Sunday, June 30, 2019

June Recap!

And June is done! Can you believe it? Where the hell did it go?

Okay, let's begin...

Fitness/Weight! This continues to be my struggle zone but that's not really new. So when I last left you I was flat for the year on weight. I'm now down 1.8 for the year, lost 2 pounds last month. A big reason is I bought a Fitbit and I am very competitive. I originally bought the Fitbit to look at the sleep tracking. Then because I had it I started tracking steps. And because Brent has one when the app sends me my weekly update it shows Brent and I on a leaderboard for steps taken. And he was crushing me every week., that's not okay. So I set a daily goal for the week. Three miles and 8000 steps Monday through Friday. It meant that on weightlifting days I need to get a walk in as well.

And then because it was a blank spot on the readout I decided to track calories. And this is where things get a little tricky. Anyone who has ever done Weight Watchers or any sort of tracking to lose program can tell you that just the act of writing down what you eat changes what you eat. If you have to write down that candy bar, you are less likely to eat it. You can't "forget" you had that bag of chips if you are writing everything down. And it really does work. Accountability for the win.

For normal people.

See, for me, tracking triggers that crazy spot in my brain that says, "I ate 1800 calories on Sunday, and 1500 on Monday. Can I eat 1000 today and be okay?" But the good news is that I know it triggers that crazy spot so I can watch out for it. So I tracked this month and I moved more. And I lost a little bit of weight. So we are back to the conundrum of if I am really tight with what I do, food, drink, and exercise then I can still lose weight. Not much. But some. And is that worth it to me? And I still don't have the answer. So we will see. Six more months in this year, working toward this goal to figure it out.

Reading! I'm still 4 books behind for the year. I'm sure I'll catch up. I'm not sure when, or how, but sometime soon. I read one Discworld book so I'm at the point now that if I double up one month and then one a month for the other 5 months I'll hit that goal. I've got the next two online at the library so I should be able to get those knocked out this month and be ontrack there. Maybe find a few short books to read to pad my numbers as well. Or that will just happen later. I'd really like to get ahead a bit because November/December is always a little tougher to get through things as there is always less free time around the holidays, but..I'll get it done I'm sure. I've been thinking about re-reading The Sandman series so that could always push me over the numbers.

Writing! Once this blog posts I'll have hit my "needed average" for the month so I'll still be four ahead for the year. Fiction I'm way ahead on. That Memory series that started as a lark post from a prompt Dana sent me has taken over. Thinking about it this morning and it could very well end up being 20 parts long. I REALLY want to finish it though because books aren't my thing. I keep having to go back and search for names and events to make sure I've got the right people in the right places. It's so much easier to write a short story and walk away. But it's been interesting. Even if it might not be completely coherent. Kind of like me.

MasterClass! I took Judy Bloom's this month. She was a huge influence when I was a youngster. Her books were so great. She's almost 80 and you wouldn't really think so at all. I think staying curious has kept her young. So that's a goal. I'm not sure that I picked up much as far as technique but I liked listening to her and how she does things. It takes her years to write a book normally. And the amount of writing and rewriting she does was really interesting. I think it should give a lot of us hope. The amount of time it takes her, and the number of times she writes it because as she says, "it wasn't good." If Judy Bloom thinks her stuff wasn't good the first time through that's something. I have no idea what I'm taking next month. Maybe Penn and Teller just because it should be interesting?

Monthly Museum/Attraction! Our local History museum has a Beatles exhibit running right now so we went to that. It was really well done. You tend to forget how short of a time they were together and how even shorter of a time they toured. They crammed a lot of influence into a few years. And a lot of merchandise. Some of it was really creepy. Like there was a line of dolls that looked like they had cross bred with Troll dolls...I just thought...imagine waking up to THAT staring at you...

Long Term! The deck is done!! It was one of those things that really worked out for the best. It was less than half the cost of the company we had originally scheduled to do the work. Sometimes it's good to find bad service.

So what's on tap for next month?

Long term: Curtains for the living room/dining room window. We've got vertical blinds on that back door that are just worn out. I'm going to switch them to curtains. I'm tired of hearing the blinds click clacking together in the breeze.  Also doing a clothing sort. I put on my calendar a few months ago that I needed to get rid of clothes that don't fit and to be ruthless about it. That is now two weeks away. I have little stashes of too small and too big clothes all over the house. It's time to be realistic about them and let them go.

Also going to try and catch up a little on reading. I have three books going right now, maybe I'll start doing that, seeing if reading a few at a time moves me along? Probably not, but for now I've got a nonfiction, a fiction, and the Mueller Report on tap. Yeah, it's 400 pages, you better believe I'm calling it a book!

And that's June. Enjoy your summer! Keep striving for what is important to you! Next recap will be on Birthday Month Eve! Woo!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Bad Luck Chick...

"I want you to observe this session. I think it will give you a greater appreciation for what we do here."

Carol nodded and took out her notebook. Her supervisor dimmed the lights in the small room they were in and opened the blinds behind the two way mirror.

"I've just always had bad luck. My whole life. I've just come to expect it now."

The technician nodded and started the film.

Here she was as a little girl on the playground at school. She was hanging from the uneven bar and it collapsed. The woman nodded and pointed to her elbow where the scar was still visible. "Freak accident, the bolt hold the bar had come loose and I was the one it fell apart on. Broke my arm."

The little girl in the film jumped in age. Here she was walking down the street holding a stack of books. Her shoe caught on the edge of the sidewalk and she went sprawling. "I remember that. I lost one of the library books and had to pay a fine. It was a month's worth of allowance just to pay it off."

The film girl jumped in age again. Here she was sitting on her bed in her room. Pop idol posters on the walls. She was crying. "First boyfriend. He turned out to be a jerk. He was cheating on me with a girl from another school and when I caught him he started telling everyone that I was easy. That was a big deal back then. He was just the first in a long line of bad boyfriends."

Here she was in driving down a country road. A deer dashed in front of her car and as she slammed on the brakes to miss it the car behind her rear ended her. "I cannot tell you how many car accidents I've been in. But that one was one of the worst. Totaled the car. I was in physical therapy for a year trying to get my neck and back to feeling right. Hit and run too."

