Category: Life

The fictional woman who appears in most of my dreams

I almost never talk about people who appear in my dreams, since, with some exceptions, most people who appear in my dreams are fictional people. However, one fictional woman appears in my dreams quite often, and I do want to talk about her.

The fictional woman who appears in my dreams more often than any other fictional or real-life person is a young woman named Karen Maismueller. She’s not a real-life person, but she is a fictional person who appears in many of my dreams. All of my dreams that involve fictional people are set on a fictional continent called Usonia, which is loosely based on the real-life contiguous United States and southern Canada, which is located on a fictional planet called Atlas.

Here’s some of Maismueller’s physical attributes:

  • She has light skin, but is not albino
  • She is 193 centimeters (approximately 6 feet, 4 inches) in height
  • She has a somewhat muscular build
  • She has hazel eyes and straight, neck-length, dark brown hair
  • She is 1 year, 10 months, and 10 days younger than me
  • She is fully ambidextrous

Maismueller has a lot of tattoos and piercings:

  • Maismueller has 22 tattoos:
    • One tattoo immediately below the front side of her neck, the design of which is the astrological sign for Ophiuchus, which, in the fictional universe where my dreams and nightmares are set, is a galaxy (the real-life Ophiuchus is a constellation)
    • One tattoo immediately below her right clavicle, the design of which is based on olive branches
    • One tattoo immediately below her left clavicle, the design of which is based on arrows
    • Two tattoos on her right arm, the first of which is located on the right side of her right upper arm, and the second of which is on her right lower arm stretching from just above her right wrist to just below her right elbow; the design of her right upper arm tattoo is based on a sycamore tree, and the design of her right lower arm tattoo is a rainbow-colored tribal design
    • Two tattoos on her left arm, the first of which is located on the left side of her left upper arm, and the second of which is on her left lower arm stretching from just above her left wrist to just below her left elbow; the design of her left upper arm tattoo is based on a red oak tree, and the design of her left lower arm tattoo is a tribal design that incorporates many different shades of pink and purple
    • Three tattoos on her abdomen, the first of which is a large tattoo below her chest and covering the upper half of her abdomen, the second of which is below and to the right of her navel, and the third of which is below and to the left of her navel; the design of her upper abdomen tattoo is based on grapevines, the design of her lower right abdomen tattoo is based on an Adonis Blue butterfly, and the design of her lower left abdomen tattoo is based on a Palmer’s Metalmark butterfly
    • Two tattoos on her back, the first of which is a tattoo immediately below the back of her neck, and the second of which is a large tattoo covering the lower half of her back; the design of her upper back tattoo is based on a triskelion, and the design of her lower back tattoo is based on a collection of various species of flowers
    • One tattoo on her right side extending from just below her right armpit to just above her right hip, the design of which is an Usonian language sentence that, when translated into English, means “A strong woman treats others with respect.” (the Usonian language is a fictional language that is spoken in my dreams)
    • One tattoo on her left side extending from just below her left armpit to just above her right hip, the design of which is an Usonian language sentence that, when translated into English, means “A strong woman cares about others.”
    • One tattoo on her right hip, the design of which is based on an azalea
    • One tattoo on her left hip, the design of which is based on a rose
    • One tattoo on the left side of her right thigh, the design of which is an Usonian language sentence that, when translated into English, means “I was born in a blizzard.”
    • One tattoo on the right side of her left thigh, the design of which is an Usonian language sentence that, when translated into English, means either “Consent be sexy.” or “Consent is sexy.”
    • One tattoo on the right side of her right lower leg, the design of which is based on a covered bridge
    • One tattoo on the left side of her left lower leg, the design of which is based on a quarter horse
    • One tattoo on the top of her right foot stretching from just above her toes to just below her ankle, the design of which is a tribal design incorporating various blue shades of color
    • One tattoo on the top of her left foot stretching from just above her toes to just below her ankle, the design of which is a tribal design incorporating various red shades of color
  • Maismueller has 26 piercings
    • Seven piercings in each ear, for a total of fourteen ear piercings; she has an industrial ear piercing, circular barbell helix, rook, tragus, anti-tragus, and conch piercings, and dangle lobe piercings in each ear
    • One barbell eyebrow piercing in each eyebrow, for a total of two eyebrow piercings
    • One nostril screw nose piercing in each nostril, for a total of two nose piercings
    • Three lip piercings, one of which is a medusa piercing of the upper lip, and the other two of which are labret piercings of the lower lip on each side of the center of the lower lip
    • One tongue piercing in the center of the tongue
    • Four navel piercings, one each through the top of her navel, the bottom of her navel, the right side of her navel, and the left side of her navel

