tragically predictable failures of their power grid, I like to go by the old ‘punch up not down’ rule. I don’t think the citizens of Texas deserve to freeze to death, regardless of their voting habits. But I have no qualms about shaming Senator Cruz and other Texas lawmakers for their overwhelming hypocrisy when it comes to federal aid after a natural disaster.
  • Oregon Republicans are at it again– I guess this is just what they do now? I realize that remote learning has not been working out great for many students and teachers. However, simply refusing to come to work is not really an option that most working Oregonians have, so I think I’m justified in mocking these public servants (snicker) just a little a bit. My personal opinion is that modern Republicans in Oregon (like elsewhere) have simply backed themselves into a corner with their constituents by promising to improve their lives through deregulation and government inaction. This is convenient for them, because they can collect lots of campaign cash for doing literally nothing. Making policy that creates real, positive change is hard. Ignoring responsibility and waging silly culture wars between urban and rural constituents is much easier.
  • Some encouraging climate news, assuming this change in policy goes through. Elections matter folks.
  • Earlier this month, Amber Ruffin had some thoughts about Black History Month that I think every American should hear. Remember everyone, real history will make you uncomfortable now and then. If you feel warm and fuzzy every time you learn about the past, dig deeper.
  • On a lighter note, Seattle Opera has been streaming some delightful recitals and clips free of charge. If you need a distraction, or just want to hear some lovely singing, check it out!

That concludes the link salad for now. Stay as safe and as sane as you can. Feed your brain good things.

Today is a good day to remember

Image credits here

Today is a good day to remember who you were in 2015.

You don’t need to romanticize the past, or gloss over the bad parts if you don’t want to. You needn’t discard the hard won lessons of the last four years. But if you can, think back to who you were then. What were you doing? Were you happy doing it? What were your thoughts and feelings about the world?

Today is a good day to remember.

Personally, I was a recent college grad turned cashier. Work was rough sometimes, but I got to make music and play videogames on weekends. I had a garden space of my own. I had some lovely housemates, and those lovely housemates had a dog and two cats. It was a happy household. I read poetry a lot. I dreamed of singing opera professionally on a regular basis. I was sending audition material to grad schools. Deep down, I wasn’t sure if I was really “good enough,” though I can tell you now that this particular story has a happy ending.

And today is a good day to remember. 

I liked to cook a lot. Sometimes I tried new recipes. I rode the bus to and from work, and so would do small grocery shopping trips on my commute. One day it’d be some sausages that were on sale, another day some mushrooms that were getting sad (and cheap). 

Today is a good day to remember. 

Sometimes I would ride the bus into town, and simply wander. I’d ponder the stark contrast between where I lived and the wealthier parts of town, and sometimes be upset by it. I’d sit on any bench that was near running water and let the rushing sound ease any pain I was feeling. If it was in the budget, I would treat myself to a used book. Or maybe a beeswax candle. Nothing brightens up a space like the scent of a quality beeswax candle. 

Today is a good day to remember.

Remember how your brain worked before Twitter and Facebook became almost inescapable. Remember the times before Lord Dampnut dominated every headline. 

Remember when cruelty and apathy was not the norm in so many places. 

Back in 2016, Authoritarianism expert Sarah Kendzior wrote this piece. I remember reading it, and trying to take the advice, but not quite understanding it.

Now I do. 

It will take time to process what we have just been through. As a nation (and a world) we have been under a lot of stress for a long time. Our brains don’t yet understand that a significant chunk of the danger has passed, so we’ll have to help ourselves along.

Because yes, there will be others like Lord Dampnut. And they’ll probably have nice haircuts and speak with their inside voice, so we need to be ready. Not by stressing ourselves out, but by paying attention and participating in elections in large numbers. The more of us that do this, the harder it is to mess with the process. 

That, and there’s plenty of enablers who will go on to write books and try to normalize themselves. Don’t give them any oxygen. 

If you, dear reader, are trying to contemplate how to apply the political lessons you have learned in a world where Lord Dampnut is no longer president, then there are plenty of simple things you can do.

Read up on what our new President has been up to. Do you think these actions are sensible? What do you like? What don’t you like? What do you want to see more of? Learn to examine his actions with honesty and good faith. Use those critical thinking skills!

