31 August 2015

I’m still angry. I’ll probably be some grade of angry for a while, until I hit that sweet spot of not giving a damn anymore, when the whole thing becomes an afterthought. Something I won’t think about until someone else mentions it, and it will take my brain a second or two to engage and respond with “Oh. Yeah…huh.”

Here’s the thing: if this had been someone else, someone I only knew as a name online or it was the friend of a friend of a friend, I would not have been at all surprised. The Internet is littered with dipshits doing the same thing in one vein or another. Catfishing, digital kidnapping, bogus support pleas. It’s not unusual. It’s wrong, but not at all unusual.

What I don’t want to do is dwell on it…which is proving to not be as easy as I hoped, mostly because the result of my knee jerk reaction of emailing a coach to change the city I was registered to walk in and of messaging my doc about walking was a coach changing my city with no other work necessary on my part, and my doc saying—with some caveats—that I could walk.

Mentally, I was prepared for not walking this year; I’d finally gotten to that point. Now I’m back at the start, wanting to walk and not knowing if I should try or blow it off.

There are 12 weeks to go. I can train for the distance I’d walk (which would not be the entire 60 miles, to be honest) but that’s only 12 weeks to raise $2000. I don’t think I can do that.

So there’s something else to be angry about. Being put in this position. I had finally gotten to being all right with not walking this year.

I can get all right with it again, but still.

And here’s the part where I’m honest with myself: I want the damn victory shirt. This year it’s a spiffy magenta color instead of white, and dammit, I wanted one. Sure, sure, raise money to save the boobies, of course. But…MAGENTA.


I know I’m immature.

And yes, I own other magenta shirts.

But not that one.

Now…how sorry should you feel for me?

Yeah…this sorry…this is how I shall soothe myself:

Don't worry about the lack of's not moving.
Scooter rides.

So maybe I won’t have all the training time. I have rides to take.

Granted, rides to the gym, but still.

Fun times :)


29 August 2015

I rode a roller coaster last night; it was a horrific ride, one that started from a peak, sped downhill so fast I literally had a hard time choking out words, took a hard spin to the left, did a couple of loops, and ended in an angry, painful sudden jolt at the bottom of a steep descent, the brakes screeching and cars buckling behind me.

When I got up this morning, I hoped it was just a bad dream. The thing is, you really have to have gotten some sleep to have a wild dream like that, but at best I tossed and turned all night.

Sometime around 1989, we got our first “real” computer (as opposed to the Timex Sinclair we’d played with, writing crappy looping ascii images in BASIC) and got online with Prodigy. Since then, when I discovered message boards and chat rooms, I’ve made a few friends and some have stuck around since those early days.

Some I know better than others, but those who I’ve stayed I touch with, I’ve come to know pretty well.

Last night I got a text message from someone I’ve known for at least 15 years; we had in common a Fibromyalgia newsgroup, talked over IRC more than we interacted in the NG, discovered some common interests—she loved karate even though she had too much pain to train, so she watched her kids participate in tournaments; she loved to write, though she had no aspirations to be published, and reveled in coughing up what she said were “silly, stupid stories” meant only for her kids—and we became friends of a sort.

As the newsgroup fell away, and IRC became less popular, we drifted. A few times a year, though, we’d exchange emails, a random text here and there, and then Facebook made connecting a lot easier.

She cheered my efforts in walking the 3 Day, always apologetic about not being able to contribute to fundraising, because “a mess of kids is expensive” and there was no wiggle room in the budget. And that was fine; I not only don’t want friends who are cash strapped to donate, I would be upset if they did. The emotional support is just as important.

So I got a text last night.

“Stage IV metastatic. It’s in my liver and brain. Prognosis maybe January if I respond to treatment which I don’t know yet what that will entail.”

The roller coast took off without giving me a chance to buckle in.

“I have a request if it’s not a huge bad idea. My birthday falls on the 2nd day of the SD 3 Day … I don’t have more than the rest of this year, it would mean everything to me if someone walked for me.

If someone would write my name on the flag.

I can’t think of anyone I would want walking for me more than you.”

Loops. Fast, hard loops.

