Edain 4.0 – Review

The trailer

I use Gondor/Arnor in this widely anticipated release. It’s been 3 years in the making, and graciously received by a much starved community. 3.8.1 was playable, but imbalanced, and mechanically fractured. 4.0 on the other hand, is a largely polished product. There have been reports of gameplay glitches and one improperly balanced unit (Lindon Archers). In my opinion, skirmish gameplay has been challenging. I’ve discovered that economy is vital in this mod, as the numbers have proved out. My income was averaging 700 per minute, while the AI ripped off 1500 per minute on average. That’s more than twice mine. I clearly don’t have it figured out yet. 

From what I understand, resources are gathered by houses and farms (primarily), then also by special buildings. I can’t figure out how the computer is able to generate such a gaudy income. I grab 2 – 4 farms, build more than 3 houses, and my income in my last game finally broke 1000, but I’m still 500 behind to at least break even, let alone assert my control. The game’s economic demands will lead to rapidly growing armies and huge population totals. I have yet to truly understand the intensity of troop creation required to be successful. The Easy AI gave in to my limited armies at some past dilly-dallying point late game. It was not honorable or well fought. So I changed it to Hard and lost three in a row in miserable fashion. I stepped down to Medium and still died but later in the game than on Hard. Medium still badly out resourced me. I have much to learn. 

Gameplay is awesome, once you understand the mechanics of the unit and building leveling system. Buildings are of two kinds: structures that have a built-in upgrade research option, or level by gaining experience. Buildings that produce units receive experience for doing so, and the more they produce the faster they level. It’s brilliant. The quicker your economy moves, the faster you can build units and buy upgrades, which makes your buildings level up, giving you access to better units. The battle is rapidly escalated. Farms can be upgraded to increase their population cap bonus. So can houses. Victory is achieved through numbers and upgrades. 

Gondor/Arnor has been entertaining. I have yet to comprehend the usefulness of Rangers, until they get those flaming arrows. I have yet to build deep into the unit tree because I die before I can get very far. The outpost options for Gondor/Arnor are pretty cool. As Gondor you can align with Dol Amroth, and with the Elves as Arnor. I imagine they probably are working on a patch right now. 

So the lesson I’ve learned so far has to be that income is everything. And 1500 a minute is a good place to start. I have yet to explore any other faction, even though Mordor and Isengard are two of my favorites. I wonder if Mordor still has free orcs? Probably not. 

Gameplay might seem a bit spammy, but battles in this universe should be on an epic scale. This is Lord of the Rings dude. 

The demo includes 4 factions: Rohan, Gondor/Arnor, Mordor and Isengard. The Gondor/Arnor thing is dependent on the map you chose in skirmish mode. If the map was in the old kingdom of Arnor, then you would play them. I believe they have exactly the same tech tree as Gondor, because they should be considered one faction, and a map should not be able to change the tech tree of a faction. Rohan I am least interested in. They seem fine, but cavalry can bore me at times. I should get over that and give them a skirmish. This mod looks great, and runs smoothly. The mechanics take some practice, but I’m sure I will get it figured out. 

In conclusion, a great mod. Epic and proud of it. Very polished and special. 

**UPDATE 4/1/15**

The question is rapidly becoming how can I get my economy cranking? 1000 a minute hasn’t caused any victories. I’m hearing from the other players that the AI is indeed quite challenging. I’ve not heard anyone boasting about beating a Hard yet. I think I have a good idea about what I need to do. And rapid expansion is also necessary. You must establish ownership of 50% of the nodes or be permanently overtaken. I have endeavored to do this in each of my games, but was largely relegated to defending my base. They then moved in and it was over. So more powerful troops and more of them, faster than before. 


Score: +4

There comes a time of reckoning on weekends when some critical few things need to be accomplished, I’ve found. I need fresh clothes for work, and I require enough food to get me through the week among other issues. I should make the time to clean up my domicile and apply myself to at least one extraordinary task like scrubbing the shower floor or detailing the sink. Once that is done, I can afford myself some time to relax. 

While Sunday was largely about me working on chores, this weekend has been quite good. It started off with a Friday get-together at my parent’s RV. I like to spend some time with them because it nourishes me. Plus I got to hear lots of positive gossip about Amanda. 

All this week I had been going to Amanda’s place and cooking with her after I got off work. Simple meals like chicken, salad and rice. We prepared food and hung out as a little three person unit. I really like that time I get with them, even if we are just sitting around watching Sponge Bob. 

This weekend we did lots of things: we went swimming in the community pool (which we had all to ourselves on Saturday). Later we went to Amanda’s parent’s place and I bought dinner for everyone. Her sister Melissa came too and gave me a hug right off the bat. Things trended steadily up from there. George told me all about the mine he jointly operates. He has a problem with short-term memory, so he says a lot of the same things over again, but it doesn’t bother me. I still have fun talking to him and showing interest in his work. The evening went great. Then Amanda and I put the boy to bed and stayed up until 10 talking to each other. 

