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azurelunatic: panic button.  (panic)
My readers who don't have access have seen precious little of me lately (and I've been scarce locked as well). Two big reasons.

First, and most delightfully, I am in some sort of relationship; the details are still being worked out, but the important part is that we have each other now. So that's been taking a fair chunk of my social time.

Second, when they took out my uterus and its baggage, it wasn't good news, but it could have been worse. )

I lost my long-term job in February. (I've had some gigs, but nothing long-term or offering coverage.) When the host company switched contractor management providers in 2015, I lost the crappy insurance I'd had through the first contractor management joint. (It would have paid up to $10,000 of something -- which burns through pretty fast if something major happens. I was terrified that something major would happen, and avoided doing anything that would get me diagnosed with a pre-existing condition.) The new contract management joint didn't give health benefits to anyone in their first year. (People with good tech jobs whose workplaces use contract labor: apply pressure to make sure your contractors are taken care of, either individually or by their management companies.)

Since 2015, I've had health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. I was able to sign up after losing the crappy insurance. I picked a plan with good coverage and good reviews, as I was aware that I probably had lurking health issues, and it would finally be safe to treat them. A decade and a half of little to no health care and untreated depression will do a number on you. A decade and a half of consciously avoiding health care to avoid getting a "pre-existing condition" sentence on my record made me avoidant even when I did have coverage, so I wound up avoiding check-ups, avoiding things that would give me poison diagnoses in service of a future when it became a crisis and I would need to be covered. But in 2015, I finally got a diagnosis for my depression. (I should have been diagnosed in 1993. I should have been treated in 1993. I wasn't.) I got some other things diagnosed and treated.

Since my sweetie and I are polyamorous, we're being intentionally careful about our sexual health. On my end, we figured it would be a good idea for me to get some sort of long-acting contraceptive. (My opinions on body-birth for me were well-established; reversible was not a deep concern.) I'd heard that "vaginal bleeding" postcoitally was a sign of cancer, but figured that wasn't me; I had a PCOS diagnosis, and the blood was quite definitely coming from inside the uterus, even if it happened after sex.


So I'm a cancer survivor now.

I'm still paying quite a lot for my insurance. But.
Under the Affordable Care Act, I still get insurance.
Under the Affordable Care Act, if I switch insurers, my pre-existing conditions (cancer, depression, and other things) are still covered.
I don't have to worry about contraception anymore. My cancer ensured that I will never experience pregnancy or body-birth. But the Affordable Care Act would make sure that I could get access to contraception without worrying about the cost.

It's a fluke that I planned on becoming sexually active again this year. It was endometrial cancer gone rogue, so the surface cells of the cervix tested fine. I wasn't due another pap smear for years.

"How do you feel about having saved your partner's life?" a mutual friend asked my sweetie.
My sweetie looked uncomfortable: they didn't feel they'd done that much. Surely it would have been caught and treated, sooner or later.
Without them, it would have been later. Without them, it likely would have been post-ACA. I've seen friends struggle and beg to get live-saving operations that their insurance wouldn't cover. I thought we, as a country, were past that.

I still have conditions that can and will kill me if left untreated. The cancer may also spring up again. My best hope for a long and happy life is if I jump on a symptom immediately, even if I think it may not be a big deal. I'm scheduled for four pelvic exams a year for the next few, and it'll only drop off to yearly at the five year cancer free mark.

If the Affordable Care Act goes away without something better and more protective in place to catch the people who fall through the cracks of work insurance, private insurance, and insurance through a family member, I am likely to become uninsured. I tend to land jobs that put me above the poverty line, so programs intended to help out people in truly dire financial straits don't apply to me. The job that I worked four years and loved gave me utter crap insurance, because they were allowed to. The insurance disappeared after three years, because they were allowed to do that, too. The insurance I'm paying for now, under the Affordable Care Act, is still about 25% of the value of my rent. (Welcome to the San Francisco Bay Area.)

In a future without the ACA, I'm looking at a few possible outcomes:

  • Hope my state continues to think it's a good idea to strongarm insurance companies into covering people like me.

