Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Cheesy Cinema Review: The Christmas Chronicles Would Have Been Better Without the Side Order of Size Shaming


I may be a curmudgeon, but I'm not unrealistic. I expect holiday movies to be trope-laden and sappy. Unless you're watching Santa Slasher 666 or, as Beavis would say, a "Christmas Classic" starring such fine quality thespians as Tiny Johnson and Bob Scratchit, you can expect either barf-inducing heartwarming romantic drama or family-friendly drama probably involving cute but weird elves somewhere in the mix. Knowing these things, I steeled myself for whatever extra helping of syrupy sweetness might be lurking in the Christmas Chronicles to raise my blood sugar levels.
First, the positives. The kids are adorable and the young actors performing the parts of Katie and Teddy did a marvelous job. Kurt Russell really hits the mark as a slightly grouchy, no-nonsense Santa. However, I was dismayed by the amount of size shaming and diet culture promotion.
Had it happened only once, I would have rolled my eyes and moved on. However, it happened multiple times, including a scene where the sleigh hits a billboard advertising Coke products with the image of a portly Santa enjoying a Coke. Santa shouts: "take that, Fat Man!"
Shaking my damn head. Not only was the size shaming not necessary, but the levels of at the very least subconscious vehemence and hatred towards larger people was absolutely uncalled for. Also, do the writers really thinks that Santa is so vain that all he cares about is being perceived as slim and sexy? I honestly find such people quite a bore and I would hope that if Santa were real, he wouldn't be a self-centered dullard.
As a curmudgeonly adult, I found the size bashing dismal and enraging. I can only imagine how it would seem to a big kid watching that movie. The inherent message they will take away is not "family needs to stick together," but "fat is the very worst thing you can possibly be. Even Santa hates fat people."
Hollywood really needs to stop with the lame-ass fat jokes whenever they find themselves at a loss for comic relief. If you can't include larger people in your story in a positive way, at the very least don't include them just to make them the butt of mean-spirited "humor".
Every kid deserves to feel like he or she is okay just as he or she is all year 'round, but I feel that a positive, family-friendly holiday movie needs to take a bit of extra care to make sure they aren't alienating and shaming certain already stigmatized populations.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~





Friday, December 7, 2018

A Very Personal Post: My Hysterectomy and Sub-Par Treatment of Women and Larger Patients

Ragen Chastain of Dances With Fat, a blog which people of every size should read

I normally try to keep my money-saving and life hacks blog confined to products, recipes, and apps which can help put money in your pocket and keep it there. However, sometimes I feel it is important to share personal and societal issues. This is one of those times.
I have blogged recently about having my eldritch horror of a uterus removed on December 17th. My uterus is full of polyps and benign fibroid tumors. There are other treatments for this (ablation, breaking up the tumors with ultrasound, hormones), but they tend to have to be repeated down the line. I no longer have a need for my uterus in this life. I feel that the most efficient course of action at this point is a once and done option: take it out and be done with it. Then there will be no future ablations, no future d and c's, and no more pap smears ever again in this lifetime. Weighing the pros and cons, I believe this to be the best option in my case.
Reflecting on the situation, my uterus probably should have come out ten to fifteen years ago. I always had brutal periods. I do not joke when I say I didn't bleed, I hemorrhaged. However, due to past trauma (sexual assault) and fear of being shamed for my body type (I am built similarly to Ragen, but am nowhere near as beautiful and graceful), I avoided having any sort of "well woman" type of exam for close to thirty years.
I feel like the current approach to focusing on a patient's weight first and, often to the exclusion of all else, is lazy medicine. Doctors fail to take into account that weight is only one part of the equation and correlation is not causation. There are multiple factors at play in a person's body type. DNA is the first and most powerful of these. 