But Sunday I had to take care of my stuff. I got up early and scurried around until my shit was done. I tried to come home tonight and play, but my brain can’t handle it. Edain is out and I’ve not logged one skirmish. To be honest, I just wanted to finish XCOM: Enemy Within before getting my head into The Battle for Middle Earth II again. Especially when I’ll be figuring it out as I go along because of the complete overhaul Edain has brought. Right now in XCOM I’m on the temple ship mission, and my squad looks like this: 1 Sniper, 1 Support, 2 MEC Paladins, 1 Assault, 1 Heavy. I had a Major rank sniper through most of the game, but he was killed in action closer to the end of the campaign. I’ve cycled through the assault as well, because they always get hit and have a propensity for being in precarious positions. I had two other MEC troopers, and I killed them both. But then I made two after that and those ones made it all the way through. They have 30 – 40 kills each, and the highest possible rank. That kinetic strike does 18 damage and can be used twice a turn. Sick. Anyway all I have left to do is storm the temple ship and end the game. Then I will start in on Edain. 

It has been a great weekend. And tomorrow is another chance to go out there and get after it. 

No One Like You – ScorpionsĀ 

Girl, it’s been a long time that we’ve been apart,

Much too long for a man that needs love,

I’ve missed you since I’ve been away, 

Oh babe, wasn’t easy to leave you alone, 

It gets harder each time that I go,

If I had a choice, I would stay,

There’s no one like you,

I can’t wait for the nights with you, 

I imagine the things we do,

I just want to be loved by you,

No one like you,

I can’t wait for the nights with you, 

I imagine the things we do,

I just want to be loved, by you. 

Girl, there are really no words strong enough,

To describe all my longing for love,

I don’t want my feelings restrained,

Oh babe, now I need you like never before,

Just imagine you’d come through this door, 

And take all my sorrows away,

There’s no one like you,

I can’t wait for the nights with you,

I imagine the things we do,

I just want to be loved by you,

No one like you,

I can’t wait for the nights with you,

I imagine the things we do,

I just want to be loved by you. 

Called Into Question

Score: +3

For the most part today was great, but I had some run-ins with ineptitude at work. I’m, largely, surrounded by people who are not interested in putting forth their best effort in their endeavors. They would much rather socialize and laugh all day than put forth the extra energy to accomplish the work that is otherwise being ignored/neglected. It takes initiative to succeed, and I have asked my supervisors at every turn if there is more I can do. I’ve been aggressive about reporting failures to the right people. Things are a little frustrating at times, but I am going to try and relax a little. I could learn a lot from Amanda in this regard. She is ridiculously calm, and easy-going. I really like that. I’ve been with such sensitive, high-strung partners in the past. I’ve always been terrified of saying the wrong thing, and having to walk on eggshells all the time. Jennifer would pounce on the slightest miscalculation in speech and a huge fight would ensue. Jax took EVERYTHING personally, like I was attacking her at every opportunity. Amanda is impregnable. Tonight I felt like I was really rude in bragging about going to my parent’s place to smoke when she can’t because she has Tristan. But she reassured me. She wasn’t angry with me. She just brushed it off like it was an unwanted fluffy on her shirt. I really dig this girl. 

Tomorrow is Friday. It’s been a pretty solid, productive week. My mood has been pretty good. Not fluctuating much at all. I’m working hard and making myself proud. All good things. One more day to go…

Straight To My Heart – Sting

In a hundred years from now

They will attempt to tell us how

The scientific means to bliss

Will supersede the human kiss

A subatomic chain

Will maybe galvanize your brain

And a biochemic trance

Will eliminate romance

Why ever should we care?

When there are arrows in the air

Formed by lover’s ancient art

That fly straight to my heart,

A future sugar-coated pill

Will give our lovers time to kill

I think they’re working far too much

For the redundancy of touch

What will make me yours

Are a million deadly spores

Formed by lover’s ancient art

That fly straight to my heart

Come in to my door

Be the light in my life

Come in to my door

Never have to sweep the floor

Come in to my door

Be the light in my life

Come in to my door

Come and be my wife

I’ll be true

To no one but you

If it’s a future world we fear

We have tomorrow’s seeds right here

You can hold them in your hand 

Or let them fall into the sand

If our love is pure

The only thing of which we’re sure

Is that you can play your part

And fly straight to my heart

If I’m to seek immunity

And love you with impunity

Then the only thing to do

Is for me to pledge myself to you

Only dealt one card

So for me it is not hard

Your the bright star in my chart

You go straight to my heart


Score: +3.5

It could have been a very stressful day today, but I chose to have a different take on it. I decided that I was doing the best I knew how, and even though people on the phone were mad, I would not let their misdirected anger affect me. I had 2 irate people to deal with today, and by the end of one of them I was laughing and joking with the lady. It couldn’t have gone any better, to be honest, I’m sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it may, but I feel like if anyone listened to my call they would understand what was going on. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m doing really great at my job overall, and earning the respect of my supervisors. Things are going good, due in large part to my attitude. 