How are things in your local state legislature? Are there any small offices in your community that you could run for?

If you need a month or two to take a break from traditional politics (or if you plan on fleeing into a forest, never to return) how about donating to a food bank? Or tending a garden for pollinators?
And if you (like so many Americans right now) do not have the resources right now for such things, then please find a way to be kind to yourself. Find a weird old public domain story on Project Gutenberg. Take a look at the Pyramids at Giza, or wherever else you would like to see. Or turn the screen off and read an old paper book, if you prefer.

There is still much to do. COVID19 doesn’t care about politics and it’s had a long time to spread. But a large weight has been lifted, and taking care of mental health is not optional.

Impeachment II- Hey look more gaslighting

I’ve begun and abandoned an embarrassing number of pieces in regards to Trump supporters treating The Capitol like a portable outhouse at an outdoor music festival. Try as I might, I can’t quite get my words into coherent sentences. Whenever I feel close, I suddenly remember that my city got invaded with BORTAC agents because of some graffiti on a courthouse. When this piece of knowledge collides with my realization that Mr. chewbacca bikini will get organic food in jail, I have a rage blackout and have to start all over again.

And no, I don’t have a problem with prisoners getting high quality food or practicing their religion while behind bars, but I have to point out that the U.S. has a rather uneven record in this regard.

During the last impeachment (which is a thing we can say during this administration and that alone is both sad and hilarious) I paid close attention and documented the proceedings in a series of blog posts.

Now doing that feels pointless, because it’s a lot of the same cow excrement all over again.

On my young and humble blog, I have been a broken record about the danger of Bad Faith Arguments. One of the hazards of watching such tactics play out on the government stage is the exhausting effect is has on the people.

Anyone who read the Mueller Report (or even just skimmed it) knows that the Russia investigation was not a waste of time. Yet today, plenty of house Republicans were eager to repeat the tired (and false) talking point that it was a mere political witch hunt. These individuals have access to intelligence sources that would stop any bloggers heart with excitement, and yet they persist in this lie. They keep their speech juuuuuuust civil enough to try and convince onlookers that they are sincere in their convictions, but it’s always a trap. To actually debate them would be pointless. If they won’t break form Lord Dampnut after hiding from violent Q maniacs for hours, then there’s no reaching them. The whole thing is both draining and horrifying to watch.

Which is probably a huge part of why they just lost. So what now?

Honestly, I don’t know for sure what will happen in the coming days. I had hoped that basic self preservation would discourage anyone responsible for security in the Capitol from siding with the folks who were looking to execute Vice President Pence, but it seems that was potentially not the case for all personnel involved. My bad. I underestimate the power of death cults sometimes.

I strongly suspect that Lord Dampnut will ultimately be removed from power and that life will go on. There will unpleasantness, possibly violence, and maybe even more deaths. But I think we’ll get through it and have a semi-functional federal government again soon.

And every single one of us must take care to never take Democracy for granted ever again.

That doesn’t mean we should all be constantly checking twitter (in fact we should really probably stop doing that so much) it just means that we should consistently vote and call out lies when we see them. As we were all just reminded, doing these things saves a lot of trouble.

As for healing, we need that too. But healing can’t happen without accountability and justice. Not on a national scale, anyway.

On a personal scale, however, there are things you can do.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to reclaim parts of myself that have gone undernourished in these times. I’ve been reading more quality fiction and poetry. I’ve been letting myself enjoy videogames. I have been singing and making music for personal pleasure. And I have, for a moment here and there, found a peace that I have not known for years.

I had originally hoped, when I started this blog, for politics to be merely a fraction of the content. But I’ve had a hard time managing this goal in light of, well, everything. So I now I’ll repeat myself- Politics matter because people matter.

The point of paying attention to current events isn’t to find out if you can actually cry blood. The point of holding powerful people accountable through votes/phone calls/ public commentary is so that we can get a real COVID plan and go play DDR at the local barcade sometime this decade.

Right now, your brain is under the stress of constant uncertainty. But we did not always live like this, and we won’t always live like this. Don’t wait for everything to “feel” calm again. Bake that batch of cookies. Watch that movie that always makes you laugh. Listen to a favorite album or compilation. Do whatever comforting activity you have the time and energy for.

