Sonntag, 28. Juni 2009

farmers market, pain, weekend, pain, seizures, more pain, falling down, screaming.

On Thursday evening I went to a BIG farmers market of over 100 stalls. And in retrospect, that probably wasn’t the best idea. I say that because I was going to be doing a lot of talking on Friday and had a hair appointment on Saturday plus work and postcards all the way till Sunday, a medical appointment early on Monday and a Tuesday flight to see Linda’s relatives.

But I did go to the market and there was some really nice stuff there. Here I am at the beginning, in front of a woman’s stall who sells regular hand-made soap AND goats-milk soap AND Emu milk soap – that’s right, Emu soap, in many different scents and flavors. So if you need some, let me know and I will pick it up.

I did go a searching among the many jam and jelly people for diabetic jams. And I found a woman who was going to go into in, and while we were talking a guy came up and said, “Did you say Diabetic Jams?” and we talked and I told him where to get his at the James Bay Market on Saturday. So there is a buzz. I found a nice places that has these SMALL jars of diabetic jam but then were very aggressive going, “No, you can’t take a picture of it, it is under copyright!”

I said, “I am taking a picture so a friend can tell me what jams he might want from you.”

“No it is trademarked and everything!” They said and were very firm about that their jam jars not being photographed. I am seriously confused as M&M’s are trademarked but you are allowed to take pictures of them. I mean, it is an OUTDOOR market place of tables, I am standing in a public space and I can’t take a picture? Linda and I have found this before, with artists or potters who go, “No, you can’t take a picture, that is my original art.” And found that there are the 90% of the people who love the CRAFT they are doing, and when I put pictures up, like the woman with the soap, then people end up with soap, bought from her, or go there to get soap from her. Or like with Jason Hunt, I commission a piece from him and others can, as he has the cedar and will send me pictures as he carves it, see the process and contact him if THEY want a commission too. Then there are the 10% which are about the BUSINESS and are sure that they will somehow LOSE something if a single person ever sees their work without PAYING. Which is the fast road to obscurity. A little further on I FOUND the assistant to the Jam maker and here is what they currently have in Diabetic Jam (which they were happy for me to take a picture of). The jars are $5 each. They are also wanting to do more flavors and if someone wants to give a list of the flavors they would like, then they will try to do as many of those as possible.

It was actually sort of weird because Victoria IS a small town and I do review these markets that some of the people and stall owners were talking as I went by, “That’s her, yeah, in the wheelchair, she’s the one that does the markets.” Or a person going, “Yeah, I’m sure that’s her, there was a picture of her next to the soap.” It makes me feel rather weird like I am a reviewer or something. I just like finding interesting things, like this older gentleman who was selling broaches, Victorian and Edwardian broaches much like this beautiful piece shown here. I can’t do a full piece on the market yet as I am too wiped out.

But I did want to show this place that was packed called Mitchell’s Soups which sold salads, soups and desserts, all for $5 Canadian (about three pounds) which you just put in and soak (for soup, about 12 kinds) and with the salads, add lettuce or a single staple. I mention it because like many other places I asked about diabetic and gluten free and this place has three gluten free products, two salads and one dessert. We got the mexican soup (very mild we are told.....hoping!)

Then Friday I had some problems (GI) and crashed, crashed really, really bad, and then had some seizures, and some more seizures and some more. When coming home on Thursday I told Linda, “I have hit bottom, that is IT!” But Linda didn’t really get what that meant, like maybe I would need to rest before the hair appointment. No, that meant that I did not know if I could make the plane on Tuesday. But after not getting to bed, and hallucinating with a fever and having stopped breathing and waking to find myself suffocating (because I was too weak to expand my lungs), and had to be hauled bodily upright, and passed out about six times. Then she got it. And so did I. And I got to bed past 7 a.m. and thought I was in a cave.

I just wasn’t able to take care of myself, I had to be watched at all times or I was in risk of crashing which meant dying. So I was on 24 hour watch with Linda and Cheryl. And we needed that close watch at times: for seizures, for falls, for stopped breathing. One time, I remember clearly, my right leg from the knee down contracted so hard that the muscles ripped, a seizure, but while I was asleep. I woke with a scream because of pain that was high, high, high even after that pain article. And indeed it was enough to alert Linda and get her to the source and then I passed out (due to the pain.) When I came to, screaming again, Linda had managed to calm many of the muscles and tendons. However, that leg has caused problems and now transfers are dubious. And to answer a question, yes I am using INDY.

What we wanted was a nice quiet weekend, some hanging out time, some doing some postcards or reading, whatever time. That was what we wanted, just resting up. Taking it easy before having to do things on a summer day. The problem was I just kept stopping breathing, or falling over. Or the muscles from the seizures six, or eight hours ago would super-heat in healing and I had no way to get rid of it, and I would pass out. And then there would be another seizure.

Of course, I was determined to try and keep things on a type of schedule, to try and keep things normal, even if from my bed or INDY and so Cheryl (blue hair) and Linda (green hair – actually after the hair salon she has RED hair now!), came to me and we talked and stuff and then I would pass out. Am I scared? Well, I am going someplace where it is hotter than here, where I don’t know if there is adequate air conditioning, where everyone knows Linda, where no one knows the limits of my condition. Yes, I am terrified.
But we had the postcards sorted from last week and we did them. I had a seizure which ripped some muscles and did a partial dislocation of my left shoulder (my writing one – so things took longer – five hours instead of two to write the postcards – but they got done). We took the time to do the stickering again, and I enjoyed that. There were some new stickers. And then the stamping. But also we had some new cards from a limited edition set. They were very cool, they were oversized and perfect for stamping in texture and size. And we enjoyed seeing them. I will miss them. This one here is my favorite and it is going to a special person. Someone who did something without ever believing they would receive in turn, and acted simply because they noticed a need. It was a sacred act of kindness so it gets my best gothy, steam punk, old world postcard.
I guess what I want is a real vacation for Linda and I. A time to get to know each other all over again. Because with the hours away and the sleeping I have to do when she returns, I don’t know if Linda knows me as well as she did or can recognize the signs of how and who I am. I would like a time to be loved by Linda and to love back. And then I would like for her family to be part of that.

However, that is NOT how family visits go, usually one, two or four people decide what everyone is going to do and when and the person visiting is sort of like the prize goat which is shown off to people here, there and everywhere.