Another jump in age and she was in her mid 30s sitting at a desk in a big office.  She had a box on her desk and was filling it with her personal items. "I loved that job. I was fired that day and I still have no idea why. I ended up having to move back to my hometown to live with my mother because I lost my apartment and I hadn't saved enough money yet from my divorce. It was a brutal stretch."

Now she was in her 50s. Another car accident. This time she had been sideswiped by car that ran a red light. She watched it. "I don't remember this one. Can you back it up and let me watch again?" The film looped and she watched again. She leaned closer to the screen this time. "Oh...Oh I see."

"I've just always had bad luck. I guess that never changed."

"Would you like to see the other angles?"

She shook her head, puzzled, "What other angles?"

The tape started again. There was a maintenance crew on a playground working on a jungle gym. "Make sure you get all of the bolts a second look. There was a little girl at Whittier Elementary that broke her arm last week due to a loose bolt."

"Most of these are loose." 

"Okay get them fixed. Let me go call this in."

The film paused. "Because they checked they found that someone had been loosening the bolts on playground equipment all over town. They caught the person and there were no more accidents. You can imagine what it would have meant to fall from here," the technician tapped the picture on the screen of the top of the jungle gym, "when you broke your arm falling from just a few feet."

The film jumped again. This time there was a little boy picking up a book from the street. He looked around then tucked it in to his backpack. The film jumped again to show this young man speaking to a crowded hall, "I don't know where that book came from, but it was like a gift from God. It opened a whole new world to me. One that wasn't limited by poverty. By circumstance. It said to me, you can be anything. Do anything. That book led to many many more and now to this," he stepped back and gestured to the screen behind him showing his charity providing books to homeless children. "It might not seem important, but a window to a world outside of where you are shows you where you can go."

The film jumped again. A high school bathroom with three teenage girls, "I broke up with him when I heard what he said about his last girlfriend. It would have been me in that car if I hadn't..." Her friends nodded and patted her shoulder. "It was a bad accident. They said that if someone had been in the passenger seat they wouldn't have made it."

Another jump. This time an older man looking at the wreckage of a car. She could hear his thoughts. "I can't keep drinking. I could have killed her." 

Another jump to an office, "We let her go. She was asking about Steven's account and..." another jump to raid on that office. Bank fraud. Another jump to her mother's house. Here was her mother and again she could hear her thoughts, "Thank you for sending her home to me. I just wanted a little more time to make it right."

The technician stopped the film, "There are many more I could show you."

She smiled, "No, I think I get it now."

He handed her a form, "So what is you decision? You can stay or you can go back and do it all again."

She didn't hesitate. She signed the form titled Frewyl Inc. Bad Luck Form 219

The technician walked her out of the room.

The lights were raised in the training cubicle and Carol blinked a few times adjusting. "You wanted me to see her choose to go back?"

"Yes. It's important to understand that it's always a choice. Up here. Down there they forget. But up here it's always a choice."

"And how did you know she would choose to go back and do all of that again?"

"Because she always does."

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Memory Lane (Part Fifteen)...

Claude walked into Dane's office carrying a laptop computer and what looked like an old fashioned transistor radio.

Dane looked up from his desk and started to say something when Claude put a finger on his lips and shook his head no. Now he had his attention. Claude was one of their younger lab techs but one of their most accomplished. He held three different doctorates and was considering a fourth. He was proficient in not only his neurobiology background but also in coding. He was the perfect employee for them. If Dane could have cloned him he would have. Alas, cloning wasn't within his reach just yet.

Claude put the radio on Dane's desk and turned it on. Static noise poured through the old tinny speaker. Then Claude opened his laptop and typed for a few moments before turning the monitor toward Dane.

There was a picture of Jean. Dane wasn't sure what he was supposed to be noticing then Claude pointed to the bottom of the screen.

It was a missing persons link. The information listed was for a Joanna Fairchild.

Dane looked up at Claude puzzled. Claude then scrolled down the page and pointed again.

Dane was reading a post on an internet forum he had never heard of, Claude caught his eye and mouthed, "Back channeled."

Dane nodded his head as though he knew what that meant. He didn't really but could get close enough to figuring it out. This wouldn't be something you could find just by a quick Google search. And the fact that Claude brought it in on his own laptop meant that his own search was being bounced all around the globe and hidden from anyone who might want to trace who was looking at this site. Dane knew Claude did these sorts of things in his free time. They had talked about it when Claude was first hired and then even more once the government wanted to get involved with the technology.

Dane read the rest of the post. Joanna Fairchild had disappeared a year ago. Her on again off again boyfriend had been looking for her ever since. She had no family, she was an only child and her parents had passed years ago. She had quit her job and gone to work for a new company right before her disappearance but the boyfriend did not know the name or what she would have been doing there, they hadn't had a chance to talk about it yet. He had filed a missing persons report with the police and at first they had listened to him and said they would investigate but then said he had no standing to file and they didn't believe she wanted him to find her, they were in an off again moment after all.

There were replies on his post agreeing with the police. That he was probably a stalker and if she wanted to be found by him she would have let him know where she went. Then he posted screenshots from his phone of the day he last heard from her. They had been making plans to meet for a movie over the weekend. He also posted numerous screenshots of other text exchanges showing that they had always maintained a good friendship even when they weren't dating. He then asked for their help in tracking her down. He was out of leads.

Dane continued reading and it was like a mystery novel unfolding in the space of replies. Her apartment had been rented to a new tenant. Her bank account had been closed, all of the money withdrawn in cash. The video recording from the day she supposedly withdrew the funds was missing so they couldn't see if it was her on the tape. Dane looked up at that point and motioned for Claude to read that section. Claude read it over and nodded.  Dane mouthed, "How?" Claude shrugged.

So this board was populated by people with connections. But not enough connections to find Joanna Fairchild. She was just gone. No more records of her anywhere. Her cell phone had been disconnected. Her bank account cleared. Her student loans paid off. Her credit cards cancelled. Her driver's license suspended. She just stopped.

All within a few months of her boyfriend reporting her missing.


And then she was Jean.

Claude took the laptop back from Dane when he finished reading and closed everything down. He pointed at the radio and then at the door making a walking motion with his fingers. Dane got up and joined him.