We are so close to this chapter being over. Let’s take care of ourselves and pay attention, so that the next chapter is actually better. COVID-19 is still killing, and not all of Lord Dampnut’s enablers have been brought to justice. But if Georgia overcoming years of gerrymandering and voter suppression in order to flip the senate blue is any hint, Americans are fed the fuck up and change is in the air.

Be well everyone ❤

On Healing

One important lesson that I got from cancer is that the healing process isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. When trying to recover from something that serious, there’s going to be some unpleasantness along the way. The chemo wasn’t fun, but I’m alive now. The surgery wasn’t fun, but I’m alive and I have a really cool scar.

In fact, some of the most important steps in healing from a traumatic event can be almost as painful as the trauma itself. If healing from trauma were easy, there would be significantly less need for therapy and PTSD would be a lot less common that it is.

Just so we’re clear, this is NOT an attempt to shame you for celebrating the most powerful country on the earth rejecting Lord Dampnut. If you feel like celebrating, do it! That’s important too, and goodness knows we’ve earned it.

But assuming that the orange turd is successfully flushed in January (More on that in a bit) there’s still the lasting trauma. And the healing that needs to happen for all of us.

Certainly not ALL healing is an uphill battle. Bubble baths and chocolate have their place. And life should be enjoyed, after all. But in order to move forward and heal as a nation (and as individuals) we will have to have some difficult conversations with ourselves and others.

And we have to hold people accountable.

In the delightful wave of memes and videos that has followed this historic election, there have been no shortage of “reach out to the other side!” takes. And I get it. It’s a nice thought. We can’t all be boiling with rage for the rest of our lives anyway. It gets very tiring, and we are very tired already from reminding our friends and family that crime is illegal and evil is bad while a steady stream of bots promise to reveal the true nature of the demonic rituals happening in Nancy Pelosi’s freezer.

But here’s the thing: Remember that when Trump won the electoral college back in 2016, we (meaning democrats, 3rd parties, moderate Republicans, non-partisans, anyone with functioning empathy ect.) got the same lecture. That we just needed to understand The Trump Voters. Why, they were innocent victims! It wasn’t wealthy businessmen, nay! We coastal elites needed to get off of our high horses and humble ourselves!

So now that it’s become uncomfortably clear that Lord Dampnut is NOT what the bulk of this country wants, why are we getting the same lecture? Why is it our responsibility to reach out to Trump country, but never their responsibility to reach out to us?

As someone who has spent Too Much Time on the internet for most of her life, I am depressingly familiar with how destructive bad faith arguments can be. Debates only work if all parties are willing to change their minds in light of new information. If one or more party is unwilling to consider the possibility that they are wrong, then the “debate” isn’t really a debate at all. It might be an amusing spectacle for anyone who happens to wander through that corner of the internet at the appropriate time, but it’s unlikely that anyone will be learning anything new.

To make matters worse, some participants might walk away from the experience thinking that they “won” even if all they did was tell someone else to eat shit. If you lack the self awareness to question your own ideas when they are challenged with solid evidence, you probably aren’t ready to actually change your mind about anything.

After all, changing your mind about a deeply held conviction is hard. It doesn’t come naturally for most people. Goodness knows I struggle with it, and I’m actually interested in this stuff. I can only imagine what it must be like for someone who spends all of their time looking for Satanic imagery in pop music videos when they finally attempt to decipher real scans of legal documents for the first time.

And there’s another important angle that’s getting lost in all of the pearl clutching and both-sidesing- to permit a delusional extremist group to drive national policy isn’t just bad for us, it’s bad for them too. Sometimes having compassion for your fellow humans means refusing to enable them.

If the driving force behind one’s politics is based on a racist fever dream (white supremacy, for example) then said person is already in dangerous territory in terms of mental health and rational thinking. They have already accepted things that are not true in order to justify their bigotry, and so no amount of cruelty or extremism will ever be enough for them.

And no amount of reason or logic can reach them.

The kindest thing we (Americans with empathy) can do for them is to work around them. Arrest them and charge them when they behave like domestic terrorists, while at the same time ensuring that public education has the resources to teach young people the truth about slavery and it’s aftermath. I’m guessing a lot more people would be sympathetic to Black Lives Matter if they understood the sheer volume of racist shittiness that African Americans have endured in the century and a half since the civil war. Plus, white supremacy-related attacks continue to this day.

