Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Aug 13

A List Of Things That Are Bothering Me

We’ll start small.

My apartment is full of flies. I’ve never had more than 1  or 2 the entire time I’ve lived here. I’ve killed twice that in the hour I’ve been awake and a dozen were taken down last night. I don’t know what to do with them, and it’s not like it’s disgusting in here (aside from the flies). No room seems off limits. Sigh.

Then get big.

One of my best friends died three weeks ago. I suspected it was coming and we even got extra time with him. But it sucks. Period. He was younger than I am, and it seems so unfair. You can argue that he died as he lived — fearless and on his own terms — but it doesn’t make me feel much better. And I feel guilty in ways. That I don’t feel bad enough. That I maybe didn’t spend enough time with him when I could have. That I let discomfort prevent me from visiting him. That I checked out of our friendship during his last days because I couldn’t handle it. That I should be stronger. That I am letting this affect me too much for someone who was not romantically involved with him. Basically, if you can feel bad about it.. I do.

On the subject of loss.

Two of my close guy friends decided to move this year. One to another city and another a few miles away. It shouldn’t be such a big deal, but that’s 3/4 of my guy besties who aren’t accessible, two of them when I might especially need friends who will go on miles-long walks with me. And I’m not entirely sure these decisions are wise (though I recognize that it’s definitely not my place to say so). I can’t help but wonder if some of this pain — on both sides — could be mitigated by not leaving to begin with.

One friend’s move is only a reminder of how our friendship has atrophied over the past couple years. So while he might finally be moving, that era perhaps has already seen its end. And that’s difficult for me to come to terms with.

It would perhaps be easier to deal with these things if I weren’t so painfully single. That’s something that’s been weighing on me lately but only because there is someone who I like. And that terrifies me. Admitting it is scary. Trying to make something come of it? Terrifying! I’m pretty much in preparing-for-it-to-not-work-out-mode while simultaneously putting off acting on it more because I don’t want to usher in the inevitable end.

I’m pretty bummed that my eclipse plans seem to have fallen through. The friend I assumed I would go with can do it. I realized I made hotel reservations for the week after. Ugh! All the trains to the place where I wanted to spend the eclipse are booked, not to mention hotels. I don’t see how I can make it happen now. And that sucks. I was so looking forward to it.

Add to that loud, thoughtless friends, selfish people, pettiness, weird weather, missing out on legendary Pokemon, a potential foot/ankle injury and weight gain and.. everything is just sort of “meh” right now. =/


Jul 03

Death Becomes Her

I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately and not in a way that’s morbid  — at least, not in the way that would consider morbid. I recently finished reading Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, which I may or may not get around to reviewing on Reviews by Cole, but it’s certainly gotten me thinking.

Here’s what I’m thinking; the two most viable options for human remains are among the worst. In fact, many people don’t realize that any other options exist and, in some locations, they’re so difficult that you might as not well consider them options at all. And that’s pretty awful.

I don’t want an expensive casket to entomb my decomposing body while I take up precious space that’s better left for the dead nor do I want to be incinerated in a process that’s not environmentally-friendly or contributory to science.

So what do I want? First, for my organs to be donated. There’s not a single reason not to do that. There are about ten options from there, however, and the following is my personal ranking of what I’d like done with my body from most to least desired.

