mental health, movies, musings

Shut up before we really give you something to cry about!

For years, I’ve heard people mention the campy 1968 sci-fi flick, Barbarella. Jane Fonda was the star of that movie, which I finally watched last night. It was another cheap download from iTunes. I’d never seen it, but heard references to it. I decided last night, I’d find out what the hubbub was all about. I watched it and found it rather hilariously weird. I wished I had some pot. I think marijuana would have made watching it even more bizarre.

I was born in 1972, so the first movie I ever saw starring Jane Fonda was 9 to 5. I actually saw that one in the movie theater when I was about eight years old. I saw it countless times on HBO when I was growing up, and later bought a download of it, because I love watching movies from the 80s… especially when I’m bored or stressed out. The last few weeks have been boring and stressful.

This is a WEIRD film.

To be honest, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the plot for Barbarella. It reminded me a lot of some of the soft porn flicks that used to be aired on The Movie Channel during the late 80s and early 90s. The Movie Channel was a lot more liberal about what they aired than HBO was, and in those days, there weren’t multiple cable movie channels like there are now. In a way, I’m kind of glad I was a kid in those days, when things were simpler. I’m glad my childhood was pretty normal and free range, and I got to do a lot of things that young people today can’t do… things I think are pretty essential to becoming a functioning adult, like going to the store by myself at a young age.

Today’s youngsters have an especially raw deal. This past year has really sucked. It’s sucked for everyone, but it’s sucked worse for some people than others. My year hasn’t been that bad compared to some people’s years. But, for sure, I am glad I’m not a teenager these days. So many of the things that make life worth living aren’t allowed right now. And when you’re a teenager, things probably seem a lot more important than they really are. All of the stuff that makes being a teen fun are on hold. Or they have to be done while masked and socially distanced.

Even those who are lucky enough to be able to have team sports sometimes have to contend with assholes who ruin the fun. Case in point, this jackass announcer who uttered racist and derogatory comments because some of the players at a high school game decided to kneel when “The Star Spangled Banner” was played. When the announcer, name of Matt Rowan, was rightfully called out for his disgraceful comments caught on a hot mike, he blamed it on a sugar spike caused by his Type 1 diabetes. I feel sorry for the youngsters who had to hear that. It was totally uncalled for, especially at a high school game.

Friday, I watched Pretty in Pink, which was released when I was in the 8th grade. Just a few months after it came out, I entered my freshman year of high school, which was kind of a mind blower. Back then, there was no Internet, but we had some really cool music and interesting fashions. It was just before everything went online– kind of the fetal phase of the Internet. I had a nerdy friend at that time who ran up huge phone bills using her modem to chat with guys in Ohio, even though we lived in Virginia. She posted on bulletin boards and developed this whole social life that was so mysterious to me. And look at us now. Where would we be without the Internet? Hard to tell…

In some ways, the Internet made things better. I can keep in touch with some old friends who are still fun to be friends with. On the other hand, some people you’d rather not be in touch with anymore and being online makes it easy for them to find you. And thanks to the Internet, people can still kind of function, which can be good or bad, depending on your perspective. Some people are thriving. I would be fine with distance working or learning. Others need to be in an office with others… or working in groups. They hate being stuck at home and aren’t as productive there. And some people, who ordinarily would never be home because of work and are enjoying the family time they’re getting, would rather things not go back to “normal”.

I don’t know when we’ll get the vaccine. Germany has been very slow rolling it out, and I doubt we’d be able to get it here anyway, until more citizens have gotten it. The U.S. military has also been really slow with roll out… and I heard some gossip indicating that some powers that be are not being fair about its distribution. If we were in Hawaii, Japan, or Korea we’d probably be inoculated by now. I don’t necessarily look forward to getting the shot(s) or their potential side effects, but I do look forward to ditching this lifestyle. Everything is so gloomy. Good thing we have guys like Randy Rainbow to make us smile…

Too right, as the Aussies say.

