The Autumn of Creativity…

Yes, I know, it’s Summertime, but in my own mind’s forge of creation it’s more like late fall.  Things are slowing down the way they do every year about this time.  With Summer comes sombulance and with that comes sloth and all sorts of bad habits, particularly for one such as I that aspires to actually finishing a manuscript one of these days.

Instead of working on something in progress — and in true ADD fashion — I’ve started serious work on something else.  And this time it’s a FanFic…   Worse, it’s of a well mined Intellectual Property, Pern.  Forgive me, if Pern isn’t your cup of tea, you might want to skip this post, as I’m apt to get long winded.   Pern thoughts and story seed here

Petit Jean State Park

It’s getting harder and harder to find out of the way places to go completely off the grid.  I was surprized to find that I had useful service inside the park, as my imperfect memory remembered good voice service but terrible data service.  Mather Lodge of course has good WiFi, but this park has lots of memories for me.  Most of which revolved around packing out, leaving town for a while, and just getting back to a different rhythm.

Some of my earliest memories of Petit Jean go back to the mid 70’s.  Going down to Cedar Falls, looking at little numbered plates along the trails — and not having the accompanying guidebook so we had to guess what the item remarked upon was — and wondering just how this wonderful playground came to be.

  

The origins of the park go back to a terrible time in America’s past.  It was one of several CCC encampments around the State of Arkansas during the Great Depression.  Many able bodied men were stationed here, constructing improvements here and nearby.  Many examples of their work remain, including the older wing of Mather Lodge and the hotel-style rooms there.  Many of the of the cabins also date back to the original CCC days.  The two dams that created Lake Bailey and Lake Roosevelt along the up-falls portion of Cedar Creek were built by the CCC, the first of the two was later rebuilt by the YACC and has seen other repairs and upgrades.  The original arch bridge over Cedar Creek can be seen in form, as the Davies bridge borrowed much of the original in its renewed form.

  
The Davies bridge is perhaps one of the most photographed elements of the park,  as its iconic archway can be seen with the damn behind it.  The remains of the CCC Encampment are mostly gone, as they were never intended to be permanent structures.  There is a fireplace and monument to be seen just off Arkansas Highway 154 as it winds its way through the park.

Another commonly photographed place here is Stout’s Point, or perhaps better remembered as the Gravesite of Petit Jean. There is a write up of the ledgend of Petit Jean, and how she cut her hair, dressed as a boy, to follow her love from Europe to the New World, but how sickness struck her down, and she was lain to rest upon the promontory that overlooks the Arkansas River valley.  

On this particular day there was a film crew here operating a camera drone around some project.  I found it funny that one of the pervasive hawks here kept above and sunward of the drone for a while, perhaps wondering if it was good eating.  I would have liked to have seen the hawk take the drone out, but not at the expense of injury to the bird or to the destruction of the drone.

   

Almost every time I’ve stayed here, I’ve stayed in the cabins here.  They are very comfortable chalets that echo back to that earlier time.  Indeed some of the cabins were built and never designed with electricity in mind.  Cabin 1 comes to mind for this, as all of the electrical outlets are to be found in the floorboards, the stone and mortar walls with wood paneling were designed before reliable power was available here.

Try to imagine what things were like.  After a glorious sunset as we still can see today, light would have been by lamp, candle, or campfire.  It’s these heritage type fireplaces that make the cabins so special.  It’s not only the fireplace but the fact that real wood is burned in them.  They have a smell too, like a real fireplace not some gas powered fire log that is more about decorating with fire than using it for heat or light.  Build a roaring fire and relax with the lights off while unwinding from a long day hiking the trails and seeing the sights.  It’s a slower pace of life and very soothing too.  That smell lingers even in the summer months when their use is restricted.

  Even so, that doesn’t even reach to the falls themselves.  Without argument, Cedar Falls is the most photographed location  in the entire park.  From above or below, it is what the park was built around.  It’s location with a nearby bluff face that overlooks the falls that is reasonably accessible has led to this popularity with photographers even if it’s natural beauty alone was not enough by itself.

The geology of the area is somewhat interesting in its own right.  It’s often studied by earth studies groups for its diverse collection of features in such compact geographical area.

Memories of Magic past: Further Confusion 2011 — Jonny Rockets

One of the cafes near the site of Further Confusion is a quaint little hamburger joint called Johnny Rockets.

I enjoy the their simple menu and 50’s era decor.  The personal touch of squeezing a ketchup smiley for every table when the server greets you  They are used to the masses of furries that descend upon them and really seem to love to have us there.

On this particular night, there were nine or ten of us.  And after ‘breaking the magic’ — three of us arrived in suit — we had a wonderful meal and it was as we were lingering on after finishing out meal, something really noteworthy happened.  Another party at a nearby table was getting up and putting their suits back together, about to head back to the con.

I wish I had a photo of the cute fursuiter, because she was very comely, very well crafted, and rather small.   Somewhere in the 4′ 8″ – 4′ 11″ range, and slender too.  The fursuit was of a mouse, not that famous mouse over in Anaheim, one with big ears and a huge ribbon tied in a bow around her neck.   I overheard a comment about a mouse in a restaurant…   and my inner jackass usurped control and I let loose with a herald-volume cry:

“SOMEONE CALL THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT!  I SEE A MOUSE!”

The resulting reactions were as lovely as they were varied.  The restaurant staff at first are outraged, until they see the mouse fursuiter, then they got the gag and laughed with the rest of us.  The lovely little mouse fursuiter, however, not to miss a chance to play, started pantomiming a stealthy secret-agent trying to escape the restaurant.  The whole crowded place got a good laugh and a smile at this, and several acapella renditions of the mission impossible theme ensued.

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Memories of magic past  — Further Confusion 2012

The recent buzz around Healthy-Not-Nuts Midwest FurFest adventure going viral has me reminisicing about times past.  The older I get, the more of these little tidbits of living I hold onto, and the more I want to share them with others.  Your the victim today, so smile and nod in all the right places now.   Thats a good lad and lass of ya’ll..

In 2012 at Further Confusion, I was walking with seveal friends off to find breakfast.  The area surrounding the Convention Center in San Jose is chock-a-block with little bistros, coffeehouses, donut shops, and all sorts of resurants.  I was performing in suit this particular morning, and life was just a little sweeter.  The sunlight was a little brighter.  And perhaps one of the most memorable moments of my furry career.

Ever since Further Confusion moved into to the Convention Center, they have been booked at the same time as a rather large girls volleyball tournament.  There were girls from little prepubescents all the way up to high school aged.  They were eveywhere, and almost none were bashful at all.  Some where at that age where anything deemed ‘childish’ needs to be mocked, but the furries took it in stride, mainly because we know full well we mock each other as well or better.

On the way back, my friends and I, were beset by a group of five girls, the oldest looking about nine.  The ring leader of the group wanted a hug, and after a quick glance toward the parents sheparding the childern for a sign of consent, I kneeled down and passed out a few hugs.  

Then the ringleader asked the question of the morning.  “Why are you a unicorn?”

“Why are you a little girl?”  I reposted.

Unphased, she countered with, “Becaused I am one, silly!”

Raising my hands in surrender I knew I had no better answer to such a deep question.  Sometimes wisdom really does flow from the mouths of babes.

Later that day we had the parade to look forward to, and I managed to have one of the most magical (for me) pictures taken.  I’ve posted it before, but I’ll repost it below.

  


Sharing the field with so many other wonderful performers.  Its been almost four years and even now its some of the best memories I have of suiting.

And the furry fandom makes someone’s day…

Dear Healthy not Nuts,

You have had your little blog post go completely viral due to the awesome power of respect, kindness, and willingness to recognize someone that has just “done things right” that exists in the best places within the Furry Fandom.  I’ve read the squees of joy from your replies to comments, and I bet you’ve have had one hell of a ego rush ever since you posted it, seeing the notifications rolling in faster and faster.

By acclimation you’ve been granted the status of ‘honorary furry’ and at my last count have three other furry conventions — Texas Furry Feista (aka TFF, in the Dallas area), Furry Weekend Atlanta (aka FWA), and the largest organized furry con of them all, Anthrocon (AC, in Pittsburg) — angling to see you come and join them and more than for a boring business meeting.

The way you expressed interest in the dancing, I think that what you would experience in the dances would more than pay for the cost of a con membership.  While you might discover some extra joy in creating an alternate identity and building the character of that identity, it is not required and never let anyfur (or anyone for that matter) tell you different.

I hope you have only just begun exploring the adventure ahead of you.  I thank you for taking that first step and treating us with honest curious and respect.  By all accounts we returned that respect to you, and perhaps helped to rekindle that little light of imagination within you.

While its true that a large portion of the con going croud falls in the 20-30 age range, the cons are for the young and young-at-heart too.  Comic Cons tend to be huge commerical affairs with lots of things to do, while the average furry convention is usually a tenth of the size and thats usually about the right size between something easily done on a weekend and something you have to plan all year to do.  Also, my totally unscientific poll of matters is that the average fursuiter is more apt to accept and allow interactions (hugs, tag, playing fetch, chasing laser pointers, etc al) and as you discovered photography, than the average cosplayer who spends a similar amount on their kit.  In other words, I think its a more friendly environment.

With respect and best wishes,  Dain Unicorn.

P.S. check out my previous post if you interested in more insights into Fursuiting and the people behind it.

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Original Post:

Accidental Guests of the Midwest Fur Fest ~ Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Rosemont, IL

As you read through this please try to put any pre-conceived notions to the side for a moment.  The Midwest Fur Fest takes place in December in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.  Allan and I happened to be at the hotel on business.  We watched the hotel literally transform right before our very eyes and had the opportunity to […]

http://healthynotnuts.com/2015/12/06/accidental-guests-of-the-midwest-fur-fest-hyatt-regency-ohare-rosemont-il/

Why Fursuit…

this article was originally published in the Further Confusion 2014 Conbook.  Since the topic of Fursuit etiquette is making the rounds again I thought it fitting to republish it in my blog. 



It was dark, hot, and the world around me was muted softly.  I could feel my breathing and hear my pulse.  Blacklights spread over the room made the white fur on my suit’s muzzle glow, casting a fun blue tint across my limited field of vision.  Pounding music started to drive me as the dancing started.  Spinning around to the soundtrack of my misspent youth I was living a dream years in the making, I had finally fursuited Further Confusion.

That was me in 2011 at the Dead Dog Dance, traditionally the last gasp of Further Confusion.  I had been to Further Confusion previously but never with a Fursuit. It felt wonderful.  It felt magical.  I didn’t want the Con to end. It felt like I had finally made it, and included into something that I had only seen from the outside looking in.  So how can I express to you what it’s like to don a suit and change who you are on the outside?  I might have to bend the magic a little; I’ll try not to break it completely.

So what’s the difference between a fursuit and a common theatrical costume?  In truth, not much except for the character it emotes. Fursuits have a personality.  Does the suit look like a friendly face or a scary one?  Do you want to run up and give it a hug or run away in panic?  Can it inspire you? Does it show you what it’s feeling?  All of these little things go into a suit’s creation. It is what the world will see when the performer wears it.

This is what I mean, an actor could not get on stage with a frown on their face and perform ‘happy’ believably.  The audience sees the frown and will focus in on the performer’s real attitude.  Putting on a fursuit envelopes you, covering your own emotions for the emotive qualities of the fursuit. In effect the fursuit becomes both a stage on which the fursuiter can perform, and a shield to hide behind during the performance. Refuge and excuse all wrapped into one.

The ‘Fursuit’ might be as simple as a mask with concealing garments or so complex to include stilts arranged to allow for quadrupedic movement.  The common theme in all of these costumes is to make the wearer look less human and more of — well whatever they wish.  High tech materials, servos, LEDs, fans, battery packs, advanced puppetry; all sorts of things can go into these amazing costumes.  A complex suit can cost several thousand dollars and represent untold hours of work. That is why it is important to show respect for these fursuits and ask for hugs or other physical interactions, rather than assuming they’re okay.  All of that hard work and expensive materials might be too fragile to permit horseplay—ahem—human-play.

One of the most persistent things about ‘Furries’ is an intense need to live vicariously, through a favorite character, a favorite creature, or even a favorite story or fable.  Be it a means to protect yourself from a harsh reality, or exploring parts of life that are impossible for a mere human to appreciate on their own; Living vivariously becomes a way around the limitations of reality. Fursuits are but one means of doing this.

Dain you fool, sounds like your talking about a religion here, cut to the chase and tell us what does it feel like to wear one. Ok, I will. Can you imagine bundling up in the heaviest winter clothes you have? Its a little hard to move around isn’t it? Can you imagine putting on a tight fitting hat that keeps the sun out of your eyes? Can you still see that menu at the fast food joint without tilting your head? Can you imagine wearing thick mud boots? Keeping to the ramp rather than take the stairs? After all of these silly questions you might now have an idea of what its like. Fret not, I shall probe a little deeper.

Vision is restricted to the point where the performer probably qualifies as legally blind. The area that can been seen varies from head to head, but most heads eliminate more than half of ones peripheral vision, limit vertical range and the viewing area that your eyes can normally track through. In addition to the limited aperture of the fursuit head’s eyes, the material with which eyes are made can make it hard to focus on the world as well, leaving the performer to ignore fine details in favor of a general impression of the world around them. This is especially true with ‘mesh’ eyes as you have to force your eyes to focus on things past the mesh, which becomes difficult for the nearsighted. Some fursuits put the performer in odd places inside, and they might not be looking out the eyes at all.

Pro Tip: Don’t be offended if a fursuiter does not react to you, chances are very good they cannot see you.

The more wonderfully artistic that Fursuit head looks, the more likely it is to have poor air circulation inside. Between the fur and other coverings, any electronics inside, and the performers own breathing the fursuit head can quickly become an oven. These days it is common for most fursuit heads to come equipped with one or more small battery powered fans like the ones in your computer at home. These fans move air in or out of the fursuit head and allow the performer to breathe fresher air. Having fresher air to breathe results in allowing the performer more time in fursuit. If you find yourself sharing an elevator with a fursuit performer and hear a little buzzing, its not the elevator about to breakdown.

Pro Tip: Be polite and pretend you cannot hear that noisy fan in a fursuit.

While I’m talking about fans, some fursuit heads are so elaborately padded that hearing the world around the performer becomes difficult, with a fan blowing white noise and fresh air into the fursuit head can render the performer effectively deaf. That said hearing is perhaps the least restricted basic sense.

Fursuits are hot, really really hot! No, zreally, the fursuit covers so much of your body that it makes getting rid of the heat generated by dancing, performing, and even just walking around difficult. The human body uses evaporating sweat as its primary means of cooling down. The fursuit keeps the sweat from easily evaporating and this keeps the performer hot inside. Most full-suit performers use a base layer garment (often spandex or similar high tech athletic fabric) to help trap the sweat and keep the fursuit clean. Some performers wear ice-vests and cooling packs to extend their time in fursuit. Getting a hug from a fursuiter after the parade or a dance is likely to be a rather warm and damp experience. Performers need a lot of water to help avoid dehydration. Water stations with cups and often straws are setup all over con spaces to give the fursuiter a chance to take a sip without making it back to the headless lounge. While I’m discussing the need to stay hydrated forgive me a brief sidebar on Heat Stroke.

Heat Stroke is a serious danger for a fursuiter. I have discussed above some of the ways the performer disassociates their self from their character. Now it becomes a serious disadvantage. The fursuit makes it much more difficult for an outsider or handler to see when the performer has hit their limit. Should you see a fursuiter, without a buddy or handler, looking out of sorts, its ok to ask them if they are ok. Most of the time the performer only needs a little water or directions to the headless lounge or some other place where they can relax. If you can’t get an understandable answer, or if they tell you they need help find a Convention Staffer at once, the fursuiter may be in distress. If you find a fursuiter that keeps falling down and doesn’t get up right away, you do not need to ask if they are ok. Quietly find assistance at once, but don’t make a scene out of it. In any event don’t attempt to help a fursuiter in distress unless you are a trained first responder. Summoning trained help is often the best help the untrained can give.

I have mentioned the Headless Lounge several times now, but just what is it? It is a special area where performers can ‘break the magic’ and remove their costume heads (hence the name of the room), take on water, cool off, relax, make fursuit repairs, attempt to dry out their gear, and generally just take a break.

In every convention I have ever attended, the Headless Lounge is a restricted area, available only to fursuiters and their handlers. Also I should note photography of any sort in the Headless Lounge is STRICTLY PROHIBITED for what should be obvious reasons. Its not a social gathering spot, its the ‘break room’ at work. Fursuiters leave the Headless Lounge to be social, so your not missing anything interesting back there anyway.

Still interested? Learn about becoming a Fursuit Handler. They are permitted ‘backstage’ and it is a wonderful introduction to performing in Fursuit.

So here I am, cooking in this sweaty oven, breathing through a fan powered ventilation duct, more than half blind, a little deaf, and quite daft: what do I get for these hardships?  I get to perform magic.  Oh, not hocus-pocus fluff, but real performance magic.  I can show you what I want you to see, interact with you in the way I wish, and if I’m really clever, make you think you have seen a cartoon made real, or even perhaps something that science says cannot be.  That is magic in my book.

There is a source of ‘make-believe’ that resides in each of us.  That source might be a slowly dying ember hidden under years of bitter calluses or a beacon-fire so bright that it brightens the world for all to see.  To take that flickering ember and brush away the dust and ash, bring it into the fresh air and let it begin to burn again for everyone to see is magic at work.  For me, fursuiting is a way to amplify that magic and share it with the world. How much better could this world be if we each tried our hardest to build up that magic rather than tear it down?

Why do I go to this much trouble?  I have a blast ‘taking off’ this human ‘skin’ and dancing around in the real world in a form of my choosing, in a manner of my construction, and with a character of my creation.  Its not that I wish to abandon reality, but it feels so good to escape it for a while.  I know that sounds like a muzzleful—ahem—mouthful, but its true. I can boil it all down to this: “It’s a lot of fun.” Others may put far more into it than that, but that is my reason. If you find your reasons to fursuit different from mine, thats ok. Tell me about it sometime, I love sharing the magic.

The Dangers of Living Part 3: Packing out, shipping out.

My stay in the hospital was not that long, only two and a half days.  But after being released, Mother and I stayed in Roanoke another five days before we were finally able to finalize my affairs there, and obtain a flight home.

The first order of business was a real cuppa Joe at a local Waffle House.  Oh my Lord was it glorious!  Real eggs, scrambled with CHEESE! Sad thing was that I wasn’t able to eat very much.  But the Coffee…    Forgive me, I digress.

That first night in the hotel, I just laid there.  Watching TV and resting.  Lest you think me completely lazy, there wasn’t much more I could have done.  Packing to go home wasn’t possible because my truck was still to be cleaned out.  The winter weather blowing through the United States was still causing all sorts of delays in air travel.  This was during the big scare over the “Polar Vortex” if you recall, silly as it was seeing as how the weather pattern wasn’t anything new or not understood by meteorologists.

Tuesday morning, Mother and I bundled up in layers and went to the towing company where my truck was parked.  My employer decided to move the truck from the Truckstop, to protect the equipment and my personal belongings.  It was bitterly cold.  It was about 14 degrees Fahrenheit, with wind chill.  Inside the cab of my truck is was even colder, as it had gotten down to almost Zero Fahrenheit the night before.  It took Mother and I almost four hours to pack and clean.  This was made more difficult due to the extreme cold, and some of the things I had in the truck.

One particular item was a bottle of water I had.  It was a brand I hadn’t seen before “Voss” I think it was, but the draw was the fact that it was in a glass bottle.  Well, during the bitter cold of the three days I was out of my truck, it froze and burst.  In fact the resulting mess froze my sheets to the mattress of the top bunk and glass shards and slivers too.  There were similar issues with most of the liquids I had in the truck, though the broken glass bottle was the only breech.

