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vixengrl

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 2,617

About Me

More things I say at <a href=\"http://vixenstrangelymakesuncommonsense.blogspot.com\"> Strangely Blogged</a>.

Journal Archives

Her Body: Home

She saw the pills in the drain of the sink,
covered in coffee grounds.
He could have rinsed them down--
but he wanted her to see.
She thought about rinsing them off
and hiding them somewhere like her purse,
but she didn't. Playing that game
would only make it worse.
She told herself she could get more
if she said she was just seeing her ma;
he would let her go then, she could
make it quick--it wasn't so far.

And then a week went by and she didn't go.
And then there were two.
By the third week she thought
about it a lot; by the sixth week, she knew.
She couldn't say a word to him--
he'd only rub it in her face
and she didn't know what story
might get her to that other place,
the one halfway across the state
with the 72-hour wait.

Her Body Battlefield

The battle was here
on her skin,
under her nails,
thick in her nostrils,
warm at her legs,
annihilating
for moments,
desperate for weeks.

When the
insurgency
became her emergency
the truce flag
was waved
not by herself
but by the heroes
she thought might
have saved
her

but she
was given up for dead
on the battlefield
of her body
(or at least, hors
de combat),

and her occupier was
treated with
as if
she mattered no more.
For on one battle
rested her entire
war.

Her Body Migrant

They wanted her
here--
there,
back down,
thirteen,
no hope,
prisoner
used, traded.
Tool.

Dreams:
nightmares only.
Freedom denied
and penetration
guaranteed.
Stolen life
a story
of transit-points
and bargains
and sometimes,

she was the chip.

This seed
that tastes like shame

holds a body in bounds,

and would you dare bargain for her
freedom with indifference to her
life--and

not call this thing "rape"?

Make her body the place
you sink in your
staff and wave your
merry flag? A fish and a cross?

Fuck yourself.

Her body is her proof.
Let her have her freedom.

And leave your beady little conscience
to its worrying stones.
She bore her cross
why should she bear
a crown of thorns?

Her body is not your business to shame
but the burden you
need
to know.

And if you do not dare--
speak no more of her fate
anywhere,
slink down from your place;
for you have no right to
judge
what you would
not face.
Her body,
and the sanctity of its life.

The Horizon of Veronica Smart

The speedboat named The Horizon, owned by one Veronica Smart, was an unsalvageable mess after plowing uncontrollably into a less-fortunate speedboat, which had no salvageable persons onboard. But The Horizon had Veronica Smart, and her insurance was very good and rescuing her was like salvaging gold bars with little rubies worked in. The Coast Guard picked up what remained of Veronica Smart and, after finding that she was in no way responsible for what happened, left it to the doctors to figure out how to make the most out of what they pulled out of the water.



Veronica was young, healthy, 28 years old, the daughter of a politically-influential billionaire. She was attractive, headstrong, athletic, and missing quite a lot, but the doctors were reasonably sure that they had the technology to keep her mostly intact and functional.



Of course, there was the issue of consent. What they were proposing was a bit dramatic. But when they explained that her body, such as it was, could either undergo dozens of operations and months if not years of physical therapy to regain a portion of her original functionality, or could be restored to even more optimal functionality by a full replacement of her damaged limbs with the most advanced cybernetics, she was intrigued. Having though about it for a bare minute, and understanding full well that money was no object--she consented. Getting right back to what she considered her business, without any major hiatus, seemed a fully reasonable decision.

Of course, it didn't go quite as well as was expected.
The problem was where to leave well enough alone, and there really hadn't been a very good well-enough. Her legs were shot, but they led to her brittle and shocked hip-sockets, which could be rimmed with steel, but then, what of the rest of her pelvis, and then, her spine had several fractures, but figuring out where to put a rod in was a bit delicate. And well, her arms were broken, but where does one stop? 3D printed clavicles, breastbone, steel-reinforced bones, and then, well, the nerve-damage caused a bit of a confusion about the opportunistic infection that affected her fingers, because having about 40% of her body replaced had triggered a bit of a shocky insulin response. So they went with the hands, too.

She had quite a few more surgeries than she thought she would, and coming out of the epidural fog she wondered really, what was her and what wasn't. But when she got the hang of the commands and how to integrate the replacements with her thoughts, it was really more like relearning how to use a part of herself, and not like mastering a tool at all.

All in all, she was about 60% new. Her teeth were already implants from an unfortunate horse-riding accident. Her jaw was enhanced.