And that last part is really important, because it’s not over yet. While there’s no harm in celebrating and being joyful, the reality is that we’ve still got a couple more months before treason weasel is out of office completely. I don’t want to frighten anyone, but I think a little bit of extra vigilance now will make everything easier later. I’d much rather poke fun at some proud boys and and crush their delicate egos now than fight in a civil war in three months.

So please take care to call out bullshit when you see it. Don’t tolerate revisions of the awfulness we all just saw. Vote in local elections, and please do whatever you can to help with the senate runoffs in Georgia. I really don’t want to have to eat my present words as I am forced to build a monument to Qanon out of plastic straws and cheap red ties in 2021.

Now, having spent some time writing about the dark and painful side of healing, I’d like to take a minute to reflect of the softer and fluffier side. Because that matters too.

As I’ve said before, the reason to get involved in politics is not to become so angry that you spontaneously combust into a shower of Southern Poverty Law Center mailers and back issues of Mother Jones. The point of participating in politics is to help government structures run smoothly and fairly so that we can live our fucking lives.

When was the last time you read a book for pleasure? Do it. If you’re having a hard time focusing, then go for some simple poetry, or a light novel or romance if that’s your thing.

Is there a safe area near where you live where you can go for a walk? Do it, if you can. We’re all getting a bit stir crazy, and this helps.

Is there a window in your home or a nearby place where you can star gaze? Do it. If not, there are many free and premium apps available for smart phones that can show you the constellations currently in the sky, even if it’s too cloudy to see them.

Is there a video game you liked to play when you’re a kid? Try playing it again. It might be fun and nostalgic. It might be frustrating. But chances are that it will activate old memories that you thought you’d lost, and that can be very pleasurable in times like this.

If you have the time and means, try a new recipe. If not, try spicing one of your favorite dishes a little differently. Best case scenario, you learn a new flavor that you like. Worst case scenario, you get a better appreciation for something you already love.

None of these things will fix the many crises that the U.S. is currently facing. But they will help you heal.

And all of us will need some healing in the days to come.

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day! Plus, bonus commentary on the supreme court clusterfuck!

Just a short one today ya’ll- my brain is pretty worn out, and long reads are hard to produce right now.

If you want to better understand the history of Indigenous people and their relationship to the U.S. Government, this article is a great start. When it comes to issues that people of color face, I prefer the “amplify” approach. After all, this isn’t about white people and their feelings- it’s about making sense of the past so we can make better and more compassionate decisions in the present. All of us. Together.

And because we are currently in the middle of a supreme court clusterfuck (one that could potentially affect Indigenous rights for a long time) I would like to remind you, dear reader, that it is NOT unreasonable for Barrett to be facing some scrutiny. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Were she Muslim, or Hindu, or Pagan, or Atheist, the GOP wouldn’t not be so quick to overlook the fact that she lived in someones home as a “handmaid.” Do I care, personally, about what her religious beliefs are? Not particularly. But I care that the GOP is desperately trying to make this a fight about her faith (WHY ARE THE LEFTIES BEING TO MEAN TO THE NICE CATHOLIC LADY DEMOCRATS MUST HATE GOD) when we should really be scrutinizing three WAY more important things:

Might Barrett help the Trump administration cheat in the election?

Will she be open to overturning the ACA during a pandemic?

Will she try to overturn Roe V. Wade?

I could go on, but you get the picture. When powerful groups start to lose, they always try to change the conversation without being honest about what they’re doing. Don’t let the GOP off the hook.

Do it for her

If you’ve never called any Reps before, now is a good time to give it a try!

Because let’s be clear- when justice Scalia died, President Obama was denied his right to appoint a justice. McConnell refused to hold a vote, and claimed that the upcoming election was too close. Mind you, this all happened in March of that year, where as democrats/progressives/moderate Republicans/ anyone who doesn’t feel like kissing Trumps butthole are apparently supposed to just be chill as McConnell tries to ram a nomination through in SEPTEMBER. Because reasons.

