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Stalker Issues Persist

13 Sep

For those who may recall, I have a no-harrassment order against Eugene Meyer. In February I can choose to renew the order or not renew it. Eugene’s girlfriend Damaris Vasquez keeps finding ways to harass me on Facebook. I block her, but she just seems to create new accounts and finds ways around it. It’s really frustrating. For one thing, it might not be her. It might be her abusive boyfriend going on to her account. He’s done it before. The grammar and spelling of the messages don’t match her poor grammar and spelling and are written the way he would write. It’s very frustrating for me and hard for me to figure out. You’d think since I can remove the order in a few months, that he wouldn’t be choosing to help me decide to renew the order, but instead, he keeps giving me incentive to renew the order. It’s kind of moronic. I get that he (or she) are drunk when they send the messages. They are active drunks. And we know what that does to judgement. But the other dumb thing is that she has a job that she only has because of me. After the previous harassment, she was going to get fired from her job, but I convinced her supervisor not to fire her because she needs the money. And yet not only does she and he continue to harass me, they even use her position where she works as a weapon of harassment. What should I do? I can’t prove that he may be harassing me in violation of the order using her account. I can’t get an order against her just for continuously insulting me on Facebook. I can probably get her fired from her job, but I really don’t want to do that. Why can’t people just be smart and not be dumb criminals?


Northampton Community Support Network Ending

6 Sep

I came up with an idea 16 months ago and it has been my primary passion for the past sixteen months. I’ve been pushing the idea at every venue possible for sixteen months to gain support for the project.

And now finally some folks with power and influence have taken on the idea and are running with it, but I’ve been pushed to the side, and am no longer part of this conversation that I started.

I’m very happy that my community center will come into existence. But my ego is a little bit crushed that I’m not allowed to be a part of my community center.

I’d like to thank all those who joined me in those early meetings about creating the Northampton community center when we would meet regularly at Bruegger’s and Forbes and later in the basement of First Churches.

Thanks to all those who helped with the car wash, the flyers and brochures, those who helped draft our mission statement and established safety protocols. Thanks to those who helped me find locations and helped with the logistical paperwork.

And thanks to those who supported us through monetary donations.

I’ll keep updating folks here with community news and event announcements but the Northampton Community Support Network is over. Northampton Connects is picking up the community center project and running with it without our involvement. They have more power and influence in their membership so they are more likely to be successful in the endeavor.

Ten Reasons that Doctor Who is like Scooby-Doo!

1 Sep
And now for something completely different!
Here’s a fun break for our usual chronologies…

Reasons that Doctor Who is like Scooby-Doo!

1. Running
Image result for Running Doctor WhoImage result for Running Scooby-Doo
2. The supernatural menace always has a non-supernatural explanation.
Image result for They are much older than they look. Scooby-Doo
Image result for Witches Doctor WhoImage result for Witches Scooby-Doo
3. Occasionally there are annoying companions (i.e. Scrappy-Doo)
Image result for Occasionally there are annoying companions Doctor WhoImage result for Occasionally there are annoying companions Scooby-Doo
4. Shaggy’s stomach is bigger on the inside.
Image result for bigger on the inside. Doctor WhoImage result for bigger on the inside. Scooby-Doo
5. They are much older than they look.
Image result for They are much older than they look. Doctor WhoImage result for They are much older than they look. Scooby-Doo
6. They spend all their time travelling, and very rarely are they looking for trouble. Usually they show up to visit a place and surprise, there’s a mystery to be solved.
Image result for travelling Doctor WhoImage result for travelling Scooby-Doo
7. They’ve both been around since the 60s.
Image result for They've both been around since the 60s. Doctor WhoImage result for They've both been around since the 60s. Scooby-Doo
8. Nobody believes in the supernatural, but they don’t question a talking dog. Likewise nobody seems to question a big blue box appearing in the oddest places.
Image result for Nobody believes in the supernatural, but they don't question a talking dog. Likewise nobody seems to question a big blue box appearing in the oddest places. Doctor WhoImage result for talking dog big blue box  Doctor WhoImage result for talking dog big blue box  Scooby-Doo
9. Alons-y, Geronimo, Zoinks, Jinkies
Image result for Allons-y, Geronimo, Zoinks, JinkiesImage result for Allons-y, Geronimo, Zoinks, Jinkies
10. Just like the Doctor, they were the same exact clothes every day.
Image result for Just like the Doctor, they were the same exact clothes every day. Scooby-Doo
Image result for Just like the Doctor, they were the same exact clothes every day. Doctor WhoImage result for Just like the Doctor, they were the same exact clothes every day. Scooby-Doo
If you’d like to see more posts like this, let us know in the comments section or talk to us in the TVCU Facebook Forum.  

