Tribbles and Troubles

That’s right, dear pond readers, I’m going to write about the cutest Star Trek alien ever: TRIBBLES!

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Kirk covered in Tribbles. Image found in a Google Image Search.

For some background, tribbles were introduced in the 15th episode of Star Trek: the Original series in season two’s episode “The Trouble with Tribbles.” They have no face, make adorable purring noises, make people inexplicably happy, and are practically born pregnant. Everybody loves tribbles except Klingons and they prove instrumental to resolving the conflict in the episode. Tribbles are a perfect invasive species with the capacity to cause major environmental devastation across the galaxy, even if they are addictively cute. Naturally, the Klingon Empire undertook to destroy them from the face of the universe in the name of conservation. Being Klingon, they succeeded. The story of tribbles was continued in the Deep Space Nine season five episode six adventure titled “Trials and Tribble-ations.” The episode was a love letter to ST:TOS and the franchise as a whole while prominently featuring the popular alien pets. I think these two episodes are two of the most accessible stand-alone Star Trek adventures that capture some of the fun of this imagined future, its bureaucracy, and politics with some good comedy.

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Quark covered in tribbles. Image found using a Google image search.

Ever since my first Star Trek convention when I was a kid in elementary school, I have cherished my tribble. I remember deliberating the exact tribble I wanted, debating the merits of fur color and fur length to what was no doubt an irritating extent to my long-suffering father and elder brother, before finally settling on a long-haired chocolate brown tribble. I distinctly remember combing its fur with my Barbie/my Little Pony combs and cradling it through numerous viewings of various Star Trek shows and VHS movie rentals. To this day, it still has its original tags and sits in a place of honor above my writing desk. As far as I know, they only sell officially licensed tribbles at ThinkGeek.com but they aren’t in stock and appear to be in only one color, so my tribble feels a little extra special.

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My tribble on its shelf over my desk by E.A. Schneider

When I undertook to plan a nerdy, board game themed fundraiser this Summer for my walk MS team, Nerds for a Cure, I tried to think of something I could offer as a donation incentive that would be nerdy, recognizable, and easy-to-make. I remembered that I had found this pattern on Craftster.com and thought: I could make tribbles, by jove. Huzzah!

I have to say that, even without quadrotriticale, the tribbles just seemed to multiply. I’m kind of a compulsive person in a lot of ways but I still blame the tribbles: they are just so darn easy to make. Even with the chronic pain in my hands (thanks, Multiple Sclerosis! You suck!), I was still able to make tribbles with relative ease. There is also something immensely satisfying about having a giant tote bag stuffed full of tribbles next to your sewing basket. In the end, I made 30 in four different colors and used up a giant bag of poly fiberfil. At the fundraiser, I’m pleased to say that the giant bin of tribbles did draw several people through the door and they donated specifically to get a tribble. I was extra thrilled to place tribbles in their generous hands.

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Our info table at the Nerds for a Cure MS Fundraiser. Notice, the giant pile of tribbles in the purple bin with Kirk’s face. Also, the basket of bookmarks.

That said, even though the fundraiser went really well, particularly for a first attempt, I still have a lot of homeless tribbles sitting in my house. While I could be smart and save them for next year’s Nerds for a Cure MS Fundraiser, I think that I should try to find them homes and I do have fundraising yet to do with only about four weeks left until my walk event. Our fundraising goal is $5500 but right now we’ve only raised $3,851 and I’m not sure we’re going to make our goal.

So what do you say, pond readers? Do you want to donate to save my brain from the horror of multiple sclerosis AND get an adorable tribble friend to keep you company? Now is your chance. If you donate $12 to my personal fundraising for Walk MS Waukesha and put TRIBBLE! in the  personal note field, I will mail you a handmade plush tribble while supplies last.

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All the tribbles waiting for new homes by E.A. Schneider

Moreover, if you donate $15 to my personal fundraising for Walk MS Waukesha and put TRIBBLE+! in the personal note field, I will throw in three homemade bookmarks from our Nerds for a Cure MS Fundraiser event for you to enjoy with your tribble.