I could make more jokes about how much of a hypocrite the treason turtle turtle is (remember the impeachment proceedings!) but there’s no point- he knows what he’s doing, and clearly doesn’t care.

I could try to untangle the finger pointing about which major party normalized the hyper polarization of the supreme court, but considering that one of the major parties seems to be weirdly chill with fascist principals at the moment, that doesn’t seem like a super good use of time.

So Rep calling. I know it seems hopeless, but consider: whether a politician has any real integrity or not, they usually like getting re-elected. At the very least, they’ll want enough of a reputation to continue as a lobbyist or write a book or something. So if enough people contact them with the same concern, they can sometimes be persuaded to change their mind. Or at least pretend to.

The Democrats in the Senate will almost certainly be voting against any nominee put forth by treason weasel, although it wouldn’t hurt to call them up and thank them for doing their jobs in the age of Qanon (if you get an office aid on the line, try politely asking them about calls they get- you’ll hear some stories).

But the Republicans currently have a majority, which means that Trump can pick Giuliani himself and there’s a good chance he’ll be allowed through (thankfully that specific scenario is now very unlikely, but you see my point).

So let’s make some noise.

The contact info for each senator is linked to their name. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND CALLING AND LEAVING A MESSAGE RATHER THAN SENDING AN EMAIL. I know those apps are fun and easy, but emails are much, MUCH easier for an office to ignore than a phone call or a letter. If you have severe anxiety, consider getting out some stationary and contacting the Senator the old fashioned way.

Senator Collins

Yes, I know. She’s been a bit slippery in the past. But we have to try. As of this writing, she has insisted that she wants to wait to nominate. If this hasn’t changed, call and thank her. If she has changed her mind, call her and remind her of her earlier statement.

Senator Murkowski

Similar situation to Collins. At present, she is claiming that she will not vote for a replacement before we know who the next President is. Call her and thank her, or remind her of her words.

Senator Romney

Romney broke with his fellow Republicans on some impeachment votes, so there’s a possibility he’ll be willing to break on this. As of this writing, he has not made an announcement yet. So call.

I hope the above names are enough to get you started, but there are other things you can do. If you live in a red state, call your senator and drop your address. If enough of their constituents raise a fuss, Senators have to face the possibility of not getting re-elected. For some of them, this is the only way to change their minds. It’s worth a try.

If you live in Kentucky, consider organizing a protest near the Senator McConnell’s home, or donating to his opponent, Amy McGrath. Or both!

Before I vanish to get to my usual routine of work, videogames, chocolate and tea, I wanted to say a quick work about the Fall Equinox.

In some Witchcraft traditions, this day is called “Mabon,” though there are other names. Typically, it is a time of reflection of light and dark. It’s supposed to be a time of balance.

Right now, there isn’t much balance to be found in the human world. But if you’re fortunate enough to live near trees, you may already be seeing the changes. Nothing is permanent.

And right now, I think that the impermanence of life is rather comforting. The USA might feel like a finely aged soiled diaper right now, but it won’t stay this way forever. We can all help to tip the scales and build a world we want to live in.

I’m going to leave you with a link to a YouTube video featuring a romantic composer that I’m fond of. Fanny Hensel (also known as Fanny Mendelssohn, sister to Felix Mendelssohn) wrote a cycle of piano pieces known as Das Jahr, or, The Year. (And of course the disclaimer, I do not own this video. I am not that talented of a composer OR a piano player)

This is a recording of “September.” Notice that even though it is turbulent, there is still beauty in the melody.

And the chaos comes to an end. It always does eventually.

Stay safe, ya’ll!

Please don’t tell your West Coast friends to just “drive somewhere else….”

Because if you look at a map, it’s pretty clear that there’s nowhere else to go.

I had hoped to write some more uplifting things, but as a resident of Oregon I have an obligation to signal boost about just how bad the destruction is. After all, these fires would be getting waaaaaay more headlines were it not for the nasty killer virus and a President who makes most toddlers look mature and reasonable.

But onto the fires that make most disaster movies look tame:

If you have income and are living comfortably, the Portland Mercury has assembled a pretty good list of organizations taking donations. This list also includes suggestions for volunteer work, if you are able bodied and have a mask or respirator that will help you breathe in this air. I’m serious about that last bit- right now, our air is basically a damp campfire times a billion and you cannot safely breathe it without some assistance.