Darker Shades

1 Sep

I’m told that Darker Shades, the Dorian Gray anthology from Wild Hunt Press, is projected for a Halloween release.

This anthology has all authors who have been on the TVCU Podcast: Peter RawlikMicah Harris, T. Casey Brennan, Zahir Al Daoud (as David MacDowell Blue), Ivan Ronald Schablotski (as Kevin Heim), Christofer Nigroand Robyn Wronski (as Robert E. Wronski, Jr.)

And the stories are pat of a shared universe with crossovers, so if you like crossovers, and why are you in this group if you don’t, then be sure to check it out.

Dancing without Care

29 Apr

Yesterday I attended a drumming workshop and concert.

I had been invited a few days earlier, and was very relieved that honestly I could decline the invitation because I had to work.

You see, it’s not that I dislike music, and I certainly enjoy the company of the folks who invited me.  But they dance, and I do not.  I knew that they would be dancing throughout the event, while I just sat there uncomfortably.

I don’t dance.  Not even as a kid.  I’ve always been too insecure.  When I have attempted to dance, I get so focused on “doing it right” that I can’t loosen up enough.  It was only when I could get drunk that I could allow myself to loosen up and not care about what others thought enough to make the attempt.

So as the event got closer, it turned out that I didn’t have to work, and I had no excuse not to attend.

I accepted the invitation, despite being filled with anxiety.

Before the concert, there was a drumming workshop.  I hoped that I would be able to just hang out and watch without participating, but it soon became apparent the teacher wasn’t going to let that happen.  So I found myself on a drum, something I hadn’t experienced since a brief stint with a Drum Corps in my youth.

The instructor was wonderful, and within an hour, I was playing a simple beat with the band with comfort.  It was so much fun.

And then came the concert.  Sure enough, my friends got up and danced, but what surprised me was that I did too.  I was not drinking.  I hadn’t danced in public in twenty years, and never sober, but the music called me to dance.  And I had fun.  I danced for hours.  My body is suffering a little for it today, but I’m so spiritually lifted from the power of overcoming that insecurity and just enjoying the moment, that it is worth a little soreness today.

Last night I allowed myself to feel free, no longer burdened by the chains of insecurity that weighed me down.

Northampton Community Support Network Celebrates One Year of Progress

13 Apr

April 22 is the one year anniversary of the Northampton Community Support Network. So how are we progressing?

The Northampton Recovery Center will be moving to its own space at 2 Gleason Plaza on May 1 and over the next year you can expect its Recovery and wellness programming to expand.

As for a community center that focuses on supporting those experiencing struggles with homelessness, poverty, addiction, mental health and trauma, that’s making progress as well.

Recently Northampton Connects held a town hall meeting where my community center concept was discussed with great favor by the majority of the attendees.

Then a few days ago the city released a survey on Downtown Northampton which asked citizens if there was a need for such a community center which was described exactly as I’ve been promoting it.

The city seems to be rallying around the idea and that makes me very excited.

A New Hope

3 Apr

They are trying.  And I was wrong.

Tonight I attended the public forum from NorthamptonConnects, a new organization with an intent to create a forum for discussion to end the divide in Northampton.

For those who follow my rants, and I do call them rants, I was very upset that the venue for this event was four miles away from downtown Northampton, despite being a discussion on Downtown Northampton.  I was upset that it was held at a time when those living in the cot shelter couldn’t attend, because they would miss their curfew and get tossed out on the street if they attended.  I was upset that it was inaccessible by bus, making it a challenge to get there if you don’t own a car.

I also felt this was intentional.  Despite knowing some good people on this panel and involved in organizing this event, I was swayed by skepticism.  I was not easily swayed by those who did reach out to me to explain that the venue was chosen based on size and availability.  I was not easily swayed by the expression that it was an unintentional oversight.

