Good Sunday

I’ve had a relaxing, eventful day so far today. I was over at my uncle’s house this morning watching our hometown Chargers beat the Ravens in the final seconds of the game. Very suspenseful and surprising. I had no thoughts that we would win, but we did. And tonight it will become clear if I will be eliminated from the playoffs or if I get in for fantasy football. It’s not looking good though.

I hung out with my cousin’s daughter Chloe and she stuck stickers on me and played a sticker counting game. It was fun to play with her, while also enjoying the football I got a chance to catch up with my cousin David and my sister, who was visiting from Sacramento. My cousin and I got to talk fantasy football as well. Good stuff. It was a refreshing break.

I’m back at work tomorrow and I’m again looking forward to it. I find that I really largely enjoy what I do. I get in difficult spots sometimes, but I continue to succeed. Even if it can be both busy and boring, it’s what I do and I do it well. I’m going to have another good week, I’m sure of it.

I am sitting here on my couch that used to be my bed, and I’ve got my blankie and I’m watching Sunday Night Football. I’m perfectly happy and relaxed. I will probably go to bed soon. I’ve got nothing to lose.

Cry For You

Streaks of rain on the window,
Soft and quiet like the wind at night,
The ember that glows in the dark,
Choking on ash and dust,
Familiarity ripped apart and down,
The shadow of touch,
What was will never be again.

Pines in the clear blue air,
Treading lightly on sacred ground,
The hills lit up in sunset reds,
Beckoning the twilight gasp,
Forgotten promises,
Abandoned words without homes,
Snapping like twigs underfoot.

A piercing howl at the moon,
Fools stay in the past, mourning,
The sun rises yellow and bold,
Sand and stones,
Days and years, going by.

To Bed With Ye

I’m retiring much earlier than scheduled because I’m right back at ’em tomorrow morning at 4 am. I open the office and my shift begins at 5 am. A daunting task for me, yet at the same time kinda exciting. They’re handing me the controls and letting me be the only call agent on staff from 5 to 6 am. It’s a skeleton crew, just 5 of the 25 that are normally in there. But I’m psyched. I like getting a chance to prove my capabilities. This is a golden opportunity for me to gain a reputation as someone they can trust.

Today was a crawl through the mud. I hardly took 12 calls all day, and that was WITH billing, which was oddly quiet. I guess people are waiting until after the holiday weekend is over to scream at is about their bill. But I’m sure it will catch up with us, this lull we’ve enjoyed over the last few days. Issues never just go away. Mood will probably send another threatening letter to its clients indicating that they will terminate service for a past due balance. And the calls will come in once more.

Other than that, I guess I’m doing fine. I don’t get much rest this weekend because of this extra 8 hour shift. But I also get a regular paycheck, where most everyone else will be down a day because of Thanksgiving. I need the money, so I wouldn’t dare pass up a chance to make more of it. My mentality has been good. I’m finally about 95% done being sick. This unseasonable dry weather is taking a toll on my sinuses. It’s fall, and the high today was 81 (and that’s down from 89 the day before)! Right? I clearly live in a coastal desert. The merciless dry and hot fall will (should) be interrupted by a storm on Tuesday, but I’m leery that we will get anything but drizzle from it. Weather says up to an inch. Somehow I doubt that.

Well, I’m off to bed. Have a great night, and at least YOU don’t have to be up at 4.

Age Of Empires III: The Improvement Mod v. 5.4

The Improvement Mod doesn’t fundamentally overhaul the game. It adds some bug fixes, tweaks, and some new features to the landscape. They also introduce an entirely new faction: America. But it’s, at its core, based off the European civ model, with a similar stack of home city cards. The new additions to the game are largely represented by a few new buildings, some new technologies, and some new units and mercenaries added to the core game. The AI was modded, so that is uses the new content, cards and started building walls again.

Age Of Empires III games are classically long-term engagements, lasting upwards of 45:00 per round. The game is geared for this, not the rush, which is a horribly annoying strategy to take, in my opinion. Most of the time, gameplay breaks into a few identifiable segments (roughly 3): Building Phase, Defense Phase and Attack Phase. In the Building Phase, your goal should be to create upwards of 30 villagers, a market and a barracks. It helps in this phase to grab a few trading posts too, because the experience income is useful in getting several home city shipments sent, which if you are thinking ahead, may bolster your economy. The Building Phase should focus your concentration on developing a fast-moving economy, and depending on what faction you chose, you might be below or above the recommended villager count. But by the end of it, at about 10:00 in to the game, you should have enough resource income to start dispensing troops, and get a standing army of 15 – 30 units of varying functions. If you have the AI set on Hard, they will be attacking at 12:30 nearly every time, and with maybe 20 units, some cavalry, mostly infantry. You must be ready to defend your colony and start the Defense Phase. Usually, this phase lasts the bulk of the game, and goes from 12:00 or so until the 35:00 mark. During this time, your economy should be growing still, reaching a villager cap of over 60 (depending on your civ). Your standing army should reach a full battalion, possibly two, and you should build every house you can, and at least one additional town center. The enemy will attack you at regular intervals, and usually from a different angle every time, to try and avoid marching directly into your standing units. I typically have my villagers who are still gathering raw resources (like trees) on the fringes of my control, because I have enough standing units to come rescue them, or have an army stationed near them in case things go down. I might divide my army into two distinct fronts, holding ground at any sort of choke point I can find. In the final phase of the game, the Attack Phase, I’m moving my 2 – 4 full battalions up the field into enemy territory. The AI is pretty good about building walls, but they usually leave a hole in them somewhere because of terrain problems. My units go in on attack-move, and stop to kill units they find, and start in on destroying the structures after that. With 4 full battalions, there’s not a whole lot they can do to stop that. It’s just an overwhelming number of troops to contend with. Fixed structures and spare units can make 1 battalion go away in just a few minutes, but not 3 – 4. For each faction, there are slightly different procedures for getting through the phases.

I typically use Aztecs, Portuguese or Americans. The American civ is a lot of fun, because they get going pretty fast in the building phase of the game with an early boon of 400 wood to get some houses and a market built right away. You can infinitely ship pilgrims from your home city, and at a clip of 4 at a time, but usually in these games I don’t get to using that card often. By the time you gain access to it your villager population might be already capped. The map gets explored very fast because the explorer unit is mounted and has great line of sight, but he’s just about useless for capturing treasures.

Aztecs are insane: once they get past the 2nd age, they move rapidly, using the fire pit and warrior priests to create units ridiculously fast. I typically spend the first part of age 2 getting 10 warrior priests built and dancing around the fire pit, sending 3 with a shipment and building the rest right out of the fire pit. After I have them, I switch them over to the productivity dance, and units are cranked forth from structures at a furious pace. I can accelerate the process of gathering resources dramatically, getting my 60 villagers and then some in only a couple of minutes. I will have more than the afore mentioned villager cap, because I usually need 10 – 15 more of them to add to the fire pit to get it really blazing. Then when the Attack Phase rolls around, I switch the fire pit over to increased attack, and get another 30% – 40% amplification to damage on all my units, which is difficult to deal with when you consider just how many units I make with the Aztecs. The skull knight might be the single most amazing unit in the game altogether.

The Portuguese are a separate story. They tend to be slower, and cost more to get going. The skirmishers and musketeers all cost a chunk of gold, and that’s almost always the constraining factor. If my gold income is awesome, which can usually be managed by 25 or more gold gathering villagers, I can get a good deal of ranged units built, which is where the Portuguese excel. They have several home city cards which amplify gunpowder infantry, and some which help their cavalry and artillery. Organ guns are the unique artillery for the faction, and they abuse standing units, much like the gatling gun for the American faction.

All told, I get some different looks from the three factions I play, but not too dramatic a swing. Aztecs I prefer the most because of how fast they are. They can be into the Defense Phase pretty early, maybe even 8:00 or so with my first standing army. I can also have an amazing economy, especially when villagers come out every 5 – 9 seconds or so. And the unit selections for Aztecs I really like. You know me: infantry is the way to go. I vastly prefer it to any other troop type. Portuguese are all ranged infantry, so that fits. America is a mix of both. You can’t be successful with just infantry from them, even if they do have two kinds of decent ranged units. This combination has kept me fairly entertained through more than 10 separate matchups. I have yet to lose one that I actually got started right and didn’t accidentally forget to pause. I highly endorse installing the Improvement Mod if you have a chance, it really makes the game so much nicer, cleaner, better.

Thanksgiving Day

I had a great Thanksgiving with my family. There were 10 of us there at my uncle’s house and it was quite a lot of fun. The kids were there with my cousin David and his wife Jen, and Tanner was there too (Bruce and Megan’s son). So it was nice to see those little kiddos running around having a good time. I was pretty absorbed in football, which was slated to be exciting, but turned out to be pretty lopsided. Detroit took control over Chicago in the second quarter and never looked back. Philly owned Dallas and Seattle’s stifling defense put San Francisco in it’s place. Thankfully my fantasy teams did alright, with the highlight being Calvin Johnson’s unbelievable day: 11 catches, 146 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. It’s win and I’m in in the family league, and Megatron’s performance can only help push me in the right direction. Hopefully the rest of my lineup puts together some points this weekend, though that remains to be seen.


But I did the dishes, like I always do, and we cleaned up the feast in no time flat. I take pride in my cleaning ability after the party is over, and I get many thanks for it too. It’s the kind of reputation I enjoy having. I had a blast though. It was really nice to see my parents again, who were back in town for the first time in more than a month. And they brought my sister with them. It was really cool to catch up and see everybody again. I got lots of hugs, and that has helped fill me up with a good feeling headed into today. I’m actually really looking forward to work today, and have had a calm, restful, peaceful break over my little 1 day holiday off. I work Saturday as well, and I open the facility at 5:00 am, which means my alarm has to go off around 4:00 am if I am ever going to make it there by 5. I’m even excited about that too. I can’t wait to do it, but I’m a little worried about how groggy I might be at that time in the morning. I intend to pack my lunch and set up my coffee maker to be able to brew a quick pot for the road, so I can be at least somewhat awake for work. I have a thermos I can bring, which will probably save my day. And I go home at 1:30, which is like, hell yeah.


So all in all, it was a very eventful break from the norm. I had fun on Wednesday night over there after I got off of work, and had an all-day ride on Thanksgiving, from around 8:30 am until after 6:00 pm. I hope you all had a chance to spend this fantastic little holiday with people you are thankful for. I don’t know where I’d be without the love and support of my family. They’ve saved me from the pit of despair more times than I can count.


I’m in that odd little piece of useless time before work starts. I’ve been thinking since my last post, where I was feeling kinda down and lonely, that I should probably get used to having those emotions. I’m clearly a being driven more to feel than to think, and this rebuilding process will no doubt have its difficult moments. I will be challenged to sit with my emotions and comprehend them, rather than discard or reject. It has been my tendency (in the past) to shy away from my most acute feelings, and not give them the attention of understanding. Because it sucks to feel pain, to ache in my chest and gasp for air. It’s not a place I enjoy finding myself, but that doesn’t make it any less prevalent. I still have to cope with it in order to move forward.

I guess I yearn for something I actually don’t want. I remember the good feelings that would come from a relationship, but none of the bad that accompanied that (seeming) emotional bliss. It was difficult to come to realize that my partner and I were married, but totally incompatible. Like I have said before, for every one thing we had in common, we were different on four others. I can see how two people could fall in love over an idea, but have that love dry up once the reality set in. I was foolishly committed to a long-term relationship to someone I often times didn’t get along with. I have since learned that if love is ever to come back into my life, it would take a much more sustainable pairing. But looking for new relationships is not on the agenda, oven if my heart burns for it. I know such a thing might undo all of the labor I put in to building my independent life. I might just abandon my principles and risk everything on love again. Which is not a good idea, but I wouldn’t put it out of the realm of possibility (however stupid a choice that would be, I’ve done similarly in the past).

I guess I just needed to vent out what I was going through. I appreciate your support and thank you for helping me see a way through that difficult spot.

At A Crossroads

Blog, I’ve been pondering my tendency to isolate. At work I tend to play my cards pretty close to the chest. I don’t mill about and socialize like the other guys do. I am just a dramatically more serious person, I figure. I really don’t want to give off the impression that I take my position for granted. Or that I don’t care about it. But I’m not really engaging with anyone beyond my work related conversations. I guess I’m not “loosened up” yet, and I don’t feel a need to be carefree. Maybe I should ease off the throttle a bit though.

I got to thinking about how long I plan to be alone. And then I got to wondering why I would ever be with someone again, and how long a time that was going to be. It will be hard to fully let go of all the extenuating factors involved, like contact, conversation and understanding. I’m not very appealing. I’m still overweight, though not as much as I was. I’m stubborn and we’ll set in my ways. I’m coldly rational, and sometimes hard to understand. I don’t really have much to offer besides my personality, which is a good one. I am fearful that I will collapse into sadness after enough time, because some part of me will be totally unused and I will go on being lonely. I don’t know if I can bare that fate.

