Intense colors, no earth tones

June 6, 2023

Hana Filip, on Facebook two days ago, voicing her taste in colors, initially about a store, and then about the clothes she wears:

— HF: I’m underwhelmed by this pale-earth-tone fad. The photo renders this unhappy situation in one store in my ‘hood [in Düsseldorf, Germany] more colorful than it looks in reality. I love jewel-tone colors, titian blue, venetian red, alizarin crimson, vermillion, naples yellow, gold ochre, emerald green … pretty bright colors with lovely names.

[Note HF’s preference for lower-casing: titian, venetian, naples rather than the customary Titian, Venetian, Naples.]

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Auguries in a diner

June 5, 2023

Another brief posting. And yes, I am not dead yet, and my second breakfast — sriracha-spicy soy-salty Singapore-style rice noodles (which has shrimps and chunks of ham in it) with sliced mushrooms and a ton of chopped celery (wielding my excellent new kitchen angle knife!) in chicken broth — was yummy, and will make at least one more meal (several, if I decide to turn it into mostly-garbanzo soup, a sort of deranged Chinese posole).

Today’s Zippy strip finds our Pinhead musing poetically, à la Blake, on the symbolic potential of the diner:

It’s the initial quatrain of Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence”, as seen from a vinyl-covered counter stool

The original:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour

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Briefly: the meta-dream

June 5, 2023

But first: the Parable of the Somnolent Professor, a parablized version of a real-life event (involving close friends of mine) that I recounted many years ago:

The professor’s wife looked anxiously at the time, went once more to attempt to rouse her husband from his domestic torpor. Shook him, cried out, “You have to get up and get dressed; you have an important faculty meeting in half an hour. Wake up!”

To which her husband objected, woozily but in all earnestness: “But, N,  I am up and dressed.” So convincingly that for a brief moment his wife believed him rather than the evidence of her own eyes.

In his dreams he was indeed up and dressed, maybe even already at the university. In the situation where he was being implored to get up and get dressed, he was in a dream world where he had already gotten up and gotten dressed, satisfying the demands on his time, while back in the real world he was still clinging to pleasurable sleep. He was in the grip of a (self-serving) kind of meta-dream. (Note that he was in a half-conscious state straddling the two worlds — recognizing his wife and understanding her call to action, while unwilling to give up the sweetness of sleep.)

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The horn sings, joyously, for him

June 4, 2023

Today’s morning music, playing when I came to wakefulness at 2:30 am, was Beethoven’s joyous Natural Horn Sonata in F major, Op. 17 (played on a natural horn by Lowell Greer, with Steven Lubin at the piano) — a contrast in textures: the rich velvety resonance of the horn (wordless song by a male singer with a wide range, with a timbre comparable to the cello’s) and the brightness of the piano (which, in Beethoven, is never mere accompaniment, but a second voice joined in song).

The music set me up to sail through the day, remembering my man Jacques — who died on this day in 2003 — with affection. (He was a great fan of Beethoven’s chamber music and his piano music.)

As it happens, my wife Ann Walcutt Daingerfield (Zwicky) was born in the spring (May of 1937), and died in the bleak midwinter (January, in 1985); while my husband-equivalent Jacques Henry Transue was born in the bleak midwinter (January, in 1942), and died in the breaking of summer. Giving me two periods of mourning every year. With the current one now softened by Beethoven.

But to the music.

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Another new thing

June 4, 2023

On order via Amazon — and now, the tracker tells me, three stops from delivery to my house (along with a huge container of Tide free-and-gentle laundry pods, as I approach the end of the previous supply) — a new hand mirror, to replace the old one, with a long chip out of its rim from when a housecleaner dropped it some years ago, but, more significantly, with a thin handle that either had to be gripped (awkwardly) like a bat or held with thumb and forefinger (which, since the mirror itself was heavy, is now difficult for my disabled hands) — oh, it has now arrived, before I could finish this sentence! — I thank Emily Dickinson for my punctuation — and wow! it’s actually lighter than the old one.

But enough of this burbling; you want facts. And a picture. Like this:

With a 6.1″ diameter mirror (the company uses the all-caps TASALON as its name, but references to it often use Tasalon, which I find more congenial)

From Tasalon’s puffery on Amazon, seriously edited down, but still tending towards the manic:

— Unbreakable: Made of high-grade tempered glass, the glass mirror is firmly embedded in the plastic frame using ultrasonic technology, so it won’t break when dropping.

— Anti-slip design: There is a comfortable rubber grip on the handle to protect the mirror from falling off. The handle can be used for hanging on hook for easy shaving, showering and makeup.

— Durable and versatile: The unbreakable mirror is 5 times more durable than most glass mirrors on the market and won’t break when dropped, stepped on, pressed, vibrated.

For me, it’s mostly about the rubber grip, and then the light weight, which Tasalon doesn’t even mention. It has a place right by my desk chair, which is where most of my self-care goes on. (And lots of other stuff; I fold the laundry sitting down in that chair, for example — gotten pretty efficient at it, too. A benefit of practice: skills can be routinized and then performed smoothly without thought about the step-by-step process; and the skills can then then be honed, made more effective and more efficient.)

And now a break to take a walk around the block with my walker, on a beautiful warm day, in the safe interval between whizzes (which will sometimes stretch out a bit over 25 minutes if I am fully engaged in some activity). I’m wearing my PUT YOUR CLITICS IN SECOND POSITION t-shirt, which is what was on the top of the t-shirt pile; given the current political climate, I should probably change to something that’s flagrantly queer (like GAY AS FUCK, in big bold letters), but I’ll be lazy.

(I’m slowly working up to doing a posting for my man Jacques’s death day, today, but that’s hard rowing and right now I’ll just do the tiny tour of the neighborhood he loved so much.)