I had a good session with Margaret today, and I made it not be as much about me. I was feeling bad because we never talk about her at all. I understand that therapy is supposed to be about me, but I need to see my therapist as a human being first. How can I trust her point of view if I don’t have any idea what kind of person she is? She’s not a cardboard cutout that I yammer at, she’s a real person with feelings and a life. I need to understand her (somewhat) in order to consider her words valid. So I found out she is in a new relationship that started about the same time mine did. And she is feeling spoiled by a chivalrous man, much the same way I take care of Amanda. And her relationship is built on friendship, not lust and passion. She has real feelings, but they don’t all have to explode out all at once. This is congruent to how I feel in my own relationship. Funny how things line up? 

I had plenty of chances to destroy myself today. I did not. I had a hard time getting to sleep last night, my mind was running on with bad thoughts and music that wouldn’t stop. A sign of a potential psychotic episode. But I woke up today feeling rejuvenated and functional. Even though it was ass early. 

Have a good night blog. 


Score: +2.5

I had a +3.5 most of the day, but it all fell apart at the end of my shift. My supervisors gave 2/3 of the evening shift guys the day off, leaving me as the only call agent in the queue between 5:00 and 6:00 pm. There aren’t an excessive amount of calls IF you have 3 guys handling them. But one guy? I was inundated with time-consuming issues while incoming calls piled up in the queue. The second I was off one call, I was right back on another. Kaiser hopped in to help out because I was floundering. So that +3.5 I had going into the final hour quickly evaporated off and left my brain starved, depleted and done. 

I had an evening with Amanda and Tristan, but I was deadpan, listless and tired. We had chicken, rice and salad. It was really nice, but I couldn’t really express much. I was drained of my vital energy, and I must have seemed unhappy to Amanda. In reality, being there with them was the thing I was most looking forward to all day. But I couldn’t enjoy it or prosper much in being there: I was mentally out of gas. 

Amanda works so hard. I admire her, for what obstacles she has to clear on a given day. She does it calmly, and with dignity. I can learn a lot from her example. 

Tomorrow I go see my therapist, and for once, I don’t really want to talk about me. I want to know what challenges she is facing with her bipolar daughter, and how she is dealing with them. It’s been tough on my parents, seeing my whole world shatter on several occasions. So I can’t imagine that Margaret’s daughter will have a completely benign experience with bipolar disorder. My life is going along fine. I’m taking the right steps and I’m being mindful. I want my therapeutic relationship to go both ways. 

Have a good night blog. I’ll see you tomorrow. 

Just A Ham Sandwich

Score: +3.5

40 Day Average: +2.95

Hello. I’m doing swell. Life is both interesting and challenging. Some days my neurochemicals are balanced and everything is good. Other times, I must commit a great deal of energy to fending off sadness, and largely fail at doing so. But these off days are few, as indicated by the graph. I seem to be more on top of things than I have been in a very long time. I’m succeeding at work, and striving for a balanced, healthy lifestyle. I want to be here, to see things change with my eyes, to be alive in a meaningful way. I value having a purposeful way of inhabiting the Earth. I try not to judge or generalize, and I’m always willing to give anyone a try. 

It was back to work today, but I really didn’t mind. The work was steady, and the time between start and lunch got there in about 30 minutes. I was able to catch a few words with Amanda, but she was busy. It never really slowed down until around 4:30 pm. I took maybe 2 calls the rest of the way. I’m all alone tomorrow night. The supervisors gave 2 of the 3 closing shift guys the night off. Which means it’s me and Kaiser from 5:30 on. I don’t mind. If anything, I take it as a sign that they trust me enough to hand the wheel over to me for a while. I’m the only guy answering the phone at the DTOC. I sure hope I have a good night. 

Anyway, I’m in love blog. Duh. I’m having fun with a great woman. She inspires my enthusiasm and churns my desire. I’m looking forward to continuing to love her, and her son. I feel very welcomed into her world, as this weekend was total immersion. I feel great about it. There’s still a lot to learn, and understand, but I’m content with the speed at which I learn it. We’re not taking premature action, we are contemplating the next minor step. 

I’m a happy boy, on a roll. 

I have been playing the expansion to XCOM: Enemy Unknown called XCOM: Enemy Within. It is a remake of the original but with a new storyline and some added content. One of the primary differences is meld, a new resource for you to collect. It is to be found on the battleground maps, hidden in the fog of war, but on a self destruct timer that will destroy the meld if it is not found before it expires.  Meld is used to create and upgrade mecs (more new content) or, cybernetic battlesuits with a human body and head but the rest machine. And you can spend meld on biological enhancements for your soldiers, loading them up with special abilities. 

It adds a new storyline with another covert agency called EXALT vying for control (like XCOM would have) after the invasion is thwarted. You spend a good deal of time going on data recovery missions and killing genetically modified EXALT agents. Plus, the aliens attack XCOM headquarters with many units. Soldiers die faster because the AI is more aggressive about standing in the open and taking clear shots on flanked targets. I have turned over many, many soldiers in my current game, and if I haven’t killed them, I’ve injured them severely. My hangars are near having a firestorm in each country, and UFOs getting away is my current major problem. 

