Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Stupid, stupid, stupid me!

I should know better. After all this time, talking about how easily I break, I really, really, REALLY should know better.

Over the last few days, I managed to assemble am inexpensive computer desk (with some help from those who have stronger hands than I) and rummage around for all of the components for my POS computer. The idea was simple enough: set myself up so I can do things on the computer that don't require Internet access, and won't require me to sit in one of my housemates' rooms. Since my computer can also play DVDs, I can sit in the privacy of my room and watch what I want without asking the guys to stop using the TV in the living room.

Okay...First, there was the grand quest for all of the computer components. As mentioned some time ago, my flatscreen monitor died. Hearing this, Siege dropped by one day with an elderly tube monitor that I could use. Upon finding everything that I needed, I began putting everything together. And it worked...almost. The tower started making a horrible high pitched noise it had never made before, so I took a peek at the diagnostic lights on the back. According to the aforementioned lights, the memory was detected, but there was an error reading it.

I'm not technically minded in any way, but previous experience has taught me where the memory cards are housed. So I opened the computer, removed them, cleaned their slots, and replaced them. When I next turned on the computer, all was well...

Until the monitor died with a pop. This thing was OLD! With it being moved and jostled so much, it's not surprising that it died. And, luckily, Cody happened to know that there was yet another monitor in the house, so he let be use that.

My computer was up and running...FINALLY!

But you have to realize what I'd done to accomplish this. I lifted the tower countless times, moved a heavy monitor almost as much, forced my hands into the guts of a computer to set those memory cards, and, something I failed to mention, took a bad step the day before when I began the initial hunt for pieces. Finally, at last, I was able to sit and play some of the simpler games on my computer...

Only to find out that you truly get what you pay for at Wal-Mart these days. That computer desk cost me $20. Its actual value is $10 at the most. By using my pinky, I could make it wobble once it was assembled. Well, now it housed a heavy monitor, which makes it move even more precariously. Blessedly, it has remained standing. I don't know how. When I proclaim it a miracle that it's still standing, I literally mean that G-d is prepetually reaching down from the Heavens and using a finger to keep it where it is.

Another wonderful thing about this desk is that it's very small. VERY small. There's really no room for a keyboard and a mouse, so the keyboard has to kind of hang off one side to fit a mouse pad. Said pad has to be set vertically, not horizontally. And for a computer chair...? Well, I didn't have the funds to waste on a proper computer chair, so I got a padded folding chair instead.

Okay...I was all set. I got the computer up and running, sat down to play a game for a bit...and the sliding tray for the keyboard disengaged from its track and fell on my foot. After cursing softly, I set it right, went back to my game, and the tray disengaged from its track and fell on my foot again. I cursed a little louder, put it back, and returned to my game. Had I learned anything from the last two incidents? Nope. The tray disengaged from its track and fell on my foot AGAIN!

The good news is that I'd finally learned my lesson. That tray needs to be watched. I can't bring it all the way forward or it'll fall on my poor, abused foot.

Now comes the real fun: laundry. I decided that I would change my socks so I could have my newly acquired diabetic socks, four pairs, all clean. And when I saw my right foot, it looks as though something had gotten through my socks and dirtied me up. So I grabbed an alcohol swab to rub whatever it was off, and the pain that came from the two "dirty" sites made me aware that the misstep a couple of days ago, and the falling tray and keyboard yesterday, had in fact injured me. And what has probably stopped these wounds from becoming a real problem is that I recently started taking penicillin for a mild infection in my gums. Now that I'm aware of the wounds on my right foot, I'll be keeping a close eye on them.

The thing that upsets me most is that I should have known better. Perhaps the bad step wasn't enough to indicate a break in my skin. I take bad steps all the time. But when that tray fell, and the keyboard, both heavy enough and with edges sharp enough to cut...Well, I should've taken my sock off immediately and checked. Now if infection sets in, I have no one else to blame but myself.

For the record, I have two breaks. One is on my "useless toe." I had a hammer toe corrected years ago, and the release of the tendon underneath had caused a tendon up top to start pulling the toe upward. I can't feel it or move it, and thus it is a useless toe. The other wound is on the underside of my foot, right along the arch. It really did look like just a line of dirt, and it didn;t do much bleeding. Still...