This weekend, in fact this last 3 hours I have fallen down twice, hurt myself badly once, started to suffocate once, unable to sit upright three times, and having purple hands for two hours. But we are packing, we are getting ready to go. I also think I had a seizure; the seizures are a stupid cycle because I cannot stop. I cannot NOT go to the doctor’s appointment tomorrow, I also cannot NOT take the plane trip, so I cannot simply lie in bed for two days to get the strength to do things. So instead, when I do things, and after a little bit, when I am used to things going well, I feel funny, I see blue sparkles, or I fall over or I can’t use half of my body and then I smell burning rubber and after that I wake up and my back REALLY hurts and Cheryl tells me that I practiced “Human Origami” and that I wasn’t doing the folding right because I can’t actually tuck my head backwards into the middle of my spine.

I may not post for a few days. I recommend reading the pain post before this one because dying and pain have been on my mind, or rather thrust onto me (and into me), of late. And the comments because Rachel is right, why do I need to say I WANT to live? Do any of my readers have to start every comment that way? Yes, I want to live, maybe not with this much pain, but I want to live. And if we as a society can talk about childbirth and all the things that can happen and the little things like cravings which occur; we can make public stand-up comedy routines about sex or relationships so why can’t we talk the same way about chronic pain, about degenerative pain, about not being able to remember a pain free day? And talk about how we cope, what we notice, what makes the pain that little bit extra that reduces us to tears (the future for me, the realization that this really IS ME, and that nothing is ever going to go away – that is what brings the tears, that with fatigue).
I have to go, but I wanted to show you this weekend and there were good parts too – 33 postcards and 4 packages. We are sending to five continents this week, and I think at least 2 postcards to each of those continents except for one. I watched some anime with Cheryl, we talked a little manga. The rest I don’t know, wiped clean by a seizure, only to see bits and pieces, like a surreal film. I hope it was a good weekend, I will post as soon as I am able.

Freitag, 26. Juni 2009

Girls' Love Stories #145

Girls' Love Stories #145 (On Sale: June 26, 1969) has another sexy cover by Nick Cardy.

We begin with "Tears for Tomorrow" drawn by Gene Colan. This one must have been in inventory for a while.

Next is "Stand-In for Love" from Secret Hearts #40 and inked by Bernard Sachs.

We end with "My Secret" penciled by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Detective Comics #390

Detective Comics #390 (On Sale: June 26, 1969) has a Batman cover by Irv Novick.

We begin with "If the Coffin Fits -- Wear It" by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Joe Giella. There is a new villain in Gotham, the Masquerader, and every time Batman fights him his goons rip Batman's costume to shreds. Batman is down to his last bat-suit when he gets a call from Commissioner Gordon, who has a note from the Masquerader. The note contains a clue that sends Batman and Robin to the Gotham Coliseum where the Annual Gotham Sports Show is being held. complete with an exhibit of gold medal, cups and trophies. While Robin releases the bound and gagged guards, Batman interrupts the Masquerader and his gang in mid theft, but his goons once again manage to shred Batman's costume. Robin and the police show up to help mop up the gang but the Masquerader gets away through an air-conditioner duct that seems way too small for the Masquerader's bulk.

Bat at his hide out one of the Masquerader's goons hands him a piece of Batman's costume containing the label of Batman's tailor, Sam Tweed. Back in the Batcave batman calls Tweed to order a new costume and Sam says he has one ready and waiting and that he will drop it off at police headquarters as usual. Robin is sent into town to fetch Batman's costume and arrives back in time to hear Batman get another call from Gordon with another clue from the Masquerader. Inside the box with Batman's costumes they find a Masquerader costume and when Batman calls Sam Tweed, Sam confesses that he was forced at gun-point to put add in the extra costume. Sam is about to reveal the Masqueraders identity when Batman hears two gunshots and the Masquerader gets on the phone.

Batman sends Robin off where the clue seems to point and he heads over to Sam's shop, finding him barely alive. He gives Batman an address before slipping into unconsciousness as the ambulance arrives to take Sam to the hospital. Batman heads off to the address Sam gave him, bursting into the building and finding the Masquerader waiting for him. The Masquerader turns on some giant heat lamps and Batman attacks him. Batman's fists, seem to bounce off the Masquerader to no ill effect as the Masquerader mentions that Batman must be feeling a little constricted right about now.

Batman grabs the Masquerader in a bear hug, but he presses a button in his suit and it deflates, making him much smaller. Batman is fining it almost impossible to move as his suit is getting smaller and smaller and the Masquerader brags that he has "sewed you into your own shroud!" He reveals himself to be Sam Tweed, who had created a special costume made of hygroscopic mono-filament, strong as steel but loose and flexible ass long as it can absorb moisture from the air. Under the head-lamps it is slowly constricting and will crush Batman, leaving Tweed to become the mastermind of crime in Gotham. With his last bit of strength, batman pulls a small laser from his utility belt and aims it at the ceiling causing the automatic sprinkler system to engage. Moister returned to his suit, Batman makes quick work of Tweed.

The back-up Robin story "Countdown to Chaos" is by Mike Friedrich, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. This is a story of vignettes that don't seem to come together as a whole, yet, though I'm sure they will by next issue. Dick Grayson returns to Gotham High after having the flue, specifically to the editorial offices of the Gotham High Owl. There we learn that Dick not only has a date tonight with cutie editor Sandy Cole, but that he has been working on digging up information about which side of the campus, east or west, will be the site of new classroom construction. This is apparently a sticking point in the negotiations between the contract-less teachers union and the school district. We also learnt that editor Craig "Rocky" Rockland is working on a major, "hold the presses" editorial, but he is keeping its contents under wraps.

That night after Gotham High beats Skyline, some kids wearing Skyline jackets start attacking Gotham students. Unfortunately one of their targets has a secret identity and quickly changes into it in order to pound some Skyline butt. One of the "kids" seems older than the rest, but he gets away and Robin can't take the time to chase him as he has to turn back into Dick Grayson or spoil his date with Sandy. None of the Skyline kids will say why they attacked the Gotham kids.

