Albu-FUR-que XVIII

It was time to party again. With Covid restrictions lifted, I decided to go ahead and plan a furmeet. Pretty much everyone is sick and tired of all of the bullshit, and there is a huge pent up demand for some semblance of normalcy. It was as simple as "if you don't feel comfortable, don't come." Most of the drama involved was just of the typical furry variety. We were caught in the middle since we got the brunt of "Well, if HE'S going to be there, I'M certainly not going!" Blah blah blah. So in the end we ended up with around 30 people throughout the day. Once again people stepped up and brought tasty ribs and pulled pork. I did the usual hot dogs and hamburgers. There was much socializing and fursuiting once the sun went behind the mesa. Unlike in previous years where the temps got up to 100, this year was nice and mild (upper 80's) with a nice breeze. And now...a pic!


Fruity Posty

I sorta forgot about my nectarine tree. It was dripping with fruit, but every time I checked, they were all hard and unripe. The same thing with the plum tree. It had never produced so many, but every time I tried to sample the quality, they were all hard and sour. Slowly things changed. I started testing them with a gentle pinch. If they gave a little...ripe! The same thing was true with the plums. So now the harvest has begun! Here is the result from 2 days of harvest with probably the same amount still on the tree. Plums are still a few days away from being truly ripe.


Plums everywhere!


The Results Are In

I posted here a couple of weeks ago about my bum ticker. I had a battery of tests done to see how the old heart was doing. I got the results yesterday, and I must say that the news was good all around. The best news was when I stepped on the scale. I have been trying very hard to eat less and exercise more. I had been afraid that all of my effort had been for naught. I'm still a fat fuck, but I had dropped 9 pounds! Yes! The effort had been worth it! It will be easier now to keep up the good work knowing that it can yield results. The next good news was when the nurse took my blood pressure. Normal. Great! The last few times I have had it taken, I rang the bell. Finally the doc came in and gave me the results from the tests. I had cheated somewhat in that I had checked my chart online and saw that it appeared pretty nominal. Yup. Everything came back just fine. The results were similar to what I had about 3 years ago. The structure is sound. The plumbing system is fine. It's just the darn electrical system that's all wonky. The greatest risk is from stroke, but even on the risk scale of 1 to 10, I'm a 1. To play it safe he put me on a blood thinner to reduce the little risk I had even further. So that's the story. I plan on continuing my healthy routine in hopes of dropping another 9 pounds. I'll continue my exercise routine and hopefully increase it as my stamina improves. I'm liking my strategy of slow and steady progress. Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. Hey! I should write a song!

Albuquerque Comicon

It felt good to get out yesterday and do some socializing in an atmosphere that would have been considered a super-spreader event several months ago. In fact I was rather surprised that this even was authorized seeing as it could attract a large crowd. The State is scheduled to completely re-open on Thursday, so maybe they thought it was close enough. *shrugs* It was just nice to cosplay in my werecoon partial. We met some friends who were suiting the event. I even met a gal from Denver who was in a full suit but didn't consider herself a furry. Go fig. The setup was actually really nice in that all of the vendors were socially distanced. This meant there was lots of room to maneuver. The entrance fee seemed a little steep for what was offered, but it was definitely worth it to hang around with fellow geeks and have some fun.

A Stressful Day

Ah! The joys of getting older! You get to have things shoved up your butt and you're not at a con, and you get to have all sorts of other fun tests. For me, I have discovered I have a bum ticker. No, not a watch up my bum, but my heart likes to get wonky. I was diagnosed with Afib a few years ago which means I have an irregular heartbeat. My heart also has this annoying tendency to stop pumping for several seconds. Thank goodness there is a good "restart" button so it hasn't been too big of an issue. There has been talk of a pacemaker, but I am holding off on that for as long as possible. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on my weight which has also affected my BP (*pop*). My doc arranged an appointment with a cardiologist and he recommended a battery of tests including a stress test. I had head about these, but have never gotten one. It involved getting a radioactive tracer into my bloodstream and then getting a picture of my heart. Nothing like remaining still for 15 minutes. Then they put me on a treadmill for a workout until my pulse spiked. Then it was back for more pictures. On top of this I also got an EKG where they take an ultrasound of your heart. So now it's wait and see. I should get the results in less than 2 weeks. Hopefully I can take care of things early and avoid tragedy like the 2 recent deaths in the fandom.

The Finish Line

I did it! I made it to Minimum Retirement Age Day! This is the first and most significant of milestones. I can now retire with full bennies. From now on it's all just a question of money. How much do I want for my pension? 28% of my salary? 29% of my salary? 30% of my salary? That will be determined by my length of stay. I'd probably have to work until February of '23 to get the 30%. Maybe stick it out until February of '22 and settle for 29%. Then there's always the question of Mom. How healthy is she? Can she make it until February when I could help out more? We're only talking 8 months here. *shrugs* Let's just take it one day at a time. It's just certainly nice to know that the door is now open, and I can walk through at any time I choose.

Apricots - 2021

I looked at last year's posts and didn't see anything about apricots. I think we had a late frost which killed everything. The same thing went for the year before, but I did find one fruit in early July, and the ants had found it first. This year, despite another fairly late frost, we knew that we would be hopefully getting something. Yesterday I noticed some mostly-ripe fruit on the ground. There had been a fairly violent wind storm the previous night and some fruit got knocked off. Unfortunately the ants had once again gotten to the fruit before I did. Well...mostly. There were a couple that weren't too "anty" and I cleaned them off and tasted them. Yum! Nice and sweet! You can't find them like that in the store! I decided to test a few more that were still on the tree to see how ripe they were. Most had a little bit of green still on them, but I managed to harvest about 15 if they passed the "tug test." If they came off fairly easily while exerting a little pulling pressure, they were ripe. I had a few for lunch today. Mmm. So good.