If you want to support my fundraising but don’t want to risk bringing even a plushie tribble into your home (or you just don’t want a tribble), you can donate $5 to my fundraising and put BOOKMARKS! in the personal note field and I will mail you three homemade bookmarks. The bookmarks were made by the talented ladies at the Drunken Library. You might remember the Drunken Library from when my nerd friend, the talented Amber Graham, joined me for a day of Star Trek watching. While I can’t include pictures of every single bookmark (they made 120+), you can see a lot of the designs in the picture below and you can watch their videos about making the bookmarks on their Youtube channel. The square bookmarks fit over the corner of a page and are hard to lose. The rectangle bookmarks are just pretty rectangles.

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Handmade bookmarks courtesy of the Drunken Library

Everyone who donates at any level will get a special Nerds for a Cure MS Fundraiser event pin as a thank you in addition to the tribbles and bookmarks while supplies last. The pins are all 1″ in size.

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Fundraiser event pins!

Finally,  you must put the specified text in the personal note field to be considered for this offer. Without the text in the personal note field, I will just assume you’re a super nice, generous person who doesn’t want any thank-you item and you will only receive a pin with your thank-you note. I have to say, it would be pretty amazing if I ran out of tribbles and bookmarks because all of you in Internet-land decided to donate a little bit to my fundraising.

Here’s a nutshell description of why I’m asking you to care: multiple sclerosis is a super sucky insidious, invisible disease that I will struggle with for the rest of my life. I’m not special, a lot of people are struggling with multiple sclerosis. I bet you know somebody in your life besides me who has been touched by this disease, but, I figure if you’re reading this blog, that you care a little bit about its author being able to continue writing it for your perusal. The National MS Society is doing a lot to fund research that will hopefully not only get us closer to a cure but also improve quality of life for people and their families in the meantime. The organization really makes a difference to those of us living with this disease and I hope that you will help me help them help everyone. You can always help by sharing this blog post and my team links on social media even if you can’t donate for whatever reason.

Thanks for reading my reflections on tribbles and my request for fundraising help. I really appreciate all my readers taking the time to keep reading Technicolorlilypond. You help me persevere. Please, leave a comment below with any questions or comments. Thanks for looking at my pictures, considering my request, and for stopping by the pond, dear readers!

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Muskrat by the Fox river by E.A. Schneider. This muskrat may not be a tribble but he is certainly an adorable little furry creature.

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Sundry cool things

A few weeks ago I read an inspiring article about progress being made in the fight against white nose syndrome afflicting bats. You can read the article here and I highly encourage you to do so because it is pretty darn cool. Nothing comes from nothing. If you want scientific research to figure things out, you need to encourage researchers who do research and then reward their creativity. To me, that article exemplifies the principle that the more science is done, the more questions are asked, the more answers are uncovered, the more opportunities there are for applications to be found for seemingly disparate things that can make all the difference in critical issues. You never know where the answer you’re looking for might come from. A rich culture of diverse research helps ensure that there will be answers when we need them. Clearly, that article isn’t saying that the fight against white nose syndrome is over, it continues, but it is sure going to be a lot better for a lot of bats now thanks to some good science.

Last week, somebody sent me this beautiful link to the Oatmeal and it brought me to tears, in a good way. I kind of want to send it on to everyone in the world, so I am starting with my pond and all you wonderful readers. Sometimes it is really hard to remember the helpers in the world. Weeks like last week filled with terrible things make it especially difficult, but those are the times when we most need  to not only look for the helpers but stand up and help too rather than give in to fear. We’re all just falling in the sky, we need to help hold each other up while we can. And watch Star Trek. That’s helpful, too.

This week, I read this inspiring article about MS research into Myelin repair. Reading it gave me goosebumps. Right now, my MS isn’t troubling me too too much. I get by pretty darn well most of the time. But, the day will likely come when that stops being true. That day is not this day, though, and, thanks to the National MS Society supporting researchers like Dr. Salzer, for all I know when my body stops keeping pace with repairing my MS, I’ll be able to get some kind of myelin repair therapy that will help keep me mobile. That is really flipping cool. Thanks, dear pond readers, for supporting me and my fundraising earlier this year for team Nerds for A Cure for Walk MS. I was one of the top 100 individual fundraisers in my state, number 68 specifically, thanks to the support of everyone, near and far. Next year, we’ll see if I can crack the top 50 and together we will feed the researchers doing the research that gets the world closer to a cure. Who knows? Maybe the cure or the dream treatment will come as a result of research into bats or frogs or some plant or fungus or parasite I have never heard of before it turns out to be a life-safer. That’s the thing about science and the thing about this beautiful world, it is all connected.

