Monday, November 29, 2010

Footnotes

Oh, I'm such a wit when comes to a play on words. Get it? It's a message about my foot, so it's a footnote...?

Right. I won't quit my day job...Or I wouldn't if I had one.

ANYWAY, I went to my pain doc today, and was so engrossed in getting another shot in my foot that I completely failed to ask about the MRI of my neck, or point of that I still need an MRI of my foot. Pain has a way of reorganizing one's priorities, and the last shot has been wearing off.

My visit started off with a bit of a wait. This was a first. I mean, I've had to wait a few minutes before, but my pain specialist is usually pretty good about his schedule. Alas, I was brought to an exam room after waiting a full hour to be taken back. Thankfully, I was smart enough to have a book along with me.

That, and there was a young man in the waiting room who needed some advice. He's a college student, and he has plenty of grants and scholarships to carry him through his schooling. What he DOESN'T have is insurance. This means that he has to shell out hundreds of dollars for the doctor visit, as well as his meds. I told him he should seek out the local welfare office and apply for medical coverage. Otherwise, the pain he's suffering in his back will suck his finances dry.

Some time later, I was brought back, and discovered that I'm STILL not losing weight. You'd think by eating so little that the pounds would be melting off me. Instead, I weighed in at 178 lbs. (Oh, how I miss weighing between 150 and 160!)

The nurse was fairly impressed with my vital signs. My blood pressure was 115 over 74, with a pulse rate of 79. Even more impressive is the fact that I'm a diabetic for 36 years, and such numbers aren't ridiculously higher. My bad habit of smoking should also be ruining those numbers, but it isn't. Go figure.

When the doc arrived, I told him that the last shot was like a miracle for me, but that I hadn't received much relief in the joint of my great toe. He poked around a bit, causing me some discomfort, and determined that spreading the medication around was probably called for. So he started with that painful joint...and I believe he hit bone! That did NOT feel good. The needle was in and out of my foot several times, but he was aiming for a decent spread of the medication this time. Now I wait for a few days, and will hopefully start feeling relief by Friday.

I learned that the non-steroidal injection I received last month did, indeed, have a steroid in it. I don't recall having diabetes issues because of it...although I did today. By the time Ray and I had returned to the town where we live, I was very much in the mood for some insulin. I said nothing when he decided on a detour that delayed us from getting home by 10 minutes. But when we got back to the trailer, I took plenty of insulin to cover both the steroid and the upcoming meal...

...which turned out to be Chinese food, courtesy of Cody. I ordered beef with broccoli, and without fail, they delivered broccoli with some beef. I could've sworn it was supposed to be the other way around. That bothersome note aside, y'know what I did when I was handed my food? I thanked Cody. =P

I'm off to relax a bit. I don't exactly feel it, but there's this "psycho-physical sensation" of that needle hitting bone, and it remains uncomfortable.

Be well, all.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Brains should have off switches

Because without my brain being on, I wouldn't grow upset at...stuff.

During my time writing for NaNoWriMo, I scribbled out a story about a couple "suspiciously" like Becky and I that won $218,000,000 in the Powerball lottery. As one of the adventures, I had the main character, Phil, come to the rescue of his closest friend, Tara. These fictional characters actually represent myself and my dear friend Julie. The rescuing she needs is from a life gone crazy. She has three kids, none over the age of eight. Her husband has been laid off from work yet again. Her house is a disaster area just waiting for someone to notice it's bad enough to be condemned. Thus, my fictional self, with 1.8 million dollars with which to play with after putting money away for taxes, "abducts" his friend and her family, and has the house destroyed...and then rebuilt from scratch. What's more, he takes his friend to the bank and starts a checking account in his name, but lists her as an authorized card user. This allows her access to the money he puts in there, but doesn't place her in a new tax bracket. From there, he annually places $150,000 in that account for her to use as she pleases.

And they all live happily ever after...fictionally.

The reality is severely different, however, in only one way: I'm not a multimillionaire.