Here’s some of Maismueller’s personality traits and other facts about her:

  • She is a strong-willed and stubborn-headed, but nice and caring, person
  • She is very talkative
  • She enjoys meeting with, and hanging out with, people
  • She can speak six different languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Usonian, and Lakota (Usonian is her primary language)
  • She is openly bisexual
  • She is atheist

Here’s some of Maismueller’s interests:

  • Exercising
  • Riding her bicycle
  • Sports, especially motorsports, golf, tennis, curling, cycling, bobsledding, swimming, track and field athletics, water polo, tenpin bowling, volleyball, weightlifting, and skiing
  • Comedy and action movies and television shows
  • Many different kinds of music
  • Dancing
  • Politics (she’s very liberal with a prairie populist bent)
  • Rural life
  • Massages
  • Technology
  • Science
  • Outer space

As you can tell, I have dreams about a very interesting person.

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Bernie strongly supports paid family and medical leave…Hillary doesn’t

If you support federally-guaranteed paid family, medical, maternity, and paternity leave for American workers, then Bernie Sanders is the Democratic candidate for president that strongly supports what you believe in on this important issue:

(Bernie) Sanders also backs a bill pending in Congress that would mandate employers provide paid family leave time after a child is born. The bill would be funded by an increase in payroll taxes estimated to cost the average worker about $72 a year.

(Hillary) Clinton has spoken out forcefully for the concept of paid family leave but not embraced the particular measure because it violates a campaign pledge not to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000.

While Hillary Clinton is busy twisting her own campaign platform into a political pretzel because of her Grover Norquist-like campaign pledge to not raise taxes on the low-end wealthy, Bernie Sanders is strongly advocating for actual legislation designed to allow workers to care for their families in times of need. For Bernie, supporting guaranteed paid leave isn’t just talk, it’s something that he’s actually proposed in Congress. Earlier this year, Bernie co-sponsored legislation that would allow “mothers and fathers to receive 12 weeks of paid family leave to care for a baby” and allow “workers to take the same amount of paid time off if they are diagnosed with cancer or have other serious medical conditions or to take care of family members who are seriously ill” (fact sheet here).

What is a badass woman?

Nearly two weeks ago, President Barack Obama said this while honoring the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT), which won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup:

This team taught all of America’s children that playing like a girl means you’re a badass.

While it would probably be better for a woman, especially a woman who regards herself as a badass woman, to define what a badass woman is, I’ll give my own description of what I consider to be a badass woman.

In my opinion, badass women have four common qualities:

  • Badass women fight for what they believe in. Whether it be an athlete competing for an individual or team victory, a political figure fighting for a policy goal that she supports, or a woman in a different profession fighting for an important goal in her profession, a badass woman will do anything possible to achieve her goals.
  • Badass women know that they’re not perfect, but they do everything to the best of their ability. No person on this planet is truly perfect, but a badass woman does everything in the best way that she can.
  • Badass women stand up for themselves. Even in the face of defeat, criticism, bigotry, and so on, a badass woman stands up for herself and her values.
  • Badass women are strong and confident, but not whiny or overtly arrogant. Badass women don’t act like they’re perfect and don’t throw childish temper tantrums, but are the strongest and most confident people on this planet.

If one were to ask me what kind of women that I admire the most, my response would be that I admire badass women.

Kate Murphy whines about cold indoor spaces in New York Times piece on air conditioning

Ladies and gentlemen, we officially have a war on air conditioning in America.

Kate Murphy, a Houston, Texas-based journalist for The New York Times, recently wrote a column on air conditioning, in which she complained about indoor spaces that she thinks are too cold because of what she considers to be excessive air conditioning in places like offices, courtrooms, movie theaters, coffee shops, and department stores:

IT’S summertime. The season when you can write your name in the condensation on the windows at Starbucks, people pull on parkas to go to the movies and judges have been known to pause proceedings so bailiffs can escort jurors outside the courthouse to warm up.

On these, the hottest days of the year, office workers huddle under fleece blankets in their cubicles. Cold complaints trend on Twitter with posts like, “I could preserve dead bodies in the office it’s so cold in here.” And fashion and style bloggers offer advice for layered looks for coming in and out of the cold.

