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Fuckin' AOL

AOL lost all of my emails again. I spent solidly half of my weekend doing a BOMGAR session that accomplished NOTHING. I am SO FUCKING EXHAUSTED. And disheartened. And everything.

Money Well Spent.

Remember how conflicted I felt over receiving money via Gayle's death? I think I found a way to put it to good use.

My friend Matjames Metson is a starving artist who love love loves his dogs. One of his dogs, Boris, ate a Kong toy. Over the past few weeks there have been a series of vet trips -- some frantic. While there has been progress, there has not been a cure. Today Boris went under the knife for $2,500 worth of surgery to finally get these toy bits OUT of him. Matjames doesn't have $2,500 to spare, so he's been selling his artwork online at reduced prices.

I spent some of Gayle's money to buy one of his pieces. I get to support an independent artist AND help save a beloved pet, two things that I'm certain Gayle would approve of.

Incidentally, should anyone else be in the market for puppy surgery-supporting art: https://www.facebook.com/matjames/media_set?set=a.10151721047680281.1073741831.666605280&type=3

The news:

Well, it's official: I'm diabetic.


I was close. Gayle died at 10:30 tonight.


Mar. 20th, 2013

The morning news reminded me that it's now been a decade since this happened.

Valentino, crossposted from facebook:

For those who've been wondering, here's what happened:

Muchi and Bitsy (but Muchi in particular) woke me up at 5:30 in the morning because Tino was having some sort of cardiac event. I rushed him to the emergency vet (and, of course, by the time we arrived he was fine, just unhappy about being in a carrier). They ran a barrage of tests and found his heart was enlarged.

They had me come back, pick him up, and transfer him to the *other* emergency vet -- the one with the cardiologist on staff. Let's just pause for a moment and give thanks that I live in a city where there's such a thing as a veterinary cardiologist.

There they ran an EKG, and echocardiogram, and a bunch of other tests (while I snuck away for the last three hours of my Friday class).

The end result: He has pretty severe heart disease. There's pericardial effusion. There's a clot in the left auricle. There's thickening and remodeling of the heart muscle. Prognosis: 11 months is the average.

But here's the other thing: Other than that 5:30 am event, he's been fine. Eating. Purring. Maybe walking a little slower, but he did have a pretty big day yesterday (a ride on a bus! And a subway!). So from here on out he gets three medications a day (including Plavix and Lasix), and we hope that he beats the odds and outlives us all. Or at least lives for a few more years.


Tino's in the e.r. Pretty much the exact thing that happened with Jacob happened again last night -- Tino had trouble breathing, Muchi alerted me (this was 5:30 in the morning and I was sound asleep. Muchi WOKE ME UP. Three cheers for my little kitty hero), and we rushed to the e.r., where Tino remains at this hour. Much like his Jacob brother, by the time we'd reached the e.r., Tino had stopped panting, tho his heart rate was still elevated. I'm crossing fingers and toes that whatever it is we caught it early and can medicate the fuck out of it.
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Your request details:

Request Type [edit]
InquiryType Problem
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Topic No Delivery/No Attempt > My Mail Was Delayed
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How late was your mail: Over 7 days
Type of Mail Piece: Package
What Was the Class of Mail: Priority Mail
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Confirmation or Tracking Number: 9502510922052361363099

Additional Information: In mid-December I ordered a New Years Pretzel from Jolly Donut in Sandusky, OH. A New Years Pretzel is time sensitive in that it is both required to be consumed on a certain date (New Years day, at the stroke of midnight), and also because it is a perishable food item.

Jolly Donut informed me that the item had shipped on 12/26/12. On 12/31/12, having no sign of my package, I called the 11230 Post Office to inquire. I spoke with a VERY RUDE woman who refused to offer any assistance unless I had the tracking information. No suggestions, no apologies, just unmasked anger and annoyance. The call ended when she abruptly hung up.

That was the first time I visited this website to complain.

On January 7, 2013, the package was delivered. The event it had been ordered for was more than a week past. When I opened the package, the perishable pretzel inside was riddled with mold.

That was the second time I visited this site to complain.