Repeat after me: a rhino is not a unicorn. A rhino does not even know what a unicorn is. I doubt there is a rhino anywhere in the world that dreams of being a unicorn. Also, unicorns aren't real, much like the ridiculous appearance ideals that we learn to impose on ourselves from a very young age.
Dr. Oz (Oprah's pet snake oil salesman) once said that he never sees a fat person who doesn't have cardiac problems. What he neglected to mention is that he never sees a thin person who doesn't have cardiac problems either. He's a cardiologist. But there isn't a big market for weight gain products. There is a multi-billion dollar industry built on convincing people that their bodies are wrong and it's their fault that diets fail time and time again.
Doctors don't tend to see (or notice) healthy fat people, because when a person avoids the doctor's office like the plague for fear of being shamed and lectured about their weight, they tend not to seek medical treatment until the situation becomes catastrophic. Further, poor people regardless of size often can't afford medical treatment and thus avoid seeking medical treatment until the situation becomes catastrophic.
Teaching doctors to shame and scold patients for their physique (or anything else) leads patients to avoid seeing doctors. This is counterproductive. The Western medicine focus also tends to be on treating illness rather than maintaining health. This is counterproductive. The U.S. medical system is broken, and the definition of insanity is insisting on doing something that doesn't work and hoping it will work this time. It doesn't work and it isn't going to work this time. The dead horse needs to be replaced rather than flogged and shocked in hopes that it will wake up and gallop around the pasture like a healthy young colt.
In any case, after many years of going to a doctor who wasn't the worst but seemed to be burned out and going through the motions, I was doing a search for doctors with a Health at Every Size approach. I hope the future will present with many, many more such doctors, but currently, such a search can be extremely frustrating. I happened on a doctor in my general area who stated that she provides a safe space for patients of any race, sex, orientation, or size. I made an appointment right away.
Even though I got on well with this new doctor and trusted her, she had a difficult time examining the plumbing, so to speak. However, we got through it. The results of the dreaded pap smear were normal. But there was more to come.
I see my doctor quarterly because of my endocrine problems. During my April visit, I told her that I'd had my "yearly period." I said it was frustrating to me because I thought I was completely done with the blasted thing, but every year for the past couple years I had a really dreadful, heavy, but fortunately painless period. 
My doctor said that this wasn't normal and referred me to a gynecologist. I was extremely worried, but this incredibly kind and wonderful woman never once shamed me about my body. She focused on the issue at hand and was compassionate about my fears. After performing a biopsy and examination of the inside of the troublesome organ, I was informed that it was housing numerous fibroids and polyps and was sent for a consultation with a surgeon who specializes in gynecologic surgery.
My case is a walk in the park for this fellow. He has a lot of patients dealing with various cancers and severe pathologies. I present with a straightforward, uncomplicated condition, and the surgery should take less than an hour. I'm still terrified and want to run screaming. I hate going under anesthesia. 
The doctors involved in this chain of events have all done things right. They have treated me with respect and not shamed or scolded me for having a body which does not fit society's definition of "ideal" by any stretch of the imagination. This means that I listen to them rather than saying: "well, fuck this shit, I guess I'm going to just have to live with my problems because I don't want to deal with these assholes."
I worked in the medical field for most of my working life. There are patients who are frustrating to deal with. They are noncompliant and expect miracles. There are patients who demand antibiotics for the treatment of viruses. There are patients who seem to believe that doctors are hiding secret cures in their doctor arsenal. There are patients who can't stop smoking even though it's killing them. All of these people need to be treated with kindness and respect, even if the medical staff feels the need to headdesk repeatedly following a visit with said patient.
I've known more than one person who was so addicted to smoking that even though it had serious negative health consequences, they were unable to stop. One was my maternal grandmother, who died in 1992 at the age of 75 from complications of alcoholism. She had emphysema and couldn't make herself stop smoking. She successfully stopped drinking once, but then my cousin (a very broken person) brought over a six-pack one night, and she was right back at it. 
My grandmother had a hard life. It would be frustrating to treat a patient who is committing slow suicide, but it would never be appropriate to belittle or berate such a person. My grandmother only had an eighth-grade education, but she was by no means a stupid person. She had a lot of "horse sense." She was also deeply conflicted and had a very low self-esteem and untreated mental health issues.
I don't know the other person's backstory. She was a customer who came into a restaurant where I worked as a bartender and waitress. She would get coffee and stay for a long time in the afternoon, chain-smoking, reading, and drinking her coffee. She was a social worker who was getting ready to retire. She had a daughter who had borderline personality disorder.
This woman eventually had to have part of one lung removed. She tried to quit smoking, but people would see her around town hiding behind buildings for a puff, even though she had to carry an oxygen tank at that point. She died within a year of the surgery.
Scolding this woman would not have made it easier for her to quit smoking. She wasn't stupid. She knew that smoking was causing her health problems. Addiction is a complicated and misunderstood issue.
Some people equate having a large body type with addiction. This is erroneous. Some people with larger body types have binge eating disorder, as do some people with slender and medium body types. Binge eating disorder is not an "addiction to food," it is a pathological relationship with food. Even if it was "an addiction to food," scolding and shaming a person suffering from said disorder will do nothing but make that person withdraw and stop listening. Nothing good ever comes from scolding and shaming a patient.
What I am getting around to is that I have a health issue which should have been dealt with years ago, but I avoided exams that might have revealed the problem sooner because I was embarrassed and afraid of being shamed for my body. This should never be the case. All patients have the right to compassionate, respectful treatment. 
Pathologizing certain body types doesn't work. Health at Every Size does.
This is why I am committed to never deliberately advertising or promoting weight loss products on the Deliver Me blog. I struggled for 33 years with disordered eating and low self-esteem because of society's attitudes towards people with larger bodies. I went on diet after diet and "failed" every time. Any weight lost always came back with friends. I literally had to stop dieting so I wouldn't gain more weight. 
It wasn't until I discovered size acceptance and Health at Every Size that I realized I hadn't failed, the diets failed. The diet industry thrives on two factors:
Diets don't work
Dieters believe that they, not the diet, are at fault for the diet not working.
I will never knowingly sell snake oil or false promises. 
I will only promote products and services which I believe can be helpful in some capacity. Diet and weight loss products never are.

