Monday, December 29, 2008

Blessed be the socks.

So I have this friend who, months ago, promised to send me stuff. The promise was extra DVDs that showed up at a pawnshop, and would be shipped for me to do with as I please. The box of DVDs never arrived, and I gave up on them.

Surprise, surprise! I was awaken at 11:00 AM today by a UPS deliveryman with a large box. I scratched my head in wonder, especially when the box was somewhat heavy. Minutes later, I found out why. The box was not only filled with DVDs, but also several pairs of jeans and, gods above and below, a package of socks!

I couldn't help but smile. My perpetual search for socks is doomed to the fact that I wear them to death. Throw away socks because they have a tiny hole in them? NOOOO! The hole must be HUGE before they are tossed out. And here was a package filled with gleaming while footwear. Oh, how I love my friends when they pay attention!

As for the jeans...Well, I'm afraid most of them are geared toward women, and none of them will fit me. I would have to hitch them up to my chest to ensure they don't drag on the ground. But they won't go to waste. Oh, no. I'll first check with neighbors to see if anyone needs them. If they don't, I'll donate them. Somewhere out there is a tall, needy woman who will subconsciously thank me for giving.

Of course, let us not forget the initial reason the package was sent. I went through the DVDs that arrived, stacking them one on top of the other on the floor beside me. When I was done, with my feet flat on the floor, that stack came to my knees. Some I want, some I don't, and others I've been longing to see.

In fact, one of them was a movie I went nuts trying to find a couple of months ago. I thought I was looking for Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Well, I found that one, watched it, and realized it wasn't the action movie I was looking for. Entertaining, nonetheless. No...What I was apparently searching for was Shoot 'Em Up. I watched it on my computer, and was entertained by the action that I'd been craving. No Academy Award winner, but it wasn't bad. This morning, as I picked through the package of goodies, there it was. I laughed, as I'd gone insane trying to remember the name of the movie at one time. And there it was, with Clive Owen looking ready to blow my head off from the DVD case.

In all, 34 DVDs arrived. Eight of them are either duplicates or things I'd seen and didn't really like. The other 28 are movies I've wanted to see, have seen and loved, or owned at one time and had to sell them to survive.

For those who think for one moment that I'm celebrating a box of toys, I'd like to correct you. The physical things are great, but it's what the gift represents that makes me happiest. A friend cared. A friend didn't forget a promise. What I received was a box filled with friendship, and it was beautiful.

The friend's name is being withheld so as to protect his generosity. If every needy soul started asking for help from one person, that person may well go mad trying to help the world.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Heads up!

Y'know the way there's a separation of Church and State in the government? So should there be a separation of politics and everything else in my life. Posts about "Bor for Prez" are serious rants with a somewhat silly title. And each title really doesn't tell you what the topic is about, other than my lunatic desires to run for office. I need a spot to put that stuff, so others who like coming to my blog without having to face political stuff can arrive here in comfort.

My new blog is http://felonygreenfield.blogspot.com/. That's where the politics will happen. If you want to join in my ideas, in debates, or in general support, that's where to go.

I chose the domain name as a joke of my real name. Rob is my first name, and to rob someone is a felony. Meadows is my last name, and also a bunch of green fields. Why search for a name when the odds of "felonygreenfield" being taken are nil? In fact, I may try to push that as my Secret Service code name. I can see it now as an agent moves his wrist to his mouth to say, "Felony is on the move."

Anyway, I thought I should let folks know that my political babbling will be elsewhere, and would like you to head over there if you are so inclined.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Rob's Christmas Day Special

Hello, folks, and thanks for tuning in. Like Tarzan on a vine, I am now on an upward swing emotionally, and so I am filled with a touch less doom and gloom than usual. I have reason to gripe, but I'll get to that in a bit. First, allow me to quote myself, and others, from GitP. We'll start with me:

I have received a few gifts. Two were a financial boost to help me simply survive, and another was someone accessing my game account for City of Heroes and buying me more time than I expected. (Ask for one, two, or three months at most, and end up with six plus a holiday bonus of an extra month; seven months of game time, and I never asked for even close to that amount...at least not seriously.)

But I also received a couple of gifts with no price tags. Several phone calls which reminded me that I have caring, loving friends. In a time when I was feeling so lonely and almost forgotten, people have called me for the sole purpose of just talking. Boast all you want about your loot beneath a tree or stacked at the foot of your bed tomorrow morning. I have virtual bags of human kindness, and they are truly glorious.

This caused Cristo to reply:

Now if that don't make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, then you need to get help, fast.

Several posts later, an unknown forumite, (to me, anyway), said of Cristo's comment:

No kidding. Gratz Bor.

First, when someone quotes me, I consider it an honor. It means I've said something worth paying attention to. Cristo quoted me before making his comment, and the child hiding deep within my adult body was bouncing in his seat, pleased to no end that someone noticed something I said. Then to say something positive about that quote...Well, now I might actually crack a smile. And then to be congratulated on my quoted gifts...

You know...we take a lot for granted in our lives. Most do, anyway. Until they've lost what's important to them, or suffered through some tragedy, they don't realize exactly what they already have. I've lost friends. I've lost family. I've faced numerous disasters, and found myself worn but still mostly functional at the end of them. For all the whining I do from time to time on this blog, I am perpetually aware of what I really have.

Once upon a time, there was a wealthy guy that would send me a monthly "allowance." I was amazed. All I had to do was mention that I needed help, and he would send money via PayPal. For over a year, this guy helped me survive...and them some. I kid you not when I say that I would ask for specified amounts, and he would send as much as he could spare, which was usually much more than I would ask for. In his messages that followed such things, he would insist I go to the movies, or buy myself a few things that would make me happy.

Then things took a downward turn for him. Just as I was saying, "Let's start putting a leash on my spending," he sent a message that said, "I can't help anymore." The selfish, greedy part of my being human was disappointed that I no longer had a "sugar daddy." The rest of me was concerned for my friend. Life wasn't playing out the way he had planned, and I wished for all the world that I could don the tights and cape and fly to his side to give him a pep talk and a hug. We spoke recently, and I reminded him that our friendship was not based on money, though it appeared that way. I care about this guy. I wish I could stumble upon a few million dollars to start paying him back. More than that, I want him to KNOW WITHOUT DOUBT that I am not disappointed in him, and that I value his friendship immensely.

Meanwhile, others seem to take up his cause. "Help Bor live at, or slightly above the figure that represents poverty level." Well, I've already said that $10,400 is someone's idea of a joke when it comes to calculating poverty. In order to stay above water, I need at least $200 more a month. Somehow, it's worked out. A little here, a little there. I actually don't get anywhere near $200 a month most of the time, but what I do get I make count. Sometimes it's money. Sometimes it's a Wal-Mart gift card. Or, as mentioned before, it's someone paying into a game that allows me to have some fun with my day.

So here we are in the Season of Giving. It's the time when people tend to give the most, from friends and family to charitable organizations. Since I live with my hand out in hopes people will help, I have experienced a yearlong Season of Giving.

That, my friends, is where I start to gripe. There should be no season for it. During the hot Arizona summers, as I pass the dollar store on the way to the market, someone might stop me and tell me they're hungry. Me, the guy living beneath poverty and usually begging for help, will go into that dollar store and buy a bottle of water and an inexpensive package of something to eat. As is fitting, I usually do it with money someone has sent to help me survive. That a majority of the people wait for the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is saddening. The Season of Giving should be a yearlong event, not something that's crammed into a month and half of celebrating.

If I weren't Jewish, I'd have a tree in my apartment right now. Although there would be nothing beneath it, it would be overflowing with gifts. They would be the gifts I receive throughout the year. You can't buy them. You can't wrap them. To attempt to put a dollar value on these gifts would be to attempt utter foolishness. I have the gift of friends who care about me and love me. Though I often complain about my financial situation, I have a wealth that cannot be stored in any bank in the world. The wealth is my beloved friends, for whom I pray that they all have the very happiest of holidays, and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

+Rob Meadows

Monday, December 22, 2008

Good evening!

My spirits were lifted by a phone call this evening from my dearest friend in the known universe, Julie. While word on her side of the States isn't all that great, hearing from her was WONDERFUL!

Of course, the chat started with the worst question she could ask. "How are you?" While I could have immediately spouted all sorts of bad news, the opening of our chat went like this:

Me: Well, I've decided to run for President.
Julie: Okay. *begins laughing hysterically* Aside from you running for office, what's really going on?
Me: Julie...I'm running for President.
Julie: *still laughing* Right. Now, without your Presidential aspirations, how are you?
Me: Jules, you're the first person I'm actually saying this to seriously. I am considering running for President in 2012.

And then I was off on a tremendous rant, with her slipping an occasional "I know" into it. One of my greatest joys is being able to talk to her without having to hold ANYTHING back. There is no such thing as a subject that's taboo between us. She'd support me in almost anything, as long as it's not criminal. Then again, if I told her I'd decided to start trafficking marijuana from Mexico, she'd probably ask me to share the wealth, and maybe some of the product. (Purely as a joke, folks. Our days of smoking "wacky weed" are long gone, and my allergy to prison is too severe for me to risk any such thing.)

Julie, unfortunately, retreated from the world when things went sour in August. Although she had the joy of her newborn daughter, Ruby, her live-in boyfriend (long story as to why they're not married, which I'll summarize shortly) lost his job 10 days after the baby was born. He's been trying hard to find work, but the job market is terrible in her neck of the woods. She can't work because she has the two kids at home with her most of the time. As a result, rather than be a burden to me with all of her issues, she became utterly silent.