Yesterday, I received a response, in the form of a non-apology (we're sorry if you're upset but it wasn't our fault...) from the supervisor at the 11230 Post Office. It read:

"In a message dated 1/8/2013 3:15:29 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, ECCADUSER@usps.gov writes:
hello ms.nathan

sorry to hear about your item being late but my system shows us making an attempt on the 28th and then redelivering on the 7th.if you have any other concerns please feel free to call us at the p.o.
g.morales supervisor midwood station 11230 718-377-3039"

So I tried to reply. I wrote:

"Mr. or Ms. Morales,

If you attempted to deliver the package on 12/28/12 then why did the driver not leave a slip? If I had the slip, then perhaps when I called the Post Office on Monday, 12/31/12, the woman who answered the phone might not have been so rude. I asked her if she could tell me when my package might be delivered, but she said she couldn't do anything without a tracking number and hung up on me. Had I received a delivery slip, I would have had the tracking number. Not to mention the fact that, had a received a delivery slip, I would have known that my package was sitting at the Post Office.

Also, since you waited 10 days to attempt to redeliver my package, not only did I not have my New Years Pretzel until well after New Years Eve, but because the item was perishable, by the time it was delivered, it was already growing mold.

A terrible experience all around.

- Hope Anne Nathan

And it bounced back.

Today I received an email which read

"The mail account you replied to is not setup to receive customer support requests. To submit a follow-up question, please visit us online at: www.usps.com."

So ta da -- I'm back here to file my third complaint.

*Deliver perishable items in a timely manner
*Leave package slips when you are unable to deliver a package
*Don't be ridiculously rude when people call to ask questions
*Send emails from valid email addresses


I finally spoke with the supervisor at the Post Office. He actually *was* apologetic and friendly. If someone had just taken responsibility and apologized for this mess before, I doubt I would have filed three complaints.

My health insurance, it doth fucketh me.

Remember when a doctor refused to see me because my health insurance was so sucktastic? Yea, well at least I had health insurance then.

This morning I went to the pharmacy to pick up a couple of prescriptions. After they had me wait for 10 minutes, they explained that while my prescriptions were ready (good thing, since they're my blood pressure meds, and I'm totally out of one of them), my insurance company said that my policy had been terminated at the end of October.

I looked at my card. It was *issued* on November 8th. I showed it to the pharmacist. She suggested I call the insurance company.

By then I couldn't wait around the drug store anymore, so I went to work. I thought I'd noticed a check clearing my account recently in the same amount as my insurance premiums, and once I was set up at my desk, I logged in to my bank account. Yup -- they're totally still cashing my checks.

I called the insurance company. The woman on the phone said they hadn't received payment since October. I told her about the check they cashed and she asked me to email an image of it to her. I did. She said she'd look into it and get back to me. She didn't.

My work day ended and I still hadn't heard back from the insurance company, although I *did* get a robocall from the drug store, telling me my prescriptions were ready. I figured maybe that meant everything got hammered out and walked back over to the pharmacy.

Nope. Still terminated.

I called the insurance company again. The woman I reached this time told me a whole series of things that made very little sense. First she said that there was a note that I was supposed to email them a copy of the December check, but that they hadn't received it yet. I clarified that I was supposed to email the *November* check, which I did (six hours earlier), but that I couldn't send them a copy of the December check, since they hadn't cashed it yet (I did mail it in December, but I have no way to prove that until it's cashed). I started to read back the email address that the first woman gave to me, but the second woman didn't have that info, and anyway, she said that they didn't need a copy of the November check because their system already showed that they had received it. I asked why, if they received the check for November, did they say that my policy was terminated on October 31st? She explained that they cashed the check, but marked it for refund (if you weren't going to accept it, then why did you cash it?).

I asked if I could pay the December bill over the phone. Sure, she said, but only with a check. Then she changed her mind and said that I couldn't pay, because the November payment was marked to be refunded. She said that she would fix that, then call me back so I could pay for December with a check over the phone. No clue as to what they plan to do with the check I *mailed* in December, but I guess that's another story.