But here we are. And I know that the longer portion of this solitary confinement is still ahead of me. I’m having a hard time seeing the good in it, even though I know it’s there. In places like this, I sometimes just wish it was back to the way it used to be. When I had someone and it was not just me. There are flaws in that thinking, clearly, but it doesn’t appease the ache. Maybe nothing will.

Bad Decision Maker

I’m notorious for this. When I act impulsively, I make terrible decisions. Whether it be in an argument or while driving a car, I have 0% success with mindless choice making. I say mindless because little or no thought goes into these decisions; they happen as a result of impulse. I can’t tell you how many times I have been guilty of this. It is paramount to my regret as it stands now.

Part of my rebuilding period was to have a close look at this issue. I have worked with therapy groups and individual counsellors to better understand why I choose to act without thinking. I suppose it’s fundamentally no different that the fight-or-flight reflex, but extended into a more mental role. Part of what Margaret has helped me understand in our work together is mindfulness: the goal of which is to slow everything down and consider each incremental step along the path to choosing. I tend to hurry through this process, leaving no time to consider anything. The thought of leaving space for though is scary, because I used to fear that if I didn’t react or decide that whatever was going on would rapidly get worse. But time is not the enemy; it’s an ambassador to resolution. The situation may seem stressful, but there is no acute need to respond if that response is not relevant. Impulsive reactions are not valuable. They’re like blind guesses, based on little or no information. I can see that making rapid decisions is easier than considering alternatives, and that’s the reason why it has to change.

So mindfulness takes those panicked moments and slows them down for alternative considerations. It’s a process that is hard to initialize, because one has to be aware of when to stop. If introspection doesn’t alert you to the moment when impulse dictates action, then it is not working. I’ve had to learn from zero how to achieve this. My best example is when I drive anywhere: I can be super alert of my surroundings, checking my blind spots and being aware of all things going on around my vehicle. I can be treated poorly by aggressive drivers and not flip out. I can sit in traffic and not get frustrated. Everything slows down, and I render my understanding of the priorities of my emotional responses. Do I really feel like getting upset that some guy cut me off will accomplish anything? If I get angry that the traffic is bad, who suffers? Certainly no one outside of my car gives a damn what emotions I’m going through. It’s on me. I can have these completely unnecessary reactions, or, I can understand that the situation my be frustrating but not dive in to emotional chaos because of it. I don’t have a reason to surrender control of my actions and feelings. I may be in a spot that causes an emotional reaction, so I see that, recognize it, and diffuse it before things get out of hand.

This may be somewhat redundant. But mindfulness has been a huge resource in my mental health journey, and is therefore important. I don’t know if I could have made the progress I have without this new skill. It takes the teeth away from poor decision making, and leaves me some room for discussion instead. I hope that this practice finds a place in your life, as it has in mine. And with excellent results.

The Discourse Of Resentment

There wasn’t much to say, he thought. The day had been long and exhausting, to the point that he felt the tendrils of fatigue creeping into his mind. When he opened the door she was waiting for him.
“Hi honey,” she began softly. “How was your day?” Her tone indicated this was a stock question with no implication of interest.
“Tiring.” He said flatly, yet with honesty. His eyes moved up and down her body. She held herself taught like a nylon rope and had her hands folded across her chest. He turned his back to her and saw the sink full of unwashed dishes. There were papers and things strewn about the countertops. He sighed. She had been in the house all day, and things still looked disheveled.
“Why didn’t the dishes get done?” He wished then that he could pull the words right back out of the air and erase them from existence.
“I will do them.” She said, returning to her distractions. They were two people shouting at each other from distant islands. He rolled up his sleeves and started cleaning. She stopped.
“I said, I would do them.”
“When?” He said tersely.
She scoffed. The tension in the air was thickening.
“You know it really bothers me to leave dishes in the sink all day. I just wanted to come home and not have there be more work to do.” He said between scrubs.
“Well I’m sorry.” She said, resuming her activity. She hadn’t bothered to look up. He felt his heart sinking, as he contemplated the very low amount of respect she had for him. His desires were no secret, yet they were utterly ignored. He hadn’t put an anvil on the floor and asked her to move it. He just wanted a clean house.
“You know,” she began with a new excitement in her voice. “I’m going out tomorrow night. We are going to go have a few drinks and dance at the club.” An activity that she knew he would want no part of. Nor had he been invited to.
“We don’t really have the money to be spending it on alcohol.” He said coldly. Now he was being preposterous. They had enough money for a night out. It was the idea he hated, and he let that poison his words into nonsense.
“Maybe you don’t,” she sneered. “But I do.” Now the line between them was brought into focus. They had entirely opposite priorities.
“Who’s going with you?” As though he really wanted to know.
“Some friends from work.” She kept their names out of her mouth. It was better that he didn’t know that one of them was the guy she had become infatuated with.

Once the dishes were done, he got out of his work clothes and got into his jammies. He came back into the living room where she was still absorbed in distractions. “I’m going to bed.” He said. It had been ages since they had gone to bed at the same time.
“Ok goodnight.” She said not bothering to look at him. There would be no bonding over a shared bedtime. No reassuring noises made from a sleepy woman. No gentile touch to guide his mind into slumber. She could care less what he did, or when he went to bed. She had already moved on. In her heart, the fire of their love was nearly out. She had no desire to sleep with him, because she wasn’t interested in him anymore. Something new had come along and his guilty sighs over having to do the dishes were silently infuriating her. He always had to have it his way. He was just so pig headed. She couldn’t wait to go get drunk with her friends and forget all about how much she resented him.
“Goodnight.” He said. After a brutal day, he found no solace in his home. The place was devoid of closeness. He had, tucked somewhere in his subconscious, the fear that she was through with him. Maybe he just wasn’t willing to admit it yet. Either way, he went to bed quietly, and alone.


Today is Monday, and I don’t feel weighed down by that. I feel somewhat excited to go in there and get after it. This is the week that I will have a 5 am Saturday shift, where I open the whole place and log in as the only call agent in the whole DTOC for more than an hour. Then some other people come in and help me out, but the show is mine to lead things off. I’m looking forward to that. As strange as that may sound. I really do like my job, and have no reason to begrudge an extra shift. It’s a short week with Thanksgiving on Thursday.

This weekend’s isolation test was a huge success. I did great, and feel much better than I had in previous solitary outings. I did not get sad, or even bored really. There was something to do pretty much the whole way through, and never once did I step back and become sad or otherwise depressed. My med change must really be working, because I’m enjoying a really extraordinary level of stability. Maybe part of that is my cognitive processes, and my diligence about not letting them deteriorate into badness. I had plenty of chances or excuses to feel bad, but I didn’t take any of them. I went about my business unperturbed, and found relaxation and rest as my rewards. I feel fully recharged, and ready to tackle another week.

I am dealing with the remnants of my cold, which has left me with some minor nasal congestion and a bit of a cough, which should fade as I carpet-bomb my immune system with vitamin c. I only had about 12 of these 1000 mg pills in the bottle, and since Wednesday night I’ve taken all but 4 of them.

This week my parents are coming back to town. They are bringing my little sister with them in the RV. There will be a big family gathering at my Uncle’s house for the feast, and I’m really looking forward to it. My dad’s family is just so rad. We had, in the past, held thanksgiving with my mom’s family, but it was never any fun, and has recently become a playground of destruction. That side of the family actually disdains each other, visibly, and they don’t know how to have fun together. It’s usually a total fucking nightmare. But none of that for this year.

I look forward to my friend Will returning home, after living in Northern California and Oregon over the last 2 years. He will be back in town for Thanksgiving, and it will be good to see him again and catch up on all the things we’ve been doing over the last few years. He was there for part of Jax and mine’s more argumentative past. Not a great way to treat a guest, methinks.

On a tangential note: I finally got some decent sleep last night. It seems like the nights that I dream a lot, I don’t really rest well. I woke up at 1 am to get some water and have a pee, but then I was right back to sleep for at least four more hours. Quiet, unperturbed torpor. And I’m thankful for that. It really sucks to dream about negative things. I’ve had a few vivid dreams that have had me thinking about all sorts of strange things. I don’t know if that’s a universal truth. I do nevertheless prefer dreamless sleep.

I’m here in the few moments I have left before work. I feel pretty good, for a sick guy. This week is a short one, and also quite full of activity and family. It will be refreshing to be around all those familiar faces again. There’s something solidifying about big family gatherings. Like we somehow know we’re all in this life together, however we can be. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I like it.

**UPDATE 1:00 pm**

My nose is a terrible place to be right now. I’m longing for a day without congestion and snot. My sandwich tasted like cardboard. I’m doing fine though. Plodding along as best I can. I just used about half the roll of TP I keep in the car clearing out my sinuses. And that was a limited success. I have a lot of things on my mind. I’ve been thinking of writing them all out, but I don’t really have the clarity of thought to manage such a thing. At least not right now. I’m lost in a sea of stuffiness and boogers. I’ll see you all later.


Well I’m mostly better. Maybe like 20% sick still. But I’m getting through it. My weekend has been lonesome, as you are aware. I’ve had plenty of chances to feel down, but I haven’t committed to sadness, or chosen a road that would lead to it. I find myself in a contemplative state, reflecting on my thoughts and amusing myself with distractions. I’ve been in my snugly jammies all day, and have no intention of getting out of them until bedtime. I do wish I was not sick so that I might have been able to do some activities, but I had been booked solid every weekend for the last month. It’s about time I had a break.

The time alone has been refreshing. I was able to watch football uninterrupted for hours with no one to entertain or have demands made of me. No obligations, no rules. Not that I have a desire to go do anything crazy: a wild time for me looks more like cereal for lunch. I have enjoyed being here and the silence of solitude. I especially enjoy that my idle thoughts are not deliberately destructive, as they have been in similar situations. Today was another example of how things are improving for me mentally. I put myself to the test, and I passed.

I know I’m going to be fine for work tomorrow. No question. I look forward to yet another eventful week, in which I will be successful. Nothing but my stuffy nose is holding me back. And that is a temporary situation. I think I will be up for a while watching tv and trying to normalize my sleep schedule again. If only coffee would have some sway on my level of alertness. It has long since lost its potency in this regard. Oh well. I baked some more chicken and will probably eat that for dinner. How boring. But this is my life. It’s not a carnival. Keep me in a set routine and I’ll be content. I yearn for patterns.

I hope you have a nice night blog. Take care.

The Experiment Of Loneliness

When I get to being alone for a good long while, I used to think very negative thoughts. Boredom would lead to listlessness which would make way for worse things. After having been relatively isolated all day, I am glad to find I have not perished to this downward progression. In fact, I seem to be doing just fine. I’ve had my moments of feeling bored, but nothing is nagging at me attempting to perturb my mental state. I have adequately occupied myself today, and even harbor a sense of accomplishment as the responsibilities I set out to achieve were done. For a sick person, I did quite a bit.

As I write this, a venture a look back on a couple of weeks ago, and the struggles I was having with my downtime. It was acceptable to rely on the crutches of social interaction and family, as these helped keep me out of a depressed place. What I am really hoping for is the ability to stand on my own without crutches at all, if need be. This weekend is a huge step forward in that department. I am gaining the necessary confidence that I can just be with myself, and not go crazy with depression. I haven’t avoided it with distractions, as there were vast stretches of the day where I just sat and did nothing. It was a test. I am attempting to ascertain if my baseline mental state is depressed, or something else. The test will continue tomorrow as I will not be going out and doing anything for the entire day. I just want to see if I can hold up, with only myself to hold accountable. It will be an interesting experiment, one that has begun to indicate a result after today’s progress.

On the logistical side, I’m still sick, and I really shouldn’t be going over to anyone’s house and spreading my germs. All the more reason to huddle up in front of my tv and vegetate. I’m going to be back at near 100% come Monday, and ready for whatever may come. I’m quite happy with what I have learned and gained so far. Hopefully more good news tomorrow.

Live From The Infirmary

I’ve been sick wince Wednesday night, and have not been in a terrible hurry to blog. I’m fairing better than I was a few days ago, and should be fine come Monday. Hopefully.

There’s not much to say really. I’ve restricted my social contact this weekend as I don’t want to give anyone else the cold I have. I may have gone over to my uncle’s house again, but I’m pretty much ruling out that possibility. I don’t mind. Honestly, health and potential energy levels for the coming week are at stake. I can’t go gallivanting about while by body is attempting to recover from illness. I’m confined to the infirmary.

I’ll be watching football and coughing my brains out. Hope your weekend is slightly more eventful than mine. My sleep schedule is totally fucking smashed. I woke up at 10 pm, 1 am and again at 6:30 am. Sleeping is such a problem when you can’t breathe through your nose. Sigh.

To health, and long life!

Looking Ahead

I had a very affirming therapy session with Margaret today. We talked about how my mood has been since the medication change, and what things I have been going through emotionally. Albeit, I didn’t have a whole lot to report; as I’ve been on a tear since I had my meds adjusted. That “roll” I’ve been on, Margaret points out, is a direct result of me being introspective, and noticing when my moods fluctuate and why. Without observation, there is a good chance I could fall back into a negative pattern, or otherwise lose the stability I’ve fought so hard to achieve. These dangers are very real for me, and they have happened before. Sitting down with Margaret and discussing the ins and outs of my week was refreshing. It really put my mind into focus about the things I struggle with. I used this analogy: my sadness is like a lake behind a dam. Before, I would fill the lake, and the dam would break, sending my emotions everywhere, and in places they did not belong. But since, I have built a stronger dam in my logical mind, and now even when the lake is full of sadness, the dam holds. I now have a way to still experience my emotions without having them spill out into everything I do.

