Posted in activism, anxiety, chronic pain, community, cosplay, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, faith, family, friends, genealogy, homeless, homelessness, insomnia, life, research, society, storage, urgent

4/11/18: Mornings, Genealogy, and #crowdfunding

SHARE ME!!! Still asking for help, of course. I will keep updating when funds do come in.

Mornings are difficult for me. Life here at the residence shelter has been, well, an adjustment, to say the least. For the past year, I stayed with a retired couple of friends. Early? Nope!

Before that, my depression was so fierce, getting up before 9am was difficult. Between it and pain, mornings aren’t easy. But here I am getting up around 7am. I know what some of you may be thinking.

“Good! Then you won’t be so lazy.”

And those of you who will think that have likely never dealt with chronic pain, fatigue, and lifelong insomnia. Which certainly isn’t helped by the late night bed checks and me being a light sleeper.

I may go to bed at a reasonable time, but my brain just won’t shut up for at least an hour (if I’m lucky) after that. Last night, I still hadn’t gotten close to sleep by the time bed checks happened. I finally zonked out around 2am. Only to be woken by Portia around 5am. Then a bit more rest, but not full sleep, and the wake up yell at 7am by staff.

One thing I wish I’d inherited from my dad: he was out cold shortly after his head hit the pillow. How his kid (me) ended up being a lifelong insomniac is bewildering. I got so many other traits from him and his side…

Speaking of family/family history, I’ve put the idea out there about doing a genealogy group here. Teaching whomever is interested in how to search for their bloodlines and see where they end up.

I am also finally going to a group today on public speaking. We’re supposed to do three a week, or other regular activities can take the place of them (X number of work or volunteering hours count toward 1 group hour). This group is, I think, focused on developing public speaking skills to help use your voice in soeaking up for homeless advocacy.

More to come. Do remember to share posts and help me save my storage unit before tomorrow’s auction.

~A

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Posted in anxiety, artsy stuff, C-PTSD, community, convention, cosplay, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, dragon, dreams, emergency, friends, homeless, homelessness, individuality, life, PTSD, Science Fiction and Fantasy, storage, urgent

4/6/18: Geeky Beggar #geek #starwars #geeklife #crowdfunding #urgent #cosplay #cosplayer #Jedi

I’ve never hidden my true geekiness. From music to books to movies to well, a lot of things. So now I’m putting the call out to my fellow geeks. I need help. I’m a freaky geeky weirdo of all trades. I’ve done what is now called #cosplay since I was a kid, really getting into it in my 20’s. Star Wars, Star Trek, some period stuff, creating my own characters, and eventually dabbling in #steampunk.

I still have all my costumes. But they’re stuck in storage along with enough brown fabric to outfit a small force of Jedi.

A bit of my geekiness over the years:

A storage unit that is going up for auction on 4/12, next Thursday.

I owe just under $1400 as of a letter I received via email earlier today.

I’m technically unemployed, although I do tasks through Taskrabbit, but most months have borne little income. I’m homeless and all my worldly possessions are in that storage unit.

To lose everything in that storage unit would be akin to losing my identity. Losing myself.

Any help, sharing and donating being the two things that can be done.

~Amanda

Posted in asexuality, cats, chronic pain, cosplay, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, grad school, LGBTQIA Pride, life, Personal, storage

9/16: Saturday Check in & #crowdfunding

Still #crowdfunding. Not sure when school funds will show, so I can’t count on them. I have until 9/21 (preferably the day before) to get the full $1025 (will have about half, I think, by Monday) before auction. Auction is at noon 9/21. Please share even if you can’t donate.

I’ve been quiet due to a few things: catching up and managing shit for school stuff. Getting my headaches from hell. Etc.

I’ve long believed my headaches were a combo of tension and migraine, but Cluster Headache actually fits what I get better. Predominately on one side of the head, can last for days, etc… I don’t get auras or the usual stuff of migraines… so I think it’s more Cluster with a little Tension thrown in. And yes, I still have it. Been battling it since about Thursday. They tend to be triggered by hormone imbalances (the girly ones)… so I’m on birth control to manage them. I’m a week out from my next shot (I get Depo every three months) and the headache is VERY obvious right now.


