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Happy New Year! And stuff.

I rang in the New Year at the Red Light Cafe for the Gilded Age Gala, the last hurrah of Speakeasy Electroswing Atlanta for an indefinite period. It was a grand time--lots of glamorous dresses and sharp suits. I'd planned for a glamorous dress, but the weather looked threatening so I resorted to a sharp suit.

Did my second stand-up routine at Cineprov. I heard people laughing, even more than the first time, so I think I did okay. The bit about getting Rickrolled at a mental hospital (a true story, in fact) went over particularly well. The Gentleman Caller was kind enough to hold my phone and record my performance for me and it came out decent. I just have to figure out what I want to do with it. I'd like to see if I can run it through iMovie and bleep out the obscenities so more people I know can watch it without cringing. Or I can just leave it uncut and put it up on YouTube for the world to see.

The location of the Big Green Grocery Store that I've worked at for the past three years closed at the end of December. Oh, worry not, they moved me to another location down the road a ways that I can still get to in a reasonable amount of time. It's easy enough to get into from where I'm driving, a pain to get out of to get home and absolutely impossible to get to from most angles otherwise. Seriously, I don't know how anybody manages to get in there. It's not a significant improvement over the old place beyond being larger. It itches at me in a way that makes the old place look better, and the old place itched me pretty badly.

In other news, I applied for four new jobs today.

I just prepped up another submission to send to my genre writers' group and trimmed out a bit that had been just sitting there, contributing nothing but words, for years. It left an open loop that now feels securely closed.

Went to my doctor for the first time under this insurance policy. I picked her out from the profiles provided and went all the way to a far distant (okay, not that far distant, but not immediately nearby) medical center to see her. I liked her demeanor and she was flattered when I said I'd come all that way just for her. She's set me up for some labs and I'll be getting my first mammogram on Thursday.

Well, that went all over the place, didn't it? One of my New Year's resolutions is to post at least twelve blog posts, so this brings it down to eleven.

Today I took pleasure in a well-made bed.

Today I learned what 19 Crimes Shiraz tastes like. (Meh.)

This entry was originally posted at https://wonderbink.dreamwidth.org/232689.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

So soon? YES!

So I didn't mention in my last entry that I did stand-up comedy for the first time. As in performed it. I hashed out a routine and was the opening act, if you will, for a local movie riffing troupe called Cineprov. The routine was about the very first week of the national broadcast of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and how brain-breakingly weird it is. (King Friday imposes martial law. I'm not making that up. Go on Amazon Prime and see for yourself.) I didn't bring down the house with it, but I'm pretty sure I heard people laughing, so I put together another routine. This one's about the ups and downs (sorry) of having bipolar disorder. It will include the time I got Rickrolled in a mental hospital.

The next step was to go and see the lovely people at Cineprov to ask them if they wouldn't mind an opening act for one of their shows, and the surest way to accomplish that goal is to go to a Cineprov show and ask them directly, which is what I did. This month, the movie was Santa Claus, but was billed as Santa Claus vs. The Devil. It's a Mexican film that was imported and dubbed by a guy named K. Gordon Murray. It does indeed involve Santa Claus in conflict with a devil named Pitch, who has been sent by Lucifer to turn the world's children against Santa. He only manages to turn, like, three bratty boys before he's doused with a fire hose and runs screaming into the night. It's perfect riffing fodder, which is why it's been taken on by both Mystery Science Theater 3000 AND RiffTrax! Cineprov did a great job on it, too. They'd obviously gone over it enough time to point out things like Lupita's lost sibling. Lupita is a poor but virtuous girl who only wants a doll for Christmas and (spoiler alert) gets one from Santa. In one scene, Lupita and her mother are going through the market and Lupita steals a doll, then thinks better of it and puts it back, despite Pitch whispering in her ear to keep it. Lupita's mother has what is presumably a baby wrapped up in her cloak. We can only presume, though, since that baby is neither seen nor heard from again after that scene.

