22 December 2014

Free in New York City

There's probably more things to do for free in New York City than anywhere else in the world. NYC's own tourism web site compiles a "best of free" list that is regularly updated: http://www.nycgo.com/free/

This list of 40 Free Things To Do In NYC leaves out the fact that admission to the *Metropolitan Museum of Art* is a suggestion donation, or "pay what you want," as are many of the City's arts museums: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/travel-tips-and-articles/76493

Everyone from the National Geographic, which has this list of some of the best free things to do in NYC: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/city-guides/free-new-york-city-traveler/ -- to the Disney-owned site Babble, has a list of free things to do in the world's greatest city: http://www.babble.com/travel/25-free-things-to-do-in-new-york-city/#25-museums-attractions-in-new-york-that-wont-cost-a-dime

And those who have the pleasure of visiting this great global treasure during the holidays will find an even greater something special in their stockings, with yet another free list of things to do: 25 Free Ways to Get Into the Holiday Spirit in NYC: http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2014/12/25-free-ways-to-get-into-the-holiday-spirit-in-new-york-city/

In short, there's no shortage of things to do in NYC for free -- so much so that even Buzzfeed has a popular list that they have trouble maintaining due to the overwhelming amount of free things that one can do in this great city: http://www.buzzfeed.com/emmyf/free-stuff-to-do-every-day-in-nyc#.bjDERvPwdp

Finally, Time Out New York, the quintessential guide to NYC, offers this on-going list of free things to do in the world's capital: http://www.timeout.com/newyork/things-to-do/free-things-to-do-today -- which branches off into other articles containing a "best things to do for free today" and "best things to do for free this week," among other guides for the frugal New Yorker.

30 July 2014

A Small Window Into Struggles With Depression

It should come as no surprise to those who know or follow me online that I suffer from dysthymia compounded with episodes of major depressive disorder as well as some anxiety disorders (general, social, performance).

I can cope and carry myself in certain circumstances. For instance, I spent the last few months putting together a LGBTQ pride event in The Bronx. I thought this year would be different insofar as I wouldn't be doing the majority of the word, as certain people had volunteered to take on some pretty hefty tasks that are a large part of putting together any event, especially one outdoors in a NYC-owned park. But many of those people dragged their feet and misled me about what they had been doing (i.e., nothing) and wound up reneging on their promises, leaving me to pick up their tasks and start from scratch (as they'd literally not done a damned thing), forcing me to quintuple my expected workload.

Thankfully, I was able to pull it off and we had a very successful event for the community (which is the most important aspect about holding a pride event). However, it came at a price. I kept putting off things I know I needed to do to keep my depression in check, and immediately after the event -- when I took a moment to breathe -- it hit me head-on.

I haven't left my apartment for what is now going on eleven days -- not even to step outside and check the mail (the mailboxes are just outside my door). In face, apart from getting up to use the facilities, I haven't really even left my bed.

I've eaten about six times in total in the past almost two weeks. Today I ate the most I had in a while, mostly because I forced myself to do so -- not because I was hungry.

For the past few days, I've awoken with an urge to use the facilities and relieve myself. And more often than not, I rolled over and went right back to sleep, only to awaken an hour or so later and repeat the process.

During this time, I was having a conversation with myself, trying to muster up the energy to get out of bed. It went something like this:

I really have to pee.


Why do I need to pee? Why can't I just press a button and have it medically extracted from me, or something?

Wait, that would mean I'd have to move and press a button. And I'd probably have to be situated in a certain position in my bed.

Scratch that idea. I'd probably just lose the button or something.

Or drop it.

And it would be two feet from the bed and I don't have the energy to lean out of bed and press it without falling out.

If I were gonna do all of that, I might as well just get up and use the loo myself.

Besides, I'm kinda sorta pee shy.

They'd have to like, magically extract the pee, just magically empty my bladder, without having to see my privates.

Maybe I can get a genie to do that for me. Y'know, just magically empty my bladder for me.

I'd probably have to rub a lamp or some shit. Ugh. I'd still have to move. And I'd probably drop or lose the lamp. Well maybe not lose it -- it's bigger than a button, right? But I'd probably drop it and it would roll a few feet away from the bed. And there's that whole rubbing thing; how much would I have to rub it? Too much fucking work.


I really have to pee ...

Maybe if I go back to sleep, I'll wake up and won't have to pee so badly. Sounds like a plan. Works for me.

So I roll over and go back to sleep and wake up a couple of hours later.


I really, really have to pee.

Let's try this sleep thing again; it seemed to work ...

And so I go back to sleep for another hour or so.

And wake up and ... ugh.

I really have to fucking pee.

I do not want to move. I don't have the energy to move.

Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I just pee'd right here. Y'know, in the bed.

It would be nice and warm. I always liked my room freezing cold but under the covers to be nice and warm.