Once they had walked outside and few blocks away from Memory Lane, Dane spoke, "What the hell is all of that?"

"Jean was someone else. All of those memories? They weren't from a Joanna Fairchild. The people in her implanted memories all called her Jean. She knew she was Jean when she was reliving them. But this," Claude tapped his laptop, "seems to show that that was not who she was."

"Well shit...what do we do with this?" Dane thought they probably should call Detective Green, and possibly the number on the warrant from the feds. This had to be important. But on the other hand he just couldn't help but feeling that might not be the best idea.

Claude nodded seemingly following Dane's thought process, "So my first idea is that we post a copy of Jean's photo ID from when she started at the clinic and a link to her file at the morgue."

"You have a copy of her morgue file?"

"Well, not yet, but that is pretty easy to get."

Dane shook his head, "I don't even think I want to know. You said that was your first idea, what is your second?"

"Do you feel like you trust Detective Green?"

Dane thought about it for a moment. She had been incredibly confrontational with him and she clearly didn't like him or the memory technology but..."Yeah, I do. She's not my biggest fan but I think she's good at her job and actually cares about what she is doing."

"Okay, then that is our other option. Instead of tipping them off to where Joanna went, we tip her off as to where Jean came from."

"But that's not your preference?"

Claude shrugged, "I don't trust people in authority as a rule. I don't like how the police started out helping in the search then decided that a missing woman was not actually a big deal. I think they've bugged our offices, I don't have any proof but I'm getting a weird electric pulse on my equipment that's not coming from anything we are running. I just don't know that the police are the best shot. But I also know that Detective Green was not involved with the confiscation of our files and wasn't informed that this other agency would be involved. I also know she's continued researching both Jean and the California woman even though those cases are supposedly closed so..."

"How do you know she continued?"

"Digital footprints are easy to follow if you know what you're tracking."

Dane wasn't sure his idea of cloning Claude was sounding as good to him as it had been just a few moments ago.

"Let's think about it overnight and decide in the morning."

Monday, June 24, 2019

Memory Lane (Part Fourteen)....

Detective Marsha Green pushed the stacks of paperwork on her desk around into new pile configurations. She was sure there was a piece she was missing and was hoping something would trigger what it was.

She picked up the copy of the search warrant Dr. Lane had sent over. Dr. Dane Lane. Seriously? Who does that to a child? She didn't blame his siblings for choosing to go by nicknames.

The warrant was valid. It was for a federal agency she hadn't heard of before and couldn't get any details on except that it was under the auspices of the FBI. Which meant she was going to lose her case. Even though she was pretty sure they didn't give a damn about the dead women. This warrant was for record collection. She had a feeling those files were going to be put in to storage someplace and never seen again. There was no federal case. Not right now. There were the hearings on Capitol Hill and the calls for allowing the police access to the centers but there was no federal investigation into Samantha Johnson's murder and Jean Firestone's alleged suicide.

She stretched her neck and tried to relax her shoulders a little bit. At least Dr. Lane had contacted her about the warrant. Most people would not have done that. He also had voluntarily contacted them about Ms. Firestone's memory issues when he found out about the suicide. Maybe she had been too hard on him in questioning. Even as she thought that she felt her lips purse in disgust. It wasn't him that she hated so much as his complete obliviousness to what he had created. Not the technology. Not the process. But the system. The people involved. His technology was brilliant, but he had no clue about the people.

She took what happened to Samantha Johnson personally because she knew Samantha Johnson. Not Ms. Johnson specifically, this wasn't a conflict of interest case, but people like Ms. Johnson. The men and women, but let's face it, it's usually women, who are desperate enough to sell something so personal. That was her real issue with the company Dane Lane had created. It was a business that worked on the backs of desperate people. You were never going to go into a center like his and be able to pick an experience that showed you what it was like to be Bill Gates for a day. Bill Gates would never need to sell something as personal as his own memory. It was like plasma. Rich people donate blood, poor people sell plasma. Sex workers were the same. You wouldn't find someone on a street corner if they had other options.

Samantha Johnson was a single mother trying to make ends meet. That's why she was in Experience It! selling her memories. That's why she sold so many of them. That's why Alicia McGovern had been able to pretend to be her. Alicia McGovern. A rich kid going to college on Daddy's dime. She had gone to Experience It! as part of her research for a thesis paper. She was "living" Samantha Johnson's experiences as a field trip. To get in touch with what it was really like to be a poor single mother living from paycheck to paycheck. Well she had found out.

Samantha Johnson was dead. A victim of being too poor not to do something desperate. Alicia McGovern was in the best psychiatric ward that money could buy. And the owners of Experience It! were...well they paid an undisclosed amount of money to Ms. Johnson's family and got them to agree not to sue. They closed up shop and sold their inventory to Dane Lane. Who had sold them the licensing to the technology in the first place. And the world kept spinning.

And now there was the death of Jean Firestone. Ruled a suicide but that just didn't feel right to Marsha. It didn't from the start and the more information she got the worse it felt. There was something here. She just wasn't sure what it was.

She moved the piles of paperwork around on her desk again. Maybe this time something would make sense.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Night You Said You Loved Me...

The night you said you loved me...
Stars shined like diamonds 
In a sky like black velvet

The night you said you loved me...
You wished upon a hundred stars
And slept wrapped in velvet darkness

The night you said you loved me...
I left you to dream of diamonds
And of soft velvet blankets

The night you said you loved me...
I knew the dark was endless
And the stars were already dead

The night you said you loved me...

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Book Talk...

If you are going to read the Villains Series of Disney books back out of this right now.

I read the one about The Evil Queen and really didn't care for it. The book cover is BEAUTIFUL and I do normally like a well known fairy tale spun around and told from a different point of view, but I have issues with this one. And with the hints of the Ursula one that are in the one I'm currently reading.

So if I didn't like the book about the Evil Queen and didn't read the one about Ursula why am I reading this one? Well, Maleficent.

And not just because it's Mal but because the title, Mistress of all Evil, is almost the same as the title of the next Maleficent movie, Mistress of Evil, so I wanted to see if they were tied.

Doesn't seem like they are. This is a retelling of Mal's back story and that was done in a different way in the first movie so I think they just liked the title and used that.