I received a call from Julie yesterday, and we spent an hour on the phone. She's sick, and still nursing her newest child, Lucy. Ruby, who I believe is two, is an exceptionally active child. And her eldest, Kieler, Is a very emotional, rather thoughtful genius. (He's in first grade, and all the kids in his class have HIM check their work before they hand it in.) Joe, Julie's husband, has been laid off yet again, and work prospects in their area are looking dismal. Due to the kind of work he was doing, he cannot file for unemployment. On top of that, the local welfare office can't help until Julie can prove that she no longer has power and/or is about to be evicted.

And I thought the sea of red tape I had to deal with was bad!

Julie was fairly optimistic. She fights such disasters by looking forward to the day when they'll be out of the bad parts...for a while, anyway. I, however, couldn't help but get upset. It's times like this when I wish I truly WAS sitting on piles of money so I could rescue my dearest friend some of what's going on in her life. Joe and Julie have so little money that when I suggested sealant for the windows, she said it would cost $40, so it would have to wait a few weeks. When she told me this, I felt stabbed in the heart; it's 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and their house is a drafty nightmare. I just...I want to throw on tights and a cape and fly to her, and use my powers to make everything better. The fact that dropping me into a vat of nuclear waste would probably kill me before granting me superhuman abilities, so the alternative of being wealthy is my next best bet.

As we talked, I mentioned that I had "wasted" $166 so I could go see Becky in December, and will blow the same amount to buy a ticket back to KS. I'm finally in a position to help her instead of the other way around, and I'm using my money to see a woman I'll be moving in with in about four months. (Probably; it's still being discussed.) Julie, in turn, argued that I wasn't wasting it, but USING it to see the woman I love.

But...but...I love Julie, too. In a very different way. You can't help but love someone whom you've shared so many private things with over the last 20 years. If you don't love them...TRUST them, then what on Earth were you two doing all that time?

Hmmm...Getting a little off track here.

I became so upset that those "fight or flight" instincts kicked in. I want to fight for Julie's well-being, and that of her family. The result is a whole bunch of naturally created steroids getting released into my bloodstream. In case I've failed to mention, (and I think I have several times along the way), steroids and diabetes don't mix. Those chemicals raise the sugar levels so one has the energy to fight or flee. And what happens to me? Well, I cross that good old "renal threshold" and start running to the bathroom quite frequently. Every 30 minutes, to be precise.

I eventually took more insulin and improved, but it hasn't changed the fact that I simply can't help "Julie and Company." I thought about running to GitP and creating a thread with the sole purpose of generating some financial aid for them, but then it would look a little...strange. "Just send me the money and I'll get it to Julie." And I would have to do it that way, as Julie doesn't have internet access...at all! There's not even a library for her to visit to use public computers.

*sigh* I don't know what to do. For the time being, I'll simply wish I had an off switch for my brain so I could at least take a break from worrying.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm a day off...

...but I thought I would say a few things that have been gathering in my head all evening long. These things pertain to Thanksgiving, hence being a day off. I'll probably forget a few things; I often tell people, "My memory is like a steel trap. A very old, very rusty steel trap." So here goes, in no particular order...

1: I'm thankful for my father, even though there is often a great deal of sadness that passes silently between us. He is sad for me, having become disabled so early in life, and I'm sad for him, hurting so in his twilight years. It often seems as though he doesn't understand the true meaning of the words, but I love him.

2: I'm thankful for Cody and Ray, without whom I would have nowhere to live, and no one to watch over me. There were numerous twists along the way, but they ended up being the guardians in my life. Thanks to them, I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, and doctors to care for my illnesses. There may be times when things grow tense, and the living situation seems as though it's about to come undone, but thankfully we are able to rapidly diffuse such tension.

3: I'm thankful for many of those who are associated with Ray and Cody. While I am not the most social of characters, the sound of banter and laughter coming from the living room often reminds me that I have good people in my life, and not just the sound of a television in the background to PRETEND there are people around me.

