Smiles

Tonight was a good night. I spent my few recreational hours with Amanda, and I am growing quite fond of her. We got through the underground passage and found the dark woods waypoint after running into some technical difficulties early on. But I managed to remedy the problem and get us playing for an hour or so. But I had to call it quits just now because my alarm will be going off at 6:30 am and I start work an hour after that. Tomorrow, after my shift, I will be headed out to get the tumblers going on the 500 grit, just two weeks away from their final stage. My mom will be back in town just in time to see them finish. Then I’m going out for coffee with Amanda. I’m really excited to see her. We’ve had fun over the last week or so. We exchanged over 200 messages on Match and have been texting each other every day just to see how things are going. Not only is she fun to be around but I’m really attracted to her. She’s cute, and is quite small (5’0″) which is so awesome. I love to be the big guy with the tiny girl. I can cover her up like a big man blanket. Wow. That sounded weird.

Anyway, it’s going to be a fun weekend. After that coffee date, we are going to go see The Battle Of The Five Armies on Sunday. I don’t know what to do about my growing feelings. Should I make the first move and ask her to be my girlfriend? Should I wait? We’ve been talking for 8 days, but I feel like I know her. Granted, there is still a lot of time to discover each other, and I’m not in a hurry to get anywhere. I feel my heart beating in my chest when I think about her, and the ways I’d like to kiss her. I’m pretty passionate, and sometimes that gets me in over my head. Things feel good right now, and I don’t want that feeling to stop. And neither does she, from what I can tell. I don’t know what to do still. I’m defaulting to taking my time and letting things play out naturally.

Have a safe and fun night. I’ll jet you know how it goes.

Almost There!

Hello and good morning. It is nearing the end of another week, and boy have I been on a tear. I’ve been doing great at work, fielding calls and making very few mistakes (and correcting them immediately in the event that I do make them). Just to compare, on Tuesday I was in the billing queue until 3:30 pm (as mandated by my boss), and I took 37 calls. Yesterday, with no billing queue, I took 18 calls. Holy. Crap. So yesterday was pretty laid-back, which is not my preference for my job, but I’d much rather have nothing to do than to take billing calls all day long. Now that we six DTOC agents are out of the billing queue, their numbers have dropped off (I suppose because it used to be that we picked up those overflowing calls when there was nothing going on in the drive thru queues, and now we don’t, and they sit on hold accumulating minutes while going unanswered). What I do is mostly about numbers and accountability. At my job, they keep track of every minute you spend while logged into the queue, whether you are in a worktime mode (when you are not eligible to take incoming calls), on a break or available, they monitor everything. So the faster we answer an incoming call, the better our numbers look. They are all graded by percentages. 100% means that no calls were abandoned (someone called, and got disconnected, and no one called them back) and all calls were answered in under 15 seconds. It’s hard to maintain a 100% because the more calls you take, inevitably some get abandoned, and eventually there are more of them coming in than there are agents to answer the calls, so they sit on hold and the longer that happens, the worse our percentage gets. We usually have 8 – 12 people available at any given time to take incoming calls, and most of the time, all of them are on a call already (but it still shows you as available unless you are in a worktime mode or on break). Out averages range between the upper 60s (on a not good day), and 90s. Now compare that to the billing queue, which has an average between 28 – 34 agents available and averages in the 70s pretty much all the time, rarely breaking 80. This just speaks of the problem with billing, in that no matter how many mooks you put in there, that queue still gets overwhelmed, and taking 6 people out of the pool of available agents doesn’t make much sense to me, but it’s what they decided to do, and I’M NOT COMPLAINING.

Enough about work. Emotionally, I’m doing great. Things are advancing down the path of friendship between Amanda and I. She’s really neat, and I’m enjoying the process of getting to know her. I hope we can continue to bond over subjects we share a common interest in. I just put together her playlist and I have only good things to say. It’s not obnoxious crap, it’s more in line with techno but darker and with lyrics. Some of the bass lines remind me of Paul Okenfold’s Tranceport. So it’s been cool to hear what her preferences are. I’m taking every opportunity I can to learn something from her.

Today is most people’s Friday, but for me it’s more like Thursday. I will get through today and be ready for some fun tonight. I’m also just about at the end of my food supply, which I will most likely remedy on Saturday after my shift. I’m in high spirits, and still managing to do good things for myself as often as I can manage. I’m pretty excited about my life again, and I’m glad for that change. Take care today blog.

Contrasts

I just spent the last couple of hours playing Diablo II with Amanda, and we had a great time. She’s really funny, and we were laughing our asses off the whole way through.

It bring into focus the last time I tried to play this game with someone. I’m still the same me, but change the partners and a huge transformation of results takes place. Not to get too into it or anything, but this new experience was a dramatic reversal from my last good-intended attempt. Amanda is open to suggestion, and understands that the Tank (me) leads and the DPS (her) follows where I go. The DPS doesn’t run off alone and get into a fight. That’s not how it works. Jax didn’t want anyone telling her what to do, ever, so she resented me for leading. She said I was too controlling.

Tonight’s highly entertaining and reasonable session was more on par with what I had hoped gaming with someone would be like. Everyone knows their rolls, we share and split gear, we designate who is picking up what, and it represents a coordinated effort of two experienced gamers having fun. It’s not a personal attack designed to make one person dominant over the other. Self-consciousness has no place on the innocuous world of video games. Diablo II should be about having a good time with a friend. And that we did; rendering a great deal of laughter and tomfoolery. That’s the way it SHOULD be. And I haven’t changed how I play Diablo II, I just changed the players involved and got a massively different outcome.

Amanda is really funny. Of Blood Raven she said: I need me some more mana potions so I can kill dis bitch. And had a squeal of joy for every loose stone we turned over that had gems hiding underneath it. She’s a pleasure to game with, and we had a great time knocking out the first two quests of act 1.

But now it is my bed time. I’m in a great mood. I have finally found an intelligent, confident and experienced gamer to roam the virtual countryside with. And that’s an awesome feeling. It’s not because I’m just a big controlling asshole, it’s just s matter of finding the right partner.

Hump Day

It’s my Wednesday because I work a 6 day week for the rest of this month. So hooray for hump day! I have lots of things that I’m looking forward to: changing the rocks over to the 500 grit on Saturday, going out with Amanda that night, and going to a movie with her the next day. Last night we Skyped and we’re getting her computer ready for multiplayer Diablo II. we would have gamed last night but Battle.net didn’t let us connect with the Perfect Drop Mod. So we’re going to use Hamachi and just do a LAN game. Which works for me, and gets us playing together, which is going to be a ton of fun.

She gave me a playlist of music to listen to and I have since downloaded most of it, and will put the playlist together on my computer and give it a try. I don’t anticipate being unsatisfied. She has a bit of a subterranean musical preference, where I am just all over the place. I can listen to just about anything with the exception of country (which is lame) and rap (which is organized thuggery). I don’t care if your rap group is different, your musical medium is the flawed component, and highly undesirable in my opinion.

Today I will not field a single billing call. Hoo-fucking-ray. And I subsequently will not be needed to teach it to other agents. While I am somewhat sad that I will not have a chance to instruct others to do billing, I am many times more relieved that I do not have to take those fucking calls anymore. I hate billing, and I’ve had to do it for 6 months and I still hate it even though I know how to do it correctly.

So today I round the final stretch. Headed for home. I will be periodically updating this post as the day plods on. But I will have an amazing and insightful woman to chat with through the day. Not too shabby.

**UPDATE 2:00 pm**

I found out my glasses aren’t coming in until the 28th, which sucks. They said they were going to expedite it… so much for that. Instead of wearing my sunglasses all day long like a doofus, I’m wearing a pair of glasses from about five or so years ago. My long-distance vision is really really bad now. But within 5 feet or so I’m a fucking laser.

Tonight I’m hanging out on the internets with Amanda. I’m having a lot of fun with this neat woman. I hope things keep rolling along the way they seem to be headed. It’s all good news for me!

**UPDATE 4:00 pm**

This part of the day always drags. There aren’t many incoming calls, and I’d rather be busy than bored. But there you have it. Things at work are good, if not a little dull.

I’ve got an appointment with Dr. Judge at the beginning of February, and Margaret is telling me that continuity of care is the most important factor in my treatment plan. Even though I have valid insurance now, I would have to switch all my support team to a brand new crew, and I’m not excited about that. It will also start costing me a lot of money and that’s not something I look forward to either. But at some point it will have to happen.

Right now, I feel good. I’m a little tired. Boy was getting up this morning a real bitch. It was a little after 7, and I was hardcore struggling to keep my eyes open. Even after my French pressed coffee, I was still dead. I didn’t get to sleep last night until around 10 pm and apparently that’s no bueno.

Have a good evening. I can hardly wait to get out of here.

Relief

They have taken us all out of the billing queue!!! I never anticipated that this day would come, in fact, I thought I’d be teaching billing to the rest of the team. They, in their infinite mercy, decided to do what I did not think they would ever do. Now, I’m just a DTOC call agent, the actual job I was hired to do. I’m relieved and thankful. Frankly, I’d rather have nothing to do with billing. The calls suck, the kickback is constant, and no one seems willing to do their jobs correctly. Now I can wipe my hands of the sordid affair. A great sigh of satisfaction pervades.

I got up early and went to therapy this morning. It was great to go see Margaret with a basket full of news. I got to tell her all about Amanda, and what a change it has been to be talking to her. I’m really having fun, and being super self aware as I go. I’m not over-investing and I’m not getting my hopes up. Anything could happen still. But the way it looks for now is quite promising. Indeed. So I had lots to talk about, and she really did notice how much more upbeat I was. It was a productive session.

I’m in the middle of my day. Tonight Amanda and I will begin our quest towards glory as we begin scouring the realm of Sanctuary of the evil that now dwells there.

Breathe

Windblown thickets
The surreal golden hue
Radiant eyes piercing
Tattered garments
Crisp slicing cry
Lining up like splines
Kicking the rampant
In a daze of autumn
Stumbling over fascination
Tossing and curling delicates
Batting eyelashes
Cool blue reason
Air of promise
Redeeming in reality
Blood pumping
Sweat pouring
Caught up in knots
Splintered to strain
Destined for touch
The kiss of fire
Warm hands folding
Walking over bridges
As the sun sets

Great, Great, Great!

I met Amanda tonight, and it went really well. Super good, in fact. We connected on several more life-related subjects, and I had her laughing all the way through. And she had me laughing too. There was no topic that was too deep, no area where we dared not go. It started with a hand shake and ended with a big hug. Phenomenal!

She’s totally cute too. And I was genuinely surprised by how attracted I was to her. Her pictures don’t do her justice. Not at all. Blog, I really like this woman. There’s no denying that I have very real feelings for her. Seeing her in person just brought it all back into focus for me. Things are happening.

Maybe this is the beginning of a great new adventure that I will go on. Maybe it will wash out and become nothing. I can’t predict the future. But I can tell you that she makes me feel really good in my heart; she makes me not alone anymore. And I think that understanding is mutual.

I will be sleeping tonight in bliss. Maybe I will dream something exciting. My brain is all energized with positive thoughts. I’m stoked. Wow. Just. Wow.

**UPDATE 9:00 pm**

She wrote me and said that it was “wonderful to meet me.” Blush. And she is looking forward to coffee on Saturday. As am I. I can’t tell you how good all of this is making me feel. I’m on a fucking roll. Boom.

Fortunate

I’m glad to have something really uninhibitedly positive emanating from my life. This is the result of the application of a little proactive courage, as I have pushed myself to address the lonely place in my heart with some kind of action. I was having such a hard time tearing myself away from the sadness; a natural side-effect of extended isolation. Now, it’s not like I was suffering all the time or whatever. That’s not the case. I was doing fine, but not 100%. I knew my life was missing something, and friendship is the beginning of that gap being bridged. I could have proceeded with my life much the way it was, with me going to work and grinding for my pay and coming home to an empty, cold house every night. But that kind of life does not foster an escalation of happiness, instead, it presents me with a routine that I follow in order to stay alive. I yearn for something more than just stability.

This morning, I am drinking my coffee with a smile on my face. I am very pleased that tonight, after work, I will be meeting up with Amanda at Starbucks to give her the Diablo II battlechest I purchased for myself by mistake. I tried to cancel the order, but it had already been boxed and labeled for shipment, so there was no going back. It worked out well though: Amanda was going to have to go to a retail store to find it, and I doubt that would have ended in immediate success. The game has been out for more than 10 years… it’s not something you can just pull off the shelf of any old store and expect them to have it. Now, however, things are lined up. We will be gaming at night during the week and having fun slaughtering the endless minions of Diablo as they infest the realm of Sanctuary. To victory!

So I’ve got some things to look forward to. I’m not sure if we will be gaming tonight, because it will be close to bed-time before I get back to the house and eat dinner. We are also going to connect via Skype, which should be good. I will really enjoy having someone to talk to about game stuff.

Blog, I must be clear: I’m not thinking that this road will expedite my journey back to love, but rather, has presented me with a chance to get to know someone better, and relate to another human being on a deep level. I can’t say where this path goes, I mean, can I see the future now all of a sudden? I am open to whatever logical, healthy processes occur as a result of this interaction, but I don’t have any expectations, and I don’t have all of my eggs in one basket. If this goes away, I will still have the confidence I gained from starting this journey to find someone to be in my life, and that will not dissipate. I am sure that I can find a friend, even if Amanda (however optimistic I am about it) doesn’t fit into my life for whatever reason. I have been talking to myself over the last few days, so that I can be aware that there are possibilities for me regardless of what transpires between she and I. There is no reason for me to bet it all (again) on someone so early on into the interaction. Or at all, even if the thing does seem like a lock. I am not going to fall into the trap of setting myself up to repeat the same mistakes I have made in my past. I have grown and learned from that time, and I will be a better steward of my life.

 

Have a great day blog. I’m waling out the door with a grin from ear to ear. I can’t help but be happy right now. I have good feelings prancing about in my heart, and my sorrow is far away from the forefront of my mind. May your day be awesome!

Expecting To Fly

What a day blog. First off, apparently most people had today off (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), and therefore, zero traffic. I zoomed, both directions, no snarl whatsoever. Then, work was pretty light, I was well under average today. I may not have even broke the 30s. I was really tired though, so I drank two big coffees today and that perhaps was not a good idea. I had my last one around 1 pm and now that dinner is here I still have a suppressed appetite. But I’m still cooking a flank steak anyway. I need to eat. Can’t drive the boat without a captain.

I’ve been talking to Amanda all day, and I was really nervous for part of it, because I had a big huge reveal about my mistake-laden past and then I didn’t hear anything back for a couple hours. So naturally, I panicked, thinking that she had read what I wrote and been inclined to withdraw. But I was proven wrong by her intelligent, understanding and ultimately sympathetic reply. She too has been through some shit, and she generally accepted me despite all that poop. I was relieved, happy, heck, even joyous that someone could look at the sum of mistakes in my history and still find cause to engage with me. I was both stunned and ecstatic. I’m having a really good time talking with her, and tomorrow night, we meet for the first time. I’m really looking forward to it.

Today I talked to myself a lot and tried to be rational despite all the fun I’m having. My life has been pretty bland lately, and Amanda has come right along and spiced it right up. I have someone insightful and relevant to talk to, and that makes me very content indeed.

Tonight I will trade words with her some more, and continue building a meaningful bond. This is a cause that truly seems worthy of my attention. I long to find a cure for my unending loneliness, and now that I have applied myself to remedying that, progress is being made. In leaps and bounds, even. Have a great night. I know I am.

Reveal

Part of getting to know someone is the process of unpacking your past so that they can better understand your life and tribulations. I’m going through this with Amanda, and since I have so much mud on my shoes (so to speak) I’m nervous about it. What if she rejects me? Things are moving along so nicely, could the stark truth of my past bring an end to that?

It seems though, that we have more things in common than we do major differences of opinion and circumstance. We both had similar upbringings being someone with a mental illness being raised by someone (also) with a mental illness. We have both endured bullying at school, but hers because she was always the more mature “new kid” on the scene. Mine was just because I was truly different, odd, perplexing and random. And kids enjoy a general sense of conformity, which is what seems to be the norm for them. Anything outside the umbrella is ridiculed and hated, and so was I. I skipped 6th grade so that I could get away from those kids, and move on to a better circumstance with my peers in a new grade, new scene, new try.

 

But I’m still afraid that she will frown on me for having been divorced twice, but I’m also not going to hide the truth from her. Anything I build here must be forged on the anvil of honesty, and that is the driving goal behind all my actions in this regard. I do not want a repeat of the past, so what better a way to assure that than to make the past public knowledge? I can’t think of a way that spins me as doing the wrong thing here. If there is going to be any future between Amanda and I, it will have to be built on truth.

 

I’ll keep you updated as to the outcome of my reveal.

Outcome = understanding and honest acceptance. We continue to be very relatable to each other, and our conversation is becoming more real, and less experimental. We are connecting on some very fundamental levels. I’m really ecstatic about this. I’m headed in such a positive direction now, better than I have had in a long time.

**UPDATE 1:00 pm**

I’m feeling great today. Talking about hard stuff and being accepted despite that is really amazing. I feel a genuine connection to Amanda, one that gives me a lot of hope for the future. I don’t know where this road I’m walking will lead, but I am excited to be taking steps to help myself live a better life. One that I can feel proud of and comforted by. This world is hard and quite unforgiving at times. To have a genuine connection with someone willing to see who you are is quite extraordinary. I’m having fun with it, and everything we’ve shared so far leads me to believe more good things are lying in wait.

Getting It Right

So I’ve noticed that after the weekend, I tend to fall flat on my face emotionally. I don’t really know why this is, but maybe it has something to do with not looking forward to going back to work for six straight days. Or coming down from the relaxation and family interaction of the recess. I’m thinking it’s just kinda hard to get up and go face my Monday sometimes, knowing that there’s going to be a ton of work there for me to do. I haven’t been able to hang the last two Mondays, I’m really hoping I can buck that trend and stay for my full shift. I’m gearing up so that I’m more than ready for tomorrow. I know things are going to work out fine.

I’m downloading a legit copy of Diablo II from battle.net right now, and I’m going to install it momentarily and run the perfect drop mod on it. Then Amanda and I are going to convene for some excellent gaming on the interwebs. She’s going Amazon, for the ranged component, and I will be going Druid (shapeshifting of course). I want to be able to tank Werebear and DPS with Werewolf. Bear tank with hunger is hard to stop.

Update: it’s confirmed, I’m legit and connected to US East for open battle.net with the Perfect Drop Mod installed and ready to go. I can hardly wait! This is going to be some fun, I can tell you that right now. But I’m officially a dork: I forgot that I had already registered my Diablo II CD keys years ago. Why is this important? Because I just ordered the game on Amazon yesterday. Doh. So now I have two copies of the game. I have already messaged Amanda to see if I can give her that copy I ordered. Saves her a trip to the store anyway.

My new glasses will be coming in sometime this week, though I know not when. I’m ever eagerly awaiting the call to come pick them up. Maybe by the time I do my eyes will be fried beyond recognition for having had to strain through sunglasses for several days in a row. I hope I don’t lose all the valuable light sensitivity resistance I’ve accumulated from having not worn my sunglasses for a long time before this most recent disaster. Being tinted all the time is a bummer. But I’m a dork and those glasses died horribly, and are now out in the trash.

Today was cool. I went over to my uncle’s house in the morning and had breakfast. He had thought the NFC Championship game was on at 10:00 am, when it was actually on at 12:05 pm. So we had some time to kill before the kickoff. We chatted about football, and made interesting observations from our comfy seats. He has a 65 inch LED in his living room, and it’s like a damn movie theater in there. That screen sucks you in it’s so gargantuan. My uncle is planning to do lots of modifications to the house and make it a deluxe palace of screens and radness. He has an outdoor patio area too that has another TV and seating all around it. It’s a nice place, and there’s a good reason I like going over there. The being around people is the best part though, and having the chance to interact with my aunt and uncle. We extended family members are generally much closer to each other than in most other families, I’m finding.

 

This week is going to be different than most weeks. I have quite a few things to look forward to, and the lack of those things generally causes me distress. But this week will be different, I can tell already. I’m going to be fine. I made a good CD that I’ve had fun listening to. I have my gaming with Amanda and then two dates on the weekend! What more can a lonely boy ask for?

So what really needs to happen this week is a steady uphill climb towards the next achievable goal: making it to the weekend again (however abbreviated). I did spend a lot of this weekend alone. I did things on my own and spent maybe 2 hours with my uncle, all told. I went shopping, I did my laundry, I took out the trash, and I turned the tumblers over. I also went to work for four hours on Saturday. Definitely eventful. But on a more introspective note: I spent a lot of time with myself too. Just being around the house, or playing a game on my computer. I need to get used to being alone, because I’m not always going to have someone to be with. My parents will only really be here for the shorter part of February, and then they’re off on a cross-country trip to the Florida keys. That will take them a very long ways away. I will need to muster the strength to only count on myself, and find safety and tranquility in that fact. I believe that I can do it, nut it will no doubt challenge me. I believe I am ready.

One final note here: I had engaged several women with emails indicating I’d like to chat with them on Match, but heard back from Amanda first. Another nice lady, Sia asked me on a date and I had to turn her down. I am already walking down the road with someone… I’m not going to lead anyone on. And just ten minutes ago another lady, Erin emailed me asking to start a conversation. Holy crap! When it rains it pours I guess. Another person I will have to turn down is what it amounts to. I have had huge success with Match compared to OkCupid, and a much better pairing as well (Amanda and I have quite a few things in common). I’m not happy to have to tell people “no,” but it’s kinda a good problem to have. Confidence boosting, that’s for sure.

Have a great night blog. My Sunday keeps getting better and better.

Good Tidings

I’m having a great day so far. All last night before bed and all this morning I have been chatting with Amanda. Turns out we have quite a few things in common. Not only that, but we have set-up another date, this one the day after our coffee meetup, in which we plan to go see The Battle Of The Five Armies. Two dates on consecutive days? Nice! Also, during the week we are going to skype together and play Diablo II. She expressed an interest in the game and I told her all about the Perfect Drop Mod, and we’re going to play a few games on open Battle.net and see where it goes. But we’re both clearly really excited about each other. Not only is she a creative artist, she’s also a pianist, and quite attractive. This is a really good turn of events for me.