I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t choke out an explanation when the Spouse Thingy asked me what was wrong. I’m not generally a crier, but this took off so hard and fast I couldn’t help myself.

This is the year I’m not supposed to walk; my doc did not want me to travel, walk 60 miles, and then travel home. This is the year I’m supposed to get into better shape, lose some weight, and take care of me.

But when someone presents you with what is essentially their dying wish?

You farking agree to do it.

In the span of about 10 minutes I fired off a message to my doc, explaining that I’m tolerating the level of exercise I’ve done fairly well, have had few serious drops in blood sugar, and that I would not camp and would have someone there with a van—DKM is driving sweep on San Diego—and would be able to walk a couple of miles, ride a couple of miles.

I texted DKM.

I emailed a 3 Day coach about how I would go about switching my registration from Philadelphia to San Diego.

The thing is, within a few minutes I was firmly resolved that I’d go no matter what my doc said. I went through a range of jagged-edged feelings, everything from I WILL DO THIS to feeling a little guilty because if I walked at all it should be with my team in Philly, to “this is gonna get spendy” because there’s not much time to fundraise.

The San Diego walk is in a little over 60 days. I can train well enough to be ready for the amount of walking I would do, but raising $2000 in that time?

Self-funding looked like it would be necessary.

I went to bed with the decision, though: I would walk the 3 Day in San Diego, for no other reason than someone I have known for a very long time needed me to.

The risks? I was fine with those. Because when you try to balance the scales, someone else’s cancer crap weighs more than my nuisance crap, and if this one thing takes a little of the load from their side…of course I would do it.

As I tried to fall asleep, a song that’s been poking mercilessly at my brain for the last few days jabbed hard; I was grinding my teeth to the beat, and swearing in my head around the lyrics. Since it was going to keep me from sleeping, I sat up and grabbed my iPad, and tried to distract myself for a bit.

I played some Solitaire.

I got onto Reddit and read through a bunch of stuff in /r/askreddit.

Then I got on Facebook, whined about the stupid song stuck in my head, and just before I was about to shut it down and try again to sleep, I got a message. I didn’t recognize the name at first, but opened it anyway, because sometimes Max’s readers ask me things.

My longtime friend from the old newsgroup days has a longtime roommate, who had something fairly important to tell me.

“…she left her computer on and I went to put it to sleep. She had a bunch of windows open and I read it all. She doesn’t have cancer. She doesn’t have anything. But she has a bunch of notes here to a lot of people about it and a list of things. One of them is about starting a Go Fund Me page. She’s just trying to get money from people. Don’t worry, I will shut this down…”

Thusly did the brakes go on, hard; the roller coaster didn’t slide easily to the end. It buckled and I felt every bit of pressure from the sudden stop.

For a few hours, I was completely broken for someone else; I mourned her pain, what she was going through, the unfairness of it all, and I was about to jump feet-first into doing this one thing for her. I was going to train hard, and I was going to ask my friends to support the effort.

And surely when the request came, when the “I can’t afford all this” pleas started and the Go Fund Me page went live, I would have contributed. I would have shared it.

I didn’t sleep very much last night; at first it was the stupid song, then it was the anger.

I will put up with a hell of a lot from people online, and most of the time I won’t call them out on their crap. You want to be Studly Dudly DewRight in chat rooms, even though I know you’re very much not that? No skin off my nose. You want to be a guy on message boards, though I know you’re female? So freaking what? You can be anything you want online and I pretty much don’t care…unless you’re doing it for truly nefarious reasons. If you’re not hurting anyone, trying to manipulate anyone, or asking for money…I don’t care.

But this?

You play the cancer card, I care.

This isn’t even the first time someone I know has said they have breast cancer, when they never did. But this is the first time it’s been made this personal. It’s the first time that I know for sure I’ve been pegged to play someone else’s cruel and heartless game with the apparent intent to scam people for cash.

I would have done it. I would have walked—likely in defiance of what my doc wants—and I would have not only asked people to support that walk but also to donate to her when she inevitably asked.

When someone is faced with a terminal diagnosis, you don’t say no if you can do something they wish.