But it’s hard to keep smiling, especially when you’re subscribed to periodicals like The Atlantic and they keep posting depressing articles with even more depressing headlines. Twice, I’ve seen them post an article about mourning our “normal” lives and accepting that things will basically suck from now on. There are endless articles about how awful everything is. As a matter of fact, here’s a list of fifteen of the articles featured on their Facebook page right now:

  • Modern Life Has Made It Easier For Serial Killers to Thrive
  • Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think
  • The Relentlessness of Black Grief
  • High School Wasn’t Supposed to Be Like This
  • 3 Miles from Martha’s Vineyard is an Island Full of Bombs
  • People Are Keeping Their Vaccines Secret
  • Renting is Terrible. Owning is Worse.
  • Texas’s Disaster is Over. The Fallout is Just Beginning.
  • When Postpartum Depression Doesn’t Go Away
  • Giraffes Edge Closer to Extinction
  • The Republican Party Isn’t Going Anywhere
  • The Pandemic Has Given Women a New Kind of Rage
  • Why Do So Many Men Watch Lesbian Porn?
  • Cone Snails are Liars and Murderers
  • We Have To Grieve Our Last Good Days

These articles have been run over the past couple of days. I feel like I need to take a prophylactic antidepressant before I look at their Facebook page. There have been a few that weren’t depressing, but on the whole, it seems like The Atlantic is in a depression and wants to share the wealth. Add in the headlines from other papers, and it does seem like spring is going to be bleak, even though it’s traditionally when things come back to life. I hope I’m wrong. I hope the vaccine works to slow the spread of the disease. The latest South Park, which hilariously shows elderly people living it up while the rest of us hide away at home, shows how weird things are… I’d almost feel like I’m Barbarella myself, minus Jane Fonda’s smokin’ hot body circa 1968 and the sexual pleasure machine.

I got bored the other day and ended up on a porn site. It was an interesting place… it included videos that were homemade as well as a few that were cheesy professional ones. I get a kick out of some kinds of porn. It’s definitely not a genre for the high minded. Sometimes people upload clips from kinky mainstream TV shows and movies. I clicked on one that was in a foreign language… and I realized that I understood some of what was being said. It turned out someone had uploaded a clip from an Armenian soap opera or movie. The environment was weirdly familiar, too. I was hoping we could have visited Armenia by now, but the pandemic messed up those plans.

I ended up watching the whole clip from the Armenian show. I had a good laugh and was pleasantly surprised, because it was relatively well done compared to what was available when I lived there in the 90s. There was really nothing particularly pornographic about the clip. I mean, it was totally PG mainstream, something you might see on prime time television. I could post it here and not be embarrassed or ashamed. I just thought it was funny that I randomly clicked on a video on a porn site that happened to be from Armenia. I doubt the same could be said for the German clips that get uploaded.

I don’t usually watch whole porn clips, because I find them way too cringey. Some of it is just too raw for me. I don’t like looking at nudity or violence. I don’t like bad acting. Watching people having sex is boring– especially when it’s porn sex, which has no element of reality to it whatsoever. I’d rather read something fascinating and a little kinky rather than watch it. But when you’ve been alone for weeks, sometimes you get desperate for entertainment. I think the Sims should make an R or even X rated version of the game for old people like me.

My parents had this album on 8 Track. That’s how old and obscure it is. I uploaded it a few years ago, since I don’t think anyone else had at the time. Glen Campbell was very accomplished on the bagpipes. He should have made more music on them.

At least there’s music… like this gorgeous bagpipe arrangement played by the late Glen Campbell (incidentally, a distant cousin of Bill’s). I suspect I’ll be listening to a lot of music today, as I pass the historically dullest day of the week… Sunday. In Germany, Sunday is even duller, since everything is closed. But everything is closed anyway, so it’s like everyday is Sunday. Actually, that’s not quite true. The grocery stores, flower shops, hair salons, and book shops are open. I think you can buy garden supplies. And maybe in two weeks, more stuff will open up.