4: I'm thankful for old friends demonstrating a willingness to start anew. As one of them pointed out, we were so full of anger and pent up frustrations that it's amazing we all didn't end up criminals. Time gave us the ability to heal, and healing gave us wisdom, and wisdom created changes for the better. I reconnected with quite a few people over the last few months, and I'm ultimately glad such a thing has occurred.

5: I'm thankful to my newer friends, who span the globe, reaching out every now and again to remind me that I am loved. I personally believe that without GitP and the people therein, there might well be no "Bor" to post in this blog. In a most literal sense, they saved my life. I wish I could somehow repay them, but what they've done is far to amazing for one man to settle such a debt.

6: Of these newer friends, I am particularly thankful this year for Zeb, who has appropriately taken me to task when my thoughts are out of alignment with the peace that should exist in the world. He reminds me of those times when my wisdom is overridden by negative emotions. Without his occasional guidance, this very blog might end up one angry rant after another.

7: I'm thankful for Nike, my crazy, affectionate kitty, who seeks me out at odd times to let me know she loves me. She, too, has literally saved my life. Oh so many times, I'd wake and refuse to face another day. But if I didn't get up, she would have no food or water. In some of my darkest moments, Nike spurred me on to deal with life when I would much rather have given up.

8: Last, but oh so far from least, I am thankful for my sweet, beautiful, beloved Becky. Before she came into my life, there was no bright future; it was a bland, gray fog that held no true happiness for me. Since March, she's gone from friend to girlfriend to fiancee. Although it will be at least three and a half years before we're wed, for the first time in ages I feel HOPEFUL. It's a terrible thing to live without hope, and Becky returned it to me. And while she teases me about having bought me a Christmas gift, I've already received something precious from her.

That's all I have for the moment. More may yet come to me, but these are the things that have been roaming my mind all evening, and it was time to set them free on this blog.

So, to whoever is reading this post, I pray that you will be well and remain well. And have a Happy Thanksgiving. =)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Someone else's rant

I am going to rant on behalf of my beloved Becky...kinda. I pretty much want to rant about this all on my own, as it now affects me, as well.

When she was all of six months old, her biological father either left or was kicked out. Either way, another woman was involved. He married Becky's mom, 'Nita, and then joined the Navy. Using 'Nita's own words, "He was only home long enough to get me pregnant." By the time he was ready to come home for good, he was out of the picture, as he was unable to keep his "urges" in his head.

The years go by, and Becky can't even use all of her fingers to count the times she's seen her biological father. According to her, she's only seen him when he was making an effort to make himself look good. Like when he got remarried. Having his adorable little daughter on hand as the flower girl made it seem like he was a good guy.

Now, twenty-three years later, he drops a bombshell on Becky. He has cancer in his eye. Something about it being so close to the optic nerve means that it can spread and metastasize with relative ease. So he's being treated with radiation, and gets checked out every three months to be sure it hasn't spread. From what I've been told, he will never be rid of this cancer. Apparently there's no way to officially get rid of it.

Becky absorbed this information and had the following reaction: "So what?"

I don't blame her. This guy hasn't been in her life in any significant way since her memory started forming. And having seen him less than ten times her entire life, the news of him having cancer is like hearing about someone you've only heard of having the same disease. If someone told you that "John Smith" in Florida had cancer, you'd say, "Oh, that's too bad," and go on about your business.

But Becky, who is so sweet and so caring, is upset by the fact that she feels next to nothing about her father having this malignant form of cancer. She was fearful that she was somehow less human for her reaction. And so it fell to me to make her aware of the fact that this is the relationship HE wanted. If he had wanted his kids to be a part of his life, he would have "kept it in his pants," so to speak, or at least made an effort to stay in touch with them regularly as they grew up. Instead, the most pivotal role he's ever played in their lives was that of "sperm donor," and that's about it.

What I'd like to know is: What does he honestly expect from her? Does he think she'll fall over with some kind of epiphany, "Oh, he's my father and I can't turn my back on him now"? In my eyes, he wasn't even much of a father. Even my biological mother can make the claim that at one time or another she made sure her offspring were fed and clothed. Becky's father hit the road and rarely, if ever, looked back.

