hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Apr. 21st, 2014 09:49 pm)
Something that's been running through my head on and off for the last couple of days. Not sure why. I'm sure someone else has already written it, and done it better. But hey, just for the fun of it:

Gotham City. Wayne Elementary School. About two decades ago.

"Okay, class, it's time for science. Who here can tell me why things fall?"

A little hand shot into the air.

"Bruce! Can you tell us?"

"It's so we can learn to get back up again."

"Er, no. That's an... interesting answer. But the real answer is gravity..."

Early that evening. Wayne Manor.

"Welcome home, Bruce! Give Dad a hug! Are you okay?"

*sniffle* "I had a bad day at school."

"Oh? Tell me about it."

"I gave the wrong answer in class, and the other kids were teasing me all day. They kept tripping me and laughing..."

"Aww, Bruce. Why do we fall?"

Bruce looked up, his tear-filled eyes filling with anger. "Because gravity pulls us towards the center of the Earth with a constant force of 9.8 meters per second squared times our mass. And don't you tell me otherwise!" He stormed out, disappearing into the shadows of the long hallway, leaving his bemused father behind.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Apr. 10th, 2014 03:50 pm)
So, new insurance wanted me on their brand of insulin. It did not work well for me. I had to majorly up the dosage just to get things vaguely back under control, and even then the numbers started slipping again. Meantime, I've been feeling even worse than usual for the last 3 months. It didn't seem to make sense, but one friend pointed out that maybe the insulin change could be the problem. It shouldn't have been, but I eliminated every other likely possibility.

The rule insurance has is that I have to try their stuff for 30 days, and if it doesn't work after that, the doctor fills out a one-page form saying so, and they approve the other stuff. I've been on it for months now. That shouldn't be a problem. It's a delay and an annoyance, but not a problem. (The problem is having to use the wrong medication for a month just to prove I need the right one, but that's another issue.)

I tried talking to the doctor about it, but he kept dodging around the idea of switching back to the old stuff. I told him how awful I'd been feeling, and he tried to chalk it up to stress or depression. It's a mark of how tired I am that it was several hours before that sank in enough to seriously piss me off. I brought up changing insulin again, though. He finally agreed to give me a couple of sample pens he had in the office. But he told me that if I saw any difference in my fatigue level just from switching insulin I should probably see a shrink. He relented, though, saying that he could see no clinical reason for it to have that kind of effect, but, in the end, he's an empiricist.

The stuff he gave me lasted a little more than a week. I sent him the blood sugar testing logs. He looked them over and called me back. "These readings look great! What changed?" "That's on the old insulin." "It is? Oh, wow. We have got to get you back on that!" *headdesk* "Boy, I don't know how we'll get insurance to approve it, but you're doing so much better!" "That's all you need to tell them. Just write that on the form and it will go through."

From his words and tone, I think that was the whole problem. He's afraid of having to fight the insurance company. That's why he kept dodging the question. Except that (a) it makes a huge difference in my health and (b) with the Lyrica, it really was that easy. The doctor filled out the form saying I'd tried the other stuff and it didn't work, and, next thing I know, the stuff I need shows up at my door.

My sugar readings are much better with my old insulin. How I've been feeling has been harder to pin down. I was wiped out for the first few days after I made the switch. It was hard to tell whether I was exhausted because it hadn't fixed the problem or exhausted because it had fixed the problem and I was finally recovering. It didn't help that I had my sleep study Monday night. I didn't get to sleep until midnight or so, they woke me up at 6 AM, and then I had enforced naps into the afternoon. I didn't sleep well there because the bed wasn't that comfortable and so on. The whole thing was exhausting and disorienting. Took me a couple of days to recover from that.

But now I think I'm caught up and I had 10 hours of sleep last night. I'm still foggy and tired, but much better than I've been all year (since I switched insulins). I don't understand it, but that does seem to have been the reason the last three months of my life have pretty much gone down the drain.

Doc gave me more samples of the good stuff to tide me over while the paperwork gets sorted out. Hopefully, things should be better from here.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Mar. 29th, 2014 08:08 am)
So, I'm back on Lyrica. I had to increase my dosage of insulin by roughly 60%, but sugars are more or less under control. Had some rough patches, but I'm mostly back to sleeping about 9 hours a night. CPAP says apnea is under control. By all rights, I should be, if not great, at least back to nominal.

But I'm not. And I don't know why.

