The Riddle of Friendship

As I’ve stated elsewhere, I don’t have a lot of friends. If you were to look on my Facebook friends list, you’d see 83 friends, as of this writing. That sounds like a lot, but when you stack that against an allowed total of 5,000, it’s minuscule.

Of course, the quality of friendship is the most important aspect to counting a person as “friend.” At least to me. I’d rather have 7 close friends than 500 acquaintances.

Being a good friend is something I’ve struggled with. I think, in large part, to my struggles with mental health. My own paranoia, depression, general anxiety, and (I’d like to think) low-grade narcissism often get in the way of my becoming close friends with anyone, save those with whom I’ve been acquainted with for many years.

So it comes as no great shock to me when one friend or another gets irritated with me for not being there for them in their time of need. I am too much in my head to stop and help others. Don’t get me wrong, I would help were I able, of course. I just can’t get out of my own way in order to help. This makes me a bad friend.

I make no apologies for this because I cannot help others if I am not in a position to help myself. In order for me to help anyone, I have to offer that help from a position of strength.

Still, I try to, at the least, listen if a friend is having difficulties. My tendency is to offer advice, but, in most cases, simply listening is the one thing people in distress really want. This is cathartic and helps the person feel like someone cares. And I do care.

Sometimes the only thing I can do is listen. I don’t have the means to do much, if anything, else. I can’t solve the problem for them. All I can do is listen.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t always succeed at even listening. I’m human. I screw up. All I can do is apologize and hope I don’t screw up in the future.

So if you’ve needed or asked for help from me in the past, and I didn’t provide it, I’m sorry. Life is hard and I’d doing the best I can.

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Why I Don’t Smile

I’ve been depressed most of my life. I’ve been an outsider, a loner. It has never been easy for me to make friends, no matter where I have gone.

And somewhere along the way, I forgot how to smile.

I don’t smile very often. Sure, I put on a “brave face” for work, since I deal with the public. But inside I’m not smiling. I’m not happy. And I don’t know how to find happiness anymore.

Looking back over my life I see a lot of hardships. While my life hasn’t been as hard as some, it’s been plenty hard. This isn’t a competition and you shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that because I am talking about how hard my life has been that I am dismissive of the hardship of others. That said, let’s move on.

Growing up in California in the 1970’s was an interesting time. I don’t remember too much about it, save that my parents spent an inordinate amount of time hurting each other, either with words or fists. Why, one time my father even held a screwdriver to my mother’s throat and told my brother and I if we cried or made any sound at all he’d kill her. FUN!

So, yeah, I’ve always lived in house with conflict. I learned from an early age not to show emotion, because that’s when the belt would come off and the yelling would start.

After my parents split (Surprise! I come from a broken home! Are you shocked yet?) both my parents started dating other people. My mother dated several men, only one was a decent sort. The rest were trash and treated her like crap.

Things didn’t improve when we got to Georgia. Mom did her best to provide for us and we were all reasonably happy, I suppose. We had food, clothes, a warm place to sleep, and we were relatively comfortable. We were redefining the poverty line, but, at the time, I didn’t have any concept of such things.

When mom remarried we entered another house full of conflict. The early years of mom’s second marriage were some of the most tumultuous of my life. I suddenly had three stepsisters and a stepbrother, none of whom wanted anything to do with me. They tolerated my brother, though. He was always the most personable of the two of us.

Living in the house then was like a microcosm of the United Nations: constantly dealing with geopolitical maneuvering to “win” against the “enemy”, that is, the parent who wasn’t your biological parent. In my case, my stepfather was the “enemy.”

(To be honest, he still is, I suppose, since he is insistent on being a living shitheal, but that’s beside the point. Or maybe that is the point. Who knows?)

I should probably go to therapy, but I can’t afford it.

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Open Thread Thursday: Coronavirus

It’s Thursday! Which means it’s time for OPEN THREAD THURSDAY! This week’s topic: coronavirus!

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, the viruses cause respiratory infections which are typically mild including the common cold but rarer forms like SARS, MERS and the currently outbreaking coronavirus can be lethal. In cows and pigs they may cause diarrhea, while in chickens they can cause an upper respiratory disease. There are no vaccines or antiviral drugs that are approved for prevention or treatment.

Coronaviruses are viruses in the subfamily Orthocoronavirinae in the family Coronaviridae, in the order Nidovirales.[4][5] Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and with a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry. The genomic size of coronaviruses ranges from approximately 26 to 32 kilobases, the largest for an RNA virus.

