Life as an Extreme Sport

Attempting Goals – Weekly Schedule

The problem (okay, a problem – there are more than one) with parasthesia is it doesn’t give you much warning. One minute, your hands are working fie, and the next minute you’re marveling at your ability to both save the mug and spill iced coffee in your freezer, down front and back of the fridge door, all over the floor, and of course, all over yourself.

It’s hot, so at least the shower – although sooner than anticipated – was not unexpected.

Anyhow, there was a point there, and I think it went something like this: sometimes, you’re in the middle of living life and something happens to change everything. You either sigh, clean up the mess as best you can, and then go back to living best you can, or you sit in the middle of the kitchen floor and cry over spilled coffee and milk. Both are valid choices, but either way, you have to clean up the spilled coffee and milk.

Which is related, in ways that make sense to me, and might to you if you’ve seen things for a while, to the fact that a writer (and producer – would not want to shirk credits) I quite like and admire, Paula Yoo, happens to be on Twitter; she also blogs. Now, first of all, read her blog – she’s funny, she has adorable cats, and you will learn a lot. But, secondly and more relevant for this post, she just set up a new blog schedule, and I am shamelessly stealing it, with a few modifications. So this will be my schedule, with inspiration from Ms. Yoo:

Music Monday
As I’m making an effort to get back into writing, I’m finding myself listening to music again. Music is really interesting on several fronts, but I’m particularly interested in how we physiologically react to music, from having an influence on energy levels and heart rate to chemical changes within our brain.

Most of the time it’ll probably just be something like “so when I’m polishing an essay, did you know I listen to the Buffy Once More With Feeling soundtrack on repeat?”

Tuna Tuesday!
I have two adorable cats, and if they had their way, I would spend every waking moment worshiping them. While they slept, I would spend all my time explaining to you, via pictures and Venn diagrams, how they are The Best Kitties Ever. As a favour to everyone, I shall try to keep cute cat stories limited to Tuesdays. (Yes, Paula’s doing hers on Thursdays. To my ear, “Tuna Tuesday” is a more pleasant alliterative.)

Writing Wednesday
I’ve gotten extremely off-track with my writing in the past two years – once upon a time I blogged at four different blogs several times a day (you know, in the good old days of being paid to do that kind of thing). A lot of things happened that encouraged me to silence my voice, and I’m trying to find it again. Thoughts on the process on Wednesday. (Or you know, less serious crap and more fun stuff that I’m learning from obsessively studying writers under the Twitter microscope, reading, discussing in the writer’s group I’m a part of, or just general accountability towards my own goals.)

Pop Culture Thursday
Unlike Ms. Yoo, I am not a TV professional. I am, however, a pretty big pop culture geek – and it’s about time I got back into writing like it. My pop culture writing is what got me first noticed in the blogging world lo those many years ago, when I was actually recapping Grey’s Anatomy for the now-defunct Metroblogging Seattle. My irritation at House, MD became a bit legendary.

Foodie Friday
As long-time readers know (if any of you are left), I am a foodie from a family of foodies. I love to eat, I love to cook, I love to read about cooking and recipes and the whole nine yards; I even studied food ethics for a while. I think I follow more writers than chefs on Twitter – but not by much. Friday’s will be for recipes, restaurants, and …I cannot think of another alliterative. I’ll blame the time on that one.

Anyhow, it’s a bit of an ambitious goal to go from essentially not writing for two-plus years to writing daily and blogging at least five days a week – but hey, it’s a goal, and it even feels relatively sane and achievable, so far as goals go. And of course, the best thing is, I can write more if I so desire – it’s just that this makes sure that “less” doesn’t go below a certain number. So, starting Monday the 30th of May, we shall see.

Prop H8 Supporters Continue Their Quest to Look Stupid

Normally, I try for some small modicum of tact. (I can hear you laughing from here, Michael. Shut up.) But this latest tactic from Prop 8 supporters can really only be boiled down as “stupid:”

In another jab at the federal judge who ruled against Proposition 8, sponsors of the gay marriage initiative asked a district court Monday to set aside the ruling on the grounds the judge was in a long-term same-sex relationship that posed a conflict of interest.

Attorneys for ProtectMarriage, the group that sponsored the 2008 ballot initiative, said in a legal motion that Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who retired from the San Francisco-based district court earlier this year, had a duty to disclose his relationship and step down before deciding whether a ban on same-sex marriage violated the federal Constitution.

“Judge Walker’s ten-year-long same-sex relationship creates the unavoidable impression that he was not the impartial judge the law requires,” said Andy Pugno, a lawyer for ProtectMarriage. “He was obligated to either recuse himself or provide full disclosure of this relationship at the outset of the case. These circumstances demand setting aside his decision.”

So let me get this straight (heh) – only heterosexual judges can rule on legal cases involving gay civil rights (the right to marry, in this case)? Really? How far does this particular brand of stupid and/or crazy “logic” extend? Does this mean a judge who is married cannot rule on divorce cases? Or does the judge have to be divorced? Which is the conflict there? What if the judge is separated?