I'm exhausted. My head is foggy. I feel slow and weary. Even sitting up at the computer is more than I can handle sometimes. And there's no reason for it.

I'd ask my GP, but he'd just tell me that there's nothing he can do. He's a good guy and he wants to help, but my problems are beyond him. I need a specialist.

I'd ask my sleep doctor, but she'd just tell me it's not her thing and I should get checked by my GP.

I'd ask a different sleep doctor, but I've seen most of the ones within 50 miles of here, and they've all long since given up on doing any better for me.

I am scheduled for a sleep study in a week or so. Probably won't show much, but worth a try. And the sleep doc does have some things to look into. A possible new medication, depending on how the sleep study goes. A different medication that recently came out. Further investigation into why testing showed no trace of melatonin in my body. Maybe some other things. If she'd ever call back, that is. She's not at all good about communication. In several respects.

Meantime, I'm on the couch. Because there isn't much else I can do.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Mar. 4th, 2014 07:31 pm)
So this is cool.

Our printer recently stopped working. (That part is not so cool.) We bought it over a year and a half ago, and of course the warranty was only for one year. But! When I got my credit card I actually looked through the little brochure that came with it and I made a mental note about some of the benefits it comes with. Including their Extended Warranty program. (You may have it, too. Check your benefits.)

The way it works is this: If you buy anything with a warranty of one year or less and you pay for it with your MasterCard, they will match the warranty terms, effectively doubling its life. The printer came with a one year warranty, so MasterCard covered the second year.

I called them up. They put in the claim and gave me a website where I could upload copies of the necessary documents. It was really easy. I bought a new printer (should be arriving tomorrow) and uploaded a copy of the receipt. MasterCard is mailing me a check for the full price of the new printer (including tax).
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Feb. 13th, 2014 11:34 pm)
Hey, can you help me? I'm running a game which involves fantasy settings based on popular songs (mostly classic rock). And I'm running out of songs.

So far I've got:

All Along The Watchtower by Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendricks
White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane
Puff The Magic Dragon by Peter, Paul, And Mary
Ramble On by Led Zepplin (I'm afraid to use this one because I know so little about LOTR)
Voodoo Cowboy by The Cat Empire (which is probably too modern for a proper Fantasy setting, and also I'm not sure how many have heard of it)
Weapon of Choice by Fatboy Slim (which takes place on Dune, which is more Sci-Fi, really, but could be stretched to Fantasy... but, again, I'm not sure how many people know it)
The theme song to Neverending Story (but that feels like cheating and I'm not really sure how I'd work with it)

And that's about it. I'm running out of ideas. What else is there?
My friend Amanda Quraishi is turning 40. For her birthday, she's asked everyone who can to please chip in and help her raise money to send 35 Afghan girls to school. If you can help in any way (donations, signal boosting), please do.

(crossposted to [community profile] signalboost)
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Dec. 5th, 2013 11:26 am)
Gave up on hearing back from the Met about that cape. So I wrote a physical letter and dropped it in the mail yesterday. And then, late last night, I got an actual personal response from someone in the customer service department:

Dear Friend of the Museum,

Thank you for contacting the Metropolitan Museum of Art Store.

Thank you for your inquiry as well as your very detailed feedback with regard to the aforementioned product and your various observations with regard to said product.

We have forwarded the entirety of your email to our merchandising department, our store services department, as well as our purchaser for their review and consideration with regard to this matter.

We once again thank you for your feedback as well as the time and consideration you put into your email.

If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact us at any time.

Thank you for supporting The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

(It's signed, but, as this is a public post, I'll leave his name off.)

ETA: Response to my response. That was fast.

Dear Friend of the Museum,

Thank you for your reply I personally did find your feedback most intriguing and will
curiously await any developments from said offices that I forwarded your email to.

If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact us once again at
any time.

Thank you for supporting The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Starting up a list of small businesses offering cool stuff for your holiday shopping needs.

1. Red Robin Arts, the artist who made my amazing awesome canes is having a sale at her Etsy shop this weekend. Gorgeous masks, mostly with fantasy and/or animal themes. She takes commissions, too, obviously.

Off World Designs specializes in geek apparel, but they also have a couple of different bags. I purchased their Bag of Holding backpack recently. Sturdy, spacious backpack with some pretty useful pockets. When I asked for better pictures, I got a fast, personal response. And then they put up ten new pictures for me, covering different angles and features. The same bag is available with different embroidery (they do custom embroidery, too) as the "Handy Haversack." They also do a messenger bag. Use coupon code 13holiday to get 20% off through January.

