Dean Venture


I had an MRI (brain scan) yesterday.
First annoyance was having to wake up so early. Second annoyance was having to dig myself out of the driveway, because our useless plow guy was useless YET AGAIN. Without fail, this asshole doesn't get to our house after snowfall until after we have to call our landlord to call him and tell him what the actual fuck. Every other house on my street gets their driveways plowed by 5am. We're lucky if we can dig ourselves out before we're TOO late for work. Landlord raised our rent to pay for this jackass, so fuck him if he thinks we should buy a second shovel just so we can do his job that we're paying for. We cleared out the whole driveway, taking turns with the one provided for sidewalk-clearing, and THEN the plow guy showed up. He got out to say he couldn't get here earlier, explaining the dangerous road conditions, but slurring about 90% of his excuse, repeatedly trying to explain himself to me, who kept saying I don't have time to hear it. Dangerous road conditions, he said on a side-street that has been plowed clear, off the main streets that have been plowed and salted, on a not-so-cold, clear-skies winter morning, while again, every other driveway on the street has been cleared.

I called the hospital about halfway through digging out the driveway to tell them I'd be a little late, estimating about 15 minutes after the appointment was slated to begin. I made it there about a minute before it was slated to begin, which was... well, I'm not going to say nice, because none of that was nice, but, you know.

I got signed in quickly, got called back quickly, processed quickly, and started getting prepped for the procedure.

After undressing and putting on the hospital gown, I had an IV tube put into my arm. And stupid me, I didn't have time to hydrate, so finding a good vein took time.

I'm not squeamish about needles. If you look trough my Hospital tags, you'll see I spent the first half of my 20s on the business end of medical studies, and you might even find talk of drawing blood for my phlebotomy classes in the School tags. And I have tattoos and piercings. I'm clearly not shy about getting a little poke in the arm.

While sticking me, I explained that I'd gone to school for medical assisting, rocked out in the clinical/lab classes, but never made it through the office classes. I mentioned that phlebotomy was my strong suit, but we never covered butterfly needles or IV catheters. He shot in about a third of a syringe; when he put it down, I asked what it was.

"Oh, I should be explaining things as I do them," he apologized. "This was just a little saline flush to prep for the contrast fluid."

"Ohhhhh," I said, debating if I should add "noooo" to that. "Last time I had a saline flush, I didn't take it well. I got so extremely hot, but cold at the same time, like Icy Hot running through my veins - it was like I could feel it move through my veins! I was doing a medical study, and it was what they used as the placebo."

He'd walked away to get something real quick, but still asked me more about it from the next room.

I continued, "It was a full IV drip, and not just a little bit like this, so I'm sure I'll be..." and from there, I couldn't continue, because I'd suddenly been struck dizzy, my stomach began doing somersaults, and I felt almost like I do when I am suddenly struck with intense hunger after not having eaten in too long, but far more intense than that - I felt like I might puke if I didn't put something in my stomach. I don't usually have breakfast in the morning, though, but I did shovel out my driveway and didn't hydrate, so I could have attributed it to my bod demanding calories, if I hadn't been in the middle of explaining how poorly I've handled saline IVs in the past before I began to actively refrain from panicking due to the sudden rush of dizziness.

Everything I'd mentioned about not being squeamish about needles, about the phlebotomy class, and the mention of not handling saline well went right out of the prep-tech's head as he tried keeping me from wobbling around so much, keeping me upright, telling me to keep talking, keep talking, keep talking, and asking me if it was the needle causing me to swoon. The only thing I could think to say was that I didn't know why this was happening, that I'm not a baby about needles, that it felt terrible last time, but not this terrible. And apologizing repeatedly, because this caused a little delay. I kept leaning to the right, where my clothing was piled up on the bench beside me. He thought I was going to pass out. I thought I was going to pass out!! He had me prop myself against the wall on my left, but I begged to let me lay down as I dove for the clothes pile and swung my feet up the other side, and he just made sure I didn't THUNK down but went down gently before getting me a container to puke in if I needed, and calling a specialist to come down, who had brought apple juice and orange juice for me.

The second I set my head down, the feeling went away completely, but I stayed down until the other guy brought me juice.

The rest of the procedure went just fine. I didn't feel nervous about anything until the night before (hence why waking up so early was the first annoyance - I barely slept). I know the machine is a super-magnet, and worried about my dental implant and filings. So I googled. And google told me not to worry about my implant, since the most common material implants are made from is titanium and won't be affected. But it did tell me some tattoos might heat up and burn me. I have two scratch tattoos (not literally - it's kind of an umbrella term for a non-professional tattoo). And one tattoo that would puff up if I got sick in its first year. Other google worries didn't really worry me, like being allergic to the contrast dye or being claustrophobic. I assumed I wasn't allergic, because I recalled having CT scan when I was around 7. Then I read that CT scans and MRIs are not the same thing! So I worried about the dye.