It was a gratifying session, with much discussion about what I’m doing now, and how I can still improve. I need to exercise in the mornings right when I get up. And I’m not planning to go all out at first. I want to start out small, and build my way up to something reasonable. If I can get myself to take this step, I will have overcome a huge roadblock that has been limiting how fast I lose weight. I really do want to meet my goal for The Lone Bull Project, but dietary change is not going to get it done by itself. So I have that to ponder.

I’m very thankful for Margaret. She has been real with me, straightforward and rational. Our sessions are usually really rewarding, and can often help me see things I wouldn’t normally take notice of. The tough part for me is that I’m not very good at identifying my problems without a proper mirror. I often get lost in moments, not really achieving perspective until something dramatic jars me from my place. This is an issue I hope to avoid in the future.

I have been keeping a regular conversation with Sasha, from Rambling For Clarity, and my friend Jacqueline. Both primarily via text, and usually in the downtime I have at work. Of which there is lots, especially late in the afternoon. Sasha has had a rough couple of days, which will happen. My sympathy for her situation runs deep, because I see a lot of the same things she goes through paralleled in my own life. She doesn’t take meds, but she may not need them. I know my illness is severe enough to warrant dramatic intervention, as I do not function without neurochemical balance. She can get by without medication, and that may not always be the case, but it is for now. I have nothing but understanding for her, and I’m glad to have made this connection. Jacqueline has seen me at my weak points, when I was really struggling for stability in my life. She has endured a lot of my antics while I scrambled over the last few months to rebuild my identity, confidence and stability. She was willing to still be my friend after all that, so I’m grateful for her. These two connections have been rewarding me with a type of interaction that I can take something positive from. Like I’ve said before: I’m not in the risk-taking business, but I will continue to nurture these connections for as long as they are positive.

I’m headed to bed. Goodnight blog. I hope your day was satisfactory.

Chlorophyl Dinner

I banished myself to the land of green after a jaunt into dietary collapse this afternoon. I must admit I failed to resist the little voice in my head that wants me to do bad things. I listened to him, and he got his way. So I’m disappointed in myself. But I did a sensible thing and ate an entire mixed greens bag for dinner, which I find to be satisfying but not terribly filling. So caloric intake is probably over the line, but at least I didn’t make it worse by eating a ton of carbs for dinner. And there you have it.

Today was good, because Gabriel came over to my desk and told me he was going to start training me in timers and Mbox, which I was thoroughly happy with. My company is huge. Not only do they control the market on drive thru restaurant communication systems, they also own the in store music that you might hear coming through the overhead speakers in a retail business. I was initially trained to just do drive thru technical support, and soon that morphed into me learning about billing. Now they are going to add a new dimension to my drive thru knowledge by including another piece of equipment to my skill set (see timers). The theory behind timers is that drive thru restaurants really care about how fast they are, and can even weigh earnings based on how fast they move customers through the different areas of the drive thru line. So timers calculate that, and are complicated in how they operate, and how they fail. Mbox is a variety of music player that is supported by my office in San Diego, which is basically a giant iPod with an antiquated interface and menus to customize the operation of the device. We send them out preloaded with music, which is stored on a hard drive inside the device. It connects to the Internet via phone line or Ethernet and renews licenses for the music and downloads new songs or changes that are made on its administration webpage. So I’m already familiar with the concepts involved in these two aspects of the business. What I don’t have is the device-specific knowledge and answers to common troubleshooting problems. For me, this is an excellent step in the right direction. I already have an invaluable advantage in my billing knowledge and leadership in that area. But to add these other components would easily make me the most diversified call agent in the DTOC. I would be able to handle nearly any problem that we could conceivably be called on to solve in the San Diego office. I’m totally enthusiastic about learning this stuff and can’t wait until we get past thanksgiving so I can get started on the training. This is a leap forward for me, solidifying my place and entrenching me as a long term employee.

But on the menial side of things, I have been a little emotional today. I can’t really explain why. I got to thinking about Jax again because some music came on that brought it back for whatever reason. It was the empty place that my love for her used to fill aching. I expect that may go on for some time yet. It’s not easy to just get over it. My reasons for not suffering are good, but sometimes it still hurts. I don’t know how else to describe it. Sometimes I am driving and I say in my head: hey, your wedding ring is not on your finger (like I had forgotten it somewhere)! The feeling of it not being there, when I had been so used to the feel of it on my finger. It’s been 7 months, but I sill get that off sensation.

I go to therapy tomorrow, and I’m excited to see Margaret. I don’t know that I have very much to report, but it’s not always about addressing issues so much as holding the mirror up to my life for careful examination. I value her insights, and perspective.

Have a great night blog. I’m headed up to an even more excellent life. I hope that you have the same good fortune in your own lives, as I have in mine.

Unexpected Support

I just received a neat little email from my aunt, stating how much I am in her thoughts and that she wanted me to know that she cares deeply for me. She lives in Montana with an isolated limb off the family tree. It was an unprovoked action taken out of genuine concern for my lot. I think this is fantastic. I didn’t go overboard in my reply, simply stating the facts of my life as I see them. She was interested to know how I was managing on my own, and I was only too happy to articulate. So I have a new email buddy along with Sasha and Will. Right on.

Speaking of Will, he may be headed back to San Diego from his current location of Portland, Oregon. He just broke up with his girlfriend Sandra and she left to go back to San Diego where her family is. Will may have to do the same, as his resources and chance at stability up there are running out. I know he wants to forge an independent life, and I totally support that, but not at an excessive cost and not without stability.

It’s another workday morning. I’ll keep this post updated through the day as I plod along. Be well.

**UPDATE 11:00 am**

A lot of the guys around me who also take billing calls are running into barricades as they try to navigate this very tricky part of their jobs. So far, they have incurred scrutiny and reprimand as a result of our limited understanding of the job itself, and the resources available to do it effectively. Hopefully there is some consideration that we are doing the best we can, and just following what limited procedures we have on some of these incoming issues. I have not been “coached” (see being told what I did initially was wrong) recently and have been fielding more billing calls than anything else. So I hope my trend of doing my job right continues. The bubble may burst at any moment, as I’m aware.

**UPDATE 12:30 pm**

A little too busy today. And the fact that most of my coworkers prefer to eat out is driving me nuts. The good they bring smells just so amazing, but I know it’s terrible for me. I have to endure the smells while not being able to partake. It’s a festival of gluttony. Most people at my work are obese by a large margin. They even have to waddle around because their fat guts spread their hips out. It’s not a good environment for someone trying to eat well. It’s overflowing with temptation, and I have been offered food before and always turned it down. I bring my own lunch and I eat alone. The break room smells wretched, like caked-on rotten food. It’s the opposite of appetizing. I’m fine with my routine the way it is. No need to conform. It’s just hard when everywhere I turn, someone is eating something delicious.

**UPDATE 3:30 pm**

It’s lonesome work out here. I’m an oddball, and as a result, I find myself standing apart from most people. I don’t really want to be a part of the crowd though. I think I do better on my own, as there are fewer things to worry about. I’m a bit mixed up in the feelings department right now. It’s hard to explain. But overall, things are good. Day is winding down. I’m glad to have therapy tomorrow. It will be nice to chat with Margaret again.

Remember When

We had a few things in common, my ex and I. And when they lined up, it was really special. But there weren’t a lot of things that we had to share overall. And our mentalities were on opposite pages. I’m remembering those rockhounding trips we went on, and how much fun we had. It’s not like it was all bad. Not at all. There’s no one-sided interpretation to be had here; my blog is about being real. So I do look back on those amazing adventures we went on, and I miss her company. But we differed on a lot of really essential areas. We were two people caught up in a love-dream that wouldn’t last the winter.

I mourn the loss of a friend, but (oddly enough) if we hadn’t fallen in love, I may not have even considered adding her to my social network. It’s just crazy what emotions can do to judgement, to tranquility. I made so many mental compromises in being with her, yet, I never stopped myself and reconsidered. It was all so permanent and final, flying her here from Florida to come live with me, even though we had never physically met. I think I really lose my way when I feel affection for someone. Like I’m willing to overlook things that would normally drive us apart for the sake of experiencing love. It’s emotional candy.

My mind is not empty of Jax thoughts, but I don’t suffer with them the way I used to. I see now that it’s better that we not be together, and that she find someone who is actually in to the same things she is. If some of those core commonalities are similar in the next partner she chooses, she will find a much bigger reward in happiness. As would I, if I were looking for such a thing.

I’m happier than I have been in a long while, out here on my own. I can’t say that I’m ignoring anything in my life, or falling into a destructive pattern. I have the serenity of a self-governed state, and I’m satisfied with the actions I’ve taken to forward my independent life. I don’t get lonely for companionship, I tend to recognize how much work it is to maintain and opt out of it altogether. I don’t have enough energy to spare to also be really good at a relationship. Not in a way that would honor the nature of the thing. So, for now, I’m a one man show. And I don’t mind it, because I’m proactive about continuing to be social and enrich myself with interactions. I have friends who I talk to, and friends who I write to. This level of involvement keeps me engaged and active. I have no complaints. Things are going great.

And my meds seem to be having a profound effect. I’m alert and ready for my day in the mornings, and full of vital energy that feels strong and sustaining. I’m not suffering any symptoms or side-effects. I continue to eat right and in reasonable portions. I’m still losing weight, even if I did take a step back this weekend with my uncle (he took us all out for burgers).

So blog, I still think about her, and that ratio of 4:1 things we didn’t have in common to things we did. I miss my rockhounding buddy sometimes, but I think that’s natural. It’s not in my mind to regret or desire to undo the things that happened. If not in March 3rd then sometime not long after would things have fallen apart. That’s just the way it was headed, for two different people caught up in the romance. No lamentations, just shiny spots in an otherwise dark chapter of my life.

**UPDATE 1:00 pm**

It’s lunch already? Damn dude. Today has been zooming by. I have not had a difficult or stressful call yet today, but my chances of that go up as the day wears on. I’ve found angry people typically wait until late in the day to call me. I don’t know why this is.

Last night was fun, as I posted. I had a hard time getting comfortable in bed for whatever reason. And there’s another big spider somewhere in my room. I walked into his web but failed to find the culprit. Eventually he’ll turn up and then he will die. Zero tolerance for arachnids. Especially when my bed is a part of his plans. Boo.

Have a great day blog.

In The Middle

I’m having an eventful day. I went to my cousin’s house for food and fun for her birthday, and I got to hang out with my family, and her husband’s family. It was a lot of people I didn’t really know, but I hung with it for a few hours (most of the Charger’s game) and headed home close to 4, to get ready for Jacqueline coming over tonight. I’m excited to be doing so many fun things. This is definitely a break from the norm earlier last month where I was not going anywhere or doing anything during my weekend days off. I much prefer the activity, even if it is challenging, and even if I get nervous a bit around people I don’t know.

I bought myself some fresh ground coffee and have really been enjoying it. I’ve (perhaps) abused it a bit today, but I am trying to stay up and not poop out around 8 like I normally would. I’d like to be up late enough to watch the end of the Sunday night game, hopefully I make it.

Back when I posted about the guy at work who was not doing his job, I neglected to mention that I played him this week in fantasy football, and beat him. Poetic justice. I have a 6 point lead with one player still to go, and he has no one left on his roster. Victory sealed. I would have been crushed if I lost to his team, and his loser ass. What a flake this guy has turned out to be. I thought I might make him my friend, but he’s proven to be deceitful and a cheater at every turn. I’m very disappointed. But glad to have a win to move my team to an outstanding 10-1 on the season. I’ve won 8 in a row, and I’m a lock for the playoffs. Who knows, this might be a great upset where I get toppled once I make it to the post season, but I’d like to think I have a shot at the championship for the first time in my entire fantasy football career. Maybe?

But either way, I’m having a great weekend, full of healthy activity and fun. Seeing those cousin babies is always pretty fun. Even though I don’t really interact with the kids, I like to be around them. It’s refreshing to see those young faces.


I hope you have a good night. I’m going to.

**UPDATE 8:30 pm**

The Sunday night game was a 22 point blowout. Sad. But the company (Jacqueline) was great. We made an amazing chicken salad and way more than 2 people could eat. I will have it to bring to lunch tomorrow. I’m tucked soundly in my bed, and about ready to pass out. It’s been a highly eventful and active day, on a great weekend ticket. I’m looking forward to work this week. I know. Has he lost it? No. Even though I am generally stressed and forced to interact with loser people (or listen to them laughing all day), I do enjoy what I do. It might be tough sometimes, but it has its rewards. I’m pooped. Have a great night.