The next week Rocky's editorial has come out, stating why the west-side site is superior for the new construction. that same afternoon the head negotiator gets a phone call threatening his family if he doesn't do as he is told. He then holds a press conference saying that because of the obstinance of the teacher's representatives, there will be no further talks. Dick knows this means the teachers will go on strike. It has been reprinted in Batman in the Sixties TPB and Showcase Presents: Robin the Boy Wonder Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Adventure Comics #383

Adventure Comics #383 (On Sale: June 26, 1969) has a Supergirl cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with Supergirl in "Please Stop My Funeral" by Robert Kanigher, Winslow Mortimer and Murphy Anderson.

Next is Supergirl again in "Supergirl's Day of Danger" by Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Action Comics #379

Action Comics #379 (On Sale: June 26, 1969) has a Superman cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams.

We begin with Superman in "The Eliminator" by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. This story was reprinted in Best of DC #38.

Next is the Legion of Super-Heroes in "One of Us is an Imposter" by E. Nelson Bridwell, Winslow Mortimer and Murphy Anderson. This story was reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 9 HC.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

I take Synthyoid. Pain and life management: talking openly

In just one day, things change.

I took Synthyoid this morning: the synthetic thyroid medication which we hope will decrease my fatigue and increase my quality of life.

Yesterday afternoon I had a long talk with a doctor about pain management and the auto-immune disease that is attacking my thyroid. They don’t know what it is but when my TPO (the anti-bodies my thyroid makes to defend itself) came back and they were only 25 times normal instead of 30-35 times I thought maybe…maybe they were winning. “No, oh no.” She said, “That thyroid is dead, the TSH will be going high, so let’s try synthyoid.”

It was 712 days from diagnosis including the day of diagnosis that I tried to get the medication to improve my health.

712 days.The GP didn’t want to give Synthyoid at first because it has been linked to osteoporosis. I had to explain that Evergreen hospital report said that I don’t need to worry about those kind of diseases. The getting old kind.

Linda brought out the Tramacet, which is our ‘breakthrough’ medication. A breakthrough pain medication is something you only take when the pain is so great that you cannot function without it. Since I am unemployed, ‘function’ means an inability to move. I take 3-4 a day. We were going away for 4 days, and ONLY had 40, and we didn’t know if that would be enough. Six months ago, 10 would last me for a month.

We talked about the need for a NEW ‘Breakthrough’ Pain medication, because this isn’t it. I am, every minute of the day in nerve and muscular pain to the point that it affects my thinking, my speech, my movement, tremors in my arms, my hands and induces seizures. That is ON the ‘breakthrough’ pain medication. The medication works, it is just my pain levels have doubled since April and we don’t know why; and without a GP or specialist to care, no one knows why. At the last GP, they had called the pain specialist we had, one who was more an expert in Fibro and he said that he didn’t know anything else to do. Nothing else to do: I was on three different pain medications, two of them synthetic opiates; I am taking 120-125% of the MAXIMUM recommended dose DAILY, sometimes more. I AM damaging my living. Plus I am taking a nerve blocker.

When I am in pain, extreme pain, as might hit me as much as 15 to 20 times a day, I will fall from whatever height without feeling it. I will fall out of a chair onto my face without my hand, in a rigor clench, moving from where they are pain-locked at my side. It is hard to breath, the pain makes it hard to breath, as sometimes the lungs, or the muscles of the lungs themselves are in pain; I make noises, like an animal in pain. If my lungs are locked then I mewl, or a groan, or a moan. At first, when I feel it coming down on me like an avalanche, a great thunder inside coming down the mountain and as it covers me I scream, and SCREAM, and SCREAM until I am buried underneath it, and then I can’t breath or scream at all.

I cannot see, I cannot move, I am not rational, I can with extreme effort catch a word or a phrase or a bit of conversation and hold it. If I am on the bed, I might see for a moment the Hello Kitty hanging scroll and think that if I can get the sheet around my neck I could hang myself. That if I could attach it to the bed somehow and use the electrical control I could strangle myself. Then the pain would end. But I try to move my arm, maybe I start to put some weight on it and the pain blacks me out, a thin membrane of consciousness with the fists and baseball bats of pain beating on me.

That is when a caregiver has to put a pill in my mouth, try to make sure I do not take it into my lungs and get some liquid into me/on me and get the pill down. Then the pain reduces so that I am a burning fire. Half insane, able to speak somewhat but also just as likely to grab a pair of scissors or a pen and try to jam in through my arm, to see if THAT pain, the pain I CAN control can distract me.
Linda can’t watch me during some of the times, I mewl. She leaves. She simply can’t watch. I asked her if she had a palliative plan (as I have authorized her to take action when I am in pain beyond bearing) and she said no. I don’t blame Linda, though to lie there, second after second waiting for ten minutes, for twenty, for thirty, for more, for anyone to come, as I have done more than once, it leaves a etching, a mark, scars. But then, we all, even me, the whole blog, the readers, have been shying away, not knowing what to say, averting the eyes to give me some dignity, slipping away for this post. DON’T LEAVE. THIS is my life. And this is the life of many, many people, and if we can talk about pregnancy, or having kids, or other things without always having to having the BIG ANSWER, then we can talk about this, right? About pain without a limited end....or dying.

Because that is the problem, as the doctor explained, narcotics CAN be given but each person adapts to the level of the narcotic differently so a 5 mg pill this month may require a 10 mg pill in five months for the same effect. And with my pain doubling as it is, that would be maybe a 20 mg pill in four or five months, then a 40 mg pill in eight….do you start to understand. No one can go on these levels of pills without being physically addicted to them. And with my disease, no one knows if I am going to die this week due to heart failure (remember my heart just STOPPING or all chambers beating at once is the most common cause for death of people my age group, followed by just stopping breathing, like I did today a few times, enough to turn my fingers purple – “like a snow cone” I said when I could talk).

There is a drug with a patch called Fentynal which isn’t AS addictive but can be 80 times MORE powerful than morphine. The doctor thinks this would be a good fit for me…..but GP’s can’t prescribe it in Canada, or at least BC. So I am referred to a pain clinic at the hospital, though she warns me, it will take “several months.” In two months I will take more pain pills than I took the first 18 months….and I will be in more pain than I was when boxing. It is hard to write that, it is hard to think about that, looming over me. It is hard to have it alone in my head.