  • Hope my insurance company thinks it's a good idea to keep covering people like me without government intervention. (Ha ha ha. Ha.)

  • Hope that I land a job that thinks it's worth paying to keep its employees healthy, and does not treat them as disposable once they get sick.

  • Hope that I can marry or otherwise become legally partnered with someone whose job thinks it's worth paying to keep its employees and their spouses healthy, and does not treat them as disposable once they get sick.

  • Hope that if there's someone willing to marry me and share their health care (among other reasons, hopefully), that it remains legal for us to marry.

  • Hope that I get a job that offers health care, at all, period. (The place that only offered health benefits after one year, and stopped employing people at the one year mark, that one was hilarious.)

  • Hope that I can continue to access all of my current medications.

  • Hope that I can continue to access the medications that keep me from dying painfully within the next 2-5 years, and the medications that keep my depression a temporary and treated problem rather than a likely permanent and lethal one. (Again, this is the first year since age 13 or so that I have felt that I'm no worse a suicide risk than any other member of the population without chronic depression.)

  • Hope I don't get sick. Hope the depression doesn't flare up. Hope the ADD lets me focus well enough to hold down a job. Hope I find a job that works with my sleep schedule, rather than against it. Hope the sleep schedule lets me hold down any job, period. Hope that any minor illnesses I get don't jeopardize my job. (Fun fact for those who have never worked a service-industry type job: you find yourself going to work contagious and miserable because you've got to save the sick leave for when you genuinely cannot function or need a doctor's appointment during your normal hours of work. A doctor's note for a multiple-day illness has you spending a day's pay on a doctor visit co-pay or urgent care fee, and the first day of absence may hit your attendance record anyway. Or, if you're a disposable temp, they'll just drop you, because they only care about you not being contagious in their office and they need someone to do the work.)

  • Hope my family doesn't bankrupt themselves trying to keep me alive if I get badly sick.

  • Die, maybe. Probably painfully, with the added indignity of trying to navigate a bureaucratic hell while doing so.

Every one of those options fills me with terror. Bad psychological stuff, and news of the sudden death of a member of my extended circles. )

I'm not okay right now. I've been crying off and on yesterday and today. I am afraid, and I don't know how much the protective bureaucracies that surround the executive branch will be able to shield health care access and workers' rights from the predation of cheap-labor conservatives and the gig economy.

I know I have it much, much better than many. I have a protective and loving family who will try to do what they can to keep me covered and alive. I live in a state that generally wants to take care of its people even when they do it bassackward. I am destined for a state that's of similar opinions.

I am lucky. And I'm terrified.
azurelunatic: A crocheted uterus with ancillary parts, including internal clitoral structure. (Uterus in Retrograde)
So as I mentioned a while back, I'd had an IUD placed and had an endometrial biopsy. The results came back -- abnormal, which is the lowest of the five levels of Shit Be Wack, y0. The phrasing on that, by the way, is interesting; there are various levels of panic, in a way that indicates that even in the face of a patient's body rebelling and trying to kill them, doctors still have a bit of a sense of humor. Sometimes that's all you've got.

After a very short time, the sort of timeframe that makes you wonder whether you're having emergency surgery or whether Kaiser's just been greasing your roller skates before sending you down Arch Street, it turns out I'm getting a hysterectomy, tubes and ovaries and all. They'll send it to Pathology while I'm out, and will take out some lymph nodes if they find anything bad enough. It was the roller skates, after all: they're not expecting anything too bad, but there's always that concern.

It's planned to be laparoscopic, with robots; the abdominal incisions should be very small.

I should be awake sometime in the evening, if not online; I should be home sometime Thursday, although scarce while I recover enough to actually sit at the computer.

Thanks to post-via-email, two of my friends have post-only access to my journal. They cannot read any of your locked entries, although with the post-via-email PIN and a T.A.R.D.I.S. they could probably gain access to an old workplace of mine. The plan is that [personal profile] ryan will email the small list of friends and family who need immediate updates, and then my friends with the keys will update DW at their discretion.

I expect that my own replies to stuff will be substantially delayed on account of, you know, hysterectomy.