Bubble Time

I think it’s in my best interest to get out and do things as often as possible. I don’t fare well when I lock myself in my apartment and decline the chance to come out to be social. So this weekend, after 4 hours of it were spent working, I’m going to expand my bubble and do some good things for myself. Tonight I’m going out to dinner with my uncle, aunt, and my aunt’s daughter. We’re headed back to my old stomping grounds in “downtown” Jamul to have a tasty food. Albeit, not the healthiest choice, but you have to make exceptions every once and a while.

Tomorrow, my friend Jacqueline is coming over for Sunday Night Football, bbq and fun. I’m really glad to be reconnecting with her after a few months. I had been intimately focused on myself, and my journey back to a healthy frame of mind, and had not the time or inclination to have many extra relationships. Now that I have achieved some stability, I will be branching out to try new things, and work on getting my bubble to a healthy size.

Since Friday the 7th, I’ve been on new doses of some of my existing medications and added Lithium to the equation. By Monday the 10th I was already feeling some changes, and that positive energy has not let up since. I’ve been great at work, applying myself and continuing to excel in the areas I’m being asked to be responsible for, and generally have been responding well to my med changes. The proof is in the way I feel, and despite hardships, I’m rising to the occasion. I have not lost another day to poor mental health, and I have not felt down or off at all. Things are moving right along.

I’m still trying to be proactive, even if I am not acutely lonely, I don’t want to cast myself into a poor situation by not adequately expanding my bubble of activities. I could loose my momentum of I’m not careful, and I don’t want to unseat this new energy I have directing my processes. Blog, I’m in a positive place, and helping myself get to a better place all the time. This is what I had hoped my independent life would be like. Either it’s coming true, or I’m active about making it my reality, but either way, it’s an encouraging sign.

I hope you find peace and fun in your weekend, as I have in mine. Take care.

The Gavel

Things at work have been tough, and unnecessarily so. With the billing queue we field anywhere from 300 – 500 calls, and my share of that is anywhere from 17 -25. But these calls are not troubleshooting or technical support (the job I was trained for) rather, they’re problems with invoicing, payments and credits affiliated with a customer’s account. These calls are usually negative in tone, because my company sends out robo-calls threatening a disconnection of service, or a past-due letter stating that we will take action unless we get paid. So the people who call in are already in a bad way, and usually have a load of monkey shit to drop on you. 6 of the call agents (including myself) were selected form the group and were trained to handle these issues. Now that we’re more than 4 months removed from that initial training, some of those guys are about ready to give up. I can understand their frustration, but the actions they are taking have repercussions which make my life unnecessarily hard. So they’ve conveniently stopped logging in under the profile that would enable them to take billing calls, thereby, never taking a billing call. Go figure. These guys are the jokers, the laughers, watching YouTube and giggling about this or that. In the profile they choose, the call volume is way lower, so they can afford to stand around and crack jokes (because no one is calling in). In billing though, the call volume is constant. You never have but 30 seconds between calls, or if you were completing one call, you will instantly get another when you are done. These jokers hate that. They’d rather have an easier job, one that lets them stand around and laugh all day. So they are, by their delinquency, making my job harder, as the calls they should be taking out of the queue are now sitting on hold waiting for someone to become available, like me.

Today, when the main liar who tried to convince me that his login was broken (which is why he couldn’t take a billing call) was at it again taking only tech support calls and dodging billing altogether. A second slacker joined him in this, so they thought, clever way of dodging their responsibility. I, on the other hand, was utterly inundated with incoming calls, while they sat around and laughed. I reached a breaking point. I wrote a lengthy email to my boss explaining that it was bullshit what these two were doing. I’m not going to sit by while people cheat and opt out of the job that they are paid to do. It’s just fucking wrong. So I’d had enough. And if I see it again, I’ll report it again. Because this is not acceptable, to make your own job easier and more fun at my expense. Yes I know billing is hard, but it’s your job. It’s not up for debate. This is what they’re asking you to do, so please go out there and do it.

Later, my boss filled me in, and told me that he’d be keeping an eye on the billing queue to make sure these clowns stay logged in. He also told me that it was his intention to expand the role of the other agents into new areas, including billing, so more people would be able to take billing calls, and there would be a rotating schedule. Plus, he added that since I was easily the most experienced billing call agent, that the task of training people to do that job would probably fall on me. I was both honored and flattered. It’s true. Of the 6 guys who were in that training room for billing, I have excelled beyond the others. I have reached out to more people, solved more problems, dealt with more customers than any of those guys. I can see why my manager though it fitting that I might be the best teacher. That really kicked me in the ass. In a good way.

I will continue to plug away at my daunting job, knowing how frustrating it can be, but not avoiding it altogether because it’s easy to flake-out. I’m not a quitter, and I fight hard to make a name for myself. I fully intend to hold the line, and not let these fucking nitwits ruin my job while they ride the giggle train all the way to funny town. I just don’t see how that’s at all fair.

With that said, I’ve had a good day overall. It’s not Friday for me. I still have to go in for training tomorrow morning. But it’s all overtime baby. Four hours of it.

I hope you have a nice Friday doing something fun. Hopefully not just reading my little inconsequential rants.

Freshly (Check-In)

On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = serious problem, 10 = not a problem), rate the following:

Emotional Health: 9

Physical Depression Symptoms: 9

Physical Anxiety Symptoms: 10

Racing Thoughts: 10

Depressed Thoughts: 9

Self-Esteem: 10

Concentration: 9

Enthusiasm: 10

Charisma: 10

Motivation: 8

Paranoia / Fear / Anxiety: 10

Outlook / Hope: 10

OVERALL: 9.5/10

It’s amazing the difference a little self-care can make. I have a new haircut, self administered, a new trimmed goatee, and nice neat nails. I took a shower (to get all the hair off me) and brushed my teeth for good measure. I feel fresh, fuzzy and good.

I’m learning how to be better about taking care of my body in all ways. I have been largely delinquent in this responsibility in the past. But that trend is changing. Did you know I had bitten my nails since I was a kid? No joke. I have, within the last 2 months, completely stopped. I use a nail trimmer, shocker. My point is that bad habits don’t get to linger in my life anymore. I’m doing positive things, not destructive things. Even as minor as biting my nails is in the grand scheme of things, I still don’t want to perpetuate bad behaviors. It’s a microcosm of my journey as it stands now.

Work has been super busy. I’ve handled dozens of calls from the billing side of my job, and hardly any technical support. It’s not fair, but it is what it is. The billing side is ten times more involved than any other thing I do, and ends in more reprimand than reward. I rarely see a problem through to its end. That can be frustrating. But I still go in there with a high level of enthusiasm regardless. If there’s one thing I can control, it’s my attitude.

My week nights are pretty dull. I get home, slip into some jammies, eat a dinner, then bed. My mornings have become somewhat longer because I find the new meds make it harder to get up. But I’ve been suspecting that this is not a symptom, but a general mental unwillingness to start my day.

I work Saturday for four hours. We’re training on 2 new systems for the drive thru side of my job. Sadly, I take so few drive thru calls that this training is largely wasted on me. I will retain the information, but have few opportunities to use it. I’m not complaining, just stating the facts as I see them. But I’m, overall, doing fine. I have been feeling uplifted and enthusiastic despite a lot of added stress. Things are moving right along. And I’m content.

Life Choices

I can’t say I’ve made too many really good ones. It never seems like I give them much credit or respect at the time that they are happening either. There’s no way to zoom-out and get a better idea of the landscape surrounding momentary decisions, I’ve found. Sometimes we turn and look no further than what’s directly beneath our feet, and this is folly. I hear guys at work talking about the lives they lead. I wonder how they got there, some married, some not, some with kids, some who live with their parents. We all have different roads that we walk down, and there are lots of places to change directions. But do we make the right decisions when we’re right in the thick of it? Sometimes we pick the easiest thing. I know I have been guilty of that in my past. If the path goes uphill, we can be reluctant to chose a way that will invoke more labor. But this brings us back to perspective. Those hard choices often lead to an better, healthier and more stable road overall, with fewer obstacles and bushes and shit. But in that critical moment, looking down and no where else is often the outcome. Why is this?

I don’t know if I’ve been presented with any major life choices lately. It wasn’t my call that I got offered a job. It wasn’t I who decided to offer me a place to live. It wasn’t I who prescribed the medications I take that help keep me sane. I have had a role in these things, but I haven’t decided anything. My decisions come in the form of making hard choices on a day-to-day level. Should I eat my sandwich for lunch or a burger? Should I do my dishes or let them sit in the sink? Should I get up and go into work today? I can make change happen, but I do so by these minute adjustments in direction, creating a harder path for myself overall, leading to a much better place in the end. I wonder if you see these opportunities in your own life and pass them by. Thinking: that’s harder than what I really want to do. It’s easy to eat French fries. It’s my call though. And it’s yours too. Do you face yourself in the mirror openly, and can you say to yourself: yes, I am being good to you. I have not mastered these tough decisions yet. I’m trying, but the task is arduous and daunting. It can be done, and has been by many.

So maybe we should all spend some time considering those small decisions, and the implications of our decisions about them. I know I will.

Good Season

I know most of the United States is suffering exceptionally cold weather, but on the west side of that pesky jet stream, it’s temperate and wonderful. The high today will approach 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and dip down to 56 or so at night. I slept in my apartment with my windows open and fan on. Try doing that in Billings, or Minneapolis. I take it for granted, but this part of the country has (undoubtedly) the best weather in the US save Hawaii.

So I’m truly sorry if you live in one of those places being deeply affected by that Baring Sea superstorm. It’s not my fault.

More to the point, this winter is going to be all about me doing good things for myself. My last post, where I was commenting on an internal struggle to avoid negative actions, I would like to keep that trend alive all winter, a season that has historically led to a depressive cycle. By the time I came out of winter last year, I was worn down to a nub, overweight and eating poorly, disillusioned by my failing relationship and eventually, surrendering to sadness. It didn’t help matters much that my SSNRI failed to provide any benefits after having been on it for close to a year. Like the Cymbalta before it, Effexor essentially quit on me in my time of greatest need. So I plummeted to the point of annihilating my relationship and trying to get the police to shoot me with their guns.

In this iteration of the life I lead, I’m headed into winter with better spirits and better health than ever before. It would take some focused acts of destruction to derail me from my track. I still have the ability to go back and look at what I was doing that helped lead me to that place of near suicide. I know what the warning signs are, and I’m keenly aware of what things I must avoid. I’ve learned a lot since March, and I won’t let those observations go to waste.

I appreciate your attention, readers. You, whether you actually read all the insane things I post here, you show me by your presence that I am not off base or just spouting lies to further the cause of my delusion. Who wants to read that?

I’m aware of the therapeutic value of being honest, and I think that shows in the feedback I do receive. So your presence is felt and appreciated. I thank you for that. Truly. Be safe my friends. Stay hungry. Get after it, and don’t let go of hope.

Assassin’s Journal v. 3 (Diablo II Game Notes)

I just demolished act 5 nightmare, but not without several truly insane groups of trash in the Worldstone keep and Baal’s throne room. The trash he summons before he goes through the portal gave me fits. The act 3 council summoned a giant mass of hydras which pounded me with fire, even after the summonses were dead. Then the act 4 venom lords were all extra fast and were constantly breathing fire on me. I was nearly out of full rejuvenation potions by the time I had to go in there and fight Baal. But at that point, I was all done fucking around with the sword-and-board and clawed the monkey shit out of him.

As it stands now, she’s a level 80, and at the peak of her power. Her resistances will go down for hell mode, but that’s to be expected. And in hell mode, all the trash is immune to one form of damage: fire, cold, lightning, poison, magic (just dreadful when they have this one) and physical. Things that are immune to magic damage, usually ghosts, are very hard to kill. Nearly all my ability damage counts as magic. But I have yet to kill a single trash mob in hell mode yet. But I will be soon.