I should share with you some of the realities, which maybe I have already, that while I can remember how to speak like an adult, I am not an adult most of the time anymore. I am 10 or 12, sometimes five. And I am scared.There are two rules we put in to help me survive. So that ANYONE interacting with me should understand:

1) Elizabeth is allowed to be selfish for survival. I don't have to be a good host, I don't have to make sure everyone has a drink. I don’t have to use all my energy getting back to people (though I keep trying). People forget this a LOT, because for posts, for blogs, for emails for minutes, I seem LIKE THEM. So they want to tell me adult problems, or engage in adult stuff and I am SUPPOSED to go, "No, I am no longer converting (converting oxygen correctly)" or “No, I don’t really understand, this makes me feel bad.” But I don’t. And people forget.

2) Elizabeth is almost certainly less old than she will appear to be. While I have the memory of the vocab I am not often Dr. McClung. Sometimes, occasionally, and it feels like flying, but I AM brain damaged, I have seizures daily, I have limited oxygen going to my brain and I am regressed. I am usually 10-12 and I am scared. I am scared of new people, I am scared of angry emails, I am scared of people when they want to unload and tell me how THEY are scared. And I go from scared to terrified because if an ADULT is scared, if an ADULT is telling ME, who needs help to breath and has to wait for them to move me, that they are scared, or have financial issues then I am terrified. What parent 'unloads' the financial, job worries, etc on the 10 year old? Not many, and the 10 year olds who have it happen to them probably aren’t doing very hot in school (acting out, retreating internally, etc). I can’t be the tough little girl who takes it all – not with a body and with pain like this. Not when I feel like people are beating me and no one can tell me WHY or WHAT I HAVE DONE to deserve this?

What is left: that person, the Beth, the 'Bethie' is someone who needs comfort. Someone who is confused, and who needs love and caring. That is also why the wishlist is full of manga; because it is what I, in THIS brain, can use….some times, to distract me from the pain, to survive the hours from when one adult comes and another adult comes. You see, this morning, I couldn’t take ANY pain pills because there was no drink, so I waited until an adult came (my caregiver) because she knows where the drinks are (how can I not know my kitchen? Well, have I gotten a drink in the last two days? Not this week.). I cannot blend a smoothie: not when my hand cannot even pick UP a strawberry after five tries as happened today, each time growing weaker. Yes, I am SURE there are better things, more medical things to put on the wish list. But since I CANNOT have narcotics, and I will explain why very soon, I put on the one pain killer I know which works for me, the one thing which might make a smile which releases endorphins and decreases pain: manga. Is it selfish? Yes. I don’t want to be in pain. I don’t want a play station, I don’t have a TV, I just want something (a manga) that I can drop five to eight times without damaging it and pick it up again and use it.

At the hospital I found out I was malnourished. Just like someone who was living on the street. Just like a sailor at sea in the old days. I was eating what Linda was but the energy to eat it, process it through my body and excrete it was being wasted because it wasn’t absorbing the nutrients. The amount of times my systems ‘crash’ (one of the three rules of my disease, beyond that I will always get weaker from the moment I wake up is that any system will crash at any time for no reason we can understand), is several a week. I have not had a week, I have not had three constant days of eat, sleep, rest, or even eat, sleep, work instead of eat, emergency, sleep, emergency, work, eat, sleep, emergency in at least the whole of ‘Otter’ which is June (it says that on the bottom: June - June is a book is a confusing word)).

Every single nutrient that is not absorbed has its own disease, and of the three nutrients they ran, I am off in two of them. Having hair fall out is scary, what about having loose teeth in a few months because of scurvy that frightens the hell out of me, or rickets, or so many other diseases. And to find out WHY, WHY, WHY I need a GI specialist, and to get the GI specialist I need a GP and a referral. And even then after all the testing what if they is part of the disease? That there is absolutely nothing they can do. Because this is just part of autonomic failure of the peripherial systems regulating extraction in the intestines. The amount of Florastor has almost doubled, the only probiotic which seems to at least be holding the food through the system and give it a chance; a few months supply and we opened our last bottle a few days ago (it is here on the wishlist if you want to help).

Let me explain what this means in terms of medical costs; our food costs are now significantly higher because almost ANY raw fruit or veg will cause a complete system flush. When say complete, I am saying if you are eating strawberries, then after five hours of cramps and pain, you will see bites of strawberry, completely uncoated with any brown (also meaning NO NUTRIUTS were absorbed) coming out. So now, to solve that, we blend it, I drink my food. We blend strawberries, we blend ice cream and milk, and bananas and all the foods that have the vitamins I might need in hopes that we are slowing down the process. Because we don’t HAVE specialist advising us (actually though this was a nutritional specialist from VIHA who recommended it). It takes time. It takes more money. And then I need a pro-biotic to make sure it goes through the system at the correct speed and has the nutrients taken out. Florastor is the one that has been used for over 50 years. When you have Cipro for your UTI, and you have constant diarrhea, it is Florastor they recommend. If you want to donate for food or gatorade please go to ‘A girl’s got to fly’ as there is a link there. I drink about $140-160 of gatorade and powerade a month (that’s not a ‘insured item’ even though the Mayo Clinic recommends it). I have to drink caffine to simulate my heart, that is not covered either, nor are these extra food costs. Linda works to try and cover it all. Because she wants me to live.

So back to pain killers, and pain and suicide and talking about it. Because I WANT to talk about it. I have been so alone, so incredibly lonely I cry almost every day. I don’t NEED the ‘BIG ANSWER’ – what I need are people who are willing to risk saying maybe stupid things. People who try to find a way to relate, try to imagine and trying to figure out as we go along what the appropriate boundaries are to this all because they want to show me that is it OK to talk about death, dying and pain. That is what I need. That is what will make me less scared and less alone. I don’t WANT to die. I just don’t want to be in constant pain. Linda says I look like the girl in white sometimes, all the life drained and beaten out of me, as I try to hug, to go through the motions hoping it helps her, hoping it helps me.