In other “news” I’m developing a new Fursona. If y’all haven’t figured out I’m a Furry by now… may Bast help you. My primary one has been Jaeli, who is a character from one of my manuscripts. Still love her, but with my lioness fursuit of Zumai (the Cowardly Lioness), I wanted to develop a fun, toony character.

Her name is Aili (AY-lee) and she’s a Calico kitty with Ace/Asexual flag colors (black, grey, white, and purple). She is asexual like me, and she loves being a total ham. I’ll be commissioning a partial suit of her from a local friend and I’m going to try my hand and drawing her ref sheet.


I’ve had so many topics floating around in my head the last few days, but every time I’m able to write them down, I’ve lost the idea. So, you just have a catch-up thread for now.

~A

Posted in anxiety, artsy stuff, community, cosplay, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, emergency, faith, life, Personal, storage, urgent

8/13: Storage #crowdfunding and my Weekend

Yeah… still needing help with storage. I really don’t want to let it get too much closer to the end of the month… it gets bad after the 15th of this month. Retweet, share, spread the word… any help will do.

I spent this weekend, starting mid afternoon Friday, helping the folks I’m staying with deal with their yard sale… except for today, as we didn’t run it today. I headed out to a friend’s place who’s moving out of the country in October. Picked up some lace and trim (do you even know how hard it is to find black lace trim??)

So, I’m gonna get all sentimental on my stuff in storage. Bear with me…

My father served in WWII. After he died in 2014, I (eventually) received his coffin flag, even though we have yet to do any kind of ceremony. That in and of itself, is a LONG story of family dramatics I’m not getting into here. His flag is in storage.

Several months before he died, we had this conversation:

Me: So, I want to get back into playing piano.
I’m thinking of saving up and buying an electric one.

Dad: Why don’t we try and send the old piano up to you?
Me: Dad, it would cost more than that thing is worth to transport it up here.
Dad: I’m sure we could figure something out.
Me: Besides, the only place for me to put it is the wall where the sleeping alcove for the studio next door is. I’m not going to torment my poor neighbor.
…..
(The rest of the call went a lot like that. The next day, I got an email from my sister accusing me of trying to get dad to buy me a piano, which is not what happened.)
…..
Me: Hi dad.
Dad: Uh-oh, what did I do? (an ongoing gag with the two of us then)
Me: Did you talk to ***** recently?
Dad: Yes. What happened?
Me: I got an email from her accusing me of trying to get you to buy me a piano.
Dad: I said nothing like that.
…..
Me: Why did you even tell her?
Dad: Well, I was excited you wanted to get back to music.
Me: Proud? (my dad was a pretty laid back person)
Dad: Yeah. You were always so happy and upbeat back then. I would love to see you get back to that.
…..
Keep in mind, I had no clue he even ever really paid attention to it back then, let alone be proud. This is just how my family has been.

When he died later that year, I knew that whatever I got from the estate, at least some of it would go toward an electric piano. And it did. That piano, like all my other things, is in storage. I can’t lose what my dad wanted me to so desperately have again.

Some of my mother’s quilting pattern pieces. Also a large chunk of my fabric. And my sewing machine.

My costumes, which range from ones I designed and my mother sewed up for me, to ones I sewed, to pieces purchased from others. Furniture that has a lot of sentimental value.

And so much more. This is all why I’m so desperate to keep my stuff in there safe and in my hands. I ask for that help once again. I know I owe at least $650, and have a bit less than half that… even if you can’t help financially, please consider sharing or retweeting this post. The more people who see it, the better my chances are.

 

Posted in bigotry, community, cosplay, dragon, faith, feminism, friends, life, politics, research, Science Fiction and Fantasy, society

7/15: Trek and Overcoming Human Cultural Differences

A few years back, I was doing some demographics research for a project my boss was working on. While I don’t have the work I did (everything I did is still protected by an NDA I signed), I remember what I found.