Yeah, maybe peeing in the bed won't be so bad. It'll be nice and warm ...

and wet.

Wet won't really be so bad, as long as it's warm, will it?


It's not gonna stay warm, will it?

Even if I'm lying in it?

Will it stay warm if I pee in the bed and lie in it?

Oh fuck what if it gets into the bed, will it attract insects? I can always wash the sheets but how do I wash the bed?

Bad enough other things have spilled into the bed ...

Does dried pee smell? I mean, if it got into the bed, would it smell?

I need to get one of those rubber mattress pads. That way I can just pee in the damned bed and not have to worry about it getting into the bed and making it smell.

Ugh, I really have to pee.

I'm going back to sleep.

And I did. Go back to sleep, that is. This went on a few more times and, eventually, I dragged myself out of bed and pee'd. I think it was about eight hours later, or something like that. I can't really remember.

But, this is what it can be like to struggle with depression.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have enough energy to shower .... maybe. :/

06 June 2014

A United States Veteran (My Father) Is Dying Because He Is Not Receiving Care from the US Department of Veterans Affairs

Hon. Mark Amodei
United States Congress
5310 Kietzke Lane, Suite 103
Reno, NV 89511

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20420

Dear Congressman Amodei and the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs:

My father is a veteran of the United States Air Force from the Vietnam War. I last contacted you at the beginning of this year to file a complaint on his behalf regarding the lack of health care he was receiving from the Veterans Administration. My father is one of your constituents.

The response from your office to me was that you cannot accept a complaint from me on behalf of my father because I, myself, am not a constituent. I write to you once again because my father is no longer in a position to advocate for himself, due to his deteriorating health. The situation is so grave that the VA had him to fill out a living will and send it to me, via express mail.

My father's health has continued to deteriorate because he is not receiving the care he needs from the VA. He has uncontrolled hypertension, and the medication the VA gave him ten years ago hasn't worked.

Dad called me yesterday to advise me that he has just been diagnosed with kidney failure. He also has been having TIAs. It takes so long for him to get follow-up appointments that his condition could never be adequately managed. Dad now is in an emergency situation and the VA is moving as slowly as it ever has: they will not be able to perform an EMERGENCY ultrasound until AUGUST 30TH, and that is just to confirm the diagnosis. If, in fact, he is in kidney failure, my father could be dead by the time the test that is needed to confirm his diagnosis is able to be performed.

Additionally, he was sent home yesterday, alone, with a fever greater than 103 degrees, because the VA did not have the capacity to take him in. Yet, they still will not provide any follow-up care for three months, at which point he may no longer alive. Is that the modus operandi of the VA, to delay providing treatment to our heroes until the matter becomes moot? From what I've been hearing in the media lately, it certainly seems that such is the case.

My father has waited more than nine months to receive care at the VA regarding his issues since moving to Reno and has not received proper medical attention. The lack of proper care he has received over the past decade, since turning to the VA for medical care, has crated his current medical condition, which is grave.

This is unacceptable. 

This situation must be corrected and my father must receive the treatment that he -- as someone who fought for this country and for freedom and democracy in the world -- needs, immediately. It is not my concern that I am not one of your constituents; my father is your constituent -- that should be sufficient. If it is not, I will make certain that all of your constituents learn that your office failed to take action to bring one of your constituents -- a veteran of this country's foreign wars who received a Purple Heart -- the health care he needs to remain alive.

I expect to be apprised by the end of business today that positive action has been taken to deliver my father the health care he needs and that it will be provided on an ongoing basis, in a timely manner. I need not remind you of the current media hurricane regarding situations such as my father's. I have no qualms with filing a wrongful death action against your offices, specifically, for failing to take care of one of this country's heroes if he does not immediately receive the medical services that he needs.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at 914-417-9579 with any questions or concerns you may have. My father's contact information, quoted below, has not changed.

Very sincerely yours,
-Peter C. Frank

PS I am posting this to my blog at http://petercfrank.blogspot.com/

[UPDATE 6/9/2014] I received a call from the Congressmember's office on both Friday, 6/6 and Monday, 6/9 -- but only after I called the office, spoke with a staffer, and forwarded them this e-mail. The call back on Friday was to advise me that they had received my forwarded e-mail and would look into the matter and get back to me on Monday, which they did.

The staffer from his office advised me that they contacted the Reno VA facility, which advised them that my father has only been there three times since moving to Reno late last year, and repeated the suggested that I obtain power of attorney over my father.

The staffer also kindly offered to "keep an eye" on my father's status and condition through the VA. The next time I speak with the staffer, I will ask them why they are unable to do more unless I have power of attorney over my father. It should be enough that my father is a constituent, and that I am trying to see that he receives proper medical care that the US Government offered him when he received his Purple Heart.