If the defendant is African American, is it okay if the judge is African American? What if the plaintiff is Caucasian? What is the acceptable race for the judge? Do we have to find someone who has mixed heritage? Or does that only matter if it’s a civil rights related case?

This is clearly a very complicated matter, and I look forward to Andy Pugno and/or ProtectMarriage stepping forward and offering us clear and uncomplicated flow charts to indicate just who may reside over a trial at any given time.

quick thoughts on health care reform from an admitted baby eater*

It’s not too surprising that I occasionally (okay, frequently) am asked my opinion about the health care push, what I think, and so forth. So, in an effort to cover all bases at once, and cut down a bit on repeating myself til I’m blue in the face:

Is this an ideal health care reform bill? No, of course not. Anyone who thought we were going to wake up and be Just Like Canada or England after a single bill was, and I say this with all kindness, delusional. There were and are intense hurdles being faced by lawmakers – and not just other lawmakers. Opposing interest groups ran out the door, and not even people most eager for health reform, like the American Medical Association, were behind the latest bill until very late in the week.

One of the good and bad things about America is the competing interests and lobbying groups and financial interests and even organized voters who can threaten their representatives with a lack of re-election for not representing their interests. With all due respect to my friends on the West Coast, this issue becomes a lot more crystal clear on the East Coast; while there are still large blocks of red and blue on this coast, there are also even larger blocks of purple, where a representative has to face the fact that they are elected into office to represent disparate and widely varied views.

But anyhow, political rant for another day. Does the fact that the health care reform bill is not ideal mean it shouldn’t happen, or that Obama/the Democrats/whomever you want to place here failed? No, it’s a step forward. These steps are important, because they are very, very hard to undue. As my friend Russ pointed out, the 1994 Clinton initiative was considered a failure by people on both sides of the isle – and yet, 16 years later, no one talks of removing SCHIP or HIPAA, because constituents have become fond of them, and familiar with them.

This is how health care reform must work, as well.

And there are other things – other bills, policies, and efforts – that a lot of people seem to be ignoring in favour of moaning over how this current bill isn’t perfect, for whatever reason you support. We’re not going to get anything close to perfect until the FDA takes back control of drug policy from Pharma – something that is being worked on. We’re not going to get close to perfect until we give our infectious disease folks over at the CDC and USDA and even FDA more power to regulate food, to track infections, to be able to order rather than suggest recalls. We need malpractice premium reforms, something that is being fought for by people on both sides of the political divide, against Very Large insurance interests.

Is it perfect? No. Does this mean Obama failed you, individually? No. Does it mean there is still more work to do, work that includes educating those who, for a variety of reasons, are terrified by the results? Yes.

Does this make me an apologist? No, it makes me a realist. Medicine is full of compromise – I learned this up close and personal in the first ethics case I sat in on, in determining the course of my own treatments, and watching my mother navigate hers. There’s a reason most of us who are involved in the medical sciences, to any degree, are pragmatists. We have to be. Idealism is nice enough, but in the end, it doesn’t get forms signed or allow for care to happen.

*No, I don’t eat babies. In case that needs to be clarified. I am, however, actively pro-choice, and have been dipping my toe in bioethics for a while now. That has led to me being labeled some really interesting things in the past. I figure, I might as well embrace the funnier ones.

Obama in Bullet Time

I’ve been very busy the last week or so with something that we’ll just keep under wraps for the time being, which means I’ve been somewhat behind the ball on everything else. But Laurie wanted to make sure that I saw this, and now I’m sharing it with you. I’m especially fond of the snarky shot Obama got about how he actually reads the bills people put in front of him.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
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37 Minutes to First Degree

In what will certainly be hailed as a victory for anyone sane enough to realize that you don’t go around killing people for holding a different view, Scott Roeder was found guilty of first degree murder for the death of Dr. George Tiller. (Roeder was also found guilty of two counts of aggravated assault for threatening Tiller’s church congregation members after fleeing the church lobby, the scene of the murder.)

Roeder admitted that not only was the murder premeditated, but that he had planned it for over a year, and at times had considered other options, including cutting of Dr. Tiller’s hands with a sword. For his defense, he tried to turn his trial into one against abortion, proudly stating that he had killed Dr. Tiller “to protect the children” and that if he didn’t, “the babies were going to die the next day.”

Did he feel remorse after killing a man? No, he only felt relief, because he felt that the “danger” Dr. Tiller represented to the general public justified deadly force.

Contrast that with the heart-rending, emotional stories of women who traveled to Kansas to see, and often be treated by, Dr. Tiller. Read about their heartbreak as they faced wanted children with lethal diseases, often that would cause death before birth. Read about the cruelty they faced in the hands of protesters, the fact that they had to travel from states away to get the medical care they needed, and the compassion and warmth they received at the hands of Dr. Tiller and his staff.

Read about the deliveries, and the fact that the families were allowed to hold their child, given the choice of photos, hand and foot prints, of keeping the receiving blanket. Would the baby be named? What kind of funeral would they like?

Contrast this with the actions of a man who walked into a church, a sanctuary, pressed a gun to a man’s skull, and shot him at point blank range, and tell me who the real danger was.