Talk Like an Open Book: My Walker

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention Attendance, Health, Too Long For Twitter, Whining

I planned to post this two and a half months ago. I wanted to post it before Balticon for friends that would see it in our room, as warning of sorts. I know my haircut seemed rash for some reason, after years of talking about cutting it all off. Here’s some warning on this one for future visitors to #TheSeuss (our silly nickname for our home.)

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My General Practitioner prescribed something last winter(? Spring?) that I am only now finally coming to terms with enough to post publicly — a walker. Even after the daily struggles that I described for basic self-care, let alone toning and cardio and strengthening exercise, the determination somehow still felt like an accusation and led to a variety of ridiculous thoughts. I joke about living a #VealLife, but denied the need for a walker, in spite of:

  • Using a cane/sturdy parasol for years. They either compensate for dizziness; strength; pain management; removing cob webs from my sometimes slow moving brain; and hooking stuff to pull toward me when necessities are slightly out of reach.
  • Using braces and wraps for a decade. The trigger for their use was over a decade ago and, really, it took a particularly long time to recover from a sprained ankle while dizzy on stairs in December of 2012. I’m now also alternating compression gloves (also a gift from Heather, they help so much!) and various braces to help with hand joint pain (the pain is similar to broken bones, at its worst) and carpal tunnel. They are necessary for any keyboard work, chores or for holding our sweet Little Bear.
  • For years now, when traveling on public transportation, I have been using all the disabled services available. I feel I’m entitled to since I’m also traveling with my handicap placard. Whether it’s seating on a bus or a requesting a waiting wheelchair after getting off of a plane after hours of my joints stiffening at high altitude (a particularly nasty combo). I’ve literally gone from running in 5k’s and training for a half-marathon in 2011, to now simply hoping to survive the luxury of travel beyond a 3 hour radius. (But that’s a whole ‘nother post.)
  • My refusal of scooters as an option to the extent that I have long told loved ones that if they ever saw me in a scooter that they have to knock me out out of it and make me wrestle my way back onto it, to stay strong. Meaning, I could use it, but only when I HAD to. And I had to be ready to demonstrate that I hadn’t given up the fight, not yet. And if I had given up, it would remind me that there still is a fight to be had, every day.

But… a walker?

My heart sank, as it felt a bit like going backwards so many more steps than having to stop running and then regular cardio exercise. But she explained that it would make me more able to move around with the further stability for my continual dizziness as well as balanced support for my lower body. For years now, I am continually switching sides because of the flare up cause by stress on one side or the other, for using the cane. It would lead to more movement, knowing I was supported no matter which symptom had me debilitated, or chose to hit me while crossing a room.

Reminder: None of my illness/conditions are degenerative or terminal. And I only really remember telling a handful of trusted friends, venting fear of what it might be signalling – the next phase in body FAIL. I was already lost in the maze of options of which type would be perfect for me and was frustrated and venting to Heather, an extremely supportive friend, who literally jumped in at offering not only moral support but … a brand new walker. It was one of my first conversations and I was griping and whining, I don’t want to use one and I can’t afford one anyways and making all the excuses possible not to sink to that use.

Heather said that there was an unused walker, a basic one with the tags still on it and everything, back at her home for a family member that ended up not needing it and they’d just never gotten rid of it. Knowing that the lower end was $50+ after a previous Amazon session, I gratefully accepted the gift after the briefest of hesitations. It happened so fast and was so generous, that it made me accept the need and begin using it. In hindsight, I guess I was ready to use one before I knew it.

Boosters at the ready.

I set it up in our bedroom and then didn’t touch it for months. I had to stare it down and get used it, and to measure if I thought it would help move more.

Then, I spontaneously put it next to the bed one night last fall after laying in morning “stores” (breakfast, drink, pills, cane), in the hopes that maybe the first and most painful steps of the day would have me, at least, better supported than the cane gave with the joint pain I had. I just dove in and didn’t think about what it meant.

It was the difference between crawling to the bathroom and walking, granting much peace. Yup, crawling. It’s that bad and you should know that about me. This is me, now and I use it throughout the day in our bedroom.

In the months since then, it’s been a great relief to have it, next to my bed, every morning. I haven’t left the top floor of our home with one, yet. I only recently have allowed myself to assess and decide I need to pass that milestone, too, which means getting a 2nd one for the main floor. It’s where much of my Daughter and Grandson spend the daytime hours and where I’m of my most use as a human baby monitor, when I’m able.

