Friday, August 23, 2013

I Heart You

This week, my dad had heart surgery -- cardiac ablation -- to treat atrial fibrillation.  Atrial fibrillation is defined by Mayo Clinic as:

... an irregular and often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow to the body. During atrial fibrillation, the heart's two upper chambers (the atria) beat chaotically and irregularly — out of coordination with the two lower chambers (the ventricles) of the heart. Atrial fibrillation symptoms include heart palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness. 

This is an issue I get every once in awhile myself.  It kind of stops you in your tracks and knocks the breath out of you while your heart flip flops in your chest.  I know other members of my family have it as well.  My dad said he first noticed the issue in 7th grade, so it is something you can have for most of your life before it becomes a true problem.  A few years ago, my sister and brother were visiting my dad for Thanksgiving and he ended up in the hospital with heart attack symptoms.  This was the atrial fibrillation acting up.  It was very scary and they have now decided that surgery was the best option.  Many people have told me that they know people who have had the surgery and they feel awesome afterward.  Most likely because they are probably able to be active after not having the energy to do anything.  I assume the weakness comes from blood flow not getting oxygen to all the parts of your body, so your body doesn't have the energy to do what it needs to do.  

My dad isn't quite 60 and him having surgery (especially in another state where we can't get to him quickly) was very scary.  Having just had my own surgery, I couldn't exactly jump on a plane to go visit.  My doctor didn't want me on a long flight due to sitting still so long and potential swelling of the foot and leg.  Plus, I'm sure his girlfriend didn't want to have to take care of two of us.  Anyway, this got me thinking that I've made a bunch of posts lately about heart health, so I wanted to put some of them in one place.   

Talking about calcium and heart attacks:  http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2013/03/bone-spurs-calcium-heart-attacks-and.html

Talking about the cardio reactive protein test and heart issues:  http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2013/03/big-dogs-die-young.html 

Talking about the difference between an enlarged heart and an inflamed heart:  http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2013/04/enlarged-heart-versus-inflamed-heart.html

This is my response to obesity being categorized as a disease.  Pointing out that I have more health problems now than I did when I was fatter.  http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2013/06/if-obesity-is-disease-then-why-do-i.html

A follow-up to the post above:  http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2013/06/let-me-explain.html

Although I do battle some health problems, my blood work actually says I'm not all that un-healthy.  Here's a post about my recent blood work:  http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2013/06/im-healthy-fatty.html 

I am very grateful my dad's heart issue was caught early enough to allow for surgery.  I look forward to many more active years with my dad and need to plan a trip to Texas to see him soon.  

Have any of you had any experience with heart issues?  Let me know how you're doing.  


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Life Is Perfect

You've seen the posts on Facebook.

My man is the most amazing...I got home tonight and he'd made dinner and cleaned the entire house.

She failed to mention he was apologizing for cheating on her.

I love my family!  They are taking me to Disneyland!

Where they will torture her with rude comments about her weight and how she's a lazy cow.

With the invention of social media comes envy like we've never seen before.  I no longer have to call EACH friend separately to tell them how ridiculously perfect my life is, I can now announce it to my 2,000 Facebook friends, 1,500 Twitter followers, and various fans on Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr with the click of a single button.  

How perfect do you actually think all of your friends' lives are?  I realize the grass is always greener on the other side, but do you really think that most people aren't dealing with some kind of relationship issues, money problems, crappy jobs, children behaving badly, houses that won't stay clean, aging parents, shit-talking friends, broken cars, sick pets, etc.?!  

I am not saying that you need to put all of your personal business out there on Facebook.  Just don't feel bad if you have that one friend who appears to have a Facebook-perfect life.  That doesn't exist.  Sure, we can make the most of a bad situation and choose to try to be positive, but for those of us who live realistically, sometimes reading those, "OMG MY LIFE ROCKS" posts can wear on us.  

So do you prefer the facade that life is perfect or would you rather know that we all struggle with something and life isn't easy for everyone?  I know that no one wants to read a bunch of whining all the time on social media sites, but sometimes it's nice to know that you aren't alone.  Sometimes my life DOES rock...and sometimes life kicks me in the teeth.  I do over-share some things on Facebook but I also choose topics that remain somewhat off-limits.  For example, I may talk a lot about my history with my family but I generally choose not to share a lot of details about my relationship on this blog or on Facebook.  That's just a choice I make for myself.

