Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mr. Pinky says...

7 pieces down, 3 and change to go. Maybe.

I cut my pinky open today. Mr. Pinky is very sad after his 7 stitches. I broke a wine glass while washing dishes. It slipped and rebounded into my hand. Fatty tissue resembles yellow caviar. Who knew? At least it was my non-dominant hand!

I don't think it'll get in the way of my painting. But the deadline (originally tonight) has been moved to Tuesday.

I now have to get scans of the paintings, print business cards, format and print labels, and stencil some t-shirts.

Crunch time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Healthcare Reform

Nothing makes me feel more helpless than the issue of healthcare in America. As a person with a preexisting condition, diabetes, this issue directly impacts my life. At present, I am a healthy, talented human being who contributes to society by having a job, participating in politics, and spending what little money I have on housing and basic necessities.

I also live in poverty, dependent on the state for the basic necessities of food and medicine. If I chose to have a job that would make me enough money to bump me up a tax bracket or two, I'd lose my medical coverage and I'd be faced with a huge, new set of problems. Problems like having to fork over $700 per month in insurance costs and medical expenses in addition to paying for rent, utilities, food, and other basic needs.

If I had a "real" job that covered all of my normal expenses, it would still cost me $33 per day just to keep breathing; that's the daily cost of my medication, the means to inject it, doctor's visits, and minimal food. That's $231 per week, and $924 per month. Individual insurance doesn't help me. In fact, with an average $450/mo policy and a minimum $5,000 deductible, paying out of pocket almost SAVES me money.

I've called for policy quotes from insurance companies many times. They have a list of questions that they ask. After determining your age and sex (and whether or not you are pregnant), they ask personal questions about your medical history, "do you have or have you ever had cancer/stroke/heart attack", "do you smoke", "do you drink alcohol", etc. At about the 4th or 5th question, they ask if you have diabetes. Then the questions stop. Once you confirm that you are diabetic (or have any other kind of chronic illness that needs medication for upkeep), they give you a quote between $450 - $550/mo with a high deductible between $5,000 - $10,000/yr. Even insurance companies that claim the cheapest rates never dip below a $400 monthly cost.

With the amount of money I have to spend on medical costs, I could be renting a 3 bedroom house and a small studio space outside of that, and still have money for utilities and food. Instead, I've been reduced to poverty and food stamps by a government and country that believes that one can only be sick and alive if one is rich. The alternative is to be either sick and poor, or dead. And with the audacity that the insurance companies display in their rising rates and premiums, their opinion is obvious; the sick do not deserve to live. Hospitals and pharmicutical companies share that opinion by refusing full and adiquate treatment to the uninsured, and with the high, rising costs of medications and medical supplies.

You might be asking yourself why I don't get a job somewhere, anywhere, with health insurance. The answer is simple, I am not guaranteed any sort of coverage that way. If I cost the insurance company too much, I will be forced to pay a higher rate to keep my coverage. The insurance company can also choose to drop me and cancel my coverage or simply refuse to cover me in the first place. This is not unheard of, nor is is uncommon. In fact, insurance companies are notorious for discontinuing their coverage if a healthy client falls ill. Also, the company I work for can also choose to not cover me. This is a little less common, but if I make it more expensive for the company to cover ALL of its employees, it can happen.

Writing about this issue is hard for me. Being objective and not losing my cool and screaming obscenities is the most difficult part. I wonder, who are they to tell me that I don't deserve to keep breathing? Who are they to tell me that I am an inferior human being? Words like "liability" and "high-risk" that are used to label the sick and disabled are insulting, demeaning, and thrown around by insurance companies as if they are harmless. I've made many a phone call for quotes that has ended in tears of hurt and frustration. Their negligence and ignorance are more harmful than any healthy person can realize.

The continuation of this line of conversation goes into the topic of how healthy people simply don't understand what it is like to be sick. This is a very basic observation, but you'd be surprised at how much it clouds their judgment and impedes the progress of reform. But I digress, and I'll refrain from going any further with this line of thought.

There are so many people in America who cannot afford insurance. There are still more who can't afford the medications that they need to live. If the government were to start regulating and charging for air, we'd all be in the same boat. Fortunately for us all, that won't happen any time soon. (Could you imagine oxygen insurance?)

The point I'm trying to make is this; our current method of health care in the United States IS NOT WORKING. It needs to be reformed, rethought, and radically changed. Even if it is done by baby steps over the next 75 years, it needs to be done, and it needs to start NOW. Discrimination against pre-existing conditions must STOP. And the impersonal treatment of the sick and disabled must end.

Write your congress people, both the senate and the house need to know your thoughts and concerns. Tell the house to pass the senate's bill, even if it does not include a public option, it may just be the baby step toward reform that people like me, people like your friends and relatives, pray for with every breath, every pill, every injection.

Healthy people of the free world, unite and help the sick. We need your support for the changes that must be made. Brothers and sisters with diabetes and the host of other invisible chronic illnesses, unite for change and reform. Together, we can make a difference and make breathing easier for everyone.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Couple of Side Projects...

This koalizzard is the product of an affair I had with my friend Natasha's crocodile pillow. I gave this little hybrid to Natasha so that she could raise it as her own. The crocodile pillow and I don't talk much anymore, so this is for the best.

I finally finished my first kandy-raver backpack, Flashback!
He's lined with black and white stripped fabric and closes with velcro.
His straps have two fine reflective stripes.

This is Peptopussy. She was my second attempt at a kandy-raver backpack. Unfortunitely, she became an accidental piece of feminist artwork when I added her pocket...
But I love her just the way she is. : )

This is my third attempt at a kandy-raver backpack, Frog-E!
His pocket is lined with blue velvet and he has a zipper!
I made him kandy today, and finished him today as well.

Frog-E will accompany me to Rainbow Brite and the Kandykids 2 this Friday. : )

I have officially finished all the backgrounds for my pieces for MythoLogic! Yay! Now I have to stencil and paint on them. Half this week, half next week, then the 4 Element panels.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Here's the front! I designed the front and the back. It was really fun, especially the drippy paint part. I wish the dates showed up better, but it's okay for a rushed job. All the information is on the back anyway.
The printers at Print Raven in Flagstaff were very impressed with my RePiet Massage logo. It got me a space on their list of referals for freelance graphic design. Which basically means that if they have a client that needs some design work, they'll send them my way. : )

Backgrounds will be finished today. Foregrounds will be finished in the next 2 weeks, hopefully allowing for a week between finished pieces and the show. Woot! (So should have started this in November...)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year to all!

New Years resolutions are as follows:
1. Finish paintings for show with time to spare and begin the art hat projects in March.
2. Give kick ass presents to family in February.
3. 85% of cooking and food prepared at home, by me.
4. Islet Cell Transplant Clinical Trial App. accepted by June.
5. Exercise goals:
-Yoga 2x weekly
-Silks 1-2x weekly
-Poi 1-2x weekly
-Pull up bar, wrist exercises and hip exercises when needed.
-Bike more, stretch after.
6. Sell books (make 4/week to sell).
7. Listen to more audio books and classical music.
8. Practice trumpet and find musicians and music for Christmas Carols in Dec.
9. Take more hot baths.
10. Keep trimming my consumer fat (away with useless things I own!).
11. Arrange move to CA.
12. Concentrate on art, not love.
13. Go on ski trip in March.
14. Institute an anti-inflamitory diet.

I've had the post card done forever and have just been lazy about reorienting the picture... So next post will include the postcard, my sister's logo, and a progress report about the show, which is fast approaching!