No, the REAL father in her life is "Turk," the guy 'Nita's been with for 22 years. He was the one to hold Becky when she was in tears. He was the one to bring her smiles throughout her life. He was the one to watch over her when she needed guidance. Becky shared an endearing story about Turk, in which they would play her favorite game when she was younger, "My Pretty Princess." I'm not even sure what he looks like, as I've only met Becky's mom, but I keep imagining this man that's 20 years older than 'Nita, playing this game with a tiny version of Becky, and wearing all of the plastic jewelry that has to be accumulated during the game. "He did it," Becky said with a happy, reminiscent smile on her face. "He wore the necklace and crown and everything."

That's a father. That's a DADDY.

I may be touted as one of the nicest guys on the planet, but there's a vindictive part of me that wants to seek revenge for wrongs that are done to certain people. The way her father damaged her by essentially keeping her at a distance is one of the things for which I'd like to see a little revenge played out. And because I enjoy writing, I can get carried away when my imagination starts running amok.

There will come a day, barring any major mishaps, when she and I will be wed. Right now, we dream of a small ceremony and reception, in which only our closest friends and family are invited. Becky seems to think that her father coming to the ceremony and seeing Turk performing all the things he should have been able to do would be painful. But my vindictive imagination thinks it's not enough.

Instead, he'll receive an e-mail with photos of the wedding, with captions accompanying each picture. And those captions would be targeted at her father's emotional heart. "Here's a photo of Becky's DAD walking her down the aisle. Note that you could have given her away, but you're not that important in her life." "Here's the father/daughter dance. You can see how happy Becky is, sharing one of the most important moments of her life with the man who was her 'daddy' while growing up. Not only are you not in the picture, but there was never any kind of plan to have you photographed during the reception...even by accident." "This is a photo of everyone who attended the wedding. You're not in it because we wanted to ensure that the happiest day of our lives remained exactly that."

Yeah, I can be quite mean-spirited when I put my mind to it.

Given the choice, I would hand this idiot his walking shoes and tell him to take a hike. Becky wasn't important enough to him all of these years to stay in regular contact with her, so he has no right to play "catch-up" now. He had plenty of chances in the past. Doing so when he was well would have been okay; doing so now that he has cancer just makes him seem pathetic.

Oh...please keep in mind that I've been taking my psych meds regularly and getting my thoughts back to where they should be, so this may be a bit of an overreaction to his shenanigans.

In the end, it's entirely up to Becky as to how she handles her relationship with her father. The only time I'd ever demand she cease contact with someone was if they were somehow disrupting my relationship with her. I've been faced with ultimatums like, "Choose me or the other person, but you can't have us both." The person requiring such a thing was usually the one to lose out, as I don't appreciate anyone telling me with whom I can be friends.

So I leave it to my sweet, beautiful Becky as to how she'll handle her biological father. And whatever her decision may be, I will remain as supportive as I can be.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Me and Dexter

When I heard that "Dexter is America's favorite serial killer," I said, "Bwuh-huh?!?" I had no idea who this Dexter person was, and I didn't care very much. Then I ran into a link that led to a recipe for Dexter Blood Slide Candy. I was officially baffled. Serial killers and candy don't usually mix.

I became curious enough after a time to go looking for this Dexter on Hulu. It came up, but the link provided brought me to the site for the cable network, Showtime. And there it was, a full episode just begging me to watch it. So I did. Alas, the episode they offered me came smack in the midst of all kinds of drama, and I felt I was seriously missing a great deal.

I also had the great desire to catch up.

"Dexter," in case you don't know, is the tale of Dexter Morgan, who is a forensic blood spatter analyst by day and a serial killer by night. His victims are always bad guys who seem to beat the justice system. When they walk away with the verdict of innocent, Dexter swoops in to deliver some justice. Once he has his murderous victims in his clutches, he forces them to confront their crimes, he creates a microscope slide with some of their blood, and then he goes about disposing the world of these villains. And as it would turn out, he's a very likable anti-hero.