And as a few very kind people know, I had it at Balticon. There are some folks that kept its presence private and secret, after I voiced my embarrassment, or didn’t have to, and they have my thanks for their discretion. It did make the difference to me getting out of the room or having any productivity in our room when I wasn’t able to leave it.

The following week, I asked my Rheumatologist about the weight of it and differences, after she was so happy to hear my motion has indeed increased with the use of the walker in the bedroom. She agreed that I need something lighter because of my Fibromyalgia “hot spots” for the main level of the house making it more of a challenge to use. And because on days I’ll need it, I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to get the one I have downstairs without aid and I’m shopping for a wheeled option for downstairs. Sexy, I know, but better to know before you visit.

Our oldest son and wife are living with us, and they and my husband are kind to me and I haven’t had to make that move, yet. For that, I’m exceedingly grateful (although not nearly good enough at showing it), because it also allows me to “watch” Little Bear from the comfortable nest of my bed/desk/dining table/sofa in our bedroom. Chooch or Gal are always on the same floor with me, so if any needs arise that I can’t cover still have him safe, but they are free to roam.

I’m the baby monitor, when I’m able to be one, watching him while he sleeps if nothing else. Lifting him, now at 13.3 pounds and two months old, is a painful struggle, but the Baby Bjorn helps, although rarely after getting him in it with assistance. Otherwise, I only carry him a few feet at a time and never on the stairs. Ever. I’m terrible on the stairs now.

Now, as was offered by a dear friend for my cane when I first got it years ago, I could dress my walker(s) up and make it snazzy, but I’ve decided I like the medical/functional appearance of it. It’s a constant reminder that it’s not an accessory, it’s a tool to strengthen my body, and to be used only as needed, not to the extent of my tendency recently towards laziness from fatigue.

I use my current, hefty and solid gifted walker next to my bed, for stretching and light exercise, balance and strength boosting, as little as it is. It’s not as much as other friends have/are doing in the aftermath since brother-from-another-mother P.G. Holydfield’s passing last August. But I’m still fighting where I can, damn it. I have realistic goals that I aspire to so I can make them and feel empowered to aspire to more. That’s my process.

And with all the added stress of moving in difficult times, weight gain has hit this Future Fat Granny. I’m doing ok with little changes and minimizing calories and increasing nutrition in my sustenance (smoothies for TMJ relief). But motion is still so painful that my vascular is not as cardio as it once was. Or whatever.

I’ve got goals for this year, and I need to lose some of the grief and uber nesting weight gain and get as strong as many of my friends are getting, as my body allows. There won’t be a race, but there will be health improvement.

Okay, so, yes, I actually have challenged a few folks to a race to age 100, including my former M-i-L on my Son’s wedding day. She has a lead on me, which she pointed out, and I told her something along the lines of hoping I was there to celebrate it with her. Sincerely. She’s a wonderful grandmother to my sons and I’m so grateful for that.

April 7, 2015

Rushed hospital photos by professional photog. Epic cuteness, and here’s my fave with us.

The health goals are there, and post-Balticon 2015, with the last memorial we have promised to throw for our P.G. is done. So many planned things were not done, but that was because I aimed too high. Those things are stashed away in the hopes we (SpecFicMedia.com) get to throw next year’s New Media Party.

Lookit, with multiple setbacks, thanks to the chaos of our rental home and such, I didn’t go as strong into grand-parenting as I’d hoped. But I can get moving a lot easier with the walker, and once I’m in motion, I keep going until I can’t anymore. Which is, admittedly, not very far, but as satisfying as I can get for now, newly dedicated to enlarge my route beyond the bedroom, first floor and home.

The walker has improved my motion to be less of a burden, and so my new friend stays so that I can try and keep up with all the wonder and surprise that the future holds.

 

 

Don’t Be “That Guy/Girl” at Balticon, M’kay?

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention Attendance, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Friends, No Whining, Too Long For Twitter

Balticon folks, please look over the Harassment Policy posted on the Baltimore Science Fiction Society site.

There have been issues in previous years, as most folks know. I like to think we all want to gather and have fun together with folks that genuinely share interests, but either alcohol or missed social cues can and have created issues in the past.

