little_tristan: (BtVS Spike Misery)
Probably most people have heard of the murder of the US Ambassador in Libya early this morning. The politicians and pundits will cover it better than I can, so I'll just say my heart is with Mr. Stevens's friends and family, and those of his aids.

This is what I was watching when I heard the news. It kind of helps.
little_tristan: (Bloom County Dandelion Break)
Before we left the cemetery Saturday, after supervising the entire process so I'd know for sure that it was really and truly done, I asked Uncle Harold if I was finished now. He gave me a half-smile and a little nod and said, "With this set of responsibilities". Because Harold never placates and he never ever lies.

Now the a-n, for whom I can never muster the level of sympathy I have for, well, everyone else, needs much the same thing. He's been waiting years to die of a slowly expanding aortal aneurysm and now his doctor thinks it's very close. Being a doctor, he's presenting options and encouraging the old man, so far as I know, to do something about it. The options, other than death, are simple: a major open surgery (which his father had and died of complications from), or a new procedure that inserts a stent (fuck you, Semagic, that is so a word) through the groin and strengthens the aortal walls. He's leaning toward the easy one.

The problem is he's been saying the same things all year now, that he doesn't want to live through the winter or die in a hospital. So I laid it out for him Saturday evening, when he sensed the moment was right and asked immediately after I got home, that having the procedure will necessarily lead to one of those things. Either there will be complications and he'll die in the hospital in Portland, or it'll go well and then it's hello eight months of cold rain and sporadic snow. I'm pretty sure I've said this before but he forgets things. This time he seemed to pay attention.

Now he wants to know what it'll be like when the aneurysm ruptures. He thinks I can Google how much it hurts and how long it takes to die. Give me credit; I tried. Then I called his doctor. The a-n being deaf and the doctor being African, they don't communicate very well. (It's not racism. Deafness and foreign accents just don't go well together.) Hopefully he'll call back and tell me what the old man wants to know so I can explain it until I cry in frustration.

I'm glad he held out until I finished.
little_tristan: (No Icon)
I haven't posted about this here because it's been an hourly development kind of thing some days. I did have a lot to say on FB and Twitter, for those who know me there. But now that most of facts are in, I feel like rambling.

It started with this nice young man, Cody Myers, who disappeared from Lafayette, a tiny bedroom community four or five miles from here, (also the place where Herr and Bruder were living when I met them). He passed through here on his way to Newport, home of the famous aquarium and Undersea Gardens, and a place where my family and I have spent many a fine summer day. I keep picturing his route in my mind, driving through my old hometown, past the places where I lived and played and rode my bike. But somewhere along that road, he met his killers, a young couple running from the scene of their last crime.

The day after Cody disappeared, his car was spotted in Salem, driven by strangers. The strangers were identified, then Cody was found down by Corvallis, shot in the head, and finally the killers themselves were arrested in California. But the bodies are still adding up. I had so hoped that, since they were still driving Cody Myers' car, they hadn't had to kill anyone else. But maybe they don't need to justify every murder. Or maybe, after the guy was dead, his car wouldn't start.

Ever since this started, though, I've been waiting to hear from the killers. There can be no adequate defense for what they've done. Nothing excuses or justifies these crimes to society, to the average person. But the killers always have a reason. It always seems right to them, and that fascinates me. So I've been eager to hear what they would say.

Now it's turned out to be this. Avenging an alleged crime against someone else from ten or fifteen or twenty years ago, and "his name made them think he was Jewish". Even when I know going in that there isn't an acceptable reason, I still feel disappointed. It's impossible, I guess, to lower one's expectations so much that some little weasel can't come along and squirm under.
little_tristan: (No Icon)
We lost Doc this morning. I seriously don't want to talk about it, so instead, here's a video of her in all her wacky glory.