I’m maybe 3/4 of the way through the game. It’s fun. I’ll play it to the end and I’m sure it will be good. 

Exciting Things

Score: +4

I really love her. This weekend I got to know Amanda better through her acquaintances: Becky, Claudie, Debbie,  Maryann and Will. I’ve only heard stories referencing these individuals, but this weekend was all about understanding Amanda better. And the interactions I had with her friends helped me to see her as they saw her, and compare my results to theirs. But I just love her so much. She has been through such hell at times, and now things are different. We’re not alone anymore. I feel rejuvenated by the fountain of her caring. I have lived with great self shame and loathing in the past, but I think Amanda can see that I’m a changed man. I’ve found that I can be a good friend to myself, and trust in who I am in the world. I know how happy she makes me feel. And not for any other reason but that she is looking out for me. She has my back. She’s also a witty person, with a sense of humor and creative talent. Her friends, and the way she blended in with them really helped me see what her past was like, the groups she used to affiliate with, the inside jokes, it all helped me see. I know now how active and vibrant she can be. That depression and illness are terrible burdens. And even despite that, to live a fulfilling life. I just want to bring more happiness into her world. 

We compliment each other with our different skill sets. I’m very pleased with my partner blog. Together, we can make an effective team. Because facing mental illness alone is only necessary if your way of expressing it is to drive everyone off. Otherwise, you can pair up with another student of the human condition and protect each other. Two minds working together to prevent depression from starting, or calming each other down from anxiety. It’s hard to do it on your own. But possible. Much preferable to be with someone else. 

I’m a happy boy. I have the love of someone special, and I promise to do my best and look out for her whenever possible. I think she’s the kind of soul that can keep me happy and healthy for the long haul. I’m done looking around. I’ve found someone I can trust. 

The Scores: Update 2


I have been keeping a numerical value that represents an average between measurable levels of energy and emotional health. The scale goes form +10 (mania) to -10 (suicidal depression) because I’m bipolar and can swing either way. So it is wise of me to keep track of variations in the mood and demeanor. Don’t I have to be? After all the mistakes I’ve made, you’d think I’d be taking it seriously this time. Well I am, and I hope that by learning and observing I can gain some form of understanding about myself. That is the hope. 

Score: +3.5

Today was an uneventful day in work land. I did what I always do, and I kept my head down. I was really looking forward to getting off work and spending my evening with Amanda. That girl makes me so happy. I want to embrace her into my life, to be my friend and confidant, my companion. If we can look out for each other, and forward the cause of living a healthy, happy lifestyle, I see no reason why we couldn’t go far. We can help each other when we’re down, and relish the joy of being up. There are many possibilities available at this time. The future is uncertain at best. 

I know that people do better when they pair up and become a team. It has always been my hope that I would find that. I have struggled to achieve it my whole life. To trust and love with loyalty and conviction. To have the assurance of not being abandoned when the going got tough. To hold hands despite the pain. We can get through this. Together. 

Amanda and I are just starting out. We have a long time to watch each other grow with time. She will come to see how steady and confidant I am, and I will learn who she is. And we shall make happy memories. 

Have a good night blog. 

Over The Edge

Score: +3.5

Tonight I was going over to Amanda’s apartment to cook dinner. I brought our little canabis bag along as well. We decided to start things off with a quick toke which proved to be a mistake. I brought out a medium sized bong and gave her WAY too big a hit, and sent her spinning out of control. As the local expert on being disasterously too high, I knew right away what was going on. It’s a thing that must be endured, because nothing makes the THC metabolize any faster. To the best of my knowledge. Anyway, I’m here with her now, and she’s sleeping on the bathroom floor near a toilet. The night I did this very thing to myself, about 16 years ago, my friend Ben snuck over and got me way too stoned. Then I was spinning, literally, rotating around out of control. I rapidly vomited everything possible for nearly an hour, with my parents wondering what the hell had happened to me.  When they left I was perfectly sober, normal and healthy. The rotating began to stop, after a time. It faded away. And then I was back to normal. The same is true tonight. It’s a bummer, and it’s my fault. I gave her that huge hit. I realize now that a much smaller hit would not have ended this evening. I’m going to hang here until this blows over. However long it takes, because I love her, and I will not abandon her (like she asked me to during the worst of it) in a time of need. 

I’ll keep you posted. Who knows?

**UPDATE 9:45 pm**

She crashed into bed and went off to dreamland. But after only a brief nap she was markedly cogent and able to give me final directions before she went off to bed. I made sure she was tucked in and cozy. I myself have to get to sleep. I feel bad about how I was responsible for making tonight what it was. But it also gave me an opportunity to stand by Amanda and show her that she is loved. Even though I can’t make the symptoms go away, I can remind her that help is not far away. 

That One Day Off Thing

Score: +3

It was a busy day today blog. I got started early, heading down to storage around 9 and getting a single load of rocks going in the tumbler. These were the stones my uncle had picked up on the beaches in Carlsbad (quartz, agate and chalcedony). 