 

I’m quite ecstatic about our interactions so far. We have some really fundamental things in common, which bodes well for future compatibility. She wakes early, and goes to bed before 10, like someone else I know. She has a son and is divorced, but none of that makes a difference to me. I’m great with kids, and I respect that she is still a part of her child’s life despite the divorce from his father. I am taking small steps in getting to know this neat woman more, and wherever it leads, I’m prepared to go. I’m strong and independently stable, and I don’t plan to jeopardize that. I also don’t want to be hopelessly alone any more. I can’t wait to tell Margaret I have not only one date but TWO, and online meetups scheduled for the week. Rad.

 

Blog, you have been here with me while I rebuilt my life, and now you can see the amazing transformation from decimated and depressed to engaged and active. Now it’s time to take the next step, and see where it takes me.

Things I Did

I worked this morning from 8:00 am until 12:00 pm or so. We were all in for some training in yet another drive thru system we support. Our instructor got a little carried away with making problems for us to figure out that even she didn’t know the answer to. It’s not stuff we are going to run into on the phones, in reality. But learning is always an opportunity, in my mind.

After that was over, I drove out to El Cajon to set the rock tumblers. They have been rounding on the 60/90 aluminum oxide grit and are now on the 120/220 grit. The stones are taking shape already, as the first week usually sizes them up pretty much to where they will be in the end. The next stage will help make the surfaces of the stones smoother, while also shaping them a bit more. By the end, they become glassy and reflective, and reveal a layer of color never before seen. It’s a really neat process, I find. Ant the tumbler who’s motor I replaced is doing super, and powering along like nobody’s business. Everything looked to be in order, and I’ll be back next Saturday to get them started on the 500 grit.

I had a lot of free time this afternoon. I watched the first third of The Return Of The King, as I had seen the other two films last weekend. I was bored though.

In social news, I have a date next weekend! I’m going out for coffee with Amanda, and I have started talking to another woman named Sia. But Sia is cautious about talking to me because I’m mentally ill and divorced. She may or may not be talking to me further. Amanda, on the other hand, has just finalized a date for next Saturday night at 6 at the Starbucks in La Mesa, one of my old haunts. Let me say that again: I have a confirmed date next Saturday! I’m pretty happy about that. We’ve had a good conversation so far, and I’m having fun.

I’m going over to my uncle’s house tomorrow for breakfast and football. He’s been pretty awesome about letting me come over and hang out. I find the games are more fun when you have a buddy to watch them with. I’m bringing over eggs and sausage so we can have a right-proper feast. And then I will come home in the afternoon and do my laundry.

So blog, things are going pretty good for me right now. I have a lot to look forward to. New places and new faces and who knows what will come of it all. I’m cautiously optimistic. But I can’t get down on myself. Look at all the good, nourishing things I am doing to help keep me happy and stable!!

Have a great night you guys. I’m on a roll!

January Mood Album – Leaps And Bounds

I haven’t done one of these in a good long while, and since I’ve been on such a tear of late, now would be great time to do one. The motivation for this album comes from the narrative of progress, and the struggle to endure the cycles of depression. This album goes from a fractured, angry place to a corrected path leading to prosperity, with pauses along the way to remember the past.

1. Holiday – Green Day
2. Falling Away From Me – Korn
3. Meet The Creeper – Rob Zombie
4. All Over You – Live
5. Tonight She Comes – The Cars
6. Too Low For Zero – Elton John
7. What I Got (Reprise) – Sublime
8. Philadelphia Freedom – Hall & Oates
9. Creep – Radiohead
10. Walking On Broken Glass – Annie Lennox
11. Big Girls Don’t Cry (Personal) – Fergie
12. Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down) – Tears For Fears
13. Stand Or Fall – The Fixx
14. Deep – Pearl Jam
15. Kyrie – Mr. Mister
16. Paparazzi – Lady GaGa
17. Neutron Dance – The Pointer Sisters
18. A Little Respect – Erasure
19. Can’t Take It With You – The Alan Parsons Project

It’s Still Thursday For Me

But what a Thursday it was! I learned a lot at work today about equipment we support that I really didn’t have much experience with. I had a customer tell me this afternoon: “you’re much more knowledgeable than the other techs I’ve talked to. Can I ask for you next time I call?” I’ll take that compliment all day. Even though the other techs and I were all hired at the same time, I come off as WAY more on top of my shit than those other guys do. For whatever reason.

So today was good. I ate my little sandwich like I always do, and worked hard. In the morning, I went to the optometrist to get my eye exam and order new glasses. Fun, right? They did about 4 million tests on me, which amounted to staring into a dark hole and having something bright flashed in my eye over and over again. But I’m going to get more durable frames this time. For sure. My insurance covered about $250 of the cost, and I ate the $325 left over. My eyes are definitely worth it. I kinda need them.

My mood has been consistent, and subsequently good. I’m around 80% mostly because I had to get started so fucking early today to get to the eye doctor on time. I have some song lyrics stuck in my head, as you may have deduced from my first post today. Poignant words from an unexpected source. Tomorrow is Saturday but since I still have to go to work, it’s more like a Friday. I go right from there to storage to change the grit in the tumblers, which has me all excited to see how they handled the first big shape-changing stage. Hopefully there were no power failures or other calamities that would have caused this process to be delayed. And then I should probably go shopping.

I’m doing good, overall. I think that I’m finally getting back into a positive groove with my life. I’m reaching out to others and at least attempting to make my social network bigger. I am not weighing success in dating as progress, but rather, healthy activity that can come and go, considering the attempt at it is the thing that makes me feel better. I’m trying, and I have been proving to myself that I care about this and would like to change how lonely I feel.

Another early start for me tomorrow. But not a whole shift. Just 3 hours of training on a new system we cover. My bosses are going to be in there too. So I’ll check back in tomorrow when I am free.

Fergie – Big Girls Don’t Cry (Personal)

The smell of your skin lingers on me now
You’re probably on your flight back to your home town
I need some shelter of my own protection, baby
To be with myself in center
Clarity, peace, serenity

I hope you know, I hope you know
That this has nothing to do with you
It’s personal, myself and I
We’ve got some straightenin’ out to do

And I’m gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket
But I’ve got to get a move on with my life
It’s time to be a big girl now
And big girls don’t cry
Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry

The path that I’m walkin’, I must go alone
I must take the baby steps ’til I’m full grown, full grown
Fairy tales don’t always have a happy ending, do they?
And I foresee the dark ahead if I stay

I hope you know, I hope you know
That this has nothing to do with you
It’s personal, myself and I
We’ve got some straightenin’ out to do

And I’m gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket
But I’ve got to get a move on with my life
It’s time to be a big girl now
And big girls don’t cry

Like the little school mate in the school yard
We’ll play jacks and Uno cards
I’ll be your best friend and you’ll be my
Valentine

Yes, you can hold my hand if you want to
‘Cause I want to hold yours too
We’ll be playmates and lovers
And share our secret worlds

But it’s time for me to go home
It’s getting late, dark outside
I need to be with myself in center
Clarity, peace, serenity

I hope you know, I hope you know
That this has nothing to do with you
It’s personal, myself and I
We’ve got some straightenin’ out to do

And I’m gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket
But I’ve got to get a move on with my life
It’s time to be a big girl now
And big girls don’t cry
Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry

Initially

So remember when just the arm of my glasses broke? A situation that was addressed by some well placed packing tape? The frame was so uncomfortable on my face, and colliding with my eyelashes that I attempted to make minor adjustments to have them not awkwardly smashing my left eye. Turns out, that was just the excuse my glasses needed to destroy themselves, breaking into two pieces at the nose bridge. Joy. As luck would have it, I still owned a pair of prescription sunglasses, which were not in several pieces. So I wore my shades, explaining to everyone in the fluorescent-lit call center about the demise of my regular glasses. My shift doesn’t end until 6:00 pm, so driving home in the dark with my sunglasses on was really dumb, and potentially dangerous. But I had no choice. Tomorrow I go to get my new glasses, but they may not be ready for days. So sunglasses or bust.

So I started a Match.com account, and paid for a month with all the bells and whistles. Someone I reached out to this morning wrote me back, interested in conversation. Her name is Amanda, and we had an exchange of messages that lasted the length of the day, trading interests, hobbies, insights and truths. I didn’t hide that I was bipolar. Why would I? It would need to be discussed at some point anyway. So we had a good chat, one that is scheduled to continue into tomorrow. It’s a very promising start, needless to say. And more importantly: it’s making me feel good. She’s a neat lady, and I really would like to get to know her better. And that may happen, or it may wither away into nothing. We’ll have to wait and see.

Today I took 34 calls, above average again, and thus time it was due in large part to the billing queue. I was busy all day with payments, invoice reprints, autopay setups, and other escalated issues that could not be resolved by me, prompting tasks and emails to get the attention of someone who would be able to address the problem. And I got yelled at for things I have zero control over, but didn’t have a single order kicked back at me. Ryan had like four, and he never looks at his universal work queue to grab his orders (which can’t be shipped because something is wrong with them) and fix the issue with them that is causing the hold up. He and several other agents had orders kicked back at them, and they spent the whole day not doing anything about it. Nice, right? These are the people I work with.

I’m back up to 90% which is generally about as high as this percentage thing goes. I’m never at 100%, because I’m not perfect, and there is always a little something wrong that keeps me in check. Lingering regret, bad thoughts, or general fatigue are all things that damage the percentage. But I really can’t ask for more. I’ve been on a roll these past few days. And I’m feeling super.

I need to go to bed. I’m up at 6:00 am to get my act together and get over to the eye care center by 7:30. Farewell blog. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Damnit

My stupid glasses broke this morning and now it’s annoying to wear them because they’re all messed up. I put tape on them to prevent a complete failure but they’re sucky now. I made an appointment with the eye doctor for tomorrow at 7:30 so I can go in there and get some decent glasses. Plus I have vision care now, so the cost should be minimal.

I also created a Match account, I guess because I was tired of hearing myself complain about being lonely, or reminiscing about lost loves. I don’t have much hope that anything will come of it, but at least now I can’t say that I have bound myself to indefinite suffering. My expectations are none, as my only hope here is to try and build a friendship with someone new, who shares a common passion. I’m into some neat things, and I would like someone to explore them with. Maybe this will result in something positive, or it may wash out to nothing. But I’m trying, and that’s better than shutting down and isolating over the long-term.

Today is my hump-day, because I have two more full days of work after this one. And that will be the case for the remaining part of this month. I don’t mind that it’s not overtime. It’s still $112, which I’m not going to just pass up for any reason.

So that’s the news. Emotionally, I’m somewhere around 85% today, and trending up. A full day of work typically deans me pretty good, but as I’ve been resting early and waking up refreshed, I’m not concerned about maintaining a decent energy level. The downward trend is over, and now will begin the steady climb back to normalcy.

I’m being proactive: whether it’s my eyes or brain, I’m keeping a close watch on my health and stability. It’s my only solemn duty at this point so I’d rather not muck it up.

Terse

I just wanted to let you know that I was somewhere around 85% today and holding strong. I had a bit of a sulky morning, but that passed as I got down to business during my shift. Things have been improving all week, and that’s a reassuring sign. My parents are coming back by the end of January instead of mid next month. Also bonus.

My life might be boring, but it’s stable. And I am so thankful for that, because living between extremes as I have been is untenable. I don’t want my world to explode again like it seems to every few years.

Tonight, I rest easy. Things are on the up-and-up. It’s another busy day tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Back Then

I’ve been reminiscing. I was officially divorced in late November, but that was not the thing that would push her out of my mind. Instead, I find myself pondering the strange outcome of our life together. We were so happy at times, so sad at others. I found that my depression really took hold of me through the winter of 2013 and our relationship being destroyed was collateral damage to my down-spiraling. I had gained a ton of weight, and was smoking cigarettes every day. My life was hanging by a thread. But for all of the sweet caring and love Jax had for me, I think she was shocked and horrified by how deep my rabbit hole goes. When she saw me break down into suicidal anger, and threaten those cops with weapons, she lost all semblance of respect for me. It was too painful a thing to behold, the one she loved willing to throw his life away. I know that after that night, she wasn’t coming back. She had seen the demon and wanted out. And frankly, I don’t blame her. My life was being primarily destroyed by me, and in my haste to obliterate myself, I had forgotten all about her. I was not interested in her trauma, the story was about MY trauma, and MY suffering. I made no space for her to breathe, and I choked her out of our relationship.

I wish things hadn’t gone that way, because she had a lot of value as a person, she was caring, creative, understanding and funny. She enjoyed coffee just as much as I do, and we had a blast collecting rocks together. I miss her sometimes, at least, those things about her. There were plenty of places where we were impassably disconnected, but neither of us realized that those differences could have been bridged with understanding, if only given the time to build it. I gave up on Jax first, sending myself into destruction. But she also saw me at my weakest, most vulnerable point and chose to sleep with someone else, which kinda sucked. When I was in the hospital, I cried myself to sleep at night on those plastic pillows. I sobbed because I was sad about what I had done, but more importantly, scared that I had lost the one person I loved. Which I did, I just hadn’t been told that yet. She came back after that night that she asked me to “let her go,” but it was clear her mind was in another place. She was already gone.

 

I did this to myself. And ever since that dismal point, I have striven to make something better out of my life. I admit that along the way, I lashed out at her in anger, in comments and emails. But eventually I wrote her a formal, heartfelt apology, where I laid out the shortcomings of my actions and asked her for forgiveness. I became aware of the large margin or responsibility I was accountable for, and took action on doing the right thing with it. I learned something from the fall, and I have moved on from that broken place to the best of my abilities. Do I still resent Jax? No, not at all. I actually completely understand why she did what she did. It’s not what I would have done, but I get where she was coming from. I have been looking at that night as a tragedy, when in reality it was an opportunity. A chance to prove my worth to the person who matters most… me. And that I have done.

 

So today as I work, I really don’t spend much time thinking about sadness as it pertains to that night. I think about a friend who I lost, and a life that I was leading that had all but dried up and was heading no where fast. It needed to be changed, but could I have been the one to change it? Not likely. It was already too far gone, and the board needed to be wiped clean and the reset button pushed. It was the only way, and our relationship may not have survived that, even if I had not melted down. I still regret the way I treated her, because I was so blinded by my own suffering that I never gave her the attention she deserved. I never really listened to her pain, only questioned why it was important. I was in no way mentally capable of handling anyone’s problems but my own. And even at that job, I was failing.

 

As I go along through my life, I can only look back and thank Jax for the time she spent with me. Having her in my life was a source of joy that had no rival. She has since moved on and found someone new to love, and a new place to call home, and I wish her nothing but the best in her journey. I have my own adventure to go on, and I’m very glad I am. Jax, wherever you are: thank you for being with me. I had fun, and I’m sure you did too. You will always have a space in my heart to call your own, and no one will remove you from it. That part of me will always be yours, whether you want it or not. Have a good life, as I will try to as well.

Endure

I made it through a full shift. But at what cost?

Meanwhile, in my brain: an epic struggle for control is unfolding between depression and rationality. The pervading and present adversarial view renders me down to my most undesirable qualities. I’m a person in contrast to most, and the things I derive meaning from are not (generally) embraced or understood. I struggle against the norm, I flounder as a popular representative of anything, and my meager opinions about reality are unanimously unwanted. On the other end of the roulette pistol is my logical mind, which builds arguments based on evidence, and acknowledges patterns and routines as foundational to progress (which I am inclined to agree with). These two forces are tearing each other apart in my mind, in a struggle that is wearing me down mentally to a point of not being able to function. The process is slow, so I do have lots of time before I totally dissolve into nothing. I’m on an introspective quest to better understand the deeply frustrating venue of my thoughts.

Today is a prime example of this conflict of forces: my life still must transpire, but at a degree of difficulty made unreasonable by civil war. I found that my actions were labored, and my concentration utterly fractured by the pulling and pushing of ongoing mental warfare. I tried to keep things in perspective; I endeavored to persevere. By the end of my shift, I had nothing left. I drove myself home bent in a frown while torturously sad music looped on endlessly. I promptly disassembled into my underwear and ate something so that I might then go to bed and finally be at peace. And this, here I am, alone in the dark making this trivial blog post to express the frustration of living with severe mental illness. I have nothing I yearn to do with my time but retreat to bed and seek the comfort of my sheets.

I don’t rightly know what drove me forward today. I was acutely aware of how much energy I was using to get through my shift. I started the day at 55% and finished the day at 30%. The battery isn’t taking a full charge anymore. I can get enough out of rest to go back to my desk and do what I am asked to do, but then afterward, I have little or no motivation for anything else. Life between shifts is bland and could easily be made of cardboard.

So tonight I’m hoping to fall asleep rapidly, and wake up refreshed and somewhere above 60%, which would mean my energy is gaining lost ground back, and then some. That’s all I’m really hoping for. I don’t have any assurances that it will happen.

May your night be far more spicy and exciting than mine, as you are not bound to struggle with every step, thought and breath, as I am. Or, so I hope.

Face-To-Face

I’m here in my truck before my shift starts. I feel somewhat mixed: nagging sadness hangs over a will to drive forward. So far, I’m not bailing out of my responsibilities because things feel bad. I’m enduring the pain and marching on regardless. It would be nice to have an upbeat demeanor, but that would require a shift in the foundation (being built on sadness).

I am bummed that I will be going it alone this month, and then some. I talk a lot about not having someone, but do I really want the implication of that feeling? I’m not on the market, I’m doing nothing whatsoever to seek out companionship, and fundamentally have no interest in it. I may be lonely, but that’s my road; one that I’m unwilling to break away from. I have achieved such unprecedented stability, and wealth, that I would not dare jeopardize it for easy companionship. The truth of the matter is that I am unlikely to find someone else who would be willing to deal with me. My violent mood swings, my dark deteriorations, and my pessimism. I’m not an easy person to love. Not at all. I don’t want to get involved with someone only to have to disappoint them when they find out who I really am.

My heart is empty. I don’t know that there is a resolution to any of that. I feel unsatisfied, unwanted, alone. Here at work, it’s only a reiteration of that, as I grind through call after call with no pause to socialize or gossip. I just do my job, regardless. It’s not very fulfilling, except for the motivation I give myself so that I can do well and succeed. But I’m just a conjurer, and I manage to fool myself into a positive state more often than not. It’s really only after time and repetition that the veil is lifted and sadness invades. It seems like my depression is gnawing at the edges of my stability waiting for a chance to come back in. Incessantly.

So I’m resolved to make it through a full day today, and for the rest of the week. I have nothing else going on in my world to otherwise occupy me from this duty. I have lost my flare and passion. My desire to game has all but vanished of late. I have been mostly reading things with my down-time, and writing out my struggles here. I’m generally hopeless. There will be no easy way out of this long stretch of solitude. There’s no where to go, no one’s arms to hide in. I have to stand up against it and do everything I can to hold it off, and push it back.

I’m going to get through this. It’s just hard, perhaps abnormally so for someone of my disposition. Struggling and prevailing is part of the lesson I still am learning. That things can feel desolate and empty, but that is not forever. The pendulum swings, and things are better again.

**UPDATE 1:00 pm**

It’s been a tough day. I’ve had lots to do all the way through to this point. My mind is a tad mushy. I’m having to be extra careful that I do not screw up any orders. But things are moving along. I still have the longer half of my day to go, and already I can see that it will be boring. But what can you do?

I’m putting my head down and doing what is asked of me. I’m not really in the mood to wander around and talk to people like some of these guys seem content to do. I just went up to the gas station to fill up my truck, and I didn’t buy any junk to eat. Small victories. But I’m dragging. Feeling the press of anguish and the energy to defend myself from it slowly draining away. As my day goes on it will get less stressful. I don’t have much left to give. I’m struggling for balance here but that seems to be a far-off objective. I don’t have the resources left to correct my port side list. Maybe I’ll do better than how I actually feel. I hope.

**UPDATE 3:30 pm**

I went and got myself a big coffee, and that was nice. I’m hanging tough despite many factors weighing me down. I feel sad, but not overly so. I can sense that my emotions are right in the forefront, flattening my potential exuberance. But things are ok, I suppose. I should find a way to get out of my shell this week, maybe by the weekend that will be manageable. We shall see.

Still

I’m still in a down place, but not so detrimental to be able to hinder my actions today. Change from this comes slowly, and through a reapplication of the pattern. I need to continue to press on, and get in a full day today and the next. I will be over 40 hours this week, even with my early recess yesterday because I go in for training on Saturday. I’m here in the cold air of my stone-floored apartment and I am drinking a cup of french-pressed coffee. It has been an awesome change from the machine, which I guess was just so junked-up and corroded from the 2,000 pots of coffee I made in it that there was no real choice but to dump it. Coffee was starting to taste bitter, rancid and foul… among other adjectives to punctuate a failed machine. I’m sitting here in front of my computer screen wondering how it is that I’m going to make it through today. I just feel so acutely sorrowful, as if the dagger of sadness was buried in my chest. But I have to truck on, I have to survive and strive. I’m listening to Gollum’s Song, because it almost perfectly matches my current disposition. But it’s not helping me feel better.

It’s Tuesday. I know that I will be busy at work today, because I always am in the first half of the day. Now I have even fewer people around me who I can talk to now that Oscar has moved to the other row. I sit next to Jeff now, who I generally find to be an instigator and an idiot. Ryan is a decent fellow, but his work ethic is terrible and he doesn’t do his job very well. I have like zero respect for most of the people there, as they do not apply themselves and try hard. There’s no one there who is like me.

This just leads me back to feeling alone. I have no friends at work, I have no time for much of a life outside of my job. I am locked in. I have acquaintances, but none of which I would call sympathizers with my mental illness. They all get that I’m mentally ill, but there’s no one around who wants to get any closer than that (not that I blame them). It’s just a matter of fact. I push people away because of my disorder, and the general fear that pervades affects everyone I know to some degree. Especially now that I have spiraled into suicide attempts in my past.

Well, none of that is going to prevent me from trying my best to have a decent day. I’m enjoying my coffee even though I feel sad. I’m thinking optimistically about the work ahead of me, not framing things in a negative way. I will go out there and give it my best effort, regardless of how mightily I struggle. Today I will not be the victim of my mental illness.

I wish you all the best of luck, in doing whatever it is that you do that brings you fulfillment. I will press on despite hardships, pain and suffering. This is my life, these are my footsteps.