Doctor Dog {September 3, 2000--April 23, 2011}
little_tristan: (BBT Sheldon WTF)
As I go about the task of settling my mother's estate, I'm surprised by how easy it is to do some things. The things that matter, accessing her money and getting her minivan out of my driveway, are suitably difficult. But turning off her cable and phone services, not to mention canceling her renter's insurance, are almost too easy. I call an 800 number, say I'm EB's daughter and that she's died, and they're all about helping me. Sometimes I need an account number, which I could easily get by stealing her mail (don't even ask how I got her mail forwarded--suffice to say ANYONE can do it), and that's it. I had to send more paperwork to TV Guide to change my name when I got married.

It's scary how easy it is to cancel out someone's life. I want to believe that practical jokers wouldn't call up Verizon and lie about a dead mother for the sake of a prank, but if they wanted to, they totally could. Don't spread it around.
little_tristan: (Catloaf Blue-Eyed Kitten)
I'm tempted to generalize and say that this is everyone's experience, that it will happen to all of you, too, but I won't. It might not be true, and even if it is, many of you won't believe me until it happens, and in the meantime, you'll be pissed at me. So I'm going to try to limit it to my own experience, YMMV, and try not to come off like I think I'm somehow older and wiser than everyone else. If I do anyway, I'm sorry.
Long-ass ramble behind the cut )
little_tristan: (BtVS Spike Misery)
I thought it would just be me figuring out what papers to collect and where to find them. And then when I met the lawyer, she made it sound pretty cut and dried. Long, but not terribly expensive or torturous. She even came up with some stuff that my sister can spend her share on so the state can't take it. (Apparently she'd have 30 days to get rid of it, and a lot of useful stuff is exempt.) And then I happened to mention, just in passing, that my dad died in the same situation that Sister's in now, with Medicaid and all.

So--it turns out that while there were loopholes to protect Mom when Dad died, she was able to keep the house and such, Medicaid can and will make a claim against her estate now for his debt. So the bank account with the actual money in it, the one with no beneficiary or POD, could very well go to the State without ever pausing to be divided between us. The lawyer says there's a small hope based on the fact that Dad's been gone 14 years and Mom only got the money a year and a half ago--an inheritance from her sister. But she also said that we have to fight it in the county where Mom lived, which is a much harder one to win these things in than our county. When we were on the way home, I remembered that Mom filed bankruptcy in 2006 or '07, so I called her back to ask if that would help. Maybe the State released its claims against her then. She told me to bring everything I could find on the inheritance and the bankruptcy, so I get to do that this afternoon, after I see the accountant about my (and her) taxes.

One thing is sure: I'm not going to feel the least bit bad about collecting my representative fee. I think I'm going to earn it.

Oh, and one more thing. POD means Pay on Death. Pick someone out, go to the bank, and put that name on your account. It doesn't make it joint, they can't spend your money while you're alive, and it can't be attached by that person's creditors. It DOES avoid probate by passing the money directly to the chosen person, and not even your creditors can take it from them. Seriously. It's quick, it's easy, and they'll thank you when you're dead.
little_tristan: (Christina's World)
The episode of King of the Hill where Hank's obnoxious father dies has long been a favorite of mine. But somehow all the formerly hilarious jokes are poignant at best. I wonder how long this part lasts.

In related news, Mom's coming home to us tomorrow. I don't know how long we'll have her, just until my uncle can come back for the internment. I've been doing better the last couple days, but I rather expect this will cause something of a setback.
little_tristan: (No Icon)
I'd always wondered about that, how they differed from regular headaches. But it started Monday morning, after I requested a police welfare check on my mom. First it was just a pain in the base of my neck, and then it traveled up to my skull, and gradually over the top to where it set up camp and began drilling for oil in my left eye socket. I wake up with it every morning now, that stiffness in my neck and the pain in my head, but every day it travels a little more. Yesterday it got around the front to my left collar bone, and today it's setting up another rig to drill in my right eye. I don't have the slightest idea what to do about it. None of my drugs are working. Yesterday I found actual pure morphine in Mom's apartment. I need to do some research first, but I expect I'll be trying that before this is over.

I wonder if the tension would go away if I cried. So far, I haven't done that for more than a minute or two at a time, because I suspect that when I really start, it could last for hours and right now I just don't have the time. Maybe I can schedule it for Sunday.