From there I went home and started my laundry, which absorbs 2 hours because the dryer takes forever. So I completed some downloads of TV shows for my parents and put them on the backup drive to be transported  to their place later. After the file copy was done, I was on the move again. 

I headed for Amanda’s house. Together, we were going to go shopping for food to prepare during the week. I will be coming over after work and preparing food with her to help us manage a healthy lifestyle. I’ve been eating shitty food, and I do believe it has only hurt me to do so. My energy is (on average) low, and my body is just getting heavier. It’s not as much fun to move around when you weigh a lot. It hurts. So eating better will lead to natural weight loss and better energy levels. So we bought some chicken and rice and salad to have for a few days. Productive and reasonable. 

From shopping, I zoomed over to my parent’s RV and dropped of 60+ gb of TV shows for them to watch. I took a hit or two but then I had to be on my way. I was expecting a call from my uncle to arrange a purchase of marijuana. I’m buying a 1/4 ounce for mine and Amanda’s use during the week. It’s great for unwinding after a stressful day. And it will make cooking that much more exciting. 

I came home and took my newly bought duster out of the box and put it to work removing the accumulating soot from the flat surfaces of my apartment. I haven’t dusted since I moved in, and that was back in October. I used up like 5 of those disposable dust catchers with my new Swiffer. Then I cleaned my bathroom and scrubbed out the floor of my shower (to little avail, the floor of it is stained brown). I had some time in the afternoon to finish up the single player mode of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Well, nearly finished. I’m on the last mission in the game. As soon as I complete it, the game will be over. Here’s what I was able to accomplish in the single player mode:

Scientists: 82

All items except alloy cannon were researched. 

Engineers: 136

Satellites: 16 (one for every member nation)

Monthly revenue: 1482

2 interceptors and 1 firebird per hangar, all upgraded with plasma cannons. 

My squad is elite: all majors, with all their abilities unlocked. Two snipers, two assault, one heavy and one support, and a hover S.H.I.V. with the plasma weapon upgrade. All soldiers carry plasma primaries and sidearms. Most have nano-fiber vests except the snipers who have scopes. It’s good. 

One of my assault class is the psyonic warrior, who’s true potential I have yet to uncork. But soon I will be on to the expansion pack, to learn what new content has been added to the core game. 

Well, here I am in limbo with my uncle still not calling me. The evening is wearing on and soon it will be dinner then bed. I may not get the hookup today after all. Drat. My list of accomplishments for the day remains incomplete. 

I hope you enjoyed your Sunday, and your weekend for that matter. This next week should be a lot of fun. My energy level stayed pretty solid today. I had a lot to do, and I got the important bits taken care of. I feel good about that. I’m ready for another week at work, and I anticipate having sucess and stability all the while. Wish me luck!

**UPDATE 9:15 pm**

So the final mission was the invasion of a big alien ship that lands off the coast of Brazil. The fighting is narrated by the alien leader, who tells you things about the various species of alien these overlords have incorporated into their control. So naturally they throw all of them at you in the course of storming the bridge. I lost one of my snipers towards the end, to a muton elite. I had 5 soldiers in the final room. The ethereal leader had 25 hit points, and he summons two more ethereals with 20 hp and two muton elites on the lower level. 

The first time I tried it I failed. I lost three soldiers in the first alien activity, so I started over. I split my squad, taking two up the left and three up the right elevated platforms. It’s on these that the two extra ethereals materialize. My goal was to try and take out the two ethereals and then the mutons. But it all went to hell. I took out the ethereal on the left, but two of my soldiers on the right were killed and the third was mind controlled away from me. In desperation, I turned my sniper lose on the main dude, and instead of deflecting my shot he took a 17 point critical (after having sustained a shot from volunteer’s plasma rifle earlier) and died, taking the last ethereal and two mutons with him. End of game. 

I have started in on the expansion. There is a new resource to collect: meld, which has some higher-level applications. I am still just starting out, and have a ways to go before I can make use of the stuff. Anyway. Good shit. Tough final room, lost 4 soldiers killing that one ethereal. But I brought the hurt. Boom. 

Busiest Saturday Evar

Score: +3

It was non stop at work today. I set my all time high record with 39 calls, and it was grueling. I was so tired. I had fun with Amanda last night and early this morning, but it left me in a bad way come the beginning of my shift. I had two huge coffees and many other stimulants to get myself out of the murk, and I was only partially sucessful. The morning was tough, and it never let up, even down to my last 20 seconds, my phone rang. I was there late, and I cut my breaks short to try and stay after it. The calls were just piling up in the queues at times. Very stressful. 

But in the end, I got through another day. And I came home and helped one of the people who I live around move a couch into a garage. And then I proceeded to play a few hours of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. 