Champion Venom
Class: Assassin
Level: 80 (Hell Act 1)

(All stat totals modified by equipment)

~~Sword-and-board configuration~~

Strength: 205
Dexterity: 200
Vitality: 180
Energy: 37


Fire: 40
Cold: 75
Lightning: 75
Poison: 68

Life: 821
Defense: 2102
Base Attack Rating: 1764
Base Damage 443 – 921 enhanced by cold damage

Left click
Level 13
5 Hits
Increases Attack Rating 130%
Increases Damage 54a%
Attack Rating: 3038
Melee: 495 – 980 enhanced by cold damage

Right Click
Level 13
Increases Attack Rating 280%
Adds Magic Damage 330%
Attack Rating: 4508
Melee: 760 – 1281 enhanced by cold damage

Special Ability (Aura)
Burst Of Speed
Level 34
Increases Attack Speed 56%
Duration: 515 seconds

~~Claw configuration~~

Strength: 225
Dexterity: 200
Vitality: 158
Energy: 37


Fire: 40
Cold: 50
Lightning: 42
Poison: 33

Life: 755
Defense: 1932
Base Attack Rating: 4312
Base Damage: 1429 – 2378 enhanced by cold damage

Left click
Phoenix Strike
Level 30
Increases Attack Rating 218%
First Charge: Meteor 809 – 910 fire damage (1014 – 1080 per second for 5 seconds, area of effect, fire damage)
Second Charge: Chain Lightning 1 – 1740 lightning damage
Third Charge: Chaos Ice Bolt 391 – 424 cold damage, chance to freeze target
Attack Rating: 6711
Melee: 1425 – 2373 enhanced by cold damage

Right Click
Dragon Claw
Level 30
Finishing Move (releases charges)
Increases Damage 275%
Increases Attack Rating 765%
Attack Rating: 12291
Melee: 1763 – 2812 enhanced by cold damage

Special Attack (Area of Effect)
Level 12
Increases Damage 38%
Increases Attack Rating 55%
Attack Rating: 5049
Damage: 1492 – 2459 enhanced by cold damage

Passive Skill
Claw Mastery
Level 32
Increases Base Attack Rating 340%
Increases Base Damage 159%
Critical Strike Chance 23%

So having those out of class skills up to 12 is all I’ve ever hoped and dreamed for. Just looking at the numbers, you must be going: how can he be so excited about those low damage totals when compared to her claws? Claws are fantastic, yes, and Assassins have the best class-specific item by far. However, all claw attacks are single target, which can lead to an excessive amount of clicking. And mis-clicking. And clicking on items not enemies. There’s a lot less of that with Zeal, because it hits 5 adjacent targets, and depending on the quality of foe, can render more damage than claws. Berserk is a single target attack, but it tends to be my mop-up skill when the bulk of the trash is dead and just a few stragglers are left running around. But the days of this methodology are likely passed, because now we’re in hell mode, and the claws will have to be back out or I’m going to die a lot. This is my expectation. I will keep you appraised once I get to fighting the initial trash of act 1. So far I’ve managed to play the game through twice and not be sick of it. In fact, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this moment, act 1. Hell mode. The very best mode, and clearly the most fun of any. The mobs are harder, and they are always a challenge. They are all immune to something, which causes one to alter their strategy or perish. And they have more named mobs, with unruly clusters around them. I fucking love hell mode. Can’t wait to go get after it. But it’s my bedtime now. Toodles.

**UPDATE 11/12/14 @ 7:30 pm**

A couple of things: first, Sheer Cold’s Perfect Drop Mod makes this game 700% more enjoyable, second, ladder runewords is a stupid concept done away with by PDM. I just built a four socketed ward with the “Spirit” runeword which was previously only available in ladder play. I think ladder is silly, and to keep some of the best runewords in the game for only ladder players is asinine. Thankfully, that worry is no more, and now I can build truly outstanding runewords whenever I please. The shield now brings those out-of-class skills up to 13, which I approve of. And after running amok through the den of evil, I was able to reskill her for maximum possible stat points dumped into vitality. Which will come in handy for hell mode. But so far, the trash I find is not automatically immune to a variety of elemental magic. They’re still tough to kill with my sword, but not unreasonably so. I have made adjustments to all stats accordingly. I also show the stark difference between her claws (DPS) and shield (tank). I think I will be tanking through most of hell mode because of the increased defense of carrying a shield. Her damage might not be stellar, but it should be enough to get me through without dying in big clusters. I also have the Andariel’s Visage mask to wear, at 83, replacing my Delirium runeword helm. I’m getting tired of being turned into a bone fetish. It takes away my Zeal. I had to kill Baal as a bone fetish and it nearly cost me my life.

Busy Holiday

Apparently no one got the memo that this was a holiday. The billing queue has been slammed all day. Lots of payment calls, and people with involved issues. I’m terrifically busy. Been hammering through calls all morning. But this is what they pay me for. I’m not griping, mind you, just remarking. I though today would be slow. I was dead wrong.

**UPDATE 12:30 pm**

The pace has not let up. I must have 20 or more calls already and I’m not even half way there. But I needed to eat my lunch. I was getting a bit froggy in the brain. My little sandwich should take care of me the rest of the way. I was anticipating an abnormally slow day. But then I realized almost every invoice we issue has a due date of the 11th, so the call volume is going to be high as people rush to pay their bills at the last minute. I am the recipient of the extra work. Joseph, it seems, has found a way to not take any more billing calls. I’m half tempted to report him, as this is just a scummy way to avoid responsibility. He’s really a snake, and not anyone I’d like to call a friend. He tries to cheat whenever he gets a chance.

I’m doing fine though. A little tired, but I’ll be fine.

**UPDATE 3:00 pm**

Getting closer. But the day has been good. It gets dark so early now. Stupid daylight savings. Nevertheless, my day has been brisk, and no people yelling at me and lots of problems solved. I’ve been texting with Sasha and it helps to have someone to talk with during the day. I’m still a little tired. I was up pretty late last night just messing around on my phone. Wasn’t tired. I should have played more Diablo II. I found a belt that does +1 to skills so I can get my zeal up to liver 12 on my Assassin which is like, unheard of. That’s +11 to all skills. Wow. Yeah with that indestructible phase blade it seems to be working out nicely. She’s still in the low to mid 70s and will need to break 81 before I can use the belt. Anyway. Take care.

The Challenge Of The Negative-Self

It’s a good time to be me. I’m coasting along in my life and being very responsible about it. I have so much to lose. I have a great example to share about how I debate with myself over critical decisions that affect my success:

I had been thinking some sad Jax thoughts (after hearing some music that reminded me of her (Pearl Jam “Black”), and was subsequently tempted to go read her blog and find out what she’s been up to. However, I correctly identified this as a destructive act, as there is no good that can come of it. Would I sneer at her newfound life? Would I feel jealous is she seemed happy? Would I be glad if she was failing? Do you see how none of those possible reactions are at all good? This was a turning point for me; helping myself be liberated from that negative voice always tempting me to do the wrong thing. Go get some candy. No one will notice.

I am choosing discipline in my mind, a thing I must have in order to continue making positive steps. How could I come out here and face myself with pride, if underneath I know I’m not being honest? I find this blog useful when it becomes a reflection on my actual thoughts and processes. To rob it of the truth is to deprive my words of their worth and substance. I don’t want that to happen.

So I just thought I might want to share that confrontation I just had with the negative voice in my mind. He lost today, and hopefully, on more occasions than just this one. Peace be with you friends, and serenity.


It’s a new day. I’m feeling genuinely refreshed today, after a weekend of events and social expansion. I was bbq grill master and football color commentator all in the same day. And if feeling genuinely happy to be back. I feel refreshed, healthy and on-track with my mental health. I have had a very recent change in medications and I will be feeling the stabilizing effects of that very soon. But the progress I have made this weekend is largely mental, as I did not doom myself to isolation and did not spiral down like I had in weekends past. It was an activity-filled and productive break, and I’m ready to get after it today. No doubt about it: I’m back.

So taking proactive steps to correct a deteriorating mental state has direct outcome results. My mind can’t ignore that I refuse to let it implode into sadness. These are the steps necessary to get better.

I had a chat with my parents last night. They are in Northern California for a while, and will be headed back down to Southern California once Thanksgiving gets closer. But it’s nice to have them trucking around making the most of their RV life. I’m very happy for them. And they are happy that I am doing good, and have taken steps to ensure I stay healthy. Since my existence is at stake here, seems like I might have good priorities.

I went back to the county pharmacy to get the rest of my Welbutrin because they only had 10 of them available on Friday. I get a little sad going there, because most of the trip is the exact same way I would go after work every night to pick up Jax from her job in the Old Town Historic Park. I remember those nights, that drive playing over in my mind. How excited I was to see her, and to tell her all about what I had been going through on that particular day. Old soggy memories from a bygone time. It doesn’t hurt the way it used to. Maybe because when I was suffering acutely, I wanted that life to come back somehow. As opposed to now, where I would not take it back if it were offered under any circumstances. I fail, in my woe, to correctly identify the things which actually cause my hurt. My heartache is misled in thinking a restoration of the past would bring resolution, when the problems of the relationship were deep and unrepairable. But my memories don’t take that into consideration. They’re very “all or nothing.”

But here I am about to go into work. I feel ready and able. I aim towards a promising tomorrow, and except nothing less than real progress. Here we go.

**UPDATE 11:15 am**

Our software platform that we use to do basically everything company-wide is offline, making my job in billing almost totally impossible. So I was hammering it out until that happened. Should be a temporary thing though. I hope. I’d rather be busy than bored.

**UPDATE 12:30 pm**

Not much has changed. I still have a backlog of 6 orders that need to go in the computer, and the more calls I take the farther behind I get. So it’s a little discouraging today. I’m keeping myself under control: I had been going out in the mornings to get something unhealthy to eat, but since the med change I’ve stopped. I was only making things worse for the drowsiness and eating food with no redeemable qualities. So enough of that. Plus, I’d rather direct that enthusiasm towards my rejuvenated outlook on my life. I can do better than I have been. I was trying hard, but depression eats away at stability and happiness constantly, and gains ground as my health worsens. So I plan to go out of my way to better my mental state with positive and uplifting activities. Exercise, sociality, recreation and mindful eating can all play a part in getting me to a better place. It’s going to be a challenge to overcome depression, but I know I can do it.

**UPDATE 2:45 pm**

On my last break of the day. We finally got our software back, and it took me 56 minutes to get all the back logged orders put in the computer. Sigh. But now I can be effective again. Hooray! I just took my afternoon Welbutrin and I am here in my truck for just a minute more before I go back. But I wanted you to know I was doing great, and getting my shit done on time and without mistakes. Back on top of the ball again. Yes!


Hey blog. I had the whole day to myself today and I didn’t implode! I did try and get out to support a friend at a craft fair, but it turned out to be an event at someone’s house, which I was not expecting. So I went looking for a street fair, didn’t find one, then turned around and went home thinking to myself “you probably got the wrong directions off the Facebook group’s page.” Nope. Just didn’t at all consider that someone would want to hold a craft fair in their house. How could they ever expect any foot traffic? Made no sense to me then, and now.

But the real test here was to see if I could be alone all day and not deteriorate into a puddle of sadness. I had contact with people all day through email and text. So I did do proactive things to avoid feeling lonely. But I had my moments of boredom. I stared blankly into the abyss and refused to fall in. I could have, but I went out and took every opportunity to be social that I could. I got myself invited back to my uncle’s house tomorrow to watch football. I also got invited to a Texas Hold ‘Em poker and fajita event here at the apartment. My landlord came and knocked on my door to invite me to the fun. And I didn’t pass up that chance to get out and be social. So I can’t then look critically at myself and feel like I was suffering and did nothing about it. I was proactive, and that is something I can appreciate myself for.

I did manage to get through my tough spots today on my own. I just reassured myself, listened to music, tried to get lost in Diablo II. I had fun, and I didn’t just sit and suffer. It will take a few more days before I notice any changes brought on by the medication, but I know that there is help on the way. I can and will get through the onset of depression and I will be able to move past it. I can’t be dragged under by sadness. It’s not an option. My life is too important to let mental illness ruin it.

So blog, I’m trying to frame things in a constructive way. I don’t want the foundation of my house to be built on mud. My mental health is the top priority, and I’m doing everything in my power to prevent a relapse. It is work that I need to do now so that I might be able to live the life I deserve. I can see no other way than to fight my way out, and try to make myself proud of who I am.

I wish you all the best in whatever struggle presents itself to you. Know that if a severely mentally ill person such as myself is capable of surviving the madness of bipolar depression, you can probably hang in there too. We are not alone in our suffering. I’m right there with you, cheering you on towards s better tomorrow. Be well.

Hoping For Me

I’m struggling. It’s the same problem I’ve been having: I get alone time and I spiral down. I feel like nothing that I do is fun. I can’t sing my favorite songs… I have no desire to. I can’t play my computer games, I judge myself for participating in a mindless activity. I feel like I deserve to be lonely; I made my life end up this way. Nothing I want to do brings me any joy. It’s all lifeless, tasteless cardboard. Everywhere I turn, my mind is evaluating and punishing me with negativity. It’s a hopeless struggle against a much mightier foe, and I am losing.

But as I sit here in my sadness, I’m holding on to the good things I have going for me. My life is stable. My apartment is mine, and can’t be taken away from me because someone else decides to leave me. My job is good, though I am having a difficult time mustering the energy to participate fully in it. I have a good support team who cares about me and my wellbeing. I don’t need to make things harder on myself by judging all my actions as bad or somehow worthless.

So here are some things I’m going to try: I’m going to try to take care of myself with compassion and not judgmentalism. I’m going to try and go over to my uncle’s house and be around people, if possible. I am going to be understanding of my mental state as fragile and not put undo pressure on myself to be a certain way. I can have times where I feel down, and it’s not the apocalypse. It’s just a thing that happens. And I’m working with my support team to get on top of it and be healthy again. These times where depression gets strong are tough, but I can and will get through it.

I just got the conformation that I am going to spend the evening with my uncle and aunt, who have really stepped up to help me. It makes me feel less despairing to know they care, and are willing to help. But I’m crying. And feeling acutely sad. I know that these feelings are symptoms, and they come from a malfunctioning part of my brain. It’s not fair that I have to suffer this way. I can’t help but feel the deep and resounding ache of depression, it’s icy grip choking me. I feel it all wadded up in my throat, and burning behind my eyes. I really don’t like depression. It pretty much sucks.