The name “coronavirus” is derived from the Latin corona, meaning crown or halo, which refers to the characteristic appearance of the virus particles (virions): they have a fringe reminiscent of a royal crown or of the solar corona.

More Info HERE: Coronavirus

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Concerned World Citizen

I’m a concerned world citizen. Sure, I am an American (don’t hold that against me, please) but I’m also a citizen of the world, a member of the human species, and quite concerned about the state of the world as a whole.

When I look around at current events, I see a looming epidemic in the caronavirus, Australia is (still) burning (though the 24 hour news cycle has stopped reporting on it), France is on the verge of another Revolution (if it has not already tipped over by the time this article goes live), there’s a real possibility of a civil war in America, Britain is leaving the European Union as of today (31 January, 2020), and the impeachment trial of American president Donald Trump is all but over with an almost certain acquittal by spineless “Americans” who just love their God Emperor who can do no wrong.

If I seem bitter about that last point, that’s because I am bitter about it. I don’t want to live in a fascist state, but that’s what’s happening. I’ve read a lot of dystopian novels and played a lot of dystopian role-playing games, so I’ve sort of trained for this. Maybe I can survive it.

I don’t know how much longer this world is going to last. I know there is a certain segment of the population that believes we are living in the “last days” or whatever, but that’s total crap.

We are of the verge of enormous societal change, and that’s scary as all hell, but the human species will continue. Or some of us will. We are a hardy species and unless we completely destroy our environment, like seriously warm the planet through some sort of “global warming” or climate change or something like that, we should be okay.

Wait. . . .

Uh oh. . . .

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Regrets are the biggest issue for me. As I get older, I recently suffered my 49th birthday, I realize that my regrets are weighing on me more and more these days.

Chief among these regrets is that I got old. Sure, I know what you’re thinking, ‘Goon, everyone gets old.’ That may be true, but it’s not the biological aging I’m regretting. There’s noting I can do about that.

No, I’m talking about the regrets of missed opportunities. I regret not living my best life all these years. I regret not reaching out more. I regret not completing school. I regret not figuring out who I am sooner and I deeply regret not doing something about it sooner so I could spare the feelings of so-called friends who are now not even a factor in my life.

In middle school, there was a bully named Brian who picked on me relentlessly. I regret not smashing his skull open. I hope your life is miserable, full of fear and hatred. I hope you’re poor, sickly, and without hope. You deserve every minute of your personal hell. I hope you die unfulfilled and screaming for your mommy.

In middle school, there was a girl I had a crush on named Kristen. I regret not telling her how I felt, even though I know she didn’t feel that way about me and likely never would.

In high school, there was a young man who expressed his desire for an intimate relationship with me. I won’t mention his name here. I regret not exploring that relationship. Like many high school aged kids, I was scared of what other people thought (even if I told people and acted as if it weren’t true). I doubt he’ll read this, but I apologize for trivializing your feelings and laughing at the thought of us together. I hurt you deeply. I know that now and I apologize.

I regret so many things, events I wish I could change, actions taken. I can’t though. My avatar is the TARDIS from Doctor Who. If I had a real TARDIS, I could at least try to change a few of these regrets. But, that is fantasy. The reality is that I have to find a way to live with my regrets; to unload the emotional baggage I’ve accumulated over the past 49 years.

I don’t know how to do that. Not in any healthy manner, at least.

Any ideas?

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Confessions of a Scared Transgirl, Part One

I’ve never been out in public dressed as my female self, except for one time at a party. I was stared at and made fun of the whole time I was there. Ironically, the majority of the party goers were themselves LGB. I guess being CIS is all that matters to some people.

I’ve worn a dress outside the house only once before and only to check the mail. I ran back inside in case a car came along and saw me.

I doubt I will ever dress up and go outside again. The world just doesn’t like gender variant/non-conforming folks; too many people kill us just for existing. It’s hard to be yourself when society wants to kill you for daring to draw breath, for existing.

I’d love to go to the mall and shop for shoes or whatever or just to walk around while dressed up in my best dress and heels. That will never happen, though. I just don’t have the courage to be myself in such a hate filled environment.

So enjoy your hollow victory, bigots. You win.

A Scared Transgirl

Posted in General, GLBT, Personal, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Social Observations | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Upgrading the Site

You may have noticed the sticky post at the top of the front page entitled “Donate to the Cause.” The reason that is there is so I can raise the funds to upgrade this site to a premium site. To do that, I need the $180 to cover the next two years.

If you’re of a mind to help, please consider doing so. You can donate to the site at the link, above.