At the very least, there is one staffer in Congressmember Amodei's office who is compassionate and probably stepping over some stupid rules or regulations to have done as much for me as they did. If this is in fact the case, then I am shielding their identity so they don't get into any trouble over providing assistance to one of their boss's constituents after being alerted to the issue by a non-constituent family member. If you ask me, the whole situation is just utter nonsense.

Finally, an article was published in Military Times about this entire debacle, and mentioned my father's situation, specifically: IG: 69 VA facilities probed for manipulating appointments.

On Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 2:27 PM, Peter C. Equality Frank <pcfrank73@gmail.com> wrote:
Dear Mr. Gray,

I write on behalf of my father, a United States Air Force Veteran of the Vietnam War, who recently moved (just before Thanksgiving) to Congressman Amodei's district in Reno, NV.

My father went to the emergency room of the VA Sierra Nevada Healthcare System in Reno around Thanksgiving, complaining of a few different ailments. Long story short, the doctor in the ER suspects he might have a blood clot in his legs and referred him to orthopaedics for a follow-up.

Despite weekly phone calls to the VA Sierra Nevada Healthcare System orthopaedics department, my father has not received even notification of an appointment for a consultation with the specialist that the emergency room referred him to. When he calls, they advise him, "Your name is on a list and you'll just have to wait."

My father has been unable to go out much because of the severe pain that he has been in, and instead of getting settled into his new home and looking for a job, he has been home-bound due to the extreme difficulty he has with walking.

In short, my father's condition has not improved since his visit to the ER and may be getting worse. If he does have a blood clot, he cannot afford to wait months or years for an appointment to have it diagnosed, as he will be dead.

My father has no other insurance other than the health care promised him by the US government as a Veteran of the Vietnam War and cannot afford to purchase additional health care on his own, given that his sole source of income at the moment is social security retirement (he is not yet old enough to be eligible for Medicare).

Considering the potentially fatal consequences of an undiagnosed blood clot, I find his mistreatment by the Veterans Administration to be absolutely appalling.

I have consulted with an attorney in New York, where I live (and where my father is from--obviously not to initiate legal action but to seek counsel), and the attorney has suggested that, should anything happen to my father, the VA Sierra Nevada Healthcare System may be liable for gross negligence and dereliction of care. He also suggested that the hospital should have given him a referral for a vascular consultation, as well as the orthopaedic consult.

My father's information is as follows:

Peter V. Frank
Reno, NV 89502

The treatment of any Veteran of a foreign war in such a disgraceful manner is reprehensible and a blight upon our nation.

I trust your office will see to the immediate rectification of this unacceptable situation.

Should you have any questions, you may contact me at (914) 417-9579 or by this e-mail address.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Kind regards,
-Peter C. Frank

01 April 2014

Federal Reserve Admits Wrongdoing, Issues Apology for 100 Years of Manipulation

April 1, 2014
Santiago, Chile

In an absolutely astounding announcement today, Janet Yellen made a stern and heartfelt apology for 100 years of asset bubbles, depressions, recessions, panics, banking crises, and all-around inflation caused by the Federal Reserve.

Flanked on both sides by former Fed Chairmen Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, and Paul Volker, Ms. Yellen stated emotionally, "As grand wizards of the financial system, we must accept full responsibility for the consequences that our decisions have had on the lives of ordinary people around the world..."

"Frankly," Ms. Yellen continued, "I can't believe in this day and age that total control of the money supply is awarded to a tiny handful of unelected central bankers. It is a most undemocratic system and should be abolished immediately."

Well... a man can certainly dream. Happy April Fool's Day.

(credit: Simon Black)

02 January 2014

Personal Safety Tips -- especially for women

Taken from Facebook, found on Google+, allegedly written by a female cop.

"In daylight hours, refresh yourself of these things to do in an emergency situation... This is for you, and for you to share with your wife, your children, & everyone you know.

After reading these 9 crucial tips, forward them to someone you care about. It never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do :The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

2. Learned this from a tourist guide. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse,
DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you... Chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse.

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy.. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON'T DO THIS!) The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR , LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE..

If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, Repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
A.) Be aware:look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor , and in the back seat.
B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side.. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN!
The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; and even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably in a zig -zag pattern!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked 'for help' into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

9. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird.. The police told her 'Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door..' The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, 'We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.' He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby.. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night.

10. Water scam! If you wake up in the middle of the night to hear all your taps outside running or what you think is a burst pipe, DO NOT GO OUT TO INVESTIGATE! These people turn on all your outside taps full blast so that you will go out to investigate and then attack.
Stay alert, keep safe, and look out for your neighbors! Please pass this on.
This e-mail should probably be taken seriously because the Crying Baby Theory was mentioned on America 's Most Wanted when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana."

#personalsafety   #safety   #womensafety