This was cause for me to remind her that she is "my Julie," and that I need doses of "my Julie" from time to time. Her man, Joe, may claim ownership of her for most of the time, but she's been "my Julie" longer than she's been "his Julie." "Think about how you felt when this call started," I said, "and how you feel now. You know these calls are good for both of us, so why would you hide from them?" She, like so many people in the past, admitted I was right. (Insert a big ol' wink right here.)

I am, of course, worried about her. It's what we do. I worry about her; she worries about me; we are somehow happy to worry about one another. The cast of characters in her home are Julie, Joe, Keiler (five years old), and Ruby (just over four months old). When Julie became pregnant, Joe was a stand-up guy and basically said, "Right. We need a house. This apartment living isn't for a family." While they discussed marriage, they both agreed, "Been there, done that, got the tee shirt." They are happy to be together and unwed. Having spoken to Joe myself, he is a man of commitment. The two of them are more than willing to live as a married couple without the legalities and ceremonies. And because I know Julie so well, this is a very good decision.

They bought a barn that had been converted into a house. It hadn't been lived in for years, and would need a lot of work. Joe, being a hands-on guy, had big plans, and was making repairs to the house on his days off from work. While all this work on the house was going on, Julie was taking hour-long drives on a regular basis to see her doctor to make sure the pregnancy went smoothly. Try to keep in mind that we were still suffering under nightmarish gas prices then, so money was tight to start with.

That's when disaster struck. With no warning whatsoever, Joe was laid off from work, along with several other people. His employer, feeling terrible about the circumstances, told everyone that they could file for unemployment and their claims wouldn't be contested. The problem is that unemployment is limited in terms of time and finances. They have a newborn in the house...a house, mind you, that is still in need of monumental repair. I mean, for the most part, they all live in the living room, which is heated by a wood stove, and Keiler's room has an electric heater. The rest of the house is freezing, and the northeast isn't exactly having a mild winter.

Those who know me should know what I want to do by now. Throw on the old tights and cape, fly to New York, hefting all the repair supplies in a giant crate in one hand, and possibly a bank vault in the other. I'll repair their home in five minutes, turning it into a palace, then dump the contents of the vault in their living room. That the removal of a bank vault just might be illegal doesn't matter. This is "my Julie" we're talking about.

And going to NY to visit is kind of a dream, as I told her son on the phone that I would try to come visit when the baby was born. This led to a lot of laughs between Jules and I, because he said to her, "Uncle Wob might come visit when the baby is all born." When she reported this, I was off on one of my comedic shticks. "Yes...When the baby is 'all born.' Because coming to visit just a leg or an arm would be disappointing."

Like me, Julie always seems to have it rough. If it's not a financial bind, it's an abusive guy in her life. Just once, I'd like to see her like the queen I have come to see her as.

Okay...So it wasn't a completely happy chat, but even while talking about disasters, we did a lot of laughing. It was very good for both of us.

And then my night took another turn for the better. A friend from GitP asked if I would give him my account information for City of Heroes so he could pay into it and let me have some fun. Sharing account information of any kind always makes me a little paranoid. I suggested sending me the money for a month or three-month payment via PayPal. He didn't have a PayPal account. I suggested he buy a game card, which would run about $30. He was hoping to give me access immediately. I caved. I gave him my account info, after playing it safe and making a few alterations to it, strictly because I have a slight paranoid streak in me, and let him do what he wanted.

Now, I was seriously thinking that he would purchase one or three months for me at most. I don't ask for a lot from any one person. I ask for a little from multiple people. That's the theory, at least. Yet people managed to take my minor requests and inflate them beyond my dreams. The goofy SOB, (and I say that with great affection), apparently saw the holiday special I wasn't paying attention to, and purchased six months that just happen to come with a bonus month, giving me SEVEN MONTHS of game time!!!

Well, at least I'll have something fun to do with my time.

So I had me a good night. I got a dose of the best drug on the planet, "my Julie," and a friend bought me a holiday gift. It really was a good evening.

"Bor for Prez in '12": Part 14

So, I asked for the entire series of The West Wing on DVD, and haven't received it. Thanks to the web, however, I have been watching the show...78 minutes at a time, with an hour break. G-d bless the Internet.

Before I leap into genuine politics, let me just say that the dialogue in the show can be staggeringly fast. I know it's not real politics, but their banter revolves around real issues, and some of what they say is so rapid-fire that it's hard to stay with it, especially when the characters are talking over one another. (One of the reasons I want the DVD is for subtitles. Yes, I'm crazy enough to watch entire episodes just to read them.) Personally, I find it an amazing achievement of acting, writing, and directing combined.

On with the politics...A character that is never seen during one episode in season three is asked why he wants to President, and his answer is reported to be relatively short, stumbling, and using the word "people" four or five times. The staff is overjoyed at such buffoonery, but then starts wondering what Bartlet's answer would be. When asked, he says in a resigned manner, "I don't know."

That's not entirely true, of course. At the end of the second season, Jeb Bartlet has an imaginary conversation with a recently deceased secretary, and he lists the reasons why he wants a second term. It's the usual rhetoric, citing statistics on poverty, guns, and education (if I remember correctly).

With the question posed so plainly on the show, I started asking myself, "Why do you want to be President?" Let's face facts. It's a virtually thankless job, in which people spend every other day condemning the Commander in Chief. As the population grows, and technology advances, the job becomes infinitely more complicated. I don't speak "lawyer," and those laws I've looked up on the net for whatever reason tend to give me a headache, specifically when they seem to be written in the most complicated manner possible. "No person shall rent or lease his property to another in violation of a valid restrictive covenant against the sale of such property to persons who have a child or children living with them nor shall a person rent or lease his property to persons who have a child or children living with them when his property lies within a subdivision which subdivision is presently designed, advertised and used as an exclusive adult subdivision. A person who knowingly rents or leases his property in violation of the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a petty offense." That's an actual quote of Chapter 3, Article 1, Section 33-303, Sub-section B of the Arizona State Legislature; Discrimination by landlord or lessor against tenant with children prohibited; classification; exceptions. It could have said, "No one under 55 can reside in a senior community." Now imagine having to sit behind reams of paper that are proposed Federal laws that require the President's signature. It's nowhere near as fascinating a read as The Count of Monte Cristo.

The first answer that comes to my mind when I ask myself the grand question is this: "I have been a participant - more like a victim - of the system, in which I have little or no say when it comes to having my needs met. I'm given a choice of State-funded HMOs, all of which provide the lowest standard of care, along with MediCare, which only provides 80% coverage of my needs, and even those are limited. The system has stood in the way of me finding gainful employment from home and becoming self-reliant again. Such a system shouldn't exist in this manner; it should be aiding me in any way possible to see that I'm able to escape the clutches of poverty if I find myself able to do so. As such, the only way I can fix my situation is to become a part of that system and work to correct the mistakes in its design." (That's an extended answer of what really goes through my head, and that's, "I'm tired of being a victim of the system.")

My next answer is infinitely less selfish. "I'm not the only one. I am one among millions who goes to the mailbox at the middle of the month and prays some kind soul has sent money so I can survive until the next government payday. The longer the month, the greater the stress is on all of us. There is a terrible amount of wasteful spending going on within the government ranks, as well as what appears to be an abuse of power. The government should be responding to the will of the people, not its personal desires. I like helping people. By taking the Presidential route, I can help people en mass."

As I sit here, writing about this, I can't help but look at some of the recent events in our government, specifically the auto industry. They're in trouble. They need help. The auto executives rushed to Washington to ask for help. Mind you, they rushed there via private jets. They were asked by a member of Congress if any of them were willing to sell their private jets and return home on a commercial flight, and NONE of the executives volunteered to do such a thing. In fact, they looked at the Congressman as though he was trying to pull a prank on Candid Camera. Thus, the executives' combined plea is, "Please give our companies money, but don't ask us to surrender any of our luxuries."

Burn, I say! Let their companies go down in flames! It's called commerce, and failed business practices don't deserve saving.

But then there are the thousands of employees, working their collective butts off to earn their $32 an hour. (The figure of $78 that was tossed around for a while failed to take numerous factors into account.) These men and women are working long, hard hours to earn that seemingly exceptional wage. To let the auto companies immolate themselves would be an injustice to the people who are not executives.

So...A bailout? No, I wouldn't give them that. Personally, I would give them a government loan that must be paid back in a relatively short time. The terms of the loan would stipulate the executives taking a severe pay cut, as low as $1 a year, to save their company's - not to mention the government's - spending.

I read a story in a novel, in which the main character recalls the tale of a king. The king wanted more time in which to not only handle affairs of state, but to enjoy the pleasures of his luxurious life. So he called upon his court magician and demanded that time be extended. The magician replied that such a thing was beyond his power. Outraged, the king threatened to fire the magician from his post, for miracles were supposed to be the magician's job.

Thinking quickly, the magician said, "A ritual has just come to mind, your majesty. Tomorrow morning, you must throw off your kingly robes and join the workers in your fields. You must till the land with them for the entire day, and return to me when you have completed that part."

The next morning, the king woke early, disguised himself, and went out to the farms outlying his kingdom at sunrise. Barebacked, under the heat of the sun, he toiled for what seemed many hours. When he asked when the mid-day break would come, he discovered that it was still some time before then, and that he'd only been working for two hours.

By day's end, the king returned to the castle, aching and exhausted. He summoned the court magician and reported that it had been the longest day of his life, and that he was now much more appreciative of the time he already had.

