Mental Illness: But I Digress [poem]

It travels with us all, to death from birth

in ponderously slow progress

Unless light skin protects your worth,

a worth universal – but I digress.


And so, we carry truth silently

Spines charged 1-million volt

For value is in the visual –

to be Fine is to appropriate the Folk.


Based on relative importance

the rules we live by morph

rationalizing violence and

Dissonance in due course.


And off of progress we’re often thrown

by family, those close to us,

often with a groan

— and, again, we regress.


Mental illness is a shared thang

Capitalism certainly takes the blame*

I try changing for the better

but it’ll never help if we all stay the same**




*I’m pretty sure our economy needs to be more holistic/sustainable – avoiding that social, environmental and economic collapse, yo.

(I’m right there with you. I’m certainly not doing the greatest job of contributing to meaningful/sustainable change in the current economy either – well, maybe you live a 100% sustainable lifestyle, but for the vast majority relying on current economic infrastructure, larger change – on the federal level perhaps? – needs to be made before the Earth will start healing…


**Your silence will not protect you – Audre Lorde

(we need to change verbal/linguistic tools [words!] we ALL work with before we’ll see any real change – words got so much harder for me after the injury, but here’s to constant growth!)




     Melamed, Jodi. Represent and destroy: rationalizing violence in the new racial capitalism, Difference Incorporated/University of Minnesota Press, 2011.

     Leguizamo, John. Latin History for Morons, Netflix, 2018,

     “The Gang Turns Black.” It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. January 4 2017. 3 Arts Entertainment. Amazon Prime.

     Kroesbergen, Hermen. (2014) Ecology: its relative importance and absolute irrelevance for a Christian: A Kierkegaardian transversal space for the controversy on eco-theology. HTS Theological Studies, 70(1), 01-08.


{EDIT 11/19 – this post was edited to include works referenced}

Relocating to a New Home with Medi-Cal

Attention CA students who want to avoid medical fees and Medi-Cal recipients who are relocating:

Did you know it takes a month to switch case counties
(aka “Intercounty Transfers”)?

I didn’t. If you rely on medication, this may be something you want to prepare for. It’s also good to know if you need a waiver for healthcare at your university.

You’ll want to have coverage at a facility under 30 miles away if you don’t want to pay at least $1,500.00 for a SHIP.


Ocean Cruisin’

Not the nautical kind; I mean the (less exciting) Student Health Insurance Plan.

In the next paragraph, you’ll read how to get coverage statewide in CA without waiting a month—but if you need coverage in a specific county, say, for a SHIP waiver, skip to The Longcut below.

(NOTE: This article is most useful for folks in CA, but I’m interested to know how things work elsewhere. I hope people from other states find it useful too!)

The Shortcut:

Ask Health Care Options to Remove your County from your Case

Medi-Cal Managed Care logo

Medi-Cal Managed Care logo

The quickest method for ensuring Medi-Cal recipients can see a doctor is removing your case from all counties by calling Health Care Options at 800.430.4263. Have your social security number handy.

This way, you’ll have Medi-Cal coverage statewide—counties be damned! *shakes fist*

If you’ll need to see a doctor as soon as you move, make sure your Health Care Options representative enrolls you in a specific health plan/network over the phone when you call so you can actually choose an “in-network” doctor wherever you’ll be.


The logos for two CA health care services agencies, departments within the California Health and Human Services Agency |

This doesn’t seem like the most effective way to get Medi-Cal coverage if you need it to waive university insurance though—universities often require that you have coverage within 30 miles of the campus.

So, how do you prove you have local coverage if you completely disassociate counties from your case? If you need to associate your coverage to a specific county, it’ll take a bit longer to get what you need done.

You’ll have to wait that month to switch!

The Longcut:

Ask your old county’s agency to disenroll you

I’d imagine one could simply call their Medi-Cal case worker (Medicaid if you’re in another state), but this isn’t what I did. I called Health Care Options here in CA, and they knew everything I needed to do to switch my case to my new county.

Follow these 3 steps:

  1. Call your former county’s health services agency
  2. Tell them you have Medi-Cal and need to switch your case to your current county.
  3. Call Health Care Options (if in CA) to ensure you have
    1. enrolled in your new county’s health agency, and
    2. chosen a network based in your new county

Health Care Options (or any state agency facilitating the enrollment of Medicaid patients) should let you know if anything fell through the cracks—which happened in my case.