Anyway… just a few more days until Bill comes home. Until then, I’ll keep watching old movies, the odd porn clips, and listening to obscure music. Maybe I’ll come up with something interesting to write about. Maybe I’ll even resort to writing fiction. Perhaps now is the time to start a fiction blog, now that the stalker has finally fucked off. Or… put it this way… I no longer care what she reads. Legal remedy is complete… for now.

Gentle Bill turned me on to The Bloodhound Gang.

Perhaps there really is something to that old saying, “Shut up before we really give you something to cry about.” I used to hear that a lot when I was growing up. And I often ended up crying, anyway, either because my feelings were hurt or my ass was sore and smarting from a “spanking” (which was more like an enraged beating). I don’t cry much anymore, though. Don’t have the hormones or the tear ducts anymore. LOL… funny enough, I wouldn’t mind getting a spanking today. As long as it was Bill who delivered it. He’s gentle and I’m bored and frustrated… and a trifle kinky. But not kinky enough to cry while I give someone a lapdance. And the world heaves a collective sigh of relief…

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complaints, Germany, housekeeping tips

My new vacuum is a German speaker…

When Bill told me he was going away for three weeks, I said I was going to buy myself a “present”. Most women would buy themselves some earrings or something. What did I do? I bought a fucking vacuum cleaner. But it’s not your ordinary vacuum. This one is a dry/wet vacuum. It’s like a hybrid steam mop and vacuum. It has an app, and “speaks”. I didn’t decide to buy it for its ability to speak, though. I bought it because it’s cordless, upright, and lighter than my corded Dyson, which I’ve been dragging around for the past few years.

This guy did a review. He’s in America, though, so his vacuum speaks English.

Supposedly, I can change the language in the app, but I wasn’t able to access it yesterday, even after I registered and got an email confirming that I did. Somehow, I wasn’t able to click on anything that shows them I received their verification and would allow me to set a password.

Tineco is supposedly very responsive, but I left them a message on their Facebook page and, so far, nada. I also found it rather concerning that there was a sticker on the vacuum that asked consumers not to take the vacuum to the store, but to contact customer service. I’m not sure how to take that. But anyway, I haven’t tried it out yet. By the time it got to me, it was late afternoon, and it took some time to remove it from its box. Every part was wrapped in plastic and shrouded in cardboard. Since I’m still in pain from my recent spills, I’m moving slower than usual and was in no mood to mess with the new toy. Aside from that, it needed time to charge.

Ah well… I’m sure I can learn the German phrases uttered by my new cleaning buddy. As long as I can figure out how to use the damned thing and it does what it’s supposed to, I’ll be happy. I think Dysons are overrated. I’ve had several of them, and they never quite live up to the hype. I decided to buy my current one only because the Dirt Devil I had when we first moved back to Germany fell apart after less than a year. The Dyson may not suck as well as it should, but at least it doesn’t fall apart. And at least it’s not designed so that when I round a corner and the machine brushes against the wall, it doesn’t accidentally hit the power button and shut off the vacuum. That happened many times with the Dirt Devil.

For some reason, upright vacuums are hard to find in Germany. Everybody seems to prefer canister vacs without powered heads. I find the canister vacuum cumbersome and annoying, and I hate using it. So hopefully, this new vacuum with be good for lighter jobs, especially since Noyzi deposits so much hair all over the place and tracks mud on the floors.

In other news, I also ordered a new laptop computer yesterday. I did so as I Skyped with my mom. I don’t really need a laptop that badly, as the one I have currently is mostly used for travel purposes and I’m not traveling nowadays. However, it’s also seven years old, and doesn’t move as smoothly or efficiently as it used to. Of course, I have a feeling that my fucking credit card company might have declined the charge, since I rarely charge things and this is a high dollar item. Usually, they text me to get my approval, but I never got a text last night, and the pending charge isn’t showing up on my bill anymore. So that will probably mean calling them, which is a pain in the ass, since I pretty much hate calling people. I might just say fuck it and either use another card or wait until I’m feeling impulsive again. Like I said, I don’t need a new computer so much as I want one.

