10/12

Another day of work with no break. My brain is utterly spent after two hours of training on timers today, and some genuinely tough issues to resolve on the phones. I feel deeply exhausted. My mind is leaking out of my ears and making a mess on the floor. The good news is that despite being clubbed to death by fatigue, I have continued to elevate my wellness. I have resisted temptation and eaten just my sandwich for lunch this week. I started exercising in the mornings, and that seems to bring a surge of energy along with it. My abs and arms might be sore, but that’s the good kind of pain; the kind where I know I’m doing a positive thing for myself.

I have a confession to make, however: I was looking at my wordpress stats page and the most frequent commenter other than myself was Jax. I clicked on her name and an instant later I was on her blog. I shouldn’t have done that, because I know there’s no point in reading anything she has to say. I actually just skimmed, and only the first couple of things. I didn’t dig in or go sniffing around. I caught myself and aborted. I didn’t learn anything, as I should have expected. I wonder if she does the same thing I just did. Who knows. It makes no difference if she reads here or doesn’t. Our lives are apart, now and forever. The days of her needing to make angry comments on my blog are over. And I kept them, because this place is about acceptance, even if the words are negative or hard to comprehend. I’m vowing to not ever go back and rudely intrude on her life. It’s none of my business.

Work has been intense. Lots of new things coming at me all the time. I find it makes the time go, but simultaneously renders me into a dry autumn leaf. I am gaining valuable skills here, and I will be soon embarking on a new adventure: teaching. There will be several classes over the course of a few weeks, and I have already started building my curriculum. I intend to teach the theory behind billing first, then break down the actual processes involved in being able to resolve issues on the phone. I am honored that they are considering me to handle this responsibility. It’s a sign that I’m a member of the team, and a valuable one at that.

I’m going to go to my parent’s RV on Friday and celebrate 12/12. It will be fun to write that post as well. I’m looking forward to these 12 consecutive days of work concluding. I’m running out of go-juice. I’m literally opening my door, scarfing some food, pills, clothes off, bed. I’m waking up every morning at 6:30 am so that I have that first half hour or however long it takes me to get tired of exercising. I’m in poor shape. What I don’t want to do is burn myself out by doing too much, then becoming discouraged and dropping it altogether. I am going to slowly dial up the intensity as my body gets used to being worked out. I want this to last, not crash and burn.

I hope you have a good night. I keep telling myself: you can do two more days. You’re almost there! Don’t give up! I was so close to leaving today too. But I stuck with it and finished my shift. Boom. Ten down, two to go.

9/12

So I’m nearing the mid way point of the week, but in reality, it’s more like the final stretch before the finish. I’ve worked 9 consecutive days now that today is in the books, with 3 more to go. I don’t recall ever working more than 8 days in a row in the various jobs I’ve held, so this run is historic as well. I’m glad to be making these sorts of posts, because it just goes to show how I am busting my ass and handling my responsibilities. I’m a proud boy right now.

Today was a tad slow, but I got stuck on a tough Mbox call late in the day and didn’t get out until 5 after, and the new rainfall (see wet roads) led to a subpar trip time home. I opened my door at 6:42 which is a solid 12 minutes deviation from baseline. I quickly scarfed dinner and have fully retired into bed-mode. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than sleep.

But this presents a problem: has my life become one dimensional because of how hard I’m working? I think it has to some degree. I’m holding my face to the grindstone, and have recently been accepting every weekend hour that has drifted my way. Oscar offered me this coming Saturday when I walked into work today. I bit my tongue and declined. I really do need a day off. Kaiser came up to me today and asked me how I was doing. He knows I’m working 12 straight and he’s likely gone for longer. He said that he works constantly until he starts to go a little crazy, then tells Dave that he needs a week off. He doesn’t want to see me get burned-out so I thanked him for his concern. It’s nice to be looked out for. And people see what I’m doing. I like that.

And this is the guy who not more than four months ago was living under an RV awning crying himself to sleep with sadness and a general feeling of having beef defeated by life. As chance would have it, an interview came my way, and I picked myself up out of the puddle and made the most of it. And when I was presented with the opportunity to prove my value, I took it and ran. I’m mentally ill, and have a debilitating handicap which requires that I fight THAT MUCH HARDER to reach normal. To go above normal and into excellence is truly amazing. My next two week paycheck will be well over $1000 and that’s just one reward of many. I have pride now. For the first time in a long while I look at myself in the mirror and say “yeah buddy.”

I’m doing good, despite living at my desk and using my apartment as a pit stop on the way back to work. My mental state has been stable and positive for many days in a row. I’m taking care of myself and my home. Things are going really well for me right now.

I’m fading fast. Have a good night blog. I’ll be glad when Saturday gets here.