Disenrollment Letter

The two screenshots framing this sentence depict snail mail that the CA DHCS sends to notify recipients of changes in case county: one letter for disenrollment and the other for enrollment.


Enrollment Letter

When you receive these in the mail, you know your Medi-Cal case is actually being switched to your new county.

I had a hard time because my social security number had a typo in my original county’s system—yes, it can happen. They kept telling me I wasn’t Taylor Devarie whenever I gave them my true SSN. Only one digit off too >< Glad that ordeal is over!

RECAP – Three Takeaways

  1. If you need coverage immediately, Californians can remove/dissassociate the county from their case by calling Health Care Options (HCO) at 800.430.4263
  2. If you need your case county changed, call your original county health services agency and then verify the change with your state’s enrollment agency (HCO in CA)
  3. Make sure you ask the representative to enroll you in a health & dental plan/network over the phone if they don’t bring it up. They should direct you to someone equipped to assist you.

More Useful CA Health Services Contact Info

Applying for Medi-Cal Services

    1. Medi-Cal/General Info: (medical applications found here)
    2. Denti-Cal: 800.322.6384 (TTY 800.735.2922) |
    3. CalFresh: 844.212.0003 |

Enrolling in Medi-Cal Managed Care

Issues and Claims

      • CA State Ombudsman: 888.452.8609 |

You can find these numbers and more (like how to appeal a claims denial) at


Find anything wrong above? Have anything to add? Let me know in the comments!

Wishing you the best of health!


UPDATE 9/30/18: I tried to enroll in low-cost CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and was informed my case hadn’t switched over yet—and that you can’t just disassociate case from county for county CBT svcs specifically -.- I wonder why that is? Anywho, I got a call from my case worker in August with instructions on switching my case – hopefully things stuck and I’ll have a good update in October!

UPDATE 10/24/18: My case still hasn’t switched over. Though, a nice CBT professional has been going out of her way to help me navigate this Medi-Cal system (she has made it clear I’m not the only one confused by it). She left a message saying my case had a switch date in the system assigned to it now—November 1st. So I’ll have good news November 1st!

UPDATE 11/7/18: It’s my Red Letter Day! My case changed counties officially (and I received a letter in the mail stating it too). I was referred to a place offering CBT and EFT, as well as therapy I’ve never researched! Very excited, and ready to reap the benefits of local low-cost care!

DISCLAIMER: The material published on this website is intended for general information only and is not legal advice or other professional advice. To the extent permitted by law, I exclude any liability, including any liability for negligence, for any loss or damage arising from reliance on material on this website.
New 52 Batgirl flying through stormy city skyline via grappling hook

How Batgirl Saved Me

Babs did me a 24K solid during my TBI recovery

Okay, she didn’t really save my life.

But, she did something else that’s valuable: her character boosted my confidence at a time when I had ambitious goals to achieve but little strength and guidance with which to do so.

She ended up being a strong female role model whom I’d tap for strength and whose example I learned from when I felt lost and confused. The New 52 Batgirl also happens to be a big influence for Shroom Raider—so, I’ll give a little context on why Barbara Gordon is a great influence for Amanita Jones (or anyone else for that matter).

New 52 Batgirl flying through stormy city skyline via grappling hook

New 52 Batgirl | ©DC Entertainment

If you enjoy DC comics, you may know Gail Simone’s work well. She is a considerable influence on the style of Shroom Raider. . .in fact, Simone’s Batgirl trade paperbacks were the first thing I remember reading when I awoke from my coma in October 2014.

Wait, waitwhat? Coma?

I awoke from a week-long coma in an ambulance (not that I had any idea what ambulances were at that point), rumbling along to the 3rd hospital I’d stay at after getting a rash of TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injuries). I was hit by a drunk driver on October 4th 2014. He drove his Ford F150 into my left hip and sent me flying 40+ feet onto my forehead.

Comatose Taylor in hospital

The impact skid marks on my forehead left scars, but they’re gone now! Woohoo!

Let me tell you, recovering from TBIs feels like undergoing adolescence again. Actually, I could only describe what I personally felt upon waking as being “born again.” Pretty strange feeling. I’m just glad I didn’t have to go back to high schoolbut I did have to earn my driver’s license a second time. Naturally, the State revokes it if you contract a TBI.