She took off before her therapy was complete, because she had things to do. She got a PDA hardwired into her left temple, because of course she did. She was a living WiFi hotspot. She could hit up search engines at the speed of thought. She downloaded mods to her cybernetic limbs to enjoy VR games. She acquired a peripheral robot servitor to do little errands that sent her date via a remote cam.

They weren't sure what to make of her when she went back in to ask if her diaphragm wasn't right. What she meant was--her breathing wasn't optimal. She coughed. She presented an ungodly green sputum. What she assumed was a wares issue was a biological concern--pneumonia. Quite a bad case, too. And she rather innocently signed a request form to see about getting artificial lungs. It was the Plague years, after all, and lungs could not be simply replaced from donors if needed. And the tech to get cloned lungs wasn't as on-demand as the meat-vatters insisted in their investment paperwork.

She got the pneumo-works and a stainless steel heart. It clattered in a charming way that made her think of teapots. This motivated her to really sink herself into her chosen work--

Charity. It always struck Veronica that she had been uniquely blessed in her life, after all, with money, and looks and all that. It also always occurred to her that she had hovered near-death more than a few times. So she built a few hospitals that performed, if not the same high-tech therapies that kept her running, reasonable technologies that allowed poor people to live a bit longer. She raised money--but that was for sponsoring the unfortunates who benefitted from her hospitals. Otherwise, she made a profit from people who had Brand X, Y or Z insurance and could sort of aspire to her ideal, which she put in her biography and all her charity literature. To be remade, healthy and new.

The digestive system was replaced with stainless steel and PVC after all her necessary medications took a toll on stomach, intestines, bladder and spleen, to the extent where she demanded they come out, or everyone on the staff of her premier hospital get sacked. And her actual nutritive requirement was so low, anymore, that she required ergs more than calories to go on. Her skin was replaced with a flexible solar-cell sheath.

Her first face lift was an actually lifted face. Her epidermis couldn't handle the heat of her various cranial implants anyway. The pseudoskin with solar cell inlays would never wrinkle, and the pores allowed optimal ventilation. Her eyebrows and hair were real. Ish. She kept abreast of all innovations in the body-mod arts as she led her father's business to capitalize on a hundred or so amazing new things to do with a human base model.

Her eggs were stored at thirty five and frozen because they were doing no good in her ovaries, and those little bastards had to come out because menstruation was ridiculous, and so did her uterus because she would hire a mother for her kids, anyway, and fallopian tubes were just iffy little pistols up in her junk, right?

Her eyes and ears were basically sub-optimal. Having downloaded wares that persuaded her of the enhancements to her senses (along with a guarantee of no decline in sensory experience) she bought in for the top-of the line optical and auditory implants. She could see ultra-violet and infra-red. She could hear dog-whistles.

She came at last with some profound sensory dysphoria and seizing to the crack medical team that had been advising her all this time. She wasn't hitting her targets. She was missing words sometimes. There were gaps in her holographic memory of her chronological life.

They did a CAT scan. The tangerine-sized thing that was all that remained of her original wetware processing was sick. It was dying, in fact.

They tried to be very circumspect and gentle. "Your brain is nearly dead," her GP explained.

"I remember who I am and I know what I want to do--so it can't be my whole brain, right?" Veronica replied.

"Well, no, you have processors for all the tech that make up your body, but your original birth-body brain is falling apart. Your parts work, but the organic 'you' is not working. It's dying."

She gave it a moment's thought. "Would I process more optimally without the wetware?"

Her doctors conferred. It was possible. Her various processors for the different parts worked well enough together. The wetware was human, but was it necessary?

"It is probable," one of them ventured.

"As I suspected," Veronica replied, and accessed her cell phone. "Execute estate protocol, fig. A corporate personhood, fig. B contract to serve corp. That is all." She then instructed the doctors. "I would prefer you remove the malfunctioning wetware so that I can continue performing optimally."

One of the surgeons gasped--"But that is the last part of you that is fully human!"

Veronica regarded him mildly. "I was Veronica when 75% human, and 50% human. I was Veronica at 90% factory parts. Why would the smallest part of my brain make a difference, now? And besides, I'm getting married in a week." She grinned and added "A church wedding."

Hardly anyone did have church weddings anymore. The alarmed doctor gulped and asked--"Does your intended know?"

And she replied "That is between me and my doctors! Just get my brain out of here, can you do that? My groom awaits!"

And the wedding was purely lovely, the cathedral, glorious, the groom, totally nervous, and of all too many human parts.

But that, of necessity, could be corrected.