Retaining

I have been given a lot of new material to learn in recent weeks, and I think I’m doing a good job retaining it. I was just troubleshooting an Mbox with a customer last night and managed to handle the process from start to finish without assistance. That’s RMAing a new unit and ordering another one as well. I’m still learning my way through the process but it’s coming along nicely. I’ve managed to process several orders and haven’t had one kicked back at me yet, even though I know there were some mistakes on them. Probably corrected by more experienced agents and processed regardless.

So I’ve had 1 order with 1 error on it for the last two weeks of order entry. My name was on the spreadsheet at first, then stricken from record the second time around. That’s the way it aught to be. I don’t want to be known for making mistakes or not including all the necessary information on my orders. I haven’t had one kickback from order review in more than a month. Nice, right? That’s because I’m not screwing around most of the time or doing as little as possible in the effort department.

I went over and grabbed some Christmas music from my parents. That was fun. I watched as my family league fantasy football team seal the victory and push me on to the championship. It’s me vs the 12-1 team. But that 1 loss he has came at my hands, when I beat him week 3. So it is still possible that I’m due for a repeat, but not all that likely. His team is a juggernaut. But he lost the central component in DeMarco Murray to hand surgery, and he will likely miss week 16 possibly week 17. That would give me a fighting chance. I need my receivers to all have breakout performances because his running backs are still elite and could dismantle me. So my hopes are not high, but I will still give it my best shot.

I cleaned my house before I left. My parents are coming over to make The Queen’s Oats, which are downright amazing. In the holiday cooking category, they are certainly my favorite baked good my family produces. They are fantastic, and irresistibly delicious.

I’m tired, and I think that my sadness is getting more attention because my defenses and attitude are vulnerable. I’m not mired in it or anything, but I realize it’s there and don’t want to fall in to it and be stuck. I take the time to express my feelings here on the blog, because I figure it’s a good way to let that sadness have the spotlight temporarily and allow it to be understood and subsequently processed. It’s a better solution than ignoring it or stuffing it back down where it came from.

I have no secrets from you. When I feel confused or sad, you will hear about it. I could make this blog artificial by showing you only what I want you to see, but that defeats the purpose of introspection. How is it helping me to show you only the positive stuff? It’s not. I’m deluding you and myself if I think I can put on rose-colored glasses and see the world though them (and somehow convince you to do so as well). It’s folly, and leads only to an explosion of unrecognized feelings later on down the road. That’s the exact event I am endeavoring to avoid.

So it’s really a mixed bag with me. You never know what thing has popped into my brain and requires attention. It could be anything, and sometimes it’s nothing at all. But it’s all me and all accurate as I can manage. Hope you enjoy the ride!

**UPDATE 12:30 pm **

It’s been a slow day. I’m out here listening to Christmas music on my phone and watching the raindrops hit my windshield. The radar says there is a big thunderstorm off our coast headed inland, but likely to make landfall near Oceanside or some other part of north county. There is another cell that could congeal into a thunderstorm that would drift right over us, but it looks to be deteriorating instead of getting stronger.

I’m happy. This time of year is always so uplifting. To be with family and friends to enjoy a season of giving and sharing. I’m not buying presents for anyone as this is not part of my budget, but I will be spending time with people that I love. That is the reward in a nutshell. It was raining hard a second ago, but it has now stopped. I’m going to run back in the building before it starts up again. See ya.

The Portuguese On Large Saguenay (Age Of Empires III – Game Notes)

I decided to play a game tonight and I’m glad I did. It was a basic tutorial on effective countering. The AI made armies comprised of units that I had a response to. Every time. Allow me to elaborate…

The AI was the Chinese and for army composition they amassed chu-ko-nu archers and mortars and that firework rocket artillery thing. They had a mix of those units, and just dialed up the quantity. I had only to build units which put a stop to those three.

I was not the initiator, my troops were holding ground when they were engaged. The attacks started late age 2 and continued in regular six minute intervals. They brought some cavalry later (maybe 20:00 in), but not with any support; about six in a single grouping.

I had an ever increasing sum of units at the choke point, coming out of two barracks, a command post, and a siege building. Nothing ever got through them. I divided my infantry into two groups, melee and ranged, and had a ratio of 1:3 respectively. The ranged were musketeers and cassadors. The melee was halberdiers and crossbowmen (who, in truth, I was using as meat-shields for the ranged units). This worked surprisingly well on everything they ran into. I began adding culverins and upgraded grenadiers later on, and that was the frosting on the cake.

When I went on the offensive, I was surprised that The AI had villagers gathering wood on the forest nearest to the battle line. I can’t think of an easier way to lose a bunch of villagers. Why he should not have been gathering out there that late in the game is clearly something only a human would understand. You can’t teach the computer to gather on the fringes from the start and work your way in as the ages go by. By the 4th age, he should have been down to farms and plantations, or rice paddies in his case. Whatever.