*sigh* Well, now I guess I get to spend some quality time with my rationally irrational fear of osteomyelitis. If I get it in the toe, it's no big deal. I think I can live without it, as it serves no real purpose. If I get it somewhere in the arch...Well, that will be a real problem...A problem I'd rather not dwell on at this moment. As it is, I'm upset enough with myself over not inspecting my foot during incidents when I could easily have been hurt.

I'm off to do something distracting...or so I hope. Be well, all. Oh...and have a happy Thanksgiving, those who are celebrating it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Instead of sleeping...

Who needs sleep when I can lie awake all night and think, right?

Well, that's not 100% true. I slept for a couple of hours last night. Had a bizarre dream, too. I was back in Phoenix, and it was very important that I get a rare record collection from the ceiling of a closed business near my old apartment complex. Mind you, the "rare records," as in vinyl records, were pinned to the ceiling. Amidst this vital task was a neighbors two daughters who kept knocking on my door and telling me that I had to hurry with the toilet plunger to unclog the pool so they could go swimming. If someone tries to interpret that dream, I have decided that I just don;t wanna know.

So I wake up with a low blood glucose. It's around 7:00 AM. I treat the hypoglycemia, sit on my bed...and decide that now, while everyone is asleep...this would be a good time to start trying to assemble the computer desk I bought weeks ago. I get as far as taking the components out of the box, looking at the instructions, and seeing the first step is to do a little light hammering. All I'd have to do is tap a few pieces into place. The problem with that is the fact that even light taps could shake the entire trailer. There would be no construction.

Right. I'll just lie there and...think of something to write! Good G-d, this will be a funny story to tell. All I need is...a functioning computer. The only computers working in this place belong to my housemates, and they're still asleep.

This is shaping up into a fine day.

With my brain caught on the concept of my housemates, I begin to think about Ray. There are times when he looks at me and just doesn't seem happy...and some part of my thought processes starts to believe he'd be a lot happier without me around. Alternatively, Cody appears to not care one way or the other as to whether I stay or not. And Siege...? Well, Siege has rarely been around. But when he is, I worry. Siege is having some...difficulties...of late, giving me genuine cause to be worried.

Okay...At that stage of my morning, I'm worried. Not just about Siege, but for many whom I've befriended online. I think about this blog, and how I haven't been updating it as often as I once did. There are people and things in my life now. And my only online access occurs when one of my housemates can spare their computer for me. So I start asking myself, "Would I stay in better touch with my Internet friends if my computer was up and running, or would I still be excusing myself because of the different lifestyle I have now?"

The thing is that the only changes to my life at this moment are those that pertain to establishing my presence here in KS. Like the phone call I received a half an hour ago, requesting a bank statement for the local "welfare" office. I went paperless on that thing before I left AZ, so...no, I don't have a bank statement. I'll have to print one up via the ATM, or get the bank to print one. There is a last option, and that's to have the welfare office bring up my account online and print the statement.

But this is my life right now. I'm still new to this place, and still adjusting. For the last five years, I've lived alone, with the exception of Nike...

Speaking of Nike, I'll apparently be getting her back in a couple of weeks. On either December 5th or 6th, Siege and I will head south, while Arguskos heads north, and we'll meet somewhere in between our current residents to exchange the cat. Then the Kitty War of 2009 can begin.

Another thought, and one that's somewhat disappointing, is the fact that I have abandoned NaNoWriMo. I'm at 16,945 words, and I should be at over 33,000. It would take a genuine miracle for me to catch up. As in, G-d comes down from the Heavens, grants deific speed to my hands, and I type so fast that the keyboard smolders. Maybe next year.

Additionally to all of this, I am still trying to adjust to the concept of company almost every night. Steve doesn't drop in on his own; he is often accompanied by others, who sit in the living room and banter. There's usually a lot of laughter, and even more sound effects! Gods above and below! These guys have to make a sound for everything! What's more, it's contagious. I think I make the sounds, too. I haven't had to immitate the Death Star for any reason in decades, and now I'm a planet-destroying machine...or something.

*sigh* Amidst all of this, I am still angry with Stu. He's made no attempt to contact me or make amends. And somewhere in those thoughts filled with ire lies my nephew, not benefiting from the presence of his Uncle Rob. I wanted to be in that kids life, and treat him like the son I will probably never have. I was so looking forward to that particular aspect, and it was shot to pieces by my brother's greed.