So I was in Walmart when I saw several seasons of "Dexter" on display. For a mere $30, I could have season one. Not a bad deal, as far as I was concerned. There was also the dark humor of the box, showing Michael C. Hall, who plays the lead character, with his chin resting on a hand, looking thoughtful. I say "a hand" because that hand is pale and lifeless. Thus, he appears to be thinking while leaning his chin on a dismembered hand. I bought season one...

...not knowing what I was getting myself into.

The writing, directing, and acting all come together to create great drama and what can only be called an incredible amount of suspense. It tends to have so much of the latter that I have found myself REQUIRING a dose of Xanax to get through episodes. Yes, it's bad when I need to take anti-anxiety meds to survive a television show. At the same time, it says that the show is amazing, as it brings forth an emotional response. Heck, in my case, it's bringing an psycho-physical response!

That's some intense TV right there.

Now is probably not the best time to be getting wrapped up in such powerful show, what with me still adjusting to my meds and all that. But I MUST have more Dexter! MUST!!! And when I found out I could get season two for around $17...Well, I caved and got it. And I'm already getting myself into "trouble." You see, since I seem to have such a powerful reaction to this show, I try not to watch more than two episodes in a day. It's usually one at the most. But the second season opens with more drama and more twists, and I feel this urge to know more. I want to know what's going to happen to this amiable monster that is Dexter.

And I managed to have a moment that was a bit too much for me. In the first season, "the Ice Truck Killer" had taken another life. As he was performing his ritual to dispose of the body, he removed a ring from his victim. That ring looked almost EXACTLY like the ring I gave Becky when we became engaged. This is why I asked Becky to not bet killed and dismembered by a serial killer.

And so I am off...I need to chat with Becky for a bit, and they it's probably time for more Dexter. Because I apparently like the emotional roller coaster.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The LEGO Brain

I wish my brain was made of LEGO. The pieces should actually do something other than sit there being colorful. Blocks of different shapes and colors would have different functions. I'd just pop my brain out, replace a few blocks, and put the thing back where I found it. Life, at least in its psychological aspects, would be fixed in some way.

Instead, I have to deal with things like last night and this morning, where I went to sleep some time around 4:00 AM and woke around 7:30 AM. I'm tired. I want sleep. No, apparently my brain wants to focus on things that are fairly meaningless.

Like the fact that I bought the first season of "Dexter" on a whim. I'd read up on it, thought it interesting, bought it, and devoured all 12 episodes in about a week. Now I want the second season, and I can't afford it just yet. I only have $120 to get me to the 3rd of next month, and blowing $30 on a DVD set isn't the smartest use for my money.

There's also the fact that I may or may not owe Ray's mom around $50. This is because, beyond my understanding, the most common asthma medication on the market is apparently NOT covered by my insurance. The again, it might be covered, and the pharmacy where that prescription is remains chock full of inept employees.

Oh, the adventures I had a few days ago, trying to pick up five refills at the pharmacy. The cashier is someone who should NOT be working with anything more complex than stocking shelves. She's nice enough, but her grasp of English is tentative at best, and working the register at the pharmacy is far too complicated a task. So when I arrived and asked if my meds were ready, she said they would be shortly. The screen may have said they'd be ready in 15 minutes, but that note was put there at 1:00 PM. Instead, she tells me they need a little more time...despite my calling for the refills five and a half hours before hand. Really...did they work on prescriptions at a rate of one per hour? What's more, they were overcharging me, which was all kinds of wrong.

Because of the cashiers ineptitude, the line that was only one person behind me stretch into the aisle with five people trying to be patient, but failing. I was so fed up that I said, rather loudly, "I'll send someone to pick them up tomorrow. But this is absurd, telling me that meds I called in over five hours ago still aren't ready. The line behind me shouldn't have had time to form. I should have been in and out. And then to overcharge me? Maybe I should move my prescriptions to a pharmacy where they know what they're doing."