So that was more than an hour ago and -- you guessed it -- she hasn't called. Meanwhile, I'm out of vital medicine, *and* the money I've sent them to cover my premiums. It would be one thing if this was the first time something insane had happened with these people, but shit. They cover nothing. They cash my checks and *then* cancel my policy ... I am so fucking screwed.


I've been having a lot of chest pains lately.

I did make a doctor's appointment, but it's still three weeks away. Then again, I made it in November (after my first attempt to seek medical attention failed), so three weeks away is halfway there already.

Just, ow, y'know?

Spam 1, hopita 0

Due to the recent explosion of spam comments, I've had to disallow comments from non-registered users. I don't like doing it -- I greatly prefer allowing comments from anyone and everyone. But more often than not it seems like "anyone" = spambots, at least recently.

Once again x-posted from facebook

A few words about the Haves vs. the Have Nots:

Thursday night, Express Bus: More than three and a half hours to get home, involving walking several miles and being crammed onto the bus like a sardine. Came home smelling like human desperation.

Tonight, car service: Home in 40 minutes, door-to-door service, and it was just me and the driver. Arrived home smelling like fancy car and businessman cologne.

Something is seriously wrong with that equation.

X-posted from my facebook:

So my day: I requested today off from work because I was invited to a conference, only I got uninvited (apparently the conference overbooked). Since I had already been approved to take the day off, I figured I'd *finally* go see a doctor. After making me wait for an hour, the receptionist calls me over and says they can't see me because my insurance has a high deductible. Bear in mind this doctor is *in* network, meaning they've signed contracts with said insurance company. She says I can call my insurance company, but that she's been on the phone with them for the last hour, so it'll be a while. I call and am talking with someone within 5 minutes. The insurance rep says that's ridiculous and asks to speak with the receptionist. Five minutes later the receptionist hands me the phone back and the insurance rep says that while I am 100% in the right, the doctor is still apparently going to deny me service. The insurance rep gives me the name and phone number of another doc in the area. Nevermind that I have no idea *when* I'm going to find time to make another appointment, but I call anyway. It's the wrong number. They've never heard of this doctor. I say fuck it and go see a movie. When I come home, I look up that doctor on my insurance company's online provider list. Yep, I wrote the number down correctly. I try to call the insurance company back. They're closed.

Ah well. Guess I didn't really need medical attention anyway.

Jurassic Park IV

"Dude! Look out! I think the dinosaurs are back!"
Because last night's post seems to have struck a chord, I wanted to talk a bit more about fat, fat shaming, and the old trope of hiding behind so-called "health concerns" to cover up plain old-fashioned looksism.

I started to deconstruct the awfulness that is this poster, but let's talk about it some more:

The poster says "Portions have grown. So has obesity, which can lead to many health problems." First of all, there's the word "can." "[O]besity ... can lead to many health problems." Not that it does, mind you. Just that it can. You know what else can lead to health problems? Being underweight. Or being a so-called "normal" weight, but eating nothing but crap.

Which leads me to the assumptions that this ad makes, with its imagery of fast food french fries and an extra large woman, climbing the stairs. One of my previous commenters categorized her as an "overweight [person] being miserable on a subway staircase." If you can't see her face, how do you know she's miserable? Hint: It's because that ad is seeking to perpetuate exactly that stereotype -- that fat equals unhealthy.

It makes me think about the recent story about the British teenager whose diet consisted solely of McNuggets. To quote from the article I just linked:

... According to the Mail, Irvine has suffered from breathing problems, anemia, and inflamed veins due to her diet., and recently was rushed to the hospital after she collapsed...

It's also inspired timely commentary from health "experts." Last week, a PR agency pitched me a story pegged to Irvine's collapse. A "weight loss specialist" could be made available to "comment on the dangers of Stacey's addiction" and "speak to the dangers of childhood obesity." The doctor in question has "specialized in the study and treatment of Bariatric Medicine" and has "directed the operation of multiple Weight Loss Centers."

Thanks, but according to the gratuitous Daily Mail glamour shots, Irvine is thin. Her health problems are not related to obesity, and they won't be solved by stapling her stomach. Yet we're so culturally hardwired to believe that unhealthy equals fat and vice versa that even photographic evidence (full-body photographs of Irvine were attached to the PR email) isn't enough to break the habit.