Why is America so over air-conditioned? It seems absurd, if not unconscionable, when you consider the money and energy wasted — not to mention the negative impact on the environment from the associated greenhouse-gas emissions. Architects, engineers, building owners and energy experts sigh with exasperation when asked for an explanation. They tick off a number of reasons — probably the most vexing is cultural.

[…]

Commercial real estate brokers and building managers say sophisticated tenants specify so-called chilling capacity in their lease agreements so they are guaranteed cold cachet. In retailing, luxury stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue are kept colder than more down-market Target, Walmart and Old Navy. Whole Foods is chillier than Kroger, which is chillier than Piggly Wiggly.

While Murphy has a few valid points in her piece, such as wasted energy associated with air conditioning, greenhouse gas emissions associated with air conditioning, and luxury retailers using more air conditioning than low-end retailers (which is what I like to call chill inequality), I hate hot places and hot spaces with a passion. During the summer months here in the east-central part of Illinois, it can get extremely hot outside, and I would feel very uncomfortable for months on end without air conditioning. I have air conditioning in my bedroom, and that’s where I’m the most comfortable in the summer months. The only reason why I don’t set the temperature lower on my window air conditioner than I have it now (75°F) is because my parents would complain about me running up the power bill if I set the air conditioner temperature lower.

I’m shocked that a Texan like Kate Murphy would complain about air conditioning, given how excessively hot Texas can get during the summer months.

One week in, and my effort to lose weight is working!

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: The blog post includes measurements in U.S. customary and metric units, with metric conversions in parenthesis and courtesy of Wolfram|Alpha, except for a figure that was calculated by subtracting two metric figures, which was calculated by me.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: This blog post is merely a documentation of the author’s obesity problems and attempts at weight loss, and the post is not intended to give weight loss or other medical advice to anyone. When in doubt, seek advice from a licensed physician before starting a weight loss or other fitness regimen.


As I wrote about on here earlier this month, I’m trying to lose weight after years of being severely overweight.

Well, it’s been a week since I started trying to lose weight, and my effort to lose weight is working!

When I started trying to lose weight a week ago, I weighed in at 281.5lbs (127.69kg). As a result of my efforts to lose weight, which involves 45 minutes or so of exercise, usually in my small bedroom, daily and eating less food, I now weigh in at 274.6lbs (124.56kg). To put that another way, I’ve lost 6.9lbs (3.13kg) in one week! You can view the before and after photos of my tummy below.

7-10-2015 7-17-2015 Before And After 281.5lbs To 274.6lbs

There’s not a lot of visible difference between the before photo and the after photo, except for maybe a slight flattening of my tummy around my belly button. If I continue to lose weight over the next three weeks or so, I’ll provide updated tummy pictures three weeks from now or so.

I thank everyone who has encouraged me and praised me in my efforts to lose weight and become a fit person.

7-17-2015 274.6lbs Tummy Love
My tummy thanks everyone who has encouraged me in my efforts to lose weight!

My struggles with obesity, and how I’m trying to lose weight

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: The blog post includes measurements in both U.S. customary and metric units, with metric conversions listed in parenthesis and courtesy of Wolfram|Alpha, except for a square meters calculation that is my own.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: This blog post is merely a documentation of the author’s obesity problems and attempts at weight loss, and the post is not intended to give weight loss or other medical advice to anyone. When in doubt, seek advice from a licensed physician before starting a weight loss or other fitness regimen.


4XL pants I used to wear when I weighed over 340 lbs., but are far too big for me now because I've lost roughly 50 lbs.
4XL pants I used to wear when I weighed over 340 lbs., but are far too big for me now because I’ve lost roughly 50 lbs. since I wore these pants regularly.

I’m struggled with being severely overweight since I was about 6 or 7 years old. For many years, I’ve had habits of eating junk food excessively, eating large amounts of sugary candy, drinking several cans and/or bottles of soda pop per day, and not exercising. Several years ago, I weighed over 340 pounds (over 154.2 kilograms).

However, I’ve changed my habits. A year or two ago, I cut back considerably on soda pop and sugary candy. I now drink soda pop and sugary candy not more than 2 or 3 times per week. By changing those two habits alone, I managed to get my weight down to slightly over 280 pounds (slightly over 127 kilograms).