Sometimes I pause and wonder if I'm having a stroke.

I can't really remember when I last ate. Caffeine helps a little.

My cousin and her friends did a great job cleaning up at Mom's. It was only a little bit awful taking her brother over there. He actually got there first, before I'd even left home, but the manager couldn't let him, because apparently I'm in charge. The legal machine has taken over, and the law, in its infinite bizarreness, puts children ahead of siblings. But he lives far away and can't stay long, so I guess it's just as well. I don't know. Yesterday I signed the cremation order, which had to be initialed in about nine places, and at least 4 of them were to certify that there isn't anyone else with greater authority to sign it. Basically, it was 4 different ways of saying, It's all on you, kid. That was when the headache reached my clavicle. I'm so afraid of fucking up.

I did fuck up, though, because between the cleaning and the funeral home and trying to get her mail from the PO, I never had time to go to my sister's. As it was, I didn't get home until long after Herr went to bed. I was working hard and a lot of important stuff got done, but she needs me and I couldn't be there. I can't be everywhere, and that just sounds so lame. I sent Uncle Harold to visit with her while we cleaned up the worst of the mess (sort of a twofer), but it's not the same. He's not in charge, so he can't tell her what's going to happen. I'm going to try and reach Harold today and see if he'll drive me out there.

There was a message on Mom's answering machine from a woman in Colorado who was apparently a close friend. She sounded worried. I have to call her, but the idea makes my jaw hurt.

When I got home, there were flowers on the porch from the boys' bosses. They were very surprised. Even at their age, they still don't understand death protocol.

The footprint is still on her door.

At least the vomiting has stopped. For now.
little_tristan: (Quincy Sad Phone Call)
Now I'm just sort of going to tell a story. I realize that I was being all kinds of vague and cryptic yesterday, and people hate that (me most of all), so for those who want to know, this is what happened: Behind the cut, for those who don't want to know )

Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sara_merry99, [livejournal.com profile] jekesta, [livejournal.com profile] oasis3017, [livejournal.com profile] seraphina_snape, [livejournal.com profile] catyah, [livejournal.com profile] valis2, [livejournal.com profile] speak_me_fair, [livejournal.com profile] janedavitt, [livejournal.com profile] oddmonster, [livejournal.com profile] amine_eyes, [livejournal.com profile] quoshara, [livejournal.com profile] tygermama, [livejournal.com profile] hardboiledbaby, [livejournal.com profile] tinx_r, [livejournal.com profile] milomaus, and [livejournal.com profile] captainpixie. My friends.
little_tristan: (No Icon)
Doodle passed away last night in her sleep. Whatever it was, she fought it hard. But she was just a little dog...
little_tristan: (Scotty)
Herr is helping me with a project right now to clear out the attic, and reunite me with some of my cool stuff that I haven't seen since we moved here. He's bringing down a box or two a night and I have all the next day to sort it and decide what to keep, donate, or throw away. In last night's box, among the crappy poetry I wrote as a teenager, the awesome drawings my sister did, and the series of Cyberrad Comics (which I didn't even remember), I found this:

Big picture here... )

It's hard to read, so I'll fill you in on the specs. This is a Purchaser Class license, issued in the City of Sherwood, County of Washington, State of Oregon, by the US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, to a man named Floyd L Goughnour, enabling him to purchase explosives for the company that employed him at the time. The date of issue isn't filled out by hand, it's rubber-stamped: Feb. 1 1919

Floyd Goughnour was a friend of my father. I only met him a couple of times. On one of those occasions, he gave us a gallon jar of guppies which, over the years, became a swarm of rapidly breeding fish that resulted in my mom chucking the whole thing. But we loved them while they lasted. I remember that back then, Floyd had a huge, dusty, scary house that fascinated me in a way that only houses built before 1930 can. But by the last time we tried to visit him, around 1992, he was supposed to be in a small house in Grand Ronde. But he wasn't. A neighbor told us he'd been sent to a nursing home in Sheridan, and my dad wouldn't go there. He hated nursing homes with a fearful hate that was almost prescient.