3. Kitchen Overlord has geek-themed recipes. She sells recipes in poster and book format. The Kindle Edition of "Wood For Sheep" (Settlers of Catan themed cookbook) is free for a limited time!

What else ya got?

Oh good. More!

4. Handmade jewelry from Greece! And she's having a sale this weekend, too. 15% off.

5. Orchard Works makes (magic) wands of all shapes and varieties, and takes custom orders.

6. And here's a whole big links roundup from last year.

7. And how could I forget Star Cats Toys? Geek-themed cat toys galore!
Hi there. One of the items in your catalog caught my eye and left me very confused. I don't mean to be sarcastic or troublesome (I know it's hard to tell in plain text) but I'm bemused enough that I had to ask.

It's about Item# 80-017652. The DC Super Heroes pop-up book paired with the reversible cape.

The book is officially licensed DC merchandise. It seems a little odd for the Met to be selling it, but I did see your reimagined superheroes exhibit a couple of years back and, as a comic book fan, I can't exactly complain that the medium isn't art. I'd be more likely to associate the term with the works of, say, Alex Ross than with a pop-up book, but if the pitch here is to get kids interested in art, the popup book does make more sense.

What gets me is the cape. First off, Spider-Man does not wear a cape. I can think of over a dozen variations of his costume, and not one includes a cape. Not even the pro wrestler outfits. (Heck, not even his Prodigy costume. but that's a whole other story.) More to the point, Spider-Man is a Marvel Comics character, not DC.

Which brings me to the next point. The cape is not licensed merchandise. The reason there are spiders on one side, despite everything, is that you can't trademark bats and spiders. They couldn't get away with using any of the real logos, so they very cleverly made do. As a knockoff Halloween item (sold by any number of online retailers), it makes a certain amount of sense.

What doesn't make sense (at least to me) is what you've done here. You've paired a branded and licensed product with a cheap knockoff that doesn't even match the brand (at least, half of it doesn't). And, even though you're one of the most famous art museums in the world, you're selling what is, again, a cheap knockoff. And you've described it as featuring the "iconic bat logo" when, again, being a knockoff, it actually just has a generic bat (which looks almost more like a bee than a bat). You've also described it as "unique" even though half a second with Google brings up at least 15 different stores selling it. Though I do have to give you amused credit for mentioning that the cape is (*ahem*) "imported." (I can guess from where.)

So, with context out of the way, I guess I'm left with only one actual question, even though it incorporates many different aspects and angles.

"What the heck?"

I sincerely look forward to your response. Thank you for your time.


P.S. To the specific person who ended up having to deal with this one: I'm sorry. I don't want to put you in a difficult or awkward spot. But I really had to ask.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Nov. 26th, 2013 05:35 am)
So, this past weekend, we had some family friends over. (I, unfortunately, was nocturnal. And also feeling especially exhausted to the point of barely being able to function. So I didn't get much time with them.) Mom made cookies for them. To be specific, she made mandel bread. Which, for the purposes of this discussion, I shall simply describe as "Jewish biscotti." (I'm also not going to fuss over the variant spellings just now. That comes later.)

We're sitting around the table with the plate of cookies, and the wife remembers something.

"You know, I have a distant cousin who's named for this."


"Yeah. Some ancestor must have been really fond of it. I don't know. I was digging through my genealogy and turned him up."


"He was some sort of mathematician. Came up with a way to measure curves or something like that. Mandelbroot or Mandelbrod or Mandelbrost or something like that..."

"... Wait a sec. Do you mean Mandelbrot? As in fractals?"

"Yeah, that's the guy."

hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Nov. 18th, 2013 10:54 pm)
1. Still suffering from crippling exhaustion. (More than the usual baseline.) Been sleeping a lot and still feeling unable to function. Except my blood sugar was off last night so I couldn't sleep. So today's shaping up to be even worse.

2. My LJ and DW feeds are both pretty much dead. In part because most of the people I know have drifted elsewhere. (Stupid FB. It sucks. But it's the only way to keep in touch with most of my friends. Why can't people use something like DW, where the devs actually care about the userbase and actively work to make the UI better? Why are we all communally stuck with a social media site with a UI so bad there's a hugely popular browser extension which exists solely to try to make it more usable? Which the FB devs then go out of their way to try to break.) But I suspect I've also just been filtered out by several people. Which I can't say I'd blame them for, even if I had a right to criticize anyone else's filtering choices.