One can't help but think that if these "kings" - the executives, the politicians, and the social elite in general - spent more time in the "fields," they'd appreciate everything that they have a little more.

"Why do I want to be President?" I've been amongst the lowest of the low, to the point where I was homeless, if only for a brief period. To be able to know that I was at that point at one time, and to rise to the most powerful position in America, and be able to help the masses on a greater scale...It would prove the American Dream isn't pure fantasy anymore. It would prove anything is possible.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

1000 Rants

I dunno...I figured 1000 was a good number, even though there probably won't be that many complaints in this particular post. But I felt the need to get all kinds of things off my chest, and for the first time in some time, my post will cover a number of things.

I'll start with the false hope people are generating over Cookie. She is in "critical but stable condition." People seem to think this is reason enough to relax. I'm much more guarded due to experience. I had an uncle lie in a cardiac ICU for months in stable condition, right up to the moment he died. Cookie had a stroke and a heart attack. She is also reported to have pneumonia. She's also 60 and has been in poor health for years. "Critical but stable" means they've put death on pause. That's it. She could take a downward spiral at any time.

Next, as I've mentioned, I paid three months into my City of Heroes account back in September using a government stimulus check. I miscalculated when my time would run out. So, after 50 players gathered together in a particularly dangerous zone to battle THE biggest monster in the game, I decided to reboot my computer. All those graphics makes my computer think too much, causing lag. When my computer came back up, I did a quick e-mail check before returning to the game. There it was...the e-mail telling me my account was now shut down.

I didn't surrender immediately. I made a quick check of my bank balance to see if I could sneak one more month into the game. I mean, the Christmas event is on, where heroes get to hunt through the city zones for presents that give out all sorts of goodies. My current bank balance: $11.84. CoH costs $16 a month. Game over.

With nothing else to do at the moment, I opened AOL to pop into the GitP chat room to see who was around. Immediately, I have an issue with this, because AOL is like a virus that inhabits computers around the globe. I have it because one of my main e-mail addresses is there. I no longer pay for it because I have a different ISP. But starting up AOL is like starting a half dozen applications at once, all of which make my computer crawl. In fact, before I could make it to the chat room, a friend sent me an instant message, and in the midst of replying, my computer locked up completely. There I am, mid-chat, and I have to vanish on the guy because AOL is programmed by morons.

I get the computer rebooted, talk to my friend a bit, then head for the chat room. People celebrate my arrival. Then they make the mistake of asking how I am, and I make the mistake of telling them. I have the holiday blues. I mention a few things on my mind. They try to be silly to cheer me up. The conversation starts to turn toward gift buying, and that's where I start to blow emotional fuses. I mention this, tell everyone to be well, and leave.

A friend from the room sent me an instant message, and we started to talk there. Then he asked for my number because he'd lost it, and he called. You see, I posted a holiday wish list back on 5 December. It's 16 days later. What have I received? Two gifts. One from a friend, another from Dad, and Dad's gift was less than expected. Dad spoiled me on my birthday with $150. I managed to convince myself that that was what I'd get for Chanukah. I only received $50 from him, so I couldn't do any of the things I planned on doing with his money.

All in all, I received barely enough to get through this month. Everything went toward survival, not my "extra" needs or any of my wants. That $11.84 in the bank plus Dad's $50 has to last me until 2 January. Oh...and the $5 in my wallet. That's $66.84 to last me just under two weeks. Stress much?

Another thing bothering me is that a friend sent me a PM on GitP asking if she could send me my holiday gift early back in November. Since her birthday gift to me ran two months late, I joked that her early gift would probably arrive in February (or something like that; I can't remember the exact month I mentioned). Well, here it is, a month or so later, and her early gift hasn't arrived.

Not to mention the birthday present promised by yet another GitP friend. He told me to send him a reminder because he's in the habit of forgetting such things. Well, I reminded him...twice. My birthday was on 9 July. Still no gift.

All of this whining about gifts I haven't received makes me feel like a selfish bastard. "Gimme, gimme, gimme." For ages, I've declared that I don't want rewards for doing good deeds. And here I am, thinking, "For all I've done for others, you'd think they'd do something for me." As a result, I'm starting to feel crushing guilt over the fact that I'm proving to myself that I'm a hypocrite. "Do good deeds for the sake of doing good deeds...but when I ask for favors, you must comply and give what I ask of you."

Hi...I'm Rob, and I'll be your jackass of the century.

Let us not ignore the Van Dyke I'm trying to grow. I had a beard once in my early 20's. Most irritating, aside from the facial hair literally irritating my skin, is that my moustache grows in "stealth mode." The hair atop my head is brown, now with touches of grey. But even when it was just plain old brown, my facial hair comes in a variety of colors. A little red, plenty of brown, some black...and a blond moustache that looks more like I've failed to wash my face. Now, thanks to age, I've got some white and grey mixed into the facial hair spectrum. I've managed to get the Van Dyke to grow without bothering me too much, but I'm now considering shaving the whole thing because it looks like crap. I'm trying to hold out for a little more growth before surrendering, but the whole process of trying to make a small alteration to my appearance a bit is proving to be a disappointment.

This morning - and please note that I'm not exactly sure about this one - I woke feeling unusually stressed. I could feel intense anxiety in both body and mind, but for no specific reason. Of course, I was also in tremendous pain, as is normal for the start of my day. An hour after taking my morning doses of painkillers, the anxiety faded. Joy of joys, I think I'm officially addicted to my meds! This realization is just what I needed to make my holidays extra special.

Now I'm going to be guarded against the use of these meds. Each time I reach for them, I'm going to be debating if I really need them or not. Of course, I have yet to take them simply because I have them around. I only take them when I feel pain. Now a part of my mind is going to be yelling at me for having said pains. "You're imagining the pains. You need to get off that crap. Start weaning yourself off them." An especially difficult task, considering this time of year is when my pains are at their worst.

This is my holiday season. A neighbor hovering on the cusp of death, a favorite game - my only luxury - inaccessible due to a lack of funds, two gifts that have provided only enough room for me to scrape by, blown emotional fuses because I'm a selfish bastard, a bit of hypocrisy, facial hair growth that looks pathetic, and possible drug addiction.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Why can't I simply be happy for the sake of being happy?

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Crappy Holidays!"

So I posted my holiday list. Things I need and want. After that, I mention that I would like to help a neighbor make Christmas a holiday that actually included some toys for her kids. Unfortunately, to date, I have received ONE gift, and it was a donation to my PayPal account, which in turn went right to my checking account so I can do silly things, like eat. Each trip to my mailbox starts with the hope that a surprise awaits, and instead I've received bills and, oddly, a jury summons. (It doesn't matter what the trial is about. I'll just ask a lot of questions about the death penalty and how soon I can see whoever the defendant is fry. That should get me out of it.)

So my holiday season is already looking rather bleak, when, just an hour ago, (from when I started banging out this post), I learned a neighbor is extremely ill.

I've mentioned my neighbor, Cookie, elsewhere. She and I had a falling out at a time when I was in need of help. You see, since I met her, I have volunteered my aid to her in any way I can. Most specifically, when others would come to my aid financially, I would share the wealth by asking her what she needed at the local market. The conversations were almost the same every time.

Me: Cookie, I'm headed to the market. What do you need?
Her: Well, I need (insert various items), but I don't have any money for them.
Me: That's not what I asked. I asked, "What do you need?" You told me. I'll be back in a bit.

I would return about a half an hour later with whatever she mentioned. Occasionally, out of the blue, I would simply grab something I'm sure she needed anyway, and would buy it without even asking.

Now, Cookie has the habit of becoming reliant on those who lend her aid. When I started taking narcotic painkillers regularly, she would sometimes call and ask if I could bring one by because she was in terrible pain. Despite the warning that such meds should not be shared, all I saw was a human being that was suffering, and sparing one tablet wouldn't do me any harm, but would give an elderly woman relief. The problem there was that the frequency in which she asked for meds started to increase, and I was put in a position of denying her such aid. I am neither a pharmacy nor a drug dealer. I get these painkillers because I need them. Sparing one or two a month wasn't anything terrible. One every few days was something terrible, and so my answer of "no" became a permanent reply.

Then came the day when I needed help of my own. It was a weekend. The 3rd of the month was a Monday, and SSD checks aren't received until then. SSI checks, however, arrive on the 1st of the month. If either payday falls on a weekend or holiday, the checks arrive early. So Cookie got her money on Friday, before the 1st, (which I believe was May 31st, but may have been as far back as February 29th). (*sigh* Me and my crappy memory when it comes to dates and numbers.) Knowing that my money would be directly deposited to my checking account, I went and asked Cookie for $30 to get me through the next few days. I was completely broke at that time, and she was the very last person I would normally ask for aid. My thinking was, "For all the help I've given her, surely she could help me out, especially when she'll have the money back in only a few days."

But Cookie was obsessing over a phone bill that was due on the 6th. As usual, she would pay this bill over the phone via her debit card, meaning that the payment would be made instantly. Even if she was a week late, they wouldn't shut down her service. But that wasn't an issue at all. No matter how it played out, she could help me and pay the bill on time. After explaining this, she still managed to ask me for a day to think about it.

Fine. I gave her a day. When I returned on Saturday, she said she couldn't help because she paid the bill. In other words, no matter how desperate I was, she felt the need to pay her phone bill early rather than return the countless favors I'd done for her in the past. Actions speak louder than words, and her actions essentially told me to drop dead.

I ended up going to someone else for the help.