Today I went Googling to see if there was any trace of this man, whom we called "the old bachelor" when I was a kid, because he'd never married or had children. All I was able to find was the Social Security Death record that says he died in Sheridan OR on May 4, 1995. His birthdate was January 15, 1897, which means he was not quite 22 when he was issued this explosives purchasing license.

I have no idea why this document is in my family. I found it in my dad's things when he died in 1997. Now I'm replicating it here, and telling you everything I know about the man (he also had a scrotal hernia and had to wear freaking HUGE pants), because this is probably the only online record that will ever exist. Hopefully Google will pick it up. Because he lived, he was a good friend, and that matters.
little_tristan: (Losers Cougar Silent Tears)
Probably everyone who's interested knows that the lovely and talented Anne Francis passed away last night. Until I read the news reports today, I hadn't put her name together with so many of her fine performances. For instance, I had no idea she was the confused mannequin in one of my all time favorite Twilight Zone episodes. She was a pin-up quality beauty in her youth, and a wonderful actress throughout her career. Eighty years is a good, long life, but that doesn't make it right.

Then I turned to my morning comic strips for cheering up and guess what I found? The Widow Doonesbury in a casket. No illness, no foreshadowing, no warnings of any kind. In the 20 years I've been reading Doonesbury, I've seen Andy die of AIDS, Lacey succumb to Alzheimer's, and BD lose a leg, but at least he padded the blows on all of them. Still, I guess there's never a good way to lose a grandmother. (Favorite exchange ever--Alex: "Is it okay if I call you Notorious Grammy D?" Daisy Doonesbury: "Heavens, dear, I wouldn't know. Is it disrespectful?"")

It was shortly after that that I realized I was out of Irish cream, which is basically what I use for food these days. It was 25 degrees out when I made my first trip to the liquor store at 9:30, just to find out that it was closed. (Oregon has state-run liquor stores with mandated hours, not to mention the whole population limit thing. Our town only gets one because we're small, but at least it's 5 blocks from my house.) I went back at 11 when it opened (30 degrees), and am pretty well buzzed now. That's good. Still a little cold, though. I can't put on sweaters or coats on my own, and since the arch-nemesis demands the heat be cranked up past all toleration, I can't have Herr put one on me before he leaves in the morning. So dickhead's hanging around the house in his underwear, and I'm either sweating to death inside or freezing outside. Did I say my house before? Yeah, that doesn't sound right.

Small bright point? Les Miserables is really engrossing. Can't imagine why I didn't finish it before.
little_tristan: (No Icon)
Twitter is all abuzz with news of the death of JD Salinger. I have really mixed feelings about this. I'm against death in general, of course. And though there are a couple of people I could do without, he wasn't one of them. He never harmed me, and he wrote some of my favorite stories. A Perfect Day for Bananafish, For Esme With Love and Squalor, and Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenters, one of his most underrated books ever. You've probably never heard of it, but if you've read Bananafish, you should definitely check it out. There was so much more to Seymour Glass than his bizarre and tragic death.

Catcher in the Rye, on the other hand, is easily the most overrated book I've ever managed to finish. I think I was about sixteen the first time I read it, and even then I badly wanted to slap Holden and tell him to grow up already. He was a whiny little shit and he drove me crazy, as do all the whiny little shits who find something worth imitating in him. It was the other books, Carpenters and Nine Stories and Franny and Zooey that showed me how brilliant Salinger could be. Not to mention the older stories that only appeared in magazines. Many of them are available, unauthorized, of course, on-line. The Long Debut of Lois Taggett is probably my favorite. For some reason it puts me strangely in mind of Fitzgerald's Bernice Bobs Her Hair, although one is about a haircut and the other the death of a child. Both give a strangely perceptive view of a girl learning to be a woman, unusually keen coming from the minds of men.