~Cie~




Sunday, December 2, 2018

This Week's Spending Breakdown


J. Money of Budgets are Sexy asked his readers to break down their past week's spending. Here is my write-up in all its...uh...glory.

Really gross sobbing ensues.



Let’s do an exercise today where we look back at what we spent this week and see how we feel about it all… It’s good to do a surprise check-in every now and then!

Fill in the blanks below:

Money I loved spending this week:
I like to cook, and I got the goods to make some nice food this week. Not all of it was a hit with my son, but he's hard to feed. He's high-functioning autistic, and it can be tricky to find foods with textures that don't seem bothersome to him. I'm pretty much a gourmand. As long as it isn't offal or raw squash (I love cooked squash, can't stand it raw) I'm probably good.

Money I hated spending this week:
That sumbitchin' overdraft charge. I haven't had one of these in a while. I'm on an extremely short leash, being that I'm not allowed to make more than $1100 a month, or I lose Medicaid. I try to be careful, but sometimes, something gets by me.

Money I was surprised to spend this week! 
See "that sumbitchin' overdraft charge."

I quite literally think that exorbitant overdraft fees should be illegal. They only harm people who are already in difficult financial straits. Don't let the damn payment through if the money isn't there. If you must charge a fee, keep it reasonable, in the $5 range. The only reason banks charge these sickening $35 plus fees is because they can. 
Again, they are only harming the poor and working classes. The one percent certainly never gets hit by these fees.

Money I knew I’d spend this week and am okay with: 
Money for groceries. I'm basically okay with this, although I tend to feel groceries are, overall, overpriced. 
I have a tip that I like to pass along whenever I can. If your preferred grocery store has an "ugly produce" section, take advantage of it! My preferred store has an ugly produce section. It's hit or miss, but it's a hit more often than it's a miss. Everything in the section is 99 cents for a bag, and the bags are generous. Yesterday I got a nice bag of red potatoes, in the two to three-pound range, for 99 cents. The potatoes were on the small side and oddly shaped, but they are perfectly good potatoes.

Money I spent towards my goals/dreams: 
I checked my balance before spending this money. I bought some yarn on Amazon for my hand-crochet blanket that I'm making. I don't sell these blankets because I could never legitimately recoup the money spent to make them. They are strictly gifts or for personal use. 
In any case, the money I spent on my yarn (approximately $31) crossed with another payment, and I ended up with disgusting overcharges.
I was hoping to use some money to enter my poetry manuscript in a competition hosted by a non-profit literary group. The entry fee would have been $25. However, the deadline was November 31, and I was not willing to take the fee out of my savings. Maybe next year, or maybe I'll just self-publish the thing on Kindle.

That's my breakdown for the week. What's yours? Join the conversation on J. Money's blog, Budgets are Sexy.

~Cie~


Saturday, December 1, 2018

Why Google Opinion Rewards Is In My Top 5 Survey Apps


Hello, Delivered Ones! I've mentioned Google Opinion Rewards previously, but I want to talk about it again because there are several good reasons why this little app is in my top 5 survey apps.
First, this is the one that pays out most often for me.
Google Opinion Rewards pays for my upgraded Google Drive storage. As an amateur photographer and Photoshop hack artist, I need more storage than the free account offers. While upgraded storage on Google Drive isn't that expensive, it's nice not to have the fee coming out of my bank account.
The surveys are brief. They literally take less than two minutes. You won't find yourself sitting there saying "what the bleep is this bleep and didn't I answer this damn question already?" as you are mired in the endless survey from hell to receive a payout of twenty-five cents. This will not happen to you ever with Google Opinion Rewards.
The payouts are small, but they add up quickly.
Google Opinion Rewards is legit. You won't get rich from participating, but you will get a little extra money in your Paypal account, and it is truly easy money.
Click this link to try Google Opinion Rewards for yourself. I have the feeling that once you've tried it, you'll love it too.
Wishing you a happy and prosperous day.