(Purple, and other parties, have been excellent throughout all this, and tolerated my increasingly pathetic requests to them for hugs with good grace.)
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
via http://ift.tt/20DbEju:


Baby Halloween Costumes That Are So Cute, It’s Scary.

Uh oh. This is making me want babies.

azurelunatic: Warning: participating in #dw may result in blacking out and discovering yourself as head of a project team. (#dw warning: department head)
Today I gave my Community Moderation: you can't always halt a flamewar with one raised eyebrow (but it rarely hurts to try) talk.

I have already identified things that I might do differently next time, but I think it went OK overall and I had a great chat with someone who is currently looking at the fact that one of her communities hasn't got any rules and right now it's an intentional community who all have the same general goals but if Things Happen they wouldn't know where to start.

I always recommend starting with rules or at least general concrete principles that you'd like the community to embody, for the record.

I had fun and I hope everyone else did too, and I sadly ran long enough that there wasn't much time for Q&A. My favorite under-discussed tool is hellbanning.
azurelunatic: panic button.  (panic)
Saturday: sleep, errands, and eventually hauling out garbage. And it was during the latter process that I heard the faint but distinct sputtering sound and saw the vapor rolling away from the corner of the fence around my neighbor's patio.

I put my garbage in the dumpster, used the bathroom so I wouldn't have to during the ensuing events, grabbed flashlight and cellphone, and went back outside.

The sputtering and vapor were coming from a pair of wires which were apparently associated with the lamp mounted on the outside of the patio fence.

I dialed the apartment complex number, then changed my mind and called 911 first. Once that was done, I had to unlock my phone out of emergency mode to call the apartment complex number. I ordered the information for the voicemail approximately like:

The fire department is on its way.
#[apt] is about to have an electrical fire.
I don't know where the breaker is.
This is [Azure], from [my apt]. My phone number is [#].

The callback from the maintenance guy was very quick. He said something about throwing clothes on and he was [6 units down].

Having discharged my duty, I kept the flashlight trained on the hissing wires, and told Twitter.

The maintenance guy arrived nearly simultaneously with the fire department. Maglights are also useful as a "hey here I am" tool. I showed them the place. Apparently this was not the first time they have come out for *exactly this problem*. (I recommend pausing to contemplate this fact. I am still musing on it some hours later.) It was still steam and not smoke.

Last time they were unsure of which breaker was the one. The maintenance guy went down to the garage to throw breakers until he got the right one.

That concluded the shenanigans for tonight as far as I was concerned, as the fire department went into standing down.

I went back inside and told IRC.
azurelunatic: White capslock text on black background: AS OF 0700 GMT, OPERATIONS HAS DECLARED CASE *CAPSLOCK*. (case capslock)
So! That was an eventful Christmas!

Christmas day: First I chilled out at home, and also slept. Then I went over to my aunt's for dinner. She had decided to have a sausage festival, wherein her loving family would taste different types of sausage, olive oil, and vinegar. In theory it was a good plan! In practice, the sausages were all a little more spicy than anyone else was planning on. The habanero sausage was a bit much for everyone except Infamous Cousin and me, even cut into small chunks. I made a little sandwich of it with some of the nice sourdough, and found it spicy but good. (Infamous Cousin was waiting for me to run wailing for the milk, but bread was sufficient.)

All the kids got the same thing: frying pans. I introduced my aunt to my sister's and my word for "hit upside the head with a frying pan" in our private childhood language before unwrapping. (It is a language of few words, but we had a word for that specifically.) Very nice nonstick ceramic frying pans, it turned out upon opening, and money. I was deeply touched by the unexpected generosity and need to write a proper thank-you note.

Read more... )

I'd planned to get together with JD, and perhaps Purple, on Boxing Day. I picked up JD; Purple was otherwise occupied (friends needing help moving, most likely, or maybe not wanting to go 40 miles one way to see a movie even if it is with friends). We saw Into the Woods (the new movie adaptation) and had a great time.

Having realized that a deposit on an apartment in a cheaper part of the Bay Area was unexpectedly suddenly within my reach thanks to the generosity of Aunta Claus, I floated the possibility of being roommates to JD. He'll discuss the idea (and the proposed location) with Ryan. I dropped him off and then scampered to a bank location which I hoped did co-branching with my credit union, as a quickly-deposited check clears faster than a tardily-deposited check, and gathers more interest besides.