Well, Ray's mom did me the favor of going to get my prescriptions the next day, and they still managed to overcharge me. It's the most common asthma medication around, and I use it to deal with mold induced asthma. That usually means that one inhaler will last me three or more months. How, pray tell, is this not covered? And if it's not covered, why was I not called and informed of this? And why, after telling Ray's mom that my prescriptions should all cost $3.30 at the most, did she pay for it?

Garbage like this preys on my fractured psyche, and last night I took my evening dose of 0.5 mg. of Xanax to get to sleep. It wasn't working, so I took another 0.25 mg. I finally drifted off somewhere around 4:00 AM, only to have my blood sugar drop around 7:30 AM. I treated it, thought, I should go back to sleep now...and utterly failed in even lying down.

I should also note that yesterday was a bad day, in that I just didn't feel good. It felt as though I was coming down with something. Today, the only thing bothering me is a bit of pain along the outer region of my right auricular canal. It's the kind of pain that comes from something being wrong with the skin, and not an ear infection.

And then there's Becky, my sweet, beautiful beloved, whom I can hardly wait to see again. I bought my bus ticket to head there on 17 Dec. A round trip ticket would have cost me $300, so I'm buying them one at a time. I'll purchase my return ticket at the start of next month, as I'll still be able to get the reduced "advanced purchase" price at that time. (I'll be leaving PA on 2 January.) Mind you, the priced of these tickets is $163 each. I'd save money if I bought a round trip ticket, but I don't have $300 to spend all at once. So I'm doing it this way.

Here's the thing, though...Becky has been playfully busting my chops about moving to PA during the holiday season. Her efforts have been having an effect on me, due to other aspects of my life...

Things have been a tad bit tense here every now and again, causing Cody and I to trade irritated words. (Not really angry when they're traded...but I do tend to get quite upset in the aftermath.) Like many relationships forged while living under the same roof, the issue that creates the grief is money. During those hours after we trade irritated words, I start fighting the urge to start shouting, packing my things, and leaving...without anywhere to go on such short notice. Becky's would be the first place to run, but she's over 1,000 miles away.

Becky is also good for me in general. Since we started our relationship, I've been happier. (It was that happiness that helped me to fall off my meds. The ensuing UNhappiness is a reminder that I have a genuine illness.) And what she did to/for me earlier this month with NaNoWriMo...? 50,000 words in about 12 days. She's never worn such an outfit, but she makes a great cheerleader! That kind of thing is GOOD for me.

Her and I being apart is a little rough. We didn't hang all over one another when we were together, which was good. At the same time, just having her near provided great contentment. One would think that the 43-year-old guy with the 25-year-old girlfriend would just want to "jump her bones" at every opportunity, but I'm kind of past that "living for lust" stage of life. I can get bored when we're talking on Skype, but I'm never bored when she's around. So that's one more reason to move sooner.

But then there are aspects against my moving early. Becky just started a new job. To have to ask for a week off so soon so that she can drive to KS and move me to PA, which is the plan, would probably look bad to her employer. They might say it's okay, but they'll probably always remember how she got the job and then immediately asked for an extended amount of time off.

Living alone for November and half of December is NOT the experience of living along that I wanted her to have. Already, it's having an effect, in that she's started writing about some things from her past that have been weighing on her mind. It's poisonous stuff, and it needs to come out. If I move there, I'm afraid that I'll somehow manage to prevent such vents from even forming.

And then there was her mother, 'Nita, who spoke to Becky about a week ago, stating that she had the feeling I was going to visit in December and never leave. I called her to get her opinion on a permanent move, and she stated that we were adults and could do what we wanted. I said, "True, but she's your daughter, and you should at least have the ability to share your opinions on the big changes in her life." She appreciated that, but still said it was our choice...all the while sounding like she loathed the idea. 'Nita is afraid I'll be a distraction, or that Becky and I will produce an unscheduled accident. (In the form of a child we should ultimately name "Oops.")