Sadly, not everyone realizes how their actions can be seen as harassment. Consider reading this over to ensure you don’t cause upset to your fellow con-goers AND/OR how to handle behavior you deem as harassment you see or experience.

Also, if you see someone giving cues that there are in need of “rescue” please consider giving a distraction and/or exit assist. If you are not comfortable, please summon assistance as instructed in the policy. (Yup, gonna make you click that link and read it. #CliffHanger

Of note:
Other people or their personal effects should not be touched–this includes hair, clothing, assistive devices, bags, and service animals–without an express invitation.

If physical contact is wished, express this verbally or with a friendly gesture, and do not proceed without a positive verbal or physical response.

Holding a hand out for a handshake and waiting for the other person to reciprocate is good example.”

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After seeing hotel renovations last week, I say this can be a fantastic experience yet again as our community gathers together to share, learn, contribute and geek out with our dice out!

Fave New Twitter DM Thread (From Balticon Monday)

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention Attendance, Friends, Too Long For Twitter


This conversation is in response to a mesmerizing, yet undocumented (Anyone?!? Please email to me!) event outside of our room on the last official night of Balticon 46.

I am leaving both victim and confirmed perpetrator unidentified unless said parties decide to reveal his, or her, selves.  Or something.

Car F**ker #1 (CF1):   Viv, what happened with the Marriot room?
(CF1, before I replied):   And was (Car Owner)’s car dinged?
Me:   We are just now loading up. Have to pay another night, but we are just now revived, lol!
CF1:   Oh my. You guys crashed out all day?
Me:   I didn’t. I worked on packing since 9 am wake up call came. Could not get the boys moving but for food. PG on the road hour ago?
CF1:  Good boys 🙂 You just gave me a scare that I did something to (Car Owner)’s car last night.
Me:    You mean besides fucking it?
CF1:
  Psychological or physical damage?
Me:  (collapse into giggles at the though of the car or its owner having psychological damage, under the circumstances of the situation)

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Balticon 46, I may have been unable to attend 99% of your panels or see all of my friends, but it sure as hell was exciting! And it definitely left a mark. <3

 

Balticon 46 Update To Come?

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention Attendance, Family, Friends

Dear Readers,

My blogging process these days is lengthy now when it comes to events, as I have to journal first and try to pull all the people, memory and thoughts in and un-jumble them. My hope is to afterwards post a Balticon update, but it will be at least a few days.

A few quick thoughts:

I have too few hours with folks outside of our room, and for that I’m sorry.

For those people and events beyond me, please know that I missed you greatly.

For those that showed kindness, no matter how small it may have seemed, it all combined to cobble me together to see as many/much as I did.  I am greatly in your debt. I cannot promise that I will remember it, but I can promise that the accumulated kindnesses and after effects got/will get me through some rough stuff.

If anyone wants to help me fill in memory gaps, please email me at VivMuse@gmail.com with stories or pictures with me and Chooch. I will give photo and story credit if used anywhere beyond my own eye holes.

And while I know that everyone only posts in Facebook now, I created a Flickr Group for photos to be collected. Facebook will not last forever kittens, share your photos in places where they can be viewed, as appropriate. Add or view at flickr.com/groups/balticon46/ .

Also, if you come across other online photos from this year’s Balticon, please also send those along and I will try and link to them.

If you send something and you never see it used, know that it is still GREATLY appreciated. By me and Chooch both, at the very least <3

From the Post-Apocolyptic Recovery Ward,
Viv

Balticon 45 Schedule

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention, Convention Attendance, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Podcast

The schedule is not in its final form yet, but here is my schedule as it stands right now.

Note: ALL of my events are on Sunday!

Noon in the Chesapeake ~ Paulette Jaxton’s book launch for The Empress Sword
Recently published by Dragon Moon Press, I’ll be helping Paulette serve up tasty nomz inspired by the book and there will be a reading from the book by Nathan Lowell!

6PM in the Chesapeake – Girls’ Rules Live! ~ Women in the Gaming World
I’ll be joined by Laura Burns, Christiana Ellis, M.A. in PA, and Jett Micheyl. I’m also hoping for a special guest!
It’s not just Felicia Day having fun in the diverse world of gaming, it’s women from all walks of life. Join this all-female panel discuss their experiences after years of gameplay. We’ll discuss all manner of gaming, as this panel reveals what it’s really like when boy discovers that “girl” doesn’t always mean Guy In Real Life.

