Viva la Revolution! :: Death By Movies : We Do It So You Don’t Have To

September 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Viva la Revolution! :: Death By Movies : We Do It So You Don’t Have To.

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Psst! Panda Paraphenalia Post…

August 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Hey guys!  Guess what???

For $4.99 + tax, in the Lakeline Mall in Austin, TX, you can TOTALLY own your own…. (wait for it)…

 

SOLAR POWERED PANDA READING A NEWSPAPER ON THE TOILET!!!

This a children’s toy, you bastards. Take comfort in the fact that, as it’s screwing your kids up for life, it’s doing so in an environmentally-conscious way.

 

 

And now, I leave you.
You’re welcome.

 

Death by Television — Life on Mars: Some Things are Just Better in Britain | Death By Movies

August 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Look! My first official post over at Death by Movies!

Go check it out and show us some love!

 

Death by Television — Life on Mars: Some Things are Just Better in Britain | Death By Movies.

So, I’m doin’ a thing…

July 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Because I just can’t stay away from masochistic, disproportionately large knitting projects, I present the latest tour-de-crazy:

The Nerd Machine Community Project 2013:  The Nerd Army Quilt

Please, go sign up!  (If you’re not already a Nerd on the boards, please sign up there, too!… and then sign up for this. lol)

Categories: Uncategorized

Panic Attacks: A definition walkthrough for the concerned, confused, and/or fucking stupid…

June 28, 2012 6 comments

For the very few of you who may not be aware, I have severe social anxiety disorder with panic disorder thrown in (just to keep things interesting at parties and on lazy weekends with the family), and have had for several years, since the devastating loss of two of my children.  I have run the gamut of experiments in attempts to combat this, from self-imposed isolation (which sometimes wasn’t self-imposed at all and was actually agoraphobia rearing its ugly head) to throwing my face into other people’s — just to be social — until restraining orders were threatened.

The one thing I hear most often, however, is how this debilitating illness (because let’s not kid each other here, “mental illness” is not just a cute turn of phrase to placate the PC-heads, your brain is just as capable of being sick as your liver or your tonsils…) is somehow a fictional construct of my own invention, designed to garner pity and/or gifts from bleeding hearts.  Those who have seen me go through what I’ve gone through first-hand know better, and those who have similar experiences with mental illness, know better.  However, we still all go through the same daily battle, and then have to battle some more against those who are supposed to be our friends, our family, and our comrades-in-arms, in an effort to prove to them that we have what we say we have, and that we are who we say we are, and that nothing they predict/diagnose/assert will change that… unless their success rate includes rising three days after death.

I just had one of my worst panic attacks to date, so bad that I blacked out and my brain has completely redacted anything that happened during the attack (my husband tells me it was quite a bit, and it feels like I hit a bus with my face at Mach 4, so I’m inclined to believe him), in part because I ran out of my medication and cannot currently afford more… but that’s resolved as of tomorrow (at some point, I hope).   What struck me as I was reeling from the aftermath — which is somewhat akin to waking up after a 15-day-bender with your esophagus feeling like you’ve regurgitated nails and your head feeling like the drummer from Iron Maiden lost his kit and you volunteered as a dutiful fan, combined with every nerve on your skin short-circuiting to the point where your senses are overreacting to touch/smell/sound/sight/Daleks, and you can’t stop trembling so hard that people might think you have Lou Gherig’s Disease — is that it’s hardest for me to communicate my symptoms in a rational state of mind at any point, let alone when I’m in the middle of them and sounding like I may just try to eat someone’s baby.

In case you were wondering, this is not the type of thing that appeals to someone’s willingness to listen… Welcome to the inside of my head.

And, as I was laying in the bed that my husband apparently managed to hoist me up into during my unconsciousness, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we all just had a link to send people to so that they could see, from someone who lives it, what panic attacks are and are not?”  Because, seriously, sometimes trying to explain myself, to someone who doesn’t have the right to demand that I do right as I’m losing my shit, is enough to make me lose my shit. And I’ve talked to enough of you anxiety-fighters out there to know that this is true for you as well.  So here it is, your panic page: send people here who you feel may or may not understand.