After that, I refused to give Cookie the time of day. I made obvious efforts to ignore her, and when she called in tears to leave a message saying she didn't understand what she'd done wrong, I was pretty much floored. How could anyone be that stupid? I needed help. (Heck, I always need help.) She had it within her power to help. Instead, she made sure she couldn't help.

It's been many months since I've said anything to her at all. I have gone as far as to take a longer route when heading out of my apartment complex just to avoid going near her apartment. It's simply beyond me how anyone can blatantly ignore a plea for help when they're in a position to do so.

Out of food again, I decided it was time to head for the market again. While I was at it, I thought I might as well get those pesky insulin syringes I use daily. As I stepped out of my apartment, I ran into the neighbor directly next door to me, Kim. Kim informed me that Cookie was taken away by ambulance this morning and is very bad shape. Cookie had a heart attack and a stroke.

Everyone wants to make an effort to see her in the hospital, including me. I want to repair whatever is broken between us before, G-d forbid, she passes on. Alas, she isn't permitted visitors as long as she's in the trauma ICU. I went to share this information with Kim, and she told me Cookie had been down for two days before she was found. It's already a miracle she's alive. If she makes it out of this mess, it will truly be a divine deed.

So I sink another notch. This is not how one would want the holiday season to play out.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Let's stay friends."

This is what a friend said to me via PM on GitP. The reason? It would seem he disagrees with many of my ideas. They upset him so much that he basically begged my forgiveness in that he refused to comment. And you know what? I'm in agreement with him. If he's going to become so upset with my political views that he becomes angry, then the logical choice is to stay off that topic with him. I often tell people that their feelings cannot be wrong. This is how he feels, so he and I will steer away from such topics.

Besides, he's a super-nice guy, and was there for me during the process of getting to my brother. I value friendships above all. I won't press the matter.

Still, I would like to say something to him, and those who follow my blog. When I delve into the political, I'm merely expressing opinion. Without the opinions of others, there's no way to solidify ideas. They remain theories without practice, and if two people cannot hold a civil debate of an issue, then it seems to me that something in the political process remains broken. It's probably why events leading up to the Second American Revolution were violent in Congress. (House Representative Brooks of South Carolina took a cane to the head of Senator Sumner on 22 May 1856, striking three blows that broke the cane and Mr. Sumner's head. Southerners sent Mr. Brooks new canes.)

It's kind of funny, though, because when he brought it up, my mind flashed back to that joke of a movie, Starship Troopers. There was a brief scene where to commentators were arguing the possibility of "bug intelligence." While the woman was trying to discuss it, her opponent was rambling on about how utterly ridiculous the concept was. To get him to shut up, she stomped on his foot.

Well, my friend's private message was like a stomping on the foot. "I like you. We're friends." *STOMP* "Please discuss other things." (To my friend, who is likely reading this, I am smiling. I am not upset in any way.) There's a reason why politics are taboo on GitP.

Still, I wish my friend was able to convey his ideas without it becoming a rant. It need not be a comment posted on this blog, but an e-mail in which he expresses his own perspectives. I have received a few already from others, and I find their perspectives educational.

I also believe I'm a better listener than, say, Mr. Obama. You see, I finally got a reply from him on my comment about his disabilities agenda. It was the form letter I expected...kinda. I mean, it came with an "exciting" video.

Dear Robert,

Over the coming weeks, thousands of Americans will be leading Health Care Community Discussions -- small local gatherings in which Americans are sharing thoughts and ideas about reforming health care. President-elect Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Tom Daschle are counting on Americans from every walk of life to help identify what's broken and provide ideas for how to fix it.

You can help shape that reform by leading your own Health Care Community Discussion anytime between now and December 31st.

Secretary-designate Daschle recorded a short message about these important discussions. http://change.gov/page/s/hcdiscussion

Secretary-designate Daschle is committed to reforming health care from the ground up, which is why he won't just be reading the results of these discussions -- he'll be attending a few himself.

When you sign up to lead a discussion, we'll provide everything you need to make your conversation as productive as possible, including a Moderator's Guide with helpful tips. All you have to do is reach out to friends, family, and members of your community and ask them to attend -- and, when it's over, tell us how it went. The Transition's Health Policy Team will gather the results of these discussions to guide its recommendations for the Obama-Biden administration.

No transition has tried something like this before, and your participation is essential to our success.

Thank you,

John

John D. Podesta
Co-Chair
The Obama-Biden Transition Project

So...The part where I mention I'd like the newly created position of Ambassador to the People was overlooked. I have been basically told to organize a meeting in my sardine can of an apartment, a place of business that doesn't exist, or a town hall I can't rent. The skeptic in me can't help but read between the lines. "We want to hear from you; we just won't be listening." Secretary-designate Daschle is committed to reforming health care from the ground up, which is why he won't just be reading the results of these discussions -- he'll be attending a few himself. "Why, sure, Mr. Daschle. Come on down to my place, where I'll try to cram fifty people into my tiny cave, and you can listen in on a bunch of people so frustrated with the system that it's liable to start a riot."

Of course, if they were willing to throw a few thousand dollars my way, I could set something up at a town hall, and would even canvas a few neighborhoods with flyers. I want to be proactive. There's a part of me that wants to be part of the system right now. But so far, this "change we can believe in" is business as usual, because a guy barely grasping the bottom wrung of the social ladder with one hand doesn't have it in his power to set up such a meeting.

Any millionaires out there wanna throw me some money to set this thing up?

...

...

I didn't think so. It's depressing enough that only two gifts have come my way thus far, one being from Dad, and the other from a GitPer. Instead of going toward anything I want to do, it's all going toward my monthly needs. I can't even afford the clothes, pots, pans, and dishes I need.

*sigh*

Y'know, I start off some posts with the best of intentions, and they turn into whining sessions. I think my case of Holiday Blues is getting out of control. The old suicidal ideology is starting to come to mind more often, even on my meds, and I'm seriously considering going into hiding for a while until my mind gets itself back in order.

Then again, hiding from my friends isn't something I really want to do. Because I love my friends. I'd be nothing without them.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Shoe Master Attacks!

Yes, my friends. The evil, vile, and...Hmmm...I seem to be stuck on specific letters...LIVE, Shoe Master has struck. After years of planning within his lair, waiting for the moment when he could unleash his villainy upon the world, opportunity finally knocked, and he was ready to answer. His victim? Governor George W. Bush.

Okay...So it wasn't exactly like when Lincoln was assassinated, and John Wilkes Booth leapt to the stage of the Ford's Theatre and shouted, "Sic semper tyrannis!" But Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi hurled a pair of shoes, one at a time, at GWB and shouted in Arabic, "This is a farewell kiss, you dog!"

The AP reports that it was a great day for shoes around the world.

A careful search on the net by yours truly has revealed that the Shoe Master was actually working on a "Shoe Gun" that would fire 10 Gucci pumps per second, but the weapon was rendered useless when his latest design was ruined by stiletto heels becoming caught up in the firing mechanism.

The Shoe Master, whose secret identity was that of a mild-mannered reporter for a metropolitan newspaper, discovered that time had run out for his grand scheme when it was announced Governor Bush was making a surprise visit to Baghdad. The Gucci Gun would have to wait to claim someone else as a victim. The Shoe Master would have to handle the attack manually, using cheap loafers.

Lacking the speed provided by his experimental technology, and no laser sighting, the loafers sailed across the room too slowly, and were barely on target. GWB proved to have excellent reflexes, and was able to dodge the footwear. This, according to the Shoe Master's journals, was not how the script was to play out. Almost nothing went right for the would-be villain.

(Translated from Arabic): I will see him pumped full of pumps! That American devil, who has brought so much strife to our nation, will truly get the boot when I see him next! Who would suspect a reporter with a bag full of Gucci footwear? Security will be tight, but they will surely find nothing suspicious in my television camera and a bag shoes. While the sycophantic masses of the press gather around, I will surreptitiously assemble my weapon of doom, take aim, and shout, "This is a farewell kiss, you dog!" Then, from across the room, I will kick him in the face repeatedly.

Oh, how I thrill to the idea of that monster quivering on the floor, giving that final whisper, "I am felled by the Shoe Master. Protect my family, for they will surely be next."

And he would be correct, for I am also working on a weapon that can fire cowboy boots that can strike a target at 300 yards with 100% accuracy.

As usual, this entry, as with all entries in his journal, ended with, Sandals are for sissies.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi was foiled not only by GWB's reflexes, but also by Fall-On-Top-Of-You-Man, Forcefully-Restraining-You-Man, and, oddly, What-The-Hell-Am-I-Doing?-Woman. (It's reported later that WTHAID-Woman was found defusing an exploding chipmunk she had planned on throwing at GWB, muttering, "That fool Shoe Master ruined everything!")

The Shoe Master is being held without bail, and faces life imprisonment for assault with a deadly loafer. This possible sentencing will likely be commuted, as al-Zeidi is being hailed as a hero across the Middle East. "Al-Zeidi is the man," said 42-year-old Jordanian businessman Samer Tabalat. "He did what Arab leaders failed to do." (That's an actual quote!) Indeed, many Arabian citizens agree that more footwear should have been thrown at GWB during his feigned Presidency of the last eight years. Even some Americans are in agreement. Said John Smith from Somewhere U.S.A., "I would have worn the same pair of underwear for a month, then thrown it at GWB at my earliest convenience...skid marks and all!" (NOT an actual quote.) As grotesque as such a sentiment is, it's shared by many.