If you need a laugh, this story is an absurd reminder of why funding public education matters. You might prefer to home school your kids or ship them off to a private institution, but it really is within your best interest to make sure your neighbors aren’t susceptible to disinformation campaigns. Seriously.

That’s all for now, as I can finally see across the street from my apartment and this is a very exciting development.

You are not invincible.

Alright, it’s that time again. Time for the cancer survivor to give all you folks a friendly lecture about what it is actually like to be brought near death by an illness. Because some of you do not get it.

First, a quick content notice for some talk about cancer, bloodwork with needles, and overall medical trauma. Also swear words, because hoooooooooo boy these COVID19 skeptics are testing my patience. And by “testing my patience”, I mean they make me want to flee civilization and live out my days as a forest hag who cackles maniacally at anyone who comes by. It’d be a lonely life, but at least no one with a Guy Fawkes mask as their profile will lecture me about how vaccines are a plot to weaken us before the -insert racist dog whistle here- attack.

I don’t want to paint too dark of a picture. Most Americans are taking COVID19 seriously, or are at least trying to. Yes, a lot of the “skepticism” is manufactured and amplified by bots. Unfortunately, a handful of people really believe that this novel virus (which practically brought the world to a standstill) is simply a cold. You can’t stop cold viruses, right? So best not to try! Open up the schools and bring everyone back to work! The death rate is low, right?

But here’s the thing: Even just 1% of the population of America is still literally millions of people, and there are consequences for letting millions of people die in a short amount of time. Plus, the actual death rate for COVID19 is constantly in flux depending on who you ask. I’ve seen estimates ranging from .05%-5% or even higher, probably because we haven’t been keeping track of this data long enough to be very precise. In truth, the death rate will vary, usually due to differences in local conditions.

For example, we can safely predict that a large city with more hospital beds and ventilators will have fewer deaths than a large city that does not have these things, assuming both of them experience a similar outbreak. Some rural areas might be safer if they have few travelers coming through, but others may succumb to a bad combination of an outbreak and fewer hospital beds. Similarly, availability and methodology of testing can muddy the waters.

And although we don’t know what the exact death rate for COVID19 is at any given moment, we know that it’s significantly higher than than that of the flu. This means that letting the virus burn through the population all at once is, to put into very technical terms, a fucking terrible idea.

But suppose you don’t die. Suppose you’re one of the many more who get a mild or asymptomatic case. You’re in the clear as long as you stay home and don’t infect anybody, right?

Well, not quite.

See, it turns out that COVID19 has some weird side effects that may, or may not be long term or even permanent. These include (but are not limited to) heart damage, lung damage, and even problems with the brain.

We don’t yet know how common these effects are. But we do know that they can potentially incapacitate you for months. The exact rate of infections that carry long term consequences is not known (as of this writing) but according to what little data is available, it’s probably a lot higher than the death rate

To complicate things further, we now know for certain that reinfection is possible. Mercifully, what data there is so far suggests that such patients tend to do better a second time. But until we know more, we should not assume that recovering from an infection will protect us from a new case down the road. In other words, simply letting the virus “run its course” won’t necessarily get your favorite karaoke bar open and thriving again any time soon.

And by the way, dying from COVID19 is technically suffocating to death. You might or might not be conscious when it happens, but there’s a good chance that the last thing you’ll see is the nurse who helps you. Your family probably won’t be allowed in. I could be wrong, but I strongly suspect we’d see fewer anti-maskers proudly proclaiming that they’re ‘not afraid’ if they knew the full extent of what could happen to them. Dying on a ventilator is harder to romanticize than dying while battling the evil Marxists who want to cancel hamburgers and bibles, or whatever the current story is.

Now, I understand that because the statistical probability of death from COVID19 is usually listed as a single digit number, you think it’ll never happen to you. After all, we can’t worry about everything all at once, and life is already full of stressful things. Why fret over a virus when we already have to deal with other scary stuff, like taxes and parallel parking?

Well, because once a bad thing has happened (such as a dangerous COVID19 infection) the statistical improbability of said bad thing doesn’t help you or your family deal with it. At all.