Now I have to decide if I go see the next Maleficent movie or not. I did not care for the first one. For many of the same reasons I'm having a hard time with this Villains book series. And truthfully a lot of stories about women who aren't "nice." But I might go see it, I thought Angelina Jolie was a beautiful Maleficent. I do really like Michelle Pfeiffer. I want them to keep Maleficent front and center in their world because that means that they make more merchandise with her featured.

Yeah...that's really the main reason. For years I struggled to find any Maleficent gear. It was all Princesses and that horrible Tinkerbell, who really is a stone cold villain, just a cute blonde one so they ignore it.

But ANYway...Finding things with Maleficent featured was rare but now I can almost always find something. T-shirts. Statues. Art. It's lovely. Actually all of the villains are having a moment at Disney and I think it's bothering someone there. Like they really love selling the merch but they really don't care for the fact that the bad guys are popular. So they are doing things like the Maleficent movie and these books.

They are explaining. Oh see, they aren't so bad because of reasons. So it's okay that you all like them because we understand that you feel badly for them.

And the book is doing the other thing the movie did that I HATED which is soften the curse. Flora gave her beauty. Fauna gave her song. Before Merriweather could gift her with what I have to assume was Keeping it Tight Even After Having Kids, Maleficent shows up. She's not happy about not being invited and curses her to die on her 16th birthday. Harsh, yes, but we cannot abide by rudeness. Then Merriweather, who cannot undo what Maleficent did because there isn't a lot of powerful magic in upholding the patriarchy, can soften it to sleep instead of death but you know, awake with true love's kiss so still gotta get a man in there. It makes me crazy that the movie made the gifts even worse (instead of song she gets happiness) and makes Maleficent curse her to sleep and toss the true love's kiss in there because Maleficent doesn't believe in such things (at least they didn't make it a man who was her true love). The book has already referenced the curse and it's sleep as well. No! Maleficent did not curse Sleeping Beauty to sleep.

But they want her to not be so bad. And to explain.

In the first Villains book and in what they recapped about Ursula's it's the same thing. They talk about the why these women grew up to be villains, and wouldn't you just know it? It's because of what a man did to them. It bugs me. Men don't have to have a complicated a woman done did them wrong story to be portrayed as a villain (except maybe Beast who was cursed by a woman, but only after he was rude to her as a man). ANYway...women cannot be allowed to be evil in their own right. Why do I think Maleficent is evil? Well, because she is. The same reason why I didn't need an explanation for why Flora, Fauna and Merriweather are giddy little twinkle butts. It's what they are.

And, again I haven't finished this one so maybe it will surprise me, but not only are they evil because of what a man did to them, they still have to pay the price for being evil. The Queen ends up trapped in her own mirror, Ursula ends up, well, exploded across a village from what I can tell. Even though they want you to understand these poor unfortunate souls are only this way because a man did them wrong, they still have to pay. And there is a Beast book as well, but we know he doesn't pay for being a jerk, he's a jerk, he's turned in to the Beast, he meets someone who can see past the part where he's not always nice and he gets to be a prince again. I cannot imagine the book ends differently.

I hate it. Not just the paying part, though that's a pisser, but the fact that they keep taking away these character's agency. Women are not able to be or do anything except in reaction to what a man did to them or for them. I guess if they show you how lovely they were to start but then a man did them wrong so they had no choice but to turn evil then it increases their likability. Which we all know is the most important thing for a woman to be. And I have to admit that I wasn't as bugged by it when I first saw the movie, it was after it sat with me for a little while that it really started to grate on my nerves. And when I started seeing it everywhere. And watched again the stealing of her wings and oh of course, it's a rape allegory because women only have a small handful of truly awful things that can be done to them...and...well...

I will, of course, take all of this back if the book ends up being amazing.

 (edit: The book did NOT end up being amazing but she did back track from the first time the curse is mentioned and Maleficent did curse Aurora to die. So there was that...but the book was AWFUL. Like truly terrible. And not even mostly about Maleficent even though her face is on the cover. Which is beautiful. The books are all beautiful. If you want to buy them for decorations and just pretend the stories are good I would recommend that.)

(original movie review here)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019


I really need to finish out that whole Memory Lane story that seems to be going somewhere but very slowly...I just don't know what the next section is about. I've been trying to figure it out, but it's just not here yet.

So today I will write about something else and see if that jars something loose.

Had one of those awkward what should I have done moments today in Starbucks. It was weird. It started out perfectly benign. I was waiting for my drink and this man sitting at the bar stood up and walked over to me. He held out his hand to shake mine and said, "I just wanted you to know that you look very nice."


"Thank you..."

And at this point I was really not sure where he was going. Did I look nice because I had smiled at the woman who held the door when I walked in? Did I look nice because I chatted a bit with the person who took my order? Did I look nice because the four other people waiting for drinks were teenagers rocking their sullen teen faces?


"I saw you walking over here and thought, Wow, so I just wanted you to know."

Oh...that kind of nice.

So let me tell you what I looked like right at that moment. I hadn't showered yet today, I had already been to the gym for one workout, and it was windy on the walk over so my hair was wonky. I didn't have any makeup on and it was a little warm, along with me just having walked a mile or so so my face was a bit shiny and blotchy. BUT...I have a really big butt and big boobs so...Yeah, I looked nice.

He kept talking and said wow about two more times to make it good and creepy as I distanced myself from him and said, "You have a good day" in the stop talking to me tone that most women of a certain age have. You know the one? The shut this shit down but still very polite because you are well over 6 feet tall and I am over a mile away from home which I need to walk back to and you know at least part of my route because Wow...

And on the walk home I was doubly aware of cars around me and who was driving them. And I thought about what I should have said, or could have said...because it's tricky.

I mean, I am not one to not like a compliment. If I was I would change my hair. Seriously, I get told at least once a week how much someone loves my hair. It's red. Like REALLY red. And it's a great deep red. And in the sunshine? Forget about it, I look like I'm rocking a red halo. It's glorious. And I get a lot of compliments on it, and on the cut. And I always thank them gleefully and tell them who colors it and cuts it. Sara is amazing and gets all the credit. So if compliments bothered me I would have her change it right away.

