Thursday, September 27, 2012

Second Stranger

I started this 100 Strangers photography project (via Flickr) a couple of years ago. The idea is to hone your photography and social skills by approaching total strangers and asking to take their picture. I'm a social reject, but I need to build up my people photography portfolio, so I decided to give it a try.

My first photograph was two years ago at a Robin Hood festival. A woman spinning alpaca fur into yarn.

So I figured it was time to get my second stranger. I stopped to talk to this man and find out when he and his (very small) group get together to protest. I've seen them around a couple of times, but thinking back, I'm always fuzzy on the date/time.

We had a little chat and I thanked him for his time and said that my sister and I would try and join them next week.

I forgot to ask his name, but I can remedy that next week.

P.S. I took this photo with my iPhone, which I (personally) don't think counts as a real photograph (fuck digital) but I think the image is important to share.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fat lady singing

Vacation over. Back to work tonight.  While I did not have a good vacation, I'm still sorry to see it end. Someday I'll actually be able to afford to go somewhere and do something. 

Saturday I went to my friend's party. Had too much rum, passed out on the floor by 10:30 p.m. 

That's about it. 

happy autumn equinox







Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Take a run and hide yourself away.

Went for a run this afternoon. Nothing particularly mind-blowing about that, except that I walked to the track. It's a 1.2 mile trek, one way, but the walk back up is the real ass-buster.    My house is at an elevation of about 1,000 feet and the elevation at the track is 500. So the hike home is uphill. A steep, winding mountain road.  It was around 80 outside and I was feeling it even before I hit the track, but my run actually went pretty well.  The walk back home went better than I expected, too, though that may be because I stopped frequently to stuff my face with the blackberries that line the road.

Blue is the GPS route. Grey is the actual route.


I should be able to sleep well tonight. Got lots of exercise, sun and fresh air. Now I'm off to the state park to see if I can't find Mars and Zubenelgenubi. 

Dazed and confused

I'm officially on vacation until Monday. I'd be more excited about it if I were actually doing something, but the truth is my car is on empty and I'm so broke I won't be able to fill the tank until Friday (payday). 

I had originally taken Friday off so I could go to the Winterhawks home opener, but my cat has been having some health issues lately and I'm hundreds of dollars in debt for her medical care, not to mention all the other debt I have. I can't justify a hockey game right now.  So that fucking blows. I've been to the home opener every year for several years now. 

I can't afford to get my meds refilled, so I'm going on three days off my antidepressants. I would really like to just go to sleep and never wake up again.  I'm tired of everything. Tired of the sadness, tired of the pain, tired of uncertainty, tired of the shame, confusion and things left unsaid.  I don't know how to get out from under it all, and I've about given up trying.  Driving home from work this morning, I was so overwhelmed with everything, I went into a crying/laughing fit. I felt like I was losing my mind. I had to pull over until it passed, and then I just put my head down on the steering wheel and cried some more. 

This is why I don't like to take vacation.

Saturday my friend is throwing her annual party, and I'm looking forward to that. If I stop to think about it, I get nervous because parties aren't really my thing (at all) and I don't know very many of the people attending. I'm a social pirana and I don't really do well in social settings.  I'm an observer by nature, and I'm content to just sit back and watch people, fascinated by how easily they live their lives.

Maybe I'll bring my guitar and find an out-of-the-way place to play and work on some songs. 

I may or may not be going to Virginia for vacation next month around Halloween. I'm also going to see Margaret Cho on the 13th. Pretty excited about that.  I haven't been to Helium since last year when my friends and I saw Scott Thompson and Kevin McDonald. My friend and I met Scott; I'm still in shock.  I really really really hope we get to meet Margaret. I want to talk to her about kidney stones. 


Nothing else to say, I guess. 




Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"All it takes is one person to tell someone they're not alone."

It's National Suicide Prevention Week. I know, shouldn't we prevent it every day? Point is, there are people out there who have no idea there is help available to them. There are people who feel alone and that they have no one to turn to. 

Suicide takes the lives of nearly 30,000 Americans every year.

Many who attempt suicide never seek professional care.

There are twice as many deaths due to suicide than HIV/AIDS.

Between 1952 and 1995, suicide in young adults nearly tripled.

Over half of all suicides occur in adult men, ages 25-65.

In the month prior to their suicide, 75% of elderly persons had visited a physician.

Suicide rates in the United States are highest in the spring.

Over half of all suicides are completed with a firearm.

For young people 15-24 years old, suicide is the third leading cause of death.

Suicide rates among the elderly are highest for those who are divorced or widowed.

80% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully.

15% of those who are clinically depressed die by suicide.

There are an estimated 8 to 25 attempted suicides to 1 completion.

The highest suicide rate is among men over 85 years old: 65 per 100,000 persons.

1 in 65,000 children ages 10 to 14 commit suicide each year.

Substance abuse is a risk factor for suicide.

The strongest risk factor for suicide is depression.

By 2010, depression will be the #1 disability in the world. (World Health Organization)

In 2004, 32,439 people died by suicide. (CDC)

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. (homicide is 15th). (CDC)

Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-old Americans. (CDC)

It is estimated that there are at least 4.5 million survivors in this country. (AAS)

An average of one person dies by suicide every 16.2 minutes. (CDC, AAS)

There are four male suicides for every female suicide. (CDC, AAS)

Research has shown medications and therapy to be effective suicide prevention.

Suicide can be prevented through education and public awareness.

Last year SAVE educated 10,618 youth & parents on depression and suicide prevention.

Last year SAVE received 810 requests for information from 72 countries.

In 2004 it is estimated there were 811,000 suicide attempts in the US. (AAS)

There are three female suicide attempts for each male attempt. (CDC, AAS)

According to the Violent Death Reporting System, in 2004 73% of suicides also tested positive for at least one substance (alcohol, cocaine, heroin or marijuana).


Saturday, September 8, 2012

A warrior acts as if he knows what he is doing, when in effect he knows nothing.

Has it been a year already? I'm doing the Warrior Dash on Sunday, two days shy of a years since the last one.  Am I any more prepared than I was last year? No. Perhaps less so. Do I care? Not much. There's more mud this year, and I'm ready to get down and dirty. 

When I was 15 I had surgery to lengthen my right leg (three inches). My mom had left the decision up to me, and I was okay with it up until I woke up from surgery.  As I emerged from my anesthetic stupor, I stared down the length of my hospital bed at the huge lump under the blanket.  "That's my leg," I thought.  "What the hell have I done?'  I started crying and told my mom to tell the doctors I'd changed my mind. She explained to me that it was too late and I'd just have to deal with it.  I was terrified of what my leg looked like under the blanket. The only sense I could get was pain. A lot of pain. For the first couple of days after my surgery, my whole life revolved around the clock and how soon I could press the button for more morphine.  Once I was weaned off of it and reality settled in, I studied my freak show leg and began to accept it and I did what I had to do to heal and move forward. It wasn't easy, but I had no other choice. I'd made my decision and I had to live with it. 

One day, a few weeks after I'd returned home, I was sitting on the couch doing "pin care," which consisted of cleaning the pins in my leg and refreshing the pads and foam around the pins.  I was watching TV with my dad (Star Trek) and during a commercial he asked, "If you had the choice to do it over again or not, would you have the surgery?"  I told him yes, I would.  He said, "You're very brave. I couldn't handle what you're going through."  This from a man who served in Vietnam. 

I really had no idea what i was in for when I said I wanted the surgery, and my dad's praising me felt wrong. Not on his part, but mine. I felt it was undeserved praise because I went into it blindly. If I had known how hard it was going to be and did it anyway, that would be one thing. That would be brave. But I foolishly thought, "I'll have this surgery and my legs will be even!" and I went in for the surgery thinking it would be easy. Coming to terms with how wrong I was about the whole thing, that was a mess in itself.  But I made it through that painful experience and I bare my scars (all 14 of them) proudly. 

I had no idea what I was in for with the Warrior Dash, either. I just wanted to get muddy and run around in a fuzzy helmet with a medal around my neck.  It was hard. Really, really hard. And not just because I hadn't trained for it. I put myself through hell last year, and I made it through. I walked most of the 5k, but I didn't fault myself for it; I made it to the finish line and that was my only goal. Well, I had two goals: one was to finish, and the other was to not finish last.  I reached my limit, physically, and I went beyond it, pushing myself harder than I ever had in my life. I quite often felt like I was dying and I thought about giving up more than a few times, but quitting was never an option.  This was the first race I had ever run, and I was facing mud, barbed wire and fire.  I knew I was crazy, but it was too fun to pass up.

There are some new obstacles this year, but I still have a pretty good idea of what I'm in for. What's got me most excited is that I will be doing the race with four of my friends this year, instead of two. Plus another friend is coming along for moral support (and to hold my stuff so I don't have to check it). 

Pain is survivable. I've got scars to remind me what I've been through, how far I've come, how strong I am, and how brave I am to keep going.

I can't wait for tomorrow.