A give away? No seriously – you could win a cool R. Delgado dino poster!

A give away? No seriously – you could win a cool R. Delgado dino poster!

Well, here we are again. Twiddling our thumbs, waiting for life to get back to a semblance of order. I’ve been thinking about doing a give away for quite a while and thought now is a great time. How about a cool R. Delgado dino poster?

Ricardo Delgado print of Utahraptor from his Age of Reptiles series a Utah

You could win this! Well, not this scan. You can win a real poster. Just keep scrolling down.

That’s just a copy of the print. I had a hard time getting a clean photo of it because it’s still in the original wrapping. I didn’t want to open it up and spoil it for a lucky winner.

So here’s the real raptor you can win. Click on the image to see it in a super large size so you can inspect it. It’s from Ricardo Delgado’s Age of Reptiles series and the art work is amazing.

Photo of the Utahraptor you can win

This is the poster you could win. Utahraptor by R. Delgado. From the Age of Reptiles series.

And yes, it’s a signed, numbered print.

Photo of print number & Delgado's signature

R. Delgado’s signature & print number

This has been sitting in a protective box for years. It’s in pristine condition and the colours are outstanding. If you appreciate illustrations, artwork and dinosaurs, this is the draw for you.  Or maybe you can enter for someone else.

Draw will happen on June 27 5pm EST. Friends are not eligible to enter. Sorry my old pals, but that wouldn’t be fair.  That doesn’t include people who have friended me on FB to read my content. This applies to people I know in real life.

To Enter the Draw:

  • leave a comment below. At the bottom of the comments field, just above the submit button, is “If you agree to these terms, please click here.”  If you don’t click, you can’t submit a comment. Bit of a pain, I know, but I get hammered by spammers. It was that or one of those irritating “click on all the buses in the image” nightmares. Oh and I forgot to add, it might take  time before your comment shows up. Everything is held until I hit the approve button. Spammers, the bane of our lives.OR
  • Follow me on Facebook and leave a comment here -> https://www.facebook.com/bittergroundsmagazine/   The post is pinned to the top of the page, so it’s easy to find.

Facebook gets all the alerts when I post new content, so that’s a great way to keep up with what’s going on with the magazine.  Please note: I don’t farm emails. Not interested in sending you unsolicited stuff. You will get a message from me if you win. If you aren’t keen on this method, opt for the FB one.

The Draw:
I’ll toss your names in a hat, shake them around and pick one. I’ll contact you, the day of the draw and give you 48 hours to respond. If I don’t hear from you, I’ll draw again.

Poster will be shipped in a tube.  If you are in Toronto, you can arrange to pick it up instead.  Contest is not open to residents in China. Sorry, but mailing there is a nightmare. You’ll get a tracking number when it’s shipped.

Please note: shipping is normally pretty reliable however, sometimes shit goes wrong. I can’t be held responsible for any damage caused in transit.

Interested? Get to the comments field now! Once you’ve signed up, stick around and read some of the articles I’ve posted.

Death in the time of a pandemic

Mom ran out of time last night. She died quietly and peacefully shortly after midnight, after years of serious health problems, with humour and an undiminished sense of “screw you cancer”.

For quite a few years, Mom and I took a hard journey with chemo, radiation, surgeries and more doctor visits than either of us cared to remember. It wasn’t always easy, but we did it – together. Along the way, we learned a lot about each other and had a lot of laughs. I met mom – the woman. And let me tell you she was fucking amazing. Funny, resilient, compassionate and smart.

It was difficult trying to work, write and help mom. Often, I pushed projects aside because I wanted to spend the time with her. I knew we were on borrowed time and I wasn’t going to waste any of it. It felt, at times, as though we’d just get settled into a routine and then mom would become ill or something would happen. For about 5 years, I’ve been living on high alert, waiting for the bad news, rarely sleeping the entire night. It was hard to concentrate and stay focused, but I tried the best I could, which, at times, was not terribly good. But our motto was “we’ll just muddle along”. I’m thinking of creating a banner with that on it and hang it on my door.

It was lonely, waiting, listening to people moving around outside the room and not being part of it. I spent hours looking out the hospital window, down onto a normally frantically busy street. Never was it clearer we are in the middle of a crisis – rush hour boiled down to 6 cars and a handful of carefully distanced pedestrians. It contributed to a general feeling of disconnection from the world at large and the lack of movement outside those windows amplified that sense.