But tonight I will not be lonely. I will not suffer on my own and get deep into the muck of sadness. I’m going to get through this, and I’m going to take steps that will help me feel better. Every day, until I can get back to living my life normally. I appreciate you out there who suffer a similar plight and maybe have as hard a time as I do figuring a way out of it. My tears have stopped. For now.

**UPDATE 4:30 pm**

I’m still shaky, but I’ve done some good things to help myself feel better: I cleaned my bathroom, did the dishes, took out the trash and played some more Diablo II. I also took a shower and just let that warm water run all over me. It’s calming, I’ve found. So it’s not like I’m suffering and not doing anything about it. I’m going to leave here soon and make my way over to my uncle’s house for a salmon dinner. Sounds epic. And being around people will surely cheer me up. It’s Friday night and I should go out and have fun. I don’t want to stay cooped up in my kennel all the time. It’s not healthy. I have a headache but I took a naproxen sodium to get rid of that. So blog, I’m still sad inside, and I still hurt, but I’m not going to let it own me or otherwise ruin my mental state. I have too many good things going on in my life than to be bogged down by depression. I realize there is a clinical component to this that can’t be overlooked. My brain really is not producing the correct neurochemicals to be a well behaved organ. I got my new medications today and I start taking them tonight (Lithium). Tomorrow I start the elevated dose of Welbutrin. So that will give my body a couple of days to respond to the changes, and hopefully get me back to stability for the long-haul. I know that these mental health issues can be a struggle, but I’m doing everything I can to combat it. Here’s hoping for the best.

Assassin’s Journal v. 2 (Diablo II Game Notes)

I died in the maggot layer cursed by amplify damage and got hit with a shitload of scarab charged bolts. As you can see, my lightning resistance is garbage. I am not sure if re-rolling my charms is going to bring that out of the gutter, but act 2 is punishing me with things that do lightning damage. I’m fine with fire, and archers are bothersome but not deadly like a group of scarabs can be. I’ve landed on a couple experience shrines in some well populated areas, and advanced pretty rapidly through the levels. I’m only on the claw viper portion of the horadric staff quest, and I’ve leveled twice since clearing the maggot layer. Big groups of baddies are quite common in the mod, and they can have 1 to 3 named trash mobs in there too. I’m wearing the Delirium runeword helmet for the skill boost (+2), but wouldn’t mind being turned into a bone fetish if it were to happen. I don’t think I can use any special charge-up attacks in that mode, but we’ll have to see. It’s only fun if being transformed does not suddenly lead to my death. My dragon claw skill is just gross. I do so much damage, and my attack rating is dynamite with it. The only thing that puts up much of a fight versus that skill is a stationary fire tower, which has some insane level of resistance to physical attacks. I also traded my Rogue scout for the battle mage you can hire in act 3. I like his damage better, and he gets off more shots than the archer does. I watched her wander around periodically and never get set to shoot anything until I had already cleared the room. I’d rather have the guaranteed freeze effect of the mage’s icebolt, than an arrow that happens to do cold damage also.


**UPDATE 12:40 pm**


Right after I posted about being turned into a bone fetish it happened. Turns out you can’t use any special attacks, but the base attack (which is to poke the enemy with a spear that the bone fetish holds) does extreme damage. It only lasts for a minute or so, maybe less, and only happens on being hit 1% of the time. But it still kills anything, including named trash, with one hit. Not bad I say.


**UPDATE 2:30 pm**


I gave her a secondary build by integrating a 1H sword and shield build with the Passion runeword, which grants out of class Zeal and Berserk, which I adore. I gave her a skill/mana shield runeword to keep her standing upright in dense fights. I’m getting kinda tired of having to click on every single mob in order to kill it. So Zeal packs 5 hits to all adjacent targets, and Berserk is a great right-click attack shattering foes with amplified damage totals (by straight magic). Very soon, I will be using Mara’s Kaleidoscope, which offers +2 to all skills, among several other neat things. That will bring the base out-of-class skill up to 11. Yeah buddy. I have gone ahead and updated the profile to reflect this secondary build. She’s got +8 to all skills, so this is quite rad to have those out of class skills up so high. They make it all worthwhile. The runeword helm Delirium, when combined with the absurd attack rate of a Burst of Speed Zeal, procs the 11% chance to cast level 18 Confuse nearly every time I get into a large group. This has some outstanding benefits: first, those obnoxious little Flayers are illuminated by the curse, so I can see easily where they are and how many of them there are, but second, causes them to fight each other, taking the heat off me. I can largely sit back and kill the nearest clusters, and watch as my mage freezes the outlying Flayers who are STILL busy fighting each other. And just so you know, level 18 confuse will curse everything on the screen. And many things that are off the screen. I have no idea what the radius is on it, but it’s generous. and 11% happens nearly every time I get into a fight. Just sick. These out-of-class skills are just ridiculously awesome. I was actually thinking of going back and leveling a Paladin because I love Zeal so much. NO NEED NOW BUB.

**UPDATE 9:45 pm**

I’ve had a good run through the first of the Khalim’s body parts quest. Made mincemeat of the contents of the spider cavern. Then had a run through the Flayer jungle. Yep, just as annoying as I remember. With Confused Flayer blow gunners scattering in all conceivable directions. And maybe 5-15 melee ones all coming in with a shaman behind them. Or a group of elite trash shamans all taking their sweet time dying. All the while I take fire damage. But the clever use of Zeal and Berserk have kept it competitive. I could just as easily switch back to claws and start killing everything in 1 hit again. But that’s not as much fun as an Assassin with Zeal. I can’t wait till 67. We just rounded 61 a short while ago. Nice.




Slayer Venom
Class: Assassin
Level: 71 (Nightmare Act 5)

(All stat totals modified by equipment)

Strength: 196
Dexterity: 195
Vitality: 139
Energy: 50

Life: 682
Defense: 2147
Base Attack Rating: 1719
Base Damage 498 – 1111 enhanced by cold damage


Fire: 75
Cold: 75
Lightning: 75
Poison: 75

Left click
Level 11
5 Hits
Increases Attack Rating 110%
Increases Damage 42%
Attack Rating: 2769
Melee: 546 – 1180 enhanced by cold damage

Right Click
Level 11
Increases Attack Rating 260%
Adds Magic Damage 300%
Attack Rating: 4106
Melee: 840 – 1606 enhanced by cold damage

Special Ability (Aura)
Burst Of Speed
Level 31
Increases Attack Speed 55%
Duration: 480 seconds


**UPDATE 3:00 pm 11/8/14**

So I went on a campaign and blazed my way through act 4. I got to Diablo and made short work of him, along with all his pesky minions. I used the Zeal build to get through the trash, then switched to claws for the boss. I figured it would be appropriate to see the truly stark contrast between the “correct” Assassin build, and the out-of-class build which I have been using to keep things interesting. I will probably be going back to claws for act 5, as the trash doesn’t pile up quite like it does in acts 3 or 4. Zeal will, subsequently, be less effective. But her claw build is truly gross:

**UPDATE 7:30 pm 11/8/14**

I took her points out of weapon block and put them into claw mastery. She’s now wearing the Shadow Dancer myrmidon greaves, which are unlocked by the mod and not restricted to the ladder. Those greaves give an additional +2 to Shadow Disciplines, of which Burst of Speed and Claw Mastery are found. Hence the cap going up to 31, with only a partial fill on the Claw Mastery. But my base cold damage finally took over as the dominant elemental modifier, which I am very very happy about. Poison is useless in my builds. I need up-front damage not damage over time (DOT). Poison takes forever to kill anyone and I have only to click and I can instantly do oodles of cold damage. And now even regular melee attacks have a good chance to freeze my targets. This is easily the best claw build assassin for DPS (damage per second) that I have ever constructed. Her ability to take damage is shit, but whatever, we’re going to make it!!!

Slayer Venom
Class: Assassin
Level: 71 (Nightmare Act 5)

(All stat totals modified by equipment)

Strength: 216
Dexterity: 195
Vitality: 139
Energy: 40

Life: 682
Defense: 1851
Base Attack Rating: 3342
Base Damage 1348 – 2274 enhanced by cold damage


Fire: 75
Cold: 75
Lightning: 75
Poison: 80 (absorb)

Left click
Phoenix Strike
Level 29
Increases Attack Rating 211%
First Charge: Meteor 759 – 855 fire damage (939 – 1000 per second for 5 seconds, area of effect, fire damage)
Second Charge: Chain Lightning 1 – 1627 lightning damage
Third Charge: Chaos Ice Bolt 360 – 392 cold damage, chance to freeze target
Attack Rating: 5357
Melee: 1348 – 2274 enhanced by cold damage

Right Click
Dragon Claw
Level 29
Finishing Move (releases charges)
Increases Damage 222%
Increases Attack Rating 740%
Attack Rating: 10409
Melee: 1682 – 2702 enhanced by cold damage

Special Ability (Aura)
Burst Of Speed
Level 31
Increases Attack Speed 55%
Duration: 480 seconds

Special Attack (Area Of Effect)
Level 11
Increases Damage 30%
Increases Attack Rating 50%
Attack Rating: 3820
Melee (3 second duration): 1400 – 2342 enhanced by cold damage

Passive Skill
Claw Mastery
Level 23
Increases Base Attack Rating 250%
Increases Base Damage 123%
Critical Strike Chance 21%

Energy Woes

I’m struggling to get out of bed in the mornings. My internal sensor, which seems to be pretty accurate, is telling me my brain battery is not recharging normally. I feel utterly drained. I know that today will be another long and tiring affair, with my presence at work again required on Saturday.

I am planning on going to see my friend Jacqueline on Saturday at a holiday craft fair in the afternoon (after I’m done at work). So I’m trying to fill my time with interesting activities, rather than be stuck at home with nothing to do.

I’m a few minutes from my appointment with Dr. Judge. I’m looking forward to explaining my problem and seeing what solution there might be. Is my antidepressant not working well enough? Should we increase the Geodon? I’m not sure what the answers will be, but something needs to be done, for sure. So change in this department should lead to my life becoming less arduous again.

I’ve started an email correspondence with Sasha, who has been very helpful in my feeling less alone. I hope that we can continue to talk, as this is rewarding for me on many levels. It’s these kinds of interactions, I find, that lead to sustainable friendships. Just the act of expression, and a response in comprehension or recognition is a great reward.

I’m so tired though. Just writing this has been exhausting. I am trying to be coherent but I doubt that I have done a decent job at that. My mind is a jumbled mess. But this is what I intended to use this blog for: an unfiltered look at my daily tribulations. I’m still figuring my life out, slowly but surely. I’m in need of help along the way. So here we are at the doctor’s office doing just that.

**UPDATE 9:30 am**

I’m not going in. This is likely the onset of the depression portion of the bipolar disorder, and we are taking new, radical steps to treat the symptoms. I’m going to be taking Lithium again which should really help me succeed in managing these symptoms. I will also be on a new dose of the Welbutrin and I will be taking it at two different times during the day. I’m hopeful this new approach will address the onset of my depression. Oh, and we’re going to eventually phase out the Geodon entirely. New meds new meds move down move down. As the Mad Hatter might say.

So I have a headache and I’m waiting in the pharmacy to get my meds. This will be a turning point for me. I hope.


Yearning abides the fevered ache
What cheating hands so often take
Like a blister from the burning sun
A man who’s will has come undone
Not gambling away the common play
But in simplicity he chose to stay
Then lost in sadness and turning blue
The lies he was convinced were true
Abandoned, alone and ever-felt
On the doorstep of pain he often knelt
Those shattered dreams are blown away
Time will bring yet another day
Memories burn like newborn fire
The person he’s been he can’t admire
But change is driving his movement on
The path he walks yet to be drawn
Alone he stands with much support
With friends and others of that sort
Hear their words ring loud and true
That they do love the things you do
And carry on this noble charge
Your self esteem will so enlarge
Beating back the pain of the day
Of times in which you went astray
Fear not the future coming true
No one stands between it and you
Little tasks you will complete
Until your cup is quite replete
Shadows erased by blinding light
The torch will cut the fear of night
Hold fast and true and you will see
The man you always hoped you’d be

Pillow-Time Check-In

On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = serious problem, 10 = not a problem), rate the following:

Emotional Health:                             5

Physical Depression Symptoms:     4

Physical Anxiety Symptoms:           10

Racing Thoughts:                              10

Depressed Thoughts:                        7

Self-Esteem:                                       8

Concentration:                                   6

Enthusiasm:                                       6

Charisma:                                           10

Motivation:                                        7

Paranoia / Fear / Anxiety:             10

Outlook / Hope:                              10

OVERALL:                                   7.75/10

CASE NOTES: things have been poor in the sustaining energy department, with it costing me a few hours of work. I’m not feeling acutely depressed, but I can tell that there’s something wrong. Tomorrow morning I go to see Dr. Judge and we are going to reevaluate my medical situation. I feel like the dosages were low, and that was working in my largely stress-free life. But that has been changing, and I have been attempting to manage life on my own, which is difficult. I don’t have anyone to lean on but myself. That’s kinda scary. But I’m well aware of the problems and I’m being very proactive about correcting it. I don’t want to hide the truth from you or from my own awareness. I’m trying to model good mental health not only for you but for me as well, and it’s a learning process with obstacles. No doubt. I’m going to have to stay “on top of it” if I’m to preserve my mental wellbeing. This is a new and daunting challenge for me, but I intend to meet it. I will not give up. I will not yield to exhaustion or wanton negativity. I’m bigger, stronger and better than the confines of my mental illness. And I will prove it.