Ah, but there's the good news in this whole thing. Since leaving AZ, I haven't come here to plead with the masses for aid. Oh, I've had cause to ask for help...Like my desire to own 300 of the 8 x 2 LEGO blocks, 100 of each color: red, white, and black. According to the LEGO Digital Designer that one can download free, the cost would be close to $100. I don't have that kind of money to spare. I have a computer that needs building, so I can finally log online from my room, and not my housemates' rooms. Still, with the pieces I was able to scrounge from Ray's collection, I've been "working out" daily. I believe it's showing most in my right hand, though I try to occasionally build strictly with my left. I even went as far as to write to LEGO and ask if they'd be willing to help in some way, as this is very much physical therapy for me. They turned me down, stating they answer such requests from organizations, and not individuals.

Ah, well. Life goes on. So much so, that I must bring this post to a close and do something with my day, while there is still a day to do things.

Be well, my friends. Try to remember than many of you - and you know who you are - are never far from my thoughts.

Be we;;.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Magical A'sploding Toe

I think I wrote about this once before...my left big toe. But as a recap, some time ago I had the toenail permanently removed. What followed was an all new exercise in pain. And when I sought treatment for said pain, I was told one of the dumbest things a doctor could instruct a patient to do: "Ignore it."

These days, now that I take pain meds stronger than 10 men, I don't seek more painkillers. Sure, we could probably increase the morphine sulfate I take, making me numb to ever ache known to mankind...but I don't want that. I want answers as to what's hurting, and why. Pointing to my toe and saying it hurts is all well and good to the layman. It lets the doctor know something is wrong. In fact, it wasn't so much the toe as it was the main joint of the great toe. And I wasn't looking for more pain meds. No...I wanted to know what to do to actually FIX it.

"Ignore it."

Well, isn't that just the greatest medical advice ever given? It's soon to be the latest in the treatment of ALL illnesses. Chest pain? Ignore it. Frequent urination? Ignore it. Insomnia? Ignore it. Your brain violently exploded, sending parts of your skull across the room to become embedded in the walls? Ignore it.

But that's what I did. And from time to time, when the main joint of the great toe would ache, I would do my best to dismiss it. Oh, I'd pop a percocet every now and again in an attempt to silence the ache...

Last night, however, the pain entered "a new level of ow," and I ended up taking TWO percocets to get relief. Try to keep in mind that I take the strongest percocets allowed. They're 10/325 tablets, meaning 10 mg. of oxycodone and 325 mg. of Tylenol. Strong stuff. I took one around 1:00 PM, waited an hour in the hopes that would do the trick, and then another come 2:00 PM. Finally...FINALLY...I got some relief. From there, I was in and out of consciousness on my bed, with flashes of pain occasionally bringing me back to the waking world.

It sucked.

What sucks even more is that there's still nothing I can really do about it at this moment in time. I'm still waiting for Medicaid to kick in, which means I can't run off to get x-rays or the like to find out if anything terrible is going on in there. My choices fall into the categories of "ignore it" or "hope it goes away."

So...I just wanted to drop in and gripe about that. I'm off to pray the toe simply "a'splodes." Maybe I'll be done with it then.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Great Kitty War of 2009!

It's coming. I can feel it! In the approximate time of one month, the fur will be flying, and we won't know who won until the dust settles and the blood stops flowing.

I received a call from Arguskos yesterday. It would seem that his rent is going up by close to $100 a month, and his ability to stay where he is will be beyond his financial capacity. Thus, Nike is to be returned to me the first full weekend in December. While I gleefully look forward to my reunion with her, I fear for the well-being of all life under the roof of this trailer.

Nike, in case I failed to mention it, HATES all other animals. She doesn't mind humans at all, regardless of age, size, gender, or any other factor you can think of. But animals...? My neighbor back in AZ, Kim, had a dog that was BIG. I believe her "puppy" had some Rottweiler in him. While the dog showed great interest in coming into my apartment to play with Nike, my cat wanted to kill the dog...that could probably swallow her without chewing.

Alone with her in AZ, I'd witnessed her charge a closed window in an attempt to get at other cats that might stop by to visit. So one has to wonder how she'll react when she comes into a home where there are already THREE other cats. I'm not sure of their ages, but I believe the eldest is Jenny, the middle cat is Lemmy, and the youngest cat is Random. (Yes, "Random.")