A few days ago, I changed more of my habits. While I still mostly eat food that isn’t healthy, I’m eating less food that I have in the past. Additionally, I’ve begun exercising on a daily basis. Since I spend most of my time in a bedroom that is 12.5 feet (3.81 meters) by 8 feet (2.44 meters), or 100 square feet (9.3 square meters), and I don’t have any exercise equipment (weight machines, treadmills, stationary bikes, dumbbells, exercise ball, etc.) at all, I’ve had to improvise with my workout routine. For 45 minutes per day, I will exercise. On most days, this will consist of 45 minutes of brisk walking back and forth across my bedroom, although I’ll sometimes do less than 45 minutes of brisk walking and fill in the remaining time with striking exercises (punches and kicks) and a core workout (mostly sit-ups). Over the weekend, I lost roughly 3 pounds (roughly 1.36 kilograms), mostly because of my significantly increased exercise.

If I lose a significant amount of weight in the coming months, I promise that I’ll share before and after photos on this blog.

This is the kind of sexism that female political figures have to put up with

Kelly Gunderson, a Minnesota conservative activist who dreams of being a right-wing talk radio host, took to Twitter and attacked Minnesota State Representative Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) for having an infant son and being a Minnesota state legislator at the same time:

Gunderson is receiving bipartisan criticism for her downright insensitive tweet:

This is the kind of sexism that female political figures in this country have to put up with constantly. The fact that Gunderson apparently thinks that being a young woman who recently had a child should disqualify her from holding or running for a state legislative seat is clearly sexist. If the representative from Minnesota House District 6A was a young man who had an infant child at home, I don’t think for one second that Gunderson would have said the same thing she said about Melin.

Regarding Melin’s tweet about being away from her infant son all week because of the Minnesota legislative session, I’m not a parent, but I’m sure that most parents who are away from their kids for long periods of time for whatever reason would begin to wish they could come home to their child at some point. Even politicians have feelings.

Bruce Rauner cuts funding to programs that help Illinoisans with autism

Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner cut funding for programs to help Illinoisans with autism succeed in life on, of all days, World Autism Day:

State funding cuts are threatening services for people living with autism, as families who receive help through a program called the Autism Project say they will be devastated by its elimination.

The Autism Project says Gov. Bruce Rauner confirmed the decision to cut funding for the remainder of the 2015 fiscal year Thursday – on World Autism Day.

Rauner’s decision to cut funding for autism programs on World Autism Day is downright cruel and will leave thousands of Illinoisans with little or no chance of being able to live anything resembling a normal life. Here’s some of the great things that autism programs here in Illinois have done:

Timotheus J. Gordon is working on his masters in fine arts from IIT, something he never dreamt was possible without the help he got from the Illinois Autism Project (TAP).

“Where else can I go to get help?” Gordon said.

[…]

TAP educates, comforts and funds resource rooms, such as one in the West Side’s Hope Learning Center, so parents and kids can feel, as they say, “normal.”

“TAP is there for all of these kids, I can go there and I can get visual boards made, I can go there and I can cry to them, they will hold my hand and give me the support I need,” said Vanessa Falling, the parent of an autistic 4-year-old.

Sadly, the opportunity for Illinoisans with autism to be able to live something resembling a normal life is gone for thousands of Illinoisans thanks to Bruce Rauner’s cruel decision to cut funding to autism programs.

Michigan Republican Party sends out mailer asking people to call 91-year-old woman who is in hospice care

The Michigan Republican Party recently sent out a mailer, on behalf of Republican Michigan House candidate Brandt Iden (61st House District), criticizing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a federal law providing millions of previously uninsured Americans with health insurance. The Michigan GOP’s mailer asked people to call a phone number, which they claim is that of John Fisher, the Democratic challenger to Brandt, in order to complain about a law that has helped millions of Americans.

However, the phone number that the Michigan GOP provided is actually that of Fisher’s 91-year-old mother, Isabel Marie Kramb, who is in hospice care due to the fact that she suffers from congestive heart failure. I am not going to publish Kramb’s phone number for privacy reasons.

This is one of the worst examples of gutter politics that I’ve ever seen. I find it disgusting that Michigan Republicans would harass and intimidate an elderly woman, who is in hospice care due to heart problems, by having the far-right extremists who compromise the Michigan GOP’s base of support call her. This proves that Republicans have no respect whatsoever for the elderly and the ill.