#815

Today has been largely bad. I struggled from the get-go with my energy at 45% and diminishing as the morning wore on. By the time 2:30 rolled around I was done. I packed up my show and went home.

I then fell deeper into sadness, allowing loneliness to take a hold of me. I missed my parents, and I generally felt stranded in a world without people. I made myself dinner and watched a movie on my way to bed.

I just got off the phone with my dad, and they are going to be gone for a month or more. They’re trying to help my sister rearrange her life, and will be going to Sacramento after they’re done at Lake Isabella. Weekends of running over to my Uncle’s house will come to an end when football is over, of which there are really only two weeks left. I’m going to have to be my own best friend, because I’m all I have left.

I was feeling bad about my situation, but it’s changing rapidly. What better an opportunity to prove to myself that I can indeed be on autopilot and not need anyone else around to hold me up? I have a chance to show how strong I have become, and how stable I am. I’m not saying that I’m going to just romp through my days with a happy-go-lucky demeanor, but I can remain upbeat and be good to myself. This is going to be hard, because I know how easily I can become frazzled or otherwise burnt out. I need to do everything in my power to ensure I stay afloat.

Tonight my sadness lingers. It reminds me that I will be alone. It brings to light all the people I’ve loved who have given up on me. It makes me think about painful memories that are lined with regret. I can’t change what has happened, but I can try and get going in a different direction. I can assemble a new chapter in my life, with a foundation in small successes over a great deal of time. This is part of what I have already started to do. So I don’t fret for long, but I still waiver.

I hope you have a good night blog. I’m going to bed. I’ve had my fill of today.

Respite’s End

My two day weekends will be a thing of the past from here on out, as I work each Saturday until the end of the month. The last two days have been good, with me getting a good deal of stuff done for my house as well as getting in some family time at my Uncle’s house. I actually went over there both Saturday and Sunday, as there were meaningful football games to watch on both days. I was at home watching them by myself but I was chatting with and texting my Uncle the whole time so he just invited me over again. It’s nice to share an activity like that with another passionate fan. So all in all, rewarding and fun. And my house is clean and stocked with food. I also got the tumblers going again, with four barrels full of new rock to be polished. I was kinda silly for setting them on a Saturday because I really should have waited for Sunday so that I would have more time to get them going. Now I will have to change them after work for the next three Saturdays. Which I guess is ok, but I could have waited. I was on such a roll though, I just wanted to keep working and getting things done. And I did handle quite a bit that first day off, leaving myself with nearly nothing to manage on my Sunday.

My mood is ok. I’m a bit low energy. I have that voice in my head telling me to go home, but I’m not really listening to him. His argument has no foundations. I’m perfectly capable of making money today, no reason to throw that away. Though that voice is persistent. He always wants me to fail at something I’m trying to do. And while I admit I’m below normal on the energy meter, it’s not enough to provoke me into taking action against myself. I am going to motor on through without delay, because that’s the thing I need to do right now. It’s my job to go out there and have a good day.

After having seen all three Hobbit movies in rapid succession, I started watching The Lord Of The Rings movies again. I downloaded the extended versions and have made it to the first third of The Two Towers. Those are some great movies, truly well done, if not spiced up with some creative interpretation of the lore. Aragorn never falls off a cliff and nearly dies. So on and so forth.

My shift is rapidly approaching. That voice is still bugging me, telling me to give up and go home. But why would I do that? I’m fine. I might be a tiny bit hungry and another part tired, but that’s no reason to just give up on the day. Is it? I don’t often have a keen sense of what my body needs or doesn’t need. Right now my fatigue is the thing that will limit my functionality, but I sense, not to a degree that would impede what I need to do. I guess it’s just the prevailing sadness of knowing that the break is over, and now I must go on a five day trudge through the world of work.

I’m going to be fine. I’m not listening to that voice, and away we go.

**UPDATE 12:30 pm**

I’m struggling with energy. And my concentration is totally shot. I’m not having a very accurate day. I feel like I’ve already made some mistakes. But I also kinda don’t care today. I guess it’s my poor attitude about the grind, which is an accurate way to describe my trials at work. I just want to go take a nap. But I also know that I never really nap and that the feeling of fatigue should fade as the day wears on. But to struggle so from the get go is upsetting. I’d rather be high energy and be able to handle my responsibilities, but instead I’m struggling to survive. Keeping my head above water will be the priority. However, managing that will take its toll on me.

The Night Is Young?

I’m home from a 31 call day, and generally feel upbeat about this week. I know I got off to a terrible start, but I finished strong. I’m not going to be able to stay up past my bedtime and play games or watch TV… I’m tidally-locked into a routine that will irrecoverably induce fatigue by 9 pm or so. I can drink as much coffee as I can handle, but it will not change my 9 pm bedtime. Things went well at work today, with everyone moving seats around me, and even carrying over into the next few rows. I don’t know if it’s a good thing, or a bad thing that I’m not moving. I guess it’s one less hassle for me to endure. Now I sit next to Jeff, who is generally an idiot, but not as bad as some others. Chris has been moved to within direct earshot of Mike (my Manager) who will, no doubt, be appalled by the way Chris handles customers on the phone. Chris is generally rude, puts people on hold to finish talking to his friends, and has a dumb way of communicating with people. He treats customers like morons, which is not a good policy… it’s even bordering on hypocritical considering the capabilities of his own dimensionless mind. He has the worst phone manners out of anyone in the call center, with Ryan coming in a close second. I found an order today that Ryan started entering in the system, but he then completely abandoned it, ensuring that there was no way it would ship, and that someone (eventually) would call us (upset) wondering what had happened to the order they placed. That’s where I come in. I field the call, and can offer the explanation of neglect or delinquency for the reason this paying customer does not have what they asked for more than a week ago. Needless to say, that customer does not think much of us anymore, and I don’t blame them. I have been calling out these mistake-prone agents in emails asking how they managed to fuck things up so badly, and a carbon copy to my supervisor, who I’m sure is aware of the problem, but should be informed of big errors that result in escalated calls. It makes me wonder about the value the company places on it’s public face, in us. They have some certifiable retards manning the phones, and that sort of ilk is a great way to get a bad reputation about the customer service of Mood Media.

On the emotional homefront, I’m doing better by leaps and bounds. I have had support from all angles during a time of genuine crisis. People I reached out to helped, and people reached out to me from unexpected places. I was quite surprised by the attention, and have been thanking people ever since I got my shit back on the rails again. I’m on my own now though. My family has taken their rig a solid 270 miles north to Lake Isabella, where they were planning to stay through the beginning of February. I don’t think they’re going to be up there for that long, but we’ll see. Apparently, the fishing is good there, but my dad doesn’t freshwater fish, like I do. I have a top-notch bass rig that I have taken to several venues and had success with. But that’s more a summertime event, whereas the depths of winter are typically bass sleepy-time. They can be pestered into a strike, but it’s hard to do. Anyway, they are gone, and I’m flying solo for a while.

This is my last two-days-off-in-a-row weekend for the rest of the month. I have a Saturday shift for three weeks. I’m happy about that, in large part, because I have missed some time at work and would like a chance to get that money back. I’m making more than I spend every month, even with the lost hours. I’m in the + by $200 to $400 after two biweekly paychecks. Rad. That’s assurance and safety beyond anything I had been able to throw together in the previous 12 years of independence. It’s a good time to be me right now. I’m on the rise and have an unprecedented level of both success and stability. I’m doing great, despite occasional emotional setbacks. There are bound to be bumps on the road.

Mandosrex updated the Improvement Mod today, but the Japanese are still broken. Animals do not go to shrines regardless of how close you build one to a herd. And captured livestock do not fatten at houses or farms anymore. Mandosrex was trying to explain to me why this was so, as it has something to do with how the AI gathers food, or doesn’t as the case may be. I typically out-resource the AI in every category but wood regardless of who they choose. I applaud Mandosrex for trying to fix it, however, the Japanese are now unplayable. Wild animals going to the shrines encompasses the lion’s share of xp gathering for that faction, and without it, you may as well not even pick a home city deck, because you’ll never use it. It’s sad, because I like the Japanese, and now I can’t use them.

Tomorrow is the divisional round of the playoffs. I have 25 points in the bracket game, and the current leader has 41. My fate will be decided by the first game tomorrow, as a Baltimore win would greatly improve my chances of winning. A New England win buries me in the clear with few chances left to distinguish myself from the herd. I’m the only one who picked Baltimore. Fingers crossed.

Goodnight blog. It’s been a fluctuational sorta week. I survived. The end.

Fridaaaay

My mood has been great for a third consecutive day, and that is quite reassuring. I was starting to wonder if I was headed into a deep depressive cycle back on Tuesday, but since then, have shown a turnaround in mood and demeanor. My attitude is positive and my disposition is proactive. It’s another promising start to what will surely be busy day.

I’m almost done downloading all those TV shows I had queued up for my parents and myself. Prospectors is a show is very much like to watch over again, and there are three seasons of it. And there are several others, like History Channel’s Vikings and Fox’s Da Vinci’s Demons. My mom wants to see all three seasons of Revenge and all 7 seasons of Mad Men. I found MM to get a little boring after season 5. My dad requested all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I fucking love that show, and I must have seen nearly every episode. Total download size around 200 gigabytes.

Last night I said goodbye to my parents, who may not be back in town until the beginning of February. I’m glad they are getting away and have a chance to go do something fun. A change of scenery is usually always a good thing. I will miss being able to go over to their RV and have an evening with them. But all in all, this is part of the advantage of being able to take your house anywhere you want.

Have a good day blog. I will probably be busy for the better part of the morning. Maybe things will slow down by the evening.

**UPDATE 12:30 pm**

Seats are changing today, and the cluster of retards will be broken up and redistributed through the rows. Thank heavens. We’ve been so busy lately that it’s been hard for the delinquents to fuck around all day like they used to. This location switch should largely stifle any further attempts at group idiocy. I’m very happy. My seat, also, will not be changing. Most guys are moving, but not I. Rad.

A shakeup. That’s just the thing we needed to send the message about shit getting more serious. I’m tired of the carefree and irresponsible attitude some of these guys walk around with. They think they can do whatever they want and no one is going to hold them accountable. Wrong.

**UPDATE 1:00 pm**

I’m keeping busy and on-target today. Feeling generally pretty positive about life. I have nowhere to go this weekend, sadly. I will be on my own to develop something to do with my day. I’m going to be watching the playoffs, naturally, and doing my chores. But I will likely be alone and that may spin me down into a sad place. I’m not positive what my reaction will be, but it is an object of my concern. I don’t want to start next week like I started this one. So here’s hoping I can preserve an upbeat attitude through the weekend.

**UPDATE 4:45 pm**

I made a plan to go over to my uncle’s house on Saturday night to watch the first NFC Divisional game. So my weekend will not be wholly spent in isolation. I will have good food and company at least. The last hour is always so very slow. The seating switch is nearly done, with most everyone moving here or there. Fun stuff. I’m looking at a quiet evening tonight with an acceptable bedtime. I feel fatigue creeping in on me already. I would like to drink another yummy coffee tonight. That’s not going to keep me up past 9 though. Im not sure what I’m going to do with my freedom. I need to go shopping early tomorrow as I hardly have any food left in my house. Chores. Sigh. But hey, this is my last full weekend. I work every Saturday remaining this month.

A Goodbye Day

My parents are making a 270 mile (one way) trip up to the foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada tomorrow to go camp near Lake Isabella. They will be gone for more than a week, or until they get bored and decide to drive back to San Diego. I’m going over to my uncle’s house after work today to say goodbye to them. I have enjoyed their uplifting presence in my life for the past month or more. I have had fun watching football games with them, lamenting the end of my fantasy season, and eating good food / making merry.

On the homefront: I’m doing much better, maybe up past 85% today. I can’t really explain the way my mood deteriorated into depression, I just know that it happened, and now appears to be over. I’m no neuroscientist, so the true cause for my descent will remain unknown. But I do know that I have come back from that point, and have mustered my strength for the remaining portion of the week. In the end, my paycheck taking a hit will be one of the few signs left that there ever was a depressive episode.

Today is going to be busy. I’m back in the billing queue, and I expect that it will take over 600 calls today. So some fraction of that will be handed to me, along with a fraction of the 260 or so drive thru and exchange calls we will take. I should be occupied for the first few hours of my shift, and would expect things to slow down around 2 pm or so.

As I sit here writing this (in my truck before my shift starts), raindrops are falling, making that distinctive popcorn popping sound as they collide with my roof. Today the forecast says clear skies, 0% chance of precipitation, high of 77 degrees fahrenheit. So this casual rain is far from expected. There is no cold front or storm cell within 300 miles of my location. Much like my inexplicable brain chemistry, this rain makes no sense.

I hope you all have a good day out there in the world. I’m feeling so much stronger than I did earlier in the week. A truly amazing turnaround. Your support was essential, and I thank you again for that.

**UPDATE 1:00 pm**

My day is roaring by. The longest break I’ve had between calls was less than 90 seconds. I must have over 20 by now. Anyway, I’m doing really good. I’m holding a high level of energy and working hard. It’s been a positive but hectic day.

I am doing fine emotionally. I’ve heard some songs come on the overhead speakers that remind me of Jax, but what predominates these recollections is a sense of genuine disappointment. I didn’t want things to crumble the way they did, but I’m glad she’s not in my life anymore. She is a vastly different person than what I need, and it was a big downgrade to pair myself off with her. Regrettable decisions aside, we were rarely on the same page. I just am really glad she’s not in my life
anymore; just look at me soaring in promising skies! I’m doing better than ever before, and I would never have been able to get here if she hadn’t cheated on me and ended our relationship. I have sad feelings, but more happy ones by comparison.

Back to the grindstone I go. Be well travelers.

**UPDATE 2:00 pm**

So the rumors of discipline and less wholesale tomfoolery are true. They will be dividing us up, rookies with vets, and cutting down on the bullshit things these jokers are doing everyday. A big email went out detailing how we would now be staying on task, and not doing the stupid shit that I have grown so very tired of. These guys try to get by doing as little as possible, and they do their jobs poorly. It’s time this horseshit came to an end, and I welcome the change. Hugely. I know I’ve been busting my ass here everyday, to the best of my abilities. I can’t be faulted for lack of effort. I rarely make mistakes, and follow through on my responsibilities every time. I welcome the age of regulations and order that is to come. Soon there will be no people yelling or laughing or motherfucking loud enough for customers to hear. There will be no watching YouTube videos of monkeys getting their heads bashed open so people can eat their brains. There will be no standing around making rude comments at people who are on the phone doing troubleshooting. Sigh. Do you see the sort of shit I’ve put up with? I can hardly wait for the seating change to take effect. Puns and needles. Stay tuned.

75%

I’m returning to normal operations after a short plummet into depression. Monday and Tuesday were both really bad, with my energy and mood rendering me about 5% functional. I missed time at work because I found myself totally incapable of doing my high-energy job. I was no better than 15% functional in Tuesday, as taking 35 calls nearly drained the life from my limbs. After that abbreviated shift, I had a good evening with my family, a solid meal, and got a chance to pour over all the stones Moo and I had collected over the years to make some loads for the tumblers. That whole conclusion to the day, punctuated by helpful responses from the community here on WordPress and an uplifting conversation with my best friend Will, helped to get me on track.

This morning when I woke up I knew I was tired, but not overly depressed. I was low-energy at therapy because I hadn’t had any coffee and was still not quite overflowing with enthusiasm and hand gestures like I would be normally. But it was good to go there and just rehash my state, and go over the reasons not to plunge deeper into depression. I left there feeling positive, bought myself a big coffee, and went to work. My shift starts at 9:30 am and ends at 6:00 pm when the call queues close. I never once thought about ducking out early. I cruised through the day, getting resolutions and placing exchange orders with accuracy and ease. I say my overall functionally was up near 75% today. I was still pretty tired by the end of my shift, but I was confidant that I had done well and will continue to improve tomorrow.

Today I was out of the billing queue, as it is my mandated day off from taking those calls. But tomorrow and Friday I will have my feet to the fire once more. We at Mood Media have been extra vigilant about harassing customers with a past-due balance of any sort with a call or letter indicating we will shut off their service in 48 hours if they don’t pay. And sometimes they have paid, but get threatened anyway. So when wrongly persecuted people call in, they’re usually upset. That, and people who are incorrectly billed, or have had money withdrawn from their account and they don’t know why. Those are some of my “favorites,” where pretty much no matter what I’m able to accomplish on the phone, it’s going to be a miserable exchange. Tomorrow I do believe I will have enough strength to handle the most vile of billing calls. Bring. It. On.

Today was excellent progress from where I was. And Thursday will be a step forward from my 75% mark today. I know how serious my depression can be. It can crush me down flatter than hammered shit if it wants to. Sometimes the chemicals in my brain do not allow for me to experience any sort of positive feeling. I am rendered incapacitated by sadness, defeated by depression or otherwise maladjusted by the lack of certain neuro-transmitters between synapses. I have come to expect that with no warning or instigation, my whole demeanor can be changed, downgraded or otherwise obliterated. This is my illness. I have survived the many terrible things it has managed to do to me so far, and I will persevere through challenges yet to be posed. Reading this blog must truly be difficult to do: my posts are all over the spectrum, varying in seriousness and subject matter almost as dramatically as my fickle moods. I never intended this blog to be anything more than a sounding board for my thoughts, or a diary of my activities to keep the insanity at bay. 807 posts later, it seems to be doing the trick.

Rising Son

I’m doing much better today blog, markedly so. I’m recovering from that severe low place, and rapidly climbing back out of the hole again. Today has been less busy than today, but it’s my attitude that has improved. My demeanor is changed and I genuinely feel more optimistic and hopeful about life. I’m quite pleased with this turn-around.

I needed to get on top again, and here we are. Feeling more focused and more in control is refreshing, given how badly I was doing. I’m going to be ok blog. I really am.

I want to thank those who reached out to me and helped me through my dark time: Will and MoodyMandy, Angryalpha and Kamillej2014. You have all helped me get to a better place. I appreciate you very much.

It’s up to me to maintain this good feeling and make sure I stay ahead of my depression. I’m already half way through the day and I’m doing good. I can feel my edges fraying a bit, but the call volume is headed down from here and my business will lessen. I’m headed in the right direction blog. Cheers.

But This Time… With FEELING!

I had a rough day at work today. It seemed to me like people were extra relentless on the phones, like they could sense my weakness, my vulnerability. All the more reason to obliterate me (they must surely have thought). And so they did. And I was done with that at about 4 or so. I was nearly to the point of tears on the drive home, but then I remembered I was going back to my apartment to get the rocks and bring them out to the RV so Moo and I can prepare the next tumbler loads. We got to tear open bags and sift through a mighty collection. From our travels in California, and my mom’s adventures in Arizona and Utah. We went through two full boxes of rock, settling in on about one freezer bag’s worth of stones of varying sizes. It looks like it’s going to be a lot of colored quartz and jasper (red and yellow). I’m going to go down there Sunday morning and set them in motion yet again. It’s an amazing, transformative process. I can’t wait to see how these most recent ones will do. So there’s another thing I have to look forward to.

I sometimes come here and write about the progress in making as a person. Other times, to lament or express sorrow. I’m bipolar, and my whole life is a non-stop twisting insane roller coaster of emotions. It has no rhyme or reason, sometimes striking me down in my prime, or kicking me when I’m low. My bipolar disorder is mostly not helpful, and rarely stays level for long. I’ve learned that the more I can take these thoughts I have, and get them out of my head, the better things will be. I give my emotions recognition by publishing them here, a permanence they so desperately (and initially) sought from me. When you don’t have someone you can talk to everyday, you find ways to still express, and vibrantly. I find my written narrative to be far more coherent and reasonable than anything I manage to utter. Stark contrast, in my opinion. But I’ve relieved many compliments on my verbal skills from customers and from peers.

Sometimes you need to fall down, in order to see all the reasons to get back up. Maybe I’m just stumbling along too fast for my own feet and right on the edge of losing it. I walk a fine line, and it doesn’t take much to unseat what frail stability is maintained. I endeavor on, trying to hold on to all of the really good things I have going on in my life.

Largely Unchanged

I’m still not feeling all that great, but here we are, at the start of a new day. I gave myself plenty of time to rest, but my neurochemestry has not rapidly rebounded, instead, maybe coming about half way back to normal. I feel slow, like my actions and movements are dragging laboriously through invasive jelly. I plod on through the muck of despair regardless. My mind is hung up on sad songs reminding me of being alone, or the revitalizing passion of love; a feeling I am utterly alien to now. I am wondering how I am going to get through today. I can’t afford to retreat back into my apartment again, I used up that “get out of jail free” card yesterday. I can put my best face on and go out there and be in front of the eye of the world, and submit to scrutiny. I feel bleached and tattered, devoid of color and substance. I sit here drinking my coffee, and I register that it is warm, but it does not make me happy, or even feel more awake. I don’t know how I am going to do this today.

 

I have struggled before, and I will surely do so again. What defines me is my ability to persevere and survive these wretched states despite the inward spiral they initiate. I can’t afford to go missing. I often think about the hole that would be left in the worlds of some if I took my own life. How they would miss me, and simultaneously hate me for doing it. How much more selfish an action is there to deprive yourself of the full responsibility of life? I know that nothing about being alive with a mental illness is easy, but inflicting great pain on others is not where my head is at. I’m not desperate for a solution, just sad that there isn’t one. Depression has it’s fangs in me, and it’s holding on tightly in case I try to get away.

 

Blog, I’m sad that this is the tempo that will set my day in motion. I was hoping that after a good night’s rest I would be (more or less) prepared to have a good day. My mood is not cooperating. I’m not sure that there’s anything that can be done. I’m drinking my coffee. Soon I will put on my dress shirt and get in my truck and drive to work. I will be faced with the challenge of bringing a positive demeanor and attitude to my every action, forcing an unprecedented level of energy to be expended above the norm. I have no choice.

 

I really hope that I steadily improve even if the signs of that are not present. I will try to do the best job I can, and set aside this terrible pain and try to perform at my normal level. I can’t promise success, but I can certainly try for it.

**UPDATE 8:45 am**

I’m here waiting for my shift to start. I feel deeply depressed, acutely so. I’m absolutely out of control in my head right now, with thoughts, feelings, music and nightmarish notions all spinning around on a carousel. I wish it were different. I wish my head was not so maladjusted and that I would be able to have a good day. Happiness is far from reach. I feel hollow and empty of vitality. As the nervous seconds tick by, I contemplate fleeing this situation, but know logically that I cannot. I would only be hurting my future for the momentary needs of my present. I will just have to hit this out, and get to 6:00 pm in one piece.