  • Scientific research – A local university is the most viable option for corpse donation, but it’s certainly time-sensitive. I like this option and take no issue with any type of research. If it’s helpful, I am down. I would especially like to be used for studies done in labs dedicated to ballistics and car accident research, however, because it’s so necessary and exactly the type of thing that others shun. If the service allowed me to leave a note to those who might be working on my body, I think a pun or a bad joke would fit the bill. Ideally, any remains would be composted. Realistically, they’ll be cremated, and I would be just fine if my cremains wound up in an unmarked grave with other cremains.
  • Composting – composting isn’t a thing yet, but it could be by the time I die. Composting is posed to be economical, practical and ecological; although, it doesn’t have a scientific purpose. One proposed method relies on freezing the body, using vibration to break it up, removing liquid and turning the rest into compost. Cool!
  • Natural burial – a natural, above-ground burial doesn’t advance the scientific community, but it does seem like a pleasant way to go. Skip the embalming and fancy packaging and let nature do its part in due time. Caskets aren’t actually a requirement in the state of Wisconsin, so it may be a viable option if I know someone who has the land!
  • Body Farm – You might think that someone who is writing a blog post about her preferred methods of corporeal dispensement who seems to have an affinity for science would like her body being delivered to a body farm and, you know, it’s far from the worst option to consider. It serves a purpose: teaching people more about the decomposition process of human bodies. But it’s just not very appetizing. It’s not practical for me personally, either, because there are no body farms near me.
  • Burial at sea – I imagine this to be a costly final destination that is incongruent with who I am as a person. But sleeping with the fishes is more eco-friendly than some of the other options. At least it’s EPA-regulated.
  • Necrophilia – Look, it’s weird. As a living person, I am not at all attracted to the bodies of people who have already passed, but it’s more productive than some of the other options, right?
  • Cremation – Cremation is the lesser of two evils when it comes to the big two. It’s more affordable and requires less space, but I’m not too keen on what it does to the environment. If someone wanted to keep my cremains close by, however, I would be okay with that. And there are so many cool things you can do with cremains. Being inturned with seeds is one option; although, it’s really of no benefit to the tree.
  • Mummification –  This option isn’t my favorite. It requires my body to take up space while it decomposes more slowly than a natural burial because of the embalming process. But in several thousand years, the process will complete.
  • Cryonically frozen – Listen, I like science fiction as much as the next person, but cryonics just isn’t scientifically viable. It’s a demanding use of resources that neither I nor the world should spend. I also have no desire to beat death even were it possible.
  • Casket Burial – Literally the worst possible thing that could happen to my body. It’s not economical, and it doesn’t serve any purpose. I love spending time in cemeteries as long as my body is animated, but they won’t do me a damned thing of good when I’m dead.

So this might be a weird post for some of you — or not. You know that I’m not exactly traditional in many ways!


Jun 19

I’m Sorry Adam Lambert

I only watched one season of American Idol, and it was several years after Adam Lambert was on the show. So I would need to Google it to tell you whether he won or to watch any of his performances for the first time.

What I can tell you is that his name because pretty common, and many of the people speaking it were hung up on his sexuality and wanted to know what others thought. For a while, I was simply annoyed. I didn’t understand why a reality/game show made anyone relevant. Since then, I’ve become a fan of Lambert’s music (although, my mom is a much bigger fan and probably loved him first) and other artists, including Kelly Clarkson. I mean, I was angry and tended to belittle things I didn’t like or understand. It, wrongly, made me feel powerful.

I apologize for that, but that is not what this post is about. This post and included apology to a pop superstar (whom I will soon see perform!) is about another error on my part. You see, I wasn’t just dismissive about him as a celebrity. I was dismissive about whether his sexuality mattered at all. Can’t we, I asked, just listen to his subpar pop music rather than focus on his sexuality? Why does it matter that he’s gay?

But it does and it did, perhaps even more so at the time. For other members of the LGBTQ+ community to see Adam Lambert, an openly gay performer, competing and excelling on a show (and going on to see more success), it must have mattered a lot. There haven’t always been representing faces in that crowd. I just read an interview with Darren Hayes who discussed how his being outed led first to internal memos that attempted to keep his sexuality hidden, then to ridiculous requests that he not move in certain ways to suggest he was gay and, finally, to a complete lack of support from his record labels when he put out new music. His label wouldn’t even let him put on live shows because he was gay, so the freedom that Adam had to be gay was hard won (albeit with a lot of progress to be made at the time and still much to be made now).

I understand now when I post about violence done to members of certain communities and someone (there is always someone) has to argue that it doesn’t matter if this person is gay/brown/a woman. Because people are people and we shouldn’t see color or gender or sexuality. But, I argue (and didn’t understand then), that those characteristics color a person’s experience and may be directly tied to why those people have been victimized.

Intersections of those characteristics make for vastly different (read: worse) experiences. Trans people of color experience violence in different ways than those who are white, for example. To ignore this is not only erroneous; it’s enabling.

It’s more than that, however. Those experiences often contribute to a person’s self-expression, and there may be

So when I dismissed Adam Lambert’s sexuality, I wasn’t thinking about other aspiring musicians who might have felt inspired by his existence. I didn’t consider how brave it was for him to be out or how hurtful it was for me to think that maybe he just shouldn’t parade his sexuality around despite straight people having the right to do that always. I didn’t stop to think how his experiences would influence his art or how his sense of style might have evolved (just a guess) from the LGBTQ+ community.

I didn’t stop to consider how easy it was for me, at the time a married-to-a-man white woman, to say those things because I had never shared precisely those struggles.