After trying to manage the single player campaign several times, and failing, I have at last expressed total dominance. I have a satellite in every member country except Argentina. I have everything bought in the officer training school except the ability that promotes rookies to squaddies right away (which I view as useless, as my squad members never die). I have two assault and one support all with plasma rifles, two snipers with laser rifles and a heavy with a laser minigun. If there’s one place I’m dangerously weak it’s in the hanger, where I have two interceptors per country (one avalanche missile and one laser cannon). If a big UFO came along I probably wouldn’t be able to stop it from destroying my satellites. But only Mexico has any panic, and they’re at 3/5. I have invaded the alien base and researched the homing beacon to further advance the plot. But I’m in total control. I run missions with 14 kills and no serious injuries to my squad (nothing a medkit can’t fix, anyway). I make nearly 2000 a month in credits, and hopefully I get enough UFO landing or crash missions to get enough parts to make more advanced aircraft. I will soon have all my squads in titan armor with plasma primaries and sidearms. My sniper has more than 30 kills. He’s hard to stop. And he doesn’t miss often. So I’ve been finally kicking ass at this game. And there’s still an expansion to go through as well. 

I’m pretty tired. Think I’ll go to bed now. 


Score: +2

It was a off center day. I think my morning meds really messed me up. I was in that drowsy way I get sometimes when I take them. And I called in and went back to sleep for three hours. 

I’m spending the night with Amanda tonight. I really like being here, and feeling bonded in a little unit. We still have a long way to go before I build up enough credabilty, but it’s time I intend to commit. 

I’ve just been so tired today. I feel like perhaps occasional marijuana use is not a good idea. I am sometimes thrown off balance by it on days where I go long stretches without using it. But if I do it regularly, I seem to have no problem. Something to consider. I don’t actually have the ability to use it regularly, as my apartment is a drug free zone because of the nature of my living arrangement. 

Have a happy Friday. I work tomorrow. 


Score: +2.5

Maybe this whole scoring thing is flawed because I am, perhaps, not a trustworthy source of introspection. I strive for accuracy and honesty, but I wonder if I am too biased a source to be evaluating myself. But then again, I’m with me all day… I should have some idea what’s going on. 

But I will, nevertheless, continue to score because it represents a desire to learn and be aware of who I am. On any given day. 

I was up at 4:55 am when the on call technician’s (my) phone rang. Some McDonald’s had their drive thru go offline and they absolutely demanded that I book a dispatch at that hour. But if the receptionist at the place that routs those emergency calls had waited 5 more minutes, the DTOC would have been open, and any number of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed techs could have done exactly what I did. But hey, they are giving me an extra $250 to be the emergency tech. So I couldn’t go back to sleep. I was gearing up to leave in less than an hour for therapy. Boo. 

Margaret was reflective and curious about my recent plunge into love. I told her about how it was not a burning inferno of lust that consumed every shred of logic in its path, but rather, a progression from the foundations of care and trust so far established. I said that it makes sense to be in love; I genuinely care about Amanda and want to be in her life for the long haul. I have no reservations, only curiosities. So I think that was good. She seemed totally understanding of my situation, and the measured steps I have been taking. We talked some about work, and about my grandparents who are dying. My poor mom has her hands full. 

Blog, I don’t expect my mood to be solid as bedrock. Recall that I am bipolar. Scores that reflect a range of experiences are more likely, with some dips and peaks. But it’s when this fluctuation becomes drawn-out and detrimental do I take issue. I have not even been in the negative yet. So we’ll see. For now, I will score every day (28 so far) and see where I end up. 

1Year Ago…

Score: +2.5

…I was permitted to return home after 5 days in the psychiatric hospital. I came back, and my (then) wife revealed that she had been sleeping with someone else while I was gone. It was over, and not because she had cheated, but because she didn’t love me anymore. I had no job, no way to pay the rent, and no partner anymore. My life as I had known it had come to pieces, and nothing of the original could be salvaged. 

Now, we will fast-forward through the purgatory that followed, as I lived under the canvas awning of my parent’s RV for 7 months. I slept on a futon and went to group therapy three times a week for days on end. It started to change about half way through the summer, when I got my current job at Mood. Then by fall I had saved enough money to afford a place of my own. I kept working on myself, not settling until I was sure I had a grip on my mental health. I worked tirelessly for stability, and I never gave up on the hope that one day I would have my life back. 

And so it went. I restored meaning to my reality through many consecutive acts of self-appreciation. Eventually, I began to truly believe I was worth something. I gained back my pride, my sense of humor, my voracious appetite for knowledge. Then on January 15th, I met Amanda. We were kindred spirits, both suffering from mental illness, and persevering despite hardships. We decided to become allies, and would work together to live stable lives. I would be there to help her if she fell down, and she would do the same for me. This principle has already gone into practice. 

So I’m happy about the progress I have made in a year. I am currently in love, and doing great in my life. I can’t ask for anything more. 


Score: +1.5

I’m still not back to my old self. I struggled mightily today at work, and the whole DTOC was slammed from the moment I started until 9 minutes after I was off. I handled 39 calls today, which is a new record high mark. That effectively translated into constant distraction. I was idle for no more than 4 minutes at a time; my phone rang incessantly. But I gave it my all. It was a truly trying day, and all the while my neurochemistry was out of balance, pushing me into a somber and zest-less state. I had barely enough energy to do my job, and put up a mask so that no one would suspect that there was anything wrong with me. I cannot reveal my weakness to them. Ever. 