So the problem is that as the doctor said, ‘I have found that whatever they tell you the time is, it could be twice that.” Meaning she has had people who live five years after given two or even 18 months. And while that is sort of great, there is a BIG problem. The problem is that if I go onto narcotics, with the stepping up (remember, the doubling and quadrupling) there comes a point where it doesn’t go any higher – the pain isn’t reduced any more. And what if I still have a year to live. Well, they can’t TAKE me off that drug because I am physically dependant on it just as any addict would be, without me going into withdrawal – which even at this point would probably kill me (I am not on anything that could give me withdrawal). So I have a future where I CAN get pain control, or better pain control, if I can survive a few months without going insane but what if I live longer and my disease just increases my pain beyond what can be given to me….and I still have six months or a year of life left. A year left at a level of pure, unimaginable pain. It terrifies me. Right now, I have dreams where people are experimenting on me, are taking off my skin, are sawing off limbs and AS the pain medication wears off, then I simply wake up and lie there, unable to move, in pain, wondering if I have all my limbs. In pain until I can call or get the cup which has the sedative and pain killer for another round (or Linda helps me take it as she does during EVERY night). I have to be sedated because the pain killers are NOT enough.

So on the one hand, the future of living a better quality of life which I and Linda and others worked for two years started today. But the pain has caught up with us. As have other complications. And the futures that are in front of me, they terrify me. The terrify the child me who only understands, “IT HURTS!” and the adult me, who can see all the possibilities, who can map it out mentally: she is totally terrified. She wants that extra energy, yes, and maybe, as we talked to the GP, she said if the pain clinic would agree, my caregiver could have the narcotic for use once to three times a week – for the WORST times and THAT would not get me addicted. And that would prolong things right. And I could go to hawaii and laugh. And I could blog about the farmers market we went to today, and I will. But first, I needed to talk about this. I needed you to understand that I am regularly in pain, maxed out on pain killers that are above the limit, and the GP’s know that, but what else IS THERE – and I am totally immobilized and moaning and I am so bad, so painful and horrific to see that Linda walks out. And if Linda walks out, then I think maybe a lot of you would too, I think maybe I would too. And she hasn’t done it often, but sometimes it is too much for her. To see what must be my body ripping itself apart again, again and again. Too much for her....JUST TO SEE IT.

What do you think it is like to live it?

So when I ask for a shotgun, it isn’t a cute joke anymore. And if we keep pretending it is, then I will simply be alone. My grandfather died humming, he died humming and that is how I want to die. And to read this, you will need to accept that I will die, and that it might be one of the more ugly deaths. “The last few days/weeks/months were bad.” People say. They can talk about marriage, and starting life and college and pregnancy and children so lets talk about this. I already know it can be bad; share your stories and let’s just talk about it. Adult and child Elizabeth are already terrified. I did palliative care a little as a very young teen so I know what someone being in pain and swearing and screaming looks like. I am past that. I want to LIVE, even if it IS drinking my food. But after three days of terrible, terrible pain, it is hard to live. There is so little joy left. It is hard, even now to distract myself with shows, or art, to find joy when the pain pours down and over me, trickling into every part of me like rain.

Mittwoch, 24. Juni 2009

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #94

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #94 (On Sale: June 24, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams.

We begin with "The Lois Lane in the Mystic Mirror" by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and Mike Esposito.

The back-up story is "Superman's Flight from Lois Lane" a reprint from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #20 drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. Superman travels back in time to escape Lois Lane. He gets a job at WMET as a disc jockey instead of at the Daily Planet. He checks up on Lois and learns that she is still getting into trouble. He makes frequent rescues, but he is now menaced by his secretary, Liza Landis. Liza tries to prove Clark is Superman. Finally, when Lois shows up to interview him, he gives up and restores things to their original way.

I wish I had more information on the first story. I don't, but I do have some video of the writer, Leo Dorfman. This was brought to my attention by Mark Evanier on his blog, News From ME.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Heart Throbs #121

Heart Throbs #121 (On Sale: June 24, 1969) has a pretty damn controversial cover by Nick Cardy.

We begin with "3 Girls -- Their Lives...Their Loves, Episode 20" drawn by Jay Scott Pike, which looks like it is our cover story. Next is "Second Choice" drawn by Tony Abruzzo.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Brave and the Bold #85

Brave and the Bold #85 (On Sale: June 24, 1969) has the classic Neal Adams' Batman and the new Green Arrow cover.

I can still smell the paper and the ink of this issue, I poured over it so much, digesting every panel over and over. This book was a revelation to me; I think it hooked me on comics more than any other book. After living through John, and Martin and Bobby, the opening assassination attempt gripped me because it felt so real. The 1960's were a decade of liberal politicians being gunned down in our streets and this book gave us a revised hero, a modern-day Robin Hood, who was there to help fight the corruption of our country. He had a mustache and a goatee and cool new threads and he was an obvious good man. It put Batman into this world too, and said that he was more than just a crime fighter. Both of these heroes were the "rich guys" of DC, but both of them show that they cannot be corrupted by their wealth, as some are. A classic issue for sure.

Batman and Green Arrow star in "The Senator's Been Shot!" by Bob Haney and Neal Adams. Election day and Senator Paul Cathcart wins the race only to be shot while making his acceptance speech, falling into the arms of friend Bruce Wayne. Bruce changes into Batman and chases down the assassins, but is foiled by a low overpass. Bruce Wayne visits Paul's room at Gothan State Hospital where Paul's son Edmond is by his father's side, Paul in a coma.

Bruce gets a call from the governor who discusses the importance of an anti-crime bill that Paul was going to vote for and the need to appoint someone else in Paul's place. Bruce suggests Paul's son, Edmond, but the governor says that Edmond's psychiatric practice keeps him too busy and he wants to appoint Bruce as Senator. The governor mentions how the bill is aimed at the biggest crime combine of all run by Miklos Minotaur, who may be behind the assassination attempt. Bruce says he will think about it.

Meanwhile Oliver Queen is finishing up plans for "New Island" a second Gotham that could save the state from bankruptcy. The only other bidder on the project is Argonaut Unlimited run by Miklos Minotaur. After his assistant locks up the plans and leaves, Oliver pulls out his new Green Arrow costume. He ponders if he should give up Green Arrow completely and devote his energies to helping humanity instead as plain old Oliver Queen. At the same time he notes that his assistant has stolen the plans for New Island a man on a window-washing rig throws a grenade into Oliver's office, but an arrow with a hook on it flings the grenade out the window where it explodes harmlessly. He pulls out a duplicate set of plans for New Island and can't figure out which identity is more important, Oliver Queen or Green Arrow.