The reason i have mixed feelings about Salinger's death is this: he worked so hard at not being a public figure that we the public have nothing to miss. He's been gone from us for a very long time. If we want to, there's nothing in the world to prevent us from pretending that he's still in that stone house in New Hampshire, writing books that we'll never see. Except, and this is the good part, maybe we will. He's reported to have many, many completed works that he produced for his own pleasure, and there's every chance that his heirs will be willing and able to publish them. Normally, when an author dies, we're left to mourn the books that will never be. (When Stephen King was hit by that drunk driver, my first thought was, "God, don't let him die before he finishes The Dark Tower.) But with Salinger we may be able to rejoice in the books that are, which we were never allowed to see while he was alive. I said that I never wanted him dead (or words to that effect), but I have always hoped that I would outlive him, just for the promise of seeing Hapworth 16, 1924 on my shelf beside the others. Even Catcher in the Rye. I may not like it, but it's there nonetheless.
little_tristan: (thinky)
[Error: unknown template qotd]I'm not going to get old before I die, so I'd definitely consider it. Not saying for sure I'd do it, but I'd sure-God look into it. Plenty of time to keep getting wiser after the big thaw.
little_tristan: (Doom)
I won't even pretend this one isn't true. Written sometime in 1998 and periodically revisited when January strikes.

This way to the story )
little_tristan: (Doom)
If you're me, or you know me, you have to wonder how a book of famous suicides could be anything but fascinating. The answer, apparently, is when it's written by Alix Strauss. Her style is repetitive, more so than I can adequate describe without becoming painfully repetitive myself (no doubt because she needed to meet a word minimum), and she doesn't seem to have done any kind of proof reading. It's full of frustrating sentences like, "In 1986, Canadian composer and singer Richard Manuel, a chronic substance abuser, hanged himself in a motel room during The Band's reunion tour in 1986." Because he might have hung himself in 1985 during their 1986 reunion tour? And her hazy glossing over of the facts leading up to Doug Hopkins' death makes me question her research overall. But the worst is when she makes such obvious blunders as stating that, with the exception of Ian Curtis, musicians don't shoot themselves, they overdose and die of their addictions. A deft, symbolic statement, intended to show that musician's deaths are somehow more mysterious than, say, poets. The problem is that it's the introduction of a chapter where every single musician covered died of shooting, hanging or stabbing. She does mention such famous ODs as Darby Crash and Sid Vicious, but both are treated as mere footnotes in other, more prominent, deaths. (Assuming she was focusing on the more current singers, it wouldn't have been too hard to throw in Layne Stanley for the token OD. But he didn't even rate a footnote.) The whole set-up is just pointless and sloppy.
Clicky for more criticizing, and faint praise... )
little_tristan: (catloaf)
Yesterday we found a notice on the front door from the cable company, saying they'd detected a signal leak in our house and needed to fix it within 7 days. There's an FCC law about that, apparently. If it's not done in 7 days, they have to disconnect the cable. So I called and they came out today and fixed it. I still don't quite get the leak idea, but apparently this will allow us to watch Supernatural again. And probably improve our internet, which was always going down. So that's good.

I'm writing, editing some little things into my book (The Bedlam Boys, if anyone's interested), and fixing the rough bits. I think it's just about to the point where I would actually show it to people. It helps a lot that I changed it to a different font the other day. Seeing it in a totally different typeface makes the mistakes stand out more so I feel like I'm making more progress. I think everyone knows how easy it is to skim without meaning to, especially when you've read it hundreds of times, and the font change seems to be the answer, at least for me.

Reading the local paper today, I saw that the guy across the street has died. He wasn't my kind of person, exactly, but he was a decent enough guy. We were the cripples on the block; for a long time we even had the same model wheelchair. (Until he caught his tilted seat on a door frame and ripped the back off. They're powerful that way.) It was over a week ago, though, and now I feel awful for not knowing. I'm going to send his wife a card, but it's really late. If I could still bake, there would be snickerdoodles, too.

I wonder if they're going to sell his van. It has a skeleton riding a Harley painted on the side, but it runs really well.

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