Three Years on WordPress

I want to thank everyone who has visited my site and read my blogs. It sometimes surprises me how many people read them. There have been 38,430 views. I received a notification that it was my anniversary on WordPress. I started my blog three years ago. I wasn’t very good at it then, but I learn.

My most popular post, by far, is one of my very first, “‘Bones,’ Cancer and Real Life.” It has received 25,571 views. At the time I watched my first “Bones” episode—season 9, episode 13, “Big in the Philippines,” which was directed by David Boreanaz, who also plays a lead in the series—in January of 2014, I was just coming out of my grief over my husband’s death in September of 2012. I remember feeling like the sun had finally come out after more than a year in the rain. Even though I knew nothing about “Bones” or the characters, I was pulled deeply into the story. I gasped. I talked back to the characters (I’m weird, that way). I cried—a lot. I wrote the blog two months later, after I binged on the series and experienced it sequentially, with all the richness a decade of character development can bring to a story. I was moved in different ways.

Even though most of my blogs are related to celebrities and celebrity events—Echoes of Hope‘s annual celebrity hockey game being among them—I have also gotten fairly strong responses to some of my blogs about local history and events. For example, “Randy Lewis Talks about the Occupation of Fort Lawton” has received nearly 300 views. For this one, I drove up to Everett (half an hour north of Seattle) to interview Randy Lewis, Colville, one of the Elders at United Indians of All Tribes Foundation (UIATF). I like interviewing people and taking their photos. And, I like sharing it with others.

During the last year, I began writing about current events, many of which were about the violence in our society—”A Culture of Violence,” “Forty-nine New Names,” “How Many Gun Deaths Are Acceptable,” “Remember Them,” and “Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Turns Violent.” These stories felt too important not to write. I shared my deepest feelings, about my continuing grief and healing process over the loss of my husband, in a post, “Four Years Gone“—not the first time I’ve written about him; my concerns for America in “Thoughts on a Polarized America” and “The Beginning of the End for the EPA?;” things I find interesting, such as “My First Biography, or The Importance of Reading as a Child“—which is about my childhood hero, Harriet Tubman—and a few indie film blogs, like “Don’t Miss Jack Goes Home” and “‘Last Days of Summer’ Premieres at Rhode Island International Film Festival,” which involved two of my favorite actors, Thomas Dekker (who wrote and directed “Jack Goes Home”) and Michael Rosenbaum (who acted in “Last Days of Summer”). I even posted two of my own short stories, “The Boy with the Broken Zipper,” which is based on a real boy I met who was living on the streets, and “Once There Were Men,”which is dystopian SciFi.

I don’t publish nearly enough here, but that’s partly because I maintain two other blogs—one for my business, Who’s Giving, and another for my books, The Wolf Dream Books. I also maintain three Twitter accounts @RamonaRidgewell, @WhosGiving and @TheWolfDreams, as well as my personal Facebook account, and Facebook pages for my company (Who’s Giving) and my books (The Wolf Dream Books). It’s been a lot of work handling them all, but I’m actually managing two businesses, so I don’t how else to set it up.

The most amazing thing I’ve learned in the last three years is, once you start writing, there is no stopping it. It’s like an addiction I need to manage so it doesn’t interfere too much with the things I’m supposed to be doing. I’m not planning to stop any time soon.

Copyright ©2014-17 Ramona Ridgewell. All rights reserved.

Posted in #bones, #cancer, #heroes, AmWriting, AmWritingFantasy, Books, Childhood, Common Ground, Dakota Access Pipeline, David Boreanaz, Environment, EPA, Fantasy, Gun Violence, Harriet Tubman, Homeless Youth, Homelessness, Independent films, Indie Film, Michael Rosenbaum, Non-profits, Pancreatic Cancer, Polarized America, Police Accountability, Pulse, Pulse Murders, Science, Slavery, Television, Theater, Thomas Dekker, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tishta the Crystal Org: Another Week, Another Chapter

This week was a good one. I finished another chapter.

via Tishta the Crystal Orb: Another Week, Another Chapter — thewolfdreambooks

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Don’t Miss Two Hour Transport March 22

This is my favorite place to read my own work and listen to a host of others at open mic. It is followed by invited readers. Always a thoroughly enjoyable night.