I am sorry, Adam. Because I now not only realize that, yes, you are talented, but that your stairway to success was most assuredly a haphazardous one as you dodged obstacles that were a direct response to you being a gay man. Were that not the case, perhaps we could know for sure that when anyone dismisses you, it’s only because of an objective to your musical stylings and not an objection to the people you choose to love and fuck (even if the people voicing those objections, like myself, are ignorant to their own biases bigotry).


Jun 15

Where In The World Is Cole?

I meant to post about my trip to California, which happened in April, but seeing how it’s been over a month since I posted anything here at all, we can just agree that I’m not. It’s been too long for me to write about it in-depth, at least to me, but I will give you the rundown on what I’ve been doing.

April

So, yes, I went to California in April. I began tossing the idea around in my head in the beginning of the year but put it off due to money and nerves. Finally, I picked a date and booked myself a train ticket and flight. I decided to take the train from Chicago to California (after hopping a bus from here to Milwaukee and another train to Chi-town) to simultaneously save money and see the country. So.. I did that.

It was a long train but interesting. I saw a bit of the country – not all of which was worth seeing. Some of it was gorgeous and interesting, but restlessness prevented me from enjoying parts of the trip (I’m talking to you, Utah). I was super nervous because I’d never been on an American train before, but I survived and learned a bit about train culture, namely that there is a demographic of people (retired, limited income, wants to travel, has nothing better to do) that just loves trains in a way that I think I can’t.

My trip to Cali was short, shorter than I should have planned it and made even shorter by my purchasing a ticket from the wrong airport. All was okay, though. I saw the beach, took walks, enjoyed good food, bonded with my aunt, her husband and cat, saw the tech museum, visited rose gardens and the Egyptian museum, hacked 400+ new portals in Ingress and caught a new Pokemon. Not a bad little trip.

I flew into Minneapolis, spent the night with a friend and took the bus back after one long week.

May

I was super excited to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 last month and, well, it was okay. Just okay, you know? Not terrible but certainly not worth the time I waited, and that’s a shame. I saw the original three times, but the sequel just didn’t hit all the right spots.

I took a day trip to see a sculpture garden, shop and attend a cultural fest in the next town over, which was quite enjoyable.

Last month, one of my very good friends also got married. I was in the wedding, which was cold and hectic, but I wish them all the best. In April, my friend was finally able to move in with his fiancee, so I’ve had to adjust with not having him around. This has been, at times, quite the struggles.

I also struggled to walk as many miles per day as I wanted to last month.

Before the month wrapped up, I finally got myself to see the MC Escher exhibit at the art museum, and it was better than I could have anticipated!

The end of last month also marked my 31st and golden birthday. I wanted to do something different.. so I did nothing at all. I released myself from expectations and had an interesting day with friends, cupcakes and lots of sun. It was fun and low-pressure if not entirely memorable. But it certainly was different. Go me.

June

This month started impatiently. First, I was walking my ass off to level in Ingress. I am now 14 but probably won’t level for the rest of the year. Boo.

I was also awaiting the second weekend, which I had dubbed Wonder Woman Weekend. Robyn and I headed to Minneapolis (I’ll return next month to see Adam Lambert and Queen in concert) to stay with Wendy with plans to see the Pixar exhibit at the science museum, visit the zoo and see Wonder Woman. I didn’t see it opening weekend because I was waiting for this, so there was alot of expectation.

Wonder Woman was great, the zoo was nice and the museum was interesting, but it was hot. I didn’t get enough rest and returned home pretty grumpy. I also had a very busy work week last week that technically ended yesterday morning, so I am feeling little swamped.

Right before I left, I tackled making some galaxy bottles for decor. They looked amazing in the beginning but have since muddled. I think I know how to fix it, but it’s a bummer.

Throughout all of this, I’ve done the norm – walked all the miles, entertained a guest a time or two, read all the books (I’m over 52 titles on GoodReads if you count comics and audiobooks!) and comics (I’ve read my first ever Marvel titled in 2017), went out to eat, attended a few game nights, fires and birthdays parties and (binge?) watched plenty of Netflix. Judging from the length of this post, I’ve been a busy little bee. Perhaps I should add relaxing to my calendar!


May 03

The Definitive Ranking Of All the Shitty States I Traveled Through On My Way to California

So, guys. I did a thing! I went to California (San Jose). I went via train (well, technically, a bus and three trains that sucked away 55 hours of my life!). Thanks, California Zephyr!