**UPDATE 1:00 pm**

I’m barely hanging on. People have gone out of their way to insult me and treat me like shit on the phones. It’s almost as if they could sense my weakened state and then move in for the kill. I’ve handled calls pretty much non stop since I clicked in. I have had no break from the queues. They are overflowing with incoming calls, and most people are content to still goof off and otherwise vacate responsibility and professionalism.

I am probably going to stay until 4:30 or 5 and then go. I am beat, mentally deflated and crushingly depressed. I have negotiated an activity for tonight: I will be making new tumble loads out of the loose rock we have on hand. I’m not sure what that means for my current situation. I feel so acutely miserable, it becomes hard to imagine there being much else. I’m suffering and I don’t like it. It’s been so hard to do this customer service job. It saps me of my vital energy and leaves me desperate for positive feelings. I continue on regardless of hardship, for about as long as I can manage.

Today, Tomorrow

I crashed and burned this Monday. I was totally out of it when I left home this morning and, since then, have tried to force myself to do what I normally would. My attempts to gut it out failed not long after I got to work and discovered I could hardly talk (I was so drowsy I was slurring my speech). Then I tried to do anything I could to get myself right, and that failed as well. I was drowning in exhaustion and deeply unhappy. I took myself off the front burner, and went home.

Since getting here I have not felt better, only worse. My mood continues to plummet and my fatigue extends broadly over my activities. I tried to do things I would typically enjoy, and none of that brought me any happiness. I often stare blankly at my computer screen, feeling the crush of having so few things to look at or puzzle over. With my mood in the gutter, there’s very little I can do to lift myself out of this tough spot. I’ve tried distractions, but all I can really think about is how shitty I feel. I want to sit here and cry because I feel so alone, so cut-off from the world. There’s no barricade between me and the sadness; it pours into my thoughts like running water. I just don’t have much of a life. I’m isolated, and when my parents are gone next week I will have hardly anyone to spend time with or feel nourished by. I am going to have to face it without help, and I don’t much like that thought.

As I sit here writing this, I feel an ache pressing down in my chest. I have little tears pooling up in the corners of my eyes, and my face is bent in a frown. I’m feeling stranded on an island of suffering, and there is no rescue from it. Everything that could potentially take me away from it is poisoned and unusable. I would try and distract myself, play a game, watch a movie, something. But every time I try, I am reminded of how terrible I feel. It groans in me and presses my organs down into pulp. All I can think about is how fucking stupid I am, and how there is no escape from my suffering.

I want it to be night so I can just go to sleep and be done with today. I’m frustrated and tired of this mood, this rotten disposition. I’m so sad, I’m crying and I don’t know why or what good any of this is doing me. I just don’t want to feel so alone, so isolated from the world. I’m not generally likable. I’m more of an ass who has to be right all the time. I don’t have many friends. I lean on my family for support but they will be out of town again soon. Then I will have no one. I’m here in my cold apartment by myself and not able to be saved from torment. I’m suffering so badly. My tears have turned to sobs. I’m doing the best I can to be coherent and introspective despite all that. It’s hard to look at yourself when things are so awful. All I can think about is how bad it hurts, how sinking and crushing the feeling is. There’s nothing I can do to escape it.

I just want today to be over, so I can start again tomorrow without this terrible burden on me.

**UPDATE 5:00 pm**

After a long cry, I’m feeling a little better. I’m going to bed early. I just want to be done with this whole state. It’s just unrelentingly painful. I don’t think there’s much to do here but start over. Push the reset button.

If you asked me to describe what I am sad about, I would not be able to say. I just feel so poisoned by negativity, and drunk with exhaustion. It felt like I got two hours of shitty sleep and woke up in the trough of a depressive cycle. Sometimes this happens: the mood that I counted on for stability completely fails leaving me stranded in a place of unending torment. But I’m mentally ill, so I guess this is par for the course.

My mind was hoping for a chance to understand why this has happened, but everywhere I look I’m offered no explanation. Nothing has changed except the date and time. My neurochemestry is a flawed entity with substandard corrective potential. I do the best I can, and cut my losses. Full retreat into sleep.

**UPDATE 6:30 pm**

I called my bro Will, who also struggles with depression. He helped me come up with some reasons why not to despair. He reminded me of all the positive steps I have taken leading up to today, and how none of that can be undone by this feeling of sadness. I’m still having a hard time feeling good about anything, but his words, and others who have spoken up, are helping me feel less alone.

Mode

34 calls today, most coming in the morning, was idle for stretches of 35 – 50 minutes at a time in the evening. The majority of my work today came in the form of contract exchanges: When the equipment used at drive thru restaurants breaks down (mainly headsets and order taking belt packs) they have an agreement with us that enables them to swap bad equipment for working (refurbished) equipment. Fry kitchens are not a good place to use technology, because everything in there is abused, bent, dropped, stepped on, and coated in a film of grease. So replacements are frequently needed, and that’s where I come in. I identify what type of gear they use, then record a serial number off it, and place that information into Oracle. The software platform we use has 32 distinct steps to get from my handwritten notes to an order that will be filled and shipped same day. That’s 32 things I’ve had to memorize how to do in the exact same sequence for countless error-free orders. If you make a mistake, somehow, someway, it’s going to come back at you. An angry customer will call in and complain that their order never arrived, or it was the wrong equipment, or incorrect quantity. It’s imperative even to do it right every time, a point totally lost on my peers. The error report came out again last Monday, and for the second week in a row I was not on it. As it should be.

In the morning I was occupied, but things drop off dramatically after 3:30 or so. The bulk of the agents go home, and the few that remain are usually more than enough to handle the diminished volume. I do a lot of reading online, needless to say. But I’m not upset or anything. I like my job, even if it is boring from time to time.

My mood was pretty low this morning, but has since picked up. I was thinking a lot about the fun I used to have with Jax. Dwelling on these things doesn’t usually get me very far. I don’t know why I do this. It may be that I am trying to move on but everything I remember about her acts like an abrasive to my still healing wound. It’s been nearly a year, and I’m still not quite out of it yet. That life I had back then; I thought that was it, the final and perfect permutation of my destiny. But what did I do but squander it? I foolishly kept into things without thinking, and then I let depression and relationship troubles erode away at the foundations. It was doomed to collapse, as all things will when neglected and left to their own devices. I have no one to blame but myself.

Life is funny in how it can basically destroy you, and then give you a chance to come back. I didn’t create opportunity, I just made use of it when it was offered. I did the best I could, and that really seems to have paid off.

I am feeling like my sexual motor is starting to rev up again. I’m frequently entertaining myself often with just my imagination. I have lots of sexy things I can think about. But what good does any of this do me? I’m not going to have a casual sex relationship. Not going to happen. I’ve been down that road before and it only leads to despair. But what to do? Really, there is nothing that can be done. It’s just a shame that I feel the urge and there won’t be an opportunity to un-urge for a long time. And when I do it will be quite anticlimactic, as my skills, stamina and tolerance threshold have all gone to shit since. It’s one of the many predicaments this solo life has presented me with. But one that can’t be thought out or reconciled. I just have to hope that the motor shits itself off again before it drives me insane.

I work tomorrow morning at 7:00 am until 3:30 pm and I don’t have anything planned. Sunday the rocks will come out of the tumblers and we will get our first look at 3 of 4 loads. They have already proven to have spectacular color and clarity. Moo and I were talking about going to Pala and trying out luck at one of the tourmaline mines, or perhaps the area around it. We would likely need permission from the Native American tribe that owns the land, so that might be a long shot to actually execute. But we could pay and go in and sift through the till of an existing mining operation. Maybe the included, imperfect tourmaline is of no value to them, but could be gold to us. So a rockhounding adventure potentially on the horizon. It will be good to see the stones. We’ve waited a month, and now it is time.

My parents moved their RV out of La Mesa and back to east El Cajon where they were back when I lived with them. Or rather, just outside them. I keep thinking back on those seven months during the spring and summer that I lived entirely outdoors. It was good timing that it happened before winter got here. Truly. I could never have lived out there the way I was with no insulation through the cold nights. I would have been suffering. But I found a place to live in late September and was moved in by October. Problem solved.

I tried on a pair of jeans I had worn back when I was still with Jax, and I found that without aid, I could not keep them on my body. I’m surely back near a 36 to 34 inch waist again, because those 38s I tried on were unwearable without a belt. They were like jumbo parachute pants made of denim. They were baggy around the thighs as well, which I remember was a problem last time I wore them because it was uncomfortable to store things in my pockets because they were so tight. Things have changed. Part of my Lone Bull Project goal has been met. Not the whole thing, but a good chunk. At my worst I must have weighed 285 or so, and now… I really have no idea. It’s less, that much I’m clear on. But how much? Beats me.

Have a good night blog. Happy Friday for you (but not for me since I work).

The Other Side

Good morning blog. I’m feeling ok, perhaps a little tired. I went down to the pharmacy this morning thinking I was going to have to wait to my meds filled since my doctor had called them in over two weeks ago. But those ladies were on top of it. They had everything ready and I was out of there just as soon as I had come in.

Doing that drive down through old town reminds me of those nights when I would get off work and come down to the San Diego House and wait for Jax to get off work. I would sit in the car and sing and look forward to when she could sit with me and talk about our day. It was really nice having someone I could do that with. Even though we were sometimes on different pages, there was nothing quite like that ride home with her, as we got reconnected after work. It’s a good memory, and it reminds me of the advantages of a partnership.

I’m hoping today is not another miserably slow day with nothing to do. I don’t want to just sit at my desk and stare mindlessly at the screen for hours on end. That was painful on Wednesday. But I’m getting paid whether I work or not, and I’m coming back in on Saturday for another shift, one of three that I picked up this month. My wages should be well within the healthy category. And I’m pleased to report that all my bills are paid and done for the month. It feels really good to be on top of my shit.

Sometimes I get to feeling that I’m not worth very much, or really likable at all. All my partners have gone away after having spent much time with me. I was with Jennifer for 4 years, Emelia for 2 and Jax for a little over 1. Eventually things go to shit, and I’m a big part of why that happens. But it’s not just on me, I contribute to the dysfunction but I down own it outright. I’ve made some hasty decisions and even more poorly thought-out ones in reference to love. I don’t really think building a lasting relationship is in the cards for me. Not now, not anytime soon. I’m still a case study: a volatile person with a severe mental illness and disparaging tendencies. I have tons of work still to do on myself before I ever consider roping someone else into the equation. I have to reiterate this point because my loneliness cries out for change, but it’s not that easy. In this area, it will take me a great deal of work before I am ready to go on to the next thing.

So I have some stuff on my mind. But my shift is about to start. I’ll keep you updated if I’m having a slow day.

**UPDATE 1:20 pm**

It’s been medium. Pretty slammed in billing, not much in drive thru. I’m feeling mixed up today. Not really sure where I stand. I can tell you that I’m not having much fun at work. I’m struggling to keep myself focused. It seems like my brain is a bit fuzzy. Hopefully this goes away soon.

**UPDATE 3:15 pm**

Well it’s finally slowing down. I was busy, but still able to play the song lyrics game with Mike. This day has gone by pretty fast, but I still have a few hours of it to go still. I’m not as hazed as I was before. I have been pretty busy doing my job and don’t really have the luxury of being slow.

On Holiday

I got today off, and that was nice. I went over to my parent’s RV and had a tasty breakfast and then went to go see the third Hobbit film. It was very entertaining. I especially liked the scene with Bard and the black arrow. I’m not giving anything away that isn’t already common knowledge for anyone who has read the book. When we last left the movie, Smaug was on his way into Laketown to punish someone, anyone. They really handled that whole sequence really well. The special effects were outstanding, and so devastating. The movie was full of emotional moments, as the story played out in almost the same fashion as it did in the book. Bilbo is the driving force behind waking Thorin from the sickness of gold he becomes infected with upon retaking Erebor. And they did a good job of portraying Thiron’s mental collapse, and his redemption. The two orcs that they set in opposition to the dwarves were quite nasty. Azog the Defiler was truly deplorable and Bolg was not much better. Very realistic and grotesque. Overall I thought it was well done. It needed to be dramatic and heartbreaking and it was. The end of the story is always a little sad. But the conclusion of the Hobbit takes us right up to the point that The Lord Of the Rings begins, with Gandalf’s arrival at Bag End for Bilbo’s 111th birthday. Still some gratuitous action scenes, but the battle itself was amazing.

Grades:

An Unexpected Journey = B+
The Desolation of Smaug = B-
The Battle of the Five Armies = A-

Today I had a couple of good games of Age Of Empires III. I had the Japanese on Large California first, and that one was a hoot. The AI was the Dutch, and they were rapidly up in my business harassing me from early on. They killed the small number of troops I had milling about in age 2 and marched on my town, destroying two or three houses before I could get enough units to rally to my defense. It was dicey there for a bit. I built up about 5 -10 ashigaru musketeer and I think I had two samurai go in there and force them out. Then I noticed the entry point: a gap between to plateaus where the conduit from their base to mine was shortest and easiest to traverse. They ignored my northern trading post even though I left it undefended. It should have been destroyed, because my hold on those two posts (that, and having my shrines all producing xp instead of resources) enabled me to dump nearly all of my home city cards, save the hill fort card and the extra rice paddy shipmen, which I had decided I didn’t need. My economy be game a juggernaut around age 3, and I managed to get into age 5 by the time I had made my offensive push. I built nearly all infantry: melee with samurai and ranged with ashigaru musketeers, American riflemen and culverins. It was effective. But the enemy was not foolish, they came back at me with artillery, primarily field guns, and they smacked me around for a bit. But like I was saying, once I had all my home city shipments bought, I was left with the infinity 6 samurai card. I bought it several times, and had 15 – 20 samurai all on artillery destruction duty at the front of my gathering point. And they ripped up those field guns with ease when they came back, and sealed the advance of my units. I marched in with several culverins from the third tier export armies which also include a number of riflemen. I had two dojos producing musketeers so I imagine that by the end I had more of those than anything else. The AI surrendered after I had razed the second town center and the third of four banks. In the final score, I had been out paced on coin, but had a substantial lead on the other two. I had the military advantage, but it was only 65 – 85 units difference. I can’t remember the exact numbers. 36 minutes of gametime and the computer had accumulated 32000 coin. But they didn’t spend it on mercenaries, as I would have. All in all, a fun game.

Tomorrow I’m back to work, and I feel good about that. I like having a day of rest here and there. It doesn’t need to always be two in a row. I can do the things I like to do in just one day. Fuck, one afternoon even. I got in a game of ROTWK today and tested the program fully to see if it would crash (like it had in the past, since the last time I used the crack). It did not shut down prematurely with the new hacked .exe file I got. And I played at least three games of AOE 3 as well. My brain is happy. I had a different strategy for each match. I like that I have to invent a new way to win depending upon the opponent or map. The more the primary variables change, the more interesting I find the battle. I get to a point in some games where I know when I have to switch over to farms/mills and plantations (or rice paddies). I call this the internal economic shift, because primary resource gathering goes from hunting/mining to gathering at a slower pace at a building with infinite resources. Some maps enable a coin shift before the food shift, because there were more herds and less mines. Or some such situation. And I don’t often take the water, if there is any. I only really consider it with the European civs because their navies are so much more developed. But for the most part, if I can avoid the water, I do.

Well, I suppose that’s enough rambling for tonight. Be safe.

The Edain Mod 4.0 NEWS

In a stunning turn of events, a content release is in the works. Turns out, they can create a demo version of the mod, with 4 races perfected (Gondor, Rohan, Isengard and Mordor) and ready for play. SWEET DUDE! Two of my favorites are already done and playable, I rather like that. So that will be happening sometime in the next three months, but probably sooner rather than later, as the gameplay videos so far have looked really polished. I don’t understand all the rallying and retreating they do in the gameplay videos, but maybe this is a mechanics thing that will become apparent to me as I play. I will be trying my hand with Gondor / Arnor (if they still switch to Arnor on northern maps), but I imagine I have a lot to learn about the new capture and hold expansion and node-based construction. But the game itself looks amazing. The units are highly detailed and well textured. The new maps they’ve built are all just eye-candy. They’ve 100% changed the core game, and created something new, epic, diverse and challenging. I’ve watched the livestream, and I’m genuinely excited. It will be like learning a whole new game over agian, but it’s a challenge I look forward to immensely. And with Mordor as a surefire backup, I should be set for countless hours of entertainment.

 

I just had a game on patch 2.01, and it’s like I remember it being before the first Edain mod came out, very fast-paced and unit heavy right from the get-go, expand the colony or die. And games were pretty fast too, like 18 minutes or less, depending on how far into upgrading buildings I got. But that way of gaming is going out the window, because the new Edain 4.0 will have bases and capture points nestled all over the map, garrisoned by creeps to start, but soon taken over by one side or the other, and used to create new buildings and units. It’s an innovative idea, like Dawn of War’s node capture and hold idea, but taken to a new level, where once the node is captured, it can produce units or research technology (which seems like a way cooler use of the node than JUST to gather resources). I don’t even know how the new resource system works, but it surely must, because they’re already having competitive games. I just can’t wait to try it out.

Soon we will have access to this phenomenal game, the lore and history built into it. They have a heroes sub mod which adds in the minor players back into the playable units pool. Like the two blue wizards, and many other second age characters. I’m quite ecstatic over this breaking news.

Churning Heart

Shattered by the dawn,
Dancing fire of first light,
Stumbling into the world,
Pinched by reality–
Of sober cold tomorrows,
Encounter with fantasy,
The redundant heartache,
Hours become days,
Crushed under regret.

A dance by moonlight,
Green eyes that shine,
Hands clutching close,
Turn and together,
Awoken, vanished–
Her fragrance still wearing him,
Palm heat fading,
The moment recedes.

Hearts with wings,
Held back in cages barred,
The taste of sky–
Days become years,
The yearning goes silent,
A key neglectfully lost.

Rushing into the void–
Left by the sickness of want,
Churning deep chests,
Flutter to be bound,
Whispered kisses,
Tears, sighs–
The brutal seconds peeling,
Destined to despair,
The wish of remembering–
A starlit love undone.

Shiver

Boy am I glad to be done with today. I was barely hanging in there. The boredom was severe, and the tasks were few and far between. I handled 20 calls, which is about half yesterday’s volume, and most of that came in the beginning of the day. The afternoon was dreadfully dull and the evening was dead. In case you hadn’t noticed, I don’t like having nothing to do at work. It sucks. I’d much rather be busy with things to do. Not only does that help me feel more productive and useful, but it also makes the time fly. Which I like. Today felt like 14 hours of staring at my computer screen waiting for the next call to come in. Not a fan of that.

Well, even though today was not very productive, it is still a mini Friday for me, as I do not work tomorrow. It’s the first day of 2015, and what better way to kick off the new year than to not be at work? I can’t think of anything is rather be doing. I’m going to go see the third Hobbit movie tomorrow, The Battle Of The Five Armies. I am a resident expert in all things Tolkien, and so far I have been somewhat disgruntled at how Peter Jackson has added so much mindless, ridiculous action to this story. There was no falling down a crevasse in Moria riding a destroyed goblin bridge. There was no orcs attacking the dwarves while they rode the barrels out of Murkwood to safety. There was no orc attack on Bard’s house in Laketown with Legolas showing up to save the day. These things are fabrications, and are implemented by Jackson to make a short narrative into a lengthy, sprawling epic. I imagine the next film will have a new preposterously off-base moment that I will be critical of. Hollywood fucks everything up.

It’s frightfully cold in my apartment. I have given some thought to sleep, but I don’t know if I can. I caught myself singing in the truck on the way home, which is how I know my mood is headed back in the right direction. Things are improving.

Tonight I’m thinking about my life, and wondering if I need to spice it up somehow. I’m content with things being boring. But is that going to last? I’ve pooped out before, but I have never before been in so stable a place as I am now. My job is still fun, if not challenging sometimes. I get to solve problems every day, and for a fixer such as I am, I take great joy in that. But between work and home I do very little. My evenings are short and capped off with an early bedtime. I don’t drink. I don’t go dancing or go to clubs. I don’t watch TV because 95% of it is crap. I read articles on science issues, the curiosity rover, and I frequent the USGS website to keep track of what earthquakes have happened in my region. I do live on the pacific tectonic plate, you know, the one that’s moving northwest? I sit in front of my computer and watch the weatherspark radar when a storm hits town. I go to Wikipedia and read about our recent history of large meteors that have exploded in the atmosphere. I’m basically the most well informed boring person you know.

Goodnight blog. Happy new year.

The Footsteps Of Rain

Stormy weather continues for us today, as the rain has been falling all night and the snow accumulating in the mountains. I would go drive out there and throw myself on it like I did last year, but I remember how bad it hurt when I landed on that rock and bruised my rib. Besides, there’s no one to share it with.

I’m doing better today. I had a nice long sleep and woke up in the cold, but ready to go. I shaved and used my new French press to make coffee, and it was delicious. Thick, frothy, warm, and tasty. I finished writing a post about a good Age Of Empires III game I had a few nights ago. When I was feeling depressed I deleted it and got discouraged about finishing it. I tend to shut-down when I get sad. I don’t reach out and I don’t have any desire to say much of anything. Sometimes I go through cycles: I feel good for a week or more, then dip down into depression for several days, then back out of it. If my downward journeys become long stays I know there is a problem, and I should start being proactive about correcting it. So far, I have only had to wait a few days and then I come back out of it again.

I think I’m just reeling from the long break and loads of family I had over the holidays. That whole thing was just so much fun. It was awesome to see all the kids running around smashing each other with those inflatable hammers my sister bought. And all the baby news from my cousins that are now expecting. I’m not really interested in having one, but other people having one is fine by me. I can play with their kids and not have any of the responsibility of raising them. Sweet!

It’s going to be another busy day today. People are calling in to pay their January bill, and have other issues that they put off until after Christmas, I suppose. I have been quite busy, really only letting up sometime after 4 pm. Most people on the east coast are done for the day, and will probably just call back the next day.