I'm not claustrophobic, but holy shit, when I went in the tube, I was pretty shocked by how little space there is. I had no problem getting my head "clamped" in, the top piece that went over my face (with a window opening) was unexpected. Then the tube. It was more compact than an isolation float chamber, which was a little jarring, and I felt really bad for anyone who might be even a little claustrophobic having to go into one of these.

I got earplugs, and it sounded like I was at a concert of jammed printers, dial-up tones, and old clunky machines that just couldn't get started. It was oddly relaxing. The second saline flush didn't affect me, and the contrast dye made my hairline itch a little (the kind of itch you get the second you're told not to touch your face, hahaha).

I'll definitely remember to warn the prep techs about the saline flush next time. I was so embarrassed, but in retrospect, it was so funny to explain my reaction to the flush, and then in the middle of saying a little bit probably won't do much, it did much!
Zee Captain

Roll Credits: Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino

I always say I wanted to write here more. I'll be keeping good on that, because this month, I'll be backlogging from my journal - a journal of my plague year (if I recall, there's a setting where it won't flood your feed). When the plague struck, and I began realizing all future events would be canceled until further notice, I used my planner book as a daily diary. I think it's the first time since my early 20s that I've kept a diary. I bought another for this year (significantly smaller - it was the only one I liked that was a single year beginning in January). I don't know if I'll transfer that one here, too. Maybe batch some backlogs on occasion.

I've got plans for 2021, of course, but I'm not calling them resolutions. I currently have only one New Year's Resolution: to always wear shoes during the day. I'm not sure why, but I discovered this fucking late in my existence that just wearing shoes helps me stay active and eager to get things done or just go outside. I've always taken my shoes off inside. I like to have my feet up, tucked under me on the couch. Compact. Cozy. But that coziness turns so quickly to laziness. I don't want to get up to do even the simplest things, like get the remote for the tv or get myself a glass of water. Plus, if there's crap or clothes on the floor, my shoes will get tripped up in it. Extra motivation to do something about it. I am determined to keep my shoes on this year. So fucking stupid. But hey. Whatever works.

My plans include self-made, self-structured classes. Not real classes. But I've always done better at getting personal creative and educational goals completed when I have a class structure. I've created a schedule, included exercise in it, and start on Monday. It includes my main project goal: learning Toon Boom Harmony - a popular animation program. Other things include blocking out time for zine work, languages (French and Swedish, though I may switch up from Swedish), learning my ukulele and bass, continued learning of Dante, crafts (honing, learning new things, and study), and daily sketch, journaling, and penmanship practice.

I didn't succeed in many things I set out to accomplish in 2020, but did in others. I threw my No-Buy challenge out the window very soon after shutdown, but still kept a log of spending. I gave up exercising a little over halfway through the year, but still did active VR gameplay to keep from slugging about (and spoke with a nutritionist a few times - she was no help, because I'd done everything she could suggest). The list of things I wanted to learn in 2020 changed completely. I did learn lots of new things, though, mainly about plants.

I sort of made more art. I mean, I did, but a a bunch of it was art under a pseudonym, and some animation stuff (3 animations!), and I focused on zine-work; specifically, a collaboration zine of my own, with random people from Discord. I made art for each of the three we put out (so far), and contributed under MORE pseudonyms when the actual contribution list needed padding.

I guess another resolution should be to be more organized. I've prepared notebooks and sketchbooks and reading material for the things I want to learn. Put them in one place. And I started a notebook - a single notebook, not a half-dozen like always, where I will write plans for all these things. Other notebooks are "class" specific, like the sketchbooks, penmanship, and French (for vocabulary).

I've got my first month planned for the class stuff. I just really hope I can keep up with it. I'll be making public posts on FB etc with specifics for accountability purposes.
Life is Strange - Dance


(transcribed from my condensed Journal of the Plague Year)
Holidays. Virtual card day with friends (where I get all my holiday cards done - even stamped and sent, too! I recommend card parties if you have difficulty sending out holiday cards when you know you want to). Virtual xmas eve party. Spent the night at mom's and threw the masks to the wind. Xmas with Charles, Andy, and Meagan. New Year's Eve with Brian, and Digital NYE with a few other friends. Made the best salmon & spinach lasagna in the world (thanks, Victoria). And bought/gifted/got/played SO many video games!
Todd - Shock


Since August, I'd been experiencing phantom smells (phantosmia) of vile cigarette smoke (more like a mountain of really old ashtrays that'd been sitting in standing water for a year). I had two doctor appointments for it - one of which with a specialist. For both, the smell disappeared and came back after. Usually breaks from the smell are a couple days, often with a headache instead). The next break I got was spent with fucking food poisoning. Two buckets of one bad muffin, and ended with a burst vessel in my eye! Fun times.

When I felt better, my sister took me to the new skate park that just opened up - me on my longboard, she on her skates.

