katster: (Default)
Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 09:57 pm

Over the last few days, I have been voraciously combing the internet, reading anything and everything I can find on the nominees for the Hugo awards and wrestling with my own conscience. I think I have finally come to a conclusion as to what I am going to do.

I will read all the Hugo nominees as if this were a normal year. I cannot betray my own sense of professionalism and well, I’ve read Glenn Beck and the entire Left Behind series without throwing the books through the window or across the room. I am, as I said in my earlier post, not looking forward to this. I am not reading these because the Sad Puppies demand that I must — I am because I feel an obligation to my own conscience to do so, just as I would any other year.

That said, I will rank all the nominees on either the Sad Puppies or Rabid Puppies slates below No Award.

There are some things on the ballot for which it pains me to have to do this. I have loved the Dresden Files ever since my good friend Eileen introduced them to me by giving me the books for Christmas — but Jim Butcher is on the slate. Guardians of the Galaxy was my favorite movie of the year and a work I might have actually nominated if I’d felt well enough to turn in nominations. Nope. The Lego Movie is right behind it in terms of movies I loved last year, and would have been a very close #2 to Guardians. Sorry.

I am especially grieved to make this decision in cases like Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Black Gate, and Annie Bellet. It grieves me because Jen Brozek, a person I know and respect, is on the short form editor ballot and I would love to see her win a Hugo.

But I can’t vote any of these folks above No Award. I am sorry, but this is what my conscience demands of me. I will read your work in my packet. I will consider you for my own nominations in 2016 — and I plan to participate in the nomination round next year. But any ranking you may earn by the quality of your work will go after No Award this year.

I have decided this because I care about the Hugo. I have cared about the Hugo ever since I found out about it in an introduction in one of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels, and I dream of winning it someday. But in order to keep that dream alive, I have to make sure the Hugos survive. If it comes to a slate vs. slate situation, I would have even less chance of ending up on the Hugo ballot than I already did. So the only thing I can do is express my horror and displeasure at slate voting, and use what few tools I have to express that displeasure.

For those who are saying that I am only doing this because I disagree with the political stances of Sad/Rabid Puppies, I would be doing this if it were the John Scalzi/Making Light Slate of Rainbow Joy Kittens.

My mind is my own, and I make my own decisions.

It doesn’t really matter. I am just one person, and my blog is so minuscule that it won’t register. My vote is but a drop in an ocean, but it is mine. My mind, my thoughts, my opinions — they are my own.

Mirrored from katster's closet.

katster: (Default)
Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 12:06 pm

This is simply awesome (although my Republican friends might not think so…):

(Hat tip to Steve Benen over at Political Animal for the link.)

Originally published at retstak.org. You can comment here or there.

katster: (Default)
Thursday, August 27th, 2009 10:41 am

[Alright, this is a bit long, but do me the favor of reading it through, okay?]

There’s a bottle of pills sitting on my bookcase. Every night, I swallow one.

I asked once at the pharmacy how much it would cost me to fill the script. Their response was eighty dollars for a month’s supply. It could be worse. The last time I asked the same question, the particular script didn’t have a generic, and the answer was somewhere slightly north of two hundred dollars.

I suppose I’m a lucky duck in the sense that I’ve got some form of health insurance, as much as that health insurance is Medicaid (although that’s a frakking joke here in the State of California, let me tell you). And the reason I qualify for Medicaid? Well, because my income is low enough that I’m on disability. And why am I on disability? That’s what the bottle of pills is supposed to address.

You see, some of you know this, but a lot of you don’t. I’m bipolar. (Not to mention the other chronic medical conditions I have, but those complicate the situation, so let’s stay right here.) I’m lucky, if one can call it lucky to have a mental illness, that I’ve got the slightly less serious form, which doesn’t involve the complete detachment from the world that a full-blown manic state can cause.

Of course, the sudden chasms are all the much worse for it. I’m prone, especially when I’m not being good about taking my medications, of falling into a deep and horrible chasm from which there is no escape. The whole world goes dark and grey, like a fog so thick that I begin to think that I’m the only person in the world. I seriously contemplate ending it all, to stop being a worthless sack of meat that nobody particularly cares about. I can barely get out of bed, let alone do all the things the world requires of me. I start shying away from people, because if they knew, it might contaminate them and I couldn’t live with that. If I had to interact with the world, I’d put on a brave face, keep my head down, and try my best to act normal as much as every word is difficult and every step is agonizing and I’m doing my best not to break down and start crying or screaming. And all this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Did I mention I fell into this hole in the last semester of both my undergraduate and graduate programs, and it was only sheer luck that saved my hide in both cases?

It’s an awful place to be, and something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. And it took us forever to find a pill that would keep me from falling into that dark place. The one I’m on now seems to be doing okay, although it doesn’t take away the intrusive thoughts that everybody’s looking at me and either rooting for me to fail or doesn’t care if I did. I deal with that the best that I can, and there are days that are better than the others.

Enough so that I’ve gotten a job. It’s only part-time. And in this country, being part-time (or being a contractor) means that the company doesn’t have to give you health benefits. Well, okay, that’s fine at the moment, my income is not high enough for me to move completely off SSI. So I still qualify for the little bit of help this country grudgingly gives to its poor.

And the amount of money I make is, quite frankly, unsustainable. The car payment doesn’t help, of course, but I needed a reliable car. And, you know, while my parents are great and awesome and wonderful people, I need to get out of here. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I’m nearly thirty-one and still living with my parents.

So I’m looking for a full-time job, which is difficult at the best of times, because I have to find a job that provides health care. Which means stringing together a couple part-time jobs or doing contract work is out of the question. Also, being at my job, if they raise the money I make an hour while keeping me part-time, at some point I’ll cross the income threshold for SSI.

And when that happens, that eighty dollar bottle of pills that’s my link to sanity, let alone the doctor to prescribe it, ends up being too much to afford. And then bang, I fall back into that hole that I’ve worked so goddamned hard to climb out of, get to the point where I can’t keep the job, and et voila, I end up back on SSI and I get to start over. That is, if I even qualify for it on the second fall.

So here I am, trapped. I’d like to do contract work. It’s more suited to my skill set and it means that I can keep my own hours, which is a good thing because I’m a night owl and run naturally on a noon to 3 AM clock. But I can’t do that, because I can’t afford to take a job that doesn’t come with benefits. Which leaves me caught nicely in a catch-22, where any attempt to make my situation better ends up, in all probability, making it worse. (Not to mention that this just feeds that little anxious voice in the back of my head: “See, they’re all rooting for you to fail!”)

Which makes me see red when I see the rhetoric that ‘all people on welfare are lazy.’ Are they lazy, or are they just trapped?

And this is just in relation to the bipolar. I’m not even bringing in the other medical conditions I’ve got, that’ll probably end up killing me. I know nobody makes it out alive, but, if you want the honest truth, most days I don’t think I’m going to make it to fifty.

…and this came out a hell of a lot rawer than I expected it to be, so be gentle.

Originally published at retstak.org. You can comment here or there.

katster: (politics)
Tuesday, June 5th, 2007 03:21 am
You know, it's scary to go to a town hall meeting and realizing that your Congressman, a Republican, is less rabid than several people in the room. There were a few occasions when Rep. Lungren was booed because some of the really rabid people wanted nothing less than to throw all the illegals (read: Mexicans) over the border right now. And the guy that suggested we tattoo illegal immigrants? Oy Jesu, way to completely forget about the historical perspective. Next thing you know, that guy will want to throw them in concentration camps -- if he doesn't already.

And wow, Lungren was a smarmy ass at times. I don't care what side of the political divide you come out on, there are things that you just don't do. And attempting to drown out people trying to ask questions is one of those things that is just not cool. Lungren could have shut it down in an instant -- all he had to say is that you didn't have to agree, but you did have to be polite and listen -- but no, if it was something he'd rather not hear either...