I’m not as sore as I was yesterday, though I still have some pain from the bruises and actual wounds. My knees look even uglier than they did when I photographed them the other day. The left one has developed a light brown scab, while the right one has a dark red one. The bruises are slowly changing color. Last time I saw the one on my right knee, it was kind of greenish, while the one on the left is more bluish.

Arran continues to wake me up in the wee hours of the morning, but I am a lot more careful about going up and down the stairs now. Don’t want to have another accident. Next time, I might fall on my face, and I don’t need to be any uglier there.

My former student in Armenia, who now works for the Peace Corps, has asked me to make a very short video in honor of the 60th anniversary of the agency. That will mean putting on some makeup, which I haven’t done in weeks. Maybe I’ll make a new selfie, too. The one I’m using now is a year old, although I look kind of pretty in it. It was taken just before we went to France for the annual wine expo, which I believe was postponed this year. It’s a shock to see how much things have changed in just a year’s time. Now, Angela Merkel and her pals are talking about extending the fucking lockdown until March 28th. I suspect people will freak out.

I was feeling a bit depressed and sad for the future yesterday. I probably shouldn’t read so much doom porn in the papers. Every day, it’s more about COVID-19, and how new variants are popping up. I read comments from people who are all about living life the way it is now. I read articles about how the governors of Texas and Mississippi have decided to end the mask mandates and allow businesses to reopen. I hate the fucking face masks, and being forced to wear them is very depressing for me. However, I am not dumb enough to believe that it’s safe for everything to open up, especially in the United States.

At the same time, I’m tired of all of the hostility and disrespect people have for each other. Everyone is on edge, and there’s no room for differences of opinions. People who don’t want to take the vaccine are being harangued by honor graduates of the Google School of Public Health. To be sure, I have no issues getting vaccinated myself. As soon as I can get the shot, I probably will, mainly because Bill will turn into Pat Boone if I don’t. But I can understand why some people don’t want to be vaccinated. Some people are legitimately afraid of the vaccine, for whatever reason. It should be their decision, even if I don’t agree with it– as long as they aren’t directly working with vulnerable people. Being rude, derisive, and confrontational towards people who aren’t with the official program is not the way to change their minds. Same thing I’ve been saying about the fucking face masks. All that behavior does is polarize people even more.

But… as it is now, the fucking vaccine will take awhile to get to us. I am low on the priority list. And I suppose that is how it should be, since I’m not officially high risk and I live like a hermit anyway. It sucks, though… and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I don’t think about checking out on a daily basis. This is nothing new for me, as I have often felt like this even before COVID-19 was a thing. It doesn’t mean I’m planning to off myself, either. It’s more like I feel like I’m stuck at a never-ending party that isn’t fun anymore and I’d like to go home and go to bed. 🙂 And since I have no real purpose, other than to feed my dogs and make Bill laugh, I wonder what the point is of staying.

Anyway… at least the weather is getting somewhat better and the days are getting longer. I’m hoping the backyard will dry out some and we’ll get some grass back after Noyzi destroyed the lawn. At least we can sit outside and drink cocktails, right? And listen to music from a time when things were less bleak, exhausting, and downright annoying.

I guess I’ll go try out my new German speaking vacuum now… and maybe put on some makeup and make a video for Stepan. Have a special day.

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Bill, musings

One night down…

I can’t think of anything earth shattering to write about this morning. I guess the one thing I can say is that I survived the first night of the first TDY in a year. This isn’t anything new for me. Over the past 18 years, I’ve spent a lot of nights alone. Bill has always had to travel for his job. This particular TDY is longer than most, though. He wont’ be back home until March is more than halfway done.

I think we’re both getting tired of these kinds of trips. I was very fortunate as an Army wife, though, since Bill’s one deployment was for just six months. Granted, he spent those six months with a narcissistic jerk of a boss who made his life a living hell, but he made it home in one piece and, more or less, mentally sound. Having grown up with a father who was tormented by PTSD after the Vietnam War, I am very grateful Bill isn’t similarly afflicted.