I went straight home after work, utterly spent and then I realized I had not done my shopping, and would subsequently have no food for tonight or the rest of the week. I went home first, surrendering to fatigue, I thought, but then I got my ass up and went shopping with what fumes were left in my tank. But I did it. I came home again and put everything away and felt satisfied. 

Today was (emotionally) better than yesterday, but there is plenty of room for improvement. My energy, since I broke down last night and cried my eyes out, has been between 10% and 20%. Boo. But sleep usually helps recharge the battery. I could be in much better shape tomorrow. 

It’s spring. This is the time of year when I have had psychotic depressive episodes. Albeit, those cataclysms were aided by a steady decline in mood over the course of months leading to a culminating event. I am nevertheless wary. I need this trend of downward pointing disposition to come to an end tomorrow. If it continues, I will need to seek medical attention and rapidly. I cannot risk my world falling apart again. I have so much good stuff going for me, and I want that positive trend to continue. 

Thanks for checking in. I’ll let you know if I pulled up just before impact, or not, tomorrow. 


Score: +.5

As I write this I’m in the depths of an unrelentingly painful depressive episode. It started coming apart this afternoon around 4, and has only deepened since. I’m crying, here stuffing my whimpers into my pillow. I can’t explain it with logic, I just know it’s happening to me. I feel in agony, crushingly dispondent and without adequate explanation. I know this happens sometimes. My chemicals are off, and all I experience is sadness. I can’t see a way out of it.

I’m trying to find the reason and I’m failing. I’m in such pain, yet there is no cause. I had a great weekend. I spent time with my parents and the woman I love. I got things done and had plenty of time to relax. But none of that matters now. Right at this very moment I am suffering. My life is on track and progressing healthily, and yet I’m sobbing into my covers as I write this post on my phone. Sometimes I really hate being bipolar. 

I just got off the phone with Amanda. She really helped me get grounded in reason. Hearing her reassurances and validations helped me get through the acute sadness. I’m not crying anymore. I’m stabilizing. 

Sleep is the great equalizer. Whatever maintenance my brain performs on itself is markedly effective. These sad days are usually only one day, and then they fizz out and disappear. I knew my chemicals were not right today, but I didn’t expect to crash so hard. Amanda really helped bring me out of the abyss tonight. Her voice was upbeat and she had lots of good ideas for helping me get out of my head. She even offered to have me come back and spend the night with her, which I think may be useful if I was feeling unsafe. I’m just a little too tired to execute that maneuver tonight. But her words alone have changed my direction in lieu of needing to take dramatic action, and the deepest part of the trough is behind me. I’m already feeling better. 

It’s annoying being bipolar. Sometimes the whole thing comes undone and the world stops making sense. But that’s the way it is. Have a more peaceful night than I have had. 


Score: +2.5

I feel the battery draining and not replenishing as my labor-intensive activities draw to a close. I’m extending myself every day to put forth as much effort as I can manage. It was a Thursday to forget, and I am beat, needless to say. 

I’ve been on the same dose of meds since November and I’m doing great overall. I am testing the limits of my functionality, and want to be able to fully apply myself in my life. That’s ambitious for a guy with bipolar disorder, frankly. 

I struggle at times. My energy is the weighted variable in the equation of my composure. Without it, things disintegrate. I’ve seen it happen multiple times in my rocky past. 

I think about Jax sometimes. I wonder where she is or what she’s doing. She only ever reaches out to me when she thinks I have something she wants. Then she takes it and disappears back into the shadows of the unknown. I have been avoiding spying on her, because if feel this is an unhealthy pattern. And the last time I did spy on her I learned more than I wanted to know about how she is living her life. There’s no reason for continued inquiry, now that both our lives have progressed. But there is still a wound inside me that gets triggered sometimes. 

It’s great to be falling in love again. But I’ve noticed how different this is from other times, when I was exuberant and smitten and a solace to lust/passion. I lost sight of reason, and the newness of love burned like a magnesium fire inside me. Then it faded and was gone a short time later, and only a shadow of the infatuation remained. My new love for Amanda is vastly different: it’s patient, familiar, trusting and gradual. I know that I love this woman, but I’m not losing my mind over it. I think love, REAL love, meanders like a creek through the woods. It’s not a torrent of furious water obliterating all terrain in its way. The practicality of love means that it is intended to build over time, not shoot off all at once. My love for Amanda accumulates as time goes on, along with my trust and respect for her. In time, those things will realize themselves as strong, because they stood the test of days and remain. I want my love for her to continue to grow and get deeper as we spend our lives getting to know each other. And it is my every intent to continue to bet there for her and her son for a very long time. 

In the short-term, my energy naturally tapers as the week wears on. I commit myself to my occupation and I am a “class act” in most respects. I rarely make mistakes, and when I do, they are not made again. I want to be able to hold my head up and be proud of who I am because I am a hard worker and morally sound. The way I carry myself through the world helps ratify my nature, and gives me the hard evidence I need to combat depression. Doubt is always looking for an opportunity to sneak in. Always. 