I’m here in my truck listening to the rain drops falling on my roof, and I’m happy. I don’t have any bad thoughts in my head right now, and I’m keeping a close watch on my feelings. Something that Feminine and Feline posted on her blog really hit home for me. The devastation of being forsaken by your lover, and the pain of a dying relationship. Yeah I totally get that. I just lived it, and basically still am living it. My heart is not done breaking yet, because I still loved her, even though she didn’t love me anymore. Sometimes I sit here in my solitude and wish I had her back. Or that there was something I could do to win her love. In truth, I know that being involved with Jax was more bad than good. I didn’t do enough research on her before combining my life with hers. I know she has moved on to a better place, and so have I. Wherever she is, I hope she has found happiness. I struggle, but that’s what life is about: the obstacles and the way we get through them. And so on.

**UPDATE 11:45 am**

So instead of busy it has been very slow. I have had under 10 calls all day so far. And a lot of guys are stepping out early to go home for the day. I’m going to stay until the end, as I need the income. And I’m one of 3 guys on after 5, so it’s kinda important that I stay. I would love to be able to get up high and look east at the snow-covered mountains, but there is no vista anywhere nearby. I was talking with Will earlier about the Edain mod, which we are both getting excited about. I’m also going to go see the third Hobbit movie tomorrow with my parents. Should be good.

Anyway, today is simply crawling. I have a short list of websites to visit as football season is over, and there’s no need to check those pages anymore. The bracket game is starting up, and at least in that contest I have done well. I have 4 victories, tied with my sister for the lead. I’d like to win this year and be all alone in first. A boy can dream.

So adieu for now. I should be around this evening for a New Year’s Eve post. But I won’t stay up to see it. I have a bedtime to keep.

**UPDATE 3:30 pm**

Just ridiculous how slow it is out there. Things are moving along at a molasses drip. I’m so bored, and have been reading various articles to keep myself occupied. I’ve handled one call in the last several hours. I really can’t wait to be home. I just want this boring day to be over. I’m not going to bail out early, but holy shit am I tempted.

The Snug Is In

I’m at the end of a long and busy day. I took 38 calls, which is above metrics (and the goals don’t really apply to me since I have the closing shift and my call volume is automatically lower) I’m pleased to say. I kept busy, mostly with billing issues, as that queue took well over 500 incoming calls. DTOC’s busiest queue was under 200 on the day, if that puts things into perspective. My contribution is necessary, but only a tiny fraction of the total. Anyway, today was a fast day. The trouble was, that I was feeling so depressed. I still kinda do, but I retreated to my bed as soon as I got home and generally feel better about things. Between my sheets is a magical land of warmth and harmony. I feel most safe here, and somewhat detached from the suffering of my disposition. I can tell you that I’m struggling, but managing.

I’m committed to being a solo project for a good long time, and that has the part of me that wants to be in love again all wrinkled up. It remembers how good it felt to love someone. Hey, it’s kinda hard to forget. But that part of me is yearning, and I figure that’s what it is supposed to be doing. I can’t be mad about that totally legitimate reaction to being alone. All things in perspective: I’ve come a long way and I don’t intend to set aside my goals in order to be in love. It’s not an option. I’ve seen only the calamity and none of the stability. I would need there to be a massive deviation from history in order to consider anything else. And I’m not looking for it at all. So that’s pretty final.

I know my mood will lift back up again as the days go by. I get a mini-break for New Year’s Day and then right back after it. I also work 3 additional weekends this month, so my paychecks should be healthy. I have a lot of things going for me: I have a loving family who always seems to have my back. I have a job that I enjoy and have not grown tired of. I have financial independence and I lean on no one to hold myself up anymore. I have a great apartment in a place I enjoy living, even if the driveway is crazy steep. I have a good life, and I really should be thankful for it. And I am. However, this does not make my feelings just poof away. I would never expect that to be the case. Instead, I respect my sadness and my loneliness so that even they have a chance to be understood or expressed. I’m not trying to live on one side of the coin.

It has been nice to sit here and rehash some thoughts. It’s going to get frigid tonight, measurably below freezing. Snow expected in the mountains. Winter is coming.

Encroaching Cold

A storm is on its way into my part of the world. It will bring cold rain and snow to many parts of the desert southwest.

I’m not doing so great. I feel a heaviness in my heart, and my disposition is gloomy. I feel sad, isolated and lonely. I’m not really interested in rectifying that with a relationship though. It seems like everyone around me is pairing off and finding their partners, while I am not. I don’t want this, but also don’t really like being so alone. I guess I’m complaining.

It’s always a big let-down after Christmas. With all that fun and family reaching a peak, then sliding away. Back to the monotony of life, with its occasional distractions. I am holding on to a few things which still make me happy: I have my rocks in the tumblers which will be done this Sunday. I also have bought myself a French press which I will use daily, I’m sure. I have my family, who are going to be in town for a bit before hitting the road again in the spring. I have my games, which are kept interesting by a vibrant modding community. I have my blog, which I have been trying to post to but found myself rescinding previous posts because they were abhorrent and negative.

I have a lot on my mind. I guess this is part of the process. Everyone at work here is sick or getting sick. I’d rather not go through that. But I may have no choice in this regard. If the bug is going to get me, it will. I’m trying to keep my spirits up, but it’s hard. I’m an effusive guy and I have to put a cork in it most of the time. I have no one in my inner-circle. Everyone who has been in there has later decided they’d rather be somewhere else. I’m the kind of guy who would rather be right than liked. That generally alienates me from most, but also insulates me against the rampant stupidity of the world.

I’ve been trying to write all day. It’s been a struggle to get through, but I am. I will be in work-mode, coffee, work, eat, sleep, coffee, work…

I hope your day is going better than mine.

End Of The Line

The weekend of family and festivity is now over, and back we go to the proverbial grindstone to labor away long into the next year. I am not disparaging, just commenting. I lost last night in the fantasy football championship, as I predicted I would, but only by 1.4 points, which is a tough one to swallow. That’s just one play, one catch, one fumble from victory. But it was not meant to be, I guess. My cousins were quick to comment on the stinging defeat, though I didn’t even think it would be that close. My opponent’s team was a juggernaut and I really never had a chance from the get go. But it’s not official until Thursday, in the event that a stat correction could swing the score. But the probability of that happening is next to none. I should just accept my defeat and get ready for next year.

 

My break was relaxing, yes, and had lots of cool interactions with family from far off places. It was nice to see everyone again. One way or the other, we all find a way to get together for Christmas. Just about all of us, anyway. There is another big family reunion scheduled for early May back down at the beach house like it was last year. The family really liked that whole thing, so they are going o do it over again. I will try to sneak away from work for long enough to enjoy it, but I have a full time gig, and probably can’t afford to spend much time not working.

 

I’m doing fine. A little sad to have come so close to glory and fall short. But that’s life for you: unpredictable and unforgiving. We just have to smile and move on, as that’s the only option other then to pout and waste time lamenting. Work is going to be slamming again today, as no doubt everyone with an issue will be calling in to get help, after having waited until the holidays were over. I don’t really count new year’s day as a holiday because who takes that day off anyway?

 

We turned the rocks over in the tumblers and got them going on the aluminum oxide polish on 3 barrels, but the fourth barrel will have to wait because one of our tumblers is dying and needs it’s motor replaced. We were only able to set up one barrel on that one, and will have to wait until next week to finish the other. But 3 barrels to look at next weekend will be very nice indeed. I have already seen how rounded and colorful the stones are, which is well beyond my expectations for beach-gathering. There’s no telling where the stones came from, only that they are beautiful and have come out looking splendid. I am eagerly awaiting next weekend, and a chance to post some photographs of the stones. I believe you will agree with me about their quality and color.

So blog: it’s the beginning of a new week, and I’m getting off to a somewhat slow start, but will surely be busy as the influx of calls is already email worthy. Mike sent out a message to get us on task and in the queues to get the volume handled. I haven’t even clocked in yet and already there’s a rush. It’s Monday for sure.

Take care blog. I’ll see you after work today.

**UPDATE 12:45 pm**

I’m feeling pretty exhausted. Today has been pretty non stop since I clicked in. I have had something to do every second until just now when I stopped to eat my sandwich. I have been on the phone all morning solving problems.

I guess I’m feeling deflated. All the cool hanging out with family raised me up, and now that it is over I’m crashing back down to reality. Fantasy football is over, and I won’t get another shot to redeem myself until another year. Poop. Also, I am back to living my solitary life, which I guess is a little sad. Meh. This is my lot. Work hard, quietly.

I don’t have much to look forward to anymore. The events have gone by, and the celebration is over. I am holding on to my desire to see the rocks come out of the tumbler, which should be fun. And shocking. But really, that’s about it for the fun. I maybe need some more things to do with my life so that I don’t feel disappointed by it. I didn’t get to hang out with Will. He is sick. All the family have gone home. The party is over.

I have more than half of my day left to go. I’m wishing I could be home curled up beneath my sheets and blocking out the unforgiving world. But I can’t go do that. I have to get up and go handle my life like a responsible person should, no matter if it sucks or doesn’t.

**UPDATE 3:05 pm**

Today has moved by pretty fast. I had my head down the whole time, going from one task to the other. I’m in a poor mood overall. I’m not ready to be back cranking at 100% speed like I had to today. I really had no choice. I could either quit and be ashamed or prevail and swallow the pain. I don’t have the luxury of being able to sulk. My mood will change as the days go by. It just sucks.

**UPDATE 4:15 pm**

I’m going over to my parent’s place tonight. I can’t stand the thought of being alone with this mood. I’m struggling through the slow half of my day. I can’t seem to think a happy thought, even though I keep trying to concentrate on positive things I have going for me. I want to be excited about my life again, but right now I can’t really see it. There is a cloud in front of me and nothing gets through it. This will change as soon as I get off work. I will be in a better state of mind and be fine again for tomorrow.

Scattered To The Wind

We have family from all over. Helena Montana, Chicago Illinois, Boise Idaho, Dallas Texas… and the starting point in San Diego California. Our family is big. I have 13 cousins, and 6 aunts and uncles (counting the spouses as family). We all make it a point to get together frequently. When I was growing up, we would typically drive out the 50 miles east from where we lived and go to the ranch where my grandparents had set up residence, in Boulevard California, which might as well be in the exact center of nowhere. It is a 70 mile trip to get to the nearest grocery store from there. Truly out there. But Saturday morning we would all pile in the car and drive out there. My uncle Joe used to live in two trailers on the property with his family to avoid having to pay property tax. Three of my cousins were raised there. We made regular pilgrimages, and so did the other uncle’s and aunts. The brought their kids and we would all go down in the basement (see carpeted entertainment room with a pool table and lots of stuff to play with) and have adventures. Or you could brave the mountain elements at 3,800 feet and investigate the sheer enormity of the property. The used to raise pigs and rabbits for eating as well. Meat has been a huge part of my family’s existence. Rotisserie prime rib, breakfast steaks, sausage and bacon, seafood like you wouldn’t believe: bbq oysters, Scottish salmon, ruby red ahi, whole steamed crab and freshly caught lobster. We are a family of food, and drink, and general merrymaking. We don’t think it’s weird to give each other meat as a Christmas present. It’s quite a sign of respect, actually.

When the family celebrates, we do it with class. Overflowing with fine wine, beer and spirits. Slathered in sauces and seasonings. Cooked slowly in its own juices. We know how to party, and the knowledge of how to do so has been passed on down to the next generation. Fuck man. We even made crepes after dinner. Maybe 20 to 25 of them. They all got eaten, amazingly enough. We all love food.

Tonight was no exception. We were in full form, as the new generation (of which there are 6 currently) of kids played at our feet. A number that will be going up by 3 very soon. Two cousins announced that they were pregnant: my cousin Jessica (her first) and my cousin Bruce’s wife Megan (her second). My cousin Lauren is well on her way to number two, and very close together (only 6 months between birth and getting pregnant again). Our name will go on. And the genetic sequence will be preserved on into the years and be spread to generation after generation. So soon there will be 9 total kids. Wow. I don’t know if they’re going to get past our mark of 13 but anything is possible. It’s just so enriching and rejuvenating to be around all those fresh faces. Chloe is such a little princess. Christian is Bam Bam reborn with the drooliest face you ever saw. Kid just doesn’t swallow.

Anyway. I was given baseball steaks (which I had never heard of before), queen’s oats, Russian tea cakes, chocolate and peanut butter chip cookies, and sour cream cinnamon bread, and I consider these to be very excellent gifts. The gift of food is to say: here, eat this yummy thing and may it bring you sustenance, excellent flavors and many other good feelings. How could that be a bad thing? Apparently, it is not the norm for people to give each other fine top sirloin as a Christmas present. Some people also may not have a good idea of what a bond it is to sit and enjoy good food with the people you love. And hear nothing but laughter and chewing noises all night long, occasionally augmented by the giggles of happiness that little kids make as they run and play.

So Christmas dinner was a smash hit. We bbqed a 7 bone prime rib for a good long while. My uncle has a digital meat thermometer sensor that monitors the core temperature and the outside temperature of the meat at all times and sends the data to a little handheld display that fits in your pocket. So he was watching the meat slowly increase in temperature until he had it cooked just right, tender and rare, very rare. We like our meat bloody and covered it its own juices. This is the only way I know how to do it, and I’ve tried well done meat, and it tastes dead, dry and uninteresting. Rare meat is tender, juicy and flavorful. We had twice-cooked potatoes and a green salad, spinach casserole with French onions and bacon on top. An my aunt Chrissy made Swedish meatballs. Damn. It. What a feast.

My evil grandparents came, despite all the general pessimism around that possibility. My dad was sure that they’d bail, but sure enough, they were there for dinner. All 19 of us, having a great time and eating wonderful food. If which I am currently full of. To the brim.

I hope you out there got a chance to spend time with whoever it is that you love, and had fun today. If there’s anything to be learned, it’s that the bonds of family transcend distance and time. We all know when to come back together again and rejoice. Even if our lives have scattered is to the wind, we are always together.

Feliz Navidad

I hope that you are having fun, regardless of what the holiday may mean to you. We are never going to have a white Christmas here in the desert southwest, but we do have a wet Christmas, as the rain is falling today. And much to our surprise, considering how this was to be a bit of a winter heatwave. Sporadic showers are about as close as I’m going to get to snow. Sigh.

My mom drew a picture for me, and I’m going to hang it in my house somewhere. Haven’t decided yet. I got a small mountain of Christmas goodies. Cookies of various flavors, queen’s oats, sour cream bread. The works. I’m going to have to work my ass off to get out from under the burden of Christmas goodies. But I don’t mind. It only happens once a year.

Happy holidays to you all.

Hey Santa

I’ve had that little Christmas jingle rolling around in my brain all afternoon… I know, aren’t I lucky? I’m wishing with all my might that another Christmas song will get stuck in there so I don’t have to listen to Hey Santa anymore.

Tonight was casual dinner at my evil grandparent’s house with all the dysfunctional family in tow. My grandma (who is slowly but surely losing her grip on reality) had to interrupt the conversation about Cuban cigars to tell us all about some cigar-related trauma she had experienced, then proceeded to sob uncontrollably as we all pondered what new insane thing would happen next. My scuzzy aunt Renee kept trying to get me to sneak off with her and smoke some dope. But I don’t like her at all, and don’t want to do that with her. Then later she redeemed herself by giving me a can of cranberry sauce. Divine! I have a demented love for the stuff and eat it greedily with a spoon from its original container. But then later she tried to give me a doobie even though I told her that I did not smoke at my house, as this puts my occupation in jeopardy by violating my rental agreement. So I turned her down and drove myself home. That side of the family (my mom’s) is abusive, deceitful, violent and awkward. They have a long history of abusing my mom, but she really dotes on them all like they were royalty or something. I don’t quite understand her continued interest in them. They are generally not nice and lately have been bordering on crazy. So I got there at about 6:15 and hung out for an hour and 15 minutes before the gathering began to collapse and I too jumped ship. It was like being exposed to radioactive waste, but only for a little while.

Today at work was mind-numbingly slow. I took 7 total calls today. Seven? I usually take upwards of 30, so this was a dramatic change in business and an invitation to (seemingly) unending boredom. As a result of having very little to do, I got some annoying Christmas music stuck in my head and also read about every fantasy football article I could find. I was able to handle my responsibilities, and by the end of my shift, it was just Kaiser and I in the entire building. He said he knew how to lock up and declined my offer for help in shutting down. Most everyone had an early day today. I’ve never been the only car left in the entire parking lot before. That was weird.

Tomorrow is Christmas Day, and we are closed. Queues are already in holiday mode, and no incoming calls will be answered. People should be gathered around trees and tearing through wrapping paper, not calling us about their drive thru being offline. Take a break once a year, I think you can handle that. Personally, I like to be with my family on Christmas. I generally want for nothing, so I don’t do gifts anymore. I can’t afford to be spending my limited resources on presents for other people. It seems silly to do so. I intend to stuff myself with cookies and sour cream cinnamon bread. Basically I’m going to derail the healthy train and go berserk. And why not? It’s Christmas. It happens once a year. It’s not the end of the world to eat some cookies.

I hope you have a good holiday wherever you choose to spend it. Merry Christmas blog. Happy holidays.

Strength

I have just driven 82 miles round trip to go up to Carlsbad to celebrate my uncle’s retirement. I saw my cousins, and spouses who I consider cousins now as well. Mike, the commissioner of the family fantasy football league was there, and his wife (my actual cousin) Jessica as well. And Jess announced that she is pregnant! Another family member on the way. That will make 7 grandkids when she gives birth. Zero from me or my sister, who is not inclined to settle down and make babies. Neither am I. Point being, the family continues to grow. And that is a good thing. I saw my cousin John and his wife Jessica (I know, two in the same room… confusing). It’s been a while since I’ve seen John. I used to live with him and three other guys in a 5 bedroom house in Santa Barbara. But that was 10 years ago. Holy shit. That’s a long time. It feels so much closer than that, maybe because that’s really when my mental health journey began. Right about then, I started showing the symptoms of bipolar disorder and sought treatment. Seeing him brings back painful memories of my troubling past. It reminds me of how far I have fallen, and how I’ve grown since. But he doesn’t know much about how I have changed, only what I did in the past. Mike and Jess are both players in the fantasy football league. I eliminated Jess in the final regular season game to advance to the playoffs. Then I snuck by the first round opponent to end up in the championship. They are both rooting for me, but I’ve already conceded. I’m going to get blown apart on Sunday, and my season will be over. I gave it my best shot, and came up short. I don’t know what I need to do better in order to win, I really don’t. I guess I’ll have several months to think about it.

Seeing them was great. Even if it was for only an hour and a half. I had a long way to drive to get back home, and I’m already up past my bedtime. But I have had a remarkable turnaround in my mood. I’m doing better by leaps and bounds. I almost bailed on tonight, when I got to thinking about the 1.5 hours it was going to take to get up there. Which it did take that long because of the traffic. But I try not to listen to that voice, because he leads me astray. I shut-down and become hollow when I listen to him. He does not help me feel better, he makes the darkness linger and grow. But he is difficult to ignore, and when he is powerful I am often struggling. He wanted me to not go out and see my family tonight, and I know now that doing that would have been a disaster. I would be wallowing in suffering and feeling no end of guilt to have not been there.

Sometimes I need to be reminded that there are people out there who care, and that I am being thought of. I can get to feeling like I don’t exist, because no one cares that I am alive. But family reminds me of all the people who do know me and wonder about what I am doing with my life. It forces me out of my shell and makes me feel human again. In some meaningful way, I am helped by them.

But this shift came mostly while I was sitting in the car thinking. I slowly built a soundproof box around that unwelcome voice and stopped the badness at the source. Sometimes I really just need to stop and think about where I am, and who I am. I get so caught up in my surroundings that I forget to look at where I’m putting my feet. I’m endeavoring to be more mindful, and I still have plenty of work to do. Have a good night. Thanks for listening.

Courage

I’m fighting with depression today, and it is winning. I left work early pretending I had a migraine, but in reality I’m just very down and have no zest or excess energy to go around. I’m sad inside, over my solitary, one-dimensional life. I live in a hole; cut off from others and internally focused. I don’t socialize very much at work. I don’t go anywhere or do anything of consequence during the week. I feel utterly alone.

And this is because everyone who has ever loved me has been driven off by my dysfunctional personality. Or my stubbornness and general callousness. I am stranded on a lifeless island having scorched all precious things around me into ash. I have nothing left to offer. I dwell in solitude. I have been rejected by many, scorned by a few. I have more enemies than friends.

I’m going up to Carlsbad today, leaving here around 5:30 and likely being snarled in traffic for hours. Then I will get there late and have 10 minutes to socialize before I have to turn around and go home. To get up tomorrow and go to an early therapy session. Good timing too, considering the shabby state my mind is in.

I don’t know what to do to help myself. I tried playing a game but I grew immediately frustrated with it. Then I tried watching a movie, but all I can think about is how I’m stupid and that I suck. And no one wants anything to do with me. And no one cares what I have to say. I’m as irrelevant as a bag of garbage waiting on a curb to be collected and dumped.

I’m not happy anymore. I’m frustrated that my life is so meaningless. I strive for no one but myself. I endure suffering and receive no reward. I benefit from my deeds alone and receive no breaks from fate or chance. I’m headed in a downward direction. I feel like I already reached the peak of my success and have been sliding down into obscurity since. I’m meaningless.

I don’t know how I am going to face them all tonight. I feel like the hatchet of shame is buried in my back. I have nothing to bring, little to say and few are the reasons for caring about me at all. My parents care, but it’s their job to care. No one else will take the job. And even if you do, it’s only a matter of time before I drive you off too.

I know I can be better than this. I’m just very sad and disappointed by my life. I don’t know what there is to say about it. I’m knee-deep in the mud. I know things will get better. Eventually. I just have to be brave, and survive the storm.