7 PM in the Chase (lower level) ~ Reading from my Mom’s short story, “Grandma.”
This story is the inspiration and centerpiece for a (Breast) Cancer Anthology I’ll be publishing in time for her birthday in 2012. I’ll be requesting submissions for written works and artwork for the collection and will be paying for accepted works. All proceeds from the book will go to established cancer charities.

9 PM in the Chesapeake – Into the Blender Live: Take My Geek Card (I Dare You!)
Guests include: P.G. Holyfield, Marc Bailey and Rich Sigfrit
This time we’re taking on a touchy subject: There are countless arenas of geek affection, but some seem near universal: movies, television, and books. Whether it be Star Wars or Firefly; Lord of the Rings, or Buffy; Gaiman or Pratchet – there are things you are SUPPOSED to love as a geek. Well, we don’t love them all and I bet you don’t either! Come compare your likes and dislikes with an assorted panel of lovers and haters of every genre.

10 PM in the Chesapeake ~ Geek Parenting in New Media
Our panel of geek parents chime in with their thoughts on raising young geeks. What is the right age to show the kids Star Wars? Do you show them all 6 or only the good ones. What websites are good and safe for kids at what age? How do you teach your kids about Internet privacy? How do you prepare them for “Greifers” on gaming systems? When is it OK for them to use their real name?

I’ll then be attending the remainder of the Time Traveler’s Ball, hosted by Christiana Ellis in the Garden Room!

And if you are in need of promotional buttons NOW is the time to order them! There is no delivery charge for buttons delivered at Balticon. I will be taking my equipment to Balticon, but will have to charge a higher rate for any I craft while at the con due to time constraints. For information, check out my site, VividMuseCreations.com.

Chooch and I came up with this little helper to expand your social media dynasty ~ fully customizable w/your QRCode, $2 if ordered by noon Wednesday, $5 if made at Balticon. Viv@VividMuseCreations.com

 

Rules of Etiquette, Lesson Three

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention Attendance, Rules of Etiquette

As convention season is underway, this rule may be a timely one to share. Although it was originally intended for the theatre, I think it applies to panels as well.

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It is rude to whisper or talk during a performance. It is discourteous to the performers, and annoying to those of the audience around you, who desire to enjoy the entertainment.

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Personally, I also consider texting and tweeting during a panel to be discourteous and distracting to both audience seated behind you and to those on the panel, with three exceptions.

  • Tweeting that you are in a panel, giving the name of it, and its location is a benefit to the panelists, unless done repeatedly.
  • Tweeting a photo from the panel can also be beneficial, unless done repeatedly.
  • If you plan on “live tweeting” as some do from the panel, this too can be beneficial to the panelists as it can bring others to the panel or serve as a nice touch afterward for the panelists to see what resonated. I would suggest not sitting in the front rows, however. The panelists, if like me, tend to feed off of the energy of the audience.

In addition, I don’t think it serves anyone if an audience member takes over the conversation during a panel. Meaning, unless questions are requested, you should just listen. If you have a question or opinion, raise your hand at the appropriate time and make what you say concise. Remember, the rest of the audience came to share in the information from the panelists, and it can easily turn into a situation where the panelists are unable to continue the conversation because of an audience member with a firmly held opinion that is being voiced.

Again, these are my rules as I’ve developed them over the years and other panelists may feel completely different.

Opinions from panelists? Opinions from audience members?

Many thanks for the read. I look forward to seeing if there are comments on this one.

Useful Find for Travelers with Style

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Consumer Info, Convention Attendance, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Friends

My husband and I have been overnight guests of friends quite a lot recently. At this point, the most time consuming part of packing is getting my usual grooming needs organized, partly because the big bottles take up so much space. I’ve gotten the cheap mini-bottles from Target before, but they aren’t labeled clearly enough to be useful or are cheap and fall apart quickly.

For a separate reason, I was wandering about in my dear friend’s nineteenOthree Etsy Store. She crafts beautiful boxes and travel cases, and I was hoping to have a peek at what she’s preparing for her booth at Balticon. While there, I discovered these bottles, and treated myself to them.

They are beautifully designed, but more importantly the full set of six manages all of my beauty product mischief. The labels are waterproof and clearly labeled, so even with soap in my eyes I should be able to tell the conditioner from the facial cleanser.

