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?

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