In Which I Almost Have to Live in Bells Bend Park until Summer, but Then I Save Myself!

Since I got everything on my to-do list done by yesterday, the only thing I had to do today was to ask the Butcher if the Dracula in this movie was played by John Travolta. But that was interrupted by the terrible and scary news the Butcher had about the Redheaded Kid. Some folks get weird about me talking about them on the blog, so I’m not going to go into details, but people, you know what a dear friend the Redheaded Kid has been to us, even when he drinks my last Diet Dr Pepper.

Please, if you have a spare good wish, give it to the Redheaded Kid, especially since, when he and the Butcher lose their jobs at the end of the month, he will lose his health insurance. What he’s going through is scary enough. The thought that the course of treatment he might have will be determined by the fact that he’s losing his health insurance is just frightening.

Anyway, now I have depressed myself all over again. And I was just trying to tell you a nice story about how I almost got stuck in Bells Bend Park.

So, it goes like this. There are two cemeteries in the park. One seems like it should be fairly easy to find. So, the dog and I went out in search of it. There’s a place where a little stream crosses the road and I got across it fine. I had a fleeting thought of “ha, I’m surprised that didn’t trigger a panic attack” but I was already across it and I had obviously successfully crossed it so I didn’t think to bother to turn around and it didn’t really occur to me that I would have any problems later.

I’m sure that you can see where this is going.

Anyway, I don’t know if I found the cemetery or not, though I surely found evidence of non-Indian inhabitants on the hill–daffodils, bricks, a big square thing, and a stacked stone wall, which, in Middle Tennessee is almost always evidence of slave labor.

And then we came back. And I couldn’t get across the creek. For, I don’t know, like twenty minutes. It didn’t go into a full-blown panic attack, but I was sweating and dizzy and it sucked. And I kept thinking that I could do it if I just had someone’s hand to hold. And so I began to realize that I was going to need to call the Butcher to come rescue me. And I thought about how stupid this was, both to call the Butcher to save me and that my brain was fucking up in this particular way. And I also realized that the full-blown panic attack wasn’t coming on.

So, in the end, this isn’t a story about me overcoming some outside obstacle and pushing myself to my limits. And it isn’t even about me overcoming the fucked up things my brain will do to me. I just was fucked up for about twenty minutes and then I stopped being. And I don’t know why. I just stepped across the creek and it was fine.

I honestly don’t know what makes this day any different than other days, but it was, so that was nice. And I didn’t have to call the Butcher. So, that was nice, too.

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Is Stacey Campfield a Communist?

Campfield is trying to pass a law that would allow college students to not buy the assigned books for their classes if those assigned books are written by their professors.  I’m having a great laugh at this, just trying to imagine how the hell UT or other state schools are supposed to recruit top talent and then turn around and tell them that their expertise isn’t valued in the classroom.

I mean, shoot, if the guy who designed your car wanted to show you all the nifty features it had, you wouldn’t be all “Oh my god, the designer of the car is only trying to tell me what he knows so that he can make a profit! I demand you give me someone who doesn’t know as much about this car to tell me about it!!!!!!”

But the best part is the comment he left at the bottom of this story.

I tried to make clear to the reporter the bill would not stop the professor from possibly requiring a book they authored. It would only keep them from directly profiting from that sale. They could still require the book then forgo the kickback they get from the book publisher for their classes sales.

That “kickback” is called “royalties.” That’s what you get paid to write a book. Is your paycheck a “kickback” from your employer? Does Campfield really believe that college professors should just write books for the good of the world and not be payed the fair market value for their work?

And is Campfield aware that only textbooks are moneymakers? People who write monographs often don’t make any money off the books. So, will they have to report their contract status to Campfield?

I just love how telling people what money they can make and how they can make it are supposed to be bad things under Tennessee conservative ideology until the people making it are academics and then, whoa boy, the Republicans better get in there and run things like Soviets.

But, let’s look on the bright side. If this passes, the lawsuits that fly are going to be incredibly interesting. Is it a first amendment issue for a state to tell a professor what she can and can’t use in her classes? Can a state interfere in the contract between an author and a publisher like that? If the publisher isn’t in Tennessee, can the state dictate to the publisher how the royalties are distributed?  And probably stuff I haven’t even thought of here.

But damn. “Kickbacks.” Yes, when you get paid for the work you do and Campfield likes you, it’s called a paycheck. When you get paid for the work you do and Campfield doesn’t like you, it’s called a kickback.

That is hilarious.

Wild Hairs

I really adore my gray hairs, in part because they’re silver and I love the idea that my head can spit out something shiny and beautiful. Also, because my gray hairs are totally “fuck it! Life is too short to behave.” So, I was trying to get some pictures for you, but I finally figured out that they needed to be in front of something dark so that the silver would stand out.

Everything else about aging is, at least for now, hard to notice. It happens in such small increments. But the gray hairs! That makes it real to me.