Having two kinds of cancer at the same time while in grad school is not a statistically common occurrence, but knowing this fact did not bring me comfort while I was experiencing it. If anything, it kind of made it worse. Some people get their degree interrupted with a broken limb or something. But not me! Before cancer, I’d never spent more than 20 minutes in a doctors office. By the end of my treatments, I was so numb to needles for bloodwork that I could actually watch the tip go into my arm and feel nothing while it happened. Ah, the little things they don’t mention in the pamphlets…

By now, you may have pieced together that I am taking some of this COVID19 skepticism a bit personally. And you’re right! I am!

Because I know what it’s like to have faith in the strength of your body, only to have that faith shattered when reality hits the fan. I know that all those empty platitudes about personal responsibility ring hollow when you’ve done everything right and still have fallen sick. I know the pain. And although I’m already doing everything I can in my own life to slow the spread, I can’t help but use every platform I have to try and get the message out.

I should probably hit the brakes now and make something very clear: I do not want you to live in fear. Fear and panic can cause people to make questionable choices, like leasing a sports car or investing in Bitcoin.

Plus, fear and panic can be taxing on mental health. I personally prefer my fear and panic in small doses, specifically in a very few horror movies that I genuinely enjoy and nowhere else. Tremble at the sight of an Alien xenomorph? Sure! Stress myself out over grabbing the mail? Not so much.

But I am a fan of accepting the reality as it is, in order to make good choices. As long as Americans keep ignoring the data and pretending that COVID19 is no big deal, we can’t fix it. Literally. All the efforts of healthcare professionals and those who are willing and able to stay home are essentially being wasted, because the virus is still spreading.

Part of the problem is that many able-bodied people have a knee-jerk reaction to the possibility of a fatal illness. They’ve always been able to assume that their “good choices” (diet, exercise ect.) were enough to keep them alive. Once upon a time, maybe that was me. To accept that you can still die randomly even if you do everything “right” is actually very difficult.   

And if you have never had to fight to stay alive during a severe illness (or watched someone else go through the process up close) you have no concept of what COVID19 can actually do to you. You don’t know what it’s like to speak with doctors and nurses about your own death. You can’t fathom what it’s like to contemplate saying goodbye to your friends and family if things go poorly. You don’t understand how it feels to wrestle with pain that goes on for literal months. Plus, there’s paperwork. A lot of it. I hope you carry a detailed history of every doctors visit you’ve ever had, because you will have to produce that information dozens of times.

And don’t assume you’ll be reading novels or sketching out your dream comic book while you’re sick. Powerful drugs and deadly illnesses have side effects. It could be days or weeks before you can read, or even look at a screen without nausea. Maybe you’ll get aches all over your body that make it difficult to do anything at all. Eating and using the toilet may get very complicated. Most of your energy will be spent on surviving. There won’t be room for much else. 

You’ll enter a territory where physical strength is practically meaningless. There’s no “powering through” a bad case of COVID19, or chemo, or surgery recovery, or anything that brings you close enough to death. You heal when you heal, and that’s that.

And what if the hospital in your area is sketchy? Maybe you get a bad doctor, or the office double bills you and refuses to correct the error? Tough shit, that’s part of it too. Have fun dealing with needlessly complicated medical bills while your brain doesn’t work right, O lover of freedom and liberty!

What’s that, you’re a little pressed for cash because you haven’t been able to work for several weeks and maybe you’ve been fired? Well, too bad! This is the land of the free, which means we are free to use the least economically efficient system imaginable for healthcare! And can’t you just keep 100,000$ saved at all times for emergencies? 

Bottom line is, some of us already know how this goes. And we’re sick of this shit. We’re sick of watching the numbers go up. We’re sick of hearing about how “expendable” human beings are from rich assholes who never have to hear the word “no.” We’re sick of making sacrifices in our own lives so that ignorant fuckwads can make stupid decisions that get more people killed.

No, you are not invincible. But you know what? You’re body is still really cool. Your life is still precious and irreplaceable.

So cherish that body and protect it. Don’t throw yourself into the COVID19 mill just so your boss can get a bonus they don’t need or deserve.

You may not be invincible. But your life is still worthwhile. Don’t let someone with three yachts and no close friends try tell you otherwise.