And a couple guys brought up the Internet radio royalty problem, and Lungren said he wouldn't commit to helping the little guys out. Wow, way to show your support of people in your district. And while I *gasp* actually agree with Lungren on earmarks (and that we shouldn't allow them), I was a bit dismayed by his hypocritical "well, I don't like them, but other people do them so I will too" stand.

Not that I expected anything better from the carpetbagger.

Afterwards, Jill, Ben, and I went to Coldstone and then to Denny's and had several hours of conversation. (Ben is a good friend of Jill's. She *really* likes him, and I think he likes her too.) So all in all, despite the politics, it was a nice evening.

[and hehe, my spellchecker suggests Gangrenous for Lungren. That's funny.]
katster: (awww)
Wednesday, November 8th, 2006 01:10 am
I'm glad I got a good jump on Nano this year.

Because this cold/whatever the hell it's turned into is kicking my ass. I pretty much took an almost zero day (I got a couple hundred words down today) but I'm okay about that because I'm ahead of the game.

I finally managed to wrangle a doctor's appointment for tomorrow. That's good, because I was going to put "going to the ER" on my agenda for tomorrow if that hadn't happened. It's also good because I'm tired of coughing. And not being able to hear.

It's also nice to go to bed on election night being moderately happy at the results. (I'd be happier if I heard how Tester's doing in MT, but hey, that can wait until morning. I care about Tester not only for the senate control thing, but also because I've only given money to three candidates -- Dean for prez, Durston for Congress in my congressional district, and Tester for Senate in MT. Of those, two didn't win. I'm hoping to break my losing streak.)

I think I'll go to sleep now.
katster: (chillin)
Sunday, September 24th, 2006 06:14 pm
Sorting, cleaning, filing, putting away. I'm in the middle of trying to go through several boxes that have accumulated over the last ten to twelve years.

And in one box, I come across something called the Berkeley Counterpoint. It's dated Spring 1996, so I must have picked it up when I was on campus at some point -- I was down there twice in two weeks, once visiting with CSF, and once to do my Regents Scholarship interview. And it's fascinating for a couple reasons.

One is for the front page article, headlined "Professor Takes Course into 21st Century", which talks about one Berkeley prof's efforts to make his class Web-accessible -- a big thing in 1996. But the thing I find funny about it is that the professor in question who was doing this was Assistant Professor of Economics Brad DeLong...yes, that Brad DeLong.

The second thing that was funny was that as I poked through this newsprint, I realize that it's the predecessor of the California Patriot, the mouthpiece of the Berkeley Republicans.

Which, if you're familiar with DeLong's blog, you will understand why this is funny. %)
katster: (wistful)
Thursday, March 30th, 2006 12:49 pm
If sea levels rise 14m (~46ft), then my folks will practically have bayfront property. Near Sacramento. (Not that there'd *be* a Sacramento in this scenario.)

It's a bit sobering.
katster: (burn before reading)
Saturday, March 25th, 2006 12:39 am
Thesis: California is so flipping crazy because we're making it up as we go along.

(IOW, katster's head is bashing ideas together like a supercollider. Don't mind me, I'll just sit here in the corner and spin wheels and damn [livejournal.com profile] zibblsnrt for suggesting I turn what are incoherent and nebulous ideas on the subject into a book.) ;)

[Hmmm, I need a California icon. Ah, but this one will do for now...]
katster: (sell the world)
Sunday, March 19th, 2006 04:30 am
Three years ago on this date, I wrote this:

But I'm scared of what's going to happen in the next few hours, when my nation finally stops being the good guy. Not that Saddam is the good guy either. I think this is going to be a war in which there are no good guys.

There are no good guys. My world is a colder and bleaker place today.

It's strange to realize how oddly prescient I was.