]

(An SF-Horror story) Flesh of her Flesh

(Content warning, disease, surgery)

Sylvan didn't consider himself a ghoul, even if that was what they technically called his kind of work. He considered himself an ex-med student, for the most part, and an artist, at times. He offered a commodity (skin) and a talent (the cleanest scalpel-work a careful eye ever thought it saw). He made enough money to keep himself and her in their flat. He realized it wasn't a permanent arrangement, but it would do.

"Her" or "she" meant his mum. He stopped thinking of her as "Mom" or "mother" for now. It wasn't that he didn't love her, he had, it was just that she had contracted a severe form of narcovirus and simply wouldn't wake up, as far as anyone knew. No one ever did. He wasn't even sure there were trials, although at first, he sincerely looked for them. It was just that there were so many, many other New Plagues that fought for grant dollars. He got discouraged, and then got wrapped up in trying to kit out their place with proper equipment for her long-term care.

He was just over the line, what with his scholarship and her savings. And it wouldn't feel right, anyway, leaving her as a ward of the state, where anything might happen to her. Not after she worked so hard to get him into school with the burning faith that he could do something about the scary reality that was settling in.

She developed dropsy. It wasn't to be unexpected. He left her alone for great periods at a time while he still tried to pursue his studies. She. He was sure she wasn't uncomfortable, breathing normal, he fought to get Lasix to pump through her IV to work out the fluid and stabilize her blood pressure. But she just expanded on the bed. He moved her with difficulty as he regularly checked for atrophy or bedsores, flexing her legs for intervals in the hopes that she wouldn't curl into a grim fetal position. But she lay her damp form on the bed, straight, and with skin entirely smooth...

The kind of care he tried to provide between classes and tutoring was just the humane requirement she deserved, was all. The penalty for victim-dumping was high for people inclined to shorten their loved-one's lives, whether for compassion or financial reasons, probably because everyone was supposed to keep up hope. But he didn't even consider an alternative, even if it kept him trotting. He didn't really even have the cash to hire a migrant nurse under the table, anyway, not that he would entirely trust one. He heard things.

But that skin. So much of it.

The hot thing in underground surgery was taking care of herpes complex VI scarring. The lesions were often a hair larger than a loonie, and trying to patch the scarring meant grafts. Anti-rejection tech had come a long way, and he knew he could do that. He'd make some quick money, and she wouldn't even miss it.

She didn't miss anything--she missed everything, anymore.

He did it for a friend who was trying to get a job in finance. She didn't know where she got it, but it was an obvious part of her neck. Innocent enough--anyone could contract it, but in certain field it just wasn't done to go around looking like a plague-person. And legit doctors charged an arm and a leg and a firstborn child. And he had skin, from her. It was theft! His hair stood on his neck as if he expected his black operation to be immediately busted by the CDC ethics police, but it did not happen.

And in the end, he had five thousand dollars in his account he didn't have before, and paid the back rent, the electric, and got the landline switched back on.

The next time was a friend of a friend, an actor/model who needed his face, which was slowly getting wrecked. He kept that bankroll under her bed.

Then he did an ex-lover, who paid him 7 g's out of guilt and for discretion because she trusted him to not tell a soul, and really trusted him, and trusted him so much she threw him a tip. He really didn't feel so good about himself or her after that exchange, but her breast, under his knife, was made just as perfect as he once found it.

She slept through it all, as she would. He made sure she had pretty good medical-grade morphine. Her wound care was desperately attentive, but he wasn't sure anymore if his tenderness wasn't less because he respected her, and more, now, because she had become a commodity. He tried to tell himself this was for her, too, her medications, IV, catheters, and that anyway--he was doing his part against the plagues, wasn't he?

The money was real. There were too many unlicensed surgeons on the street anymore, anyway--need made a lot of requirements lax. With so much invested in formal training, he hated to give it up, but he was making real bank doing underground work.

And not all of them were about her--he didn't always have to graft. He was just a maestro of the micro incision. He turned plagued bodies into ones that looked so good. And he found connections for antivirals that kept them fresh, like they needed to be, until they needed his services again.

He was midway through a nice reworking of a trophy wife's yawning thigh gap, restoring the plumpness that her tissue should have, when he realized she (not the patient) had a sore. Not a bedsore.

He was screwed. He kept things pretty sterile, but he didn't really know what this would mean, now. Was he contaminating his patient with a new bug? Could he treat her for the lesions? Didn't this mean his op was shuttered, at least on the "commodity" side?

He completed that work and sent her on her way with a mild warning to pay attention to that new skin. Look for anything...different. He tried not to oversell his concern. Just being a black market professional, over here. Not panicking because his supply was tainted.