Mercurial

Crestfallen daze
The gamble of promise
Trust in contempt
Bothered by sorrow–
Deep turning blade
Transition into silence
Apart from reason
A bastion burns–
In the night

Simple in remorse
The beguiling word
A shadow passes
Cold hollow air
Squeezing the breath
Closed and constricted
Gasp for tomorrow
Poised to fall

Downward course
Away from the sunrise
Dropped the power
Sacred the broken chalice
Scattered like memories
Abandoned to dust
Wearing the shroud–
Of sadness

Settle Down There Turbo

I just had to vomit that out there. Disappointed: yes. But all things in perspective. So my fun hobby that I was doing is now over. Moving on. I’ve got to find something new to do with the time I won’t be pouring over player data and matchup ratings. I’ve had an itch to play an old favorite: Katamari Damacy. A sensationally Japanese game. The Katamari is a sphere that when rolled on the ground, will pick up anything smaller than it and stick it to the outside. And keep rolling and picking up new things, and increasing in size as more things stick to you. Eventually you roll up little mice and dogs and cows then people and eventually elephants. And they flail about hopelessly in a futile effort to escape the unshakable grasp of the Katamari. So I had some other playstation 1 & 2 memory cards with all my saves on them and they seem to now be gone. So I bought two more, but I now have to go in there and beat all my games again. Because I have no saved data. So I’m starting over in Katamari Damacy and I only play a few minutes a day. I really should sit down and grind out a few challenges. Get my groove back. It’s very fun, ridiculous and always entertaining.

I’m keeping it real with you. I prefer it that way. I’d rather not hide the acute emotional reactions I go through. Because I am coping with them too. And I have only you internets to share my sorrow with. Or joy, or whatever tepid state I find myself.

Work is going to be fine. I haven’t done anything wrong, and that error report has been strangely absent this week. Why I do not know. I would love to see my name stricken from the ledger once more. At least I still have my hobbies and pastimes. Speaking of: I have a feeling the 5.5 release of The Improvement Mod will be coming out soon. I think that’s why Mandosrex has been concentrating on other parts of the mod and not just the United States faction. The details surrounding the patch are murky at best. I’m not sure if new content is going to be added, possibly new maps?

Thanks for hearing me vent.

Loser

I lost big tonight in fantasy football. In the league I run I was eliminated the first week of the playoffs. In the family league I now trail and will likely lose there too next week. So I gave it my best shot, and I have failed yet again. Ruined by AJ Green’s injury and complete absence from tonight’s game. Zero fantasy points. I lose.

Today people felt it especially necessary to treat me like shit. I was hung up on, disregarded and otherwise ignored. I tried to give simple instructions on how to identify the information they need to give me and she flat out refused to help. Nope. Couldn’t be bothered. I was having a pretty sour day until my fantasy season came crashing to a halt. 14-1? Who gives a shit. Can’t win when it counts, you are a loser. Go join the nameless rabble who are not remembered.

A really rock solid day today, all around. Tomorrow I am driving to Carlsbad for my uncle’s retirement party. I will be up there for a few hours, then right back after it the next day. And the very next day after Christmas you better bet I’m working then too. And the Saturday after. Then I get to come home and watch my team be executed in the public square by my opponent on Sunday. That will be the final cherry on the cake of my failed season. Another opportunity squandered, another substandard finish to an exemplary year. But it all means nothing. I didn’t win. I’m eliminated. My season is now over. Boo.

Have a good night. Hopefully you didn’t have 20 weeks of work go to complete fucking waste. I wish I had the time back. Fuck losing. I lose every year. I never win shit. This is fucking horse-shit. So be it football gods, so be it. Your most faithful servant rendered humble before you once more. Tell me, almighty football gods, why have you smote me so many times? Do you derive pleasure from torturing a devoted follower?

Goodnight.

Between Two Feelings

This morning’s commute was pretty nuts. Not one blob of traffic the whole way. I imagine most people are doing their holiday vacations right about now, and are nowhere to be seen for those of us headed into work.

I find myself in a mixed state today: both proud and sad. I was reminded of how well I am doing by a simple thing in paying the cell phone bill. I have (seemingly) great sums of money in my account and only really spend it on necessities. I did buy myself some playstation 2 memory cards, but not a major expense by any stretch. I’ve been able to stockpile my money and keep my financial future strong. I’m simultaneously sad that I have no one to share this success with. But am I actually doing anything about that sadness? Not really. I can feel it and not need to rush out and fix it with a relationship. It is hard doing this alone, but I need to in order to preserve the kind of life that I deserve. Relationships muddy the water. I am in no state of mind to invite the inevitable compromise that comes with a partnership. Frankly, I really like the way I’m doing things, and have no want to tamper with that. The more I think about it the less interested in sadness I become. It’s a misguided feeling; conveying a useless message for no good reason. If love came up to my door and invited itself in, how could I dare gamble my success on that? Why would I tie my life to someone else’s when I should learn how to stand alone? I have gone so far proving to myself that I am all I need… to go back on that and get in a relationship after that is treason.

I think disparagingly sometimes about myself, and I guess the need is for someone to somehow be unendingly compassionate and understanding of my circumstance. But not necessary. It’s a hollow place inside me that yearns to be full and active again. But love is more trouble than it is worth. I go back to see Margaret on Christmas Eve, and I’m imagining telling her about this conflict. There’s not really much to it though. The logical side of me wins out every time. I’m not about to let emotions rule my actions.

Somehow I know that this solo project is going to come to an end at some point. I will find myself in a desirable permutation of the original need and take appropriate action. I don’t know how it will happen (duh) but it will eventually. I’m living a promising life, with stability and safety to pass around. I just have to keep applying myself in my life and keep my positive attitude and exemplary work ethic. I’m not bored or complacent like I have been and can sometimes become. I have a feeling that my languishing had a great deal to do with the depression caused by my disappointment in partnership choices. I grew really depressed in my relationships because I knew they were not what I wanted. I was crushed that I had locked myself in with people I didn’t really get along with, or could not share the more important aspects of companionship with. I’ve set myself up for failure, and learned the hard way that hardly anyone is willing to change who they are for someone else. Another duh. Maybe I have learned to have higher standards, and to not just dive at the first person who comes along and shows interest. Selectivity leads to sustainability.

I guess I’ve talked myself out of feeling sad. I miss the cute things she used to do, but that’s wholly detached from the real memory. I hurt myself with feelings taken out of context, as if to say “boy, don’t you miss that?” But in honesty I don’t because I’ve proven to myself with facts that I do better alone than with someone. I have never been more on-target and true to course and heading. I know where I’m going and what I want, and no one can derail me but me. And I’m not planning to.

**UPDATE 11:30 am**

Yeah it sucks to have a mix of emotions and thoughts going around. But I’m handling my feelings in a productive fashion. I guess it’s just a very snugly time of year and I long for someone to snug. But the work involved in making that a reality is far from the direction of my life. I’m doing a good job keeping my shit in order. The last thing I want to do is mess that all up with a relationship. So I’m off the market indefinitely, and of my own free will. I do so with the intention of living as trouble-free a life as I can. I have no chance of being crushed by a partner who bails out of the relationship. I have no emotional risk that could otherwise hurt me if things were to change. I have no one to disagree with and feel misunderstood by. I guess I like my way less complicated life, and that will be a lonely road at times. But I have such great friends and family for support. I never get too down about it.

Sunday Sunday Sunday!!

I had my second consecutive day off today, and boy did that feel nice. I went down to the rock tumblers early with Moo and saw the stones in stage 2 of 4. They look glassy (because they were all wet), translucent and highly colorful. I have never seen so many good jasper and jadeite samples in one place before. The mineral inclusions and overall clarity of the stones are really something special. She scored on this most recent rockhounding trip up the coast. Those coastal ranges have some cool stones locked away in them, only sending a sample down the river to the sea. What makes it down that far in the alluvial plain is largely a mystery though in reference to actual origin. I couldn’t tell you for sure where a lot of those stones came from, but I know what areas they may have been eroded out of, given time and the right conditions. So they will remain somewhat unexplained, but nevertheless beautiful. Today they got the 500 grit aluminum oxide to effectively pre-polish the stones ahead of next week’s changeover. I’m super excited to see how they finish up. They are just so amazing, and only getting better.

I hung with my parents for a little while after that. I watched my numbers come in. All told, this was a bad week for big performances, but I had a couple on my family league roster, boosting me to a 9 point lead with 1 player to go and he still has one. We have the wide receivers in tomorrow night’s football game, I with AJ Green and he with Demaryus Thomas. It’s going to be a close finish, which is all I’m asking for ahead of the final week of the NFL. I want to be close do that if I make a move there will be only one outcome: a victory. Right now in the family league I’m guaranteed at least my entry fee plus $20, but to have a shot at the big kahuna ($100) for the title, and that is truly extraordinary. I never thought in a dozen years that at the end of week 12 when I was in third place looking up at Kevin and Jessica that I would not only leapfrog them both for the division crown and #2 seed the very next week, but then string together three more wins after that was like out of the question and beyond possible. I hadn’t won two games in a row all year, and suddenly I’m on fire winning 4 in a row with the final to be decided Monday. But holy shit what a ride it’s been. In the league I run at work, I have a 10 point lead with AJ Green going tomorrow, while Tony has Seattle’s DEF/ST going tonight. I will likely need to crawl out of a 10 – 15 point hole on Monday in order to advance to the championship. The probability of that happening are unknown. I’ve never had both teams in my two leagues go to the championship game before. If I can get past Tony for the fourth time this year, it will happen. Even if AJ Green lets me down and I do not advance in either league, I still will have completed two of my most successful campaigns as a fantasy football manager. I guided my personal league team to a nearly unbeaten record at 14-1, and got hot when it counted must in the family league and have an edge in the championship game. Hell to the yes.

I had some great feedback from the developer of The Improvement Mod (Mandosrex): he thanked me for my comments, and proclaimed that I had “saved the American” civ. well gee, thanks! Speaking of the Americans, I used them today and Mandosrex did two things I like: he added a block of 5 redcoats for 200 fame at the command center, and gave the Americans falconets, which came in handy for the push to victory. The redcoats had to have been the backbone of my standing army, with riflemen and halberdiers filling in the gaps. They swarmed and crushed, especially when I brought in the five falconets I had been sitting on. They dismantled the Dutch who I was facing at the time. But the Americans are working again, and Mandosrex has promised to take the broken home city cards out that were for export or consulate improvements. Once that is done and he adds in some new troop shipments in age 3 or 4, I will be satisfied that his comments are true. I do want to be the guy who saves the civ. it’s too cool and too well done so far to throw it out. They are historically appropriate as well, as this game is set in the 1400s through the late 1800s as far as I can figure. That would make the United States a historically relevant option.

FACTION USAGE (Games Played)
1. Aztecs (30%)
2. Portuguese (20%)
3. Americans (15%)
4. Japanese (10%)
5. Ottomans (10%)
6. Dutch (5%)
7. Sioux (5%)
8. French (5%)
9. British (0%)
10. Chinese (0%)
11. Germans (0%)
12. Indians (0%)
13. Russians (0%)
14. Iroquois (0%)
15. Spanish (0%)

It’s been a restful and relaxing weekend. I again feel like I am ready to get back to work, and do my job effectively. I am really looking forward to that error report coming out and seeing if I made more than one mistake so far. I’ve been pretty good about double checking my work, but there’s always a chance something slipped through the cracks. I’m fine with it. I’m clearly not the target of that report and it’s really geared to correct the guys who are just fucking in up more often then not like Steven, Ryan and Theo. those guys don’t really care if they do the orders right or not, as long as someone else is there to clean up their mess. It’s all very silly, and largely not my issue.

I am feeling good. My fantasy football has gone about as unexpectedly as it could go, but I’m still in it! I just have to pray to the football gods that AJ Green has a decent night, and seals me in for the win. It would be, truly amazing. Have a great night, and wish me luck!

It’s Saturday

It feels nice to have a day off. I didn’t really do more than my appointed responsibilities, and that’s fine. I had a couple of games of Age Of Empires III. On that subject: I actually engaged The Improvement Mod’s developer in a cool conversation. I told him about the Americans not having plantations or any way to spend the fame they collect. You can build a command post, but it doesn’t have any fame units in it. So I thought that was kind of dumb, and makes the Americans somehow broken when compared to other civs. They also have a consulate but no place to track export on their HUD. So I registered these two issues on the mod’s page on ModDB. and he was quick to reply saying that he would add plantations back into the build list and remove the consulate. He also said he would add fame units to the command post, which I thought was all well and good. He took my feedback and will release a new patch updating the American civ with my changes implemented. I think that’s pretty awesome. I’ve had a lot of fun playing this mod, and the litany of bug fixes, retextures, animation updates, new units and technologies that come along with it. It has fully restructured the core game into a pure state, which I can imagine is a blast in multiplayer. The AI can’t keep pace with me, and on expert it’s not beatable. I’ve tried. They attack at somewhere around 6 minutes and by then I have nothing to defend myself with. This is Age Of Empires, after all. Game length should be between 30 – 45 minutes. Not 6. At six minutes I’m just starting to develop an economy and raise my villager population to something respectable. Not the time to be going to war.

My fantasy football fate will be largely decided tomorrow, as the bulk of my players will be going. Philip has already thrown two interceptions, one a pick-six. Sigh. No playoffs for the Chargers this year. Gack city.

Anyway. I’m doing fine. Had a bit of an early start today. Did my laundry and wend shopping. I am cleaning my floors and then my bbq. It needs a good scrub apparently. I am planning on depositing my last DoR check next weekend and taking out the cashier’s check I make out to Jan every month for rent. I like paying my rent, it makes me feel responsible. Because I have my shit together. I can handle that.

I’m glad to be enjoying a day of (primarily) rest. I’m having fun and taking some time off work and other work related thoughts. My battery is recharging.

**UPDATE 7:15 pm**

The mod developer just wrote back to me saying he went ahead and implemented the changes we were discussing. He also gave better access to the revolt function and technologies. He added fame armies to the command post, while removing the consulate and the export resource. He also gave the Americans access to plantations (which seems historically accurate as well). I am truly happy to have been responded to so respectfully and rapidly. I made a pretty cogent comment, and that got something done. I look forward to trying out the Americans tomorrow.

**UPDATE 12/21/14 @ 9:00 am**

Remember how I said I was going to try out the American civ? I did, but didn’t complete a game before I noticed something more that could be changed. Since removing the consulate, the home city deck still had 3 cards that gave export or made consulate improvements cheaper/faster. So there was no need for these 3 cards and I pointed that out to the developer. He quickly replied that I had “saved the American civ” and was glad I had said something. Now the U.S. Will be a useful and effective civilization choice going forward. I’m just so pleased that my comments became gameplay changes. That’s fucking awesome. I love this mid, and will continue to play it for the foreseeable future.

12/12 And Bonus Nerd Content!

Hello! It’s my night off! Hooray!

I went over to see my mom and dad, and we watched A Christmas Story (1983) and it’s by far the best version of that film. Truly intelligent satire on a time of our evolving American family. So it was my request and I just had to see it. I had Scott Farkus stuck in my head for some reason.

Anyway, I’m listening to The Nutcracker (composed by Andre Previn and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) and relaxing. I just had a splendid game against the AI, but I will get to that shortly. We had salmon for dinner and a salad, and boy was it yummy. Then my mom brought out the peanut-butter fudge, and holy shit, is that some goodness. Made with peanut butter, but still rich and chocolatey like fudge should be. I was not silly and had a mere two chunks, but I could have had more blog, there was a whole jar of it sitting right there. Sigh. It just doesn’t even sound good to scarf on it, it’s like liquid nitrogen that shit. Only in small doses can I handle thee, for the sake of this sadly out of shape body I must. And my mom was suckering me in to indulging by eating a shitload of cookies this weekend. I’m going to have to seriously bust my ass if I’m ever going to gain any ground this winter. I feel like it’s appropriate to insulate the body against harmfully cold weather, but I live in Southern California, so I have no reason to be bulky. Maybe in some colder climate it would be acceptable… winter here is almost always a laughably mild event, with perhaps 3 inches of total precipitation, more in the mountains. It might be more, I haven’t fact checked, and I just gave it a google and nothing conclusive came up. But whatever, my point is, I need to continue to push myself every morning to be active until I become exhausted and my muscles are “done.” I intend to increase the amount of this as I progress through the slow trudge out of the pit of obesity. And Christmas could easily equal my doom if I am not SUPER CAUTIOUS. Remember, I take lithium, and I will grab on to every single carbohydrate that comes into my body and somehow turn it into fat. I live a primarily sedentary life, spending 8 hours a day in a small office chair sitting answering the phone. So I’ve got to! Right?

 

Mood wise I’m doing great. I have a day of catching up on my chores and watching football sporadically. Hopefully the Chargers don’t get annihilated tomorrow night. I don’t know how that one is going to go down. But the Niners have nothing to play for. Thanks for all of your positive comments lately, they have been super helpful and complementary as well. I pride myself in my coherency, despite huge handicaps. I appreciate you guys.

 

**NERDS ONLY EXTRA**

The Aztecs on Large Carolina (Age Of Empires III – Game Notes)

Tonight, I was hell bent on slaughtering someone. So I blasted the French away with my trump card, the shiny, beautiful, deadly, Aztecs. I Had the lead right from the get go, as I got a fire pit and warrior priest on production speed immediately. It never let up. There were three trade posts, two native settlements (One Cherokee, the other Seminole), and lots and lots of trees. I had the center early with just a few coyote runners and puma spearmen. Nothing major. But About half way into age 3 I lost my entire standing army in the center, and my trading post there was destroyed. I quickly switched my fire pit from xp back to unit production rate and had a standing army again in no time.

 

I ended up with a ton of villagers, had 30 on coin for most of the second half of the game (plantations). I saw their army sneak around behind my houses, where they began razing buildings. They tried, anyway. I didn’t lose another building the rest of the game after surrendering that trading post in the center. I rallied, took it back, and then began sending units there in waves. By age 4 I had farms and plantations-a-plenty. I had 25 just hacking trees because the unit upgrade requirements for the units are all wood, and lots of it. I had just WAY too many good units by the time I marched. I had the fire pit with 20 dancers producing just skill nights every 12 seconds or so. I had a sum of them ready at hand when it came to burning down the perimeter defenses. They had a fort, which I demolished rapidly with the first wave (which I was not at all expecting, thinking that I had WAY too few units to bring down a fort…). Next I brought the jaguar prowl knights, and they obliterated artillery and standing units. They leaned on falconets early, but those fast jaguar prowl knights just burn those units down, and their fire rate is every few seconds, whereas the knight has hit you three or more times already. It’s not reasonable to expect the artillery to survive in those conditions, and they did not. This was their downfall, because they had completely run out of standing infantry, and were down to the structures with me keeping them from gathering resources to fend off the attackers. Skull nights have an area attack, which damages multiple units with one swing, and I just think they might be the best infantry unit in this game. They’re really ahrd to stop, like and AOE cavalry unit that doesn’t move as fast as a cavalry unit. Just thinking out loud here. I had gobs of units sacking the ciy, but ended up with more prowl knights than anything else. He was down to the last few coureur des bois as they emptied from the down center in the fall of the capital. They had no chance… death ensued. Victory.

FINAL SCORE 2 (34:50 gametime)

Egregious (Aztecs) = 912

French = 171

 

RESOURCES GATHERED

Egregious
Food: 33466
Wood: 25853
Coin: 23970

French
Food: 11194
Wood: 24724
Coin: 18302

MILITARY

Units: 315 (79 Jaguar Prowl Knights)Enemy Units: 172
Units Killed: 231
Units Lost: 192
FINAL SCORE (39:49 gametime)

Egregious (Aztecs) = 846

Ottomans = 240

 

RESOURCES GATHERED

Egregious
Food: 29495
Wood: 23436
Coin: 19714

Ottomans
Food: 7050
Wood: 28947
Coin: 13916

MILITARY

Units: 327 (64 Jaguar Prowl Knights)
Enemy Units: 143
Units Killed: 206
Units Lost: 99

11/12

Oh so very close to a break. It was an eventful day: I concluded timer training and am now a jack-of-all-trades in the DTOC. I can take a call on just about any issue and see it through to a resolution. I worked quite a bit on my billing handout, which covers common issues and procedures for the training I will be giving in the coming weeks. I don’t think the situations are all that complicated, but it’s a lot of new steps in Oracle for these reps and I want to give them instruction on things they will actually need to know in order to do it right. I received four hours of training and most of it I never used on the phones. My instruction will change all that.

I had a 45 minute conversation with my best friend Will, who currently lives in the Bay Area and has a job and an apartment up there. He has been offered another job in Portland Oregon though he is debating about what to do. We caught up on each other’s lives and had a great talk. I don’t give people advice about what they should do with their lives. Who am I to tell you how to live? I sympathize and discuss the possible outcomes of decisions. It’s nice to be in demand as he is. I know the feeling quite well. So that was good to hear from him. I hope he figures out what it is that will make him happy.

I’m chugging along here blog, and boy do I feel the battery level plummeting. Today I literally sat in my truck at lunch and stared blankly at my leg after I had inhaled my sandwich. I just couldn’t think or move or do deny thing at all. I was only half way through my day, and I was getting really crunchy. But I didn’t back down and run from that feeling, I pulled myself up and got after it. My body has also been tired because I’ve been working out. I’m so fucking out of shape. I can only do it until my muscles ache, then I stop. And the next day, I can go a little bit longer. My idea is to build up endurance and stamina so that I can make it a full 30 minutes or more. Right now I’m not even close to that, but I will be.

Emotionally I’m doing great. It’s my energy level that is in the outhouse. But I have just one more day to go before two days off in a row! And the first weekend of the championship in the family league. I’m not optimistic about my chances. In the league that I run, round one of the playoffs starts today and concludes Monday. I will either be eliminated, or advance to the championship to be decided in both leagues on week 17. I have a much better chance of winning the crown at work, where my team is stacked and ready to rock. In the family league, it would take a minor miracle to get me there.

I’m going to bed. I can’t wait to write that 12/12 post tomorrow. Free at last.

On Sadness

Shining brilliance of sunrise,
Aptly aware in oranges,
Cuts through the thin air,
Stirring the cold of night.

Indifferent are the clouds,
As they melt away into nothing,
Knowing they will be back again,
Displaced but not forgotten.

A cycle repeated,
Familiar to the senses,
Unchallenged in occurrence,
Forever bound to duty,
Unbroken in the groove of ages.

No matter how scattered the old dream,
And despite the history of storms,
There will be an end to the darkness,
The promise of a new day,
Even if veiled,
Somewhere, the light is pure.

Everlasting…
Caught in glimpses,
Rescued by certainty,
The dawn is coming.