Finally, on this Friday night I leave you with this incredibly cute GIF because everyone needs more cute in their lives. Thanks for stopping by, dear pond readers.

Ducks on the water by E.A. Schneider

Ducks on the water by E.A. Schneider

And the Winner Is…

So, in keeping my promise from my Raffle for a Cure post, I have posted a video of me drawing names from the bowl of destiny for the categories that had multiple entries. Making this video proved to be more time consuming and complicated than I would have suspected so props to all those who do these sorts of things on a regular basis. I doubt that I will make a regular thing of making movies but you never know. Thank you all again for your support with my fundraising and thanks for stopping by the pond!

Raffle for a Cure! Nerd style :-) Now bigger than ever!

Raffle for a Cure! Nerd style :-) Now bigger than ever!

All the different prize options in a pile!

All the different prize options in a pile!

Hello, dear pond readers! I am doing something new in my pond in an effort to save my brain from multiple sclerosis. I was diagnosed in 2013 and I’ve written about it a little bit in another post, if you want to check that out. I am doing a raffle of handcrafted items to raise money for Walk MS-Waukesha to benefit the Wisconsin chapter of the National MS society.

Here are the directions: look through the items pictured below and decide for which of the twelve prize option(s) you would like to buy a virtual raffle ticket. UPDATE: All raffle tickets are now $2 per entry! You still have to specify which drawing(s) you want to put your donation toward by copying the comment text with each option, but there is no longer variation in price. If you already donated, fantastic, you just get more entries per prize option drawing than you initially thought you would. Also, I will always round up so if you donated an odd sort of number I will round up the number of entries you have. To buy a raffle ticket, go to my personal fundraising page, hit “Donate to Me,” donate in the ticket increment you want, fill out your full contact information, and, in the comment section, copy the text that corresponds to the desired item option(s) below. Your information is confidential, will not be sold, and will not be used for any nefarious purpose. Your full contact information of at least a name and an e-mail address is needed to contact you in the event that you win and so I can mail any item(s) you won. If you want to opt out of being contacted by the National MS society, there is a way for you to do that when you donate. I won’t contact you either beyond one thank-you-for-being-amazing note. All donations are tax-deductible in the United States. I have no idea if they are tax-deductible in other countries but you will get the same warm, fuzzy feeling of being amazing no matter what nation you hale from, if you donate to my fundraising.

My plan is to print out little squares of paper donation entries based on the donations, put them in a zippy bag for each prize option, and then, the day after the walk on September 21st, film a drawing of names and post that video here on the pond. Winners will be e-mailed and shipment arranged after the drawing. I will mail items at my own cost in the most economic fashion, which will probably be USPS first class, but, we’ll see, this is all new to me. People can definitely have their names in more than once for each raffle option and have their names in for multiple options but, your donation has to add up to that many virtual raffle tickets and you have to have the comment text for each option you want to have a chance at winning.

For example: Jane Smith really likes the pincushions, the Star Trek scarf, and the reading quillow. Jane wants at least two tickets for each option. When Jane donates, being sure to include her e-mail address, jane.smith@fictional.com, she donates $35 (35/2 =17.5, ~18, 18/3=6 entries per drawing!) and copies all three lines of comment text, so her comment box says:  I am a Technicolorlilypond SEWIST nerd for a cure!  I am a Technicolorlilypond READING nerd for a cure! I am a Technicolorlilypond STAR TREK nerd for a cure! And, just like that, she has paid for six entries in each of those three prize option categories and she will have the satisfaction of knowing that she has made a tax-deductible donation to help rid the world of multiple sclerosis. On the day of the drawing, Jane’s name will be in each pool six times, increasing her odds of being the lucky person to receive the nerdy item in the post. See how amazing that is? Together, all of this will add up to making the world a better place for lot of people who are really hoping that people like you will help fund scientific research into curing them of multiple sclerosis. That is some pretty amazing stuff.