Jenny, (Ray's cat), is the boss, or so she thinks. She loves attention from the humans around her, and will climb into a lap if it suits her purposes. She's also a notorious "seat thief." That is, if you leave a spot you've occupied for a while, Jenny is the cat that will run to warm spot you left behind and get comfortable. Upon your return, she will resist being moved if she can, and if she can't, she'll look at you with a face that says, "You are the meanest person I ever met."

Lemmy is supposedly, officially, Siege's cat, and has been terrorized into existing strictly in one area of the trailer. When the other cats are around, especially Jenny, Lemmy tends to hide for fear of whatever kitty repercussions there might be for disobeying "kitty law."

Random...Oh, there's quite a story behind how she became Cody's cat. Here's the abbreviated version: apparently, she was named because she was a living example of a D&D random encounter. People were hanging out on a driveway. They looked down and saw a 99% black cat sitting there...and then noticed that her lower lip was almost entirely ripped away. She was adopted and she healed up nicely. But due to whatever she experienced that hurt her, and the guys' habit of making sudden loud noises, Random has remained a skittish little thing. Being the youngest, she still wants to play like a kitten...but is essentially afraid to.

None of these cats has been declawed, and I have tiny holes in my legs to prove it. Random is the only cat that has not been fixed. And I'll be bringing Nike here to...ummm...Well, she'll probably get her butt kicked. I can only hope she won't be terrorized like Lemmy, and pray she doesn't clamp down with her mouth and start raking the other cats, spilling their innards all over the place. I guess we'll see, eh?

Meanwhile, I'm off to attempt more of "Piece on Earth," my NaNoWriMo project. I'm at 14,118 words, when I should be at around 18,330. I got off to such a good start, with close to 4,000 words written the first day. It was all down hill from there. In fact, as nifty as my idea is, I'm considering dropping out of the competition altogether. Writing 50,000 words in a month may have seemed easy in the beginning, but it's unfortunately starting to feel like work. This is supposed to be fun, not a chore. =(

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Damnit! Now I own a cell phone.

*sigh* I'd been doing SO well. What I'd come to view as a status symbol, the cell phone, had successfully remained a part of other people's lives, and not mine. But several realizations occurred at once, and the need for a phone outweighed my desire to never own one of these things.

First, there was the occasional request to use someone else's phone. "I need to call (insert family or agency name here)." It really wasn't a burden to anyone, but my intermittent need was a reminder of the next point, and that was...

People needed a way to reach me, without my giving out another individual's personal information. Would you like me to give your phone number to the people in my life so they can reach me? How would you like it if you were alone with your significant other, and your phone rang with a call for me? It wasn't fair to my housemates. So a means of communication with the world beyond KS was needed.

Finally, this house isn't set up for a land line. In order for that to happen, I would need the phone company to come here and install all of the hardware needed for such a thing. And it would all have to come out of my wallet. Whatever the cost would have been, it would have been too much. Thus, the concept of using a land line died.

Purely by accident, I found an amazing deal. Wal-Mart finally decided to get in on the whole cell phone gig, and established a network using inexpensive phones and a non-contracted, flat rate. All I have to do is decide how much time I want to buy into each month. There are two options: I could pay $30 and get 1000 minutes of call time, as well as 1000 texts, (which I will probably never use), or I could pay $45 and get UNLIMITED calls and texts. The service also provides an Internet connection, 30 MB of memory, voice command/dialing, and numerous other features that are common to cell phones today. Since I couldn't imagine a need for unlimited, I went with 1000 minutes. Next month, prior to my time running out, I pay another $30, and I'm set for another 30 days.

Oh...Did I mention the phone only cost $40 plus tax? Of course, that was the day I bought it. That same phone seems to have jumped in price, and now costs $70.

So now I have a cell phone, and purely out of necessity. Each day, I attempt to master yet another function of the phone, often turning to my younger housemates or their guests and asking what must seem like silly questions. "I'm trying to set up my 'phone book,' but it's like texting. So, ummm...How does one text?"

I'm a technological moron.

So, the bad news is that I am now the owner of a cell phone. The bad news is that people can finally reach me without having to dial a third party. Those who had my number and want it again, you know how to reach me. And any ladies who wanna call and talk dirty to me...Well, e-mail me and we can negotiate my fees for pleasuring you long distance. =P

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Hugger's Fate

Some of you may remember that a year ago, I ran into problems with my old super group on City of Heroes. Thanks to the folks at NCSoft, my two big main characters were moved, and I began my heroic life online anew.

