On The Move

It’s been another shitty week, so let’s make it a kitty week. So here are some cats, moving into a new house. Enjoy!

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Abandon Hope

A few days ago, I noticed something disturbing; my new socks had a lot of wear. A good number of pairs had holes and some of them had worn down in the instep. They were still mostly white, but the fabric was thinning.

That’s when I realized that my “new” socks really weren’t. They were three years old, easily. I hadn’t gotten any new socks since BotCon 2016. It was the same with most of my clothes.

My routine was this: when I headed to BotCon, I packed all new clothing and shoes, except for the Transformer themed tee shirts. I would wear the new clothing during the convention, then slowly cycle it into my everyday wardrobe after I got back home. When the next convention was announced, I would start gathering up new clothing again, squirreling it away for the next year. In this way, I had a steady supply of new clothing items that could be used for work later.

It’s been nearly three years since the last BotCon. I haven’t been clothes shopping in that time. I might pick up an errant licensed tee or a pair of jeans, but that’s been it. Although I know that I could use things for work, I can’t justify purchasing them.

I miss BotCon. I know I’ve said it before but it bears repeating.

This year marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Transformers. We have no official convention celebrating this milestone. In 2004, we had one official and one unofficial convention. In 2014, we had an official convention. Now, five years later, we have TFCon but nothing official. HasCon has been postponed, which pretty much spells cancellation to me. Although Hasbro claimed back in 2016 that they wouldn’t forget about us, I feel forgotten.

Prime has already said that we’re going to have to find something else to fill the void, to bridge the gap. He’s suggesting a small road trip, which would see us heading into Michigan to catch a series or two of Wisconsin Timber Rattler games. It’s not the same as BotCon but it’s something. I can use my travel sized toiletries at long last.

I just wish we had something–other than TFCon–as a celebration for the Transformers thirty-fifth birthday. I miss having an official convention, with exclusives and tours and customization classes. I miss having the chance to catch a glimpse of the next Transformers film or being able to see an episode or two of the latest animated show. I miss getting in the autograph line and having random, silly converstions. I miss meeting voice actors. I miss the auctions and the casino nights and the bingo halls and the late nights and the running on coffee and one meal a day. I miss it, all of it.

Hasbro said that they wouldn’t abandon us. Right now, I feel completely alone.

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Weekly Reader Vol 1 Issue 37

It’s time once again for news and views that you can peruse! It’s another edition of your Weekly Reader! Found a cool blog post? Got a must-read story from your local newspaper? Ran across a website that rocks? Drop a link in the comments!

The other abortion ban (from the Washington Post): “This fear doesn’t surprise me. Medication abortion is one of the safest procedures out there; it’s less risky than wisdom-tooth extraction (which requires anesthesia). But doctors and nurses in Arkansas are so afraid of abortions — and the attendant politics — that it’s almost impossible to learn about them as a medical student, let alone administer them. Where I grew up, in the River Valley of western Arkansas, nobody said the word “abortion” out loud. When I went to medical school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock, that censorious silence didn’t relent. Over four years, the most exposure we got to the topic was a half-hour guest lecture. (At that time, 17 percent of medical schools offered no formal abortion education, according to a national survey published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.)”

The New Authoritarians Are Waging War on Women (from the Atlantic): “The problem with both American-born story lines is that authoritarian nationalism is rising in a diverse set of countries. Some are mired in recession; others are booming. Some are consumed by fears of immigration; others are not. But besides their hostility to liberal democracy, the right-wing autocrats taking power across the world share one big thing, which often goes unrecognized in the U.S.: They all want to subordinate women.”

The “Woke” Men Who Still Want Housewives (from Medium): “It’s no longer socially acceptable to believe that women are somehow less than — especially not during a time when feminism is wielding so much cultural power. But arguing that women are just naturally better at caretaking or domestic work has become a clever way to shirk living up to progressive values while claiming you are simply complimenting women on their stellar ironing skills.”

Where The Idea Of Donald Trump’s Wall Came From (from Forbes): “Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border did not come from security analysts following years of study or through evidence that a wall would reduce illegal immigration. Amazingly, for something so central to the current U.S. president, the wall came about as a “mnemonic device” thought up by a pair of political consultants to remind Donald Trump to talk about illegal immigration.”

What Actually Happens When a Trans Athlete Transitions (from Vice): “”All the talk of advantage or disadvantage held by trans women misses the most important point,” says Harper, who published the first-ever performance study of transgender athletes in 2015. “The most crucial question to ask is this: Should trans women and cisgender women compete in the same category? All available research says yes, assuming that trans women have been through an appropriate course of HRT,” or hormone replacement therapy. Fears of trans women taking over women’s sports simply doesn’t match up with the reality of the effects that transitioning and HRT have on an athlete’s body. No one knows that better than Natalie.”