Time for prize option pictures! As you can see, some options have multiple items whereas others have one. The way I envision this is that as an example, for the pincushion raffle there are four pincushions that you can potentially win. I will have one pool of pincushion entries and will draw names from the pool four times, once for each pincushion. I hope that that makes sense. I know that that means you might not win the exact item you want but, hopefully you know somebody in your life who would like that item and you’ll be ahead on your unbirthday shopping.

Raffle prize option #1: Wristlet style Phone case with E.A. Schneider photo-print! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry

Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond PHOTOGRAPHER nerd for a cure!

Phone case with velcro closure and 4x6 photo print

Option #1: Phone case with velcro closure and 4×6 photo print

Raffle prize option #2: Pincushions! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry

Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond SEWIST nerd for a cure!

Option #2: Pincushions homemade with cottons and buttons.

Option #2: Pincushions homemade with cottons and buttons.

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Raffle prize option #3: Dice Bags of Holding! With actual dice! Dice not pictured but two gaming dice come with each bag. Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry

Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond GAMER nerd for a cure!

Option #3: Dice bags of holding with 2 dice apiece (not all pictured)

Option #3: Dice bags of holding with 2 dice apiece (not all pictured)

Raffle prize option #4: Doctor Who Pillow! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry

Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond DOCTOR WHO nerd for a cure!

Option #4: Doctor Who pillow handmade by E.A. Schneider. Made of cotton and polar fleece.

Option #4: Doctor Who pillow handmade by E.A. Schneider. Made of cotton and polar fleece.

Option #4: Doctor Who pillow handmade by E.A. Schneider. Made of cotton and polar fleece.

Option #4: Doctor Who pillow handmade by E.A. Schneider. Made of cotton and polar fleece.

Raffle prize option #5:  Wildlife pillow! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry

Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond WILDLIFE nerd for a cure!

Option #5: Wildlife pillow! Made of cotton and polar fleece. 10

Option #5: Wildlife pillow! Made of cotton and polar fleece. 10″x10″ size.

Option #5: Wildlife pillow, back side, 10

Option #5: Wildlife pillow, back side, 10″x10″

Raffle prize option #6: Star Trek fleece scarf! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry

Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond STAR TREK nerd for a cure!

Option #6: Star Trek Fleece scarf made of cotton and polar fleece, ~48

Option #6: Star Trek Fleece scarf made of cotton and polar fleece, ~48″ long.

Option #6: Star Trek Fleece scarf made of cotton and polar fleece, ~48

Option #6: Star Trek Fleece scarf made of cotton and polar fleece, ~48″ long.

Raffle prize option #7: Star Wars fleece scarf! This scarf glows in the dark. Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry

Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond STAR WARS nerd for a cure!

Option #8: Star Wars scarf scarf made of cotton and polar fleece, ~48

Option #7: Star Wars scarf scarf made of cotton and polar fleece, ~48″ long.

Option #8: Star Wars scarf scarf made of cotton and polar fleece, ~48

Option #7: Star Wars scarf scarf made of cotton and polar fleece, ~48″ long.

Raffle prize option #8: Doctor Who fleece scarf! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry

Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond WHOVIAN nerd for a cure!

Option #9: Doctor Who scarf scarf made of cotton and polar fleece, ~48

Option #8: Doctor Who scarf scarf made of cotton and polar fleece, ~48″ long.

Option #9: Doctor Who scarf scarf made of cotton and polar fleece, ~48

Option #8: Doctor Who scarf scarf made of cotton and polar fleece, ~48″ long.

Raffle prize option #9: Reading Quillow! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry

Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond READING nerd for a cure!

Option #10: Reading Quillow! Made of cottons and quilted in the ditch. The throw is a micro-plush throw.

Option #9: Reading Quillow! Made of cottons and quilted in the ditch. The throw is a micro-plush throw.