Join us for two hours of science fiction and fantasy reading at Cafe Racer on Wednesday, March 22nd. Signups start at 7:00 pm Five minute readings from signup 7:30 – 8:30 pm Invited readers 8:45 – 9:45 pm Invited Reader Bios Anaea Lay lives in Seattle, Washington where she writers, cooks, plays board games, reads […]

via March 2017 Reading — twohourtransport

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Happy π Day!

Happy π Day! It’s also Einstein’s birthday. π, a transcendental number, is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It has been calculated to over a trillion digits after the decimal. Babylonian mathematics had a crude approximation. Two millennia ago, Chinese mathematicians had a fairly accurate approximation to seven digits. At about the same time, India was using one to five digits.

Einstein_tongue

Circles are a lot of fun. Using only a compass and straight edge (no need for measuring; the compass holds the radius of the circle), you can draw all the other shapes–triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, septagon, etc. My favorites are multiples of threes, ie, triangle, hexagon and nonagon, which can all be drawn by a special, secret method. If you connect the centers of circles drawn such that the center of the next circle is placed on the circumference of the previous circle, and then use the first two circles’ center points to define a line… Hmmm… I’d have to show you. I would guess Anaxagoras played with this while he was stuck in prison. He was the first Greek to come up with an good approximation of π during his tenure there.

Mathematics has always fascinated me, especially the very basic roots of geometry. Give a child a pad of plain paper, a (fairly good) compass and a straight edge (not a ruler). Show her a couple of ideas, then let her go with it. You might be amazed at what she can discover on her own.

Here is π to 607 digits. I stopped here because I thought it was interesting that it could have three zeros in a row, then pick up again with a 5.
3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679821480865132823066470938446095505822317253594081284811174502841027019385211055596446229489549303819644288109756659334461284756482337867831652712019091456485669234603486104543266482133936072602491412737245870066063155881748815209209628292540917153643678925903600113305305488204665213841469519415116094330572703657595919530921861173819326117931051185480744623799627495673518857527248912279381830119491298336733624406566430860213949463952247371907021798609437027705392171762931767523846748184676694051320005

Copyright ©2014-17 Ramona Ridgewell. All rights reserved.

Posted in #Education, AmWriting, Astronomy, Science, Space | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Beginning of the End of the EPA?

The beginning of the end for the EPA? There is a bill in congress, HR861, that states: A BILL To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency. It couldn’t be more clear.
HB861.png

I sure hope the current administration has a plan for the environment—besides opening it back up to uncontrolled pollution that benefits sellers of fossil fuels and other big business— that reaches out to the next seven generations.

I hope you will forgive my dive into current politics. I’ve been trying hard to restrain myself from pushing my views onto my friends and family. Of all the issues that people are expressing an opinion about now, the only one with real far-reaching consequences (besides nuclear holocaust, which I won’t go into) is the environment. I truly believe that the total disregard of the environment by the current administration could push the world beyond the tipping point (if we’re not already there). Even China recognizes the problem and is taking pretty drastic measures to phase out coal in favor of solar.

Global warming is real. It is caused by a number of factors, but a major one we should have control over is how much carbon we Americans pump into the atmosphere using fossil fuels to power our cars, heat our homes and businesses, transport our food, etc. We don’t. The oil companies running our country have kept us technologically in the 20th century. We should be way further ahead with clean technologies by now, but their money is guiding our government to allow them to squeeze every last dollar they can from their oil (even when they aren’t actually occupying positions, like, say, Vice President Cheney–talk about big oil).

