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I have never written much at all about the love of my life, but she's there, and real, and she really is the love of my life, and I of hers. Things have been very, very bad with us lately, in very large measure because she feels—rightly—that all the gender stuff got dumped on her and built up behind her back. She deserves better than that.

So I'm letting this journal go fallow, while I work on life with her. We have a lot to learn about what each other is like now, and about what our lives have been like in the long stretches apart from each other, and she needs to know that I'm not busily planting mines behind her that might go off at any moment. And for that matter I need to know that I really am giving life without drastic rewriting a full and fair opportunity, bringing together medical improvement, the unhappy but nonetheless resolving end of old projects, and all that stuff together with some real domestic partnership.

It hurt her very much to find this built up in secret. Part of what I owe her and our commitment is a public resolution to that. So, logging out here to see what we can do together.

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Not abducted by aliens yet, just having a busy time.

I got to host Mom for an Easter weekend visit, and it went really well. Neither of us is having a super-abundance of good news on a lot of fronts, but we had the time to visit and get to understand just how it is we're both doing and to talk through a whole lot, make some plans, weigh options, and have some fun along the way. Mom got to spend some time too with company she very much enjoys, and that's always good for her morale - too much isolation is a nasty drag when you're stuck with it rather than choosing it.

Next week, on the 15th, I have lasers ablating me! That is, the vascular surgery on my left leg to fix damaged vessels. As I understand it, my circulatory system isn't actually leaking right now, but the treatment will make it so that it won't be able to leak in the future, should I have any more vascular setbacks. That works for me. Dealing with the compression stockings is No Fun, but that's life, sometimes.

Spring is being gorgeous in Seattle this year. Lots of sun, lots of rain, some really dramatic wind. Looking forward to getting out of my current malaise and back to more activity.

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Matthew Yglesias is far too technocratic to take without lots of grains of salt, but every so often he points at something interesting. This piece on gender differences in risk management is one such. He links to a study of high-ranked chess players which includes this fascinating bit:

This paper aims to measure differences in risk behavior among expert chess players. The study employs a panel data set on international chess with 1.4 million games recorded over a period of 11 years. The structure of the data set allows us to use individual fixed-effect estimations to control for aspects such as innate ability as well as other characteristics of the players. Most notably, the data contains an objective measure of individual playing strength, the so-called Elo rating. In line with previous research, we find that women are more risk-averse than men. A novel finding is that males choose more aggressive strategies when playing against female opponents even though such strategies reduce their winning probability.
He also links to a paper showing that men take more risks and get worse returns than women as individuals investing on their own in market trading.

The other interesting thing is that he's sincere enough about his technocracy to take the evidence seriously and say that male domination of the financial sector is something to look at and think about dealing with, rather than waving it all away just because it'd be inconvenient.

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Just like it says in the subject line. Give it a minute and a half to get out of the intro and into the main body of the song.

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 I'm still not tracking, since I'm just coming out of really major crisis-type action. Will resume measuring next week, honest.

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 Someone at the studio really, really earned their writing pay one day...

A series of really well-done missions in the upper teens starts off with the PCs helping out Faultline, a young man whose supervillain father was apparently responsible for demolishing an entire district of the city, rescue his impetuous would-be heroine girlfriend, Fusionette. And rescue her again, and some more, in fact. Then we get to find out what was up with Faultline's father and a lot of other skullduggery, and it's satisfyingly epic stuff.

Then, a dozen or more levels later, they turn up again, in the Rikti War Zone. They get kidnapped, too, and there is rescue action, and they help out with the next set of challenges. In the middle of a very big battle inside a Rikti vessel, the comments in blue turn up:

Yes, someone thought to have the NPC couple chattering exactly the way PCs do on the side. I love that.
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No measurement this week, as I'm in the middle of something yoinking my metabolism around a lot. But then it'll be done.
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So it turns out that Queensryche has out an album's worth of cover songs, Take Cover. Here are the lads from Seattle giving a really excellent treatment to Pink Floyd's great "Welcome to the Machine".

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To recap: last fall my blood pressure got up to about 200/112 in the doctor's office, at which my doctor expressed some surprise I hadn't already had a stroke, and I started in on treatment for it. This last week I reached some important decisions and started putting them into practice, and wow, it's paying off. Last night, 143/86, and this morning, 145/92. These are the best I've had yet, and I'm really hoping it's sustained.
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I'm around a couple of big turns this week, it looks like, and getting to look at new vistas of work to do and opportunities to reach for. I'll be writing it all up at more length soon, but for now I just wanted to say: I am a happy camper this afternoon.
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The Allegra I started taking on Monday is definitely giving me some relief. I'm getting some more sleep, and am moving from "profoundly exhausted and weary" to "tired and happy for more rest". Feels good. And it comes with no qualifiers, no hesitation, no nothin'. Just less congestion and more rest.
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Yesterday I went for my second session at the University of Washington dental school, to go over the results of the intake examination and talk about treatment options. It went very well indeed.