This morning, I am a curious mix of relieved and angry. Relieved that she’s not really dying, relieved I didn’t get pulled deeper into it, and angry that someone I’ve known long enough to trust would use something like this to get me to unknowingly help.

And I don’t get it. Why ask me to walk? Why do that knowing I’m supposed to take this year off? Why do it knowing it would cost me money that would never line your pocket, and in the end would have no real benefit to you?

Dietza…you suck.


20 August 2015

This little guy is an Adipose. He comes from an episode of Doctor Who; the basic storyline is that a nanny for an alien race comes to earth and forms Adipose Industries, which is ostensibly a company that created and sells a weight loss drug.

Take one pill a day, and the fat just melts away.

The reality is that people who take this drug lose fat all right...while they sleep these little Adipose babies just pop right out of them and run off into the night, where they will join up by the millions and then be taken home.

Of course something goes wrong; the Doctor finds out, someone dies because their entire body gets used up in just a few minutes while a bunch of Adipose babies pop out (it was an emergency; they were about to get caught!), he saves the day while the Adipose babies get transported into the mothership and the nanny--no longer necessary--is disposed of by the Adipose Grownups.

Now, the thing about this episode is that every time I see it, I think the same thing:

I would totally volunteer to host those little Adipose babies. That company didn't need nefarious means, all they needed was to tell the truth and people would have lined up. I mean, hell, you take a pill every night and the ONLY things it does is rid you of a pound of fat and then you pop out this adorable little wad of walking fat?

I'll pop out fifty of those little suckers, give them each a little high five, and send them on their way.

It sure as hell beats restrictive eating and working out...


7 August 2015

I am gearing up to start training to run/walk a half marathon and a 10K, back to back, in May 2016. This will necessitate being outside alone quite a bit, and the comfort landscape of our little town has changed a bit since I first trained to walk the 3 Day back in 2010.

Back in the day, I had the skills to defend myself. My brain still knows how, but my body is no longer there. I don't have the sheer strength or flexibility anymore, so I've been on the lookout for easy-to-carry things to use for personal self defense.

About 2 weeks ago I stumbled across an ad online for Lady Tiger Claws, and it looked promising. Hand held, the device has retractable claws that, when deployed, looked like they could be enough to hurt someone and garner a few extra seconds to get away. The idea of them beat carrying a small baseball bat (or tire thumper as they're called in online stores...but we all know better.) So I ordered two.

What follows is just my's not like I'm a real reviewer. I bought these with my own money, so I have nothing to gain or lose here.

On first sight, they still looked promising. Simple plastic (I expected something different, I guess) with the springs covered by foam and it has finger indentations.

The claws appeared well sheathed, nothing pokey sticking out.

But that's where the positives ended. While this is marketed to women, it doesn't feel as if it was made for a woman's hand. I have fairly large hands with slender fingers; I can't even wear women's gloves because my hands are too big for the largest women's gloves I've tried. This is just a bit unwieldy for the average woman, I think.

Casually holding it in my hand, I can see a problem--my little finger does not naturally fit. I still dismissed it as a problem, because I was not yet gripping it the way I probably would when out for a walk or run.

I took a better grip, closer to how it should fit in my hand, and took another look. That little finger is still not ideally placed.

I shifted my grip to fit my natural fist, how I would actually punch.

Still not working.

And with the claws deployed?

If I tried to punch someone with this, either a hard punch or a jab, my little finger would pay the price.

Even with adjustments, it wasn't going to work.

That third claw is still on my finger in a way that makes using it not the greatest idea.

I don't see how this would function at all for someone with hands smaller than mine, but the drawbacks are more than the size of it.

It's not efficient. It's made of plastic and is of a size that would be uncomfortable to grip on outings of any decent distance, and squeezing it to deploy the claws is more difficult that it should be.

I know how to punch; I would not ever attempt to actually hit anyone or anything with this in my hand. Claw placement issues aside, fingers splayed is not the best way to hit someone.

The idea of the Lady Tiger Claw was great; the execution was not.

Save your money; in my not so humble opinion, this isn't worth it, even if you get one for free.