If you have been sent to this page, here’s what you should know before we get started:  This page is only as offensive as you make it.  This is an honest explanation from someone who lives with this illness every day and fights it at any given opportunity. If your friend/relative/patient/passing acquaintance sent you here, then there’s a very likely chance that you are:

a.) confused
b.) misinformed
c.) have preconceived notions based on Hollywood’s repeated misrepresentation of what it is to deal with mental illness
d.) are a self-important fuckweasel, yet your friend/relative/patient/passing acquaintance still holds out hope for your successful rehabilitation

While any may apply to you, this page is not presuming to state which, in fact, does… that’s up to you to figure out and remedy.  This page is just the simple guide to help you do it.


Panic attacks are…

  • Traumatic; each one leaves us feeling a little less human.
  • Sudden (although, sometimes, a few of us can tell the signs in ourselves and warn people one is coming, but usually not with enough time to prevent it — if it’s even possible; when there is enough self-possession to maintain the status quo until meds/help can arrive, it requires all available focus and energy and the help of some real friends willing to do whatever is indicated might help… I call this phase “treading water”, because at some point I will tire and panic)
  • Overwhelming to the point of incoherence; imagine stepping barefoot in a puddle and then sticking a piece of tinfoil in a light socket whilst giving a recitation of the morning’s headlines. For starters.
  • Often distort reality until we can’t definitively tell between fact and fiction; our anxieties become manifest in all their imagined ugliness and we can’t break free of the terror. We are everything bad in the world that anyone has ever told us, because otherwise we’d be “healthy,” right? You’re really angry with us and could never love us because we’re like this, and no matter what EVERYTHING IS GODDAMNED COMING TO GET US.
  • See above, re: terror… Imagine being trapped inside the body of a flailing, screaming psychopath whose only desire is to rend the flesh from anything that stands between it and escape from the monsters. Now imagine the shame of feeling like everyone’s looking at you with pity (because you’re that sad soul who can’t control him/herself), confusion (what the fuck is wrong with you?), sadness (they don’t know how to help you, and that makes you feel guilty because now you’ve put your pain into someone else unintentionally, so you panic some more), anger (how dare you be so selfish as to think and act like everything’s about you? people go through shit every day, you’re not special…), and/or fear (if this can happen to you, it could happen to them, and the human instinct is to shy away from anything that might transmit — by the way, anxiety’s not actually contagious. just sayin’.)
  • Draining in every sense of the word; physically, emotionally, mentally, socially… seriously, why would we intentionally do this to ourselves? ACTORS at least get paid for pretending to be us…
  • Detrimental to our health; my blood pressure swings up and down like the Devil’s yo-yo during a panic attack. I get “tunnel vision” (the edges of my field of vision darken and blur until I can only see the barest blur of what’s in front of me), my head feels like it’s about to spin off my neck, my face and hands get numb (from the hyperventilation, which causes oxygen deprivation, which can cause blackouts), my heart races, my teeth chatter against each other so hard from my body locking up/trembling that I’ve actually cracked one of the new fillings out of my molars (along with the front of that tooth), and sometimes we lose our voice from the involuntary panting/screaming.

Panic attacks are NOT…

  • A convenient excuse to ditch a fight/argument/party/sex/taking out trash/putting kids to bed/date; try me. I’ve heard every one of these. Personally, when I want to get out of something, I just say no. I know others who fake a headache. But, putting one’s self through the physical and psychological anguish described above, simply to get out of talking about who insulted whose parents the most over dinner, seems a little extreme wouldn’t you say?
  • Something we can “get over” or “deal with on our own”; don’t you think we’ve tried? Obviously, this is the part where you demonstrate your understanding of the word “friend.”
  • A phase that can be magicked out of us with the right drug/therapist/voodoo witch doctor during a thunderstorm; thanks for asking, though.
  • Something to make us feel guilty about; believe it or not, we’re quite capable of handling that part on our own. Ta.
  • Something to ignore until they go away and then come back to hang out with us; you may not like country music, but Tracy Lawrence said it best: “You Find Out Who Your Friends Are” … If you don’t want us at our worst, you don’t deserve us at our best.
  • Something you can high-handedly analyze for us and have us listen to you with a straight face when we’re calm; you’re not inside our heads. You may have opinions, but until LSD baths truly become a telepathic antenna they will forever remain opinions and not authoritative declarations; do yourself the courtesy of not confusing the two. It just makes you look like an idiot. And may get you slapped.