You know, my meager little existence is a largely problem-free environment. I don’t do anything to intentionally subject myself to circumstances that would lead to problems. As a result, I live rather simply, transitioning between work and home, enjoying breaks and not juggling more than I can handle. It gives me pause, to reflect on the situation I most recently came from:

Every time I look back on my past, I see something glaringly wrong with how I was handling my life. These alarming instances of failure (on my part) had to do with my ability to cope with my life. In some way, I was always trying to escape it; through drugs or sugar or cigarettes, I didn’t want to be there. Instead, I wanted to expedite my death so I could be free of it.

Today, I’m trying to be attentive to my emotional and mental state, perhaps more so than I ever have before. I’m scrutinizing my feelings, and trying to avoid evaluating (see judging) them as good or bad. I want to be able to accept and process the litany of reactions I go through on a daily basis with loving respect. I have the hope in mind that I will be able to roll through hard times, when I am most alone or isolated, and be able to survive without harming myself.

I have taken Sasha’s “no sugar no badness (paraphrasing)” challenge to heart, an I myself could use a kick in the ass in this department. I will be (again) scaling back my use of the substance as much as possible, and continuing to exercise and get to my final Lone Bull Project goal. I still have enough time before the project ends. Got like 4 months to lose 30 or so pounds. I think that is achievable.

Today the air smells rich and full of pollen and dust. The wind is blowing around 10-15 miles an hour in the afternoon, and all the deciduous leaves are scattered around the parking lot; signaling the arrival of fall. The trees seem to know that the Earth is positioned away from the sun, but the weather does not. Still very warm, like summer part 2.

It’s Thursday, which means there’s a game on. Browns at Bengals. It’s funny to think back on just how little I had in common with Jax. She hated football. Never even cared one lick how I did in fantasy. But then again, I never really got in to her jewelry. I supported it financially, and invested a ton in it, but I never got into it with her at all. Sometimes we can be paired up with people we find ourselves to be wholly incompatible with, and stuck with them; stubbornly refusing to detach and move on. I’m sad for the way she chose to end it (by cheating on me) but I’m glad it’s over. I wasn’t getting any sort of benefit from the closeness we had. We were two people standing on vastly different plains. But now I get to actually enjoy the games without inhibition or disapproval. Rad!

I hope you have a good day wherever you are in the world. I also wish that whatever season it happens to be where you are, that the Earth knows it too.

**UPDATE 3:05 pm**
I’m struggling with fatigue. Seems to never have let me up today. I’m just beat down mentally exhausted. And there’s still the quiet final hours at work to slog through. I’m so glad to be going into see Dr. Judge tomorrow. This feels like depression tiredness. And we can’t have that. I made another payment to the debt collectors. Just 7 more months and I’ll be out of default. Good things are happening. I’m just at the end. So ready to call it quits and go home. Looking forward to that immensely. But there’s still a slog to endure. Wish me luck.

White Out

Do you ever look back on a dark chapter of your life and wonder how it ever happened? Some of the memories I have of Jax just leave me scratching my head, now. At the time, I remember having reservations, apprehensions… but I stuffed them all away and said “no” to them. I would do something to distract myself or attempt to explain them away or otherwise excuse fact for delusion. Albeit, there were plenty of good times. But why couldn’t I see the warning signs? Why wouldn’t I let myself in on the fact that something was wrong?

It seems that I possess the flaw of being complacent in relationships. I do, currently, adhere to a much higher standard of introspection. But this was not always the case. In fact, I have perpetuated acts that led directly to the death of my last relationship, and did so blindly. I’d hope (for my sake) that a disaster such as Jax would lead to some wholesale changes in me.

Turns out that I’m kinda correct about those changes. Margaret said to me today “you’re doing such a good job being aware of your feelings, and trying to have a handle on your mental health.” Boom. I agree Margaret. In fact, this is just a preview of the implementation of radical self-growth. In response to calamity, I’ve taken as much good from it as possible, and will continue to strive for better mental health.

Being accepting of my personal responsibility was a huge step. One that I have never avoided, but have had difficulty in understanding. I know that there were serious problems with my role in my relationship with Jax. Problems that I kept from her, and punished myself with. But who are we, if not bound to learn? I have divulged my flaws, even formally apologized to my ex, and transitioned beyond that sullied history. It is now solely my responsibility to make the changes in myself that need to occur for my continued wellbeing. A long process, needless to say, but one I will not shy away from.

I am more determined than ever to cleanse myself of sadness and feeling forlorn. I will rise to meet new challenges, and assume a bigger role in the stewardship of my reality. I owe it to myself to love who I am (flaws and all) and present that person to the world. Not too much to ask, for an overachiever such as myself. I hope you can hear the hopeful, inspired words I write, and take a hard look at your own introspective processes. Couldn’t hurt.

88 Degrees

Is it still summer, or is it fall? This part of the country doesn’t do any other seasons but summer, it would seem.

It’s been a slow day. I’ve felt pretty tired since therapy this morning. I feel like I make life harder than it has to be sometimes. I tend to judge myself in situations where I might be better served by compassion. Margaret was good to point out how I can try and hold on too tightly to control, and how sometimes I need to loosen my grip (where applicable). But I still need to be in the driver’s seat of my life. No doubt. It’s pretty important that I do a good job managing myself too, because I’m all I have.

I’m going to see Dr. Judge on Friday, as I am feeling like we may need to up the medications. My instability of late has me worried that there is a deeper neurochemical cause to all of this. Either way, I need to give it my attention.

Venom’s Diary

Entry 104, Act I: The Rogue’s Encampment, Sanctuary

Is there no end to this madness? I recall that but a few short days ago, I vanquished the demon lord Baal on the floor of the Worldstone chamber, only to find myself here, back where it all began, with Andariel. She who I mercilessly slaughtered in what seems like a lifetime ago. Now, I’m returned unceremoniously to the Rogue’s Encampment with Akara acting as though she had never met me. And Warriv saying “greetings stranger” to me as I walked near the bonfire. Is this some form of new devilry? My first thought was that this was a trick of time, and that I had been cast backward in history… but I have come to find that lands I crossed as a fledgling hero are now full with evil, and on par with my evolved strength. These minions would have destroyed me if I had met them before, but now they fight anew with enhanced vigor and fortitude. I can’t explain how all the days and weeks of labor I poured into cleansing this land of the shadow of the three can suddenly be undone. I am back. And Andariel is my foe once more, and THAT is my reality; some form of living nightmare to which I am bound.

Regardless, evil stands before me once more. I can rise to fight, or I can die, along with everyone who calls Sanctuary their home. I can’t let that happen. If I must do it again, I will.

My companion Tylena, a Rogue archer, has come with me into this madness, and somehow all the world has forgotten us. Yet she still wears the runeword armor I crafted for her, and still carries The Breath Of The Dying, which I inscribed on her longbow for her, just before we were to face Baal. She and I will stand beside the archangel Tyriel once more, but we must earn our way there… all over again.

I am unsure what new challenges we may face, but upon coming here, I felt my strength lessen, as I am hurt quickly my magic and elemental attacks, much as I was when my hero’s quest began. It would seem there is no end to this punishment, and evil is strong in Sanctuary once more. But not for long. Even as I write, Deckard Cain sits by the fire, having been freed (again) from Tristram. When I try to explain that this has happened before, he becomes cross with me and demands I focus on Andariel. I had hoped he, in his wisdom, would have an answer.

I must go on. There is no return to Horaggath for celebration. No Mala to cheer for the demise of Baal. Nothing but a world once more replete with evil. And Tylena and I must face it together, again.

Fool Of Feelings

I feel still pretty mixed up inside. I had a very difficult time being alone yesterday. Part of me almost expects there to be human interaction, and when it doesn’t happen, I get deep in sorrow. I’m not sure why that is. I have been proactive about seeking contact in the past, when I’ve been isolated for an extent. I don’t just sit and suffer indefinitely.

Today is a new day, and my emotional state is still pretty jumbled. I can’t really enjoy time off if I feel like I didn’t work hard to earn it. Which yesterday qualified as a not earned therefore not fun day. I guess. Things are going to be better today. I’m already out the door to go to work. I know, it’s early, but I just couldn’t stay in that house any longer. I had to change the scenery. I have procured strong coffee and I will be attempting to gather my wits for the new day ahead. Traffic is likely to hold me up in transit for a while. I also am taking some time to write this post, which I’m hoping will bring some clarity to the veritable soup of feelings I’m dealing with. Life is not always a clean-cut answer. It can swing to extremes, it can be mired in consistency. Life doesn’t stop for you, it’s going by whether you’re onboard or not. I have to treat myself callously sometimes in order to meet those expectations.

I followed some of the work emails coming in on my iPhone. Looks like more headaches in the billing queue. I’m not sure what event set that off, but they’ve added a new wrinkle to the equation. Now we have to fill out an eform for every billing call we take. Seems like there is a larger problem going on and they’re trying to find out what and where. I’m happy to follow procedures, so no complaints here.

Blog, I need to remind myself sometimes about the content of my life: I live independently in a 1BR apartment which I can afford, I have a steady job that pays well, I have medical insurance and a great support network of doctors who are willing to help me, and I have a loving family who are always there for me no matter what’s going on. Just this weekend I went over to my uncle’s house and had my spirits lifted. It is possible that the onset of winter (well, fall, to be accurate) will flatten my mood a bit. I’m not sure. Spring is usually when I get most depressed. No matter, I’m moving forward.

So I’m going to see Margaret tomorrow, which is perfect timing considering how volatile things have been over the last 3 days. A perfect opportunity to go over my coping skills.

I hope you all have a good day. I am trying to do so with mine.

**UPDATE 9:00 am**
I’m ready as I’ll ever be to start my shift. I’m hopeful that today I will be able to stay busy but not be overwhelmed by circumstance. I’m a hard worker, of that there is no doubt. I need my work to keep my brain occupied with something productive to do. Otherwise, I run the risk of spiraling into sadness like I have. I really should get with Dr. Judge about that. Maybe we’re due for an increase in Geodon. All food for thought. Point is: I’m here and ready to have a full, productive day. Wish me luck!

**UPDATE 11:30 am**

I just ate lunch and I think I’m doing fine. It’s been a steady flow of incoming calls. Some billing, some drive thru (exchanges so far). So I’m doing a lot more data entry than problem solving. No matter. This will be zooming right along and be over before I can blink.

**UPDATE 1:00 pm**

Day moving right along. Had a guy get furious at me for having the audacity to do my job correctly. I am enjoying the wind today. The air is crisp and a little cold, but howling over 15 miles an hour. A totally welcome distraction. Mood wise I’m doing just fine. It feels really good to be back at work and having a purpose again. Taking yesterday was both a gain and a loss, and maybe an indicator of where I still need to improve on my recovery. I’m going to keep eating right and exercise a little every night when I come home. I shouldn’t get into the habit of stagnation. So my mind is headed in the right direction. My body is still in sleep mode. I’ve had more than enough foul work coffee. Blog, life is good, and I am comforted by the wind. It makes me feel like I’m flying.

**UPDATE 4:15 pm**
It’s shocking to see the sun very near to setting already. Daylight savings time really messes me up. Tomorrow morning I go see Margaret. Yay. I’m actually more looking forward to my December 1st meeting with Dr. Judge, because I’d like to go over the meds again. The recent upwellings of sadness should not go by unnoticed. I am going to be proactive, and not just brush them off. So I’ve been in a benefits meeting and I’ll be enrolling as of the 15th of the month for full coverage for all of 2015. So very pleased. I am happy to have arrived at this point, where I am stable and have good healthcare for the first time in my adult life. It’s nice to know I won’t eat a penalty at the end of the year for not having coverage as well. Cruising. I’ll catch you later blog. Still got an hour and a half to go. Boom.

The Mirror

I have a hard time putting things into perspective when I’m alone. It tends to get the better of me, negativity does. I don’t do a good job reflecting back at myself the angles needed to see alternatives. Instead I can see only what’s directly ahead of me, and that can lead to difficulties. Part of my problem is processing instantaneous feelings with an advanced priority, like just because they got here in a hurry somehow means they’re more important. I’m learning to swing down and through those feelings, and to offer myself a way out once I get to the bottom of the trough.

Today I struggled with feeling isolated. But instead of losing my mind in sadness, I took care of myself: I had some exercise to burn the negative feelings off, I had a warm shower to get myself feeling nice and fresh, and I entertained myself with some Diablo II. I didn’t spiral, and now having come to this better point, I can appreciate the good things I did to help myself out of that hole.

It’s not easy being bipolar. I can have pretty dramatic downturns which lead to suffering. But I’m active in trying to help myself gain perspective. All the great things about my life have not miraculously evaporated, they are still a part of everything I am. So I need to look at myself in the mirror and reflect on that. I haven’t lost anything, I’ve gained many new things. I’m not constantly suffering, this is only temporary pain. The more practice I get at this the better my life will be.