California Zephyr Map

Considering traveling cross country by train? I’ll tell you when to sleep.

I haven’t written about it yet for some reason (hint: I suck at blogging). I plan to eventually post a couple photos here with some comments.

In the meantime, you can enjoy the album on Facebook if you’re my friend and have missed it. Though, I don’t see how you could, given that I had to upload in multiple posts! LOL

I also think the following ranking of the states I traveled to and through will help you navigate your own travels in the future. You’re welcome very much!

6. Iowa

It’s really fuckin’ hard to decide whether Iowa or Nebraska is worse. But Iowa was a flat, empty shithole devoid of cell service and we didn’t even stop in the one city! For that alone, Iowa ranks lowest on this list. Sorrynotsorry.

Also, the state was humid as fuck. What gives?

I highly suggest Iowa change its slogan to “Abandon hope all ye who enter.”

5. Nebraska

I really thought I was going to see the country and think, “Wow, how beautiful!.” But I took very few photos in Nebraska or Iowa. There’s just nothing to look at. We made a few more stops in Nebraska, and at least the state has multiple cities that I can name. Buuut that’s only good enough to rank slightly higher than Iowa. Nebraska is a shithole. I am not sure why anyone would visit the state let alone live there. I really feel grateful to live in a lush state such as Wisconsin after seeing this hellhole.

If Iowa’s slogan should be straight out of Dante (and it should), then Nebraska should strongly consider going with “At least we’re not Iowa.”

4. Utah

Listen, Utah is spare. Bare. Desolate even. But you can’t really appreciate it until you’re in it. The only thing it has going for it is Salt Lake City. And did you know their population is something like 200,000 people? That’s it?! That’s it! It’s smaller than Madison. I know, I know. It’s not very populated, but I figured maybe the one place that did have people would, you know, have people. Nope.

I do have to give Utah some credit where it’s due. The rock formations are nice. But it was hard to appreciate them because Utah was mostly no service, and I was traveling through it during the period when restlessness really set in. It wasn’t my own, either. Everyone in my train car felt the same. Okay, we’ve seen Utah. Can we get the hell out of it or at least to the next smoke break (and I don’t even smoke!).

3. Colorado

I was so excited to see THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS on my trip. This is the big draw, right? You go through them and, for a six-mile stretch, under them. And as the mountains grew, changing from rocky to wooded to snowy, it was an interesting view. But it was a little underwhelming. I think this is due to two things.

I awoke in Colorado on the first morning to a super pink sky and a sliver of moon. I was ready to do this! We pulled into Denver pretty early, and I noticed that there isn’t much in Colorado. The parts that aren’t a city or the mountains are, well, nothing.

And going through the Rockies just wasn’t what I expected. I think I might have been more impressed looking at them from a lower elevation to really get the full impression of the mountains looming in the distance.

I didn’t hate Colorado, though, it just didn’t do as much for me as the next state.

2. Nevada

Nevada is a desert, right? And you can see it with a wide expanse of scrub brush that someone from the lush state of Wisconsin might find laughable to call “plants.” But it makes the perfect juxtaposition with the Sierra Nevadas in the background.

I woke up in this state on the second day and was pretty much in love. The sky was pink, and I could still see the moon in the distance. The snowcapped mountains were slightly closer, and the desert lay right outside the train.

It was like real life parallax. I didn’t mind when I didn’t have reception,

1. California

I know that California has terrain that’s different from anything I ever experienced, but the knowledge wasn’t the same as actually being in it.

As we left Nevada, the mountains became rolling, green hills. The snow thinned, and the trees grew taller. Boy, did I miss trees! The further inland we moved, the more farms we saw — a few vineyards, too.

Then, came the cities. Big and uniquely laid out around bodies of water like the SF Bay. Everything was so large and alive — and there were so many portals!

But that wasn’t everything. California had museums and rose gardens, and you can’t forget the ocean! The Pacific from California (Half Moon Bay, to be specific) is so different than anything I experienced in Japan. And California had it all, which is why it tops my list.

I just realized that I didn’t include Illinois in this list. I’ve traveled through the state both east-west and north-south. It’s definitely less aggravating when you’re going the short way and you see fewer wind farms. My feelings from Illinois have changed from “Worst state ever” to “Not half bad when compared to Iowa.”

It sure as hell no Wisconsin, though.


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