Health Care Opportunity

The AARP April 2021 newsletter indicates that there is a new window for signing up for a health plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  President Biden directed the HHS to reopen the enrollment period at through May 15.  Hope this helps someone, or gets passed along to someone who needs to know.

The Great Pumpkin

Many years ago, my roommate, her family and I would all go to a pumpkin patch each year for fun and to buy our pumpkins.  One year, I took a friend with me.

He decided he wanted to find the largest pumpkin there.  So I started helping him search.  Then my roommate and her family got in on the hunt.  We finally found it – probably the size of those big exercise stability balls (knee or thigh height).  We’re talking really big.

Well somewhere along the line I got it in my head that my roommate wanted to buy this thing.  And SHE got it into her head that I really wanted to buy this thing.  Fortunately, her daughter had a hatchback car (it wouldn’t fit through the door into my backseat), and she agreed to follow us home with it.  Then we had the problem of getting it into our apartment.  It finally took us loading it onto a bath towel and carrying it between us.  We got it inside, found a place to put it that wasn’t in the way (much) and only then did we somehow discover that neither of us really wanted this huge thing, we’d just agreed to it because we thought the other person did.

Well, after the time, effort and expense, of course we kept it.  And kept it.  And kept it.  After a while, pumpkins eventually start to go bad and get mushy, but not this thing.  It lasted through Christmas.  It lasted through Spring.  It lasted through Summer.  If I remember correctly, we finally got rid of it just before the next Christmas because it was near the front door and would make it difficult getting the Christmas tree.  And there was every evidence that it was STILL good when we tossed it in the dumpster.

I don’t wait for The Great Pumpkin each year like Linus does.  Been there, done that, brought the big guy home for a year.  Do not want to repeat that.  Sorry Linus.

Ads? Sure, No Problem.

Someone on Tumblr was ranting about “no ads”, particularly since we are inundated with them everywhere.

Years ago, I got a call from a marketing company.  They wanted me to promise to watch a certain television show on a certain day/time.  They were going to call me afterwards with questions.  I agreed to do it.  The day came; I watched the show.  Sure enough, they called.


“Did you see a dog food commercial?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did you see a commercial for a car?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did you see a commercial about hair products?”

“I don’t know.”

“I thought you said you watched the show!”

“I did watch the show.  You didn’t tell me I had to watch the commercials, so I didn’t.”


They can insist on foisting them on us, but I’m very good at ignoring them!

And the more “in your face” that they get, the less likely I am to buy anything from them.  Ever.  Offer it to me, okay.  But don’t try to shove it down my throat.  You won’t like the rebound.

Up for Grabs #9

Wherein I have written something, whether a single line or two, or several paragraphs, but think it highly unlikely I will ever do anything with them beyond that snippet.  Therefore, they are herewith put ‘up for grabs’.  If any of you writers can and wish to make use of them, feel completely free to do so.  I don’t even require any sort of acknowledgement if you do.  You can take a tiny part of them, the thing in its entirety exactly as is, or the basic idea and completely do with it what you will.  It just seemed pointless to let these things sit ignored on my computer until the end of time, knowing full well I won’t do anything more with them.  Rest assured, if there is any idea I have even the vaguest intention of pursuing, I will not be posting it here.  So, no fear that I’ll change my mind.


[Note:  some time ago on Tumblr, someone bemoaned that black women were always portrayed stereotypically, most often as the street-smart, kickass tough.  They wanted more variety, including the girly girl who liked hair, makeup and fashion, as heroes.  Admittedly, I am not a black woman or a girly girl, so little qualified to do much with that, but the idea intrigued me, and I would also like to see more variety and less stereotyping.  So I jotted this down.  It really wouldn’t work in any of the stories I write, so I offer this snippet to anyone who wants to pursue it more.]

(beautiful young black woman, gorgeous even – at a glance, you’d think she was a model, singer, actress or such – perfect hair, perfect nails, perfect makeup, stylish clothing)

“Okay, so where is this computer genius you found for us?” he asked belligerently, barely sparing a glance at the woman primping in the mirror.

“That’s her,” she told him, gesturing to the black woman.

“Her!  You gotta be kidding me.  This is a joke, right?  We need a real genius.  NOW.  We don’t have time for your games!”

(black woman says over her shoulder to white woman)  “You don’t seriously expect me to put up with this, do you?”

“I know, I know, he’s a complete idiot, but we really need you _____.  As a favor to me.  Just ignore him for the duration and I’ll make it up to you.  Spa, total makeover, the works – whatever you want!  Please?”

“Hmmmphhh.  Trust me, I expect you to make good on that promise if I have to tolerate this goon.”