But I was wrong.  They are trying.  The venue was a poor choice.  They owned up to it.  And as they move forward, they will try harder.

In this era, it’s uncommon for public figures to apologize.  They did.  And I believe them.  I have to believe them.  Because there are people involved in this that I trust implicitly.  There are people involved in this who work so hard to support the voiceless and vulnerable.

So I attended the event this evening.  I got a ride from one of the panelists.  And I’m so glad I went.  This evening filled me with hope.

The evening began with a panel who addressed what each one loved most about Northampton and what they think could be done to make Northampton more welcoming. We then moved the conversation to our groups at each table, which were intentionally set up so that everyone was assigned random tables, forcing them to talk to strangers in order to hear new perspectives, and we did hear, and we all listened to one another with respect and civility.

As I expected, the conversation often turned towards those experiencing homelessness, those who panhandle, and those experiencing struggles with addiction and mental health.

What I didn’t expect was that overwhelmingly, the conversation around those folks were not “How do we get rid of them?” but rather “How do we help them?”  “How do we talk to them?”  “How can we support them?”  I was not expecting this, and I felt such hope.

Of course, there were some talk about “those scary people”, but even that was said with respect, from a perspective of wanting to be more educated, and it was returned by folks like me, who agreed, yes, sometimes we are.

Of course, not all the talk was about the homeless and panhandlers.  We discussed many topics, including art, protecting immigrants who are scared to be downtown for other reasons in this climate, and of course we also talked about all the things we love about Northampton, the things that make it so special.

One thing I need to say is that everyone who follows me knows of my passion for a community center.  I went there with the intention I wouldn’t bring it up, because I didn’t want to come with my own agenda.  Other people brought it up.  And everyone seemed to love the idea.  You just can’t imagine how I wanted to do cartwheels, not that I could.

Other things that came up as positives (to me at least) was more festivals, more art, more music, bring back a movie theater, and one thing a friend of mine has been talking about for a long time, stores downtown that are not just for tourists, like a hardware store.

The plan is to have more of these panels, maybe even monthly.  The plan is also to move to various different venues, with varying topics.  One thing that most people wanted was to have a meeting downtown, where the homeless and panhandlers can sit down and be part of the conversation.  I left there feeling hopeful.  My cynicism is replaced with hope.

Part II:  A Voice Heard

So this morning as I left my apartment, I found a notice on my door.  I live in government subsidized housing because of my disabilities.  The notice was dated March 30 (today is April 3).  The notice said they would come into my apartment on April 4 (that’s tomorrow) to inspect fire alarms, and that they have given us the proper 48 hour notice in accordance to the lease.  Except that they weren’t.

So I went to the housing office to address the problem.  The receptionist asked me “What?  Do you have something better to do tomorrow?”  Excuse me?  As a matter of fact, I do.  Then a person came to speak to me from the back office who seemed new.  She explained that the maintenance guys delivered the notices late, she acknowledged that entering the apartment would violate the lease, and that they were going to do it anyway.

Well, that’s pretty normal of how they treat their tenants.  But I happen to be a tenant who knows people.  So I reported what happened to someone at City Hall, who then reported what happened to the director of the Northampton Housing Authority.  I didn’t expect anything to come of my reporting this.  I just wanted people to be aware.

I was then told by my City Hall contact to contact the director directly if I wished.  I sent her an email explaining the situation again.  I explained how this was unfair treatment of people based on their income level.  I explained how people with mental health issues like myself need time to emotionally prepare to have strangers enter their safe space.  I also explained that because I suffered from depression and physical challenges, I have been a messy housekeeper over the winter, and could use more notice to straighten up for people to come in.

What happened next I never expected.

The director of housing canceled the fire alarm inspections.  She called me and said she will reschedule them to ensure we receive proper notice.  She also wants me to talk to her in person about my negative interactions with her staff.  I was floored.  I was heard.  I was respected.  I was accommodated.  I was impressed.

Part III:  A New Forum

So I don’t want to give too much detail, but my writings about community issues, providing a voice for the voiceless, and advocacy for those in need, may move to a new forum.  Another website, a blog that covers similar topics, may soon add me as a writer.  Once things are cemented, I will send folks to the new site.  I will begin with a series on how I went from being a homeowner to homeless, and how that experience changed my outlook on life and people for the better.  A new hope.