The photo below shows the set that I ordered, and they are perfectly sized for a long weekend away at a convention and even meet FAA requirements for liquid container size.  The care in packing and wrapping made it a treat to open, and although I’ve not yet used them, I’m already impressed with the quality of the product and recommend to any with such a need.

Click on the photo to go to Mia's Etsy Shop

 

I suggest you head over to nineteenOthree Etsy Store to peruse Mia’s beautiful inventory of cases, bottles and boxes, especially if steampunk or the Edwardian age call to your sense of style.

You will also find her selling her beautifully embellished wares at Balticon, Memorial Day Weekend. Bon voyage!

 

Convention Schedule

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Convention, Convention Attendance, Cool Links / Clicky Linky

Upcoming Convention Schedule:

Since all the cool kids are doing it, I thought I’d post the convention schedule for Chooch and I for 2011.

There is a small chance we will attend RavenCon in Richmond, VA in April but it will likely just be for evening social time.
We are humbled and overjoyed to have been asked to again be participants at Balticon 45 over Memorial Day weekend.
We have our fingers crossed for Dragon*Con as attendees, but it’s too far off to know for sure. September in Atlanta has a mighty strong pull…

That’s it, money’s tight and we’re acting accordingly. Hope to you see at Balticon!

Fave Doctor Who Episode (Eccleston -> Tennant)

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention Attendance, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Firsts, TV

It was partly geek shaming that motivated me to finally start watching Doctor Who. You know what I mean, the taunting and teasing that occurs when one is uncovered as not having knowledge of a particular corner of The Complete Geek Experience. For most things, I could care less of such judgment and am amused at the presumption that I MUST partake AND worship it in order to attain or maintain “Geek Cred.” Again, I could care less of my Geek Cred ranking/rating. I’m like Cartman. I do what I want.

I started watching the newer incarnations about 3 months ago. The final determining factor was being told not to bother starting further back than when Christopher Eccleston took over the role. I love him, so went ahead and dove in. Surprisingly, at least to me, my favorite episode does not include him.

“Blink” aka the Weeping Angels episode is the one I keep hearing about as the BEST EPISODE EVAR!!!! And I’ll grant you, that is one finely crafted, shiny-whiny episode. It is, quite literally, haunting and goose-bump-raising moments are scattered throughout. In spite of that, the light presence of the Doctor himself in the episode, with his brooding and burdensome role in the Universe, keeps it from being too heavy and dark. For being so spooky, it’s down right charming. And it’s clearly an episode that has resonated with fans, as I’ve already seen Weeping Angels costumers at conventions with their beautifully executed creations.

Weeping Angels

Weeping Angles seen at Farpoint Convention, Feb 2010

Still, it is not my favorite episode, which I was able to easily compare since it was immediately after what I have deemed my favorite episode.

“Family of Blood” is episode 9 of season 3, and is the second of a 2 parter. The first part, “Human Nature” sets it up beautifully and I was immediately pulled into the story. The characters are compelling and the acting superb. Without going too deep into spoiler country, you get a peek at another of the many burdens carried when you are the last known Timelord. It is absolutely wrenching to watch as David Tennant, Tenth Doctor, masterfully demonstrates the pain of having to choose between the life and love he wants and the life he’s destined for. It’s something I would have expected earlier in the series, at least the newer ones that I’ve watched. Maybe it was covered with one or more of the previous 8 Doctors? I don’t intend to go back and watch those, so if you know then please share in the comments below.

I won’t go into greater detail, but I urge you to give the series a try. It’s pretty family friendly, fairly campy and the aliens appear almost harmless and silly looking. (Except for the Racnoss. I didn’t like that spidery thing, no sir, not one bit.) It’s crucial that you start with Eccleston if you want to understand how Rose Tyler and others tie in during later seasons. If you do decide to skip his Doctor, you won’t be completely lost but you will lose some fantastic details and inside jokes.

The writer of both “Human Nature” and “Family of Blood” was Paul Cornell, and the only other episode I see attributed to him is “Father’s Day” during the first Eccleston season (as the Ninth Doctor).  This was also a great episode, so I’m not tremendously surprised. I found it to also be a great pull on the heart strings as Rose has to go back and witness a very painful experience in her life and decide whether or not to change it. I’d love to see more written by him, although it doesn’t appear that he will anytime soon. He has written several Doctor Who novels and comics, as well a few episodes of Robin Hood (2006) among many other things.