It seems that virtually no one will be sad to see Governor Bush vacate the White House. Although the Republican Party may have been able to do some good for the United States, their party's leader could get lost in this blogger's tiny studio apartment. How The Shoe Master failed in his flimsy attack against the "Great American Clown" remains a mystery. It was, literally, dumb luck that GWB escaped unharmed.

No joke, GWB tried to put a positive spin on The Great Shoe Attack. "I don't know what the guy's cause is. But one thing's for certain. He caused you to ask me a question about it. I didn't feel the least bit threatened by it. These journalists here were very apologetic. They were...y'know, they were...said this is-this doesn't represent the Iraqi people. But th-that's what happens in f-free society. F...People try to draw attention to themselves. And so, I guess he was affected 'cause he caused you to say something about it." (Stammering included!) But...SHHHH! Don't tell GWB this, because it might hurt his feelings. Iraqi's use the throwing of their shoes at someone or something as their highest insult, and it does represent the sentiments of the Iraqi people. They've been throwing their shoes at symbols of Bush as recently as last week. That the press behaves themselves in his presence is probably because of their terror as to what would happen if they truly spoke their minds.

"That's what happens in a free society." Mein tuchas!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tis the season...

...for disasters. *sings* Fah-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. (End song.)

Okay...So, my laundry was violated. Prior to this, I had two medical issues. The first was splitting my foot open and bleeding so much a pair of socks was ruined. (Didn't notice the bleeding right away, crossed my feet, and ruined the other sock by staining it with blood. (Sorry, Midnight Son!)) The other was a retinal bleed, and it had been fading, as expected.

Perhaps I should explain that last one, eh? I'll use a quote from my little treatise on diabetes, The Suicide Note to do so.

"...this gets a wee bit complicated. You see, lack of control of diabetes causes damage to small blood vessels. The eye is filled with such vessels. Damaged vessels are weak, will balloon, and even hemorrhage. These leaks tend to scar the retina. But that’s not the worst of it. You see, the eye needs blood and oxygen delivered to the right places. The loss of this optical nourishment is called ischemia. In a wondrous little process called neovascularization, new vessels start growing in the eye. Good news, right? Wrong! These new vessels are just as weak, if not weaker, as the original blood vessels. They, too, will hemorrhage. Eventually, blood will flow into the vitreous gel of the eye, blocking vision. The scarring that can occur without treatment can cause the retina to detach. The happy little visual receptors, commonly known as rods and cones, stop working because they are no longer attached to the cells beneath them. These detached areas become blank spots in the vision. Get enough of these areas, and the diabetic becomes completely blind."

So I had laser therapy to fix my retinopathy issues about a year and a half ago. Well, the way my right eye is behaving, I believe it's that time again. Why? Because for no reason whatsoever, last night, my right eye started bleeding again. Mind you, it's nothing that can be seen with the naked eye of a third party. It takes dilation of the pupil and a lens to see it. Oh, but I can see it plenty. It's not a tiny spot, as one might think. It's a smear of darkness that exists in three dimensions, just off center of my vision. The extra fun is that my eye keeps trying to focus on this 3-D smear, while also trying to focus on the world around me. It is truly headache inspiring.

I had a bleed that had almost completely faded, and now I have a new one. I was adjusting to these things, expecting them to fade, and then I would have a new eye issue months later. No worries. One on top of the other? That old panic is visiting me again.

Now, on GitP, I frequently give the advice that is one doesn't do anything to help themselves, there's little anyone online can do for them. We can't leap from the world of the Internet and escort them to whatever help they need. Well, while heading in for a shower a few days ago, I was admiring the swelling of that now open wound on my left foot. Looks infected to me.

Off to the doctor I go, and...Well, I saw the doctor who treats me like a moron. It doesn't seem to matter how intelligent I prove myself to be, he seems to feel the need to make me feel like an idiot. For example, I learned ages ago that scar tissue forms a kind of thatch. The cells weave in such a way that they tend to become very tough and disruptive to normal functions. This is why, after surgery on a joint, physical therapy may involve a painful kind of massage by the therapist to smooth the tissue out. Upon mentioning this to the doctor, he informed me that diabetic scar tissue doesn't thatch, but becomes layered, and those layers tend to slide against one another. Is this true? How would I know? And some part of me thinks he invented this "fact" only to make me feel stupid. What's more, he said it's not infected, but told me to keep using the prescription antibiotic cream I have, and to come back in two weeks.

Contradiction much?

Then I have the Twilight Zone dream last night, and it's bothering me a lot today for reasons beyond my understanding. Please keep in mind that this is a dream, and won't make a whole lot of sense.

I went to my 20th high school reunion. Because I had to repeat a year, I somehow felt entitled in the dream to go to two different reunions - the class I should have graduated with, and the class I did graduate with. So I went to the former, and found myself talking with Amy, a girl - now a woman - whom I had a crush on when I was eight years old. (Yes, I always knew girls were more interesting than baseball cards.) How she entered my dream is a mystery, as I haven't invested much thought to her in ages. I recently made mention of playing "Doctor" with her when we were kids, but that was it. But as we chatted, we revealed that we'd been thinking about each other on and off for years, and came to the realization that we were destined to be with one another.

Ummm...Okay? Word gets out to the rest of the people at the reunion, and the DJ on hand announces to everyone that Amy and I have decided to go off and live happily ever after. Everyone there then insists that we do the traditional "White Chicken Dance." I have NO idea where that came from, but Amy and I proceed to dance, while those around us smile and applaud. The thing is, I was handicapped on and off in the dream. Sometimes Amy would have to literally drag me during the dance, and at other times I was able to execute moves that would impress professional dancers.

Cut to a scene where I'm trying to find my Dad to tell that I am about to settle down with the woman of my dreams. (Literally!) But my father was living in a bizarre house that seemed to come from an MC Escher drawing, and there were notes around the house saying "No geeks allowed!" I apparently found my Dad at the old family business in Brooklyn, and was trying to explain that I was going to become a Conservative Jew to match Amy's religion, and that she was from Trinidad. I also made mention of the "White Chicken Dance," at which point the music for the plain old "Chicken Dance" would kick in, and everyone would stop what they were doing to do the silly dance.

Ummm...Huh? Amy wasn't from Trinidad. My ex, Perlin, was. And Perlin wasn't Jewish at all.

Dad's response was an offhand, "That's nice." He was infinitely more concerned with what appeared to be work uniforms. The uniforms were, according to my bizarre dream, white Polo shirts with green and gold logos...and matching underwear. So while I was shouting across the store, asking him what I should do with all the boxes of shirts and underwear, I think I was actually shouting in real life, and the sound of my own raised voice woke me up.

You know, I would be okay with this dream if I could interpret its meaning. But all I can see is a scattered, lonely mind, worried about the future and on the cusp of panicking about the present. Maybe it's the holiday season, and the fact that I am, once again, completely alone. Only one person has sent me anything in the way of a gift, and that "campaign contribution" has gone to basic survival. Mr. Obama's office has yet to reply to my message, and...and...

Suddenly my life seems a lot messier than usual. The disorganization of that dream last night seems to represent that. Add a dose of the holiday blues, and I become a less than happy camper.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A new holiday tradition?

Last holiday season, I was sent the gift of an OotS tee shirt. Since I wasn't expecting it, it was one of those surprise presents that are always fun to receive.

As is my habit with new clothes, I washed it before wearing it. I had lived here three years, and had never had a problem of any kind in the laundry room. So I was pretty ticked when I went to retrieve my laundry from the dryer. That tee shirt, along with several others items, had been stolen.

Well, I told the friend who had sent it, and he replaced it. But, really...who steals someone's clothing during the holiday season? Who steals certain articles of clothing? No joke, I believe some of my underwear was stolen.

Messing with my laundry seems to have become a holiday tradition. After I posted yesterday, I did a wash. I hadn't had a problem since last year, and somehow believed myself safe. I was wrong. As I unloaded my laundry from the dryer, I discovered that someone had actually added their wash to my dryer load! I took the extra items home with the intent of returning them to the office, along with a report to the manager that someone needs a lesson in manners. But as I separated my wash, I realized they had stolen some of my towels, tee shirts, and, once again, my underwear!

I don't get it. Is someone waiting until the holidays to steal my clothing to then give away as a gift? "Here, honey. I got you someone else's underwear for Christmas. And some tee shirts with sweat stains in the armpits. Oh...and some towels. They were all on sale. In fact, they were free!" The only good thing is that nothing they stole was new. Otherwise, I'd be off the wall with anger right now.

Of course, I reported all of this to the manager in the office, who was amazed that someone could be so stupid as to try to use my money to dry their things, steal my items, and think they could somehow get away with it.

Then she told me of her own theft on Tuesday. Because she mans the office alone, she can't leave unless she's showing an apartment. Someone volunteered to grab her a sandwich at Subway a block away. It sat on her desk, awaiting a quiet moment when she could eat it.

A man came in and asked if he could see an apartment. She went into the back to get the key to the model. When she came out of the back, the guy had left, taking her sandwich with him. She was able to see him through the large office window on the other side of the parking lot, eating her lunch. Oh...and she's a diabetic, like me. Not that the thief would know that she needed that food for medical reasons, but still...

Have I been asleep at some point? Did I not get the memo that the season of giving had become the season of taking? It seems that since 2000, holiday crime is on the rise. The above are petty criminal acts, compared to...I think it was 2003, when two banks in Sayville, NY, were robbed at gunpoint during the holiday season. (The thief was eventually caught because two robberies weren't enough for him.) A few years ago, a charity organization that gathers toys for underprivileged kids was broken into and emptied out. Two tears ago, in my own apartment complex, someone tried to break into a neighbor's apartment, thinking the neighbor wasn't home. He was, and there was a lot of late night shouting, as well as a lot of police activity.