There’s been a long-standing misconception that the SF/F fandom is predominately male. HA! Nope. Women are equal, if not a higher percentage, of SF/F fandom than men. And yes, that statement comes from research I did a few years back. Based on research done over the years…. *ahem* …. decades. Even back in the 50’s and 60’s, female readership of SF/F books and periodicals (such as Asimov, etc) was roughly 49-50%. Today? I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s higher. Fandom is just as much for US women as it is for men.

So, what sparked this post? The following image:

20023784_10154719646601546_3572358340627745923_o

And then the ensuing “discussion” on a friend’s posting of this on FB. Filled with Trek fanboys who think they know better than us “females” …. guess what, Ferengi wannabes, you are not better than us, you are not smarter than us, and you most definitely do NOT grasp the concept that women can have a better fucking grasp of Trek than your Neanderthal-esque selves. Crawl back in your caves, boys. Us ladies got this.

Here’s the thing:

How do they know religion isn’t practiced in the Trek future? Because it isn’t as fucking obvious? Trek showed how humans, as a global society/race, have moved beyond differences and work WITH each other. Even if those differences may still exist. We know from later shows and films that the French still make wine (Picard facing his brother), the cuisine and such of Cajun/Southern life survives (Sisko)… and what else? I mean there are all kinds of things that survive a few centuries… if Cajun culture survives, I’m pretty damn sure Islam (not the terrorist shit, but the peaceful religion practiced by nearly all Muslims, save for that percentage of a percentage that have skewed it for their own purposes) will survive. 

The individual episodes don’t have enough airtime to show every aspect of life in Starfleet. So we don’t really know if religion is still around on Earth in Trek. I know one thing: Sisko and other humans in Starfleet are respectful of Bajoran faith. For all we know, there may be a ship chaplain or multiple ones for different faiths represented. Or, in TNG and later, programs on the holodecks for various religious ceremonies and services.

We simply do not know.

But having someone of a specific faith represented doesn’t mean indoctrination (man, I can hear that bigoted outcry now) or pushing any one faith or anything. It’s merely giving a chance to represent the beliefs of Roddenberry and his vision of unity. Just as Chekov was a representative of Russia (who was a major enemy of the US until the end of the Cold War in the 80’s) and showing that we can one day overcome our differences. Just as a Muslim woman would be representative of what many white supremacists and others hate and fear in the here and now. To show that the differences we have TODAY can be overcome in the future.

Showing that humanity on this planet can overcome our hate, judgment, fear, and violence and thus come together to form one world coalition so we can explore the stars without infighting and competition amongst ourselves. We will still have differences and cultural diversity, things that are shown in the later shows. Humans are not “homogenized” in Trek. The military aspect may show some of that to some degree…

But…

Remember, Starfleet is not all encompassing of humans. It is essentially the Navy in Space. One part of Earth’s culture as envisioned by Roddenberry and his people.

~Dragon the Geek

Posted in artsy stuff, chronic pain, convention, cosplay, friends, job hunting, life, Personal, PTSD, sexual assault, society, storage

7/8: My week…

If anything below has already been said earlier this week, my apologies… I’ve had a crazy-weird week.
I survived GearCon with my sanity intact. Mostly thanks to certain people setting me up with my own sleeping space so I could retreat to a quiet place when needed. Which I desperately needed. To those people, I am in your debt and I intend on reimbursing you for the room. I know they aren’t cheap. Even those little ones. After four months of sleeping mostly on cots and rollaway beds, having a couple of nights on a real bed was heavenly.
I made my black waist cincher to wear at con on Saturday. I finished it that day and wore it a fair chunk of the rest of Saturday. It’s fairly thin plain tanned leather that I did a second layer to give it a bit more body, painted black, drew gears in silver and bronze Sharpies… and will be adding more later. It came out pretty damn well considering I only starting working on it the Thursday before.
(pics here)\
The Front