If someone tells me they enjoy my writing or that I made them laugh with a status update? It can make my whole week. Like I feel like I should print off positive comments and keep them in a flip book they make me so happy.  So, again, I like a compliment.

Even if he had just said, "I just wanted you to know that I think you're pretty." and then gone back and sat down it would have been weird, but it wouldn't have been as disturbing. It was the "I saw you walking" and the repeated "wows" that crossed the line. And I am sure, like 95% positive, that he thought he was just being nice. Women today, you can't say anything to them right?'s not that you can't, it's that you really shouldn't. Keep it to yourself if what you've got is basically a direct commentary about her body. Even though you think you are being nice, and even though it is lovely when someone compliments me sincerely, it's fucking creepy to know you were being ogled while you are just walking down the street.

So, yeah, it was awkward. And disturbing. And it creeped me out on the walk home. And I put way too much thought in to my routine for the next week or so. I was actually walking later today than I have been and tomorrow I have a doctor's appointment so I won't be out at all, and I can vary my route a little, maybe head back into the neighborhood instead of going down and getting a glass of tea and...And like I said, he probably thought he was just being nice and probably didn't think another thing about it even though hours later I'm still bugged.

Which is why I wonder if I should have said something else? Like, hey, don't do that. Keep it inside your head. You think it's a good thing, but it's not. You have no idea how vulnerable that makes women feel. You think it's a good thing, but it's actually creepy. I should be free to walk around in my body without thinking about how you are reacting to it. Just don't...

But safety first right? We've all been yelled at by guys on the street when we didn't smile when told. Or guys in bars or clubs have called us bitches when we said no we wouldn't dance with them. I got called a dyke a lot in California when Brent was out to sea. That was the go to "insult" when you weren't interested in the dude who thought you should be interested in him, even though you were wearing a wedding ring and even said, "I'm married" when an offer was made. But no, they would spit "Dyke." I was never sure if it was supposed to make you react like, "I'm not a lesbian! Here! I will show you!" or what...but for me it was always, "Whatever. Either way I'm not interested in you." And I am fairly butch so though I would like to think I'd be more lipstick, I don't really take dyke as a bad thing.

I'm also not unaware of how I look. I have said before I have a little more va va to my voom. I am actually careful when I take pictures to crop them so I usually don't include much of my body. Because I know when I do that I'm going to get a lot of comment on it. Which can quickly go from Yeah, this is 50! flattering to Whoah...that was a bit much! So I post full body shots a few times here and there but not nearly the number of faces you get.

 And I'm not ashamed either, just so you know. I'm pretty pleased. I inherited a good combination of genes from my parents. I carry my weight well. I'm balanced. And I work out like a fiend to keep my muscles the way I want them. So I am not at all unaware or ashamed and I will take a well done compliment on both, thank you very much. Just don't be creepy.

 And don't talk to strangers like you would a friend.

 And don't use wow so much...

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Memory Lane...(Part Thirteen)

Dane went over everything from his notes again and again. Remembering when they had told Jean about her results. Where had they gone wrong? Had they gone wrong?


"Jean, have a seat please."

"Okay, is everything alright? I mean, I'm not being fired am I?" She laughed a little nervously.

"No, no, that's not it. We just need to talk to you about some things we found that are a bit confusing."

Jean looked back and forth from Gloria to Dane wondering if this was some sort of joke, or new employee test. Maybe ask her some questions that could only be answered if you were really familiar with the employee notebook.

Gloria smiled at her, "Don't look so nervous. You aren't in any sort of trouble. We just..."

"You said you have never used a memory center. Are you sure?"

"Yes. I mean they are memorable right?" she said falling back on Dane's joke. But he didn't even crack a smile.

"Not for a donation. Not for an experience. Never? You aren't going to be in any trouble for not telling us earlier. We just need to make sure."

"Yeah, I'm sure. Why would I lie about that? I mean, I'm working here, I obviously don't have a problem with the system."

Dane pushed two printouts across the desk. "These are the memories we had you share with us to 'test' our systems." he said tapping lines of code on the top of one page. "These are the memories from another donor." he tapped the other page, "See this bit of code here?" He pointed to the end of line of code on Jean's memories.


"See how it's not on these?"

"Yes. But most of the code is different on them both. Which makes sense as they are different memories from different people right?" Jean was back to thinking they were testing her, maybe they wanted her to work in the lab as an assistant. That might explain why Alice had been avoiding her all day. She probably didn't want to ruin the surprise.

"That's a good observation, and you're right. The code is different. But this bit is added to a memory as it's saved. These are unsaved memories."

"You should always save your work before you go to print. " Jean covered her mouth. "Sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt, that just popped out!"

"That's okay, you're right again, normally we would always save a file before printing, but we really wanted you to see this and maybe explain why it would be there."

Jean shook her head, "I'm sorry?"

"This memory, the raw memory we pulled from your head is a saved file. The only way you could have this is to have had it implanted. This one," Dane tapped the paper, "and this one as well. The three we pulled from you, that you chose to share, were all saved files."

"Well that's not possible. I mean, I've never...there is no way that..." Jean looked back and forth at the printouts and then searched Gloria's and Dane's faces for some sort of clue as to what they wanted her to say. It had to be some sort of test, right? What was she not remembering from her training? Finally she gave up. "I'm sorry. I'm not getting the right answer. Can you tell me what I'm supposed to say? I don't remember this from the training materials at all."

Gloria shook her head. "Jean, honey, this isn't a test. It's not part of your training."

Jean leaned back in her chair. "So, wait? This is real? Those are implanted memories from my head?"

Dane nodded, "Yes, this is real."

"How? How is that possible?"

"We don't know. But we'd like to run a few more tests just to make sure. If we have your permission we'd like to pull two more test memories, but this time choose specific ones."

They asked Jean to remember her first day of work from her last job then they had her remember her first day at Memory Lane. The older memory had the tag, the recent one did not.


Maybe this is where he had made the mistake. Maybe he shouldn't have had her do the two extra donations? Maybe he shouldn't have shared them with her? Maybe he shouldn't have let her go home alone that night while they were still trying to figure it all out? But they had done all of those things.

After seeing the printouts they had talked it through and made plans to try to work backwards from her first day at work with them to see when the implanted memories started. They thought that might give them a clue as to what happened. Or at least when. Jean seemed okay with the plan. She had actually seemed more than okay with it, she had seemed determined to see it through, almost eager. She wanted to know what happened as much as they did. He was sure of it.