Wait ... what?!? Eating nothing but McNuggets did cause health problems, but didn't cause obesity? Why, it's almost as if what mattered was her diet, and not her appearance!

The NYC Health Department has another ad campaign, this one targeting daily caloric intake. It's certainly a much better campaign that the Portion Size campaign, although I still think it falls short of the mark.

Who here remembers the movie Super Size Me? Quick show of hands: Who thinks the culprit to Morgan Spurlock's deteriorating health was probably the incredibly low quality of McDonald's "food"? If it doesn't decompose, it shouldn't be considered food.

So while I'm glad to see a campaign that doesn't resort to fat shaming, I still think that the Caloric Intake campaign misses the mark. Have you heard of The Vermont Prison Study? In a nutshell, participants in the study were fed up to 10,000 calories a day in an attempt to make them gain weight. "Researchers were surprised during the “fattening up” portion of the study when they found that some of the inmates couldn’t gain more than 18% of their body weight, even when eating 10,000 calories a day." Ten thousand calories a day, and they still couldn't make skinny people fat.

Maybe it's because a person's size has to do with not only diet and activity level but also age, and metabolism, and genetics, and probably other factors too. Good luck shaming somebody out of their genetics.

Fat Shaming Double Team

So I got into a fight on the train. That was fun. I sat down next to a woman who was in the mood to do some fat shaming. It happens from time to time. Being a woman of a certain size, I take up a certain amount of space. Occasionally, people don't like to share, and feel compelled to yell at me and my "fat ass" for sitting too close to them. Whatev.

The thing that surprised me was how little I cared. I sat down, and this woman said something snarky about my "fat ass." And I turned, looked her in the eye, and calmly said "fuck you." She started getting riled and proudly announced that I didn't know what kind of an asshole she could be if she was so inclined (I may not know, but I've got a pretty good guess). I said she started it, she said no, I started it by touching her when I sat down (she was taking two seats, BTW, and had ample space next to her to slide over. And yes, it *was* the only empty seat on the train). I let her have the last word, and that was the end of that.

And it struck me: Sure, I was pissed, but I wasn't really mad -- mostly, I just didn't give a shit. Not scared, not fuming, no blood pressure surging -- just calmly refusing to let some douchenozzle treat me like crap.

It's been that way for a while now. Remember when I broke up with aaronbenedict? I called him on the phone, told him that it was over, talked for a bit, and then said goodbye and went to class. Made it through class with only a few momentary lapses in concentration, too. A handful of friends called or emailed in the days following to make sure that I was OK, and I was. I was fine.

Is this perimenopause? Are fading hormones calming my once unpredictable emotions? Or maybe it's just getting older. I kinda feel like I have seen it all at this point. Or maybe something else? I don't know.

But you know what did piss me off? Cut for your tax dollars, hard at work shaming fat peopleCollapse )

It was just incredibly ironic timing, that I would be staring at one of those "Yo! Ugly fatty!" ads at the same time that some obnoxious bitch would feel the need to yell at me for taking up more space that she personally feels that I deserve. I said it once tonight, and I'll say it again: Fuck you.

Let's try that again ...

Screencaps of my illustrious Law & Order: SVU debut:

Picspam ahoy!Collapse )

Law & Order: SVU screencaps:

Why is this not working?

Law & Order: SVU: Tonight

Just a reminder that my latest episode of Law & Order: SVU will be airing tonight on NBC. I, of course, will miss it, because I have tickets to see Jill Sobule, and I doubt I'll be able to get back to Brooklyn in time. So it's up to you guys to let me know if I make it onto the air. I'm in the beach press conference scene -- the scene they've been showing in the commercials. I'm in the back row of the "moms" group, holding a framed photo. Fingers crossed!
I don't suppose I should feel surprised that Whitney Houston's death has stirred all of this up for me again. I did feel a bit surprised when I cheered for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie when I watched the news earlier today. Politics make strange bedfellows, I suppose.

Chris Christie's been getting a lot of flak this week. And not the usual fat-bashing that we've come to know and loathe. This week he's been getting shit because he's ordered New Jersey flags flown at half-staff on Saturday in honor of Whitney Houston's funeral.