The Back
I enjoy working with leather. It’s a pricey hobby, but I have fun with it.
I had appts Wednesday and Thursday and have been strongly encouraged by my GP and my therapist to start creating a local in-person group for those of us with C-PTSD from domestic/sexual abuse. I won’t discuss it too much here, as it’ll be a peer-run (non-clinical) confidential group.
I also met with my VR trainer and we’re getting going on redoing my resume, etc and switching gears to finding work in research instead of social media. SM is over-saturated here in PDX, hence why I’ve had shitty luck in even getting interviews. Research isn’t AS saturated… likely not saturated at all, honestly. I may have a better chance at solid employment there.
Now, here’s an interesting thing. I’ve pondered about it on FB and have been told that this is actually very possible. A few months back, I fucked up my SI Joint (sacroiliac joint) on my left side. It’s right next to the tailbone and has affected my walking ability among other issues. I was already having issues with my right knee, and then this… but on Sunday, while at the con, I was room-sitting our hospitality suite while others were off doing things. I’m fine with this… I actually enjoy just hanging out and watching the room. I got up to make a sandwich (yes, we had gluten free bread), and on my short walk back to my chair, I had a severe sharp jab of pain right in that spot next to my tailbone. I couldn’t move that hip, could barely put weight on it, etc. One girl was also in there and I had her set my sandwich down on the other chair and then help me over the last few steps. I managed to get pain meds, etc… but before they could take effect, everyone returned in one big blob of happy people… some noticed I was having problems and asked if I needed anything. They got everyone else mobilized to set the sofa-bed back to sofa form and my stuff was carried over there, pillows set up, and 2/3’s of the couch set up for me. That’s pretty much where I stayed most of the rest of the day. I got a ride home and stayed in bed for about 95% of the next two days and nights.
By Wednesday, when I had a doc appt for other things, I had almost no pain on the left side. I’ve since wondered if that pain on Sunday was my SI joint basically resetting itself. That hip still doesn’t like sitting in any one position for too long, but that’s my body for you. I will have sciatica until I die… not much can be done for it. But no more excruciating SI pain. I’ve been told that the SI join can reset itself back into place… it happens… not for everyone, but it can… and I have a feeling that’s what it did for me. I’ll run it by my PT when I see her next.
I’m also having issues with the very computer I’m writing this post on. Oddly enough, it’s ONLY on Facebook and no other site. And on FB, if I’m using the other computer or my phone, it’s fine. I try to type a status or comment and get a few letters in and the cursor pops back to the beginning. I even shut the damn thing down a couple of days ago to let it rest… fired it back up about an hour ago and it’s still doing it. Closed the window, opened a new one… yup… still.
I’m also trying to scrounge up the remaining funds for July storage rent. I have about 130 or so, and the bookcases will be sold shortly, but that’s only another $50… I need 280 plus late fees. I’m working on it, but I’m just not getting anything else coming in. I may have a lead on a little part time (maybe under the table) work for a friend and fellow writer, but I need to email him. As my post from earlier this week stated, our internet was down for a couple of days and that threw me off track with emailing people and all that jazz.

I’ve been fairly quiet this week, but I have had a lot on my mind…

~A

Posted in chronic pain, convention, cosplay, creativity, life, Personal, storage

7/2: Gimpy Steampunk Penguin

I’m at GearCon this weekend. It’s almost over, but still… this is why I’ve been quiet. I had a crazy week last week with appointments, etc, and then con. I’m pretty sure all of us on Staff Lounge staff are rather firmly on the Injured List. Most of us have canes.

I started working on a leather waist cincher Thursday and finished it Saturday. It held up quite well.

Back to the real world shortly. I have about half of July storage rent… and need to figure out the rest of the $280.

I’ll post more later… once I recover from con…

~Amanda

Posted in adoption, animal advocacy, cats, cosplay, creativity, empath life, homeless, life, Personal, poverty line, storage

6/30: Feline Bonds 

JoJo and I had this incredible bond the 14 years she loved with me. Since she passed away in February, Portia has stepped up in her own quirky way. She’s still a total dork, but curls up (read: SPRAWLS) on my chest when I’m in bed. 