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The Start of a Time Travel/War Story

477 B.C.E.

I sat down on a rock and looked around at the others in the caravan. Like them, I was dressed in a flowing white robe to ward off the days heat. Unlike them, I kept my face covered and I was wearing heavy leather boots made from 33rd Century materials. So far, no one had commented on my footwear, though I noticed most of the caravan had looked them over at least once.

I glanced around to see if anyone was paying me any attention. They weren’t and I checked my wrist computer. It was an old 24th Century model, but it still worked for what I needed it to do. My computer implants had stopped working, not just for the lack of networks to connect to in this Bronze Age world, but I was getting no information from them at all, a sure sign on damage suffered from the temporal jump. The wrist computer at least let me keep track of where I was, the time of day, the temperature, and so forth.

Concealed under my arm was a snub-nosed submachine gun. I only had three 60-round magazines for it, so I had used it sparingly since I arrived three weeks ago. I kept it well concealed from the others. I also had a .25 caliber pistol with two magazines and two K-Bar knives for close in work. So far, I hadn’t needed to use any of the knives or the pistol.

It was nearing midday and, according to my map, there should be an oasis not far from here. Maybe another three hours to go before we arrived there. I surveyed the landscape ahead of us using my goggles’ built in telescopic lenses and saw nothing of any note. I briefly considered switching to infrared to spot any concealed threats, but gave it up as a bad idea since it was nearing midday and everything would be warm.

It was habit for me to check all spectra since my job as a Ranger was to find and destroy enemy units. Old habits are hard to break, as the old saying goes. Well, old to me, anyway. I’m not sure its even been invented yet, considering where, and when, I am.

A soft buzzing noise altered me to a possible problem. A communications signal! I looked around to make sure not of the locals heard the sound, then quickly checked my computer. Sure enough, there was a tracking signal coming from the east about two miles from my present location. I scanned the route ahead and carefully chose a location where I could quietly break away from the caravan to go check it out.

A few seconds later, another buzzing caught my attention, this one internal, as my implanted computer suddenly came to life. It immediately interfaced with my wrist computer, and after three long seconds of handshaking, beeped that it had updated itself with the new information the wrist computer collected after my implants had shut down.

I breathed a little easier since with the implants, I could access information quicker and quieter than with the wrist model. I put the wrist model into standby, which activated its passive sensors. This would automatically feed information to my implants and wold kick back into full “awake mode” if my implants failed again.

I stood up as the caravan began to move forward again. I hung back automatically dropping into the tail end Charlie position out of habit, but also necessity. I needed to be able to slip away and this would be the simplest way to do that once I reached the optimal distance from the signal’s source.

A short walk later and I slipped away from the caravan unnoticed, as I risked using a few percentage points of power in my combat harness to slip into chameleon mode, temporarily taking the coloration of the surrounding desert.
Once I was far enough away from the others, I turned the device off to conserve power. I had 83 per cent power left to power a full suite of combat and survival gear and the chameleon circuits drained power faster than any other system, save rocket jumping.

The signal lead me to a small range of hills and I approached them cautiously. No telling what, or who, was behind the signal, though I was hoping beyond hope it was a beacon to get me back to the 33rd Century.

I climbed a small hill and when I neared the top, I dropped to my stomach to get a better view and to not present a tempting target for anyone who happened to be watching in my direction. I peered over the summit and saw a large crate. Or, at least, that’s the first thing I thought of when I saw it.

It was box-like, deep blue in color, and appeared to be marked with a series of numbers: 144B-5571.

The numbers were meaningless to me. I was more concerned with the signal coming from it, which was strong. It was an Alliance distress signal. This signal would penetrate deep into the space/time continuum and could be heard by all Alliance member states, as well as our own Protectorate forces.

I scanned for life forms and found none. With any luck, I could alter the signal and get rescued by Protectorate forces before any Alliance goons showed up to harass me or claim this prize. Running a life form scan a second time, paranoia is a way of life these days, and finding nothing, I slowly made my way down the hill towards the blue crate marked 144B-5571.

* * * * *

A short while later, I had managed to alter the signal enough to send it to a Protectorate frequency. Now I just needed to wait until someone showed up to get me. I didn’t bother to try to open the crate, since I probably couldn’t get into the actual crate itself. The best I could do was to get to the electronics outside to alter the signal, so I didn’t even try.

I dd notice that the crate had a recharging port, so I used it to recharge my suit to full power. Once that was done, I concealed myself in the foothills not far from the crate and waiting until the rescue party showed up.
I hadn’t long to wait, it turned out, but the people who arrived to “help” weren’t the ones I wanted help from.