So blog, I’ve had an up and down afternoon, but I’m proactive in trying to help myself feel better. This will all be moot once I get back to the intense distractions of work. For now, I’m better.

I can’t tell you what a help it is to just wrote this stuff out. It acts like poison if I hold on to these thoughts and give them no way to be heard. I feel so many things, and I find the need frequent in a concerted effort to express. The longer the feeling stays bottled up inside the worse its impact can become. I’m making dinner, and having a good evening. It’s getting to be too cold at night to leave my windows open. Winter is coming.

**UPDATE 5:00 pm**

I have been processing my feelings this afternoon, and I got through the really hard stuff. Now it’s dinner time, and the football game is coming on. I knew I would be fine. Just right there in the thick of suffering, it can be really hard. I was crying and feeling sad because I’m pretty social, and I like to be around people. When I get locked in the house all day it can be tough to feel like I have much identity. Like somehow I lose sight of who I am. This is a transition time for me. And I’m learning what to do on my own, and I’m going to be fine.

Chemically Off

I’m taking a sick day today. I was on my way to work when I realized that there was something wrong with my brain and I wasn’t safe to continue driving. Not sure if staying up really late last night set me off, but I need a day to get my chemicals back into balance. I felt like I was doped up on medication; like I couldn’t gain any awareness of my surroundings. So this will happen from time to time. Not a big deal, and thankfully I can miss a day and not be unfortunately behind when I return. My work doesn’t pile up when I’m out.

Other than my neurochemestry being out of whack, I’m doing fine. I was getting depressed yesterday being alone in the house so I went over to see my aunt and uncle. I had dinner with them and that was nice. I needed to be around someone. All that sitting and watching and talking to no one kinda wore me down and made me lonely. But I had fun. And ate a tasty enchilada.

So chalk this one up to a chemical day. Things like this are bound to happen when you have a mood disorder. Believe it or not, but brain chemistry is pretty critical to existence.

**UPDATE 11:30 am**
Still out of it. I’m trying to do things, but I can’t stay focused on any one task. I picked up my parent’s mail which I had been meaning to do for a while. Trying to take it easy, but I feel just so fidgetafied. Can’t explain it. Part of my brain wants to shut down and go to sleep. The other part is running at full speed. Just gotta wait this one out.

**UPDATE 1:00 pm**

I’m much the same way. I should have made a better effort to push through my symptoms, but then again, I also didn’t feel safe to drive. Tomorrow will be better. There’s no chance of sleep. Too alert and too far into the day. I feel like sometimes I need these little breaks in the routine. I did work an extra day this week, you know. So I don’t feel bad taking some time for myself. This is necessary to maintain good mental health, and I’m good with that.

**UPDATE 2:00 pm**

I’m crying a little. I just got to feeling so lonely. I’ve had to get used to being alone, and how to stand up on my own. But when you’ve always had people around, not having them near presents a contrast. I’m going to be alright. I just get sad sometimes. I didn’t fill the hole up with someone else, I’m trying to fill it myself, which is a much harder thing to do. There’s no outside factor in action, so I will occasionally get lost when things slow down and there’s no distraction between me and myself. Work usually keeps me pretty occupied on days like this, when my chemicals are out of order. But even as I write this, I’m feeling better. I just needed to cry a little, feel that low point. I can come back out the other side of this, and I will. Life is not all one color. It doesn’t always go according to script. I feel very deeply, and I can sometimes lose sight of the long-term good things I have going for me. In the immediate, where suffering is present, I too can look down instead of up. I need to develop some decent coping skills to manage these times. On that note, I think I will do some exercise.

Assassin’s Journal (Diablo II Game Notes)

Tonight I went storming through the rest of act 5, which I had paused at arriving outside Nielethak’s Temple earlier in the day. On a tangential note: I found out that charm + scroll of identify + full moonstone does not always equal a decent rare like the recipe guide says it will. It manages to roll something, but not worth burning a whole moonstone over. Considering how many of them I’ve used so far (maybe 5), I’m thinking I’ll just save them for something else. Though this is a minor issue. The real point here is I’m finally really settling in to leveling my Assassin; a class I’ve traditionally favored. I had a build similar to this one back over 15 years ago when I would go do LAN parties with our intrepid band of heroes (Will, Scooter, Schwacky and I). We all got through normal mode together one of those nights on one multiplayer game. Took it right to Baal and beat him down, a few casualties as well, naturally. I remember the drop was crap. But that original build, an Assassin named Venom, lives on in this new manifestation:

Slayer Venom
Class: Assassin
Level: 52 (Nightmare Act 1)
(All stat totals modified by equipment)
Strength: 171
Dexterity: 163
Vitality: 79
Energy: 47

Life: 441
Defense: 978
Attack Rating: 1601

Left click
Phoenix Strike
Level 26
Increases Attack Rating 190%
First Charge: Meteor 624 – 708 fire damage (757 – 801 per second for 5 seconds, area of effect, fire damage)
Second Charge: Chain Lightning 1 – 1333 lightning damage
Third Charge: Chaos Ice Bolt 286 – 314 cold damage, hit freezes target
Attack Rating: 3203
Melee: 738 – 1952 enhanced by poison damage

Right Click
Dragon Claw
Level 14
Finishing Move (releases charges)
Increases Damage 124%
Increases Attack Rating 390%
Attack Rating: 4889
Melee: 836 – 2162 enhanced by poison damage

Special Ability (Aura)
Burst Of Speed
Level 26
Increases Attack Speed 55%
Duration: 420 Seconds

Special Attack (Area Of Effect)
Level 8
Increases Damage 6%
Increases Attack Rating 35%
Attack Rating: 1896
Melee (3 second duration): 743 – 1963 enhanced by poison damage

As you can see, most of her skill points have gone into increasing her movement speed (run/walk) and attack speed, and ensuring I have a powerful spell which can freeze trash mobs. I don’t waste time on them, if possible. I hit hard and fast. She’s holding a triple-socketed scissors quahb in each hand, each with the Chaos runeword. That runeword has a chance to procure a level 9 Charged Bolt (11% chance on striking) or level 11 Frozen Orb (9% chance on striking) spell, therefore, damage was never her problem. I focused on making her zippy, and capable of dispensing carnage quickly, and since charge 3 is the only way I roll, I prefer to shatter lots and lots of frozen enemies. Did I mention she’s wearing a Raven Frost ring? Just in case it wasn’t clear – shattering frozen trash mobs is my favorite. They can’t be resurrected, corpse-exploded, or otherwise used by the enemy for some ill-gotten gain. Shattered frozen trash mobs dissolve into a puddle of water and are cleanly, efficiently, disposed of. And now your going: well if he loves cold damage so much, why the poison damage enhancement on base damage? It’s my charms, which do contribute to the elemental damage modifier of my total melee damage (and Dragon Claw), but since there tends to be more poison damage than cold, the largest modifier wins out. Poison damage totals always run high because they do damage over time, usually 5-6 seconds. This is the core of the mechanics behind the crazy numbers I put up there for modified melee damage. Like I said earlier, I can do lots of damage. Not a problem. But can I do it quickly as well? Why yes, we can indeed. Plus headed into nightmare mode I felt it appropriate to give her the Chains Of Honor runeword armor (an exceptional gothic plate), which adds 2 to all skills (including out of class whirlwind). It’s nice having whirlwind in case things get dense. And at level 8, the damage modifier is a bonus, not a reduction.

So things are rolling along well. I whirlwinded all of the summoned trash right before you get into Baal’s chamber. I nearly died to the final wave of them because of that knock back thing they do. But I’m full rejuvenation potioned up. Baal himself only had one or two spells which caused me any harm. Then I just potioned and let the meteor fire damage stack up on him. He was shortly thereafter, dead.

Now to go back through and do it all again, sure. And act 1 is my favorite anyway. I’ll be having fun regardless. I hope you have played this lovely game, and have similar nostalgic thoughts on it. But I doubt you’d ever go back to it, considering how far graphics have come. But I still enjoy it regardless. It’s the gameplay that pleases me most of all. Keeps me coming back for more.

**UPDATE 11/3/14 @ 6:45 pm**

I have myself down to the “kill Andariel” quest in act 1. I’m sad to see it go. Act 1 is easily my favorite, then 5, followed by 4, 2 and lastly 3. Act 3 is misery. Those Flayers are the worst trash mobs in the game. They combine small size, retreating, and speed all in one box. They are truly horrible. And the stack of Flayers with the fire-breather (shaman) on top will melt hit points off in seconds. Now that my resistances are back in the shitter, I am not looking forward to my next run-in with them.

I have a feeling my rampage through this game will be coming to an end in act 2. Skeleton archers have always given me fits. There will also be skeleton mages, who’s damage I can’t block or absorb with reduced resistances. Even though my Chains Of Honor embossed plate grants 65% to all resistances, I’m still looking like this:

Fire: 42
Cold: 50
Lightning: 75 (absorb, capped)
Poison: 65

So you see now why I’m dreading those act 3 Flayer shamans? I’m going to have problems in act 2 though, as nearly all skeleton archers have fire damage on their arrows. And the most common elemental skeleton mage is fire. Some named trash have an extra invigorating corpse explosion on death, which makes quite a mess (and unpleasant sound), but is also (sadly) fire damage. A named crush beast decided to lower my health by a full 75% with one nasty corpse explosion. And it didn’t help that I had been cursed with amplify damage by another named trash mob. Outer cloister, gotta love it.

Rerolled my resistance bonus from my two large, two small rare charms and now look like this:

Fire: 64
Cold: 57
Lightning: 72
Poison: 65

I’d rather be balanced than have one glaringly weak point. All that thinking about those damned undead archers forced me into action.

Saving Daylight

We got rain for the first time in months, which caused my truck to look like the tree I park under threw up on it. It’s been a chilly day, quite a refreshing change from the monotony of the eternal summer of the desert southwest. I was at work for 4 hours today learning about a new drive thru system we support. The last real item on my “to do” list is to go shopping tomorrow morning before the early games kick off. Everything else is done. Including two rounds of dishes and laundry. Rad.

Sasha’s post about her past got me thinking about my own. I wondered about maybe going back to mine, and sharing some details of my failed marriage to Jax. But then, I got to thinking that none of those thoughts were either on my mind, or bothering me at all. I mean, I suppose I could go dig something up, but I have no reason to. That whole quadrant is concluded, with no future leading to it, or from it. So I guess there’s not anything there that has an impact on anything I’m doing now. Which is the way it aught to be. My mistake-riddled past is dead and gone. It doesn’t hold me back; it doesn’t propel me forward to go over it. I may still have lingering sadness because of it, but this isn’t a deciding factor in my fate as a person.

I really did have months and months to process any residual issues, and the evidence of that truly turbulent trial is here on this blog for all to see. Starting March 3rd, and continuing forward to now. I fought with my ex rather viciously for a time, then got sad and distressed, then those feelings died away leaving me to put something back in their place. I filled myself back up with accomplishments, pride, progress and strength. It’s not easy to do any of that, but it was fundamentally necessary if I was ever going to detach from my anguish and trudge on.

I feel like I can share my past if I needed to. But for right now at least, I’m of the mind that I’m better looking forward then behind. I’m a being of change, and I know from my own personal experiences, that I gain nothing by reliving the mistakes of my past. They are not my future. And to be honest, I have enough new things to think about and manage. I don’t need my energy and attention divided over something that will never change no matter how many times I poke at it. What’s written is and always will be.

With that said, I’m doing fine. Had a chat with my parents; they’re in central California currently and doing swell. They got a better rainstorm than I did, being a few hundred miles north of here. I was actually on the 8 today getting off at the 125 south to head home after my car wash, and I got to thinking: “I should scoot out to El Cajon and say hi.” But then I remembered they weren’t out there anymore. I’m glad they are having an adventure. I kept them tied down to one location for the better part of a year, and they never complained or hurried the process. They just stood by and helped me get my life back. I owe them more than I can ever repay.

So life is meandering along. I want to sleep in tomorrow and not wake up even before my alarm goes off. I have a terrible habit of doing that. Plus, Will is going to call me tonight on Skype and we are to have with the chatting. Very nice.

Have a good Saturday. I’ll be checking in at some point tomorrow. Bai.

**UPDATE 7:00 pm**

Snuggy mode achieved. My feet are kinda cold and clammy. Bleh. I just ate a food and now I think it is time to zzzz. But before I do, I just want to give a quick shout out to my boy Will, who is currently trying to get his life rolling in Portland, OR. even though he is far away (1091 miles to be exact) I wish him nothing but the best. He and Sandra are trying to have a life together and they’re totally doing it. She already got a job up there and everything. So I have good thoughts headed their way. I’m probably not going to see him again for a long time, as my truck will not be making that journey. But it’s pretty cool that there’s only 1 freeway (interstate 5) that connects his town and my town. Just hop on the freeway and drive for 17 hours. I just had a Skype call with him and I’m very proud of my entrepreneurial friend and his partner. I hope they make it.