WikiLeaks tells reporters 140 things not to say about Julian Assange (from Reuters): “It was not immediately clear what prompted the advice to media organizations, but WikiLeaks singled out Britain’s Guardian newspaper for publishing what it said was a false report about Assange. The Guardian did not immediately respond late on Sunday to a Reuters request for comment.”

Trans Woman Was Beaten in ICE Custody Before Death, Autopsy Finds (from the Daily Beast): “Sperry’s autopsy, the second conducted on Hernández Rodriguez’s body following her death, also found evidence of physical abuse, with “deep bruising” on her hands and abdomen, evidence of blunt-force trauma “indicative of blows, and/or kicks, and possible strikes with blunt object.” An accompanying diagram illustrated long, thin bruises along Hernández Rodriguez’s back and sides, as well as extensive hemorrhaging on Hernández Rodriguez’s right and left wrists, which Dr. Sperry found were “typical of handcuff injuries.””

And that brings this week to a close. We’ll be back again next week with other stories you didn’t know you had to read. Until then.

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Ice, Ice, Baby

Another day, another dime. Well, if you work at Wal-Mart, it’s a nickel. If you’re lucky.

The weather has turned colder and somewhat cruddy; it’s still overcast and we’re looking at possible freezing rain. Lovely. Just lovely. At least I’m in at 9:45 today. I won’t have to deal with the possibility of hopping the bus and walking in the cold, or slipping in the parking lot of Menards, since keeping the parking lot clear at Menards is far too expensive for management to even consider. However, I’ll be stuck waiting for Prime until 18:00, but I’ll have my tablet.

I just discovered that I have a copy of Spock’s World on my tablet, so I’ve started to re-read that. I also have on loan a copy of PZ Meyer’s The Happy Atheist; I don’t lack reading material while here at work. I’m thinking of downloading a few podcasts as well; I’m so far behind it isn’t funny and I haven’t made the effort to catch up with any of them. This could be my opportunity. I could also use this time to write and plan out my blog posts accordingly. I do have plenty of options.

It’s been fairly quiet at work. I haven’t really been bothered and Wiesia seems to have stopped acting like she can’t stand to look at me. It’s a pleasant change, I do admit. I rather enjoy the quiet and enjoy not being bothered, especially when it deals with the TV.

The schedule seemingly hasn’t changed, which means I’m still working during Brewers On Deck and I still have Monday and Thursday as my day off for the next couple of weeks. Although my hours aren’t as strenuous, I still feel pretty tired; not having two days off back to back makes me feel as though I never quite get away from work. It’s exhausting. Again, I have no idea when things might change, if they ever will.

I can’t help but be a little irritated at the whole situation. I could understand a copy and paste of maybe one week but for a month? That’s ridiculous. It’s laziness, pure and simple, or it’s incompetence. Either way, it’s insane.

Our Coke vending machines are all gone. Looks like our contract with the owners of them have expired, so away they all went. That includes the ones in the Food Court; our members will be stuck drinking Pepsi and Kirkland Signature water. Me, I hope we get a few Pepsi machines and that they sell Pepsi Max/Zero Sugar.

I’m rather tempted to see Bumblebee again. It makes for a nice, albeit brief, escape. I had tried to convince myself that I should also catch a viewing of Aquaman but the reviews aren’t encouraging. Prime has said it was fun, but the more negative reviews–along with some things that have come out about Jason Momoa–are harshing my vibes on it. Mary Poppins Returns wasn’t even a consideration; what can they do in the sequel that hasn’t already been done? Sure, they might be able to pull off the blending of live action footage with animated characters, but this ain’t no Roger Rabbit and I can’t be sussed to care. But Bumblebee? I might have seen it twelve times but a few dozen more couldn’t hurt. That’ll just get me ready for the home media release.

Gotta love Wisconsin; we’re getting freezing drizzle now. It made for an interesting drive home.

Again, I’m forced to agree with Prime: the worst thing about fandom is the fans. Or maybe it’s just rejecticons posting brain farts on Facebook. Either way, I have more names to add to the list of people that I’d love to upload and delete. They aren’t serving any other purpose anyway.

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False Advertising

I know crap when I see it.

There are days when I completely agree with Prime: the internet is both the greatest thing and the worst thing that has happened to humanity. Thanks to the internet, I can learn about prehistoric creatures–Shameless plug: watch Eons by PBS!–and what our planet was like billions of years ago. Thanks to the internet, I can double check what manufacturer produces which pet food. Thanks to the internet, I can learn more about Transformers. Thanks to the internet, I have, quite literally, the sum total of human knowledge in the palm of my hand.