That example is a microcosm of the mistakes the AI made. I flanked his villagers and 6 buildings in to demolishing his base, he surrendered. I’ve had a European AI go down to the last few unit producing buildings and four villagers before giving up. But I guess he knew what was coming. I had six or more culverins making short work of opposing artillery and standing infantry units (who, as it turns out, don’t like being hit by a cannonball).

The final score:
The Portuguese (Egregious) = 825
The Chinese (AI) = 209

My collected resources in 38:37 of game time:
Food = 26064 (beat AI by about 10000)
Wood = 24191 (beat AI by only 1000)
Coin = 21949 (beat AI by about 7000)

My military stats:
Unit count = 221 (68 cassadors)
Units killed = 236
Units lost = 90

That map eliminates any sort of northern approach because of the body of water between the bases. I set up at the trough of the lake and started mustering units there. I grabbed the southern second trading post between the bases and he never challenged me down there. I had 7 halberdiers garrisoned; he would have crushed them. But like I said.

So a good game because I managed to hold the score 90% of the game. He had me momentarily between age 1 and 2. But once I had it I never let go until 825. So the Portuguese are just phenomenal at range. They have a full set of special armory improvements and three easily available ranged units, which includes a mercenary. They combined to kill most any unit with four or five of them in individual targets. Their DPS was fantastic. I wish the game kept track of that kinda shit.

I’ll try this faction again and hopefully draw a European civ.

The Slow Blade

I remember things. It’s hard to chase all these memories from my head. They come back at me, deep in the water of regret and overshadowed by a poisoned context. The narrative is utterly lost, and these disjointed fragments are all that is left of my love for her.

In the storm of thoughts, her face is like lightning, and my yearning the thunder. I often wonder about where she is, or what her world is like now that it is distinct from mine. Has she moved beyond that ache? Does she regret? There is only brief contact, when I am in possession of something she needs. I provide, and she vanishes back into the darkness.

Then there are those fantastic moments where we were so close, so deep. Where I could feel every part of her, and breathing in nothing but the rush of that passion. I wonder sometimes if it will ever be like that again. But it’s clearly not a priority to restore the fire to my life. That heat is both amazing and dangerous. The flame consumes all in its path.

I yearn in old memories. Days that have faded from relevance and reason. The time when they filled me is quiet, dormant. The fire has been replaced by the steady heat of embers. I’ve found I don’t need to burn to survive, but nothing can replace the intoxication of those days. A past that was just as much fun as it was recklessly destructive. It pains me to see the compromises I made, the mistakes and misguided actions. I did so many stupid things.

I’m clearly not fully healed. I often go back on my memories and look. I find a lot of pain, and passion, and insanity. I see my mind being twisted and pulled in vastly different directions. My own prerogatives lost, smothered, stuffed and forgotten. It has been a truly trying road I’ve traveled. But I have gained knowledge just as I have lost love. I am of two distinct minds, one of regret and one of advancement, and compromise is not inevitable but needed.

8/12

Here we are on a cold Monday morning that really does feel like a Monday. I’m not sure if that makes any sense whatsoever.

I’m going over to my parent’s RV this evening to steal some more Christmas music. We dug a bunch of it out of storage when we took the unit apart a couple weekends ago. Speaking of the storage unit, Moo set the tumblers, so by next Sunday we should know what shape the stones will take. Then comes the fun part: polishing. Some of the fine agates I have seen in there are going to look just spectacular when the task is done. And colorful chalcedony and jasper. Damn. I can’t wait until Sunday. I really want to have a look at them after this step. This will be their (roughly) final size. And we’ll know which ones are going to be ideal for jewelry.

I’m winning in the first round of the fantasy playoffs in the family league, and can really only lose it if Drew Brees is hurt and can’t play and subsequently Mark Ingram is worth over 30. It could still happen, but not all that likely. At work, week 15 is the final week of the regular season, and I have a 101 point lead over Tony, but he still has 3 players going. So that one is far from over. Fingers crossed. I’m the 1 seed anyway, but I’d like to end the year riding a 12 game winning streak.

I was feeling forlorn last night. I was missing human contact, more importantly, family contact. I was rushed to get my chores done yesterday after work: I had to fill up the truck with gas again, go do a medium sized grocery shopping trip and then run two loads of laundry. I was up past 6:30 waiting for the second load to dry (which had my sheets in it, so that had to get done). I watched the Sunday night game, which was interesting. But I was disconnected. I tried playing a game, but found I just had no patience for it. That should be different tonight, as I will not have any major things hanging over my head waiting to be accomplished.

I’ll be logging updates on this post through the day to keep track of my mood. Thanks for reading.