477 B.C.E.

Harjiniar. A minor faction involved in the temporal conflict, though not an insignificant one. Harjiniar are a race of humanoid serpents who are mean, xenophobic, and utterly without compassion. They generally wear heavy metal armor constructed of layers of titanium alloy mixed with several other elements no one has identified as yet. The armor was tough. Tough enough to withstand my own rounds, which were depleted uranium armor piercing rounds. They simply flatten against their armor, though the kinetic energy isn’t dissipated, which means I could knock them around for as long as my ammo lasted, but unless I hit a weak spot in one of the joints, or the face shield, body shots were out.

There were five of the creatures in the squad. Three of them, I could see, were low ranking enlisted, probably equivalent to privates or private first class in our own system of ranks. One was a corporal and one a sergeant. The sergeant rasped out a sibilant noise and the others quickly moved to obey.

One of the Harjiniar placed a flat box about four inches on a side with three large buttons on it on the blue box and pushed the central button. It glowed and angry red and I could just make out the sibilant tones of a countdown in progress. My implants helpfully translated the Harjiniar language into English. I had about two minutes until the box, a beacon for a retrieval unit, whisked the blue box back into the future.

I activated my chameleon circuits since the Harjiniar sensors have trouble picking up our combat suits if the chameleon circuits are active. The sergeant of the squad barked out a series of orders in quick succession quickly and effectively organizing his squad in a defensive perimeter around the box.

I switched my fire selector switch to semi-automatic and took careful aim after checking my power readings. I was already down to 92 per cent power. I had to end this quickly or I would be vulnerable. And I needed that box.

Unfortunately, the sergeant, easily the most dangerous of the five, had placed himself out of my immediate line of fire. So, I settled my reticule on the closest Harjiniar soldier. I controlled my breathing, let my targeting computer steady my aim, and squeezed the trigger.

I expended a round.

The submachine gun coughed once, a sound barely louder than someone quietly clearing their throat, and the depleted uranium round bore through the hardened glass visor of the soldier closest to me with a barely audible “plink.”

A moment later, nor more than a millisecond, the explosive round detonated inside the skull of the Harjiniar soldier forcing the shattered skull, his ruined brain, and bile out the only way it could exit: the ruined face plate. His body hit the ground with a soft thump and a rattle of heavy armor.

The remaining soldiers, alarmed that one of their own was slain, started shouting and the sergeant quickly got his troops under control. I was impressed. This Harjiniar knew how to command his troops quite well.

As I moved away, still under chameleon cover, I checked my power levels: 88 per cent. The sergeant, not willing to risk another quick kill shot, ordered what the military on Earth in the 20th Century called a “Mad Minute.” The principal was to fire at anything and everything in a one minute span that looked questionable, suspicious, or threatening.

The Harjiniar took full advantage of the opportunity to spray down the surrounding area with jacketed anti-protons, the energy weapon of choice of the Harjiniar military.

This was bad for me for three reasons: one, the energy beams could destroy whatever conver I had rapidly; two, the anti-proton emissions interfered with the chameleon circuits, which means I would be detectable to their sensors, and three, if they managed to hit me, I’d be vaporized in less time that it would take to explain it.

As predicted, I started getting failure alerts from the computer about my chameleon circuit, so I made the choice to conserve power and simply shut it off. If I didn’t, it would probably back feed into the rest of the suit and cause life support failure or catastrophic systems failure. Either would be bad, especially the life support, since I was vulnerable to various pathogens and illnesses of the era while I carried the potential for disease the likes of which Earth wouldn’t recover from for a long time to come should they get out.

I snuck a quick look at my power readings: 82 per cent and holding steady after the chameleon circuit was disabled. The mad minute ceased and I popped up, fixed a target in my sights, and squeezed the trigger.
I expended another round.

As before, the targets head was demolished when the round struck the target. I quickly ducked back down behind cover and slide down two hundred feet as the large boulder I was hiding behind ceased to exist above me.

I moved laterally trying to find another boulder to pop up from to take another shot when I heard more orders from the sergeant below. The retrieval beacon was nearly ready and the two remaining soldiers were to cover the sergeant while he entered the final code to steal the crate, and them, back to their own time.
More firing from the remaining Harjiniar as I wound my way to another boulder. I risked a short hop, no more than fifty feet up to the ridge line and, thankfully undetected, took careful aim, this time on the sergeants faceplate.