I understand times are hard. I have existed in hard times for seven of the last eight years, with the year I lived on my Social Security back pay the only year I was able to exist without financial pain. But if I were physically capable of working a regular job, I'd be out earning the money I need, not stealing it. Nor would I even contemplate stealing from my neighbors, who are as far from wealthy as they can get.

Yesterday, when I did my laundry, I had to do it on the other side of the apartment complex because the laundry room on my side is closed until it's repaired. While I my clothes were drying, I stopped at a neighbor's place nearby, rather than return to my apartment and have to schlep back and forth. She told me about how she had gone to register her eight-year-old son and ten-year-old daughter for gifts with one of those charities that gets the gifts for poor kids. She got there at 7:30 AM. She left at 4:15 PM, having been on her feet the whole time, and realizing she was never going to see the registration papers. The line was still far too long, and the office closed at 5:00 PM. Because she is extremely overweight, the entire day on her feet had caused her harm. She couldn't make the trip again before the service permanently closed its office for the season.

This prompted me to tell her about my "holiday post." (She laughed at how one of the things I want is more friends that are billionaires.) I told her that if - pretty big IF - I received enough donations to "the Better Bor Foundation" that I would see what I could do about getting some gifts for her kids. Her son apparently has a thing for Bionicals, and her daughter has fallen in love with all things pertaining to High School Musical.

I made her no promises, other than I would try if I ended up with enough gift card, cash, or whatever. And her family is just the kind I like to help. She's a single mom, living in a one-bedroom apartment with her two kids and her mother. Her mother has cancer, and so she has to be home to care for her. (Treatments would kill her mother instead of helping her, and she's already outlived the doctor's estimate of how long the poor woman would live.) They struggle to make ends meet, and the only Christmas plan left is to get the kids clothing. And to return their recent favor...When I split my left foot open before I got my SSD check, she went out and bought me new ace bandages to wrap the wound. I owe that family a kindness.

Perhaps I shouldn't wait for possible help. I should just go with the new holiday tradition of stealing things.

Nah...I'm just not evil enough to do that, and I would suffer too much guilt. In fact, I seem to be the opposite. I'm poor and I want to give, not take. If there were more people like me, this new holiday tradition wouldn't exist.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Bor for Prez in '12": Part 13

Right! Well, I did it. I braved a message to www.change.gov. "Golly, Rob! What did you say?" Well, my faithful minions, I found the site by accident, and was looking around at Mr. Obama's agenda. Seems he's got some ideas for people with disabilities. Here is what the site says:

Barack Obama and Joe Biden have a comprehensive agenda to empower individuals with disabilities in order to equalize opportunities for all Americans.

In addition to reclaiming America's global leadership on this issue by becoming a signatory to -- and having the Senate ratify -- the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the plan has four parts, designed to provide lifelong support and resources to Americans with disabilities. They are as follows:

First, provide Americans with disabilities with the educational opportunities they need to succeed by funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, supporting early intervention for children with disabilities and universal screening, improving college opportunities for high school graduates with disabilities, and making college more affordable. Obama and Biden will also authorize a comprehensive study of students with disabilities and issues relating to transition to work and higher education.

Second, end discrimination and promote equal opportunity by restoring the Americans with Disabilities Act, increasing funding for enforcement, supporting the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, ensuring affordable, accessible health care for all and improving mental health care.

Third, increase the employment rate of workers with disabilities by effectively implementing regulations that require the federal government and its contractors to employ people with disabilities, providing private-sector employers with resources to accommodate employees with disabilities, and encouraging those employers to use existing tax benefits to hire more workers with disabilities and supporting small businesses owned by people with disabilities.

And fourth, support independent, community-based living for Americans with disabilities by enforcing the Community Choice Act, which would allow Americans with significant disabilities the choice of living in their community rather than having to live in a nursing home or other institution, creating a voluntary, budget-neutral national insurance program to help adults who have or develop functional disabilities to remain independent and in their communities, and streamline the Social Security approval process .

Ummm...Huh? "We're going to educate people who can't go to school! End discrimination against people who appear to exist at the bottom rung of the ladder! Provide insurance at a rate that people who are starving can't afford! Increase employment rates for people who can't get to work! Allow the disabled to continue to live in slums or face the outrageous prices of various institutions!"

Gee whiz, Mr. Obama! "Change we can believe in"? How about getting us out from beneath abject poverty and helping up LIVE first, instead of merely existing? Of course, the fools running this site set up a link with a message, "There is no more important resource for changing the direction of this country and defining the ideas that will transform America than the American people. Tell us your ideas and be part of the change you're looking for."

The change I'M looking for? Okay!

To Whom It May Concern;

It has been suggested that I get a Cabinet Appointment in Mr. Obama's administration as "Ambassador to the People." This is in spite of being permanently disabled by a combination of diabetes, severe recurring depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder. I am held in check from finding gainful employment by the limits of Medicare and additional benefits needed from AZ's Department of Economic Security (DES). I'm at my computer all day long, fiddling around online or playing computer games. Why can't some of that time be used by working from home?


Thanks to the way the system is set up, it can't happen. Medicare only pays 80% of my medical expenses. ACCHS, provided by DES, handles the other 20%. I actually found a job where I could earn $9.00/hour part-time. Since I haven't been employed since 2000, I would prefer starting out part-time to find out if I can actually do it. The snag comes from DES. Their office tells me that if I earn more than $120 a month, I will lose my benefits from them, making that 20% not covered by Medicare my responsibility. With all of the doctors I see, and all of the medications I take, a part-time income (and probably some of my SSD income) would be drained away. Additionally, no company is going to hire me for 13 hours a month at $9/hour of I tried to stay beneath that $120 limit.

What is a guy like me supposed to do? I want to work, but have difficulties getting out, and have even called in sick to doctor appointments! On some of my worst days, I have still been able to hobble to my computer and do whatever I please. I can work from home, probably with ease. Even if I leapt into a full-time position, however, there would be three months where I am only covered by Medicare. I already live beneath the unrealistic number that is poverty level. (What idiot thinks a single adult male can live on $10,400 a year?!?)

The government is sorely out of touch with a majority of the population of the United States. Since I've started speaking my mind online, some of my friends have suggested Mr. Obama hire me to be a representative of that majority. I would listen to their ideas, sift through the lunatics who demand greater protection from aliens listening to their thoughts, and bring the concerns of the populace directly to the President once or twice a month. There are a lot of "back seat Presidents" in this country. Not only could I possibly become part of the system that helps them speak their mind, but I'm also fairly sure a cabinet position where I could work from home would come with medical benefits.

Aside from all but begging for a job along side Mr. Obama, the Social Security system needs to be completely revamped. Medicare should cover 100% of medical needs. Welfare systems should be something only needed on a temporary basis by those that are handicapped. (Having to deal with multiple government offices is truly a "joy" for those of us with enough woes on our collective plates.) While various pundits cry that Social Security will be bankrupt in the near future, a majority of us lives BENEATH poverty, yet are told we make too much money to receive food stamps. Well, we wouldn't need food stamps to begin with if SSI/SSD kept us from living lives where our hands are always out, praying kind strangers will give us the funds to merely exist.

The system is severely broken. It doesn't need fixing. It needs to be torn down and rebuilt to get people like me living above poverty level. What's more, that which is called "poverty level" needs to become a realistic number, because NO ONE could possibly live on $10,400 a year.

I will await your form letter and expect to be ignored at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,
Robert Meadows

Yes, I actually included that last line; I firmly believe that's what will happen. Mr. Obama isn't really interested in giving a guy like me access to himself, or any major member of his staff. I would likely need to move to Washington D.C. to work there, and I doubt they'll pay for my relocation. And a job where I can work from home? Unless I'm living in the White House, I don't think that's going to happen.

Even if they did, can you imagine the job interview? There I am, arriving at the White House, about to sit down for a chat that may change the way I live, possibly forever...and I'm showing up in jeans and a tee shirt, as well as an ancient pair of sandals because I can't afford a suit. But, hey! I'll be able to show off the ulcer on my left foot easily enough, and the severe arthritis on my right big toe!

As for revamping SSI/SSD so that people like me aren't perpetually begging for help, I suppose I could hold my breath until that happens. I suspect oxygen deprivation will become a daily part of my life, occurring every few minutes until the day I die. Hold breath, pass out, respiration returns to normal, wake up, "wash, rinse, repeat."

No one's listening. If they are, I'll be shocked.

Monday, December 8, 2008

"Bor for Prez in '12": Part 12

It's time for me to cover foreign policy. What I have in the way of ideas is...nothing. The issue here is that I'm missing information.

The world looks upon the United States as "the Global Boy Scout." We have a tendency to stick out nose into the business of every other nation, especially when it comes to things related to war. Our allies asked us for aid during WW II, and we were reluctant to enter the war in Europe. Then Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, and we were in it until the end.

Oddly, it doesn't seem to have ended. We seem ready to invade anyone and everyone that starts moving massive amounts of troops. Strictly as an example, let's say Israel decides to invade Jordan. They are tired of acts of terrorism in their country; they have traced the source back to Iraq; they are going to obliterate their enemy. So they march across the desert, a convoy of destruction that his specially trained for warfare in their arid climate. I mean, three year service in the Israel Defense Force is mandatory for men at age 18 unless an individual is disabled - for the ladies, it's two years of service - and they are the experts when it comes to war in this part of the world. They conduct themselves with the highest efficiency. So they go in, kick major butt, and are poised at the brink of eradicating the source of their strife...

...and the U.S. shouts, "STOP!" The Israelis stop and politely ask, "Are you sure?" And we say, "Yes...We're sure."

WHY? These are the specialists! They can do what no other army can do with what appears to be the greatest of ease. They conducted a war and won it in SIX DAYS in 1967! (You can look up "the Six Day War" on your own.) We're in Iraq right now, bumbling about in an attempt to do G-d only knows what at this point, when the Israelis could probably clean up the entire war zone in a month. Why, pray tell, do we keep yanking on their leash?

Okay...I may be a bit biased because I'm Jewish. I'll try another example.

India and Pakistan, according to pictures from our spy satellites, are amassing troops along their shared border. It doesn't matter what the transgression is; these two are intent on going to war. Why does the United States government dispatch negotiators to stop whatever is going on? Why don't we just evacuate the American citizens at whatever embassies we have in that part of the world and let them get on with whatever they're going to do? They aren't aiming their weapons at the U.S. They are threatening no other country around them. Neither side has asked for our help. Why can't we remain neutral and keep our nose out of their affairs?

As I said, I'm missing information. There must be some reason we do what we do. Perhaps there is a dusty treaty somewhere that has us promising to ensure nothing like a world war ever occurs again. Maybe there's a theory that if they can commit acts of war against their direct neighbor, they would be willing to go to war with anyone.

All of my "campaign" posts point to a system that is broken. There could never be an absolute democracy, because if everyone truly had their say, there would be chaos. It's why we have a democratic republic, in which we vote representatives to speak for us. (Uh huh...I've already expressed some of how I feel on that point.) Oddly, we deem our system of government as the best, and so we make attempts to export our democratic ideology, sometimes by force. This occurs while we sit back and preach about peace and respect for sovereignty of nations. So...ummm..."We're going to keep killing your people until you become a democracy, just like us!"

If this confuses you, you're not alone. It baffles me as well.

Here's how I see the current U.S. Foreign Policy, using Iraq as my example. First, we make a lot of demands. We send inspectors who find nothing. The communication line is so long, however, that it turns into the childhood game of "Telephone." At the start, the message is, "We can find no evidence of weapons of mass destruction, and recommend no immediate action be taken at this time." By the time it reaches the people who will make the big decisions, it has become, "There is possible evidence of weapons of mass destruction, and we recommend military action be taken immediately." Right! Well, we can't have a lunatic dictator like Saddam Hussein building such weapons. Let's get in there and do...something! So we go in. We conduct a war. We succeed in bringing down Hussein, who goes into hiding, apparently in numerous holes in various places. GWB stands aboard the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln on 1 May 2003 and announces, "Mission accomplished!" And because we went in with no plan whatsoever as to what would happen once the mission was accomplished, we have remained in Iraq to keep the violence. Ummm...That is...to keep the peace. So the mission remains unfinished, our fighting forces continue to exist in a desert version of Vietnam, and some of us are wondering exactly what the danged mission was to start with.

My beloved brother, Stu, says it was the oil. In fact, a lot of people say it was the oil. Since no evidence of any WMDs has been found in the aftermath, I'm inclined to believe that may well be the main reason we did any invading whatsoever. What we expected to gain in the grand scheme of things remains a mystery. Maybe the intent was to make Iraq the 51st State, in which we could then make the claim that we have plenty of oil resources in our country?

Of course, Stu also blames the war in Iraq for our current economic woes. We went to war. Oil prices soared, gas prices became ridiculously high, people found a large chunk of their paychecks going into their gas tanks, leading to their inability to buy "stuff," and the price of everything increased to cover corporate costs to transport product, thereby making it harder to buy stuff anyway, and so the economy takes an enormous hit as people stop buying all manner of things. This theory makes sense in a way, but I have a feeling he's missing data as well.

We all lack information. What we have in terms of data has been fed to use by misleading government officials and the half-informed media. Years after the war is started, we learn that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Because of the lengthy lines of communication, it's hard for us to find out exactly where it information about the WMDs became altered. So when the war started, I was with the masses, explaining to people, "If you saw a madman running through the streets with a gun, aiming it as some, and shooting at others, you call in people to bring that madman down. Well, that was the case with Saddam Hussein." Well, Saddam didn't have the weapons we thought he had, so I am with the masses once again, wondering what the true intent was for invading Iraq.

One theory I heard actually makes sense, even though there's something outlandish about it. You see, in April of 1993, Hussein attempted to have former President George H. W. Bush assassinated while visiting Kuwait. Clinton handled the retaliation by sending a cruise missile at the Iraq Intelligence Service building. Then comes Governor Bush, the crash test dummy as a pretender to the throne, who, in his immature mind, is still mad that Hussein arranged for someone to try to kill his daddy. He wanted this war, and he needed excuses to invade. Thus, false information was leaked into intelligence reports, and Congress was given cause to sign a declaration of war.

My stance on foreign policy, admittedly lacking information, is that we should only be where we need to be, and not where we want to be. If someone calls for aid, we'll give it to them. Until that time, we should not be sticking our fingers into international pies. I'm not talking about re-entering a period of isolationism, as we had prior to WW II. But we need to stop going where we're not asked to go.

I have sources that have explained to me that we have cause to have military bases in certain places as a way of keeping an eye on things. I understand this, especially when these are countries that have been a threat to the United States in the past. It's when we take aggressive action for questionable reasons that irks me.

But then there is the "War on Terrorism." What happened on 9/11 spurred us to take an even more active role. Arabs dancing in the streets after the Towers fell was especially enraging. We must find a way to work with other world governments to bring an end to terrorism. How we can do that exactly...? No idea.

Guess I'll have to wait for a full security briefing once I'm officially Dread Lord Emperor.

Ummm...I believe I meant "President." Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's what I meant. *wink*

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Bor for Prez in '12": Part 11

Okay...I've covered gun laws a bit, and there's the hope that word of increased sentences will deter people from committing gun crimes. As nice as it is to have hope, jails and prisons will likely fill up with criminals anyway.

We should be clear on the difference between a jail and a prison. The former is a temporary holding place for short-term convictions or pre-trial people. (Innocent until proven guilty, and all that.) The latter if long-term housing for convicted felons.

Here's where I have a little story for you. My Dad used to own an auto parts business in Brooklyn. A really bad part of Brooklyn. As Dad was getting into his 50's, he would start leaving the store early, leaving it in the capable hands of his manager. Amazingly, Dad was still putting in an eight-hour day, sometimes getting to work as early as 5 AM, and leaving somewhere around 1 or 2 PM.

One day, Dad left work around 1 PM, and once he was gone, the police converged on the store. The entire staff was arrested for guns and weapons possession, with intent to sell. In the days that followed, I lent a hand restoring the shop to working order; search teams don't clean up after themselves. I found a .22 revolver, which we turned in to the cops. As an added joy, my grandmother died within three days of the arrests, and my father was the only one available to claim her body. While driving to Staten Island, Dad was unable to avoid something in the road, so he centered the car over it in the hopes of simple passing harmlessly over the debris. It tore out his transmission pan and put a hole in the gas tank. They say disasters come in three, and Dad's disasters seem to all come up spades.

Back to the felons...

Jose...Hmmm...The entire staff of five, with the exception of one, was named Jose. Anyway, Jose made it clear my father had no idea what had been going on in the store. He and the others had taken it upon themselves to use the family business as a front for dealing drugs and weapons. (Lovely.) He was sentenced, if I remember correctly, to eight years in prison.

While he was released after five years for good behavior, it's what he did in jail that has me absolutely floors. I am not joking in any way when I tell you that Jose earned a law degree! Oh, he can't get a license to practice because of his felony conviction, but he earned a law degree! How one earns a law degree in prison is beyond me, but he earned a law degree!

Excuse my language use here, as it's not very Presidential, but...WHAT...THE...FUCK?!?

It had to be the easiest prison sentence of which I'd ever heard. He had a cell to himself, a radio, conjugal visits once a month from his gorgeous wife, access to cable TV outside his cell, and he earned a freakin' law degree! This whole thing makes me crazy. He did all of this on taxpayer money, while law-abiding college students basically do the same thing for thousands of dollars!

If you're not outraged, something is wrong with you, and you should seek professional help immediately.

Enter "America's Toughest Sheriff," Joe M. Arpaio. He's right here, in Maricopa County, running the Madison Street Jail the way jails and prisons should be run. These are the things that I like about Sheriff Joe. (There are some issues now, but we'll focus on the positive for the moment.)

1. Oddly, white underwear labeled "Maricopa County Sheriff's Office" was being stolen and sold on the streets. It was a tough guy's badge of honor, and allowed for the likely false claim, "Don't mess with me; I survived a stint in the county jail." To take the masculinity out of owning a pair, Joe had the underwear dyed pink. (He even sold commercial pairs with "Go Joe" printed on them for fund raising, and I was once given a pair as a gift. I'm not sure if I was supposed to be insulted when I got them.)

2. Introduced surplus food and ostrich bologna sandwiches as part of the menu of the prison's two meals a day. He also removed coffee, salt, and pepper from the prison. He is now feeding detainees for much less than $1 a day per prisoner.

3. Banned all sexually explicit material from the jail.

4. Banned smoking and weightlifting equipment.

5. While he kept cable TV in the jail, he limited the channels to only educational material. Prisoners can watch A&E, Animal Planet, CNN, the Disney Channel, the Weather Channel, and the local access government channel.