Mom was always my rock. We helped each other out and were there regardless. Lazy summer nights sitting on the balcony sipping tea and chatting. Random jokes no one else will quite understand. Long, walks to test mom’s endurance after her various surgeries. She was proud of how she handled the devastating effects of cancer. I was proud to be at her side the entire journey. I didn’t want to say goodbye but there was no choice. I feel selfish because I didn’t want to let go.  But it was time.

Despite the overwhelming sense of loss, I can’t help feel, I was one of the lucky ones. I could stay with mom throughout.  I wasn’t going to be haunted by the knowledge she died alone, like so many during this pandemic. One of the nurses even found a big bark-o-lounger they dragged into the room so I could sleep there with her and I got trays of food to keep me going. Originally, they thought she would be gone quickly, but mom being mom, did things on her own schedule.

She hung on for over a week, unconscious and mostly unaware of the world around her. That’s ok, I fancied she could hear my running monologues with her, talking about rearranging the apartment (we lived together), deciding what shows to watch while waiting and talking about how quiet the world had become. I read her news, played some of her favourite YouTube videos and often, just sat quietly holding her hand. Occasionally I felt her squeeze my hand, whether that was a spasm or she was aware of my presence, I don’t know. To my heart, she was aware.

She’ll be bitterly missed. Every day I’ll think of her and how quiet life is without her in it. She would sing in the kitchen when she got up to get breakfast, and this morning was brutally quiet. The silence was painful. But in the wider scheme of life, like I said,  I’m lucky. Others aren’t going to be able to say goodbye to people they love. The pandemic means they don’t have the luxury of spending a week just talking to their mom. I  had that chance.

So now, I am a card-carrying member of a wider club of daughters who have lost their mothers – I referred to it as the Sad Daughter’s Club when a friend lost her mother last year. When the quarantines and distancing are over, those of us in the club (and the Sad Son’s Club members) will get together, hug one another and share memories. Eventually, things will be better.

And one last thought. I wisely decided to not follow one of mom’s ideas – split her ashes up into envelopes and mail them off to people with the note “Guess who”.

Dropping out of social media for a breather

Dropping out of social media for a breather

Poster reading: Escaping the social media trap & leaving the OCD maze

I made a decision in Dec that it was time to step back from social media for a bit. It can suck you down into a soul-destroying pit if you aren’t careful. I was already stressed and depressed by the years of helping mom through her cancer treatments and operations. When I discovered I had spare time, because of improvements mom’s health, I noticed how Twitter/FB etc were so depressingly stupid. I can troll with the best of them, but sheer level of insanity being actively promoted on social media began to crush me. It was like watching the worse bits of zombie apocalypse shows on an endless loop – hopeless, dark and paranoid. So, sometime in Dec I went to the doctor and am back on antidepressant after many years. They also calmed my OCD. Lately the obsessive compulsions had started to interfere with my life in major ways. Unfortunately I hadn’t noticed how bad things had gotten.

As my general outlook improved, I decided no social media for awhile. It seemed to aggravate everything. I also took a long break from web work, photographing, writing, everything. I’ve gone for long walks, listened to old radio dramas, watched trashy monster movies (Reptilica rules; Godzilla drools) and read. Oh my I’ve read. Prior to Dec, I was having difficulties concentrating long enough to finish simple novels. Now, I plow through books at a furious pace.

Breaking up with the zombie apocalypse

Before I logged off though, I unfriended a whack of people who I began to view as unhealthy to talk to. Let me tell you, the calm and quiet on this end of the computer has been enlightening. Getting away from social media was one of the smartest thing I could have done. My head feels clear, for the first time in eons. With mom improving to the point of being self-sufficient, I had difficulties refocusing myself. That and the worry cancer will return. In short, I was slowly driving myself insane, with the help of social media. Breaking up with social media was much easier than I thought it would be. I simply … stopped.

I’ve enjoyed the break and don’t think I’ll look at things the same way. I’ve almost attained a zen feel to my outlook. Things are going to happen; some of which I can’t change. That’s ok now. Having a sense of balance back in my head means I can cope with what gets thrown my way. Good days; bad days. I’ll talk about them both here. But right now? The good are far outstripping the bad. I suspect without the disconnect, the antidepressants would not have been as successful. I’ll tell you, I’d forgotten how loud the noise in my head was. When it suddenly stopped, I had problems coping for a day or two. It was so silent. A million different voices competing through the daily noise. Not voices like strangers talking to me. They were me, my internal voice on steroids. My brain was like a runaway train. And the outside noise, oh god the loudness of the world. I was living with my headphones in and a white noise generator running constantly. I was often frantic with anxiety when I got home. OH THE BLISS OF SILENCE.