10/12

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

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

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

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

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

9/12

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

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

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

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

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

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

Retaining

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**UPDATE 12:30 pm **

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Slow Blade

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

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

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

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

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

8/12

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

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

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

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

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

**UPDATE 11:00 am**

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

**UPDATE 12:30 pm**

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

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

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

**UPDATE 3:00 pm **

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

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

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

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

Buckets Of Stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nattering Notations On Nothing

Tomorrow I need to be up at 5 because my shift starts at 6. It’s pretty much just me and Oscar, because (apparently) Theo doesn’t do shit. I will be half way through my shift before the morning games come on. Then I will watch the bulk of my fantasy football fate be decided. Will I win a third consecutive week in the family league and advance to the championship? That’s at least a 2nd place finish, because it would take a miracle to get past the 1 seed. Even if I do advance, I’m doomed in two weeks., I reckon. But however it shakes out, I’ve had a great year. 20-8 combined both teams. And 7 of the 8 were one team. And I won first place in the division WITH A LOSING RECORD! I’m like the 2014 Atlanta Falcons in first place with a 5-8 record (my mark was one better, I finished 6-7) Just crazy this NFL season.

I’ve been thinking about my situation and I can’t help but be grateful. I have a stable job that I enjoy, plenty of opportunity for advancement, and a well balanced neurochemestry. I’m doing a good job keeping myself afloat. I was over at the RV hanging with my parents after we changed the grit in the tumblers. The stones are really shaping up nicely. Some of the colors of those agates and jaspers were quite breathtaking. The jasper has quartz inclusions and they look very striking. And of the yellow and green variety. Truly remarkable specimens. Anyway, my mom accidentally got the tumbler wet and it wouldn’t start at the storage unit so we took it to the RV to do surgery on. Turns out the tumbler is fine. So I left special instructions with my mom on how to set them back up and get them going tomorrow. Then we will have to check back in a week and see how they did finishing the shaping process under the 120/220 grit. Then all that’s really left to do is polish them for two weeks. They come out glassy, and flamboyant with colors, unique with inclusions. They represent combinations of minerals, and are a truly diverse set of original samples. No one can reproduce them; they are as random as chaos itself. And these ones had already been rounded to cabochons before we ever had a chance to polish them. What nature started, we finished, by peeling back the outmost layer of the stones and shining up a brand new surface revealed for the first time, and preserved in all its luster and clarity. So this most recent batch looked just awesome. A great collection of fire agate, moonstone, pink chalcedony, agate, brown, yellow and green jasper. I could go on. The jadeite she found is clear and green. Some of the moss agates in there are amazing, and not just white but orange and pink ones too. So I called over there just now and verified my instructions and confirmed that they will be fired up tomorrow. So then one week Sunday I’ll be checking in on them again and admiring their newest transformation.

You can tell I really like rocks, right? And not just rocks, but the minerals that comprise them.

Nerd.

Anyway. I had some more soup. I hope I beat this bug soon. I’d like my diet to be something a tad more interesting. Other than that, I’m in great spirits. I’m looking forward to double time tomorrow, making for one nice fat paycheck in a couple of weeks. I’m thinking that one will set a new high water mark. With a whole bunch of overtime this pay period, I’m thinking yeah. Oscar offered me his shift today, which is why I was in there for five hours. It’s all fine by me. Besides, I have nothing to lose. My weekends are usually spent waiting until kickoff during the winter. And playing Age Of Empires III.

Speaking of: I just had a sensational game as the Ottomans. On Large Carolina: I started off with the early lead, but maybe only because I used 200 of my starting 400 wood on houses. The rest on a market. I figured: I’m making villagers whether I want to or not, so I might as well have a hefty supply of them on hand come age 2 and the next chance to raise the population ceiling. Soon after age 2 I had a second town center closer to the gold supply on the map. I actually kept the population pretty low. For whatever reason, I was moving along well enough to get through to age 4 before really making a push. I had a 260 population cap, and just cranked on abus guns and janissaries. They were surely the bulk of my army. Next I sprinkled in some spahi and native troops (Cherokee Rifleman and Seminole Sharktooth Bowmen) to put the icing on the cake. I took them in several waves, sending the infantry first which did quite a number on the villagers. In the post game I saw their population reduced by 85% as the first troops entered their base. They surrendered shortly after I had decimated the main base, having then located a second town center and started in with the artillery. I out resourced him, even though he collected about 2000 more wood than I did. I believe my final resource line was around 19000 food, 17000 coin and 13000 wood for a 38 minute game. I razed 49 buildings to his 3. I killed over 250 units and lost under 150. I was out villagered, but I guess that’s ok. I also lost a lot of fame because I failed to recruit a second envoy as I built that extra town center. Eventually I figured it out, but I could have had so much more. the post game summary doesn’t keep track of fame. Only export. If you have it. But I don’t know why you would want to keep track of it. I collects at the same rate no matter what faction you play and only ever changes if you build another town center and task an envoy to it. Then it’s just x2 instead of X1 trickle. It’s fun though, and brings more units into play. I like it. Anyway, that was a one-sided affair from early on. I took 2 of 4 trading posts right from the get go and had him under duress on the 3rd. I destroyed it more than once while just massing troops in the area. From there I just sent clusters to the south and northeast to guard agains edge rushers and to protect the native settlement trading posts. But ultimately there was no need for this. Their small army snuck between my troops and managed to destroy 3 houses before 5 jaeger mercenaries took out the halberdiers and culverins that were causing the problem, and I didn’t lose one of them, even though they were hit repeatedly with cannon fire. I was never threatened again after that. The score must have been over 800 to under 300 by the time it was over.

Goodnight blog. Pleasant dreams.

Season Of…

I’m a little sad to not be in a relationship around this time of year. It’s a family togetherness thing, where every day feels like a long hug. I get lost thinking about Jax and how she ate that entire loaf of sour cream bread. I had this cute picture of her with her mouth attached to the corner of an uneaten loaf. It was gone shortly after that. Ha. Christmas is fun when you have someone you love.

But things change. I will be working more this holiday than enjoying time off. I think this is an acceptable distraction from my loneliness. I’m turning my solitude in to money. And lots of it.

I started playing the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. I really hate skaters, but I adore this game. When I was in high school, I used to go get stoned with my friend Beanjo and play this game for hours. It was one of the more fond memories of my turbulent childhood. We’d laugh our asses off the whole time.

I guess I miss Jax in a lot of ways. Though with how much I work, I’d probably never see her. We’d have dinner at 6:30 every night, and I’d rant on and on about my day. I’d buy her tons of jewelry supplies with all the extra money I make. We’d go on rockhounding adventures this winter, and good ones because of all the rain we’ve had. But I would end up blathering about where the rocks came from in geologic time and lose her attention. And we’d get home and disagree about what music to listen to. Or fight about something that could have been avoided if only I would have listened to her feelings.

I reminisce, and I’m well aware that it does me no good. But I can’t help feeling lonely. I though I was going to be married to her for the rest of my life. We were together for a year and 5 months instead. That’s not what I thought was going to happen.

It’s pretty slow here at work. Blog, sometimes I really wish I had someone to hold. I guess I’m not thinking very realistically about things. I am aware of this. It doesn’t stop me from feeling a bit heartsick at this season of firelight and hospitality.

12 Consecutive Days

I picked up a shift this Saturday and was already on the schedule for Sunday. So since December 8th I will have worked every day until Saturday the 20th. And some of that will be overtime, which is why I’m willing to do this. I’m a single guy with very few friends and no social life, so working my ass off fits right into the plan. I’m making more money per paycheck than I have since I was just starting college and working as an editor for an environmental document production company. And I must say that I’m doing WAY better at this job than that one. At least, it’s clear I’m making more progress in my current occupation. My bank account has never looked better. And I pay all my bills and there is no question about my security. So the sacrifices I make are well worth it. Even if they tire me out a bit.

Working the weekends is usually pretty laid back. I dress casual, wear my hoodie and sneakers. On Saturday, after I get off work, the rocks we put in the tumblers will need to have their grit changed, which presents us with a chance to see the progress they’ve made through the first week. This is a really fun and exciting thing to do, and some of the agates and chalcedony my mom picked up are quite impressive. I look forward to seeing how they shaped after the 60/90 grit had a week to work on them. The rocks will lose size, but expose a new surface not pitted and rounded by weather. It will also remove matrix or other material stuck to the stones, or break them apart, which will happen to a few of them. But I’m really eager to see them. And so is my mom, who is meeting me down there after I get off work.

Tomorrow I will have to do my laundry, and there is no escaping the need to run two loads. I try to get it all in one but my sheets are going to push me over the edge. So probably four hours of laundry are in store for me. Huzzah. But at least my stuff will be clean and not smelling like armpit boy. I don’t think I smell, but I’m big and the bigger you are, the smellier you are.

Today we had a huge Christmas celebration. They raffled off a tv, two kindle fires and all kinds of good shit. I didn’t win anything. But I already have everything I want, so it’s not like I’m bummed out. I’m glad some of those guys got to win some shit. They even handed out all these fake little Christmas trees which I was in no way interested in owning. Come to think of it, I’m glad I didn’t win anything… where the fuck would I put my loot?

My meeting with Dr. Judge was good this morning. I told her how well I was doing and informed her that this may be our last meeting. Since I have healthcare now, I’m disqualified from using the free clinic. She gave me two refills and sent me on my way. I will also have to conclude therapy with Margaret soon, as I can’t keep going back there anymore. But things change. Time has a way of altering the landscape. But I still need therapy and meds so I will have to get after it in January when my plan kicks in. I will miss Margaret. Kinda sad. But a change that demonstrates how strong my life is, and how secure.

So I’m retiring early and getting ready around 7:30 to be at work by 9:00 am. I’ll finish my day at 2:30, since I’m only really picking up a partial shift from Oscar. I’m not even going to take a damn lunch. I’ll just hammer it out then scoot over to storage and play with the new rocks. Have a great night blog. And thanks for reading.

Agony Alone

Footsteps by moonlight,
Eyes wide, taking in the night,
The wetness of rounded stones,
A bitter tear drying on soft cheeks.
Crumbling hills of shale,
Tired and groaning in the wind,
Whispering secrets in dust,
Shifting in the wake of time.
Desperate leaves on trees, barren,
The soot of life on the floor of the Earth,
Bare limbs reaching for a fading sun,
Cold winter sealed with a kiss.
The way summer fades and is gone,
Seasons of rain and storm,
Buried beneath the peat and muck,
A memory fades into nothing,
Dissolving into the endless dream of death.
The fire rages on somewhere distant,
In the burning violence of lust,
Leaving cinders, destroying, moving on.
The hollow space filled with empty promises,
Carried off in the breath of forgetting.

Newness And Sickness

I’m doing lots of new things at work, and admittedly, doing them at an accuracy rate of around 85%. I just started in on this aspect of the business and my learning curve has been rapid, and necessarily so, because we need help handling those problems, especially on the evening shift when there are usually just 3 of us. I’m already fielding calls and handling issues when I really could have been training still. It took me 3 days to process all the new information I had been given, while other guys who are learning this material took 2 weeks to learn the it. I credit my instructors Wayne and Reggie for cramming as much information as they could into my eager brain. I’m handling minor issues and can troubleshoot the boxes easily now. I am pretty proud of this, as I am rapidly becoming the most versatile employee in the call center. I do drive thru, billing and trusonic now, and very soon I will be learning timers and I can stop handing those calls off to techs who know more about that equipment. Once I have a handle on that, I will have the ability to handle any kind of call we could possibly receive at the DTOC. I’m going to go through the training in the next week or so, and Mike told me that as soon as everyone goes through the timer training, I will then be pulling people aside to do billing. I’ve started developing an organized curriculum so that I’m not just winging-it, but rather, making the issues a billing rep will face less daunting with strategically organized knowledge. I know billing was brutal for me, just doing it after 4 hours of training that did not impart the necessary information in order to be successful at it. In fact, much of what we spent time learning I have never EVER had to use. I’m not sure what they were thinking, but there you have it. The progress I have made since that woeful start has been all on me, and due in large part to my need to learn the processes in order to survive. And there are SO MANY intricacies. It’s nuts.

I went over to my parent’s RV last night and got in a dinner and bragging session with them. Sadly, I do believe they have poisoned me by feeding me undercooked flank steak. I’ve had indigestion and loose stool all day, and I even ate a sandwich at lunch thinking that would be no problem. WRONG-O. My body is currently rejecting all solid food, and I will be fasting until I starve out this foul sickness that has taken over my digestion. Whatever it is, I make it worse by eating. So here we go with a few days of no food.

 

I go see Dr. Judge tomorrow, and I’m going to ask her for 3 months of refills, as this is my last psychiatric appointment at the clinic. I have health coverage now, and I don’t belong there anymore. That service is for people who don’t have any kind of healthcare and need help. I’m a high-functioning client who will need to get a new psychiatrist and keep feeding my brain the medications that I know are working, with the occasional tweak needed in order to keep me level and stable. I’m doing great in that department. I have no poor news in the mental health area to report. I’ve been high-energy, composed, strong and balanced. I’m solid yo.

 

These little check-ins I do help keep me sane. I find that I need to write in order to get the things that run around in my mind out of my head and into the internets. I don’t expect anything, because why would I need to? This place is a thought-faucet, as I have described it in the past. It’s not organized, or worth anything to anyone but me. I appreciate the 550+ followers who seem to gather something of worth from my insane nattering. I think that’s all bonus, frankly. I don’t do this for you, I do it so I don’t go crazy. I’m glad you are there, however. Have a good night doing whatever it is you do.

 

The Promise – When In Rome

If you need a friend
Don’t look to a stranger
You know in the end, I’ll always be there
But when you’re in doubt
And when you’re in danger
Take a look all around, and I’ll be there

I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say
I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be
But if you wait around a while, I’ll make you fall for me
I promise, I promise you I will

When your day is through
And so is your temper
You know what to do
I’m gonna always be there
Sometimes if I shout
It’s not what’s intended
These words just come out
With no gripe to bear

I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say
I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be
But if you wait around a while, I’ll make you fall for me
I promise you, I promise you

I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say
I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be
And if I had to walk the world, I’d make you fall for me
I promise you, I promise you I will

Ceaseless

The thunder of waves,
Gnashing cold black stones,
Churning a violent hiss,
The ceaseless tumult.

Desperation like lifeboats,
At the mercy of currents,
Lips cracked and dry–
Pining for foundation.
Rocking in the swell,
Inching closer to the fangs of the sea.

Heartsick and lost in the spray,
The journey at its end,
Met by violence–
Rendered to driftwood by circumstance,
Nothing left but surrender,
Lost, sinking, gone
Crushed under the pressure,
Without breath–
The pounding fury takes another down,
A cold, forgotten grave.

Living In Dreamland

I try to keep things realistic in my life. I’ve been down the road of pretending everything was rad when it actually was not, and that lie eventually dries up and creates a catastrophe. So I might be a tad more boring than most, and not base my prosperity on radically inaccurate conceptualizations of my situation… but I do feel like I have a good handle on my existence for the first time in many years, as a result of my diligence.

I do a great sum of internal thinking, asking myself tough questions, and not avoiding the real world implications. It took lots of small steps to earn the position I am in now, and I have not forgotten that fact now that I have arrived at stability. I don’t take it for granted like I used to, or feel dependent on anyone else for any reason. I’m standing alone, and very much in touch with reality.

I admit to sometimes vacationing in dreamland, but a sojourn only. I reminisce and yearn, but these feelings are a part of the full spectrum of life, and not to be relegated to obscurity or forgotten. They are important too, even if they are misguided and not useful. We humans have a multitude of responses to events in our lives, and if I generate a real feeling, I don’t pack it away for later or stuff it down into obscurity. I cope in real-time, and integrate reactions into the template of understanding. Negative or positive, they all get a fair shake.

The reason for this rant is to solidify my stance and independent strength as a person. I’m not deluding myself in this permutation of my life; I’m building a house of bricks rather than a house of cards. It takes WAY less time to make a house of cards, and it is more fun and not much work… but does it stand the test of time and weather? If reality shifts into some unforeseen direction, will my house still stand upright? Building it out of brick is much harder and takes way longer, but the reward is strength of stability and the capability to endure storms of circumstance. I’ve done the easy thing in the past, and seen my whole world collapse. I’ve vowed not to repeat this mistake.

So blog, this post is really just another affirmation of my course and heading. I need to do this sometimes, because my world is mine alone to comprehend and sometimes I need to just “talk things out” so that I don’t go crazy. I value the work I have done to achieve the place I am in now. I will continue to reenforce positive things in my world, and respect the negatives when they arise, acknowledge their presence, and move forward. I hope you can see what a transformation I have undergone in the last few months, and appreciate the wisdom in my experiences. For what it’s worth.

Let’s Review

Today was perhaps the single fastest day at work that I can recall in my several months of being there. The first four hours was gone before I even had time to come up for air. I learned a lot today about the three distinct web-based interfaces we use to keep track of Mbox related things. I will, undoubtedly, start fielding issues tomorrow, which I am not overly concerned about. I generally don’t like not knowing what I’m talking about. I prefer to be direct and concise, and not ramble on like an idiot. At least, that’s how I feel about it. Be prepared, don’t just wing it.

I go back to see Dr. Judge on Friday, and I will have only good things to report to her. My mood has been excellent of late. My energy level is nominal, my sleep is regular, my diet is primarily good and my mental health is at a record-breaking level of goodness. I can concentrate at work well enough to get by, but I really have to work to reel my monkey mind in sometimes. I’ll be doing an order and suddenly start typing what I was thinking about instead of what I was actually supposed to be doing. It bothers me a little. But I always catch myself, and sometimes I’ll even go back over an order that I just finished and doublecheck it to make sure I didn’t wander off and forget something. Oh, that error report came out on Monday and most everyone had a list of orders that had some issues. My name was on there, and out of the roughly 30 orders I put in, one had an error. And it was a simple fix, I just forgot to choose the proper shipping method. Duh. But that’s ok. I was hoping I would have no errors at all, but I’ll settle for one. Just to give you some idea, most everyone had from 3 to 9 orders that had mistakes, some orders had multiple errors, as the report lists all the different ways an order can be fucked up. I had one error on one sales order. Nearly everyone else was in it WAY deeper than I was. Steven had at least ten, and they all had multiple errors on every order. These guys have been here longer than I have. I figured they knew what they were doing. Assuming makes an ass of you and me. Nar har har.

So concentration has been my only real mental struggle. I don’t want to take meds for my ADD anymore because they fuck up my mood more than they help me focus. Riddilin caused me to get angry when it wore off. Aderall just never managed to cut the fog for more than an hour. I guess I will go largely untreated for this aspect of my disorder, but I can discipline myself to focus harder and not lose my train of thought. It is not easy, but possible.

My parents snuck into my apartment today and decorated it and brought me a Christmas tree. I saw this multicolored glow coming from within my living room as I walked up to my door and I was thinking: you bonehead. You left the kitchen light on all day? Pleasantly surprised to see tinsel everywhere and a three foot tree with ornaments and lights all over it. Hooray for Christmas! Have a good night blog.

Perky

I’m having a much better morning. I woke up on time and feel alert rather than tired. Yesterday was hard because I never got “on track.” But today I’m doing fine. I was awake fully this morning and feel ready to tackle my day.

I’m lingering at my house for longer in the mornings because I don’t like getting to work absurdly early and having nothing to do. So I luxuriate at my apartment and go when the traffic is good.

I will be updating this post through the day. I’m off to a much better start though.

**UPDATE 1:30 pm**

Training day two concluded. I have a fairly good handle on the new material. The overall attitude of my coworkers leaves much to be desired. Wayne is solid, and a good person to learn from because he does it right. Some of these guys are trying their hardest to do as little actual work as possible. They don’t create notes in Oracle for others to see, and find ways to pass off the responsibility of solving the problem to someone else. I can only speak for myself. I have no intention of half-assing it so that my job is easier. Boo to that. I’d rather go home and know that I did it right.

Hope you all have a good afternoon. My day is moving right along. I might squeeze in a check up in the evening when things slow down.

**UPDATE 3:00 pm**

Hey blog. I’m at my desk hoping something happens soon. I am having a good day, not a particularly eventful one, but positive. I’m looking forward to getting into the queue for Mbox and helping figure out those problems. But that might have to wait until I get done with training, probably tomorrow. Which works out nicely, because I have my regularly scheduled break from billing that day, and will be able to concentrate on those trusonic calls.

I struggle with loneliness sometimes. I get caught in a snare thinking about being in love, and how magical it is. There’s such s rush that you get from it; that feeling of being enamored in someone else and fascinated by them. I’ve never had that feeling last very long. In the end it gave way to angst, frustration and feeling misunderstood. I’m a complicated guy, so I get that I might be confusing. But the realization of how irreconcilably different we were hasn’t been lost amidst all this loneliness. I suffered, and deluded myself that I actually was doing fine. I told everyone I was ok, and that was not true. But I’ve learned.

I may be on my own, and get sad, but that’s totally natural for me. I can’t expect to live a 100% happy life. There is no such thing. We endure pain because it is contrast; a necessary parameter to understanding things like hope and love.

Have a contemplative afternoon.

F****** Tired

It never fails. On the evening commute when I most want to get home quickly, I get stuck in a snarl of traffic. The commute took a solid 14 minutes longer than normal, with snail-crawl action on the 15 headed out of mission valley. Sigh. But I don’t get frustrated by traffic or angry about it at all. I just would rather have been home.

Work was nice today. I spent the whole morning until 2:00 pm with Wayne learning Mbox, our two online ticketing systems Kana and ServiceChannel, as well as VAR Admin. These are all totally new concepts for me, and I may only get one more day of training before I have to start taking calls. In other related news, Mike (my boss) came up to me today to ask me officially if I could start training people in billing. I will be taking agents aside and going through the basics of what kinds of issues I run into with the company’s billing. I don’t think I’ll have more that three hours of material to go through. Maybe less. There’s no need to conference anyone in on my calls, the bulk of the issues they will face are repeatable actions within Oracle like printing an invoice or taking a payment. Issues such as those I will be able to show them right on my computer screen. And another supervisor from Austin, Laurel, made a flow chart that details what actions we need to take when certain issues arise. The chart has saved me multiple times when I otherwise would have fucked up my translation of customer request into action. I’m looking forward to starting my role as teacher, and hope I manage to do a good job.

So I’m curled up beneath my comforter. I open my windows at night and turn the fan on at the foot of my bed. I like my room to be cold, so when I go under the blankets I don’t overheat. I stay in a controlled bubble of temperate conditions. I had a brain-tiring day and I’m ready for sleep. Goodnight blog.