2a. I wonder if anyone is still bothering to read here.

2b. Also, I should maybe try to make some new friends. But I'm not sure where to look or what to try. I've lost interest in a lot of things. And, at this point, I really don't know what to say to recommend myself as a friend.

3. There's a community called [community profile] awesomeers which sounded pretty cool. Helping people celebrate what they do right and see the awesomeness in themselves even when life seems overwhelmingly negative. Starting with just posting one thing you did in the last 24 hours that you can be even a little proud of. ... It's having the opposite effect on me. I see the daily post and I try to think of something and I end up reflecting on how I've basically accomplished nothing and my life has gone nowhere in over a decade and I'm too tired to do anything and... *sigh*

4. I did go out to see Thor last night. That was good. Best Superman movie of the year, hands down.

(Seriously, it was a good movie. And more of a Superman movie than Man of Steel could ever hope to be.)

4a. Some interesting trailers with it.

They're remaking Robocop. Except they've completely changed everything. It's a completely different concept with a main character who looks vaguely like Robocop and robot drones who look sort of like ED209. Also, Samuel L. Jackson is in it for some reason. I don't know. It doesn't seem to make much sense. And I think they're trying to make an offhand comment about drone warfare just because.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier looks pretty good, actually. (Also, I hear it's supposed to explain why SHIELD wasn't involved in Iron Man 3. Or Thor 2.) Marvel knows how to make a good superhero movie. (Took them long enough to figure it out, but they made it.)

X-Men: Days of Future Past also looks really good. Does seem a little heavy on the Wolverine, but I guess that's to be expected. Ever since X2, they've all been Wolverine movies. Except First Class. And Wolverine had the best line of the movie.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Nov. 14th, 2013 07:40 pm)
So, remember that test I did a month or so back where I had to wake up and take samples every 4 hours for 48 hours? (I think I posted about that.) It was supposed to determine whether my melatonin (hormone tasked with telling your body when it's time to sleep) levels were going up and down in a cycle, and, if so, what that cycle looked like. Results are in and...

There's no trace of melatonin in any of the samples.

Which either means there was some kind of major lab error (doc is calling to find out about that) or is a very interesting result which could potentially explain a lot and raise some new questions and maybe turn me into a fascinating new case study.

Either way, doc said to try the new melatonin-based medication when my cycle comes around. Can't hurt, and it just might have some positive effects. (I'm not holding my breath, given that previous attempts to treat me with melatonin did nothing more than make me a little extra sleepy for a short time, but it's worth a shot.) We'll see.

It'll be a while, anyway. I'm still recovering from last month (which was insanely busy - but in a good way - and will eventually get its own post), and it'll be at least a couple of weeks before I cycle around to the right schedule to start treatment.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Sep. 27th, 2013 08:37 am)
Mother of the author of Goblins Comic has started a blog to discuss her story as a rape survivor, how that influenced the creation of one of the major characters in the comic, and the fallout her son has gotten for writing that character. It's a powerful story, and worth reading even if you don't read the comic (which you should).

The home page has the background and general information. Click over to the blog for other posts (only one so far) and the opportunity to comment.


You can also follow her on Twitter: @MumOfTHunt
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Sep. 26th, 2013 08:00 am)
[livejournal.com profile] ashbet is (still) selling off her much-beloved doll collection (the one possession of value she has to sell) to pay for her daughter's medical bills. (Her daughter has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which, IIRC, is the same condition as [personal profile] synecdochic.)

Sale listing is here.
So Facebook now has image recognition. When you upload a new picture to FB, it automatically tries to match it against existing photos of all your friends (whether you posted them or not). Which, when you think about it, is pretty creepy. (Here's how to turn it off, courtesy of my friend Jennifer Wamsley.) I'm not sure why they did that, really. It seems like an awful lot of work for something most people probably wouldn't really want (or, even if they do like it, aren't likely to care about that much). Then again, FB doesn't exist to cater to its users. It exists to cater to advertisers and data miners. Which makes the whole face recognition thing even more creepy.

Anyway, yesterday I uploaded this picture that I made. Because it amused me:

(Description: A picture of Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart. Caption: Mild-mannered newspaper reporter. Big dorky glasses. Named Capehart. Draw your own conclusions. With the S in the middle of "conclusions" replaced by a Superman symbol.)