~Cie~


Thursday, November 29, 2018

Inbox Dollars Tips: Search with Inbox Dollars

Young Richard Tracy knows that using Inbox Dollars search will earn him easy money for doing something he was already going to do.

I've been taking surveys with Inbox Dollars for several years, but I only recently explored all the other ways of making money with Inbox Dollars
One of the easiest ways is by using the Inbox Dollars search page. When you log into your account, there is a menu bar at the top of the main page. Choose the search option, and, voila, you will be earning for searches you were going to make anyway. It's that simple!
I find that the Inbox Dollars search works better on my computer than my phone. The page sometimes takes forever to load on my iPhone's Safari browser. So I generally play the mini-games on my phone instead. Yes, Inbox Dollars has games that they pay you to play! Who knew?
I'm currently stuck on level 23 of the bubble monkey game. Those stupid skulls suck, and so does my manual dexterity, let's be real.
The search page and the games (especially my beloved bubble monkey game) are just two reasons why Inbox Dollars is my favorite paid survey app. It's much more than paid surveys, and it is a legitimate survey company, unlike some I have had the misfortune of dealing with.

~Cie~

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Prime Pantry

My Prime Pantry Order

Disclosure:
I am an Amazon affiliate and a Prime Pantry subscriber

If you use Amazon to shop, you may have heard of Prime Pantry. You may be wondering what Prime Pantry is, and whether or not it is worth it to sign up for the service.
For a fee of $4.95 per month, Prime Pantry subscribers receive free shipping on any order over $10. Prime Pantry specializes in shelf-stable goods such as canned food, spices, baking needs, and household necessities such as paper towels and freezer bags. For fresh foods, you will want to consider Amazon Fresh.
Is Prime Pantry worth it?
Overall, the answer is "yes." My life can be a bit chaotic, and going to the grocery store often falls more into the "pain" than "pleasure" category. Spending less than $5 per month for the convenience of having shelf-stable items delivered to my door is worthwhile to me.
"But do you pay more for the products you get with this service?" you may be asking.
I find that most of the products are comparably priced to items in the grocery store. You will find some that are a superior value, such as the two cold brew coffee concentrates found in the above photo. I got both of these for a little more than I would pay for just one bottle of cold brew concentrate at King Soopers, and there is more flavor variety to choose from.
The baking soda was comparably priced with what I would find on the baking aisle at King Soopers.
I was angry with myself about the vinegar. For some reason, I thought that 64 ounces equaled a gallon. It is, in fact, a half gallon. So, I ended up spending more than twice what I would have spent on a gallon of vinegar from King Soopers.
Overall, Prime Pantry gets my enthusiastic recommendation. It's only $4.95 per month to give it a try, and you can cancel anytime. Give it a look by clicking on the banner below.

~Cie~




Monday, November 19, 2018

Cheesy Cinema Review: Hold the Dark


Netflix' Hold the Dark is fascinating conceptually, and the cast does a stellar job of playing their roles. But when the viewer comes away from a film saying "why the hell did any of that happen?" it isn't a good thing.
I haven't read the book that this film was based on. Maybe if I had read the book, I'd understand the film better. However, a well-executed film would not require the viewer to have read the book to understand what is going on.
I feel that the film tries too hard to avoid being Another Werewolf Movie and doesn't do enough to ensure that the viewer understands the reason why All The Spooky Weirdness is transpiring in the first place.
I wanted to like this movie. I wanted it to live up to the hype and the stellar cast. It did not do so.
I wish that Netflix hadn't changed their viewer rating system from stars to a thumbs up/thumbs down. I would have given this movie three stars with Netflix' previous system. As it stands, I didn't rate it. The performances were too good for it to merit a thumbs down, but I came away too befuddled for it to merit a thumbs up.
One should not have to rely on search engines to find an explanation for why events transpired in a movie. Arguably, I did have to do this for some events in Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, which I found frustrating, but I understood the majority of the plot in these movies and would give both of them a solid thumbs up despite the various points of confusion. Since my reaction to Hold the Dark was "well, that happened, but why?" I cannot say the same for it.
Hold the Dark left me hungry for more, and not in a good way. It was the kind of hunger one has after eating a not vomit-inducing but unsatisfying deli sandwich from a service station because there isn't anything better available.
Cheesy Rating: 2.5 out of 5 wedges
 

~The Cheese Hath Grated It Cinematically~