**UPDATE 11:00 am**

So the order entry error report came out today. If you recall, last week I had 1 error on 1 order, and I was not happy to be on the list. Today, my name was nowhere to be found on the error report, meaning that zero errors were present on the countless orders I put in the system over the last week. Some repeat offenders were on the report, again, with maybe 7 orders and a total of 10 errors or more. Ryan had 4 orders that had errors, but every one of them had three or more things wrong with it. So it keeps track of the order that goes into Oracle, plus about 7 distinct areas where one could make a mistake putting that order in. So I’m pretty stoked. I had 1 total error last week, and zero this week. I do my job very well, it can be said. And I do it (nearly) mistake free. This is a huge confidence boost for me right now. All that hard work I put in every day is absolutely paying off. This report proves I know what I’m doing, and I do it right. Yes!!

**UPDATE 12:30 pm**

I’m wishing it was the end of the day and I could be free. I want to get in a game of Age Of Empires III tonight. I’ve had fun mauling the AI with the Aztecs and just recently with the Japanese. I did rather well building up a mountain of coin and buying dozens of high-powered mercenaries. Arsonists bring down buildings in a hurry.

I’ve been busy so far today, but not overly so. It’s given me some time to sit and think. I know I’m doing ok. I check in with myself often, and I’m not plagued by negative thoughts or sadness. I’m tired right down to the core of my brain. Which is a tough obstacle sometimes, especially when I’m trying to keep my name off the error report. Still pretty stoked about that. I guess I just need to give myself a break, perhaps more often than I have. I’m still mentally ill, and subjecting myself to stress is a great way to relapse.

My blog rolled over the 10,000 views threshold sometime this weekend. I’m not entirely sure what that implies. I guess I’m not a terrible writer, or unpopular. It took me 2 years, but there you have it.

**UPDATE 3:00 pm **

So I saw on the Doppler that there is an isolated thunderstorm off our coast heading east, with the onset of another storm close behind. They are thinking that we will get more than a half inch. I have my doubts. But the rain is welcome in this drought stricken land. Our reservoirs are pathetically low. The desert encroaches.

I’m on my last break. I just reviewed my time card for this last two weeks I logged 80 full time hours plus 16 overtime hours, 8 of which were double time. 96 hours in two weeks. Yikes. I don’t think I’ll be going at that speed for the duration. But in short controlled burst I can manage.

It’s going to be a cold and rainy night. I wish I had a roof over my head so I could hear it falling. It’s a truly amazing noise. Have a great rest of your day blog. I’m going to have a kick-back second half and go see my parents. Huzzah!

Oh and they upgraded our precipitation estimated to .74 tomorrow. Hell yes.

Buckets Of Stuff

I’m past the half way point in my long block. 12 straight days. 54 hours on the clock this week and 104 total. I know some people work way more than I do, but I seriously don’t know how you guys do it. I’m feeling pretty tired after 9 hours today. Good news being I think I have that stomach bug beat. Hooray.

I’m a little sad, but I think it’s because I’m feeling really strung out. I’m not dwelling on anything in particular or even thinking about negative things. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

Fantasy football is far from decided. I’m in the lead, but that could all change in an instant. We will know more after Monday night’s game. I’m doing my laundry and its past sundown. I really worked too much. I don’t have the time to do my regular weekend chores when most of my time I spent in the office. I guess when that paycheck comes in, I’ll understand why I busted my ass.

I’m going to have to stay up for a while because my sheets are in the second load currently sitting in the washer.

My cousin invited me to a Palringo chat group where people just share poetry. I didn’t know my cousin wrote poems, but he does. The contributors on the chat all have such vastly different styles: some prefer cadence or rhyme, some take a more literal/descriptive approach. I find my own poetry is largely imagery with ties to emotions or feelings. I posted Cry For You in there. I figure that would be a fair look at how I write. But my poetry is always changing, as my emotions and thoughts do. It’s not something I typically brag about, but this group seems geared for listening so I figured “why not?”

I’ve been writing this post as I was doing my laundry and watching football. But I’m not going to stay up much longer. I was active at 5 am, and in a hurry to get to work by six. I got there with five minutes to spare, and I had to deactivate the alarm again and turn the lights on at the fuse box. I was thinking that I was running late. Turns out I was the first poor sap there. And it was a longer than normal day because we all choked down an hour lunch. I was plum bored by the midway point. But I did field a ton of issues. I took 30 calls, and that’s insane for a Sunday. Really? 30? That is like a regular weekday sum. Not appropriate for what I thought was supposed to be a kick-back shift. But whatever. It was all double time.

Tomorrow I start day 8, concluding with day 12 on Friday. Just five more kid, and you get a full two off in a row even. Jesus won’t that be nice.