The recovery process is like undergoing a second adolescence

The Feds don’t go easy on you either: did you know that over two-thirds1 of SSDI applicants are denied benefits? They must undergo lengthy appeals processes to prove they’re in need (the litigation often takes years). So, I’m grateful that I’ve been able to keep jobs after my severe TBI.2 And, I know it only helped to have Barbara Gordon as a fictional role model while I struggled to recover some semblance of my former life.

Taylor at rehab1

The netted bed I was confined to for hours daily

Following the injury,* my partner bought The New 52 Batgirl comics for me. As soon as I cared about reading again, after a few weeks, I absorbed Barbara Gordon’s story. I found in it a figure I could relate to from the confines of my netted bed. The story of a woman who struggles to regain her abilities after a devastating injury. And her ability to walk was stolen from her in an instant—boy, did I relate to that.

Taylor hospital-Vallejo2

I eventually regained my balance thanks to the generosity of many.

The New 52 Barbara Gordon is funny, smart and imperfect3, and I relate to her struggle to regain former balance despite severe trauma and disability. For Barbara Gordon, this involves maintaining a convoluted docket of work and superheroingnot to mention personal life management, which involves roommate conflicts, romantic relationships (with her own therapist even), family disagreements and so much more.

Barbara’s wit, strength and courage helped me find my footing under pressure

In my personal experience, Barbara Gordon is an apt and wonderful role model for Traumatic Brain Injury survivors. If you are helping anyone heal from trauma and acclimate to a new way of living, you can help them rebuild self-confidence by gifting them The New 52 Batgirl comics. The comics helped me see my potential and aid redevelopment of my moral compass throughout a lengthy recovery.* I believe they’ve helped others too.


*the distinction between the words “accident” and “injury” are important to know if you want to understand this TBI survivor’s perspective. The man behind the steering wheel of that Ford F150 accelerated into me. There was no evidence he tried to stop (no skid marks found onsite). He made a mistake. But the situation wasn’t unexpected given the circumstances.  It wasn’t an accident.
*the term “recovery” is another one…the process is made one-dimensional by this term.





Thanks to my Dad, Ben Devarie, for the photos

Thanks to the many, many people who donated to my GoFundMe fundraiser and helped me in other forms during my time of need (we know who you are)

Thanks to all I might have forgotten

And thanks to you for reading this. This post is important to me.


Shroom Raider issue 1 cover image, Amanita Jones sitting atop pink-hued chair-sized mushrooms

First issue of Shroom Raider!

Hey there! It’s been awhile since my last post, but I’ve recently completed some new work – I’m trying my hand at comics!

I think comics are where it’s at in terms of storytelling.  What better way to tell a meaningful story than through semiotic mediums – or comics! Comics are unique because they are like languages –  they are systems of signs the reader must interpret to understand what the author intends to communicate (just think of any time the sequence of panels on a page threw off your understanding because you read the panels’ speech/narrative bubbles in a different order than the author intended).


Amanita Jones finds the legendary Pelo-Mo mushroom. | ©SCLeccentric


via Shroom Raider: Mushroom and Zombie Flambé

Above is page 16 from issue 1 of Shroom Raider – only one box of narrative here, not confusing at all heh 🙂 you can click through to the *entire* first issue of Shroom Raider, where we are introduced to our mushroom-foraging citizen detective, Amanita Jones (named after Amanita muscaria).

Sam (or SCLeccentric) based the character off of me. So if you think she resembles me, that’s the intention 🙂 Of course, I’m NOWHERE *near* as cool as Amanita is. But it’s always good to have goals!

Let me know what you think in the comments! We’ll be seeing Amanita again soon enough; I just finished a beat sheet for a new comic she’s featured in – exciting! See you all next time!


Shroom Raider issue 1 cover image, Amanita Jones sitting atop pink-hued chair-sized mushrooms

Adventures in Writing: Comics lettering (and editing)

[361 words, 2-4 minute read]

Hi folks! SCLeccentric just released another page of Shroom Raider, and I thought I should maybe share my lettering experience? Have you lettered a comic book before? I just lettered my fourth comic book page. Getting off to a slow start, but it’s goin’!

Shroom Raider issue 1 cover image, Amanita Jones sitting atop pink-hued chair-sized mushrooms

Issue 1: Mushroom and Zombie Flambé!

I like lettering because it requires great focus and is meditative.