The others shifted uncomfortably, not wanting to be dragged into this debate.

“HEY!  I’m right here!  Stop talking about me like I’m stupid!”

(black woman glances at him, then shrugs)  “Okay, not a complete idiot.  He at least recognizes people describing him to each other in conversation.  So, what’s the job?”

______ reached in her backpack and pulled out a floor plan, laying it on a table as ____ put on some bangle bracelets before coming to join her.  The others had kept silent through all this but now gathered around as well, _____ trickling to the table last, still fuming.

Because, Apparently, It Needs to Be Said

You know how you get a flu shot (vaccine) each year?  Well, most people do, anyway.  That doesn’t entirely prevent you from getting the flu.  What it does is help your body be prepared to fight it off, so that you get less sick and recover more quickly if you do catch it.

The same thing is true with the COVID-19 vaccines.  They are not going to eliminate COVID entirely and protect you from ever getting it.  What they are going to do is help you fend it off, if you catch it, and it will almost assuredly keep you out of the hospital (and thus from dying).

Think of it as a suit of armor.  If you stand on a battlefield without any armor, you are in great danger of injury or death.  If you put on full armor, you have a much better chance of not being injured and are far less likely to be killed.

But your armor doesn’t protect the unarmored person standing next to you.  So you fight to protect the others since you can’t share your armor with them.

But if you don’t continue to follow the safety guidelines, it’s as if you decided that it was far easier to allow the attack on the community than to fight it.  After all, you have armor and are unlikely to be killed, even if your not fighting to defend the others means many of them will be hurt or killed.

That is why, even after you’ve been fully vaccinated, they tell you to still wear a mask and still wash your hands frequently and still social distance from others.

You are now SAFER than you were, but you are not fully exempt.  And your carelessness can increase the risk to everyone else.

I just had to explain this to my boss (as to why he still must quarantine after traveling out of the country), so apparently there are people who don’t understand the concept.

Bottom line, if you were vaccinated and grandma wasn’t, you could still end up catching COVID (a mild case) and transmit it to her, killing her since she doesn’t have that extra protection.

Please be safe and continue to follow the guidelines.  Over 525,000 (half a million!) people have died in the U.S.  We need to get this under control now.

Well, I Suppose This is Progress

We’ve finally got a government that acknowledges there is a pandemic, and is actively trying to get it under control.  The problem comes in that the vaccine is in short supply still.  Notwithstanding the doubters who still claim it isn’t real, despite over 525,000 dead from it, people can’t readily get vaccinated even if they want to.  Each state differs, and sets criteria for those who need it most urgently, but that does not necessarily translate to the “urgently need it” folks being able to get it.

They’re still hoping to have sufficient vaccine for everyone by the end of May.  I’m still hoping they figure out a more workable distribution process so that people aren’t adding that frustration to all the other aggravations they’ve suffered during this mess.

Technically, I’ve been eligible to receive it for about a month.  Have I been vaccinated?  No, because I can’t get an appointment for it.  For myself, my life is such that despite the factors making me eligible, I consider myself fairly low risk due to circumstances and my own caution.  But I do worry about those who are eligible and cannot say the same thing.  They need the vaccine as soon as possible.

Come on, folks, let’s get this done.

Help Me, Dan Koboldt, You’re My Only Hope!

Still wading through the backlog from being offline over 3 weeks.  Luckily, one of the cleanup projects is going through old emails, including blog newsletters.  I’ve let a lot of them pile up, but here’s a list of posts by Dan Koboldt that might offer useful information to writers, or just an interesting read for everyone else.

Some Blog Recommendations for Writers

Blogger/author Dan Koboldt has a blog page wherein he offers interviews and articles with guest experts on various scientific topics.  He himself is a geneticist and writes sci-fi/fantasy.  Some posts include:

Prophets, Preachers, and Parasites in Fantasy

How to Name Characters in Fantasy

Parasitism in Sci-fi: It Gets Under Your Skin

Futuristic First Aid: High-tech Wound Care

Hypothermia in Fiction

Pottery and Ceramics for SFF Writers, Part 1 & 2

13 World-Changing Weapons Invented In The Middle Ages

(This is an article Dan found while doing research and thought it interesting enough to note in his blog.)

Head for Hire. Demolition Services Available.

Curse or Blessing?

I was offline at home for over 3 weeks, courtesy of my internet “service” provider.  You can guess how aggravating that has been, especially since it necessitates dealing with so-called “tech support”.

Still, it’s hard to decide if it’s a curse or a blessing, considering I have gotten a lot done offline since I couldn’t be online.

But I still wanted my internet fixed and working again…

NOPE.  Definitely a curse.  No amount of productivity is worth the agony of dealing with tech “support”.