He sat with her overnight, contemplating what to do. She was like a patchwork. He realized, sickeningly too late, that her entire body was evidence of what he'd done. And it was a large body of evidence. He had about ten nervous breakdowns, took a smear, and drove out to a friend who did lab tests. He was being cool. Until he heard what it was--

Something fatal. He either killed his last patient, or, the evidence of what he did for the past several years to his own mother was about to come to light, or both, or he was going to have something happen.

Something.

He watched her sleep that last night. He wasn't not tending to her wound care. He just wasn't really. Flowers of purple and black spread around the scar tissue And then it struck him--lesions. Instead of scars. Covering up his imperfect crime of careful sutures with a perfect predation of careless infection. Disease, which he'd fought in his way, would be his ally.

They congratulated him on keeping her alive so long, and her so sick, when the ambulance finally took her away. They meant to be comforting. He was, after all, some kind of caretaker, right?

In the following morning, he took a girl to bed with skin so smooth, except just this little bit. And he did not care.

Link

Dust and Bone

Eating dust and bone
with bled-out mouths
through tears too dry
to leave traces,
they were staring out
at a land called hope
with no hope left
on their faces.
When the danger fled,
danger still hung on,
the form of a brother
changed to a
treacherous friend--
the story so old
they could tell it to
themselves,
with an ending
that tastes of dust
and bone.

Ten long years back
they were brave and awake
that the danger faced
could be made erased.
But that treacherous friend
simply lay in wait
letting the danger come back
by looking away.
They were promised guns
and the fat of the land
and got decades of war
and the back of the hand,
Could one be sore?
No, it was written in stone
if only they ever read
they would see,
that promises made were ever
dust and bone
and all they ever could be.

But the promises made
that lead to lives far worse
should be understood as
evil as a magician's curse
and the echoes back
from where they began
should cause sleepless nights
for the certainly damned--
as they sit at great tables
in their stately homes
may they taste nothing
but dust and bone.

More Like Death Panels For Small Websites

I dunno. Senator Ted Cruz says standard-issue stuff that right-wingers and telecom lobbyists have been saying for years like "Net neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet", and somehow, it's like no one ever said that before. Oh, they have. But it's kind of a niche issue that pretty much tech-savvy people have followed, and Ted Cruz pretty much assumes that if you aren't in the know--he can go ahead and snow you with a line as absurd as:


'"Net Neutrality' is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government."


Ok. That's stupid. Net neutrality is basically what we mostly have now, and Obama wants to preserve that. It would be doing away with net neutrality that would result in crappy service and unfair policies like "throttling" that would slow down internet service to certain customers or certain websites based on whatever criteria the internet providers decide on. (Here's an excellent visual explainer from The Oatmeal.) Basically, how much do you love the fees and services you are getting from your cable company? Right. Your internet company is either a cable company or the next best thing, and that is what they will do to your service.

In fine--Ted Cruz does not know what the hell he is talking about, or is really, really dependent upon the idea that most people listening to him do not know what he is talking about. I don't care how cute "Obamacare for the Internet" sounds--it's actually really dumb. And instead of repeating ignorant bumpersticker schtick, it would be really great if we just called a big-bidness toady out for croaking the company line.

Ted Cruz? Ribbit ribbit, you are so toady. And we are not that stupid.

(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)

The Knucklehead Constituency

You know, reading Charles Pierce is a pleasure for me--he has a wicked way with a phrase and I agree with him on a thing or two. So, I was interested in expanding upon a concern of his that touches on one of my own persistent puzzles--how it happens that people running for office are not called out when they seem to be dabbling--nay, professing, or at least out of one or more sides of their faces--in sheer and utter batshit. There are people who are by no means political neophytes who seem to have been delinquent on their reality bill--they are totally disconnected. I think it would be meaningful if objective reality could be entered into a political debate to actually determine who is more legitimately competent to deal with actual issues and not group hallucinations experienced by FOX News viewers and the WND readership, but I find myself altogether cynical about it.

I found myself not that long ago mourning the reality that there is no penalty for basically racist or conspiracy theorist views in some districts. (Hell, it seems to work, to some degree, to maneuver the "squeaky wheels" into higher profile positioning.) It bothers me to no end that theres a genuine likelihood that this mid-term election might even bring a bumper crop of "knuckleheads" into Congress that makes the 2010 freshmen look like fucking Solons.

But I get the reticence of Democratic challengers to call the whackadoodles out, I genuinely do. You take a contest like Tom Cotton vs incumbent AR Senator Pryor. Now, Cotton has a whole raft of signifying nonsense that has come out of him (blaming Obama for the Ukraine situation, carping on food stamps like they only started being part of farm bills since 2009--not since always), And he's down the line a social conservative--anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage. But he's kind of funky in that Rand Paul, not understanding social contracts kind of way. But you know why Pryor can't call him a whackadoodle, even if the name kind of fits?