Anyway, I know this was kind of a random post but I see a lot of overly-stated "my life is perfect" posts and I sometimes wonder if it is a matter of fake-it-til-you-make-it or if they really are that lucky. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Am I "fat enough" to be a fat activist?

Last month, I posted a blog about shame.  You can read that post HERE.  It caused all kinds of trouble for me in real life on the family front.  What I wasn't expecting was an anonymous comment that appears to be from someone I don't know in real life.  I debated whether I should respond to the comment on the actual blog (wouldn't really matter since the person wouldn't get notification of the response since they posted anonymously) or delete it or just ignore it.  I decided I will respond to it here instead.  I did remove the ability to post on my blog anonymously.  I have heard of the horrific hate mail other blogs receive and I feel like cowardly bigots should not have the option to stay in the dark.

Here is the comment:

 
To be upfront, I am a very judgmental individual. I enjoy people watching and over the years have associated different dress attire, talking styles, etc., with different judgments.

I also don’t think it is at all practical from a societal standpoint for judgment to not exist. Society relies on there being a common culture of shared values, principals, beliefs, etc. for the society to revolve around. The notion that a society can exist of multiple cultures with competing values, principals, beliefs, etc. is among the most mythical ideals that I commonly hear. Hence, there are “norms” and if you do not meet to those norms, you are subject to being judged for that. Furthermore, within any society, there are subsets that will judge certain actions harsher or less harsh than other subsets of society. Nevertheless, there are societal norms which, if you do not subscribe to, you will be judged for.

One norm that has developed in our society is that obesity is unpleasant to see and exposing it constitutes “indecent exposure.” Another norm, for which I am very judgmental of, is that, when you wear something that is intended to accentuate what you have, but you don’t have anything to really accentuate, you shouldn’t wear that. It’s indecent exposure and/or relays a message that you are full of yourself. Common examples are overweight men who wear tight-fitting tees that are meant to accentuate muscle that they don’t have and women who wear halter shirts to display a back shape that they don’t have.

My sense is that much of your talk/advocacy of folks developing confidence in themselves and society being more accepting is very retrospective upon some strives you have made. I think that, in light of your lost weight, you have discovered a new you and have found greater interest and enjoyment in being outgoing and enjoying life in ways that you previously didn’t. You also appear committed to keeping much of the weight you had removed “off,” as having it “on” prevented you from enjoying these things. When two and two is put together, it’s hard for me to envision that, if you went back to the same weight you once were and were uncomfortable with, you would feel as outgoing and showcasing as you do today. I think that telling others who are in the place you once were that they have a beach body is not genuine. When you were there, Lori, you would never say that about yourself. I can also assure you that many of them don’t think it’s genuine either. Many of them view such suggestions as contradicting of your progression (i.e., you didn’t feel that way when you were one of them) and when they compare your body to their body, you’re not exactly one of them – at least not anymore!

I think it would be inappropriate to convince the women in this picture that “everyBODY is a beach body.” Perhaps if they kept it to a one-piece; but definitely not a two-piece…

With regards to your campaign against folks passing judgment, I think your efforts would be better spent convincing people who are where you once were that there’s a way out rather than trying to change society’s judgments and sponsoring a chip-on-the-shoulder and “hell with social ‘norms’” agenda.

That all being said, I don’t know what I may have thought of you prior to your losing weight, but I can assure you now that I and many other men find you greatly attractive. You’re thick and curvy; not obese and “blobby.” The former is something to accentuate; the latter is not ;). You’re a great role model for what others who are struggling with being overweight can become and I thank you for being accessible for those individuals.

PS:
I am overweight and do not have a “beach body,” so typically wear a t-shirt to not offend others. But getting a beach body is achievable for me and whenever I choose to make it a priority, removing the t-shirt will be all the more practical.

I have many issues with this comment as a whole, and realize it is a long one so I won't respond point by point.  But I, of course, take most offense to the paragraph I put in bold. 