I was crossing the street when my phone rang. I had been expecting Nora, as she'd called earlier, and I'd called back, and we'd missed each other, but it was a number not in my phonebook. I debated not answering it. Then I peered at the screen as I got to the other side of the road. 907. Alaska. My parents' emergency cell. "Is everything okay?" I asked Mama.

Everything was not okay. My father was in the ICU, Medical details. ) By this time, he had started to become a good deal more cantankerous, which was a good sign.

Read more... )

They released him on Monday. Mama was a bit later than she might have liked to be and did not get to chat with the cardiologist herself, because she and some neighbors were busy moving the god-damned bed down the fucking stairs. Certain stubborn old coots have been braving the stairs, which haven't the slightest hint of a railing, through back problems, ankle problems, and various iterations of the heart problems, but this was Quite Enough. I gather that Mama made an executive decision, and lo, it was done.

We'll see what happens with the plumbing, also.
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
I think it's trying to communicate! The dishwasher(s) in [my location] have been singing little notes that are doubtless meaningful if you speak the binary language of moisture vaporators, or whatever language it is that these dishwashers speak. I don't know if they're functioning, not functioning, in between functioning... what I do know is, they're loud.

2014 07 28 23 33 23 - alunatic

Please send someone quickly to shut this thing off. At any given moment, ten engineers cluster around it, trying to figure out some way to stop the dishwasher's eerie, haunting song.
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
Stopped in at auto shop this morning for the new tires. Got some quality podcasts-and-games time in. Also a large chunk of the emails that just needed reading and filing for work. Then I headed back home because I had forgotten The Bag, despite my reminder to myself about it.

Arrived at work in time for lunch. Didn't see Purple at the table, so I grabbed a sandwich and headed back to my desk, in time to see Purple make a super-late call for lunch. *grin* (I stayed at my desk because there were Things to be done.)

Outlook was being a pain in the ass, so I rebooted while I installed the network cable and switch for the collaboration table. I left it powered off, because there's no need to bleed power that nobody's using when the power switch is right the fuck there.

[twitter.com profile] apraxial showed up after getting a bit (very, but she un-lost herself by the time I got to reception) lost, and we went back to my cube. She poked around it and asked questions while I cross-checked the seat assignments. I explained the easter bunny and reverse easter bunny situation with the peanut butter eggs when she found the first bag. In all she found six. She was very happy with the game.

Various co-workers stopped by; I introduced [twitter.com profile] apraxial as my goddaughter. She got some practice using her new chosen in-person nickname.

We went back to the front desk to get her phone, which she'd forgotten in the hasty dash for the ladies' room.

Eventually it was movie time. We went by Purple's office to retrieve him, but he wasn't retrievable at that time. ([twitter.com profile] apraxial seemed slightly startled to realize that the reason for our detour had been to see him, since the movie was the other way.) He mentioned that he might show up later, and that if I got a text with just one digit, to text him back with our location, as he migh have trouble finding us. I offered to text him back with just one digit, and demonstrated. ([twitter.com profile] apraxial giggled in a slightly scandalized way.) Which of course would not help him find us unless I was waving it, he was correct.

The movie was cute. The lines for refreshments were less cute. The picnic blanket was useful. Purple showed up partway through, and sat almost out of poking range. (But that's why we have umbrellas.)

We headed back, and stopped by R's cube to say hi and introduce [twitter.com profile] apraxial. Then I shepherded us off to the kitchen for water. R and Purple lingered a bit to chat while [twitter.com profile] apraxial and I headed to my cube to make sure we had all the things ready. Purple came by to see us off.

There was a weird plastic thingy on my cabinets. I had wondered if it was a part of the thing, or whether it was just some thing. Purple thought it looked like a screw from a toddler's toy toolkit, and wondered if it was a signal that meant "You screw-up!" He carefully placed it on the edge of my cube.

"[Purple] darling," I said, with my eyebrows.
"Azure darling," he said, matching me tone for tone.
(many giggles)

So then I took [twitter.com profile] apraxial home, with The Bag.