I probably wouldn’t be so bitchy about it this year if we hadn’t spent the last several months locked down. In previous years, we’ve been able to go on vacations or even just out to eat. Or we could plan something for the future. The current lockdown is set to expire on March 7, but Angela Merkel is talking about extending it even longer. People are getting PISSED, too. Businesses are suffering, and some are wondering how they will be able to keep afloat. Germans are generally very law abiding and cooperative, but even they have their limits.

Bill was allowed to travel because he’s on business. No doubt, the people who run the little hotel where he’s staying are happy for three weeks of revenue. However, Bill did tell me that last night, he had to wait for the proprietor to arrive and unlock the hotel. When Bill put on a mask, the guy shook his said it was “okay” because he’s already had COVID-19. Um… I’m not so sure that means he’s not still at risk. I did have a chuckle, though, since it just goes to show that even the notoriously anal retentive law abiders of Deutschland will still bend the rules sometimes.

Vaccine roll out has been extremely slow here, too. This is a rare time when I’m kind of glad to be American, because Bill and I will probably be able to get vaccinated sooner on post than we could on the economy. Bill has already told me he will be dragging me by the hair to get my shot… not that I would refuse it. One positive thing I got from being in the Peace Corps is that I don’t get too upset by needles, as long as no one tries to dig for a vein. I’m usually fine with shots.

Last night, I watched a live stream of Vince Gill and Lyle Lovett. I’m a big fan of both of these guys. I saw Vince play with the Eagles in 2019, and Lyle played Stuttgart in 2009 and we attended that show. It was a great show. Both Lyle and Vince were so normal and it was obvious to me that they’ve been friends a long time. I enjoyed the stories they shared and the songs, some of which were ones I hadn’t heard. Vince did one song that was a tribute to John Prine. I loved it. I don’t think he’s released it yet, but it was very witty and kind of poignant… the perfect tribute, really. John Prine was such a gifted songwriter.

I don’t play with quite this much style yet, but I’m getting better by the week.

What was especially cool, though, was the effect watching had on me. At the end of the streaming session, they played “If I Needed You” by Townes Van Zandt. Next thing I knew, I grabbed my guitar and joined them. I went to Chordify, figured out the easiest way to play (using a capo on the 6th or 8th frets), and played along. I did well enough that I might be ready to record it sometime soon. Maybe that will be my goal before Bill comes home next month. That, and finishing reading my latest book. It’s time for a fresh review.

Bill was sad to leave yesterday. I think Arran knew he was going. I got a few photos of them before Bill had to go. Yes, there were tears. Bill made me lunch before he went and had a few tears in his eyes before he kissed me goodbye. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a kind and loving man for my husband and life partner. But you can see why I really miss him when he’s not here. He’s the best. Arran sure loves him. Noyzi is slowly coming around.

I did tell Bill I hope he’ll do what he can to bolster his cybersecurity skills. He earned a second master’s degree in cybersecurity a few years ago, but he hasn’t had a chance to put it to use. It’s a hot field, and perhaps working in cybersecurity might help curb the lengthy separations that exercise planning requires. Granted, he’s in a niche field now, and has good job security, but there’s more to life than money. After 18 years of this, I think we’re both a bit tired.

Edited to add… I was inspired to make a video.

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stupid people

The Brady Bunch isn’t a benchmark for real life…

I could be writing about Donald Trump’s unfortunate and blatant lies about how doctors and mothers “execute” healthy babies after birth. Obviously, he’s feeling the heat as the next election comes up, trying to rally the stupid and gullible to vote for him. I certainly could come up with a few minutes worth of ranting about his latest outrageous untruths, which, in my view, really should knock him out of contention for a second presidential term, in and of themselves. But I’m not going to go there right now. I’d rather write about The Brady Bunch.