Just one more day left in my week. Then (for the first time in a while) I get two days off in a row. Yippee. 


Score: +2.5

Slow is an appropriate adjective for my today. Reaction times were dulled and my focus was smeared like steamy glass. I had to retrace my footsteps on several occasions to correct an error I had realized I made after the order was already in. But I truly handled my responsibilities well. I dispatched techs, booked orders and made outgoing calls all day long. I was forced to surrender around 4 or so because our ticketing system crashed and I had no access to update my work. I read about the wow signal on Wikipedia as it poses some interesting questions about life in the known universe. I personally think the transmission came from something moving through that area of space (a ship), not from a celestial body. And I don’t think it inrended to blast us with that signal either. 

Amanda had a rough day. She may have kidney stones and the doctor at urgent care didn’t help her at all. He disregarded her requests for painkillers and gave her nothing to treat the symptoms with. She will now have to go bother her general practitioner for help tomorrow, which will hopefully result in action. She’s in pain, and today’s catastrophe at urgent care reopened trauma from her marriage. The doctor basically didn’t believe her, or treated her with very little regard, and that reminded her of how her ex used to treat her. I brought her dinner and tried my best to help her see a way through the muck. 

If I had scored today this afternoon around 2, I might have had it at +3.5, but the listless afternoon and extracurricular heroics put an end to the excess energy. As I write you from underneath my covers, I realize that my slow start inhibited my energy arc. It will be better tomorrow. 

Goodnight. It’s nearing the end of the week. Just hang on. We’re almost there. 


Score: +3

Average: +2.75

I stand apart from most these days, and not because I have a superiority complex, but because I just don’t understand most people. It’s voluntary alienation, and I rather prefer it that way. I’m not looking to be cool, or compliant, I’d rather pilot my own ship on an atypical course and heading. It presents fewer complications and limits the need to be dependent on others. 

But it was lonely, going it alone. Doable, but isolatory and limiting. I talked to myself a lot, as a result. I didn’t abandon any of my principles when I sought companionship, as this would be the wrong way to approach change. It should be about nourishing and revitalizing life, not compromising its integrity. I needed an answer to the place in my heart that was longing. 

Amanda has been amazing: she is relatable, understanding, compassionate, and honest. She has become a valuable friend to me, above all else, and is someone who’s opinions I can trust and respect. But I also love her, and this intamacy fosters a deeper, more primal bond of loyalty and acceptance. There are many reasons for my distinction from the herd, and I doubt Amanda would have noticed me if I were just running along with them. I stand out, and even though I have made some serious mistakes, it is that common denominator that unites us rather than divide us. She sees me, and I see her, and together we make the endless wastes more bearable. 

Life can be a lot of calamity wrapped up in unpredictability, but it is that curious gambler that keeps coming back to find out what happens next that I embody. No I don’t lean on faith to explain my reality, I rely on my own senses and logical judgements to explain it. A gambit that is far less troublesome if you have a teammate working with you to sort things out. 

Blog, I’m rising to the occasion. I’m doing great and ready for the next twist in the road. Whatever that happens to be. Random though train now off the tracks and on fire, I bid you farewell. 

Scrambled Eventsauce

Saturday Score: +2.5

Sunday Score: +3.5

I know things are changing. New variables have been introduced and the climate of my environment is altering itself rapidly. My only remaining grandparents are dying (well, one of them). Amanda told me that she loves me. As one chapter of this story draws to a close, a new one begins. My sister moved to Washington DC on Saturday while I was at work. My parents were on the brink of leaving for a months long road trip to Florida, when my grandpa hurt his back trying to lift a 30 lb flower pot. They got him to the hospital and found MANY problems with him. He has a growth in his liver, and needs a biopsy. I spent Friday night and Sunday with Amanda and Tristan. We saw the Sponge Bob movie, and spent hours together acting like a single, healthy family unit. I met Amanda’s ex husband Sunday morning and he asked me a few questions pertaining to my integrity. I was anxious leading up to it, and glad it’s over. My grandparents are in their mid-late 80s and my grandma is an alcoholic. My grandpa is holding over 25 lbs of stool in his body because he can’t defecate. Things are coming apart. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m aware that things are changing. I told Amanda I loved her too, because it is true. I’ve been falling for her for some time. I understand that she accepts me for who I am. Baggage and all. We are very connected, and bond is only getting stronger as we dive deeper into each other’s worlds. Tristan cuddled with me today, and I put my arm around him and cuddled him right back. On Saturday night we had a seafood feast at my uncle’s house for my parent’s going away party (they were leaving on the 1st, but plans changed when my grandpa hurt himself). We had yellowfin tuna and Scottish salmon sashimi to start, followed by baked salmon filets on garlic mashed potatoes and a side of asparagus. 

Blog, as I write to you, it is Monday morning. I’m supposed to meet Amanda’s parents tonight after my shift. I think that will go great. Her dad is a real geologist. I’m sure we will have things to discuss. I’m in a good mood today. I started out today very drowsy. I laid around in bed for a good 50 minutes before willing myself to go take a shower. I think this will be another good week. I’ll keep you posted.