Of course it is "easy" for me to put bikini photos of myself up on Facebook or Instagram.  I lost a bunch of weight, had a ton of plastic surgery to remove loose skin and use careful angles and filters to smooth everything else out.  Does it make me a "bad" fat advocate?  Hey fatties, be like me and put your bikini photos up...oh sorry you don't have a flat tummy...I guess I'm just a lucky chunkster!  I have put my body through hell to be "thin."  I would know more than many the lengths to which some people will go to be society's "norm."  Yet I'm still not thin enough to be in the thin crowd.  Sure, I'm thinner than some.  But not thinner than others.  It's like I have no place.  Fatties don't want me because I don't quite have enough rolls.  Skinny people don't want me because I do have some rolls.  But at the end of the day, this person is still talking about my body.

Let's talk about my brain.  My sick ass brain doesn't get it.  I probably had more confidence and less mental issues when I weighed 350 pounds (my first round of anti-depressants came when I was at my lowest weight).  I really didn't feel depressed about my weight until I started the yo-yo weight loss/gain.  So MY BRAIN tells me I'm not attractive at 250 pounds.  I'm not fishing for compliments when I call myself fat.  I'm telling you that I "get" it.  I get how you can wake up hating your body, regardless of what the scale says.  I've been fat, I've been as close to thin as I could possibly get and I've been somewhere in between.  My brain finds fault in my body at every level.  I'm not comparing myself to the girl who weighs 150 pounds or even to the one who weighs 500 pounds.  That girl who weighs 500 pounds doesn't make me feel better than myself.  I don't look at myself and go, oh well at least I don't weigh what SHE does.  I only ever look in the mirror and say, hey look at those chubby arms.  Oh wow, my thighs are so dimply.  I am too busy judging myself to worry about judging everyone else's body.

Would I have posted a photo of me in a bikini when I weighed 350 pounds?  I don't really know.  Ten years ago, social media sites weren't so plentiful and I was in a different place mentally than I am now.  I am in an odd place.  Less confident than I was years ago, yet now with all of the access that I have to many fat acceptance groups on Facebook, I also weirdly have more confidence than I did back then.  I can't answer the question because I honestly don't know.  I am where I am at this exact moment in time so I guess we can do what if's all day but no one truly knows.  I do know that the more time I spend talking to ladies who talk about how fabulous we all are is rubbing off on me and I certainly FEEL more fabulous every single day. 

In response to the comment that I am committed to keeping the weight off, I do admit that I am trying to maintain some weight loss.  I don't think that makes me a bad fat activist.  Health At Every Size would tell me that they are my underpants and I may choose to do whatever I want to my body.  I really have attempted, though, to shift the focus off of severe calorie deficits and the scale, and on to healthy food choices and exercise (as much as I can do with this stupid foot injury).  I am a compulsive eater, which means I eat when I am not hungry, because I am trying to soothe anxiety.  Those are not healthy eating habits.  I am in therapy to deal with that and am reading Overcoming Overeating to help.  If by "curing" my eating disorder, I lose weight, I will certainly take it.  If I didn't lose a single pound but started to feel healthier, I can live with that too. 

So I'm sorry if my public journey makes anyone feel bad.  It was never my intention.  I certainly hope that by using the hashtag #myfatwashere that someone who is larger than me doesn't sit and think that I'm a dumb bitch for trivializing his/her issues with his/her own fat.  We are all on our own journey for sure and my intentions really are to help lift people up to feel better about themselves.  I can't change the journey I have been on.  I DID weigh 350 pounds.  I DID choose gastric bypass surgery for myself, as I believed it to be the best choice for me at that time.  I DID initially lose 165+ pounds.  I DID gain 65 pounds back.  I DO choose to post publicly about my struggles so that other people can see that they are not alone.  And I also have to be prepared to receive comments like the one above.  I certainly can't say I will always choose to respond so publicly to every comment but, as I'm off work for a month after my surgery, I guess I had plenty of time on my hands to do it.  

I also realize that much of this comment has more to do with this commenter's confidence and self-esteem issues.  I wish him the best and hope he finds someone to look up to (like I have in Ragen, Golda and many others in the size acceptance world). 

P.S.  The link to the photos of the ladies in their bikinis is straight up fat bigotry.  It looks like those ladies are having a blast and I am sorry that the commenter couldn't just look away if he didn't want to see them.  Trying to publicly shame them doesn't do anything for anybody.  Please sir, remove the t-shirt, show off your beach body and go freaking enjoy your life!  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August Blog Hop: Pole Dance and Social Media

This month's blog hop is about pole dance and social media.  This is a very popular subject!  If you want to check out other posts in the blog hop, click HERE.  