There's the "Whitney Who?" meme floating around facebook. Nevermind that Chris Christie has *also* flown flags at half-staff for every New Jersey soldier and police officer who died during his time in office. He also flew the flag at half staff when New Jerseyian Clarence Clemmons died last summer. Where was the outrage then?

No, the outrage is all about drugs. Like Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston was widely known to have addiction issues, so she's a disgrace. A quick search of "whitney flag" on public facebook posts turns up gems like "Fuck new jersey and fuck Whitney houston what a disgrace to the american flag flying it at half staff for a druggie bitch one more reason to get jersey out" and "So idk if you all know about this bullshit half ass idea our lovely governor came up with for tomorrow, put your flags at half mass in remembering of Whitney Houston...the sell out crack head who hasn't 'entertained in like 20 years... ".

I'm a former drug addict. I've never tried to hide this fact. In fact, I am more than willing to discuss it, openly. This RIGHT HERE is yet another example of why recovered drug addicts need to COME OUT OF THE CLOSET, because much like queer folk, we, too, are everywhere. I have no intention of outing anybody specifically, but I will tell you that among my facebook friends there are former drug addicts who have gone on to marry and raise families, former drug addicts who have gotten advanced degrees, addicts who hold down jobs and own property, pay their taxes and contribute to society. To claim that Houston's addictions negate her success and her contributions is to tell each and every one of us that the things that we've achieved mean nothing and will never mean anything because of A MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE.

Chris Christie nailed it. He said "I am disturbed by people who believe that because her ultimate demise — and we don't know what is the cause of her death yet — but because of her history of substance abuse that somehow she's forfeited the good things that she did in her life..." Thank you, Governor Christie, for refusing to let the illness define the woman. Thank you for remembering that that "druggie bitch" was somebody's daughter, and somebody's mother. Thank you for standing up and refusing to be one of the many who loved "the sell out crack head" when she was on top, but hate her now that she's shown herself to be less than perfect. I have never been prouder of you.

(Now if you could just sign that gay marriage bill into law, I'd really be in your corner. The fact that you've moved your position from "no" to "maybe" is a step in the right direction at least.)
From http://www.tv-links.eu/tv-shows/Law--and--Order--SVU_8877/season_13/episode_15/

Law & Order: SVU Season 13, Episode 15
Episode Name: Hunting Ground
Air date: 2/22/2012
Summary: Detective Benson and Executive ADA Haden’s romantic weekend is interrupted by news that an underage prostitute has gone missing. As the SVU detectives dig into her disappearance, they find a pattern of several missing escorts who all posted ads on a popular newspaper’s website. The line between Benson and Haden’s personal and professional lives starts to blur as the squad races against the clock to find the girl before it’s too late

As a reminder, I'm in the scene where Harry Connick, Jr. is speaking to the press. I won't know until it airs if I'll be visible or not. If I make the cut, I'll be in the crowd, wearing a grey sweater.

The last one I could find myself in:

In the background, at 0:17. I'll have to wait until he posts the full episode before I'll know if my question made it onto the air or not.


More Madonna.

Anderson walks past me at 1:04.



You can see me in the background at 0:43. I missed the show today (because I was out on a job interview, so with good reason), so I'm just now watching it via these tiny little clips. I'll post more as I find them.


More info on yesterday's gig:

We filmed Season 13, Episode 15. It's not listed on the Law & Order: SVU IMDb page yet, though I'm sure it will appear soon. One of the PAs told me the name of the episode, but I've already forgotten what it was. Something Law & Order-sounding, for sure.

I'm in the scene where Harry Connick, Jr.'s character is speaking to the press. I was standing fairly close to him. Yes, he is very pretty.

More info (like air dates) when I have it (judging from the other episodes on the IMDb page, I would guess late February).

As always, hope to see me on TV, but expect me to get cut. No way of knowing which will happen until it airs.


Yea, my scene was totally cut. It doesn't even appear in the "Deleted Scenes" section of the website, that's how cut it is.

Law & Order -- TONIGHT!