I praised Georgia, watched some great films, and got to hang out with a couple friends for their last campfire of the year.

And Meagan came over to bestow upon me 3 dozen eggs, and then we carved pumpkins, which yeilded about 30 pounds of pumpkin meat, a couple pints of seeds, and I spent the entire weekend processing it all into 15 jars of puree that now resides in my very small freezer.


(transcribed from my condensed Journal of the Plague Year)
I had my first covid test (negative) and someone hit Rick Moranis (also negative)!

My October rituals commenced well: Only Horror October was a smashing success. Since Inktober-Guy's growing array of jackassery dampened the mood for it, I switched to Drawtober, and actually produced some incredible stuff with a new technique that I love - this art also sparked the interest of someone who ghosted me last year to ask me to make art for her Halloween project - first time she spoke to me since ghosting me, and of course it's to ask for a favor - ain't it just the way.. never again). I also made a mini-model of an art hero's new book, and photographed my ball-joint doll reading it, as a contest entry (because my copy wouldn't have reached me on time) - and I won!

My birthday was spent with Brian (on the last perfect and beautiful day of the year), and also installing a hardcore laser/color/duplex/Xerox printer).

Halloween weekend was one of the best in years. I got to attend the virtual Out For Blood Queer Horror Film Festival, checked out a new chai place with Meagan, got trick-or-treat candy from neighbours, and settled in with Thrilling Adventure Hour and Mr. Bungle live streams to end the evening. Low-key, just what I always wanted.


(transcribed from my condensed Journal of the Plague Year)
The state of the world, the city, and all the turmoil among my own circles of friends have taken their toll on me this month, and I turned to food. I'd avoided talking about most of it in my daily journal, but I let it out at last. I'd let it out on my LJ in greater and longer strides, diving into each subject that I needed to explode into writing. I felt a lot better. I felt even better still after a nice overdue bout of drawing in my sketchbook - I drew my succulents, and some carnivorous plants I'd ordered online, with notes for their care (the carnivorous plants turned out to be duds).

I think the highlights of September were when I got to attend a virtual Astrophysics conference with Victoria as a guest-speaker, and Pauline Gagnon called upon me to help demonstrate the gravity of dark matter :). I wish I'd gotten screencaps, because the recording is not online.

And the other highlight: Niki took me out to teach me how to skateboard on a longboard! She also took me out to my first dine-in (outdoor) meal at Dogtown while she dazzled me with tales from the front line of the protests.
I've since gotten two longboards! Just in time for weather to keep me from using them!
FLCL - Guitar


(transcribed from my condensed Journal of the Plague Year)
Finally began dedicating real time to a big project at work - the project was years in the making, instigated by me alone, but my co-worker decided to take the reins and be the supervisor to the final push to get it organized and bring it into fruition. I'd say I was responsible for about 3 of the 4 versions, and I'll be responsible for the fifth in the new year.

Most of August was spent being either swamped at work, being lazy, playing video games, or suffering massive headaches, with the occasional shop around for any signs of Halloween (scarce, even through October).
Zee Captain

Urban Exploration Compilation

Cuz I have friends who wanna see pictures. And I have too many albums on facebook to bombard them all with individual links... Here's the collection.

Note about my FB: I only accept friend-requests one month per year (Feb). My profile is public, though, so feel free to follow and comment and stuff :)

Content warning: one of these albums has some scantily-clad pictures of my friend Brendan at the end of the album, and I can't remember which one it is. We went on an adventure, and then went to the goth club afterwards.

Abandoned Subway

Aquaduct and Subway

General Foods Building

Abandoned House

Iola Campus

Rave Tunnel (Iola Campus revisit)

Regal Hotel (didn't have time for actual exploration here, just had time for a quick stop on the roof before we had to bolt)

American Laundry Company (content warning: animal remains in some photos)

Centralia: Population 11

Centralia: Rt. 61

Reading Railroad Train Graveyard

Bethlehem Steel Mill

Commons Basement

Sibley Basement

Older Adventures

Other stufff

City Exploration


A Few Pics of Philadelphia

Train Yard


(transcribed from my condensed Journal of the Plague Year)
I got myself a little sofa-chair for the bedroom so I'm not constantly killing my back by lounging on my bed during my downtime in the only cool room in the house. It made it less painful to take a few days to make an animation for a friend's limited-run comic, and then spent over a week traumatically waiting for her to respond to it (she loved it, but it never did see the light of day).

Despite begging, the comet didn't take me away, but I did get to hang out with friends for the first time in order to go view it together. I even took them to my mom's house in hopes to get a better look (we didn't but we did get some nice stargazing in at a nearby field).

The closest I came to attending one of the protests was delivering some much-appreciated intel on police activity - they readied their positions for kettling, and I called my friend to make sure she and others got out of there safely.

Fuck the police.