Prize option #9: Reading quillow, unfolded back-side of pocket and throw

Prize option #9: Reading quillow, unfolded back-side of pocket and throw

Raffle option #10: Woodcraft Bangle Bracelet! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry

Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond JEWELRY nerd for a cure!

Prize option #10: Woodcraft bangle bracelets crafted by Wisconsin artist, Steve Ripp.

Prize option #10: Woodcraft bangle bracelets crafted by Wisconsin artist, Steve Ripp.

Raffle option #11: Bottle Openers! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry

Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond SPIRITS nerd for a cure!

Option #11: Bottle Openers crafted by Wisconsin artist, Steve Ripp!

Option #11: Bottle Openers crafted by Wisconsin artist, Steve Ripp.

Raffle option #12: Kitchen Accessories! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry

Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond COOKING nerd for a cure!

Option #12: Kitchen Accessories!

Option #12: Kitchen Accessories! Pictured are (from left to right) a mortar and pestle, a pizza cutter, and an ice cream scoop all crafted by Wisconsin artist, Steve Ripp.

Option #12: Kitchen accessories! Pictured is a nutcracker.

Option #12: Kitchen accessories! Pictured is a nutcracker crafted by Wisconsin artist, Steve Ripp.

You may start donating and get your name in the pool today. All donations that include the comment text from this blog post will be eligible for the raffle drawing until 12 PM CT on Monday September 21st, 2015. On the 21st, I will film myself drawing the names, post the video, contact the winners, and thank everyone who donated. If you do choose to donate, please leave a comment below. Thank you all for spreading the word to your friends. Should you have any questions about any of the options or the Walk, please leave the question below and I’ll do my best to answer. Thank you, dear readers, for reading all of this. Your readership and support mean so much to me.

Please, Walk with me

Leaves and river by E.A. Schneider

Leaves and river by E.A. Schneider

Hello, dear readers. I’m writing to appeal to you for help with something that is really important to me: multiple sclerosis. In 2013 I was diagnosed with this disease. In oblique terms I wrote about my experience in four previous posts: Spring Crafting, Flash Fiction: Flight, Creations, and 2013: Reflections. Most of my heaviest emotions were in “2013: Reflections” wherein I used words and capsule reviews of stories to grapple with my new reality. I didn’t want to make a big deal about my disease here at the pond, and I still don’t, because I want to be defined by how I live my life rather than a disease I happen to have. However, someone really smart told me once that you can make more of a difference with one good interview or article than you can with years of quiet work, and I really want to make a difference.

I realized just before Lent this year that the reason I didn’t want to tell people, in person or online,  about my disease wasn’t because I dreaded their remarks (though I do in part) or because I am a little shy (though I am) or because I’m afraid of discrimination (though I most certainly am) but rather because I didn’t want it to be true. I don’t want to be facing this. I don’t want this shadow in my life, and if I had a magic wand and a time machine I would seriously ponder making this just go away. But that’s not how life works.  Due to whatever mysterious combo of genes and environment that occurred in my body, I am stuck with this for the rest of my life. However, I have a choice. The choice I have isn’t any different from the choice that everyone has every day, mind you, but, it is perhaps a smidge extra poignant: I can turn inward and hide or I can be brave and live my life. I am choosing to live and I am choosing to fight for my life by being a team captain in Walk MS for team Nerds for a Cure.

This is the second year I’ve been a team captain. 2014 was the inaugural walk for team Nerds for a Cure and it was a wonderful experience. I am hoping to make the 2015 walk an even better experience by training harder, raising more money, and raising more awareness about multiple sclerosis. Research is the way forward, research is the only mortal hope I have, and I know that together we can find both better treatments and a cure for multiple sclerosis if we feed the researchers the money they need to do the work they are passionate about doing: science. I am excited to be doing this and it would mean an awful lot to me, dear pond readers, if you could help. Please, check out my pages and, if you can, please walk with me in spirit by donating and sharing the links. Every single person, every connection, counts more than you can know.  Thanks for hearing me out, dear readers, and thanks for stopping by the pond today. If my posts, my words, my crafts, and my pictures brighten your day at all that makes me happy.

Macro bird by E.A. Schneider

Macro bird by E.A. Schneider