 

If I think of anything else, I’ll edit this page accordingly.  If anyone else battling anxiety disorder has additions/suggestions for this page, I encourage you to leave your comment below or contact me privately via email.  All comments of a rude or derogatory nature will be changed or removed.  This page is for your education and support, from someone who experiences this every day of her life.  Please use this page any time someone asks about or doubts your struggle, because it’s real and no one has the right to make you feel otherwise (intentionally or no).

 

I support you.

 

~Kella

It’s the (second-)Most Wonderful Time of the Year… Thus, first free pattern giveaway!

June 22, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s literally like (insert anachronistic, gift-rendering winter holiday here) in July! I can’t wait till Nerd HQ!

And guess what?

…. I get to be a volunteer again!

Nerd HQ is in San Diego July 12-15, this year…

Bam!

To that end, while there wasn’t a community knitting project on The Nerd Machine this year (but I did come up with something for next year! Stay tuned…), I am still working on something Nerd-related to bring to the con with me!

The beauty of this project (it’s a “surprise”!) is that it’s a bunch of little components that I can sew together on a night where I feel like my wrists are too ill-abused to work the needle. I’m releasing one of the little components into the wilds of the internet, because it can function as a standalone mini-project just fine:

(As with anything The Nerd Machine-related, I don’t own the rights to the images, content, slogans, etc. that they use… I just make large-scale, dorky fan-art and throw it at them at conventions.)

I wrote this pattern to be as idiot-friendly as possible, so apologies to more-experienced knitters who might feel “dumbed down”… we all needed to learn somewhere!

Roy the Robot’s Disembodied Head:

Materials ~

Two size 4 dpn (double-pointed needles)
Two size 2 dpn
Worsted-weight (“4″) acrylic yarn in red, white, and black  (Not a lot is needed, this project was designed to be done with yarn remnants.)
Yarn needle
Polyester fiber stuffing, or cotton balls (in a pinch!)

Instructions ~

Head:

Right side, Row 1 – Cast on 5 stitches onto a size 4 dpn, knit across first row. Turn at the end of this and every row.
Wrong side, Row 2 – Purl across all 5 stitches.
Row 3 – Increase in first stitch (knit into front and back of the same stitch before sliding old stitch off of needle), knit three stitches normally, then increase in the last stitch in the same way. (7 stitches on needle)
Row 4 – Purl across all 7 stitches.
Row 5 – Increase in first stitch, knit 5 stitches, then increase into last stitch. (9 stitches on needle)
Row 6 -Purl across all 9 stitches.
Row 7 – Increase in first stitch, knit 7 stitches, then increase into last stitch. (11 stitches on needle)
Row 8 – Purl across all 11 stitches.
Row 9 – Increase in first stitch, knit 9 stitches, then increase into last stitch. (13 stitches on needle)
Row 10 – Purl across all 13 stitches.
Row 11 – Knit all stitches in row.
Row 12 – Purl all stitches in row.
Row 13 – Knit all stitches in row.
Row 14 – Purl all stitches in row.
Row 15 – Knit all stitches in row.
Row 16 – Purl all stitches in row.
Row 17 – Decrease by slipping two stitches from the left needle to the right needle one at a time, as if to knit them but without actually doing so, slip left needle underneath both slipped stitches and knit them together (SSK), knit 11 stitches, decrease by knitting the final two stitches together as if they were one stitch (K2tog).
Row 18 – Purl across all 11 stitches.
Row 19 – SSK, knit 9 stitches, K2tog.
Row 20 – Bind off in purl stitch. (Purl the first two stitches, then use the left needle – or a crochet hook! – to pull the first purled stitch over the second purled stitch so that only the second stitch remains on the needle. Then purl another stitch from the left needle and repeat slipping the previous stitch off the needle over the top of the newer stitch. Continue in this manner until there is only one stitch remaining, on the right needle.  Cut the yarn, leaving a long tail, and pull the tail through the last stitch, making a slip knot.)

Make another head the same way as the first.