Another Lost Furiend

I found out this morning that jugularjaguar suffered a stroke yesterday and has either died, or is on life support and not expected to live. JJ, aka Draconis, and I go back to the early days of MFF. He was always the jokester. He brought his characters to life be it his jaguar or his more famous alter-ego, Calamity Cougar. He started an anti-raccoon campaign at MFF, so I in Abbey Raccoon and tilt_longtail in his raccoon suit broke into his room and proceeded to defile his bed. Years later I would be a handler for him as he got a gig as the buffalo mascot for the US Mint as they unveiled the New Mexico state quarter. Another one of my jokes about him was that he had a slight resemblance to porn star Ron Jeremy. I don't think he appreciated that, but every time I told someone, they would say "Yeah! He does look like him!" It's so sad to see another greymuzzle lost. I shall miss him.

More IRS Fun

In the last installment of my saga with the IRS, they had successfully received my 2020 tax returns, but there was no word about my 2019 return which they had lost. I sent them a signed affidavit saying I HAD filed a return and included a copy of my 1040 form. I just sent the main page since that should have been all they needed as proof that I HAD done my taxes. Just on a whim I signed onto their website the other day to see how things were looking. It certainly looked like everything was normal. I was able to pull up my 2019 return and I noticed the most important number "Balance $0." Unbelievably, that very same day, I received a letter in the mail from the IRS. "Uh. We still haven't received your 2019 return. Please send it to us." UNBELIEVABLE! I was just looking at it on your website! Maybe they're mad because I didn't send a complete return since I left out my Schedule D and its supporting form. The thing about that, however, is that ALL of that information is already sent to the IRS by my brokerage account. In fact I was also looking at the info on their website. *headdesk* And of course their local office is still closed and if you try to call you're told that the lines are too busy and you need to call back later *click* So screw it. They have the info. They have my money. I'm done.

What the Bear is Watching - Spring 2021 Edition

I was going through my posts from last year and I really like my little cultural milestone posts. They're mainly for myself, but if you find my reviews somewhat interesting...bonus!

"Sweet Tooth" - There has been buzz in the furry world about this one since it involves human/animal hybrids. It's definitely in the "young adult" genre since it uses so many horrible movie tropes. The scenes with teenagers forming their own little "Lord of the Flies" civilization is very laughable. "Hey! We're badass warriors! Let's have a rave!" I enjoy post-apocalyptic movies to see how ridiculous they get. This one gets pretty ridiculous. Why does the "bad guy" look like Dr Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog?!?

"The Kominsky Method" - It's the final season of this show which we have loved throughout. Michael Douglas is such a good actor, and the writing is exceptional. For this season they introduce his ex-wife played by Kathleen Turner. Wow! She has NOT aged well! But it was fun to see that "War of the Roses" and "Romancing the Stone" chemistry again.

"I Know This Much is True" - A great mini-series on HBO with Mark Ruffalo playing 2 parts as twin brothers, one with mental illness. Another show with great writing and acting. It was so emotionally intense that we could only watch one episode at a sitting.

"Deadwood" - I never got around to watching this show when it premiered on HBO over a decade ago. Since I'm interested in Back Hills history, I gave it a watch. I'm happy they only made 3 seasons of the show and, more recently, a movie to tie up a lot of plot points. The storyline is fairly flat and characters are not allowed to really develop. The writing is pretty awful with an overuse of "cock sucker" and "fuck." It was entertaining for what it was.

"Love, Death, and Robots" - An anthology of animated shorts. I liked season 1, and season 2 didn't disappoint either. Some were really good. Some were "meh."

"Ratched" - I forgot to include this one in earlier posts. It's supposed to be a prequel to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" as the origin story of the "beloved' Nurse Ratched. It's dark, twisted, and stylish. It certainly kept my interest.

"Falcon and the Winter Soldier" - As sick as I am of superhero shows, this one held my interest in that it was a little darker than most. I'm not a Marvel fanboi, so I will just say that it was OK.

"Q: Into the Storm" - I don't know why this didn't get more traction. There was a brief mention of it in the media after the final episode aired, but that was it. HBO put together a documentary about who was behind the whole Q-Anon conspiracy machine. It's not some deep state intelligence officer, but just some troll living in Asia. It sounds like he's just in it for the lulz. It's just pathetic how many got trolled and still believe it to this day even after the truth is known.

Failure to Launch: Shows that didn't make the cut.

"Lovecraft Country" - I couldn't even make it through the first episode before shutting it off. 2020 was definitely the year of "whitey so evil." Sorry. My belly is full.

"Star Wars: The Bad Batch" - I'm not a "Star Wars" fanboi either. Thanks to Disney, the universe is expanding way too quickly. Got to keep that merchandising machine cranking! I'm just not into that universe, especially the animated stuff. Pass.

"Mare of Easttown" - We heard good buzz about this show on HBO starring Kate Winslet. We just couldn't get into it. We gave it a couple of episodes, but it just didn't hold our interest. We love the "gotcha" factor where you're watching something and you can't wait for the next episode. This was just "meh."

"Hannibal" - As I mentioned in my post about Best Foreign films, I mentioned I'm a big fan of Mads Mikkelsen. He played the title character in this NBC series. So I gave it a watch. I think I lasted 3 episodes until I realized how bad the writing was. It reminded me of another NBC show "The Blacklist" where the actors and overall idea aren't bad, but the execution is just awful.