Unfortunately, the sergeants head was turned away from me so I had no clear shot. Instead, I took careful aim at his hand as he reached out to enter the final code. I quickly controlled my breathing, checked my sight picture, engaged the targeting computer, and squeezed the trigger.

I expended another round.

The outside, or the back of the hand, of the sergeants glove was as tough as any other part of his armor. The inner side, the palm of the glove, had to be more flexible, and thus more vulnerable to my bullets.

His had exploded. Severed to the wrist as he reached out for the controls. He screamed obscenities while clutching his bloody stump to his chest, doubling over in pain and shock. The corporal, seeing his leader was stricken, made the fatal error of running to his side and looking back up towards where he thought the round came from.

I expended another round.

The corporals faceplate exploded outward and his body slumped to the desert floor. The remaining unwounded Harjiniar frantically started firing into the surrounding area. Thankfully, he seemed to be in a panic and was firing well wide of where I was. I took careful aim.

I expended another round.

The private fell to the ground with a ruined face and skull, his frantic firing stopped permanently.

As I was about to finish off the sergeant, another group of Harjiniar arrived at the same instant a squad of Alliance troops arrived. The two groups starred at each other in shock for a moment, then started firing frantically at each other.
The Alliance weapons were on par with the Harjiniar and both sides were quickly cut to ribbons. I didn’t see what happened to the sergeant who’s hand I had ruined, but a quick scan with my sensors told me there were no life forms in the small valley below.

I cautiously made my way down to the blue box, none the worse for the wear despite taking several stray shots from both Alliance and Harjiniar weapons, and recharged my suit.

I fiddled with the Harjiniar homing beacon and managed to set it to the 33rd Century. After a careful clean up of the battlefield, using a series of RFID tags, I activated the beacon and felt the pull of the temporal vortex whisk me back home.

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Why Rose Tico is the Mirror Star Wars Fandom Needs

Kellie Marie Tran, the actress that portrays Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi was forced off of social media due to fan backlash, much of it directed towards her race and gender.

I contend that Rose Tico is the mirror Star Wars fandom needs to find itself again. I will explain.


When we first meet Tico, she’s doing her job in the bowels of the Rebel ship as it tries to make its escape from the First Order. She catches Finn as he tries to slip away and reminds him, as any true believer to a cause should, what he’s fighting for.

You see, Tico wholeheartedly believes in the way things were much like the fandom believes that only the original trilogy is truly Star Wars, even though all the movies are truly Star Wars.

Star Wars is more than Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, and Jedi Knights. It’s more than one story arc, which is what we’re seeing in the Episodes, what Disney refers to as Saga Films.

(Rogue One and Solo aren’t considered Saga Films even though they tie directly into the events (Rogue One) and characters (Solo) who are in the Saga Films.)

You see, Rose Tico wants Finn to be a hero. As the audience does. She expects him to be a hero by virtue of his presence on the Rebel ship. She wants a hero of old, like a Luke Skywalker, like a Han Solo, to help save the day and fight the First Order.

One of the unfair comparisons I’ve seen from fandom is how Finn doesn’t stack up to Han Solo or Luke Skywalker, chiefly because of his skin color. That is, of course, the laziest of reasons to dislike a character in existence. I’ve also seen such comparisons between Harrison Ford’s Solo and Oscar Issac’s Poe Dameron that are just as unfair.

Rose’s idea of what a Rebel fighter should be have been colored by the stories that she grew up on. (That WE, the audience, grew up on, as well) of what a Rebel fighter should be. She epitomizes fandom in the Star Wars universe.

Rose Tico is the mirror held up to fandom, a fandom that railed and attacked Star Wars: The Force Awakens for a multitude of reasons, not the least being Finn, the Black Stormtrooper (lazy reasoning from racists), Rey, the so-called “Mary Sue,” (I see their point. I don’t agree with it.) and the plot which was an almost straight rehash of Episode IV: A New Hope. (Agreed).

I feel Rose is there to remind fandom that, while not everything, or everyone, is exactly like it was when we were kids, there is enough of those elements in place to keep Star Wars really special to all of us for long time to come.

Give Kelli Marie Tran a break will ya? She did a good job. If there are faults with The Last Jedi, it comes from the script and not her performance. Leave her alone and stop being dicks to people.

Posted in Entertainment, General, Movie Reviews | 4 Comments

Donate to the Cause

If you like what you see here, and you’d like to see more of it, please consider donating some spare change to the cause. Your donation helps me to pay bills, which in turn, allows me the time to write more interesting blog posts.

You can donate at the following link using any funding source accepted by PayPal:


Any amount is helpful and greatly appreciated.


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