The Gentleman Caller actually saw this movie in a theater when he was a kid. I asked him what he remembered of it; it was mostly Pitch and his red leotard. He snuck in late and sat down next to me at the Cineprov show. When the movie was done, I talked to one of the Cineprov peeps in charge and we set things up for January. (Thursday, January 3rd, 7:30, Plaza Theatre, be there or . . . be somewhere else.) Then I convened next door with the Gentleman Caller for a drink.

I enjoy conversing with the Gentleman Caller, but it is a bit of a lopsided affair. He has a lot to say, he does. But he tells a good story, and he has many good stories to tell. I learned about his life as a larval geekboy and what science fiction fandom was like before and after Star Wars. I told him about the epiphany I gave myself in an office cubicle, when I realized that Medazzaland is actually a damn good album. (There was a roundabout connection between these two threads of thought, I promise.) We went through a couple of drinks and decided to call it a night.

As we left, one of the bartenders/servers there remarked to us that we were the happiest couple in the entire place. He'd been noticing us the whole time, and how happy we were. We said thank you. Then he went on about how it's like that when you find the right person and I think I said something like "Ohhhhhhh, dear."

"We're very good friends," I told the guy, "We're very good friends."

He seemed to take it in stride. We laughed about it, the Gentleman Caller and I, all the way to my car, where we bid each other a thorough goodnight and went on our ways.

Today I took pleasure in a single bite of a delicious brownie.

Today I learned how to order a sandwich in advance from Publix.

This entry was originally posted at https://wonderbink.dreamwidth.org/232200.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

And Now . . . Non-Political Content!

Okay, I'll just say that John Barrow lost the runoff and I am pissed (and worried), but I've done all I can.

Meanwhile, in the rest of my life . . .

I made it through National Novel Writing Month with most of my sanity intact. I hit 50,000 before November 30, and I ended on a reasonably graceful cliffhanger at the 54,527 word mark. I probably could have gotten farther ahead had (a) my part-time job not suddenly decided that I needed full-time hours, in the form of brain-meltingly long (nine or ten hour) shifts and (b) I'd not gotten involved with a fellow I met through one of my writers' groups, who shall be hereinafter referred to as the Gentleman Caller.

The novel is still incomplete--I had a detailed outline that I worked on over the past year and I cut things off about two-thirds of the way through it. My plan is to work on it as a leisure activity over the next few months and then toss it in the same trunk that all my NaNoWriMo efforts go. I'll be shifting most of my writerly focus back to The Two Kinds of Magic, an urban fantasy novel I've been working on for more years than I want to calculate. I found a terrific writers' group that specializes in genre fiction (science fiction, fantasy and horror, specifically) and it's been great to get insight from people who can grasp where I'm coming from. It's also more thorough feedback, because people are going from written submissions instead of (as in other groups I've been in) read aloud.

I was talking to the Gentleman Caller about Mod Boy the other night, and I did the math and realized that it had been years since I'd seen Mod Boy. So I sent him an email asking how he was. Keep in mind, that emailing him is like (and I have told him as much) dropping a stone down a deep well and waiting for the splash. (He agreed with me!) Because of that, I was genuinely startled to find an email back from him the next day. He caught me up a little on what he's been up to--he's going to be a father again soon and he's working on another book. (Did I mention that he wrote a book? One that he was working on when I met him? Did I mention that this was one of the big reasons I fell for him like a thing dropped from a great height? Yeah. Anyway. Consider it mentioned.) He said he was well and wished me the same. I wrote him back to tell him about my NaNoWriMo victory and to congratulate him on his impending fatherhood. I didn't leave a single question or conversational hook to try and drag him back with, I just sent it out and let it go.

If you're new here, check out the "mod boy" tag on this journal. It will fill you in on what a big step that is.

I'm still slugging it out at the Big Green Grocery Store and I'm doing another project for Standardized Testing People. I'm working on acquiring a new workplace to give a weird name to, preferably with full-time hours, benefits and a generous salary, so I can pay my own mortgage without parental help.

The Ten Thousand Flowers Project continues steadily. I set it aside for NaNoWriMo, but now that that's over now, I plan to resume at my two-flower-a-day pace.

I think that's about it for now. See you in three months.