The sounds of OCD

Want to know what the ‘voices’ were like? Think of 10 people yelling at you to do things a certain way or warning you things aren’t “right” and if you don’t correct them, you’ll be in danger. Complicate that with a sensitivity to noise on a level that makes me sound insane.

You didn’t check the door but you need to take the steps a certain OMG did you touch that. CLEAN YOUR HANDS YOUR hands you didn’t say that correctly please please stop the sink has dishes in it I feel paralyzed what do I do I can’t make dinner in this mess the water isn’t hot enough wash your hands again no again I’m tired but we need to get the phrasing right that’s not balanced try to set things up properly no no you lost count now we have to start over wow it’s noisy wonder if did you remember the sanitizer Oh god this bathroom no nonnononononon check that door again did you have to go this way there’s always dog shit here and you know it does things to you you need to align those pages correctly if I start straightening this out I won’t be able to stop

You get the idea. The meds halted all that. I often wonder if the OCD causes the depression or the depression causes OCD. I still can’t deal with the external noise well so I bought a pair of earplugs that dim the sound but still allow me to hear conversations. Its difficult to explain the quiet and it’s searing effect on me. When I realised how silent everything in my head was, I stood in the middle of my room with my eyes closed and thought “not going to go off the meds again”. The peace and order in my thoughts are magnificent.

I’ve tentatively dipped my toes back into social media again. A few posts on Instagram, a tweet here and there. But I can’t bring myself back to Facebook. The sheer amount of insanity on the platform is keeping me away. I’ll go back, eventually, because I have friends I like to chatter with. Maybe…

I’ve been working on new content over the last week and very happy with what I’ve created. A few new Instagram posts have already gone up. Now with the weather improving, I’ll head out and start taking photos, well, as long as the COVID-19 stays at bay in my area. Look for a few stamp posts, a new vlog post, and some great tech news. Will be fun.

I’m getting too old for this shit

I’m getting too old for this shit

I changed the name of the column to “I’m getting too old for this shit“.  I switched the name on the Facebook page back in August to test if it worked. It’s a keeper.  It fits perfectly with my mind set lately.

Banner that reads I'm getting too old for this shit, it's all bafflegab until the caffiene kicks in

It’s all bafflegab

So, why the name change? Well, the memoir’s section has undergone a number of transformations over 20 years of blogging. I started out with my first site way back in the 1990s and I can’t remember what it was called. Somewhere in the late ’90s it changed to Catpaw’s diary, then Diary of a Mad Cat. That stuck for quite awhile.  In the last 2 years, I felt the name didn’t work anymore and needed a new face so I switched to Memoirs of an Analogue Person. It was a good temporary name because it reflected the passage of time. I’m certainly not the same person I was when I was in my 30s. When I stumbled on I’m getting too old for this shit, I had a Eureka! moment.  That’s it! I’m a year off of 60 and boy am I getting too old for a lot of shit.

I’ve begun recording new vlog entries. Some of the new topics will be Reddit content, for no better reason than some of it cracks me up. I have one video discussing the poor shaming I see on Reddit though. There’s a huge number of people who have zero empathy for working poor struggling to find adequate childcare. I’ll save this for the video. I’m playing a big game of catch-up in editing and re-recording content so that’ll come in time.

Don’t forget to check out new content posted on the site. I enjoyed writing the last article on airmails, Canada’s Last Airmail Stamp, so much I’ve begun writing a small series on airmails. It really is my favourite area to collect. I’ve also found a treasure trove of great content for Typography & Design, as well as the Tech section.  So many ideas, so little organisational skills.

I’m still struggling with scheduling everything and taking care of mom (who is doing much better), so occasionally there will be bumps in the postings. But things are slowly falling into a manageable schedule. Keep coming back, don’t forget you can follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. But Facebook is the best place because it’s easier for me to log on and chat there.  Not much content up at the Youtube channel, but don’t forget to subscribe so you know when I finally post new content.