There are lots of issues of National Security that will arise:
– Global warming is causing a rise in ocean levels due to the melting of polar ice (which is happening much faster than even the least optimistic models predicted), which, in turn, will cause flooding of most of America’s largest cities–Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Washington, Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, New Orleans. Miami is already dealing with regular flooding, and is building seawalls. And let’s not forget New Orleans. Flooding will interfere with commerce and transportation, and will put a huge burden on the economy as more and more cities spend money building higher seawalls, and even dikes (yeah, like Holland), to keep the ocean out of the cities. And that doesn’t even talk about the rest of the smaller communities that line our coasts–around 40% of the population lives within 50 miles of the ocean.
thestar_dvp_flooding-jpg-size-custom-crop-1086x722
– Global warming causes climate change, which leads to extremes in weather–more frequent severe storms, and extremes in temperatures and amounts of rainfall and snowfall. We will have more flooding (destroying crops, causing property damage, killing people, disrupting commerce and transportation, and costing the government lots of money), and more droughts as snow packs diminish (causing food and water shortages, and driving up prices for consumers).
savingiceland_hungarytoxic
– If you disregard the huge monetary costs to America, we will also be dealing with a much less stable world. Whole populations will be displaced due to rising sea levels, flooding, and starvation due to drought. There will be more wars. There will be a lot more need for us to contribute to the well-being of people in other countries. Both of these will cost us money.

I guess the point of all this is, our dependence on cheap oil is false economy. We are not paying the ‘true cost’ (an economic model that seeks to include the cost of negative externalities into the pricing of goods and services). It’s going to cost us (and the generations that follow) a lot of money and grief, if we don’t move right now to clean up the mess we’ve been causing for the last one hundred and fifty years. The other consequence, of course, is the real possibility that the atmosphere heats up to a point where we can’t survive at all—none of us—and this is not a far-fetched idea. It could really happen.

If you care about what’s being done to the EPA, contact your representatives, both locally and in congress—phone calls, email, snail mail, going to town meetings. It is up to all of us to make sure we don’t leave a dystopian future world for our descendants, two hundred years from now.

Photo credits:
Saving Iceland
Toronto’s The Star

Copyright ©2014-17 Ramona Ridgewell. All rights reserved.

Posted in Environment, EPA, Science | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Dinners with Divas at Lambert House is our February Children’s Campaign — Who’s Giving

For February, Dinners with Divas at Lambert House is our featured Children’s Campaign.

via Dinners with Divas at Lambert House is our February Children’s Campaign — Who’s Giving

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Thoughts on a Polarized America

I’m beginning to think all of President Trump’s broken campaign promises, “alternative facts,” misogyny, racism, etc., are tactics meant to polarize Americans. Populists gain their power through polarization. Divide and conquer.

2016_presidential_election_by_county_red-blue-purple_view-svg

On Saturday, I went to the Womxn’s March, here in Seattle, with somewhere between 130,000 and 175,000 other people, mostly white women—not surprising given my city’s demographics. When I said “people,” it was because I wasn’t sure what to call us—marchers, protesters? I was unsure about attending, right up to the last minute, because I didn’t get a good sense 0f what it was really trying to accomplish. Attending didn’t help, and I still am not sure how I feel about it.

womxnsmarch

I have been bothered by things being said, and done, inside “the (very blue) bubble” I live in, and the things I read online about other places, both red and blue.

This morning, I read an article by Andrés Miguel Rondón, who grew up during Chavez’s rise to power in Venezuela. It helped me pull together my thoughts about the election and the state of my own country.

Rondón nailed it when he said, “Show no contempt. Your organizing principle is simple: don’t feed polarization, disarm it. This means leaving the theater of injured decency behind. The Venezuelan Opposition struggled for years to get this. It wouldn’t stop pontificating about how stupid it all is. Not only to their international friends, but also to the Chavista electoral base itself. ‘Really, this guy? Are you nuts? You must be nuts.’ We’d say.”