This entry was originally posted at https://wonderbink.dreamwidth.org/232187.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
I know you're probably exhausted with all the shit you had to go through to cast your ballot in the midterms. How would you like to make it easier for upcoming elections?

There is a runoff election on December 4th. Runoff elections are what happen in Georgia when the Libertarians get enough votes to keep any one candidate from scoring the 51% they need to win. There are two positions to be filled. One is the Public Service Commissioner (Chuck Eaton, Republican, versus Lindy Miller, Democrat) and the other is the Secretary of State (Brad Raffensperger, Republican, versus John Barrow, Democrat).

Hey, waitaminute, did I just say Secretary of State? Why, yes, yes I did.

Yes, the position of Secretary of State, the person who handles elections in Georgia, is up for grabs. Still.

So, John Barrow (not to be confused with John Barrowman, as amazing as a contest like that would be) is our Democratic candidate, and he has some thoughts about the electoral process in Georgia in an editorial for the AJC that reads more like a campaign speech, but what the hey, it all looks good to me.

The bad news is, there doesn't appear to be any early voting for it, so you have to show up on December 4th at your official polling place (I haven't even been to mine, yet, so this will be an adventure) to cast your ballot. The good news is, turnouts for runoffs are even lower than the typical turnout for midterms, so if you sat through long lines, you won't sit through them this time.

I'm not seeing nearly enough about this out in the socialmediasphere, and it really needs to be out there. Remember, whoever takes the post of Secretary of State now, will still be in charge when 2020 rolls around.

Imagine how things could go with a fair counting.

This entry was originally posted at https://wonderbink.dreamwidth.org/231862.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

A quick message to my Senators

Dear Senator--

Brett Kavanaugh's inability to remain calm and level-headed under pressure is a sure sign that he is not suited for the Supreme Court of the United States. I urge you to vote against his confirmation.

Sincerely,

Sheila O'Shea

[I urge everybody to send a similar missive--or make a phone call--to their Senators right away.]

This entry was originally posted at https://wonderbink.dreamwidth.org/231452.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
The deadline to register for the midterm elections in the State of Georgia is October 9th.

I got a lot to say, but I wanted to get that out there first.

If you have not yet registered, you can go to sos.ga.gov and click on ELECTIONS. Then click on REGISTER TO VOTE. If you can’t remember that by the time you click away to the other tab, do a search on “secretary of state georgia” and the Google will take you right there.

“But, Sheila,” you might say, “I’m already registered to vote. Why should I worry about this?”

“But, you theoretical person,” I will say in reply, “Are you quite sure you’re still registered?”

Since the post-Gorsuch Supreme Court decision allowing states to purge people from the voter rolls if they haven’t voted lately, many states have been busy getting rid of people who only vote presidentially, and, even then, only if they feel like it. There was a special election in March. In July, there was a primary and non-partisan general election (which means that even if you don’t vote Democrat or Republican, you still had people to vote for). If you skipped March and July, or maybe even just July, you could potentially be stripped of your right to vote and have to register all over again.

“But, Sheila,” you might ask, “How will I know? It would be awful to go all the way to the polling place and find out that I’m not registered anymore, since by then it will be too late to register for the election!”

“Rest easy, theoretical person,” I will reply, “It’s actually quite easy to find out.”

Go to mvp.sos.ga.gov. (If the link doesn't work, just type it in.) MVP stands for My Voter Page, but if Most Valuable Player sticks it in your memory better, go with that. You can also get there by Googling your way to the Secretary of State website, and clicking on WHERE DO I VOTE? (MVP). Under where it says MVP Login put your information in from your voter registration—your first initial, your last name (according to the voter rolls—if you’re like me and have a weird name with an apostrophe or something in it, go with the version that the computer system has mutilated it into), your county of residence (more on that in a sec) and your date of birth.

An aside—if your place of residence now is different than the place of residence you had when you registered to vote, then go fix that shit, okay? Just go to where you get registered and update your registration. Otherwise, some bozo on Fox News is going to parade you around as evidence of rampant voter fraud, even if you’re the only one they have the goods on. Plus, you’d end up voting for local elections that have no bearing on your actual situation.