Which is why it didn't make sense.

He pulled a copy of a letter from his desk.

"Our memories make us who we are. If we cannot trust our memories how can we trust anything?"

That was it. That was her entire suicide note.

It just didn't make sense.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Didn't Make the Gratitude Cut...

This almost became my Daily Gratitude post today but it seemed a little off theme. Even though I think I have made a similar DG post before, probably phrased nicer, but anyway...

Grateful today for seeing the last post by a true blue asshole in my On This Day Feed.

Last year today I tossed one of the people who had probably known me the longest off my friend list.  He finally crossed the line so far, and had done it so often that the memory of that sweet kid from elementary school and high school could no longer keep up. Because he wasn't sweet anymore. He grew up mean. And the worst kind of mean, the kind that cloaks it in religion and patriotism, which gives an even worse name to two areas that tend to have bad reputations anyway.

Now, to be fair, I have very little patience in June. Anyone who knows me knows this. I will not tolerate much. If you make it until July I might apologize for being a bitch in June and if you can stay until August I am very magnanimous then. But June? Forget about it. I mean Brent used to make sure he was in Germany for a good chunk of June every year. Okay, I'm kidding, he didn't do it on purpose, just the way it worked out with a conference he attended, but it did work out for him. He got to leave during the worst of it.

Though I've gotten much better. I haven't yelled at anyone. Now, some of you are pointing out that I'm not a yeller at all so that's not really a gauge, but what I mean when I say I haven't yelled at anyone I mean I haven't been aggressive, mean, used tone, snapped at...and when I say anyone I mean anyone who didn't deserve it.

Sometimes people need your attitude. They really do.

But honestly, it's not bad this year.

Grief is like that. Losing people. You never really get over it but you learn to deal with it. You carry it as a part of who you are now, but you don't let it lead the way anymore. It's there. Just not THERE. Usually.

Sunday will be the worst of it. It's that magical time when Father's Day and the day Dad died sync up. The first time was horrible. It was still really raw. Brent was in Germany. Christopher was home from school, which was great for me, but poor guy, knowing that Mom could fall apart at some point during the day, but who knows if or when. But we made it through. Just like we've made it through all of the other years, and now here we are again.

Sunday is Father's Day.
Sunday is the 8th anniversary of Dad's death.
Sunday is my mother's 87th birthday.

And my mother is starting to show her years. When we went back home last month we all saw it for the first time. I mean, obviously my mother has aged, but this time she had moments where she was old. She's living more and more in the past. Repeating stories from when she was younger. One about my grandmother defending my father to people who wanted to look down on him was a favorite. And I'm glad she told it. I had never heard it before. It was nice to think about my mother's mother defending my father. Because my dad was a really good man and I'm glad they realized it.

She stopped using the phone last year so I hadn't really spoken with her much so it seemed kind of sudden. But my guess is the slower slide has been happening for a long time and our visits back we just haven't had enough time to notice. This time I pretty much forced her hand into seeing us more than she normally does. I decided to think that she would only choose one family meal because she wanted to make sure we had time with friends and Brent's family. But we went back to see family. To see her and Brent's mother. The rest was extra if it fit in. So I pressed the issue and got one family dinner, one breakfast with her and my brother before they headed out to the casino (she has a routine and doesn't like to break it) and one more breakfast with just her. So we got more time. Which is good. She's almost 87 and as she says (all the time) it could be any day now.

Women in my family can live in to their 90s and even past 100. I think she would be disappointed if she does. She misses Dad and wants to join him. I feel that for her.

So yeah, June is not my best month for patience.

But it felt so good to see the post where I unfriended that asshole. Because it left more time in my life for people who didn't grow up mean.

Grateful for time. However much we have left.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Public Displays of No Affection...

"Why would you want to have this fight here?"

"Is there a better place to have it?"

"ANYwhere else seems like a better place."

"So maybe I should wait until you get to work and then have it at your desk?"

"No, of course not."

"Or maybe Sunday morning at brunch? Would that be better?"

"Okay, no, I mean..."

"Or how about tomorrow night at the movie theater? That way it would be dark and you wouldn't have to look at me."

"Stop it, you're just being ridiculous now."

"I'm being ridiculous? Me? You're the one who wants to choose the appropriate place for this fight to happen. I'm just trying to accomodate you. I'm being reasonable."

"Reasonable? I don't think..."

"No, you don't think. At least not about me. You don't consider me at all do you?"

"That's not true! Of course I consider you."

"When exactly? When you are doing the EXACT THING I asked you never to do again or after you were done?"

"That's not fair."

"No, you're right, it's not fair. Not at all. I can't keep asking you not to do that and then you do it anyway and expect me to be okay with it all. That's not fair. How am I supposed to trust you when you make promises and don't keep them? You are lying to me."

"I am not lying to you! I wouldn't lie to you!"

"Have I asked you not to do that?"

"Yes, but..."

"And did you do that?"

"Yes, but..."


"Yes, but...."

"But what?"

"Are you going to let me finish now? I was waiting for you to interrupt me again."

"Oh I wouldn't dream of rude that would be. Go on explain how repeatedly promising me you wouldn't while you continued to wasn't lying."

"I didn't lie. I didn't plan on it, it just happened. I had no intention of it ever happening again when I told you that it wouldn't. So it's not a lie."

"Why would you think it wouldn't happen again if you keep doing it?"

"I could ask you the same thing. Why would you keep asking me not to do it when you know I will?"


"Okay, okay, calm down...shh...maybe that wasn't the best example...shhh..."

"Don't you dare shush me! Do.not.dare."

"Look, can we do this later at home?"

"No, I want to do this right now. How can I trust you that you won't just ignore it again at home and not talk about it?"

"I don't think you will give me that choice."

"I cannot believe you...."

"Umm, excuse me, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, I appreciate that this seems like a bad time but we do have other parents waiting for their teacher conferences, so if we could get back to Kinsey's watercolor picture..."

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Memory Lane....(Part Twelve)

Gloria paced the floor of her office. She couldn't get ahold of Dane and she wasn't sure what she should do. They had warrants so it seemed like there probably wasn't anything she could do, but she still felt like she should at least have been able to hold them off until Dane was available.