She isn’t exactly a small or lightweight cat, weighing in around the 14lb mark. I’ve determined she’s likely at least half Maine Coon. Her size and varied coat lengths are a good indicator. She purrs when she eats, shows some signs of stress when I’m stressed. Not as obvious as JoJo was, but I see indicators. 

I’ve been working on a last minute leather cincher to wear this weekend at GearCon. Drafting the pattern, tweaking things, punching holes for rivets and small grommets. It isn’t done, but I’m hauling my whole crazy mess to con with me. I’m assisting mostly in the staff lounge… I tend to be the one to “babysit” the space, as I’m content to just be stationary. 

I’ve been running around all week and am also concerned I don’t have the full $280 for storage. I’ll have a bit over half when pay from two tasks from earlier this week post to my account. I think I can pay partial while I don’t owe previous months. 

So, Portia got what I think was a small hairball. This is a rare thing for her. She usually just mats. But she has been grooming more this week. She needs a companion, but the cat of the house is still uneasy about her (I think they’ll be fine with monitored rounds), and I’m in no shape, financially or home-wise, to adopt another right now.

We will see what happens…

~Amanda 

Posted in baking, cosplay, creativity, dragon, family, Personal, storage

6/19: Results of Dragon Baking Shortbread

(random featured image…)

Ummm…. needs more flour. It’s been so long since I made shortbread before that I’ve forgotten how the dough should be… and now I’m realizing it should be on the MUCH drier side. This round liquefied and eventually baked out to a 1/4″ thick mess. It’s…. edible, but not for sharing.

I’m going to have to craft my own damn recipe. I was going back and forth between about 4 different recipes. One uses powdered sugar (don’t have any), another uses less flour (the main one I went with… bad choice).

I have the capability of crafting my own recipe. Despite the bad blood between my mother and I growing up, she taught me a few things. One was baking from scratch. Baking is typically an exact science, but shortbread is one area where wiggle room is easy to manage. Most recipes call for three things: sugar, flour, butter. I went off a recipe that adds vanilla. A comment on that one said almond extract would be better. I might have that here with me. I brought the “spices and stuff” bag back from storage a couple weeks ago… I think the almond bottle is in there. If not, that’s okay.

Shortbread is about as simple as it gets when it comes to baking. Three base ingredients, a little time, and then you have tasty little shortbread cookies. This round didn’t work. That’s okay. I love experimenting in the kitchen. I grew up with a fully stocked kitchen. This is how I do my best to live as an adult. Sometimes I’m lacking in some ingredients, and that’s okay. I make a note to pick them up next trip.

My mother also taught me other things, such as visualizing a finished project and what I might need to make it happen, even if there is no template or pattern. This is how I can design and draft my own patterns for some things. Same for altering patterns and making a “franken-pattern” using two or more patterns. This is where the 3rd jacket project comes from… the one I mentioned in the projects post yesterday or so. There is no template for it, but I know what I want to do and how to do it. I can see the finished coat. I just need to get there from where I am.

I noticed a couple people visited the post about my Kai Opaka  cosplay. During the eviction, I did find the missing pieces and put them in the bin with the rest of it. I can’t really work on it here… but maybe… just maybe… I can get it done for RCCC this September. There are many parts of that costume that I have designed myself. There is no pattern for Opaka’s outfit.

My mother created the costume ideas I brought to her. Sometimes with just a sketch. Many times, with no pattern. My ST:TNG dress uniform top is that way. Everyone else I’ve seen has a zipper at the back of the neck. We were super intense, watching clips of every episode that had those and we determined that it closed in front. We figured out the what, and then the how. I still have that uniform. I need to do some repairs on it, but the craftsmanship on it impressed the crap out of people in higher ranks at the regional Starfleet conference (Yes, I started out doing Trek cosplay in the early 1990’s and was a member of Starfleet). This lowly Ensign had a better dress uniform than her own captain.

Despite the two of us locking horns a LOT (the two most stubborn people in the family also happened to be the two most creative), we did a lot of incredible things. I still have a hard time forgiving her for the emotional abuse she heaped on me. I lost the chance for reconciliation years ago as her Alzheimer’s got worse. She passed away in 2013. The only thing I can do now is to handle it on my own.