There are also a few Doctor Who specials. There seems to always be a Christmas special, and 2010’s was fantastic. Michael Gambon added to it as only he can. I also just watched “Waters of Mars” and all I can say is that I’m glad I’m not a Timelord. Heartbreaking life.

Of tremendous interest to (now fellow) Doctor Who fans is that Neil Gaiman has written what is currently scheduled to be the third episode of the upcoming sixth season.

Although I started watching them months ago with Chooch, I finally mainlined them by myself in the last 2 or so weeks. I finished Seasons 1 through 4 via Netflix streaming, Season 5 I’ll have to get via Netflix by mail. And while I’ve seen several episodes featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, I’ll still watch the entire season in order since I wasn’t really paying attention to detail. I plan on being up to date when the sixth season starts.

So, why don’t you tell me in the comments –  Who’s your favorite Doctor Who? And which is your favorite episode from Seasons 1 through 4?

A Lesson Relearned

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention Attendance, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Dizzy, Friends, Health

Writing my blog post for Balticon took longer than it should because I write here for me. My memory is full of suck lately, whether due to the health issues or the medication or both. I forget things. A LOT of things. So I take extra time to write things out, and when I’m doing this in a blog I try really hard to give links for the cool people or things I’ve seen. This leads to a lot of searching, which leads to a lot of reading as things catch my eye. While doing this I discovered further proof that Dave Slusher is a really cool guy. I’m not saying this as a podcast fangirl, because I only found out after Balticon that he even has a podcast. Yes, I’m that clueless…

I first chatted with Dave at Dragon*Con 2009, but I was told we actually met at Balticon 2009. I didn’t recognize him because he had been wearing the Mexican wrestler mask that is the key component to his Señor Muerte costume. Not having much time with him in Atlanta, he did make enough of an impression on our evening that Rich, Susan, Chooch and I developed the “Dave Slusher Temperature Scale” and it involved a body part that I won’t mention at this time. Because I’m a lady.

I got to spend some real time in conversation with him at this year’s Balticon, and I just can’t say enough nice things about the guy. At every instance, he was smart, funny and thoughtful with an edge of irreverence around his really big heart.

I found his Evil Genius Chronicles podcast and blog just as hubby said I would, for the usual “clicky linky” opportunity for my readers. My eye was pulled to a blog he posted last year before Dragon*Con, and as I read I found a paragraph that really touched me. It’s the kind of behavior I’ve been striving towards for a while, although I’m far from where I want to be, as a part of my desire to push negativity away and embrace positivity. I’ll be damned if Dave didn’t put my own thoughts down in his blog, in better words than I could have.

An excerpt from Dave Slusher’s “Dragon*Con and the Geek Hierachy“:

“I don’t do nearly enough volunteering and charity in my life, something I need to fix. However, here’s a small thing I do that costs me exactly nothing in time or energy. It actually saves me time and energy. I don’t make fun of anyone at Dragon*Con for anything. Not even for smelling funny, being awkward and completely inept socially, for wearing costumes that are age and/or weight inappropriate, for saying dumb things. I don’t care. This is a long, cold, shitty, lonely life and if dressing up like the green belly dancer girl from the original Star Trek or pretending you are a fictional super-heroine makes your life a little better, have at it. Moments of true joy are hard enough to come by in this world. If wearing funny clothes or putting on an accent that you haven’t practiced enough or acting like a complete spazz makes you feel better, do it with my blessing. Don’t knock me over, don’t harsh anyone else’s mellow, be a good steward of the space carved out to allow you this freedom and don’t deprive anyone else of the same, and then we are cool.”

It seems simple, doesn’t it? Akin to the Golden Rule and something we learned in elementary school.  How did we get so far from it? Speaking for myself, I know that at recent events I slipped right into a lifelong habit of teasing when I was with my family. That’s just the way we’ve always interacted. I realized that I really don’t like myself when I’m like that, and didn’t even realize I had joined in on it.

I find myself rededicated to cleaning up my words and actions after reading this. It won’t be easy, because old and sarcastic habits die hard.

So thanks, Dave! I’ve even printed out the portion that I put in bold type and have hung it next to my desk. In Comic Sans, natch.