However, the internet also contains the sum total of human stupidity. I do not kid.

As you may or may not know, I am currently cat-less. But I am prepping for the possibility of a future feline in my life. I’ve been checking out different pet foods, at different life stages, just in case I end up spotting a kitten by the side of the road or taking in an abandoned adult. Both are cats, but they have very different nutritional needs and I want to make an informed choice.

But on the information superhighway, that can be difficult. Especially when you run into webshites like the Truth About Pet Food.

The owner of the site is a “consumer advocate” who seems to be at war with the pet food industry. It’s the industry’s fault that one of her dogs died; she places the blame on a preservative. To read the site, you would think that commercial pet foods are little more than poison, that they cause cancer and will kill your pet. Vaccines aren’t necessary; they’ll just ruin your pet’s immune system. The only way you should feed your companion animals is to go raw or BARF (bones and raw food or biologically appropriate raw food, whichever you prefer). Or you can pay to get her super-secret pet food list, which is only available if you pay for it and you can’t share it with anyone or post it anywhere, which can tell you what’s safe to feed your pets.

Call me crazy, but I’m a little leery when someone hides information behind a paywall.

There’s also a slight problem with the raw food movement: my mother did the exact thing before it became popular. Back in the 1990s, the raw food movement was getting started and she switched her dogs from kibble to raw, since all the “experts” said that was healthier. She still had to euthanize one of her dogs because he had cancer; it was bad enough that he would chew on food that he was offered, but would spit it out and refuse to swallow. The raw food diet didn’t prevent or cure it. It was the same with the others as well, since they both died before they turned ten.

Do we need stricter rules for pet food? Yes, we do. Back in 2007, I came dangerously close to feeding Sammy a package of Iams wet food that was laced with melamine, a substance that could have destroyed his kidneys. This was one of those times when profits were placed over common sense and decency; because of this, I didn’t feed Sammy anything from Iams for a very long time. My trust in them was broken.

Sammy lived. He was lucky because Prime and I caught the problem in time. However, I did continue to purchase commercial pet food for him; he lived eleven more years until he was seemingly felled by cancer, which happens to be breed specific in his case. Siamese cats are genetically more prone to the disease; nothing I could have fed him would have saved him, just like in the case of my mother’s dogs.

Will I purchase commercial pet food for a future feline in my life? Yes, I will. It’ll be Fromm Four-Star for kibble–I’m leaning towards both Game Bird and Hasen Duckenpfeffer® and maybe Duck A La Veg–while canned and wet varieties will be rotated with Fromm, Tiki Cat, Open Farm, Soulistic, Weruva, and Earthborn Holistic. There will be others as well–Whole Hearted from Petco seems like a good brand, as does Fussie Cat and Petite Cuisine–but they will all be commercially available. Anything home cooked is an occasional treat.

There are good pet foods out there; you can find them if you fact check. Just go with reputable sources. And remember, not everything is a conspiracy; it’s a cool plot point on the X-Files, but ridiculous in reality. And be wary of “experts” on the internet, especially if they want to sell you something, because fools and money. You know.

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Father, Son, and Holy Shit

Yesterday, Prime and I were out and about, trying to figure out what we might have for dinner. I had just gotten off work and Prime had just put in several hours of overtime, so we were both pretty tired. As we were figuring out where we should go to eat, a sign caught my eye. Maybe it was the irritation on my face. Maybe it was the angry tone of voice I used. Maybe it was the insistence that we should turn the car around and go back to take a photo of this sign. Whatever it may have been, Prime made a quick left and reversed course. While this was happening, I switched on my tablet.

We pulled into the parking lot, I pulled out my tablet and I managed to snap a photo of what had me so pissed. Behold it in all its terminal failocity:

You are reading that correctly: “Truth” about GMOs and sweetners. As if I couldn’t figure out how this is going to go.

I have all ideas that it’ll be one of those ‘these things cause cancer because chemmy-kills and not natural so buy only organic’ sort of series. Because most things that have the word “truth” in them aren’t true; they’re scare mongering BS. I’ve seen it all over the internet. It’s infested Facebook, Google, and everything inbetween. Hell, when I tried to get some facts about tamoxifen, I kept running into woo bullshit, claiming that there were herbs that could do the same thing and that cancer treatments are toxic. There were days I wanted to throw my laptop against a wall.

However, I can’t tell if it’s ironic that this is being held in a church. Mostly because my irony detector just exploded. Michael Bay would be proud.

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Sunday Morning Nostalgia Crush!

The opening and closing credits to Night Court. This was something that I remember only from the theme song; I was too young to watch it. Also, this is the show that got Brent Spiner noticed.

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