Two thirds of the way through the clean up and pack, we broke for lunch.  It was during this lovely meal that we discussed our plans again.  The next day we would have to sort through everything that we had packed out of my truck.  Some things would be packed up and shipped home, others would be donated to a local Goodwill, and others would simply be discarded.  We still had to make firm Airline plans, Mother had one standby reservation for the next day’s last flight.  It was shaping up to be too much to do in that time.

Back at the hotel after finishing up, I was beat.  Mother wasn’t in much better shape.  Granted she hadn’t just had a heart attack, but you also need to understand I was under doctors orders not to try and lift more than 10 pounds, so she was doing all of the lifting and carrying.

That night I called Delta, and after getting shuffled around three or four times to reach the right agent, finally spoke with the person that could help us.  I do wish I could remember the agent’s name, because she deserves recognition.  With all of the terrible mess the winter weather was putting the airlines through, she was calm, helpful, professional, caring, and most of all, sympathetic.  No, there was not another seat on the flight Mother had the standby on.  No there was not another flight out of Roanoke with two seats until Saturday.  We would return home via Atlanta.  The wrinkle was that it was a tight layover in Atlanta, but they would be able to provide a wheelchair for me.  With that settled, I went to bed content to know that we had a way home that did not involve driving the rental car.

The next day was sorting, cleaning, and packing.  We put everything I intended to keep: tools, needed files, personal effects I couldn’t part with, etc al. into three boxes to be shipped home.  Everything else,  went into two large black canvas bags, or one of two carry-ons.  It was a lot of stuff we were sending home.  But the pile of stuff staying was just as impressive.  A trip to the local Goodwill and 2/3rds of that pile were dealt with.  Leaving only the trash and stockpile of snacks and foodstuffs I had kept on the truck.   The hotel offered to handle that.  By suppertime Wednesday we had almost everything finished.  It was a good thing too.  Of all of the medicines I was on then, three of them listed dizziness as a side effect.  I was worn out, mentally and physically.

Thursday was the day we intended to get things shipped out, so that we could have Friday to rest and have fun.  It was late in the afternoon by the time we got the three boxes packed.  All three boxes ended up about the same weight, 42-44 pounds.  Pro-Tip:  When packing many items in a box to be shipped, place a heavy duty garbage bag inside the box first, that way if the box becomes damaged in transit, the items inside are still contained in the bag.  And let me tell you it was a good thing I followed my own advice.  Of the three boxes, all were beat up some, and the two smaller ones were breeched, but not the trash bags inside. 

Again I sought the help of others and received it.  The hotel’s maintenance man lifted and moved those three heavy boxes to the car, and when we arrived at the shipping place, their employees — on learning of my needs — happily came out to the car to retrieve the boxes to be shipped home.  Ground trains for the three boxes ran up to just shy of $200.  I learned then that both UPS and FedEx will ship luggage for similar or cheaper costs than airline baggage fees.

That chore done, Mother and I settled in for the night content to know that tomorrow we had the time to have some fun before turning in early for our flight home. 

By Dain Unicorn Posted in Blog Tagged

The Dangers of living… Part 2: Convalesce.

Last time I told of the horrible events that lead to my heart attack and the resulting ambulance ride to rescue.

I concluded that article with a note about how after putting the word out of my malady that my Twitter Friends conspired to blow up my phone with love and support and friendship.

What I didn’t say was that for the first six hours I was required to lay absolutely flat. I could twist my head left and right, but not pull my head up. I could move my arms as desired. This made bathroom tasks impossible to accomplish alone. Oh well, all the nurses that helped with that little part of living were kind and gentle.

While I was still getting the word out, someone from my company called and wanted to know something. They were not the supportive and caring indivuals that I dealt with the night before. After the second question I became a little tired of dealing with it and handed my phone to the nurse. Forgive me a giggle here, but she was professional, and a total sweetheart to me, but to them she turned into one hell of a Mother Bear Nurse Ratchet!

The Doctors came in to see me next. And when I say Doctors I mean plural. There was four of them, and they were about the best sawbones I could have hoped to have overseeing my recovery. They promised to check on me later. The charge nurse returned and asked if I felt eating lunch to which I said I didn’t feel up to it in the posture I was currently in.

More phone calls to family, once again I summoned the charge nurse to help out with relaying information when my limited endurance to handle such things wore thin. Lots of questions and answers and boredom. Oh how wonderful it was to have my Twitter Friends interrupting that boredom at random intervals. One pair of my close Twitter Friends (and you know you are) even tried calling the hospital. Sadly, the Hospital did what they were supposed to do and didn’t release any information.

3pm came and it was time for the 9 inch spike to come out. I had every intention of snapping a photo of it for later posterity, but the nurse kept her back to me, preventing me even a glimpse of its removal. She did offer me a moment to look, but in the moment, the opportunity to take a photo escaped me. Part of the procedure left me sore and bruised. The nurse had to hold hard pressure on the spot where the spike was driven in, for twenty minutes by the clock. While mauling my tender crotch, the nurse was warning me about the area’s importance to my blood stream and that I needed to let them know at once if there was any bleeding from the site.

As my mind is want to do, it cast back into memories then. I silently wondered if I yelled ‘Nurse Quickfoot, I’m bleeding’ into the intercom (not that I needed it, being adjacent to the nurses station) if the reaction would have been memorable in its swiftness. Thankfully the need to put this trivia to the test did not occur.

So far, the weather I could see outside my window was dreary and bleak. I could see the coal trains passing below. Hear the med-flight chopper come and go. Even hear ‘heart alerts’ coming on the PA and knew that they were getting all the same attention I had that morning.

In truth, my Mother was blindsided by my call that Saturday morning. She put the word out to the family and started trying to find a way to get to Virginia in a hurry. Delta bent over backwards to help out, but it wasn’t possible for her to get a flight out Saturday night but had a standby reservation for Sunday.

At 6 pm, I was permitted to sit up to a bed level of 30 degrees. It wasn’t long after this that I was able to eat the first meal I’d had in almost 24 hours. Night had fallen outside my window and there wasn’t much happening. I didn’t get up until later that night after the Doctors came by on their evening rounds. The first thing I did was pull out the drawstring shorts I keep in my shower bag and put them on. Then I grabbed my iPad and played games to distract me until about 11pm when I put everything down and fell asleep.

Sunday morning began much like the day before, though the breakfast tray was the stimulation. I ate most of what they offered me, but didn’t care for much of it. The coffee was decaf, the milk was skim, and the ‘western omlette’ was… Perhaps I better not dwell on that. Called Mom, and she gave me the bad news that she had lost her standby seat because of something else that was going on at the time.

That weekend, a terrible winter storm system was causing all of the airlines much grief all over the United States. But where that goes, I’ll save for the next installment.

The Dangers of living… Part 1, Heart Attack on the road.

Any followers of my blog here know that I often go silent for many moons at a time.  Sadly, I don’t find the time to update things regularly, partly due to my job, partly due to my attitude on free time, and partly due to not always having access (despite having a iPhone and iPad and other gadgets).

All that said, this last ’bout of quiet has a little more than the usual reasons for it, and its serious as a Heart Attack.  In fact, it was a Heart Attack.

Continue reading

By Dain Unicorn Posted in Blog Tagged
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The world inside of ice

I have always been fascinated by ice, the little fractures and bubbles inside of it, and its very nature. From the galaxies of stars in the middle of a common ice-cube, to the way a sheet of ice will form on a sign and slowly slide downwards. Unlike snow, ice has no color, save for the light that reflects through it. Like amber or certain types of crystal formations, it envelopes what it forms around and locks it in time, that is until it melts.

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See the greenish tint in the icicles on the right? Its from a street lamp, as are the dots of orange glow in the others. But do you see the tiny little bubbles trapped within? Oh the lovely level of detail this new camera finds.

That street light wasn’t working properly, its light faint and a sickly hue. Between that and the icicles on it, made it another subject for my lens.

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Perhaps the most fascinating image I took turned this up, after cropping. Are those ‘scales’ of ice over that branch?

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I’ve a few more shots I’ll post later that demonstrates the variable focus a dSLR allows that most point&shoot digits can’t match.

These were taken in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on December 22-23, 2013.