Despite flunking out of Chinese school, [twitter.com profile] apraxial knows all the terrible words. Why? Well, because her mother has always used them while yelling at her...

Vash actually died on me while I was in the parking lot, which is new and somewhat worrying. I got him re-started fine, but I'm thinking we're going back to the mechanic's at some point soonish.

After dropping [twitter.com profile] apraxial off, I headed back to work (chatting with [personal profile] norabombay all the way), where I did a few more things, corrected two errors I'd made (one not-updated email address, one thinking something was this week instead of next week), yelled at Outlook a bit, and then went over to help Purple yell at his Outlook installation. At which point he declared it quitting time, when everything was still terrible.

And now I'm home, and now it should be bedtime, but I should also probably brush my hair, because I'll regret it if I don't.
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
Any explanation for the candy named "sour cherry balls" that starts with a mental search for the name of the profession that is to fruits as a veterinarian is to animals, does not need to be made in the workplace.

This near miss interaction involving my candy dish was with the Stage Manager. My brain went there, but fortunately wiser minds prevailed before it got out my mouth. "My brain is in the state right now where all of its contributions involving the name of the candy are unhelpful."
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
That song where Mother Duck loses all her ducklings one by one until she too goes "over the hills and far away" and they are reunited:
As clear an allegory for death and heaven as ever my gummy little brain had been fed. I was sceptical about the heaven part as it seemed obviously tacked on to make people feel better about death. As I had a hobby of scaring myself silly by trying to comprehend eternity and infinity, it seemed a cheap platitude.

"Waltzing with Bears":
Interesting metaphor for drug addiction! It's a dangerous and bizarre hobby that his family tries to intervene in, but in the end the addiction was stronger than their love and his determination.

"Puff, the Magic Dragon":
Pointlessly depressing because the kid dies at the end, and the dragon mourns him forever. (He may have grown up before dying.) Even so, it was all the terror of eternity with the loss of a close friend to make it more interesting.
azurelunatic: "Fangirl": <user name="azurelunatic"> and a folding fan.  (fangirl)
So this evening was the release party at Borderlands Books for Seanan McGuire's latest and 7th addition to the October Daye series, Chimes at Midnight, which is glorious and has hitting and also many lovely and occasionally bloody and horrible things. You all should pick up the series; I particularly recommend it to my chatfish on the strength of several things including the fact that Toby spends 14 years before the start of the series as a koi in a San Francisco pond. It's amazing. FISH.

I showed up early and read the book while I was waiting. Part of the book is set in the bookstore that I was in while reading it. )

I had a lot of feelings, and reading in a cafe is never the most quiet venue. )

Seanan's mom is awesome, Seanan is awesome, Seanan's writing is awesome, and Seanan's fans are awesome. THE WORLD IS AWESOME. )

The Q&A sessions are not to be missed. Again, there are rules invented specifically for me. Rabbit pie, anyone? )

Options, options )

Hungry velociraptor who? )

And now, the weather. )

You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. )

Later, I intend to post my reactions to the book in the by-now-customary format, but that can wait until well after I've slept. I had amazing fun as always.
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
... preferably for a somewhat Discordian con, only with full consent including recipe clearance.

Spoilers. And cacti. )
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
866 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA

Waiting for party, reading frantically.

Rec Chimes to all Fish.
azurelunatic: a modification of the Oxidizer hazard label reading 'Caution Flaming Asshole'  (flaming)
So, um.

I'm not a mental health professional. I am an observant human being, and I have at least two friends (that I know of, who have told me about it) who have bipolar disorder and who have experienced manic phases.

The following is a sampling of things that either they mentioned or I observed:

Not getting enough sleep because sleep was unimportant compared to the other things there were to do, like:
Reading all the fic.
Cleaning all the things.
Buying random crap.
Ordering random crap online.
Starting amazingly ambitious craft projects with tons of energy and enthusiasm, having bought all the supplies needed and very likely then some.
Sincerely blowing through/fucking up budgeting because of all of the random crap purchased.
Being generally irritable.
Getting in arguments with family and friends that they might have otherwise de-escalated.
Ranting at length and with some heat about topics like bad writing, poor technical and office skills, corruption in the workplace, and the state of the economy.