Not that it makes me any happier, you know.

So, what do we do now?
katster: (politics)
Wednesday, August 17th, 2005 02:42 am
It's funny when the local news goes on and on about terrorism, since I know that the North State isn't horribly likely vulnerable to the terrorists everybody up here is probably thinking of. While I don't think Redding is very high on the Al Qaeda hit list, there is a form of terrorism Redding would be highly exposed and vulnerable to -- that of right-wing terrorism, much of the sort Timothy McVeigh committed in Oklahoma City.

And we got reminded of that today when a local shopping center was closed down for hours today.


Well, I'll let the Record Searchlight, the paper of record up here, tell the story (for the complete story, nukefree@nukefreezone.net/nukefree works as a U/P):

It was a tossup Tuesday what people found more shocking -- the discovery of a grenade inside a van in a busy Anderson shopping center or that the closest bomb expert was in Sacramento.

The grenade, some black powder and marijuana was discovered about 1:45 p.m. after a police search of the van.

In the meantime, nearly 10 businesses, including the Dollar Store, Rite Aid and Perko's coffee shop, were forced to shut down and evacuate after an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found what appeared to be wires capable of a remote detonation, Purcell said.

The driver of the van, Daniel Bruce Culverwell, 30, a transient, was arrested on suspicion of possessing explosive materials and marijuana. He was to be booked at the Shasta County jail Tuesday night.

Purcell said it was unclear why Culverwell -- who had tattoos possibly indicating an affiliation with white supremacist groups -- had a grenade and what his intention was.

I live about a quarter mile from the shopping center in question. It was an exciting afternoon.

Oh yeah, as for what happened to Shasta County's bomb squad? We had one, but he retired. And nobody'd gotten around to replacing him. Whoops.

[Hmm, it's politics, but it's not. I'll put Calvin on the post anyway.]
katster: (chalice)
Friday, November 5th, 2004 01:20 am
Robert Bowman, "God Is Calling You...":

Let’s face it, for most of us, God’s call is not that dramatic, and often not that clear. But then again, many times we know God is calling, and we really know what he wants us to do, but we deny it, we ignore it, we doubt it, we discount it, we wait for him to hit us over the head with a two-by-four. But sometimes that dramatic bolt of lightning never comes. Sometimes, as it says in scripture, God is not in the wind or the thunder, but in a still, small voice inside us.

Don’t wait for the two-by-four. Don’t demand that the Lord appear to you in glorious technicolor and stereophonic sound. Listen for that still, small voice. The Lord is calling you. He has work for you, work that only you can do.

What is going to be your response? Oh, I know; there are reasons why you cannot possibly do what you think the Lord is asking you to do. There are always reasons. Been there; done that.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about faith over the last few days. The big point that's been driven home for me is that faith just in the good times isn't much in the way of faith at all. Faith is what is strengthened in the hard times, in the times when it seems so impossible to believe, and yet you *do*. And while it's funny that an election did this, it's still a valid point.

Tuesday night, I was in a black mood. I couldn't understand what was going on around me, in my country. I couldn't understand why God wasn't saving us from our own folly. I was angry and depressed. But I started to think.

God is bigger than I can know. Silly katster, presuming to believe that she can understand the will of God, when God is infinite and katster is not. Thus, I have to have faith that God knows what He is doing, and He will direct me as needed to make His plans come to fruition. There are always reasons, and I am not privy to those reasons. Very well, then, I will do His will. My hands are empty, Lord, guide me the best I can. Here I am, Lord, send me. Send me into the den of lions, into the firey furnace, send me where You will, I am merely your humble servant. Miracles happen, but they happen more often to those prepared to work for them.

Very well, then, I will plant my garden. I will sow goodwill where I go. I will try my best not to hate and fear my countrymen who chose honestly.

And maybe it's time to show the world that I do have faith and values.

I don't know. I'm rambling again.

But here I am, choose me.