This is it! My episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will be airing TONIGHT, Wednesday, January 11, 2012, at 10:00 pm EST. My scene is supposed to be before the opening credits, so if the titles roll and you haven't seen me, you're probably not going to. Until it airs I'm not going to know if you'll be able to see me or not, so apologies in advance if you sit down looking for me and I'm never onscreen. Alternately, I could be totally 100% "OMG That's Her!" featured -- I have no clue.

My closeup.

I've already made mention of this over on facebook (are we facebook friends? If not, we should be), but it looks like my episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will be airing tomorrow evening, Wednesday, January 11, 2012. To the best of my knowledge, my scene comes before the opening credits; if the titles roll and you haven't seen me, it most likely means that I got cut. This is very possible, BTW, as my scene had something like eight groups of people in it. I could be featured, I could be totally in the way back, or I could be not onscreen at all.

I'll try to remember to post reminders tomorrow as well.
Hey all you parents out there. Merry December Holiday Season. I bet a bunch of you have kids visiting from out of town, quite possibly kids you haven't seen in a long time. Probably some of those kids got fat. Probably some of those kids were already fat the last time you saw them, but, like we established, maybe that was a long time ago.

I'm sure it's too late for most of you, but for the handful of parents who haven't started criticizing their kids' waistlines yet, I have a few words of advice:

1. Unconditional Love. Remember how you were supposed to love your kids unconditionally, no matter what -- even if they murdered somebody? Yeah, well, that should cover "even if they're fat" too. When you launch into criticisms the moment they walk through the door, it can definitely feel like "wow -- even my own Mom hates me." Do you want your kids to feel that way? Then knock it off. You're the PARENTS, for crying out loud. You're supposed to make them feel like even if everybody else on the planet bails, YOU will still be there.

Which leads me to 2. The guise of being helpful. Every news story says that skinny = good and fat = bad. Guess what: Jews know that there's another deity named Jesus, and fat people know that the culture would really prefer if they were skinny. It's not news. We know. We also know some things that conveniently get left off of the evening news, like the fact that 95% of all restricted calorie diets fail at the five year mark. Who here has ever lost 25 lbs. or more through restricting calories and increasing exercise? I see a lot of hands. Who kept if off for six months or longer? A few hands have gone down. Who kept it off for more than a year? More than two years? More than five? If any of you still have your hand raised, congratulations, you are among the lucky 5%. For the rest of you, ask yourself this: How would you feel if your doctor recommended a course of action that only had a 5% success rate? Yeah, I don't like those odds either.

So parents, when your kid walks through the door, don't pile on to all of the things you want to change about them. Give them a hug, welcome them home, and ask them about their lives. Who knows -- maybe they might even feel motivated to visit more often.

What would you ask Madonna?

I posted this over on facebook, but I haven't really gotten any useful responses, so I thought I'd ask here as well:

It looks like I may have the chance to ask Madonna a question this week. Questions are vetted ahead of time, which means 1.) I kind of need to think of one now, and 2.) it needs to be good enough to get chosen, though, of course, 3.) it should also something I'd want to ask. Asking her for a kiss, or asking how many men she's fellated (the only two questions posted on my fb thus far) are not going to cut it.

So if you were me, what would you ask Madonna? Some of my thoughts:

1. About her kids: How would she feel about them getting into show business? (Groan ... everybody asks that), or about her youngest kids specifically: How does she feel about adoption law, international adoption law, the US not ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child because of pressure from anti-choice groups, etc.

2. About her new movie: It's about Wallis Simpson, which is a fascinating choice, IMO. I did some googling, and found a lot of ranty crap about Simpson being a Nazi-sympathizer. I don't want to get into that (and really, I mainly keep finding the same photo of her shaking hands with Hitler, which could easily be ascribed to pre-WWII politicking and not some sort of fascism on Simpson's part), but I did ponder asking about her response to those particular critics. Or just a general question about the origins of her fascination with Wallis (which seems an obvious answer: Madonna, too, was a scandalous American married to a Brit, and she's already said how floored she was by the vitriol people spewed in response to the mere mention of Simpson in the UK).

3. The old standby: What's your advice to someone trying to break into the industry, blah blah blah, gush, fawn, etc.


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