I almost can't remember a time before Facebook (*cough, cough* Friendster and MySpace, although I really feel like the pole dance explosion happened after Facebook became THE social media site).  What an amazing tool to help me meet people around the world I never would have had the opportunity to meet in the not so distant past.  My very first memories linking pole dance and social media were finding the blogs of Heather Yesko and Jennifer of Pole Skivvies.  They both lived on the East Coast, but I "met" my first pole sisters very early after I started my pole adventures in 2009.  


Flash forward a few years and I interact on a daily basis with amazing pole dancers all over the world and feel like I know some of them very personally even though I've only met them once (or not at all).  Without blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and the myriad of other social media outlets, I know I wouldn't be as in touch with my extended pole family.



Mina and Nadia
Even the subset of the Pole Dancing Bloggers has taken on its own form and we now have our very own social media sites.  Just for us bloggers!  Find us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterJoin us on Instagram.  This month, we started a weekly photo challenge, so please feel free to participate!  The group was spearheaded by my beautiful pole sisters, Sheena in New York and Valentina in Italy, and I am very excited to be part of another group of amazing polers who are working hard to promote the pole industry.  I actually have an assignment for the PDB and need to get off my sorry injured butt and start pulling together my part.  :-)

I'm sure I have posted this many times in the past, but if you are trying to find me on social media sites, here are my links:

https://www.facebook.com/TwirlyGirlConfessions

http://www.twitter.com/lolorashel

http://www.instagram.com/lolorashel 
(sorry, there are a lot of selfies, bruises and cats...I really can't help myself)

 
Cosplay with the beautiful Leen Isabel

Other important links (for me) are pages I manage on Facebook and would love for people to join if you're interested.

Nor Cal Pole Posse...I try to keep Northern California studios and events posted on this page:  https://www.facebook.com/NorCalPolePosse

Twirl for a Cause...our fundraising pole dance page for events around the Bay Area:  https://www.facebook.com/TwirlForACause

As most of you know, I post about many topics, not just pole dancing.  But I try to tag things appropriately so you don't waste time reading anything you might not be interested in.  I feel like without the power of social media behind me, how else could I turn a simple legal secretary into a fiery pole dancing Viking Warrior?  Before the invention of Facebook fan pages, where it was suddenly okay to toot your own horn, I may have been committed into an insane asylum for telling people I had a Viking alter ego.  


Miss you, Cupkates Truck!
Without social media, I also wouldn't have access to so many fat/size acceptance groups to help build my confidence and self-esteem (and now to my new cosplay/Chunky Girl Comics friends!).  I wouldn't have so much support to help me realize that I am fabulous no matter what I weigh and that I shouldn't wait to lose weight to do all the things I want to do, whether its on the pole or in regular life.  I started using the hashtag (another social media invention) #myfatwashere to track the fun stuff I could do even though I'm not society's "normal" body type.  And without social media, how would I share my cupcake obsession?!


Kate of Pole Etak
I feel like social media is essential to the health of the pole industry.  Even when I can't make it to events, I love seeing photos and watching videos posted by others.  So social media keeps me connected.  I also feel like seeing others working on their moves motivates me to work on mine.  Part of why I was so eager to hurry and have surgery on my foot was so that I could heal and get back to pole dancing the way I used to.  


How do YOU feel like social media affects the pole industry?  What changes would you make, if any, to how we all interact with each other?



BadAzz

Jill Anne

Nadia n my boobs

SeanMichael




Twirly Girls on TV: Let It Ride on National Geographic

A few weeks ago, Kate (Pole Etak) provided some of us Twirly Girls with an opportunity to be background players on a reality television show.  They were filming in Pleasanton, so it made sense that some of us would be in the area.  That show, called Let It Ride, starts tonight on the National Geographic channel.  I understand our episode should appear in a few weeks (probably fourth or fifth episode -- it's not on the episode list yet). 

Check out a preview here:  http://youtu.be/ePdwxyyZoUI

Our episode is about accessorizing a woman's bike.  Kate almost punched me but I did say I would put a stripper pole on the back of the bike.  lolololol!  Hey, no one knows what a pole fitness pole is!! 