But what ever happened to the New Paragon Floor Huggers?

Well, from what I can see, the group has come undone. Their forums, which was once a main way of staying in touch, has been all but abandoned. Various messages there state that people are finding less and less time for what was once their favorite game. And, having snuck onto the old server to see where they stood in the top 100 super groups, I noticed that they'd fallen off the list completely.

Not to get all "I'm so great that the universe stops to let me cross the street" on you folks, but it would seem that they managed to kick the guy out who not only FOUNDED the group, but was the glue that held it together.

I was once so proud of that little creation. We were known for numerous reasons. Our uniforms, our players, our friendliness. I was the one that warned them not to become a clique. It's a game, and good games are meant to be played with all the kids on the block, and not just the ones you like the "mostest." Did they listen? Apparently not. In fact, they ignored me to the point of forming a clique within the group. A small group of snobs who believed they were better than me in all ways. When I wanted to invite someone to the group because they were fun to group with just once, others would claim that we required a few more nights of missions with them before they invited anyone. And G-d forbid a young teenager wanted to join. Oh, there were riots with some of the members, especially about the lack of maturity. And when I suggested we could possibly teach younger players a few things - be like mentors - the response boiled down to, "I don't have the inclination to teach anyone anything."

There was a time when I called those people my friends. We certainly had some laughs. Eventually, however, the group became everything I tried to avoid. The game became "work." And they "fired" me. Lo and behold, the group rapidly started coming apart.

Well, as the saying goes, "Karma's a bitch."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Strange...things.

Okay...As mentioned, I'm in Geek Heaven. I got computers to play on, console games to play with, and people who speak the language of RPGs. And amongst the things that seem to be here in abundance is...LEGOS! (These are Ray's, to be precise.) At first, I resisted the containers filled with thousands of pieces. I'm an adult, right? Then, one morning, while everyone else was asleep, I was watching a DVD of something I'd seen before, and the pull of the Legos was too much.

Now, there are some who come to this blog and know the voice I used. It's a voice employed when I talk to cats. Essentially, I turn into a five-year-old, and I've heard several females virtually squeal at how "adorable" the voice is. It was this very voice that I used as Siege walked into the living room and found me futzing with a kid's toy. "I PLAYING LEGOS!" I announced happily, bouncing while seated. With a disappointed shake of the head, Siege simply walked away.

The thing is, after I'd played with the Legos for a couple of hours, I noticed swelling in my hands. Not a lot. Just enough to know that something was going on inside. Due to a lack of pain, it came to me that it might well be something GOOD! Was it possible? Were my hands getting a workout from playing with Legos?

This deserves investigation. Since I can't possibly learn something overnight, I have spend a little time each day, working with pieces I'm fully capable of manipulating with my hands, constructing and deconstructing what I've come to call "Lego blobs." And it seems rather strange that what started as a delving into an activity from my childhood would become a possible kind of physical therapy. o.O

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Allow me to introduce a new character in my life, Steve. There are several things about Steve that I could talk about, but the main aspect of his very being is the capacity to joke ALL the time. When Steve's around, there usually a lot of laughter to be had.

Now, way back in the 80's, I grew up with many people saying, Oh my G-d, it was the funniest thing." The person who said it would then go on to tell an entertaining tale that was either very funny, or a "location joke." (Really...You had to be there.)

Steve works at a used video/electronics store. Just days ago, they bought a game from someone entitled "Jigsaw Madness," which was apparently made for the PS 1. This game apparently requires you to put together a jigsaw puzzle via video graphics. And the inanity of the task was unbelievable to him. Thus, in his greatest "commercial voice," he excitedly announced that Jigsaw Madness was brought to you "from the people who brought you 'Sit There and Breathe!'"

I heard this and lost it completely. Of all the years I spent in my youth hearing about "the funniest thing," now I'd finally heard it. Seriously, I was laughing so har that my face was turning purple and tears were streaming from my eyes. Here it is, days later, and just thinking of what he sand and how he said it, makes me start chuckling all over again. XD

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Anywho, that's all I have at the moment. We are off to another town to look into getting me a "track phone," or Wal-Mart's equivalent of a track phone. From what I'm told, 1000 minutes for $30 whenever I need it it a damn good price. And it's not like I need all of the glorious features a phone can have. I just need to be able to make and receive calls.

Be well, folks.