6. He started an in-house radio station that operates four hours a day, five days a week. "KJOE" plays classical, opera, and Frank Sinatra.

7. He established "Tent City." This put an end to early release due to overcrowding. To quote my source, "As an announcement to future inmates that they should not expect early release upon overcrowding, but more tents instead, Arpaio added a (pink neon) 'Vacancy' sign to the outside of Tent City."

8. Joe uses volunteer chain gangs, where low-risk disciplinary inmates can work for 30 days and earn the right to rejoin the jail's general population, instead of remaining in lockdown and sharing a cell with three other guys. These chain gangs work to create fire brakes (during our fire season), clean graffiti, remove trash, and bury deceased homeless in county cemeteries.

Now THAT'S how prisons and jails should work! Want to earn a GED through correspondence courses, fine. But you don't get to earn a law degree!

Alas, Sheriff Joe is stirring up a hornets nest with his policies on illegal immigration. Laws were passed in 2005 making if a felony to smuggle illegal immigrants across the AZ/Mexico boarder. There has been a lot of controversy, with people screaming about racial profiling. Personally, I think they might be correct. The laws fell in favor of Joe's personal opinions, and now he's using those laws to his advantage. Thus, while I'm a fan of his work, my view of the man is becoming soured, as I believe he's a bit too zealous in having his men pull over so many people that simply appear to be Mexican.

But Joe's jail is a JAIL! It's not a motel. It's not a college. Those that are eventually released are either enraged at the fact it wasn't "three hots and a cot," (three hot meals a day and a place to rest), or humbled by their experience. Time spent in Tent City with only a fan and water to cool you off during the brutal AZ summers will have those effects. In 2005, when summer temperatures averaged 110 F (43 C), inmates complained that it was inhumane to live in the heat that gathered and increased inside the tents. Arpaio's responds was, "It's 120 degrees in Iraq and the soldiers are living in tents and they didn't commit any crimes, so shut your mouths."

Yer dang tootin', Joe!

Prison reform should see such actions nationwide. The only alteration I would make is an increase to three meals a day. If they're all bologna sandwiches, so be it. It's a place of punishment, not the Marriott.

But while I take a strong stance of proper punishments, another thing that needs fixing in the prison system is the attention that special needs inmates have. Patients shouldn't be denied medication or dietary requirements if they have specific medical needs. I've heard a few too many tales from different people to think such things are being imagined. It's cruel and unusual punishment, and it shouldn't be tolerated anywhere. If a special medical prison needs to be established somewhere in the middle of the United States (for easy transport by all States), then that's what we build.

In fact, such a place would eliminate such claims as, "My client is too old/sick to go to prison." *BZZZT!* Wrong! Our "special needs prison" has a place for your client just waiting for him, and he will serve his sentence. If he's too old, he may well die there. Be it sickness or extreme age, he'll receive proper care. He'll have a cell, a bed instead of a cot, meals brought to him if he can't walk, and have plenty of reading time. Nurses, escorted by armed guards, will help to meet those special needs, and that's it. After that, it will remain a prisoner, where the luxuries of life are denied.

I could go into other details, but it's probably wisest to keep my extremist ideas of punishment to myself. Besides...The above prison reform should be enough to help deter crime...or so I hope.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The DLE's Holiday List

Well, my faithful minions, Chanukah ("Hanukkah," according to my spell-check, which has apparently not consulted Jews on its spelling) is rapidly approaching, and your future Dread Lord Emperor wants stuff. Obviously, things that would eliminate my competition for the elections in 2012 would be nice. Shrink rays, freeze rays, death rays, pudding rays, ray rays...Whatever. Alas, the technology for those has yet to become publicly available. A robot army that obeys my every command might be nice as well, but I don't have room for them in my studio apartment.

Besides...Rumor has it I only use my powers here on Earth for good, so I guess I should maintain the illusion at the very least.

1. Last holiday season, someone armed me with money to not only treat myself well, but to also fulfill a dream. I wanted to head for the nearest mall, take some tags off the tree that has gifts needed by underprivileged kids, along with some of their wants. It felt really good to give, and I would love to do that again. I was even to buy diapers for a neighbor who had a toddler, and the family couldn't stay ahead of the baby's biological functions. Big old box of diapers, courtesy of one benevolent barbarian monk. Gods above and below, but it felt great to give more than I usually can!

2. Same wonderful person throwing money at me, I was able to buy new dishes last year. Well, thanks to Arizona water being a substance that is suspiciously something other than water, most of those dishes are ruined and gone. Another joy is losing control of my fingers mid-scrubbing, and the dishes fly. Scares Nike something fierce, and is lots of fun to clean up once she comes back to start sniffing at the shattered remains. I really wish there was a device that could translate English into Cat. That way, I can say, "Careful! You're gonna cut your paws," and she would hear the appropriate meowing to convey the warning. Anyway, I need dishes, and they can be bought at Wal-Mart. (More on Wal-Mart in a bit.)

3. Pots and pans. If you think my dishes are bad, you can imagine the cookware I've had for over four years. The only semi-functioning piece is the smallest pot, and it is so encrusted in limescale that heat causes lime-chips to end up in any water I try to boil. Some of the pots have...ummm...Well, the best word I can come up with is "stuff"...on them. Had a neighbor try to clean one of them, and she looked at me, baffled, and said, "Okay...What IS this on here?" No idea, but it's not coming off. Time to replace the pots and pans! (More Wal-Mart money?)

4. Shirts and socks. Of the clothing that takes the most abuse from me, shirts and socks suffer the greatest. I received a GitP shirt last holiday season. It was white. "Was" being the operative word. Thanks to the AZ heat, it is now a sweat-stained nightmare that I can only wear at home. Midnight Son, when he came to visit, bought me a package of socks. Well, just a few days ago, one pair became ruined by excessive bleeding. Left foot bleeds without me knowing, I cross my feet, and the right sock takes +5 stain damage. Such events are not uncommon, so I need clothes of this sort. (Even more Wal-Mart money?!?)

5. Okay, those things cover most of my immediate needs at the moment. Now for the things I just want. I'll start with the most basic desire, and that's money. Just throw money at me. I want to buy...whatever, and since I don't know exactly what I'd like right now, it would be nice to have money so that when I see something I want, I can just get it. (If all of my online friends sent me a mere $10, I might well be able to do exactly this.)

6. I want all seven seasons of The West Wing. Mind you, I've wanted this long before my recent posts. It's not exactly the best source for political information, anyway. I simply loved the show, and would like to be able to watch it over, and over, and over again. I believe the entire show can be bought for the low, low price of one billion dollars. Anyone with a spare billion should pick this up for me and e-mail me for my address.

7. Okay...Call me an utter and complete geek if you must, but I want The Civil War by Ken Burns. The entire DVD set. While we're on the topic of his films, I would also like The War, which covers WW II. These films are listed in the desire I'd like to have them, and each will also cost a billion dollars.

8. Friends who actually have a billion dollars.

That about covers it. Now, it would be nice if number 5 were possible. Heck, I could handle all of my needs and some of my desires by just having stacks of cash on hand. Alas, the world doesn't work like that. People aren't made of money, and someone begging online seems suspicious at the least. The thing is, if I were a scam artist, I'd be out there coming up with some more official site to separate people from their hard earned dollars. I'd take candy from children if I were that evil. I could also say, "Consider it all a campaign contribution."

I'm too freakin' honest for my own good.

So...Those who wish to...ummm...well, give to "the Better Bor Foundation" can e-mail me at alwayswrite2001@hotmail.com, or PM me via GitP (where most of my minions lurk). Those under the age of 18 may also send a gift, as that's exactly what this would be. This is not like when my brother almost dies, and I was basically begging for money. However, those under 18 must first let their parents know they're sending me ANYTHING, and are limited to a mere $5. Anyone under 18 and sending me more than that will be visited in the night by ninja penguins that will kill you slowly.

The thing about sending cash to either my PayPal account or via snail mail becomes...fishy. "What's he really going to use the money for?" Want to limit my purchases? That's fine. Both Wal-Mart and Target are within an easy bus ride for me. Wal-Mart is actually a wee bit harder to get to, as it involves more walking, but the savings there is bigger than Target. Still, I know certain parties are against some of the practices at Wal-Mart, so I'm open to shopping at Target.

There's also another great shop that sells just about everything a nerd like me can want in terms of entertainment. It's a slightly longer bus ride, but Bookmans is only 15 to 20 minutes away. And, (happy-happy, joy-joy!) they sell gift certificates online! http://www.bookmans.com/ is the place to go if you just want to send me a gift certificate for me to buy toys.

Now, I hate posting things like this. "Gimme, gimme, gimme" is not exactly the message I want to convey. At the same time, "I'm so poor that I can't afford to pay attention." NO ONE is to sacrifice their well-being for my sake, nor should any minor start wanting to throw gifts at me. (If your parents are willing to send a gift my way on your behalf, so be it. But if I learn otherwise, I'm going to be royally ticked off!) Gift certificates are also a way for me to see the first item on my list is taken care of, as most items on those trees are available at Target and Wal-Mart.

I would also like to point out that I'm trying not to ask for much. Lot's of people giving a little would be nice, but it's usually only the few that can give at all. I literally am a charity case, and I'm guilting myself beyond belief for asking for stuff. Yeesh!

And now...Well, I think I'm going to go mope a bit. I came here in a celebratory mood, in the hopes of asking for a few gifts, and now I feel like I've been begging...again!

Being me sucks sometimes.