I have no idea how much any of us made it into the show, but if you like motorcycles, it looks like a cool show to watch!  Keep an eye out for Twirly Girl sightings and let me know if you see us!  :)



Monday, August 12, 2013

Pole Dancing Bloggers -- Weekly Photo Challenge #poleblogphoto

I have made it through!  Five days post-surgery...and I already want to pull my hair out.  I can't participate, but I did want to make sure everyone was aware that the Pole Dancing Bloggers have started putting out a photo challenge and I would love for everyone to submit their photos.  

Follow the PDS on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/PDBloggers

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/pdbloggers

Instagram:  http://instagram.com/pdbloggers

Even if you don't follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, use the hashtag on public photos to participate: #‎poleblogphoto‬

 Here are August's challenges:



Here are some rules/suggestions by our fearless leader, SLY:


PDBA presents the AUGUST POLE PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE

The Pole Dancing Bloggers Association has just launched a fun, new social challenge for the Pole Dance & Fitness community. Let’s all do a twirl or maybe a booty pop for the “Pole Photo A Week Challenge” created by the PDBA.

PDBA INTRODUCTION
For those of you who don’t know, the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association (PDBA) is a community for pole artists to share, connect, create and report engaging content about the ever growing and evolving world of pole dance. The group exists to encourage community by sharing resources, prompting dialogue and establishing contacts within our field. Currently the PDBA consist of over 100+ pole dance/fitness bloggers who create fun, sizzling content on a consistent basis while sharing their personal journeys.

ABOUT THE CHALLENGE
Each month the PDBA will release a series of 4 -5 challenges that are to be completed by the Saturday of that week.

HOW TO PLAY
  • Take a look at the August photo a week challenge list.
  • Take a photo according to whatever the prompt is.
  • Once you’ve taken the photo, SHARE IT. (See below for sharing techniques.)
  • Connect with others by viewing their photos too. Browse through them on social media platforms by searching the #poleblogphoto hashtag. Check out our facebook page too.

WHERE TO PLAY
  • Instagram: Upload your photo. Add a caption like “Week 1 – Favorite Pole Move. I love the fireman!” and then add the hashtag #poleblogphoto.
  • Facebook: Upload your photo onto the Pole Dancing Bloggers facebook page and add the hashtag #PoleBlogPhoto.
  • Flickr: Upload your photo, by using the app or the website. Remember, use the hashtag #PoleBlogPhoto.
  • Twitter: Upload your photo on twitter and share it using the hastag #PoleBlogPhoto.

THE PROMPTS
Right click the list above and save it to your desktop or take a screenshot and save it to your phone. You can even print it, if you want. You can also reference the list by visiting this blog post and visiting our facebook page.

There are no rules when it comes to our photo a week challenge. Everything is up for interpretation as you see fit. Get creative. Have fun! For those who need suggestions, check out below.

  • Aug 4 – 10 | YOUR FAVORITE POLE MOVE. Take a photo of your favorite pole move. This could be any and everything. It could be an invert, a trick, a pose, a spin….anything!
  • Aug 11 – 17 |HAIR. Hair flips. Hair toss. Sexy hair. Hide behind your hair. Updo. How does your hair react to the pole?
  • Aug 18 – 24 |BLACK AND WHITE. We want to see a black and white photo that incorporates pole dance and fitness. This is wide open to interpretation to encompass ANYTHING.
  • Aug 25 – 31 | POLE BAG. What’s in your pole bag. Show us a snapshot. Or maybe only one item. Or maybe show us your bedazzled bag itself.

FAQ –
Can I use photos I’ve taken before? You could but where’s the fun in that. This challenge is about trying some new things. So if possible, use the entire week to get the best photo that you can for the challenge. That professional photo shoot you did last year generated great photos, but it’s probably not the best option for the challenge. We want NEW STUFF!

I’m not a photographer. This is too hard. I don’t know what to do. Okay. Breathe. And if this brings on panic attacks, it’s okay. Maybe don’t participate. But if you’re up for the challenge, here are a few tips.
  1. Download a self timer app such as TimerCam. It’s free. This will help with your selfies when you don’t have a pole partner to take the picture for you. If you’re using a DSLR camera, remotes help as well.
  2. Consider your angles. While a crossknee layback looks the same on the pole for most dancers, try getting creative with the angle in which you take the picture. What if the camera is directly below or above you? Is that even possible? What would your photo look like then? 
  3. Consider your composition. What if instead of you being in the center of the photo you were at the bottom on the right? What does that do to your photo? 
  4. Consider emotions. We want your photos but we also want story, emotions and expressions. So when you’re doing your invert or your crawl or whatever the prompt may be, how can you capture personality, individuality and your own expression into the photo? 
  5. TRIPODS HELP!
  6. Steer clear of flash. Its usually so unflattering and leaves most people looking overexposed and blown out. 
What if my photo is late? What if I skip a week? Its okay. There are no penalties.