Dragging

I’m doing everything in my power to stay frosty, but I’m having a rough go of it. My energy level has been low today. I was training for nearly half the day and then back in the queue right as things were beginning to slow down. So it’s not going to be an eventful night at work. I’m yawning and can only think about when I next get to go to bed (hopefully soon). There is a football game to watch but I seriously doubt if I will be able to make it through the whole thing.

I fired up my playstation 2 after finding it in storage. I seem to have lost all my memory cards though, so I had to go order a new one. I had complete save games for Final Fantasy X, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and both Katamari Damacy games. I had some epic records on those games, and now I will have to go back and set them all again. Not to worry though. I will probably have fun doing it.

So an early bedtime for me. And hopefully one not followed by more sad dreams. I hate waking up feeling depressed for no good reason. I have been having fun playing Age Of Empires III, but I don’t think I will tonight, I’m just so fucking tired. Can’t explain it. My muscles hurt because of the the torment I put them through on Saturday. I sit for an hour then stand up and groan. Sigh.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

It’s another Monday and I’m here before work writing another check-in post. I had really sad dreams last night, even though I can’t clearly remember what they were about. I know that someone I loved was gone, and I was trying to find a way to get them back but it was not possible. I woke up feeling off, and I haven’t felt right all morning. I actually feel vaguely stomach sick but I got myself to work anyway. I contemplated calling in, but nah. I don’t have a good reason to stay.

My weekend was both exhausting and rewarding. We totally unpacked the storage unit on Saturday and took two truckloads of stuff to goodwill and another truckload to the dump. We also set the rock tumblers going on the bounty of agates and chalcedony Moo found while visiting the north coast of California. So I will now have a regular obligation to go down there on Saturday and change the grit over the next 3 weekends. But in that time, those rocks will be renovated and beautiful. They are some of the best agates I’ve ever seen, and jasper of varying colors. Truly great loads. And soon we will see their buried secrets underneath all that pitting and weathering.

In fantasy football news, the playoffs started for me in the family league. Each round of the playoffs is two weeks long, so one must win two weeks in a row to advance to the final. I haven’t been able to put two wins together all year. But last week I beat my cousin Jessica to make it to the postseason, and this week, I built a 58 point lead and my opponent still has one player going (Julio Jones). This will likely reduce my lead to 20 or so. He’s a dynamite WR and I fear him. He’s probably not going to cover the margin, but he will cover most of it. In the work league I’ve rattled of 11 in a row now and just overcame a huge 100 point deficit on Thursday night to win by 33. I had AJ Green on both teams, who exploded for 11catches, 224 yards and a touchdown. In my work league he was worth 42 points.

All told I’m doing fine. I feel a bit off today, but I’ll probably get over it. My muscles are sore from all the insane work I did on Saturday. I was going to exercise but I’m in pain and will wait until I am not in pain to do my thing. I got a workout mat out of storage and a medicine ball too. I’m in good shape to get in better shape. Lol.

Have a good day, and happy Monday.

**UPDATE 1:30 pm**

I’m on lunch. I’ve been training on Mbox and the ticketing system we use to keep track of tasks all morning. The time has really zoomed by. I’m pretty tired still, and somehow chemically not right. I’m straining to keep with it, but I am and will. I’m hoping that I survive the night in fantasy football. I’d rather have a lead going into week 2 than not. Duh. But hanging in there.

My Alternate Factions (Age Of Empires III -Game Notes)

The Americans: They are hard to use for games that go over 30 minutes. They don’t have plantations, so once the map coin is gone, you need both factories and the trading posts on coin or your economy will dry up. I’ve won by doing it this way, so it is possible. Plus The Americans get troops by fame (from the command post) and by export (through the consulate). So the need to lean on coin to make most decent units is limited. I typically pair The Americans with The French at the consulate, giving me access to skirmishers and cuirassiers, which help to balance the theme of ranged infantry and melee cavalry to provide the upfront distraction. I use a mix of maybe 20% cavalry, 30% melee and ranged mercenaries, and 50% ranged infantry. The DPS is key to winning, and firing off at villagers that wander by is a great way to shut down your enemy while they are reeling from the attack. Games with The Americans are closer than they should be, but still fun.

The Ottomans: So not having to ever build s villager is nice. But you end up with more of them than you need. I had 25 on wood, and that’s too many. I didn’t need all the wood I ended up with. But they have janissaries and abus guns which are easily two of my favorite infantry units of all time. Plus they have spahis which can tank the front lines and do gobs of damage while the ranged infantry and light artillery do the heavy lifting. This combo is more effective than trying to do the same thing with The Americans because The Ottomans have better DPS units. I also get grenadiers which add a little spice to the front. Cavalry archers do the cleanup for the spahis. This combo is not as fast as The Americans, but is generally harder to stop because of how much damage abus guns do to buildings also.

The Japanese: This faction is so very different from the others. You don’t hunt food, you build shrines and animals are attracted to them. The more animals at the shrine the better resource gather rate they have. Shrines also raise the polar ion cap by 10, so they gather a resource of your choosing AND are a house. The Japanese level by building mini-wonders which are just big buildings with a unique benefit for whichever one you chose to build. They also can level and still produce villagers which is fucking awesome. Samurai are very good in substantial numbers. They work well when given some ranged infantry in the form of ashigaru musketeers and a few yumi archers. There are multiple home city cards which make the musketeers better, and I typically pair them with America at the consulate, because I can ship rifleman and gatling guns. They have rice paddies, which can produce either food or coin, and I’ll typically get four for free from shipments, and just have to assign the villagers to go work them. Those shipments also increase gather rates at the rice paddies, and having 50 or so villagers tasked to them is an easy way to have a rocking economy.

The Portuguese: I like the cassador as an effective DPS ranged unit. I also like how many upgrades they have to ranged damage and to halberdiers. An army of 40% melee 60% ranged is hard to stop. They get a town center at every age, so the fame income is always high. But the lowest cost command post unit bunch is all crossbowmen, which I don’t like. Then the second one is culverins and more crossbowmen. So that’s unfortunate, because they only effectively counter infantry. Musketeers and cassadors comprise my ranged attack, with pikemen and halberdiers dicing people up at melee range. Another all infantry approach, and just as deadly as my other strategies. They have one shipment which improves villager build time, but the multiple town centers helps to increase production rates for your economy. The more villagers the better, since European civs are kinda locked in to slowly making them. I find I’ve been spoiled by this faction; having multiple town centers is awesome. So is not having to pay 600 wood for them.

The French: The cuirassier is an amazing cavalry unit, and when paired with hussars and others, create an unbeatable front of heavy troops. Coureur des bois are quite awesome as well, as they harvest resources faster, and survive longer when pestered. Though at 120 food, is is unwise to risk them far from your town center. They are too valuable to lose them like villagers might be in excursions far from center. But with such formidable cavalry, this faction is slow to get going, and nearly impossible to stop once peaking. Their shipments tend to lean on cavalry improvements and economic benefits, though there are also lots of improvements to native warriors (which is a gamble, because one never really knows if they will get decent ones, per map). But if you can crank food and gold, these guys are tough to beat. Cavalry units just have SO MANY hit points.

The Aztecs On Large Siberia (Age Of Empires III – Game Notes)

I concluded a game this morning where I faced The British. It’s nice that Aztecs start with a warrior priest on this map, because I can task him to the fire pit and have an instant 20% increased villager production rate. In the first age, I had 10 villagers on food, 5 on wood. When I got to age 2, I had enough resources on hand to build a market and two more houses. The population cap increase is vital, because I make the fire pit produce more warrior priests and they will stop if the population hits the max.

I typically expand villager population from the 15 I started with to around 30, doing resource gathering. I use all the map resources I can before switching to farms and plantations, as the gather rate on these is much slower. I send 10 villager clusters out to the fringes of my control and mine all the silver/gold I can. Usually two groups of 10 doing that and two groups of 10 hunting. I kill every wild animal within striking distance, and towards the end of age 2 I get a standing army on the field, comprised of (typically) macehualtins and puma spearmen with just a few coyote runners. The enemy brings a mix of melee infantry, cavalry and ranged infantry. I don’t have a good counter for melee infantry at this stage. Coyote runners are somewhat effective, but only in large numbers. They die quickly and can’t DPS for long enough to take down many units.

In the game I played this morning, they came at me from the north side of my base, dodging my standing army and they got into my wood gatherers and killed 4 or 5 of them before I could ring the bell and get anyone over there. I used the fire pit to call out free archers (who lose hit points every second until they get down to 1) and managed to destroy their army, after losing a couple houses. I did not hesitate to rebuild, and raised my cap by 50 or more and started mustering more troops, stationed on the northern and western fronts. I aged after my villager population was over 50, and built two noble’s huts on the fronts. I had the fire pit produce skull knights, and got 25 gatherers dancing around the fire pit (10 of which were warrior priests). They were making a new skull night every 10 seconds. And increasing attack damage by an alarming 43%. I had my cap raised to 260 after I built a second town center to produce additional wood gatherers. After my population capped out, and I had thwarted several attacks, I moved in with two battalions comprised of jaguar prowl knights, puma spearmen and others in smaller quantities. I ran into their fort, switched the fire pit to increase attack damage, and let them loose. They demolished the fort rapidly, and then we’re on attack-move into the enemy base.

They go for units first on attack-move and kill all villagers they can find. When there are no more standing units, they switch and start destroying buildings. At the point in which I had two full battalions in their base, surrender was inevitable. My units were doing an insane amount of damage to everything and I quickly razed all troop production buildings to prevent any possibility of countering my attack. In the end, The British offered surrender with 50% of their base destroyed.

I had more puma spearmen than anything else (57), but I imagine jaguar prowl knights were a close second. There was no need to hit the big buttons, as two battalions was more than enough to get the win. I could have produced nearly 250 standing units but this would have been overkill. It’s is fun to push all those buttons though, and see the units come pouring out of the town center.

Aztecs are hard to stop. If you let them get too far along, they have an amazing amount of power. I have my best economies with the Aztecs. By far. And biggest armies. There are plenty of chances to derail my dominance in the early stages, but the AI never brings enough things. My home city deck is mostly troop shipments. Specifically, the shipments that cost gold, deliver troops AND provide a universal benefit to all units of that type. I have troop shipments in the 2nd age and a ton in 3rd and 4th. Age four has the jaguar prowl knight and the skull knight shipments which cost a lot of coin but are totally worth it. They complete the circle of domination that encompasses the Aztec empire.

Affirmations

I had another good therapy session with Margaret. I expressed that while I was temporarily engaged in a solo rebuilding project, I know that eventually I will want companionship. This is a fairly radical shift in my stance. I was also clear about my awareness of the dangers involved in this want. I’ve been blinded by passion and lust before, and all the while, the relationship was rotting away underneath my feet. I have been willing to compromise my core beliefs before because I thought: she’ll change, and everything will work out. I’ve been guilty of far more absurd lines of thinking in relationships. But not anymore. I’ve learned a few things from my failures, and I know better than to stuff my dismay and proceed anyway. I would need to meet a truly rare individual, someone who conforms to a substantive list of requirements. I kinda have to be this picky; I’ve floundered miserably with past decisions, and I have no desire to repeat the same mistakes.

I’m not planning on dating anyone for a good long while. I need to harvest consistency and flourish in stability. I would be likely to jeopardize everything if I became enmeshed now. It’s a trial I know I will go through again, but I have no rush. I need plenty of time to think this out before acting.

Work was busy today as several people were training others on Mbox troubleshooting. So there were fewer of us around to take incoming calls. It was supposed to be my break from the billing queue, but I ended up taking 29 calls anyway because we were short handed. They announced that there will be a new report that comes out in which people who don’t put their orders in correctly will be identified and asked to correct their transgressions. I haven’t had a kickback from order review in ages. I know my name will not be on that list when it comes out. Billing on the other hand… monkey fuck-fest. I got the word from Mike that I will be the lead on training people to do billing, which I am excited and nervous about. There are really only a few things that one needs to know how to do consistently, like reprinting invoices or taking payments. That’s all pretty self explanatory. It’s the ones that have murky issues that get me. Or the ones that clearly need to speak to their account manager (who will not answer their phone). Those ones bug me because they hardly ever end in a resolution that I hear about. It vanishes into cyberspace and I never know what actually happened. That is frustrating for a fixer like me. I can’t fix that, I just have to hand the ball off and hope for the best.

My parents are coming over tomorrow night to watch football and make dinner. That should be fun. They will get here before I even get off work, and will be waiting for me when I get home. Rad.

I’ve got lots of things on my brain. I hope you can find some tranquility, as I intend to.

Wilted Are The Forgotten

Through the unending dark,
A fire of discord consumes.
Wasted in dying romance,
Tossed aside like crumpled newspapers,
Tattered by the ceaseless gale,
Then nothing remains.

The strain of trial,
Too great a burden for assumed love,
An ember gone cold,
Masked by the soot of differences.
Two unequal parts,
Jarred free of dependence–
Wary of trauma yet revealed.
A test failed,
The ache deep and sorrowful.

Standing amidst despair,
The tired sunset beneath cold clouds,
A hollow rush of air,
Bringing down the walls of memory,
Reduced and broken,
Sad in the shadow of longing,
Bound but not forgotten,
Eclipsed by reason,
Drying out in the open,
Again, in measured steps.

‘Twas The Night Before Therapy

I sometimes feel like I don’t use my time wisely in therapy if I don’t have an issue to report. What ends up happening is that I get some validation that what I am doing is working, and we discuss ways that my circumstance could improve. Though, I have a pretty good thing going here; I’m hard pressed to find the flaws in it. Though one thing I must add to my routine is exercise. I need to break the monotony of my sedentary life with some basic aerobics. I’m doing the other part (eating healthy) consistently, yet there is plenty of room to advance. As my past posts have indicated, I was sick for most of a week and in no condition to physically exert myself. But I’m better now, and can begin exercising starting tomorrow morning. What a great thing to be able to report to Margaret.

I had a big spinach and assorted greens salad for dinner. There’s no lettuce in there, it’s all good shit. I add a little oil and vinegar to improve my grazing experience, but the nutritional content stays high.

I think a lot about Jax, and the things about her that I miss. It was fun having someone close who I could share my day with, talk trash about people at work to, and gain perspective from. I used to consider her a valuable friend, who would understand my plight and have my back even if no one else did. I remember the way she used to just comfort me as I started to spiral into depression. She would just hug me and let me cry. Out of all the partners I have been with, she was the most understanding of the inexplicable sadness of my dark times. She never judged me (that I am aware of) for being weak, she, if anything, understood it. I took her for granted in this area. I was also in denial over the onset of depression. I couldn’t see the warning signs, like my smoking, abuse of junk food, and poor mental stability. I didn’t know the Effexor had given up entirely until the very end. But I’m glossing the nostalgia. I can recall just as many times when I felt totally incomprehended or otherwise relegated to disregard. I remember a time when I borrowed a couple CDs from my dad, and thought to myself: you know, Birdy might actually like this artist. I know she’s into anti folk, and this is folky. I put on the album and she said to me: this is the worst thing you’ve ever played for me. I recall thinking that I was not surprised, because she hated nearly all of my music. And I detested nearly all of hers, though I did get in to Two Door Cinema Club and Mumford & Sons. I tried, anyway. And I never told her I hated her music. I let her play it all the time, even when I wanted to hear something else. It’s another microcosm of our dysfunctional relationship. I fell in love with her, but I could only see her outmost layer. We dated on Skype and she moved here to live with me having no idea what I smelled like. It was a fantastical dream, that two mentally ill people could find love and comfort in commonalities. But I grew to see how vastly different we were, and how irreconcilable the gap was. We had different core priorities, and the ways we were distinct ended up shredding our fragile relationship into nothing. Them when I had my suicide attempt, she didn’t want to be with me anymore. I put the pressure on a destroyed bond and, naturally, it collapsed. She cheated on me the night she came to visit me in the hospital, and she even asked me to let her go. What was I going to say? No? If she wanted out, there was no going back. It was over. And she took that and ran with it. I was crushed, mostly because it was all so easy to ditch me and find someone else. I would need months to rebuild, but for her, she found someone, then someone else, and eventually settled with a new partner and moved on entirely. I’m no where near that stable. I could never commit to another relationship, given my history of finding ways to destroy them. I took responsibility for what I had done. I know that it will take me a long time before I even go looking for companionship again. Maybe never.

Life is funny the way it can do randomly deal change. It seems to have no regard for norms and can flip a bitch in a split second. I know better now how I need to improve as a person, and look at all the things I have done as a result of that disaster. I’m stronger now than I ever was, at any point, with Jax. I guess I needed to have someone with me in the big scary world, but in the last 7 months I’ve stuck to my plan of forging my own trail. I live to a standard I set for myself, and my pride is at stake; I must be able to look at myself in the mirror and not be ashamed. I am so easily a victim of my wrongdoings, and am absurdly critical of my mistakes. But I’ve learned so much, and changed myself in a way I never thought possible, and I have the end of my relationship with Jax to thank for that. I couldn’t have gotten to where I am if I had stayed with her. As condemning as that is of my decision making, it is a truth I cannot avoid.

My day was pretty busy. 32 calls today, and nearly all of them were contract exchanges. Which I love because I can do an order with my eyes closed and it only takes me about 7 minutes from start to finish. I never fuck them up. The order review department hasn’t sent me an email in two months. I don’t make mistakes on my Oracle tasks, and no matter the variables involved, I always get it right. Even with billing; since that email I sent to Laurel about all the fucked up things that other departments were doing, I’ve been flawless. I’m excelling at work, and my new life direction and personal prerogative are to be thanked. I’ve never done better at my job, at any time that I can remember. And I’m making A LOT of money. More income than I know what to do with. I don’t buy shit unnecessarily and generally just save the excess monthly income.

I hope you have a good night. I’ve clearly got some things on my mind. But that’s the beauty of having a therapy session tomorrow morning: what lingering thoughts I have will be fuel for the conversation fire.

Rain

At long last my desolate and dry corner of the United States is getting some rain. Long overdue precipitation began accumulating around 9 am this morning and has been inconsistently falling since. Los Angeles and Santa Barbara are taking the brunt of the rain right now, but I expect that will head south as the day wears on. I can’t describe how welcoming it is to have measurable rainfall again. It’s a huge sigh of relief for our drought-stricken county. But the best is yet to come.

A change in the weather always gets me a little excited. It’s a new routine and a welcome diversion from the norm of hot and dry. I know most of you are like: yeah, big freaking deal. But it rains consistently where you are in the winter, and that is not the case here. We are the desert southwest, and rain is an event, not a regular (expected) occurrence.

I’m doing fine. I have a headache that won’t give up no matter what I do, but I’m coping through it. What else can I do? So I’ve taken maybe 10 – 15 calls today so far, pretty steady. I’ve had a chance to watch the Doppler radar to see when the next rain will be. Maybe not for another 30 minutes or more, as we are between cells. Maybe longer. I just ate my lunch and my headache has lessened. I feel like a bug under those halogen lights and in front of my glowing computer screen. I get 2 weekends of work coming up this month, on the 14th and the 27th. Another weird week for Christmas, where I will get two days off with two days of work between them. Not ideal, but I need the money and the cred.

I hope you find weather as exciting as I do. It’s really quite fun to study and predict. I’m a science nerd though so maybe this doesn’t get you off like it does for me. Be well.

**UPDATE 4:30 pm**

The big wave of rain is rapidly approaching, after dropping 2 inches on Santa Barbara and an inch on Los Angeles. It’s losing steam, but should be a decent saturation. I’m hopeful for an overnight downpour leading in to a wet tomorrow. I have therapy in the morning and it should be a soggy commute.

The Mondays

I don’t really understand this notion. I guess this is for people who hate their jobs, and the thought of enduring a full week of work is somehow unbearable. But I generally like what I do, and can’t complain about it. It is hard sometimes, but ever since they added those 30 agents to the billing queue, things have not been overwhelming. Not at all. I spend vast stretches of time just pouring over my fantasy football numbers (maybe part of my unprecedented success this year).

So I’m at work now and having a medium busy day. Definitely not an arduous occasion. It COULD be really nasty, but it’s not. It’s nice instead. I’m quite happy with the way work is going.

I don’t think there is going to be a festive football gathering tonight, even though my fantasy playoff hopes are at stake. If Miami’s defense has a respectable night, I win! Yay. So if they are worth -3 points total I’m screwed and I’m out of the playoffs.

My mood has been good. I have had my moments where I get acutely lonely about my lot, but it doesn’t last and doesn’t drag me down. Sadness about my solitude is ever-present but not constricting my ability to function. I could get all worked up about it. But why bother wasting the energy?

Have a great day. Hopefully you got over your case of the Mondays.

Evaluative

I find that a lot of the random impulses to do things I experience should be filtered. I’m not about to go do half (or more) of the ideas that pop into my head. A lot of these things are undoubtedly destructive in nature, and why they expect to get listened to is beyond me. I guess it’s not fair to judge my baseline mental state on these momentary reactions because they are not indicative of any form of thoughtful process, and that’s what counts. I generally wish I didn’t have to deal with these impulses, but I figure it’s all the more a test of my willpower.

I think loads of destructive things: should I go get some junk food to eat? Should I sleep in until I feel like waking up? I find that there are many more that clearly lead to a path of indulgence and disregard for my wellbeing. Should you go read Jax’s blog and find out what she’s up to? I’ve come to understand that giving in to these impulses hurts me more in the long run, because the penalties of guilt and regret are soon to haunt me after acknowledging one of these impulses. I know better than to go do something now that I will wish I hadn’t done later on. I will feel bad that I ate junk food and gained weight. I will not be sated from my emotional turmoil by reading about Jax’s life. In the end, I will feel down and worse overall for having caved.

So I try to squelch these impulses with a judgement before they ever gain much traction as an idea. If they gather support, they might get looked at. So I’m sure to not let this happen by issuing a decree that they are toxic or otherwise damaging to the final goal of good mental/physical health. It’s an easy decision to make right at the introduction of the impulse, because the longer it lingers without being judged, the more powerful and influential it becomes. I hope these examples make sense. I struggle with this concept sometimes, do you do something similar? It’s hard to ignore them all. Sometimes I do go get a tasty treat from the corner store. But I do not give in to things I’m sure will lead to more emotional damage. I wonder if you have a coping mechanism in place for your own impulses?

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.

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.

#745

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.

Most

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.

Stuffy

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

Resistances:

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

Right Click
Berserk
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

Resistances:

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)
Whirlwind
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.