That’s how I felt, when Trump was nominated, and then again, when he was elected. No matter how I tried to reconcile it, that was my feeling.“Are you serious? We are out of our collective mind.” I was angry at the Republicans for nominating him. Long before the primaries, I was fairly certain there would be a Republican president in 2017.

I’m a pretty rational person—probably, to a fault, at times. I’m trying to pay more attention to people’s feelings, because emotions are what drive people. That’s why the news media is so sensationalized—they play off people’s emotions, especially their fears. They’re like children on a playground. “I’m right.” “No! I’m right.” Or like teenagers. “Did you hear what he did this time?”

So, I asked myself, what are the most significant polarizing issues? I believe the biggest one is abortion. If a politician says he’s for or against it, this will be a prime deciding factor for a majority of people when they go to vote.

sfantiabortionmarch

The major argument against abortion is based around the belief—most often, religious belief—that terminating a pregnancy is murder. I understand that. I don’t agree with it, but I understand it. The problem is, that unless we do something about unwanted pregnancies, the need for abortions will exist, regardless of whether or not they are legal, or, for that matter, moral.

According to a CNN article from 3/2/16, the rate of unwanted pregnancies is dropping, if very slowly. The Johnston Archive has a nicely graphed diagram of rates of terminated pregnancies from 1960 to 2013. It peaked in 1980 and dropped by the 2000s, but then leveled a bit.

johnstonearchive-graphusabrate

The CNN article attributes a drop, in the last couple of years, to better access to more effective, modern methods (levonorgestrel and copper IUD and birth control implants—all of which have side effects), which have a 1% failure rate compared with 9% for the pill and 18% for condoms. But, it suggests, lack of access to and education about these methods keeps the rate much higher for women of lowest socioeconomic status and education level—five times as high.

So, what can we do about this one?

My rational brain tells me the best way to prevent abortions is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. One way to start the conversation with someone on “the other side” could be by asking how the other person feels about the number of unwanted pregnancies. I’ll wager both of you agree it’s too high.

In the next part of the discussion, solicit suggestions on what to do to lower the rate of unwanted pregnancies.

One way I would suggest would be to provide services that educate teens and young women and men—and children, for that matter—about how their bodies function, and that provide free birth control—people have sex, it’s in our genes.

Planned Parenthood—who provide education, reproductive health services, and birth control (only 3% of their health services are abortion services)—does this. Support them. If you can’t stomach supporting Planned Parenthood, I suggest rallying your local and state and federal representatives to build reproductive health clinics—most importantly in poor neighborhoods—that provide these services.

President Obama’s Affordable Care Act included a provision to require insurers to cover contraception as part of preventive health care. Whatever change happens under the new administration, we should all encourage our representatives to ensure this gets included in the replacement.

The most obvious benefit for reducing unwanted pregnancies is, of course, that it would lower the number of terminated pregnancies. There are other, more subtle benefits. The later a woman has her first child, the better off she is, financially, and the healthier both she and her children are. There would be less homeless families, less children growing up in abject poverty, and higher educational levels attained by mothers and their children. It would allow the women more of a chance to become contributing members of our community.

Let’s reduce unwanted pregnancies. Attack the root of the problem, not the symptom.

Over the next few days, I’ll be thinking about what other issues polarize us. Let me know your thoughts about what I suggested here, or about the issues you think divide us the most.

Photo Credits:

Purple America Map By Ali Zifan – This file was derived from:  USA Counties.svg, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48100979

San Francisco Anti-abortion March – http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Anti-abortion-crowd-takes-to-S-F-streets-for-10874422.php

Abortion Rate Graph – The Johnstone Archive http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/graphusabrate.html

Seattle Womxn’s March – Ramona Ridgewell

Copyright ©2014-17 Ramona Ridgewell. All rights reserved.

Posted in Abortion, AmWriting, Common Ground, family, Life, Polarized America, Women | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment