Goodbye Caine. And Fuck Cancer.

One of our best bloggers and commenters, Caine, has left this life.

This caught me completely and totally by surprise, because I, for some reason, thought she was winning her battle with cancer.

Anyone remember her rats? She’s the one who made me realize just how adorable rats and mice can actually be.

She was a tough commenter and blogger. She was tough in the backchannel, as well. But it was never in a way that wasn’t deserved. And she was so sweet, and so kind, and so friendly to those who deserved it…

I know you can’t read this, Caine, but I’m going to miss you. I’m going to miss your wit, your rats, your friendliness, your words… rest in power, Caine.

And my condolences to Rick and everyone affected by her passing.

I wish I had something with which to raise a toast to her.

And fuck cancer.

A New Blog?!? What the Heck is Nathan Doing?!?!?

Relax, relax. It’s nothing too big.

Yes, I created a new blog. No, it’s not a replacement for this one. I know I’ve been inactive here, and there are a lot of reasons for that. But as I’ve already said… I’m not leaving. I’m working out stuff in my personal life. But I will get back to making this blog active again… I promise… (would help if publicize would start working, again… but anyways…)

So. My new little WordPress blog…

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The State of the Vaping Union

I don’t think I’ve mentioned much that I vape. I started vaping to give up cigarettes, and I’m extremely close to giving up nicotine entirely. I did do a post on my old blog a few years back talking about a study claiming to have found formaldehyde production in vapes, but I think that’s the last time I talked about it on either blog.

What I want to do in this post is give y’all a surface-level breakdown of the state of the vaping union as it is right now. I’m going to go over some of the science, a little bit of the misinformation, where the laws in the US stand, and also what’s going on with vaping communities (there will be discussion of things going on with Reddit right now).

The summary is that, for people who vape or are interested in vaping, the whole thing sits in a pretty hellish limbo right now. There is a lot of misinformation out there in large part because bad science is getting more publicity than good science, the tobacco industry is pushing regulations that could destroy the industry, and communities like Reddit, separate from regulations, are basically destroying vaping subreddits. This post may, in some instances, come across as rather libertarian and anti-FDA because I really hate the regulations currently in place. But if you know me, you know that I am very much a fan of regulation and I support the FDA usually. But the way this is all being handled is pretty horrible right now, so keep that context in mind.

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#WhoAgainstGuns – Doctor Who Fans Unite for Gun Control

I’m late to this. The deadline is March 12th.

I want to bring attention to this… it’s important.

We’ve all been moved by recent events. The survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are using their voices to speak for those who cannot, to say “never again,” and demand change.

We are asking the Doctor Who community to follow their example and to shine a light on this urgent issue.

This March, representatives of all your favourite Doctor Who podcasts and some special guests will be coming together to do a podcast commentary of the 1969 Patrick Troughton story The War Games.

But here’s the thing: we’re not putting out this podcast on any one show’s feed. We’re only releasing it to listeners who provide a donation to an organization committed to ending gun violence.

Click the link to find the organizations they want you to donate to, and follow the instructions to get the special commentary podcast from there.

Even if you aren’t necessarily a fan of Doctor Who, it’s important to fight for gun control. Really, we should have done this years ago. But better late than never, right?

It’s time. It’s time to regulate an industry that has blood on its hands. It’s time to reject the NRA. It’s time to regulate guns.

Join Doctor Who. Join the survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Speak out FOR gun control.

ETA: Since they announced, they’ve raised well over $10000, so back on March 6th, they added raffle giveaway opportunities. So please… donate and send them your receipt. It really is worth it.

In Memory of Grandpa

Grandpa Sal as a Young Man in ROTC

Grandpa Sal as a Young Man in ROTC

On the morning of Friday, December 1st, I had dropped my parents off at the airport. They were heading to Atlanta for a conference. Later in the day, I drove over to work to get my schedule for the coming week. While I was heading there, Dad had rented yellow Mustang convertible for their week, and had texted me a picture of it. So I got to work, got my schedule, and hung out for a bit.

Then I got a phone call from my mom, who was crying. At first, she could barely talk, and two horrible thoughts went through my head. First, I thought she and Dad had gotten into a bad accident. Then I thought my brother, and best friend, Aaron, had gotten into an accident.

What she finally told me did not make me feel better.

At all.

Her dad, my grandpa, in Connecticut, had had a heart attack. He was in the hospital on life support.

Not long after, Dad called me. Grandma was taking him off life support, so he wouldn’t suffer.

I picked up my parents and my brother at the airport the next morning, and we went straight to Connecticut.

That side of my family is Catholic. The wake was Wednesday. The funeral was Thursday. And we came back home on Thursday night.

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Welp… Guess I’m a Terrorist, Now…

Okay… I should probably qualify that title a bit… thanks to my anxiety, I haven’t actually participated in many protests (though I’m working up the courage to actually start participating in more… and I have participated in dialogues and such). Plus, despite realizing that I’m not a pacifist, I’m actually a coward who’s usual reaction to face-to-face conflict is to curl up into the fetal position and cry for Mommy. So… you know…

However, I do support Antifa and consider myself Antifa, and I’m friends and comrades with Antifa. Despite the qualifications above, I am part of it… or at least I try to be…

So… that title? It’s not clickbait.

The DHS has officially classified Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization.

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Quick Life Update

I apologize for the massively decreased posting here. I’m not leaving. A lot of things are in the way right now. So there’s a few reasons for my seeming silence here…

The first is the fact that the publicize feature is broken. In the past, when I published a post, it automatically got sent out to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, and even LinkedIn. Now I have to do all that manually. I don’t have a problem with this for APotW and GGS, but for more in-depth posts I want people to dig into, the extra step of manually putting these out on my social networks is kinda annoying.

The second is that things in my life have taken an… interesting… turn. I work at Teavana, and Starbucks has announced that it will be closing all Teavana’s by Spring 2018. Unless I’m working at Starbucks by that time (they will have to hire me as whatever their equivalent of a team lead is, or as an assistant manager, and at a higher hourly wage than what I’m making now, which is $10), I’ll post my thoughts on all of this, on Teavana, and stuff like that. I’d call it a “tell all”, but it’s just going to be my opinion, others will disagree, and, well…

Teavana is, perhaps, not the most popular place in the tea community, and there are good reasons for that. But there’s a lot of good at Teavana, as well, not the least of which is that it has actually served as a reliable stepping stone for people interested in giving up soda and coffee and the like and want to move beyond the bagged stuff… so it won’t all be bad.

As for the third thing…

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Reminder: GGS, AP of the W, and Self Care in General All Open for Submissions

I just want to remind readers that Self Care in general, as well as Great Guitar Solos and Astronomy Picture of the Week are open for submissions. I’m eventually going to run out of stuff to post in these series, and would love to know what space pictures/videos/ideas you find interesting, what guitar solos you love, and what videos, pictures, recipes, etc you just enjoy and make you feel good, so I can post them here.

Don’t be shy! I’m genuinely curious, and I’d be happy to share it!

White House Actively Looking to Restrict Press Freedom

From ABC News

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said the Trump administration has “looked at” changes to libel laws that would curtail press freedoms, but said “whether that goes anywhere is a different story.”

President Trump frequently slams the press for its coverage of him and in March suggested changing libel laws.

Libel is when defamatory statements about someone are published. But the American press enjoys some protection from lawsuits claiming libel because of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech rights.

At least, that’s how it should be…

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Vacation Note: I’m On My Way to Georgia

For those who don’t know, I live in New York. But at the moment, I’m boarding a flight to Georgia. I’ll be there until April 25th. I’m very excited.

I’ve got a lot planned. I’m going to be rooming with my awesome brother. We’re going to a festival, cooking food, and hanging out. I’m also going to be checking out the Anthropology graduate programs at a school or two down there.

I’ll have Self Care posts scheduled, and I will attempt to post a few other things, but I can’t make any promises beyond the Self Care posts. I’m continuing the checking out. I want to enjoy this time and not be stressed.

 

I’m trying my best to avoid things that stress me this week. I need less stress in my life, even if it’s temporary.

I should say… when I say that I have “a lot planned”, a very large part of that plan is just relaxing and enjoying myself, not stressing about anything. That’s the biggest thing, actually. I don’t set up itineraries for a vacation. To me, that seems to defeat the purpose. I don’t want to be on any more of time crunch then I have to be. One day, I might have enough money to take an open-ended vacation… maybe. That day is not today. But 7 days… I can enjoy that.

This is definitely self care for me.

See y’all in a week!