She taught me how to bake and cook from scratch. She taught me visual and tactile skills that have served me well as I get older (God knows I’m not maturing. I need to put it into my living will that I go into the incinerator with both middle fingers flipping off the world).

More baking experiments to come… next month. I don’t have any more butter.

I also need to stick to more liquids for a bit. A sizable piece of one of my bottom front teeth is loose/broken off (it’s wedged between the rest of that tooth and the one next to it).

Until the next round…

~Dragon

Posted in bugaboos, chronic pain, cosplay, crowdfunding, friends, Personal, storage

5/8: Mass Transit and everything but cars, #crowdfunding

Today, I dealt with people on the MAX as well as pedestrians and cyclists. Don’t worry, cyclists, I’ll mostly go easy on you. (and yes, still #crowdfunding)

Being mostly a pedestrian, but holding a driver’s license as well, I see city cyclists from two perspectives. I know full well that the vast majority aren’t major assholes who run red lights or stop signs and plow into pedestrians with the actual right-of-way. Or similarly hit a car (or get hit, even if the car has the right of way) and then get into screaming matches and even, in some instances, beat up the driver of the car. Yes, that’s happened. The ones I see the most are the aggressive asshole cyclists. The kind of person who plows into a pedestrian in the crosswalk who has the light. I knew the woman hit. Don’t worry, she’s fine. I just haven’t seen her in almost two years.

Today I also came across both locals and tourists (using the Biketown bicycles that are bright orange) riding on the sidewalks. Some were okay speed-wise, but the general rule is that if you’re riding faster than you can walk, you aren’t allowed on the sidewalks here. That’s what the bike lanes are for, folks. I did nearly get mowed down -on the sidewalk- by two who were going a little faster than they should have. I wish people would try to learn the local rules before getting on any wheels, motorized or manual.

Now for Mass Transit… they’re doing some work on tracks here so downtown is a bit of a mess. On my way into downtown today, everything was cool. I even met a new friend.

On the way home, however, I took issue with a girl next to me. On some of the newer trains, they have less actual seating in the Disabled/Seniors areas. I use a cane and have an Honored Citizen card (for a number of disabilities and reasons), and especially when I have my cane, I’m more than entitled to sit there. If you are younger or at least able-bodied and can stand on your own two feet and not lose your balance like I would if standing. After one person who needed the lone seat next to me, a girl in her 20’s or so sat down. If, by some chance, she’s seeing this, I have one thing to say:

“I don’t care if your backpack is heavy. There are homeless who are hauling more shit on their bodies than you ever will. You pick your privileged eyes up from your precious smartphone and take a look around you once in a while. Guess what? I had to tap you on the fucking shoulder to inform you that an older woman who likely has Parkinsons (from the shaking… just a guess) needs that seat. Now, if my knee weren’t screaming at me, I’d have offered her MY seat, but not with how my knee is right now.”

I don’t like that they made the handicapped areas smaller and down from six seats to two in the new MAX cars. The seats flip up. Four of them would be good (when I say two, it’s two in each end of car). Design flaws…. I hope they learn.

As a pedestrian, I’ve had times where I’ve nearly been hit. People wonder why I hesitate many times when crossing a street, even if I have the light. I get assholes on all different kinds of wheels who don’t always abide by rules.

It’s a lot like any sub group of modern society: there are a “handful” that give the rest a bad reputation. I get it. Hell, I’m a Furry and I get weird looks from people. The vast majority of Furries are not pervs who fuck others in their fursuits… do you even know how much those suits cost??? Mine was on the cheap with Minky fabric instead of faux fur and I ran over $100 for supplies alone. I have the skills, so I made it myself. Pro builders charge a lot more than my costs for a suit. They’re custom suits, no two alike. we don’t damage our suits. We baby them….

Look, there are always a few in any group that give others a bad name. Don’t be those people. Please. Learn the rules, abide by them, respect those around you and please pay attention.

~Amanda