I don’t like the prompt. I can’t do the prompt. Why did you pick that horrible prompt? Remember that the prompts are up to interpretation. If you can’t do a certain move, maybe capture someone else doing the prompt…with their consent. Or maybe your cat is the subject in the “pole pose” photo prompt? It’s also true that you won’t resonate with every prompt. Skip it. Or do the opposite. Or try it anyway. It’s all up to you. It’s just for fun!

I don’t have access to a pole studio this week. I don’t have a pole at home. I want to participate and you’re making it difficult. WAAAAA! We considered this when creating the prompts. That’s why each week, you’ll find that there’s usually only one POLE INTENSIVE prompt and the rest can be done any and everywhere! See, we planned ahead! We’re taking care of you. Also, maybe go to the park and take the pole photo there. Or on the train? Get creative. Try something new.

I have a suggestion that I want you to use for a future prompt. COOL! We love ideas. We keep a list going of prompts. To date we have over 60+ ideas we’re going to be throwing at you. But we want your thoughts too. Send us your ideas and we’ll add them to our list. YAY!!!!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Surgery is in two days!!!

sad, swollen foot
Last night, I taught my final Boys, Girls and Twirls class before surgery.  Today is my last day of work.  Surgery is on Thursday and I cannot wait!  I have spent the last ten months with foot pain...the last four being held hostage by it.  I have gained ten pounds, way too many inches and lost muscle waiting for this issue to right itself.  

I will be off the day job for a month.  I will probably be off teaching at Twirly Girls for at least two months.  The doctor said the entire healing process will take at least three months.  

I CANNOT WAIT TO GET MY LIFE BACK! 

I miss walking wherever I want without pain.  I miss dancing.  I even miss jog/walking 5k's.  I want to go to Disneyland without destroying myself.  I want to walk around Vegas.  I want to go hiking.  

Pole Expo will happen while I'm still in my moon boot.  My doctor has warned me against walking too much in Vegas -- has begged me not to go if I think I can't control myself from walking while I'm there.  I promised him I was going for a convention and would stay in the hotel all day.  I didn't mention it was a pole convention.  I did sell one of my workshops so that I wouldn't waste money or hurt myself.  I actually wouldn't mind spending most of my time by the pool anyway. 

Strassberg sock aka the sexy sock
Long story short...I am very excited to get back into doing what I love to do.  I have some really cool projects that I'm working on with other pole dancers and I can't wait to unveil them.  I went through this whole life-altering pain issue with my hip a few years ago and I apparently already forgot how horrible it is.  It affects my tolerance for bullshit with other people.  It rips away my empathy.  It lowers my ability to handle difficult people.  This surgery is the first step to getting back to being me.  

The doctor will not be removing the bone spur, but cutting the plantar fascia.  Has anyone had this surgery?  I'd love to know about the recovery! 
 
My right calf is smaller now :(


 
Only four short years ago


Now

Monday, August 5, 2013

San Francisco BART strike and the News

Last month, I wrote about what the BART strike cost me personally.  The strike ended after four and a half days, with an agreement to extend contracts 30 days to get the trains moving again.

I wrote that blog on a Friday...before I left work for the day.  Since the trains started again at 3 PM, apparently the ferry decided to go back to their regular schedule, without notifying anyone or updating their website.  I left work at 4 PM hoping to catch the 4:30 ferry home.  When I got there around 4:15, I heard the boat horn blast...and I knew I had been left behind.  I joined a long line of unhappy campers who were informed that the ferry had returned to it's regular schedule and that another ferry would be along at 5:20 for us.  We were furious.  The lady who worked for the ferry said, hey you could take BART home (oh yeah, except our cars at at the ferry, you idiot!!!).  Then she told us to just be happy it was Friday.  She's lucky no one attacked her.  A lady in line asked why there was a boat sitting at the docks.  She was informed that it was an extra boat -- just in case.  That lady then marched down there, spoke to the captain and got us on the boat.  We left around 5:00 PM (half an hour later than we thought we would leave but still 20 minutes earlier than we would have on their "regular"ferry).  What a clusterf*ck.  Seriously, the ferry didn't think that all of those people who rode the ferry over wouldn't have to return??  Not the smartest move, friends! 