The student assigned to my case is a big fellow with a grin almost wide enough to look like something in Terry Gilliam animation, with a very clear voice and a genuine enthusiasm for answering questions. I had a bunch, and the friend who drove me had more, and he really welcomed them, going into extra details of lots of kinds and happy to do so. My fellow sickies know what a precious and reassuring thing that is.

The upshot is: at the foundational level, my mouth is much better than I had any reason to expect. ("Your bone condition is awesome", he said.) Just as I turn out not to have any developing glaucoma, so I have no major gum disease or anything like that, either. This is a genuine happy surprise.

I do have a lot of small areas of decay, which they can and will treat with straightforward decay removal and fillings. I'll be starting in with a comprehensive cleaning and the first of many filling sessions in a couple of weeks, after their spring break.

Two teeth got extra attention. One in the upper front has a very large visible cavity. But the nerve there proves to actually be still alive and well, to everyone's surprise. It's quite possible that a major removal of decay and a big filling will take care of it, rather than a root canal. In the upper back right, one is a little mysterious: X-rays suggest a nasty big cavity, visual examination doesn't offer any of the expected confirming signs, and as my guy explained, sometimes X-rays give misleading impressions. So they'll watch that for developments while tending the rest.

To my very great relief, Medicaid coverage in the flavor I have is really good. It'll pay for all the cleaning and filling, and for anterior (front) root canals, so if that one up at the front of my mouth needs it, it's set. It wouldn't pay for a root canal for the back one, though it would cover extraction; I can start a little saving fund for in case action's needed back there.

I did expect to be in for a lot of treatment, and I am. A dozen or more sessions may well be necessary, in the months to come. But the nature of the work and my overall prospects are way better than I'd have guessed.
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It's been ages, hasn't it? But I have been taking pictures, and feel like sharing a couple.

Buds by *Cericonversion on deviantART

Blossoms by *Cericonversion on deviantART
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No change. Commentary on current stuff later, but I'm mostly glad not to be gaining.
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For my readers familiar with City of Heroes and City of Villains: If you were to thrust super-powers on me and put me to work in either Paragon City or the Rogue Isles, what would they be? I don't see myself as temperamentally very villainous, but I do have my "let it all burn" moments, and of course with the expansion pack coming up, some villainous months followed by semi-heroic reform are possible, so both sides are up for grabs.

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I'm reading Life and Death in the Third Reich, by Peter Fritszche, and finding it excellent. His material is letters, diaries, and other personal accounts of a wide range of Germans throughout the '30s and '40s, and his topic is the ways in which they made places for themselves in the Nazi regime, not just socially but internally: how they thought and felt, what they taught themselves and each other to do, how they reconciled some contradictions and lived with others, and so on.

The degree of similarity with Republican America is hard to overstate. Fritzsche on the effort to suppress empathy—to get Germans to make themselves no longer sympathize or care about designated victim classes, and to feel an interest in the well-being only of those approved for prospering—is particularly good, and particularly relevant. Ditto his look at how different Germans worked with the concept of constant impending doom, and its use as justification for aggression. The American soulmates of the Nazis have never been as intense or thorough about it as the originals, but the advantages of sustained effort do accumulate. The Nazis only had 12 years; the Republicans have had 30 years of really solid media hegemony, and decades of counter-New Deal effort running up to that.

But there's a particular thing the Nazis were good at that the Republicans are really terrible about: community life. The Republican machine's attachment to a particularly brutal kind of corporate capitalism makes them inclined to favor masses who are isolated and scared, and they lose out on the advantages of masses who feel strong ties to each other as well as to their shared abstractions. The Republicans' dupes are about as good as the Nazi public was when it comes to hating the Other and feeling their very way of life in imminent peril, but they are completely out of the habit of working together on their own common good, and this keeps them from the complete social transformation the Nazis set out for.

In short, we're not Nazi because we're more MBA.

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Suddenly, nothing happened. :) Up 0.1 pounds, to 309.2, but I'm inclined to treat that as "no change", really. I'm happy about progress on other matters, and continuing to pull my Weight Watchers daily point total down a little bit.
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Whew. Been a wringer, though. Looks like I have had a cold, plus seasonal allergies, plus some medication reactions. Sorting it through, but yeesh.

It really is lovely to see everything blossoming again, though. It was a hard winter, and I like the symbolism and the physical beauty of spring coming in.
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If you take a big handful of shaving cream, work it up into a really good lather, and then rub it into your scalp as if it were shampoo, it does no harm. But it does take multiple rinses to get it all out.

Think I'm still tired.
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Sorry for being quiet this week. I was sick. I could get a note from Mom and/or my doctor, if that'd help. :)

I think at least 2-3 things hit at once: allergies from stuff coming into bloom, plus environmental problems from nearby construction, plus a diet experiment not working out (that's getting a post of its own soon), plus some other stresses. I didn't actually have stomach flu, but things that worked about that way in terms of basic misery. 

It's nice to be feeling better.


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Ceri B.

April 2010

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