(Continued)

http://vixenstrangelymakesuncommonsense.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-knucklehead-constituency.html

In the Book of Matthew it is written--

Whatever you do for the least of these, my children, you do also for me.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. ”


Now, I'm an atheist, myself, but these, to me, are an expansion on the Golden Rule. If you can't easily understand how to treat others as you would want to be treated, then ask yourself, how would you want your mother to be treated, or your brother, or your wife, or your guru or your rabbi or whoever it is you love--how would you want them to be treated?

When these Pharisees, these holier-than-anyone types, see their God, how would they respond when He says to them: "When I was ostracized for who I loved, when I had to be silent to protect my loved one and myself, and yet you denied me my liberty--

"When I was bullied and was frightened, and yet you gave succor to my bully, and increased my pain--

"When I wanted to work, but I was denied employment, because you calumniated against me--

"When I was told my loved one was not my kin, and and was turned away from his hospital bed

"When my children where taken away from me, because they were of my spouse, but I enjoyed no physical part in them

"When I was told I was not well, but you would make me whole by abusing me

"When I was beaten, you ignored my pain but told me I asked for it,

"When I tried to enjoy my body according to my understanding, but you told me my understanding was corrupted, and I had no right to the only flesh and blood I would ever know

"When I wanted to raise the orphan, I was called a pervert, and when I wanted to raise the child of my flesh, I was called unfit, and when I wanted to marry and be a parent, all the while I was called a liar.

I would say no true Christian should treat gays as they have been treated by Christians in the past. Maybe I say that as a bisexual and an atheist, but I think that thought holds up.

"These assholes always get away."

Those words: "These assholes always get away," were spoken by George Zimmerman during the 911 call that he made as he stalked 17-year-old Trayvon Martin moments before killing him.

These assholes.


What assholes?

The ones who were always getting away. Zimmerman had made 46 calls to 911 regarding people whose behavior he did not approve of since 2001. It does not seem to have occurred to him that he was not the police, or that he was a nuisance. Or that maybe following people for no good reason was inherently threatening, or that he had no business minding everyone else's business, let alone trying to stop a 17-year old boy for reasons unknown....just because these assholes are always getting away.


What assholes?

If by "asshole", you mean someone doing something they have no business doing and making life generally worse for other people, well, it is a damn shame they so often get away. Isn't it? Aren't there a bunch of people out there with that very thought in mind? Don't you know someone yourself, who always seems to be thinking that very thing? These assholes always get away?


You know who is the asshole? George Zimmerman. People like him. People who can't mind their own business. People who think everyone is a suspect. People who can't empathize or use the damn brains in their heads to do anything but try to divide the world up into "good guys" and "bad guys". People who'd rather see someone dead on the ground before they would bother to see them as human beings.

Who is the asshole?

People who are the reason we can't have nice things. People who would cry up and down that some asshole, somewhere, is getting some shit for free they aren't even entitled to--like their right to walk on the same street in a gated community while black as other people, which is all I can think Zimmerman saw when he thought Martin looked suspicious and out of place. Maybe that wasn't it--but I do know one thing--he saw an "asshole". And that wasn't the only words he used.

These assholes always get away is like the shithead answer to everything. Someone, somewhere, is getting away with something, so let's kill what's good. God forbid anyone get away with anything. Someone might be voting fraudulently. Someone might be having non-procreative sex. Someone might even be enjoying themselves. Assholes. Someone on food stamps might have piece of steak. Someone, somewhere, has off-the-books income to stay afloat and they don't even report it. Some one, somewhere, is an asshole, and other, uptight assholes, the kind with guns or firebombs, just want to make sure no one gets away with anything.

There are assholes who would stick a probe up a woman's lady business and torture her for a couple of days before they'd let her get away with having sex, being a woman, or being fertile seeking the medical care she has determined is best for herself. There are assholes who would take away the right to vote for the old, the poor, and minorities because they don't want people to get away with those voting preferences they know they have.

These assholes always get away. With what? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

I'm feeling massively curmudgeonly right now. Fuck an asshole who would murder an innocent boy. Fuck a system that would let the murderer damn near get away with it. Fuck our human tendency to go looking for assholes, and to screw over every person in the world just because of a few possible, even imaginary, cheaters. It makes me more than mad, and a bit of an asshole, myself.



(Cross-posted at Strangely Blogged )
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