Not on this list: hurling racially based or gender-based abuse at people on Twitter and other online platforms.


Well, I imagine it's because manic phases seem to amplify people's existing traits and interests up to potentially harmful levels, even if the trait or interest was harmless or unexceptionable. Their existing habits never included bullying women of color who were internet strangers. Therefore, when they had manic episodes, they didn't suddenly start.

As far as I can tell, today's dickbag dude is, in ordinary life, a dickbag. Mania renders him a dickbag turned up to 11.
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
Background: So there's a current up-in-arms regarding really skeevy crap on Twitter. It goes like this:

Someone (often female) says something that gets the attention of abusive asshats.
Abusive asshats (often male) say things on Twitter that are entirely possibly legally actionable.
Their target complains, usually to Twitter, with screenshots and links.
Support volume being what it has to be, it takes a while to get notice.
The abusive asshat cleans up their account in the interim.
Twitter comes back and says that Abusive Asshat's account is "not currently in violation" of Twitter's terms of service.
This is remarkably unhelpful to the person who's been the target of all this abuse.


I have never been a member of LiveJournal's Abuse Prevention team. I am not a member of Dreamwidth's Terms of Service team. (I am a Dreamwidth spamwhacker, which is a partner department.)

From my experience in conversing with various then-current and former members of LiveJournal's Abuse team, I can say quite firmly that accepting accuser-sourced screenshots of content that is against the Terms of Service of a website is not, and can never be, a form of evidence that can be solely admissable when enacting penalties against an offending account.

Why? Screenshots can be faked.

I am as certain as I can be without having been personally there and witnessed the whole thing go down that 99% of the women on Twitter reporting that jacked-up asshats are promising to enact various forms of appalling violence to them (most of it rapey) have legit complaints. I've seen enough of it happening to know that it's happening and not being exaggerated a large majority of the time. It's got to be against the rules.

But the jackholes in question are sometimes canny enough to make their violations disappear from their Twitter accounts before it gets taken official notice of, and then all Twitter has is the word of the complainant and the screenshot.

There's a technical solution for this, and it's not a "report abuse" button that can be gamed by someone with a huge following on their side.

The technical solution for this is a "preserve and report tweet" button that caches the offending tweet on Twitter's servers, and initiates the reporting process, where the complainant fills out the appropriate forms, making reference to the secured and admissible cached tweet.

After this, no matter if the offender cleans up his account, there is still a record that he said this thing, assuming someone initiated the reporting process. Furthermore, the complainant could be given a Twitter case number to give to law enforcement, and law enforcement could then request testimony from Twitter that the offending tweet was made, in case it's something deserving of criminal or civil charges. The cached copy would remain accessible to Twitter's speaker-to-cops department even after Twitter suspended the account for violations.
azurelunatic: Azz Calm Yo Tits dreamsheep (calm yo tits)
I was a smart, educated child in an affluent household. I read a lot. My father had subscriptions to the National Geographic and Scientific American, and at one point a bunch of Discovery magazines came into the household. The National Geographic is very artistic and literary. The Scientific American is somewhat dry. Comparatively, Discovery is -- well, basically tabloid science.

Now, it is important to note at this juncture that my household was semi-nudist. Anatomy, the reading of tabloid science, and gender anxiety. )
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
John Scalzi recently made a pledge that he will not attend a convention without a harassment policy.

There are many reasons this does not work for everyone.

With that in mind, I might as well articulate what I can do, would do anyway, and don't mind committing to:

I will prioritize conventions with acceptable conduct/harassment policies over those without.

If a convention I would like to attend does not have one, I will ask if they can implement one.

If I am helping organize a convention in whatever small a way, I will advocate for the implementation of such a policy, or any improvements I can identify to an existing policy, if one already exists.

If the event is already covered by an overriding policy, such as a work event covered by the workplace code of conduct, I will advocate to highlight the existence and continued applicability of this policy.


azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
Azure Jane Lunatic (Azz) 🌺

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