So. Anyway. So you put in your info and you have a Your Voter Page. (Yeaye!) The big thing that it will have is your designated polling place. This is the place you go to do your voting if you vote on the actual day of the election. If you’ve voted before, pay very close attention to this because they’ve been changing them! I found this out when I was going through writing this—my polling place has changed from High Point Elementary School to High Point Episcopal Community Church. Why, it’s almost as if they were expecting me to glance at it, see the words “High Point” and not read any further, so I could show up at High Point Elementary and not have time to get to the other polling station.

I hardly ever vote on the actual day, because Georgia is enlightened enough—yes, I used the words “enlightened” and “Georgia” in the same sentence, but work with me here—to have early voting. To find out when and where you can early vote, click the link labeled “Click here for Early Voting Locations and Times” and scroll through to see what works best for you. If you’ve voted before and you use early voting, definitely check to make your your usual early voting polling place is still on the list. Because, guess what, mine isn’t. I normally vote at the North Fulton Annex, and I scrolled up and down and it’s not there. I’m not sure what it is about my neck of the woods that’s so threatening to Brian Kemp—who is not only the Secretary of State, but the Republican Candidate for Governor—but I have to drive to Buckhead now if I want to vote early in a convenient fashion.

So you’re registered and you’ve picked out where you’re going to vote. You know you’re voting for Stacy Abrams—which I sincerely hope you are—and you’re good, right?

[maniacal laugh] No.

You need to know in advance what is going to be on the ballot. Everything.

“But, Sheila,” you might inquire, “How I can find out what’s going to be on the ballot before I set foot in the voting booth?”

“Come now, theoretical person,” I will answer, “Surely you’ve figured this one out by now.”

“The My Voter Page!” you could exclaim.

“Precisely!” I would naturally respond.

On the left side of Your Voter Page, you will find your personal details according to the voter rolls. If anything is askew, you can click the Change Voter Information button and they will blink you over to the page to register to vote. Below that button is a link that says “Click here for Sample Ballots”. Click it. You’ll get a little pop-up with some disclaimers and a little link that will say, for this election at least, “Sample Ballot (Non-Partisan)”. Click that. You will get a lovely PDF with everything there is to be voted for on it.

This is important because this is one of those elections where amendments to the Georgia Constitution are voted on, as well as tax exemptions and local or municipal issues. If you don’t vote, somebody else is going to decide these things. And if you don’t have time to do your research, you might wind up falling for the tricky wording of a constitutional amendment and voting for something really bad. I just looked at my options today and I’m still holding off on making a decision until I’ve had time to do some research on whether “business courts” are a good idea or not.

So there you have it. You, too, can be ready for the midterm elections in the State of Georgia.

I was going to have a big rant about why you should vote, but I’m going to distill it down to this:

Look at the White House. This is what apathy gets you.

The deadline to register for the midterm elections in the State of Georgia is October 9th.

This entry was originally posted at https://wonderbink.dreamwidth.org/231402.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Tags:

Dear Senator--

I am writing to express my concerns about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States. The appointment is a lifetime position, and nominees should be examined carefully before being placed on the bench of the highest court in the land.

I am worried that the Senate is rushing things to get him confirmed as quickly as possible, without a thorough examination of his record. Naturally, I can’t expect that anybody can examine all the records regarding his history, with there being so many of them. But the amount of records that has been released is distressingly minimal compared to the information available. Furthermore, these records have yet to be reviewed by the National Archives, and it has been estimated that such an examination will take until October of this year. This means that the hearings scheduled for early September will have to work with incomplete information derived, in turn, from incomplete information. For example, none of the records pertaining to his time as a White House staff secretary have been requested, despite their importance.

I ask that you urge the Senate to delay the hearings until the records that have been released so far have been thoroughly examined by the National Archives. I also request that these records be reviewed by all senators prior to calling a vote to confirm Mr. Kavanaugh.

Thank you,

Sheila O’Shea

I got the info for this letter from this article. Gotta love me some internets.