The next day Bruce and Edmond are at the gym working out when Bruce tells Edmond that he is not sure he will take the governor's appointment. Edmond lashes out at him, that people's lives are at stake and "you won't even stand up and be counted." Bruce confesses that he can't because he has another job to do, Batman's job, "because I am Batman!" Bruce continues that he told Edmond because he knows that, as a psychiatrist, Edmond will never reveal his secret and because he needs his advice. Who is more important, Senator Bruce Wayne or Batman?

Later Edmond is looking over the New Island project with Oliver Queen when Oliver confides that he is Green Arrow and needs Edmond's help is figuring out which identity is more important. That night in his office, as Edmond ponders the two heroes coming to the same crisis in their lives, he is kidnapped by two of Minotaur's goons. Hours later Green Arrow pays Edmond a visit but finds Batman there instead. They listen to a secret recording that Edmond had running. Hearing that Minotaur is behind Edmond's capture both heroes silently think Minotaur is trying to get to their civilian identities through Edmond.

The next morning Bruce Wayne is sworn in as a US Senator, while Green Arrow parachutes onto a small Mediterranean island and plants a tracking device on Minotaur's yacht as it enters a hidden grotto. The tracking device is found and destroyed, leaving Green Arrow lost in the grotto. Minotaur releases his private hunting stock into the grotto and Green Arrow is attacked by a bear, a boar and a lion. He takes them out but is floored by the charging lion.

He is awakened later by Batman, who has tracked him through his Justice League locator transmitter. Batman uses a real bat and another locator device to find their way out of the grotto. Batman and Green Arrow crash into Minotaur's lair, only Minotaur puts a gun to Edmond's head and tells them to stop or he will kill Edmond. Green Arrow jams the trigger of Minotaur's gun with a trick arrow and while they are fighting his men, Minotaur escapes.

Bruce flies back to Washington for the crime bill vote while Oliver invites Minotaur to a lavish party on the island. When Minotaur arrives Oliver tries to have him arrested, but Minotaur notes that he cannot be arrested in a foreign country. Oliver then informs him that he should have noticed that the party was at the American Embassy. Oliver knocks him out and they take him away in a helicopter from the roof. Meanwhile back in Washington, Batman lands at the airport and makes it by Batrope and leg-power to the Senate, where he quickly changes into his civilian duds in time to vote for the crime bill.

Later Edmond meets both Oliver and Bruce separately. Oliver thinks that there is room in his life for both of his identities, while Bruce has resigned his Senate seat and has chosen the road of Batman. Later, alone in his office Paul begins sessions of self-hypnosis to wipe the knowledge of the secret identities from his mind. This classic story has been reprinted in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #23, Best of the Brave and the Bold #1, Millennium Edition: The Brave and the Bold 85 (#48), Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 1 HC, Showcase Presents Green Arrow Vol. 1 TPB and Showcase Presents the Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups Vol. 1 TPB.

Some mention must be given to the loose artwork by Neal Adams. It has none of the stiffness that would creep into his work over the years as he labored to be "Neal Adams," rather than a great comic book artist. Just my opinion here, but Adams seemed to just be having fun in these days; he hadn't yet become the "it guy" of comics and with nothing to keep proving, he was free to just cut loose.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Bat Lash #6

Bat Lash #6 (On Sale: June 24, 1969) has a cover by Nick Cardy.

(Revenge) is by Sergio Aragones, Denny O'Neil, Mile Sekowsky and Nick Cardy. Some people claim that Nick Cardy was the penciler and Mike Sekowsky was the inker, but this is nonsense. Cardy even talks about this issue in The Art of Nick Cardy saying, "...I was too busy and his pencils really lightened the load. Mike and I went way back so he was great to step in and assist. Mike had a wonderful eye for design. I always felt Mike's talent was wasted on super-hero books."

The story opens with Bat Lash riding through a driving rainstorm when he comes upon a funeral in progress. As he is getting off his horse he notices that the preacher's voices sounds sort of familiar. Bat walks up to the grave and faces off against the preacher gunning him down with a lightning quick draw. The local sheriff is present and pulls his gun on Bat, saying that was "the brazenest thing I ever seen...cold-blooded murder in front of twenty witnesses!" Only Bat points out that the "preacher" has a .44 derringer in his had and was about a second away from gunning down Bat. The sheriff doesn't know what to make of this, but decides to lock Bat Lash up till he figures out what is going on.

While in a nice dry cell Bat relates the story of "preacher" Rickett, how 10 years earlier Bat lived on a farm with his family and how one day Rickett rode into their property, bringing good news. Seems he had discovered oil on their land. Rickett talks Bat's father into selling his farm to get the cash up for well equipment. Only, they drilled for an entire week and never hit any oil. When young Bat was looking for rocks to build a fireplace he found an empty oil barrel and knew his family had been swindled.

I'd love to tell you the rest of the story, only I can't find my copy. All I can locate is my copy of All-Star Western #9, which reprints the first half of this issue. Reprinted in All-Star Western #9, All-Star Western #10 and Millennium Edition: All-Star Western 10 (#17).

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Dienstag, 23. Juni 2009

Recently Updated Entries

Since I am going back and flushing out some of the issues I had little information on in the past, I have added a list of Recently Updated Entries to the site. It's on the right side, just above the Blog Archive. I think they are worth another look if you only saw them when they went up.

Montag, 22. Juni 2009

Weekend of passion & colour: Soap, Stoneware, Jewelry, Postcards

It seems that when disabled, and in pain (a LOT of pain) then the pleasure is found in the small spaces: actions between the uncertainty. I was woken by the sound of three trucks and two to three jackhammers today as the “three day” demolition job (according to the project manager) goes into its third week. So better to think on the nicer things that happened this weekend, amongst and around the unpleasant.

On Saturday it was overcast. Overcast means I can go outside! So Linda said that if I could make it out of bed we could go to the James Bay Market (instead of the Moss Street one – our city is blessed with Markets). By “make it out of bed” she meant, if I could move my limbs, as I could not the night before, and I think even Cheryl was having to help me move my head. But as a friend with Lupus told me, “the more you move, the more the pain starts to go into the background…” (the rest of that is, “….and after about four hours of moving slow, then a bit more, you are ready to go.”). I had to be ready to go in 30-40 minutes, and made it out the door with some help from my friends.