I happen to be a super fan of The Brady Bunch. I was born in 1972, midway through its run. By the time I was a small child, the show was in syndication. I used to love to watch it, because the Bradys seemed like such a perfect family. One memorable episode that has recently come into news was one from 1969, in which all of the Brady kids come down with the measles at the same time. Apparently, anti-vaxers have been using that quaint sitcom episode as an example of what it’s like to have measles. They’re saying that the Brady kids didn’t suffer when they had the measles. They weren’t very sick, and were able to eat and play Monopoly to their hearts’ content while their parents slaved to make them well again. They got a few days off from school and lived happily ever after… at least until The Bradys aired in 1990. Yes, it’s an idyllic episode and one of my favorites. But it’s not reality.

As I got older, I realized that The Brady Bunch didn’t represent reality, even though I still liked watching the show. Unfortunately, it seems that some people are using this old sitcom as “proof” that all of the hullabaloo about vaccinations is just a bunch of hooey. It surprises me that people are really that dumb, but just like the ones who believe doctors and mothers are “executing” newborn babies, there are people out there who think it’s alright to spread the measles and skip the vaccines.

Lots of people have had measles and survived the experience just fine, but there have also been folks who have suffered dire consequences of having come down with the viral illness. Some people have even died. A couple of weeks ago, an Israeli flight attendant who was vaccinated as a child but lost her immunity, came down with measles and wound up in a coma. One potential complication of measles is encephalitis, which is a potentially deadly brain inflammation. That’s what happened to the flight attendant, who was presumably in good health before she got sick with this “harmless” childhood disease. Her doctors have said they’re now hoping for the best.

In New York City, where there’s a measles outbreak going on, twenty-nine people have had to be hospitalized due to the disease. Six of those people have had to be in intensive care. If they survive, there will be quite a huge hospital bill waiting for each of them. If they don’t survive, their nexts of kin will be dealing with the bills.

Another major potential complication of measles is pneumonia, which is sometimes fatal, particularly for those who are already immunocompromised. Even if pneumonia doesn’t kill you, it’s not a very pleasant illness and it often requires medical help to overcome. That means a loss of time, money, and productivity.

Even the person who uploaded this seems to think the measles are “harmless”…

I realize that people don’t like to be told what they should or shouldn’t do. No one wants to be “forced” to have unwanted shots. Some people still resent seatbelt and helmet laws. But, speaking as someone with an advanced degree in public health, I’m here to tell you that vaccines are scientifically proven to reduce the risks related to these childhood illnesses. The vaccinations are proven to be an effective way to cut down on measles infections. Sure, it’s a mild illness for many people, but why take the chance of getting it when all you have to do is get a little shot? Why take the chance that you might spread it to someone who will get very sick and possibly even die?

Same thing goes for the mumps. People think of it as no big thing, but one of the potential complications is meningitis, which is a deadly spinal infection. Encephalitis, which is a brain infection, is another potentially serious complication of the mumps. It can also lead to swollen testicles, swollen ovaries and breast tissue, and hearing loss. Most people won’t experience these serious complications, but why risk getting the mumps if you don’t have to? Are you that eager to see your genitals swell?

The science behind vaccinations has been around for hundreds of years. Some of the vaccines that people are avoiding have existed for decades and have proven to lower the risk of contracting these diseases. But really, I just want to know… why in the hell would anyone get their information about measles from a 50 year old episode of a show like The Brady Bunch? Do people go to Spongebob Squarepants to learn about marine biology? Even Sherwood Schwartz, the man behind The Brady Bunch and its measles episode, had his children vaccinated against the disease. I’m sure he had no way of knowing his cute little measles episode would turn into an excuse for people to be foolish and risk their health, or that of their children’s.

If you’re going to look to The Brady Bunch for an idea of how measles might affect the average person, I think you should also look to the old show, ER, for another view. The 2001 episode, “A Walk in the Woods” shows just what can happen when those “rare” complications strike in a childhood illness. The link will take you to the full episode and, hopefully, some food for thought… especially if you have young children. And, unlike The Brady Bunch, it’s a relatively modern look at a so-called harmless disease.

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