Facebook processed that picture and automatically tagged it as a picture of my friend Daniel. Who looks like this:

(It's an old small avatar image I found. He doesn't have too many public pictures that I could find. His current FB profile picture is a potato with a face drawn on it.)

Now, at a casual glance, the two might appear similar. They do both wear glasses, have short, dark hair, and somewhat similarly shaped noses. You will, however, notice that there are many differences between the two faces. For example, their ears and mouths are shaped differently. Also their eyebrows. And Jonathan is at least a decade older than Dan, probably two. Oh, yes, and also their respective skin colors are just about as far apart as humans get.

I think FB's algorithm needs some work...
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Sep. 11th, 2013 01:36 pm)
NPR is trying to improve and expand their database of accessible playgrounds. If you know of any, please help.

hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Sep. 3rd, 2013 01:51 pm)
My friend [livejournal.com profile] ladymirth posted this today. It saddens me deeply how much courage it took for her to say it, and how few people understand what should, by now, in this modern world, be accepted common knowledge.

Here's what she said:

I have decided to come out.

I'm tired of keeping this a secret like I've done something I should be ashamed of. So at the risk of...well a lot of things, actually, I'm just going to say it: I've suffered from clinical depression and generalized anxiety on and off (mostly on) for the past six years. In my case, it's a simple brain chemical imbalance, probably genetic, that has a very complex impact on my life, derailing and disabling it in many ways.

People cannot seem to grasp the concept that the brain is also an organ that can be diseased, like kidneys or the liver, so when they find out, I am treated either like a crazy person, an attention-seeking fake-out, an incompetent, or like I've caught something off the internet. Psychiatrists talk down to me and treat me like a lab rat for their drugs, people who barely know anything about the situation feel qualified to give me half-baked advice either because of their superior life experience or because their mother's cousin went through a weird phase once. My own parents demand why I can't be "normal" when they given me everything I could possibly want. Anyone who doesn't think I'm faking and has a vague understanding of what depression is, silently proceeds to envision all sorts of horrible, ugly childhood traumas and becomes all awkward and pitying. The stock "comforting" response seems to be "don't worry, it's just a phase".

So I try and protect myself by keeping it a secret and just let everyone think I'm just weird. But then protecting my privacy starts feeling a lot like shame very soon, and my already self-hating psyche uses it as ammunition to convince me that I am some sort of freak who shouldn't be exposed to "normal" people. So I disengage from everyone until I have no support network left at the very moment I need it the most and this just reinforces all the negative thoughts and feelings until the depression cripples me even more.

And that, kids, is how social stigma against mental illnesses help create a vicious cyle for those who suffer from them. Six years of this is already six years too long. And if you are an ableist, ignorant, unempathetic person who prefers to shun what you can't understand, I refuse to care about what you think or live in fear of what you might do to me. If you are, otoh, a caring person who wants to understand and respect others, you will educate yourself about these matters and treat me like a normal person who happens to be struggling with a long-term disease, like diabetes or something.

Of course, given the number of people who actually blame diabetics for having diabetes, this might not be the best analogy. But then if you are someone like that, there's no use having you exist on this planet anyway, so it's not my problem.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Sep. 1st, 2013 12:14 pm)
Your hypothetical friend Mrs. Stein tells you that they're thinking of naming their son Frank. It started off as a joke, but now they're seriously discussing pros and cons. She'd like your thoughts. Your knee-jerk reaction first, perhaps, but more importantly your considered opinion.

What do you think overall? Would it help or hurt with the inevitable playground teasing? What about later in life? Would it work better with a different middle initial? Would Franklin be better than just Frank? How would it affect his sense of humor? Or choice of majors in college? What other thoughts do you have?

(Just a morning musing brought on by having talked to my niece last night about my old thought of naming my hypothetical future son Frank.)
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Aug. 30th, 2013 09:37 pm)
Still recovering from that bad night earlier this week. I sleep 11 hours, get breakfast, crash back into bed, have some functional time in the afternoon, crash again, sleep another night...

I haven't even turned my laptop on in days. The time I would have spent reading my FB feed, blogs, webcomics, news, etc has instead been spent lying flat out, unable to sleep but too tired to do much of anything.

I'm getting along. Hopefully, I'll be back to my normal soon. But I'm out of touch, and it feels weird.

I knew it would be a rough recovery, but I wasn't expecting to be this wiped this long.