I was wearing sweats and had no money with me, and Linda soon ran out of money so it was more of a ‘lets see what is possible’ event than a spending spree (though if there is something you are love with, please speak up as we will definitely be going back). The first thing I saw were the skull pot warmers. I mean, what says goth but using skull warmers to take out the Tuna Casserole. But then I started to think, “how will guests feel about my Borsch as it sits on the skull and crossbones, universal sign of danger and death?”

I rolled on, over grass (it was held on a field) to Mystic Glass Creations. Tyler, the owner and crafter, blows his own glass, though some of the images are etched with laser and then the glass blown around them. Most items were in the $15-20 range, like this necklace which changes colour as the light reflects off of it from different angles. I liked that one. We have at least one reader who is into mushrooms and they were a steal at I think $10 for your own personalized mushroom necklace – what perfect accessory for your next meeting (confuse them to bits!).
Tyler also does scenes of West Coast Tide Pools, which were made entirely of blown glass. They are complete with anemone, starfish, sea cucumber and the rest. He creates them by blowing glass and then shaping it down into a disc shape before doing something called ‘imploding’ which sounds pretty neat and is what brings all the colour up into the shapes. Everything in these tide pools is made out of glass. Cheryl and I thought this one would be perfect for Linda. She REALLY likes the tide pools necklaces but the one with orange she wouldn’t wear and the one with the blue and purple I thought was perfect for her. But she said she probably wouldn’t wear it. Well, today she tells people at the office and they think it is really NEAT, so where is it? So now she is thinking that if she DID get it, she would wear it. However, like I said, if I like something it is expensive, while the rest is $15, the tide pools are $60 due to the extensive labor in glass blowing.

From there I went a few stalls over to Katy Adams at Living Earth Pottery. She makes stoneware and other pottery and much of the red pottery is again in the $15-20 range. This bowl is one of the few blue ones she has left. It is microwave and dishwasher safe and hardy due to being stoneware but also barely a few ounces, certainly not a pound. Both Cheryl and I, used to the weight of pottery were impressed by the light weight. The bowl, was of course, $35 (if I like it, just double the prices you see on other items and that is what the item I want will cost). The problem was it was too big for me to use as a bowl, just a little too large, as the liquid inside is too much for me to control or hold, even on my lap. Then I saw THE PLATE. I loved the plate, it was a beautiful dark blue with black etching. The black comes from wax which is used to decorate the plate after the stone ware is ‘thrown’ on the wheel and put on the batik overlay, then in the kiln, during the glazing process, the wax melts, leaving a shadow of itself behind, the black decoration. Of course, I like THIS so as you can see, it is $55. Sigh. Oh well. She does do commissions but told me she is booked up until July 2010. Did I want to put myself down for a color and a commission? Sorry, not quite that optimistic, not when the hospital results say I’m medically malnourished.

Linda was returning from Whimsical Preserves with her jar of Peach Nectarine for the morning toast. Each jar was $5 and .25 if you return the jar. I was impressed with her delightful diabetes safe jam, which was not just ONE, in raspberry as you see in this picture but was a total of three rows, of which only two rows are in the pictures. I was also impressed simply by the experimentation and delightful colors and ideas, like this Fire and Ice wine Jelly, I mean where else does one go to get your ice wine (second ingredient) in your jelly?

There was another passionate soap lady name Shelia Adams, who sold not only the regular array of multicolored soaps you can see behind me, but also soaps specifically for men for shaving. Not your average soap, which came in Sandalwood. I asked if it was real Sandalwood, as I have heard that is very expensive and she said no it is a synthetic compound (the regular soaps were $4 each, the Sandalwood lathering soap was $10 – or about 6 pounds). The soap is specifically made to reduce the drag on the razor by using Fullers Earth Clay and then Shea butter and Goats Milk to reduce any irritation.

I loved the swirls in her soap, particularly the ones in Olive Oil, though I couldn’t stop thinking of Popeye. The woman was very dedicated and had bits of soap for people to rub for the smell. For example in her Slice of Citrus, she not only had orange, grapefruit and lemon grass but would take the peels, and shred them up and then add them as zests for exfoliate.

Linda picked up her favorite, Lavender. When we went up island, a gift of Lavender Massage oil was spilled (onto her clothes) though it was sealed but enough was left for us to give each other Lavender Massages (I recommend it, particularly IN a two person hot tub with jets). So she picked up a bar at $4 to keep the memory and go to work smelling Lavender fresh.

Of course, what west coast market is complete without the tie-dyed clothes. There used to be a woman selling lots of tie-dyed clothes at Moss Street Market but she moved to Australia (long commute). Another woman was selling here. I liked these baby clothes in tie-dye. I had bought several things as gives for my unseen nieces and nephews when Linda went to visit last time, like hats or a tie-dyed purse for the 7-8 year old girl (she loved it). The children of the conservative father, I sent only tie-dyed sun hat for the little girl and socks for the boy. Apparently they were NOT used, possibly because he did not want to expose his 2 year old and 4 year old to this kind of drug culture clothing. Errrrr……what?

By this time I had talked myself blue. It is funny how these expressions must have come from people with my conditions because I CAN talk myself until my lips and fingertips turn blue. So it was back into the van and air conditioning and then back home.

I took an hour at home to take pictures from the art books which I had marked with post-it notes for pictures. The weekend is the only time I have enough people to help me hold open the book and take the pictures for the blogs of the coming weeks and months.

Regarding postcards and Stickers, FINALLY, this last week I had sorted out the corner behind me thanks to Linda. She gave me a three drawer plastic cabinet and I gave two drawers for stickers, one for kids and one for adults and then sorting within those drawers, and one for postcard books.

What I wanted from this time on was for me to spend more time on each person, which meant more time on each postcard. Time spent in selection and time spent stickering (which has been neglected lately) and deliberate stamping. I wanted to improve. But I didn't want to make the postcards more flashy or crammed with more on them, indeed I wanted more open space to write. But I wanted to refine what was on them in order to make them better, closer to greatness. So that is what we did. It took longer to sticker and the table was full, first of all the children’s stickers and the adults. After that, we went into stamping, having a good idea of the theme in mind.