Upsetting Balance of Nature

June 4, 2023

A second cartoon from today’s comics feed: today’s Doonesbury, in which Gary Trudeau (through his characters) savages the dietary supplement Balance of Nature (essentially, plant-based multivitamin/mineral tablets):

(#1) The capsule regimen is overly complex (6 capsules a day: 3 a day for each of 2 separate supplements, Fruits and Veggies); the supplement is expensive (it works out to $3/day); and the benefits of the supplements are dubious, despite the “clinical studies” lampooned in the strip

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From the annals of remarkable names

June 4, 2023

(This is a brief not-dead-yet posting, also an attempt to hack away at the avalanche of things to post about that confronted me when I arose — at 2:30 am, which for me is a reasonable time.)

An old One Big Happy strip that came up in my comics feed this morning. With a remarkable name — but one concocted by the cartoonist to achieve a terrible pun.

(#1) Creighton is a real, but rare, FN (a LN converted to use as a FN); and Barrel is a real, but rare, LN, introduced in panel 1 of the strip; put them together and, in panel 4, you’ve got Creighton Barrel, which is Rick Detorie’s fictive remarkable name, an outrageous pun

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Be vocal. Be visible. Be fierce.

June 3, 2023

Advice for Pride Month this year, when forces of hatred and fear, wielding harassment and intimidation, seem increasingly arrayed against LGBT+-folk, threatening our celebrations, attacking the symbols of our communities, spreading malicious disinformation about us, and acting to curtail our rights — so that we have to confront these forces publicly and fiercely. An image of resplendent, powerful, ferociously sharp-toothed pride for the occasion, covering the spectrum from intense red to vibrant purple:

(#1) From my 6/27/15 posting “Gay Pride”, with my comment: rather more adult males than you’d expect in a pride of lions — but then these are gay lions, so they bond with pleasure

(Already back then, 8 years ago, the image was clearly memic, distributed from hand to hand from an original source no one knew (or cared about); some creator crafted this remarkable image and paired it with the punning title Gay Pride — a gay pride for Gay Pride — but we’re almost surely never going to be able to identify the source. It came to me again yesterday, through another acquaintance who found it on Facebook.)

From #1 a fortuitous find enabling an associative leap to a famously savage leonine diorama. And then in another associative leap, to feasting with panthers, to big cats in general (especially those of the genus Panthera), and to gay men who are beautiful, powerful, and fierce.

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A composite, please, doctor!

June 2, 2023

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, another exercise in cartoon understanding:

(#1) The doctor offers a made-to-order suspect to fit the eyewitness descriptions (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page)

If you don’t  recognize (Gene Wilder’s) Victor Frankenstein and (Marty Feldman’s) Igor here, the whole thing is baffling. (I imagine that the cartoonists figured that Young Frankenstein was something like a core piece of American pop culture, a cultural object that everyone would recognize, needing no further cues or clues to understanding.)

Meanwhile, the comedic premise is a goofy one, that instead of getting a police artist to create a composite drawing of the suspect from eyewitness descriptions, the policeman is soliciting a consummate resurrectionist — a body snatcher who uses body parts to resurrect a composite person, who will serve as a kind of working model of a suspect.

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An epiphany from 5/23

June 2, 2023

Preparing for an appointment with my rheumatologist on 5/23 led me to the understanding that the affliction I’ve been thinking of as osteoarthritis is indeed not that: joint tissue is not being degraded and eroded, as was the case with my right hip joint in 2012 (when, after the excruciating pain of bone grinding on bone, I got a titanium replacement joint). So, my doctors have been careful to say that I have joint pain but not to attribute the pain to osteoarthritis (though I doubtless have some degree of that).

In osteoarthritis, some of the joint is lost, so there will be chronic pain, in the same spots, though worse on some days and better on others. (Very low air pressure will trigger intense pain, and I certainly get that, omigod do I get that, all over my body.) But my pain is fugitive, moving from one joint to another, often over minutes, or an hour or two. And there are a hell of a lot of joints in the body — in the fingers and toes, wrists and ankles, knees and elbows, hips, and shoulders. (My bunions — hallux vagus is a swelling of the first joint of the big toe — often provide the first notice of a drop in air pressure, through their agonized throbbing.)

In addition, the pain is often extravagant. There were, for example, three nights when I awoke screaming in pain in my left ankle; the heel of my left foot was on fucking fire (but not hot to the touch). The fire subsided in a little while, but that foot was so tender all morning that I could barely walk.

My epiphany of the morning of 5/23 was that the affliction I’ve been think of as osteoarthritis is indeed not that (joint tissue is not being degraded) but — oh dear — an autoimmune affliction that mimics osteoarthritis. Dr. Fischer found this fascinating, but outside his sphere of knowledge, since rheumatologists treat inflammations, and what I had (right then in my poor right hand, still not recovered and full of pain) was clearly not an inflammation. Then he was openly admiring at all of my ingenuity in self-treatment and its success, without any note of supercilious criticism (as on our previous encounter). He doesn’t want to reduce the prednisone any further, despite my family doctor’s noises about that. He told me that I looked wonderful, keep doing what I was doing because it was obviously working, and he sympathized about the contractions of my life made necessary by all of the treatments. Come back and see him again in three months (appointment made).

I used the PAMF bathrooms twice during this visit, just before seeing Dr. Fischer and just after; I really do have to whizz every 20-25 minutes.

It’s not clear what to do at this point. Rheumatologists often serve as the specialists responsible for the musculoskeletal system and its afflictions, whether inflammatory or not. But Dr. Fischer had no insight into an autoimmune condition mimicking osteoarthritis, and I’ve found no references to a condition like the one I have. So I’ll just continue muddling through.