The joy of lettering is that it gets me into a flow state: a state in positive psychology that indicates full immersion and enjoyment. I engage my breath and try to relax, which helps hone my focus while carefully drawing those lines. MUCH easier said than done, but practice makes perfect, right?

I tried a more flowery style the first three pages, which is pretty much my normal handwriting, but it’s just too much.

My first lettering style, a more flowery sort of font.

My first attempts at lettering. Work!

The style crowds the content in my opinion; it’s a bit distracting. Thus, I began writing sans serif and using all capital letters. It makes for cleaner lines and more consistent spacing in page/box margins and between lines. You can see the flowery style on pages one through four in the link below, and page five (and the new lettering style) is below the link:

Shroom Raider pages 1-4

And page five is below. You’ll see there’s a considerable difference between the two. I like the change anyway; it’s more fun to letter the second font. Hope you like the style too! Also, I edit the script before lettering it onto the page, and I’ll elaborate on that process soon—because, when it comes to writing, comic scripts are a whole different animal.

And! If you like these pages, or comics and illustration in general, definitely visit for some illustrated laughs, adventure and excitement! See you soon!

Hello All, Last we checked, Shroom Raider was about to be eaten by a giant catfish! Will she make it? FYI, Psilocybin means “magic” mushrooms. That catfish should be tripping for a while. For once I actually have a few pages finished, so I can post consistently. Stay tuned, we will have another page for […]

via Shroom Raider Page 5 — SCLeccentric


(Forageable) Fungi Fridays: Hevella lacunosa*

fluted hevella, Hevella lacunosa

[250 words, 1-3 minute read]

This club-shaped fungus is called the elfin black saddle in North America, though the images I have make the Hevella lacunosa look more like the elfin black cloud 🙂 A conspicuous morel lookalike, the fluted hevella can be found under deciduous and coniferous trees.

Hevella lacunosa
Fun Fact: The root of its species name, lacunosa, is the latin noun ‘lacuna’ (lake, pool). Today, lacuna refers to a cavity or depression, or intervals. This refers to the fluted depressions and hollow stipe (stem) of the H. lacunosa.

So I tried them deep fried after reading they’re best prepared that way…and let’s just say I now understand why they are not choice. I won’t be collecting them again haha 🙂 they tasted really…mushroomy, which makes sense but doesn’t make this mushroom more desirable. I felt like I was eating fried chunks of thin gristle, but that’s probably a bit dramatic—they didn’t taste distinctive to me at all. But if you see these guys around and can cook them over heat, you don’t have to starve!


Genus: Hevella

Species: lacunosa

Edibility: Edible, but not (my) choice

*Disclaimer: This site is provided for informational purposes only. Taylor assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequences of readers actions. Though every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, identifications may be incorrect (Taylor *is* a novice) – but that’s where community input helps! Please, feel free to correct misinformation you find (or just add your two cents) in the comments!

Happy foraging!

Fungi Fridays: Laccaria amethysteo-occidentalis*


[280 words, 1-3 min read]

On certain rainy days, when the conditions are right and spores happened to touch down along your trails, the brilliant Laccaria amethysteo-occidentalis can be seen popping through pine scrub and brush. These particular Laccaria are spectacular to behold after heavy rains. Bright, saturated blooms of purple shining through the mud and rain. I love being able to expect these on my rainy day hikes.

Found in the western US (in absence of L. amethystina, which is found in eastern states), the L. amethysteo-occidentalis is edible and smells delightful—to me at least! They give off a similar scent to blewits, what people often say smells like frozen orange juice. I’ve read that they are eaten in soup if eaten at all, but I rarely forage mushrooms in the Laccaria genus. Not meaty enough for (my) sustenance.

Stem is strongly grooved, and cap fits the id description to a T. These have a super distinctive cap, about 7 cm in diameter with a characteristic central depression. These ‘shrooms are much prettier to behold than they are enticing to eat. I can see why people use them in soup. Seems like they’ll break apart easily (not much use in a stir-fry).



Genus: Laccaria

Species: amethysteo-occidentalis

Edibility: edible, not choice



*Disclaimer: This site is provided for informational purposes only. Taylor assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequences of readers actions. Though every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, identifications may be incorrect (Taylor *is* a novice)—but that’s where community input helps! Please, feel free to correct misinformation you find (or just add your two cents) in the comments!

Happy foraging!