Anyway, last week, I ended up speaking with Bay Area News Group reporter, Erin Ivie, about the BART mess.  It was frustrating knowing the strike was really only postponed.  Frustrating that BART management and the unions and workers didn't seem to be negotiating much, and that the lead negotiator took a 10 day vacation in the middle of this mess (after being paid $399,000 for his four month contract).  Frustrating that 2,000 union members were probably going to again hold 200,000 daily BART commuters (not to mention all other commuters now sharing ferries and the road way) hostage by striking again.  Erin sent a photographer, Dan, on BART with me to do a little photoshoot of my commute (which was funny...people sure do get squirrelly around cameras!!).  What I didn't know was that this story would be front page of the Saturday news in the Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune and San Jose Mercury News.  It was so cool!  I got tons of texts and e-mails from friends who were also enjoying my new "celebrity" status.  

The strike was supposed to start again today.  At 10 PM last night, well past most of our bedtimes since we were supposed to be getting up at 5 AM, Governor Jerry Brown called for a 7 day extension in order to investigate whether or not BART and the unions have been negotiating in good faith.  This potentially means everyone could be doing this all over again next week, but I guess I personally won't have to worry about it since I'll be out for surgery!  I had written a letter to Governor Brown, as I am sure many people did, asking him to step in.  Being a union guy, I am very surprised he did step in.  Although I am also very grateful as I did not want to spend the two days I had to come to work this week stuck in a crappy commute.  

Below are links to the article and photos.  I will also post some of the photos in case the link goes bad.  They are copyrighted, belonging to the Bay Area News Group.


SAN FRANCISCO -- Telecommuting isn't an option for Lori Myers, a legal secretary from Walnut Creek, if BART workers go on strike again next week. 

Myers, who travels to San Francisco for work, got a taste of how things might be during the four-day strike in early July, getting up at the crack of dawn and traveling for two hours by car, ferry and foot to make it to her job. She owns a car -- unlike many others who take transit to work -- but parking near her Embarcadero Center office was more than $50. 

"If this is going to be something that goes on for one or two months, it's going to affect everything I do," said Myers, whose added time spent commuting also cut into her nighttime job as a dance teacher. "It affects my bottom line. I guess I'm going to have to get used to waking up early enough to cover the extra hours in each direction.

"I guess 4:30 is the new 6:30."

Read the rest of the story below:

http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_23785510/bart-strike-burden-cuts-across-workforce

Photos:

http://photos.mercurynews.com/2013/08/02/walnut-creek-woman-anticipates-second-bart-strike/












Stockon-Con with Chunky Girl Comics

Yesterday, I was very excited to be formally introduced to a new family of amazing people:  Chunky Girl Comics!  Recently, I was cast as the live action version of Candy, one of the members of the Heavy Response Unit.  I joined the creators of the comic at Stockon-Con for some cosplay yesterday.  Cosplay is apparently nerd-speak for dressing up as a character and running around having the most fun you can possibly have! 

First off, Marisa, her husband, Jose, and their partner, Grant, are all such nice people.  Marisa and Jose's kids are adorable and sweet.  And one of my HRU besties, Sweet Pea (played by the gorgeous Violet Ruthless) was on hand to cinch me into the smokin' hot corset and go off on adventures with me throughout the event.  She was a lot of fun to hang with all day and I am really happy to have met her.  Her boyfriend was very sweet as well, patiently taking lots of photos for us all day.  I want to thank my friend, Lety, who came as Super Letitsia (Super Tits for short), for being my drag husband for the day, carrying bags, holding phones, taking hundreds of photos, and helping make the day even more fun (if that was even possible).  Also, thanks to my friends Vanessa and Toni, and Kristina and her clan for trekking all the way out to Stockton to say hello! 

I'm really excited to be part of a cause that is showing little girls that you don't have to be a size zero to be amazing.  I was happy to be rocking my thunder thighs for all to see.  There certainly didn't seem to be a shortage of people asking to take photos with us.  I'm sure it didn't hurt that I was at least 6'4" in those boots and was displaying my boobies proudly in that corset.



Below are some photos from the day.  I am looking forward to future adventures with Chunky Girl Comics!