She had stood in the lab for awhile watching them direct Claude and Alice to what they wanted to take with them, but it had started to make her sick to her stomach. How could they just come in and demand files like that? And not even allow them to make copies first? How was this legal? It couldn't be legal. But they had warrants that said it was legal. She had read them all three times so far.

She was so focused on what was happening in the lab she didn't notice that Dane had walked in and she jumped when he said her name.

"Gloria? What's going on? Why is the closed sign on the front door?"

"Shit! You scared me! I've been trying to call you!" She shoved the warrants in to his hand.

"I turned my phone to silent when I was meeting with Detective Green and must have forgotten to turn it back on, what are these?"

He started reading them, "Are they still here?"

"In the lab."

Dane took off at a sprint for the back of the building.

The officers were closing and taping moving boxes as he arrived.

"Ah, Dr. Lane, just in time. Here is an inventory listing of everything we have in our possession. There is the case number, that will be referenced when you are contacted to recover these items."

"Why are you taking them? Who approved this?"

"Judge Browning signed, see right there on the warrant?"

"I can see that, I mean, I was just at the precinct talking to Detective Green and she didn't..."

"No, she wouldn't have known about this. She's investigating...well honestly we aren't sure what she's investigating. But it has nothing to do with us. If you'll just sign right there we will be out of your hair."

"Hold on a second, let me look in the boxes at least."

"Oh no, can't do that. We've already sealed them, see, and it would be a lot of paperwork to unseal them at this point. You can talk with your people, and read your copy of the inventory list, I'm sure that will be enough information for you. Thank you, have a good day."

And with that the agents picked up the boxes and left the lab.

Dane spun on Claude and Alice, "What did they take?"

"They had us copy all of the memories we had from Jean and then watched us erase our files. They also took her employment record and printed files from her training. They also took one of the hard drives from California. But it was one we had already cleared. They didn't ask what was on it, just checked a serial number off of a list and took it."

"Do we have copies of the rest of what they took anywhere else?"

Gloria smiled, "Well of course we have copies of all of Jean's information in multiple places. I mean, it would have been irresponsible of us to leave just one vulnerable copy in one location, right?"

"God bless you and your need for triplicates. Okay, did any of you mention that to..." Dane faltered, "To whoever they were?"

"No. They knew exactly what they wanted and so we just let them do it all. I mean, we helped make the copies and we dutifully erased this machine, but we didn't give them extra information."

"Good. Okay, I think Gloria was right about closing and we just stay that way for a couple of days. Please call anyone with appointments and let them know we will be reopening on Monday. If anyone desperately needs me I will have my phone on this time. I'm going to be in my office for a little bit. Gloria? Once you get things handled will you please join me?"


"Yes, Detective Green that is all of the information from the warrant. I can scan a copy and send it to you via email if you'd like?....They were aware of you but didn't seem to know what exactly it was that you were investigating on your end.....No. They told me that they knew you....I think they came while I was busy with you on purpose....No, I don't have issue with that, that's why I offered to send you a copy of the warrant....Okay. Expect it within a few minutes."

Gloria stood in the doorway, "Are you sure you want to send her that?"

"I am. I'm hoping that she gets pissed about another agency stepping on her toes and backs off of being mad at me for a bit. I just don't think being on Detective Green's bad side is ever a good idea."

"Why is she mad at you? What does she think you could have done?"

"I think she wants to blame someone and I seem to be a logical choice. It is my technology afterall."

"But you weren't the one who misused it."

"But I still made it possible. And until she can find someone else to blame I'm handy. I'm just hoping she finds someone else soon. I'd like to find out who is to blame as well."

"So you believe that what happened to Jean was because of what we found?"

Dane looked at Gloria for a long moment.

Gloria nodded. "Me too."

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Memory Lane....(Part Eleven)

Lane ended his interview session with Detective Green once he realized it was an interrogation and not just a few quick questions. Or to be more precise Detective Green ended their session when Lane asked for a lawyer. She had tried to convince him that he didn't need a lawyer, as they were just simple questions, but when Dane pointed out that her opinion on not needing a lawyer might be different from his lawyer's opinion she stopped the interview and dismissed him.

He didn't for a minute think that was going to be the end of it though. As she pointed out two people were dead. And he realized she wanted someone to pay for that; she was seeking justice. Or vengeance. Often those seemed to go hand in hand. Justice was a difficult concept after all. What was justice? And justice wasn't going to bring back the dead. It never did. Vengeance didn't either but nobody seemed to realize that when they were in the grip of seeking one or the other.

He had gone over and over everything in his head. Had they handled it right? Gloria had wanted to tell Jean from the start what they were looking for, what they had found on her test donation. Would that have made a difference?

He didn't think so. He really didn't.

Detective Green had wanted him to say he regretted how he handled the situation. He just couldn't say that he did. If he regretted it that would mean he knew a better course of action he could have taken, and he did not have one. He was deeply saddened by what came next, but he did not think he or any one else at his company was responsible.

He opened his own files and looked through his notes from the sessions with Jean. They had started with three additional memories that Jean would share. They told her not to worry about what they were, just to choose three. Each one came back the same way the first one did. Tagged before saving it. This time they did save the files, preserving the original tag and adding their own. Then they replayed the files on the computer to see what they had. And they responded like normal donations. They were authentic memories, they just weren't original.

So then they had four. But what they didn't know was where they had come from. Jean had stated she had never had an experience before. She also said that the training session donation was the first she had ever done. But clearly she had done other sessions. The proof was staring at them from the computer screen. That was when he decided they had to tell her what they had found.

And this might be the only place where if he would let himself he might felt a tinge of regret. Not regret that he could see a way to do things differently, regret that they couldn't see the future and see what was going to happen. But that still wasn't real regret, real regret for their, for his, actions. That was the dreaded if only game and there was no way to win that one.

If only Alice hadn't noticed the tag on the memory before erasing the file.
If only they hadn't decided to pursue further information.
If only they hadn't told Jean anything.
If only Jean hadn't come to work for them in the first place.
If only...