Knit a connecting strip out of worsted-weight red yarn, by casting on four stitches onto a size 4 dpn, knitting all odd rows and purling all even rows, until you’ve reached 11.5″ – 12″ in length, then bind off in purl stitch, leaving a long tail.

 

Glasses:  (use size 2 dpns for these)

First, use white worsted-weight yarn and cast on 4 stitches, leaving a long tail of yarn at cast-on.

Row 1 – Increase in first stitch (knit into front and back of the same stitch before sliding old stitch off of needle), knit two stitches normally, then increase in the last stitch in the same way. (6 stitches on needle)
Row 2 – Purl
Row 3 – Increase in first stitch (knit into front and back of the same stitch before sliding old stitch off of needle), knit four stitches normally, then increase in the last stitch in the same way. (8 stitches on needle)
Row 4 – Purl
Row 5 – Knit
Row 6 – Bind off in purl stitch, leaving a long tail.

Make another lens the same way as the first.

Using black worsted weight yarn, knit approx. 7.5″ – 8” of 3-stitch I-cord.  (For the purposes of this pattern, the I-cord is where you cast on three stitches onto a size 2 dpn, leaving a long cast-on tail, knit those three stitches, then knit the next row without turning the needle around! Continue knitting without flipping the needle around at the end of every row, until you have reached the length necessary.  The result will be a long, reinforced cord, useful for edgings.  In this case, the frame for Roy’s horn-rimmed glasses!)  If you’re worried about making it too short or too long for the lenses, you can sew the edges lenses into the I-cord as you knit it, using the long black yarn tail you left at cast-on!  Then just stop knitting the I-cord and bind/sew it off and finish it off when it’s the right length!

Use the long tails in the appropriate colors to piece the parts together, according to the picture below. Use one of the long white tails to sew around the black frames in the middle (between the lenses) to both secure the glasses’ middle to his face and to simulate “tape”!

Enjoy your Nerdy Roy head!

Someone order a nerdy pincushion?

Someone order a nerdy pincushion?

Adventures in Parenting: I am 3 going on 17…

May 14, 2012 2 comments

So, my three-ring circus consists of a three-year-old child, two sibling cats, working from home, making handmade items for spare cash, and trying to complete my degree through online college. Since we recently moved to Austin, our finances have (understandably) been in severe flux and we’re still waiting for the dust to settle. This means that my barely manageable chaos between work/self-employment/school is also complicated by having to ensure my daughter is still breathing and not stockpiling reasons to seek therapy by the end of the day. This becomes more and more difficult as she develops her own opinions. I tried to decline the update but it was pushed overnight as part of the whole “dressing herself” convenience package I opted into.

That’s a note to all you geeky parents out there: Always read the fucking EULA.

We recently allowed Siobhan to turn three years old. It was a tough decision for her father and I, as we barely survived her two’s and felt ill-prepared for the added challenge of regular, informed debates with a midget. Luckily, however, my husband pointed out that she would be much easier to train with the update’s freebies like English, connection-making skills, and self-entertaining subroutines to keep her on a repetitive, placid mode in her bedroom so I can get some goddamned work done during the middle of the day.

Part of her learning to entertain herself has been playing with Mina and Pepper, our two 10-month-old kittens. She loves to take shoelaces or craft yarn and lead them on merry (if not psychotic) chases around our small apartment. It has the dual effect of providing all of us with entertainment and giving me a prolonged break from the child micromanaging so I can get some work done.

Today, I needed to start transcribing something (as I’ve had absolutely no time to do it all weekend), and Mina wouldn’t leave my lap alone. So I called Siobhan into my bedroom. She came running in from her room, breathless and naked except for her Pull-Up, where I knew she had been doing everything except cleaning it like I’d previously asked…

Siobhan (innocently): What is it Mommy?
Me: Here. Can you play with Mina and Pepper so I can get some work done, please?

Siobhan crosses her arms and rolls her eyes dramatically before she sighs as deeply as you’d expect from a petulant 15-year-old. “Fine, Mommy. I’ll do you a favor.” Then, she plasters on a plastic smile and opens her eyes wide (think “Pre-School Teacher on Methamphetamines”) before turning to Mina and Pepper: “Come here M’na, Pepper! Let’s go!”

Thanks for the solid, smartass.

Categories: Child, Random Weirdness
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