This entry was originally posted at https://wonderbink.dreamwidth.org/230969.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Dear Senator,

My name is Sheila O'Shea and I am a resident of the state of Georgia. I am writing to express my concerns about the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States. In 2009, in the Minnesota Law Review, he made the following statement regarding presidential investigations:

"Even the lesser burdens of a criminal investigation — including preparing for questioning by criminal investigators — are time-consuming and distracting. Like civil suits, criminal investigations take the President's focus away from his or her responsibilities to the people. And a President who is concerned about an ongoing criminal investigation is almost inevitably going to do a worse job as President."

Placing a man who will shape his decisions based on that metric on the Supreme Court would tear holes in the Constitution that could well never be mended. If we make the Executive Branch immune from the Judicial Branch, that opens the door to any demagogue who makes it to the presidency to run unchecked.

Imagine if Hillary Clinton had won the electoral vote and taken the presidency. Imagine if she'd placed justices of a similar bent to the Supreme Court. Imagine further what sort of things she could have done while immune from investigation.

I ask that you insist upon a judge who will not defang the Judicial Branch in the process of serving on it.

Sincerely yours,

Sheila O'Shea

I should probably state for the record that I do think far better of Hillary Clinton than I may have implied up there. I know that she's a major bogeyman for the right wing, Fox-News-watching crowd, so I figured I'd invoke that bogeyman to scare 'em a little into doing the right thing. I nearly always phrase my letters to my congresscritters in the most conservative way I can, in the hopes of actually being read all the way to the end.

This entry was originally posted at https://wonderbink.dreamwidth.org/230677.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Another letter to my Senators

Dear Senator,

A reminder: health care is a human right, not a commodity. According to our founding fathers, we are all of us endowed by our creator with the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The right to life extends beyond the as yet unborn to all ages. Neither the right of liberty nor the pursuit of happiness can truly be attained when one is held back by injury or illness. Please keep these things in mind when considering your vote for the Senate bill regarding health care.

Thank you,

Sheila O’Shea

This entry was originally posted at http://wonderbink.dreamwidth.org/230218.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

My Email to the Senate - Health Care

So, after a bit of procrastination, I wrote to Senators Isakson and Perdue about the health care bill being worked on in the Senate. I paste it below, and urge anybody else in America to write their own letter as well.

Dear Senator,

I am a resident of Georgia and I would like to express my views on the current attempt at health care reform.

I am relieved to learn that the Senate will not be voting on the House bill that passed by a narrow margin, but instead will be creating their own bill. As your constituent, I would like to make my wishes known regarding the new bill.

Premiums should not be increased for people with pre-existing conditions. The healthy helping pay for the less fortunate is the way insurance works. Pre-existing conditions are not just the results of lifestyle choices, they are more often genetic or the result of injury. I have the pre-existing condition of bipolar II disorder, and no amount of lifestyle changes will rid me of it. Increasing the cost will put help with pre-existing conditions out of the reach of most people, and the fact that they technically have insurance available to them does not alleviate this.

Victims of crimes should not have the injuries they suffer be treated as pre-existing conditions.

Coverage for certain health conditions should be considered carefully before being removed from the list of mandatory coverage requirements. In my own case, I am naturally concerned with mental health. One in five Americans suffers from a mental illness each year. People with mental illness compose 90% of all suicides and suicide itself is one of the 10 most common causes of death in America.

If birth control for women is no longer to be covered, drugs to treat erectile dysfunction in men should also be dropped.

Medicaid and Medicare should not be cut. This is imperative. These programs serve people in desperate situations, including many of your constituents, and cutting their access to healthcare will, in many cases, condemn them to death.

In providing more coverage to the American people, I understand that the tax cuts you have planned will have to be reduced. However, the top tier of taxpayers paid a higher tax rate during the Reagan administration, and that was considered a prosperous era. Leaving the tax rate for them at the current levels will do no harm. You can emphasize the middle class in your tax reforms and boost the economy that way. The ACA has already helped the economy by drastically reducing the number of bankruptcies filed. Reducing the number of people who can afford health insurance will increase those numbers again.

I thank you for your time and your service to the state of Georgia and I hope you will consider my suggestions.

Sincerely,

Sheila O’Shea


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