If only was a game you never won.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

I watched the Jared Kushner interview on Axios yesterday. He's pretty much exactly who you think he would be. The sort of person who keeps a photograph of his grandparents in his office to remind him of how fortunate he is to be here. Because they were refugees from the Nazis who came to America and thrived here. They arrived on a Tuesday and his grandfather had a job by Thursday. Brilliant country full of opportunity.

That he is currently working to stop for other people.

Descendent of refugees working for an administration that is working to limit all immigration. Refugee resettlement, asylum seekers and available legal avenues for family.

Even though two out of three wives of the current president came in on questionable visas and his current in-laws got here through the horrible, believe him, horrible practice of chain migration.

Kushner also said that there is no way Trump is a racist because he would have seen it. You can not be not a racist for 69 years and then suddenly when you run for president you become one. Which is a true and solid point. And when asked if birtherism is racism (Trump's birtherism started before he declared for the election) Kushner responded with the solid logical well thought out, wasn't me...That wasn't the question. It wasn't did you push birtherism it was is birtherism racism. The interviewer could also have asked about the discrimination lawsuits and the Central Park 5, because Kushner was right, one does not just simply become a racist at 69.

He also asked Kushner what he would do if he hadn't been born into his very wealthy family. And Kushner said he had never thought about it.

He had never thought about it.

He had never considered what it might be like to not be so privileged that you are working as the top advisor to the President of the United States just because of the family you were born in to and the one you married in to. No other qualifications needed. No other skills required. No real security check allowed...

That sort of thinking, or not thinking, makes me so crazy. That cocoon of privilege. It leads to a lack of empathy. And to a smug sort of self righteousness as well. That whole, "well I'm successful so why isn't everyone?" Without ever considering how you actually got that way.

And you see it writ large in this administration. I got mine so fuck you.

And you see it in smaller ways in the world. The people who just don't understand why other people are upset about things. I mean, you aren't even trans so why do you care if they are being drummed out of the military and it's being made legal to medically discriminate against them? You should just go for a walk...

You are a citizen so why do you care about what is happening to the people who are coming here seeking asylum? You don't have to worry about such things. You should just go out and have a good day instead.

You are menopausal and your tubes are tied on top of that. Why do you care about abortion rights? I don't care. I am too busy making my life grand!

I don't understand people like that. I don't get the thought process behind don't care about things. And to be perfectly honest I fucking hate the condescending, I'm too busy living my best life to care, attitude. I mean, sure, live your best life. I am all in on that. I think we should all be living our best lives. But if your best life has no room in it for considering others then your best life is a fucking hollow shell.

So yeah, that shallow little I'm great so the world is great life works for Kushner and people like him.

For me?

I'm going to live my best life and keep yelling about the things that are stopping others from doing the same...

Because I have thought about it.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Memory Lane....(Part Ten)

"So, Mr. Lane..."

"Dr. Lane."

"Excuse me, Dr. Lane, when they brought you in for questioning on the California Case..."

"I wasn't brought in for questioning, Detective Green. I was consulting on a different case at the time."

"Oh? What case was that?"

Dane tried his best not to roll his eyes. He found it impossible to believe that Detective Green didn't have his full file with her, which would include all of the information from the Stolen Valor case he consulted on. "Detective, I understand you probably have some sort of reason for handling me this way, but honestly I'd love to cut the bullshit and you just ask what you want to know" is what he wanted to say. Instead he opted for calm.

"There was a Stolen Valor case working its way through the court system. A gentleman had claimed to have been present at multiple battles and had details that were very realistic. It turned out he was frequenting memory centers and focusing on those particular experiences. He says he started it because he wanted to see what it was like to have served. Then sharing a story about one of his purchased experiences the person he was telling mistook him for a Veteran and bought him a drink. It all snowballed from there. He would have been fine if he hadn't gone on the local news to talk about his bravery in two different battles, that took place at the same time, involving two different branches of the military.

I was called in as an expert witness to explain the memory sharing experience. While I was working with the prosecution on that case the Johnson murder hit. When they brought in McGovern and she was swearing that SHE was the real Samantha Johnson and could tell details that seemed like things only Ms. Johnson should have known they asked me to talk with her."

"So they brought you in for questioning right away?"

"Again, I wouldn't really use that phrase. I consulted. The detective working that case saw that it could be more than a simple case of stalking and wanted to see if  his hunch was right."

"So what did you find?"

Dane sighed as quietly as he could. The California Case had been big news, it had been the lead on the nightly news for months, there were documentaries and Lifetime Movies made about it and inspired by it. It is what lead to the Senate hearings going on right now. There was no way that Detective Green didn't know what he found.

"Alicia McGovern had been a customer of Experience It! a memory sharing company that had some, let's call them, very bad practices. She really did think, at that point in time, that she was Samantha Johnson. She suffered a psychotic break brought on by over use of experience sharing."

"What bad practices did they have?"

"First off they allowed too many donations from a single person. Samantha Johnson should have never been allowed to share that much of her memory. The donation process is mostly safe, but it's still a medical procedure dealing with the electrical impulses in your brain. Too many donations can cause problems for the donor. And then they should never have allowed Alicia McGovern to access all of them. Even though they are not real, they are copies of actual experiences, our brains register them as almost real. There are precautions that must be taken to ensure that they don't seem real after the experience is over. And one of those precautions is how many come from one source. You don't want like drawn to like and forming a new neural network of identity."

"Is that what happened to Alicia McGovern?"

"I believe so. I believe she had so many of Ms. Johnson's memories in her head that she didn't know who she really was. She really did believe at the time that she was killing a fake Ms. Johnson who had been sent by, I think she believed aliens or the government, maybe both, to replace her. She thought that she had been pushed out of her house and her life by an invader and if she could kill the imposter she would get her life back."

"But the jury didn't buy that?"

"It never went to a jury, as I'm sure you know."

Detective Green smiled, "Oh that's right. She got a deal didn't she?"

"I'm not sure I would call being committed to Saint Stephens a deal."

"Over a life sentence for murder? I think you got her a pretty sweet deal. And then you got yourself a pretty sweet deal by buying the entire memory catalog of Experience It! for a deep discount."

And this is where Dane knew for sure that he was in trouble. Detective Green was not looking for facts. She was looking for someone to blame, and he was a very handy target.