To give you an example, in the top postcard I made a linear link of colour stampings of the history of the cat starting with Semet, the Egyptian cat god (in purple). Then a stamp of the wild cats before the stickers of the domestic cats (I didn’t quite have enough room for a color rubber stamp of that). The one below it combines the colors of the kimono with the flower sticker and the sticker which is one of the ancient family crests of Japan, which is reflected in the colours of the Japanese Fan color stamp. It took longer to do, it took overnight to dry.

Function and pain-wise, I was having a bad weekend and at points could not use my hands, or, due to pain, was not understanding what was going on, or even where I was, only the pain. So, when lucid, I estimated the maximum number of postcards we could do was 35 based on the time left and how much time I had to write the postcards, which I placed at six to ten I could write an hour if there were no breaks, four to four and a half hours straight. It turned out that I had miscounted and 37 postcards were done and have already been posted a couple days ago.

Though I have many postcards (like several hundred) I am in desperate need of great quality postcards. The problem is that, as we say, 'we get them in, and then we send them out.' So if someone has a very specific request or style, then the regular postcard isn’t going to do (many, many requests for postcards of the moon). I can’t send diners, or just any old scenery, or even any old cat photo, I have to send postcards that are ‘more.’ Some come from Oxford. But they are going (any postcards of illuminated manuscripts would be greatly appreciated - seriously, along with clear, large and colorful ones of the animals specific to your area of the world – something that would appeal to cognative disability programs or children, particularly those in the autism spectrum). I am hoping you understand? I can't do this alone, and I want to give EVERY person the best.

To give you an example, I bought a set of 12 Lamento Postcards online, and sent them out, catboys in anime. That set is now going for $100 (just 12 postcards). I finished a postcard set of Hawaii, it had good detail, excellent colour, and a map of Hawaii on the back; I thought I should go get another. Except now it is a rarity and selling for $50. Some postcards I bought from Amazon in German in order to get a particular photographer. We are almost out of Escher, and Ansel Adams, and Frank Llyod Wright and graveyards in black and white……. I am desperate to find the highest quality postcards, many do come in, from all over the globe, and many which I have purchased from all over the globe but they go out just as fast!

This week I cleaned out a limited edition box set (perfect size and quality for stamping, excellent colour and variety) which went out, now out of print, with special limted edition stickers on it from an anime series showing adults both straight and same sex couples in love. Those stickers? Turns out I bought the last box when I asked the supplier in Japan for another (out for 2-3 years). It was $55 and shipping for the box of 40 stickers and yet, the quality of the stickers was ‘more.’ To be honest, a lot of the best of our stickers and some of our postcards come from readers; the Dr. Suess stickers – what fun we had with those. Postcards, sometimes just three or four and immediately we put names on the back, recognizing how this will make person 431 happy or person 67 content or person 274 simply not able to believe we found one. I have to take the credit because of confidentiality but thank you to those who sent in the postcards which were ‘more’, the stickers which were ‘more’, which were gothic and sassy, which were perfect for kids, which were Japanese monsters, that postcard made of a giant rubber squid.

So that was the weekend, Saturday and into Sunday and I’m not sure why I went on so much about the postcards except for two reasons: 1) I am only a single human being and cannot actually GO places, plus I have a limited viewpoint – other people CAN go places and have lots of viewpoints (like if you know where to get Edgar Allen Poe or Edward Gorey postcards or postcards showing the 17th Century? I'm serious and those are just one small subsection, about 10%-14% of the 40 we send out a week). And 2) I wanted those people who get the postcards and anyone who has ever participated by seeking out the 'more' postcards and stickers, or sending in from an extra stamp to a sheet of them to know that every week what they did mattered. But also, because of THEM, and for me, I try HARDER. I try to make it so that each postcard is the best it can be, that each postcard is amazing or the RIGHT postcard for that person, even if I could use it for 40 OTHER people but it would not be just the RIGHT fit as that one person, and I will never see that postcard again. And I may have just taken it out of an envelope from someone who sent it to help less than a day before. You also never get to hear what happens to your postcard, like a solo played in the night, you never find out who heard you, and what it meant to them, what difference it made. But YOUR postage stamp is on that chosen postcard, and it wouldn’t be possible without you.

I wanted people who get the postcards and have gotten them to know, that I am human, and I fail but I do try, with all my mental powers that I have that week and my ability, indeed beyond my ability, to make sure each postcard is correct and the best one for you. That is my goal, and sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail, and without Linda, and Cheryl and other unnamed and sometimes unseen hands that would not be possible.

As I learned in the ER; caring with full concentration on what the OTHER person wants or needs is what makes the difference.

There are times that Linda HATES the postcards, the project, the ‘surprise gifts’ because she sees the pain that I receive, over and over again. She hates the fact that I can send out 50 postcards, that took me four or five days of late nights making them and the last two nights I was working straight through, and she KNOWS that I will never hear from any of those people. I KNOW.

Cheryl will bring over for another week nothing but postcards from a single individual, sometimes a letter from the same individual and then the supplies I have bought myself. Sometimes it is week after week, like that, and week after week, I pour myself out like a fountain. Linda told me that she does not ‘believe.’ I go on day and day, week and week. Today I showed you the postcards in hopes that you liked them, it is true. But I will go on for a week, for two, not having received a postcard, an email, for three weeks, for four, no packages, for five, for six, for seven. I go on, hundreds of postcards sent out and as I completely open myself, committing myself to loving someone in the way that is needed to think only of what the other person needs for hours then I will get hurt. I will hurt very badly, attacked, isolated, alone, simple, childlike, crying. But I go on because I believe. I believe that if I do it right, if I do it often, if I do my best, that some of them will intersect with unexpected results. To break solitude, to help foster joy, to simply be there when needed, and in many ways I do not know.

Linda cannot stand the sight of me unable to sit up straight, half my face smiling as I had a TIA (mini-stoke) because I am finally done. She gets angry, she says when I am lying down, after the painkillers and the moaning and shrieks, with tears running down my face into pools in the pillow in order to keep my face straight, to keep myself from groaning in pain. My body, broken to serve.

Send a card to Linda, because she cleans up the pain, she holds me while I sob a broken heart and then start again. She wants to scream in frustration but then sits down and helps me sort postcards. If you cannot write to me, then write to her because I do believe. Somewhere out there, something has happened, is happening that makes the fusing of work and agony worth it; because I do not see it, because I do not hear it does not make it less true.

That was my weekend.
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