This last is a big one for me. Without saying the words, my move would also be breaking a promise. It was talked about enough to practically solidify it as a vow to have Becky live on her own for some time. Even though I never said "I promise" at any time, it feels like I did. To move in December would then make me feel as though I was BREAKING that unspoken promise. I pride myself on keeping my word, and this would be a major blow to me severely deflated ego.

In the end, I've decided that there will be no move in December. I still have some loose ends to work on here, like a pending diagnosis on my neck, and I need an MRI of my foot. I should also take the time to gather copies of my medical records so that I can find doctor's easily once I reach PA.

*sigh* So much time and so little to do. Or something like that.

The cherry sitting atop this craptastic sundae is adjusting to my psych meds. They take WEEKS to start doing their job properly. I spend a lot of my time seeking distractions so that I'm not drawn into thoughts that are perpetually tainted by emotional darkness. Even the very best in my life, such as my overall great housemates, who truly care about me, and my beloved Becky, becomes a problem when my mind is in this state.

A brain made of LEGO would be easily fixed. Remove the pieces that make it a difficult thing to deal with and snap in colorful, working blocks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The brain says, "Moo."

I was thoroughly distracted. Between NaNoWriMo, Becky cheering me on to write, and just being in love in general, I was fooled into feeling good. The reality is that I have a mental illness, and that means treating it regularly. Alas, because I was fooled so well, I fell off my antidepressant.

It's not quite fair, in my eyes. I mean, if I forget my painkillers, something will hurt. If I fail to take my insulin, my blood sugar will rise. Heck, if I forget my Xanax, I won't sleep until I'm hit with exhaustion. But when I don't take my Zoloft, nothing happens immediately. It takes a while for me to become aware that something isn't right. By the time that happens, I can be in pretty bad shape.

Like right now. It finally dawned on me that I wasn't quite myself when we ordered Chinese food the other night. I had a craving for it, so I asked Ray and Cody if they wanted anything. Ray only had $5, and Cody was trying not to spend what money he had on hand. Rather than order for just myself, I gave them $30 and told them to order up some food.

No one said thanks. This is not uncommon. Ray often remembers to thank me for something, (but not always), and Cody rarely thanks me at all for anything. No big deal, though. That's just the way they are. It hasn't really been a problem, as this is just the way they are. But a few nights ago, when I realized no one had thanked me, I was ready to go ballistic. I wanted to scream, and shout, and pack my things, and start gathering up everything I'd bought in the trailer, and...

...and it suddenly clicked what the problem was. I'd been off my meds for almost two weeks, and that spelled trouble. And because my psychological illness is more emotional, I find my moods completely off kilter. When my mood sours enough, so do my thoughts. It then becomes a genuine fight to make it through the day without some emotional explosion. Every thought becomes tainted, and I want to speak my mind, even though my mind isn't set where it should be. (Hence, the brain, not the cow, says, "Moo.")

Thoughts of Becky, for example, are mired in depressive ideology. This is kind of what happens inside my head: It's not going to work. You're too broken to keep her happy. You don't deserve her, and should break up so she can move on and find someone worth her time. That should make her parents happy. Sure, she'll be a little hurt, but life will go on, and she'll be okay. She'll find someone better than you, someone younger. And you can go back to being the worthless, miserable bastard that you really are.

For the record, quite a bit of that is inaccurate. I might be a miserable bastard underneath the mask that my meds help me maintain, but the idea of her being "a little hurt"...? No, Becky would be devastated if I ended things with her. I am, in fact, deserving of her and the love she gives me. (G-d knows that love has certainly been lacking in my life.) Maybe there is better than me out there; I don't know, since I'm not looking. Although, in reality, I think her parents would be happier if I stepped aside.

This is just part of living with depression. I can start thinking about the best aspect of my life and manage to make it seem like the worst thing to ever happen to me. In fact, if I were to win $200,000,000 in the lottery, I'd probably see it as a nightmare come true. Instead of being happy that my financial woes are over, I'd say, "The government is going to tax me to death, and I'll end up giving most of my money to the thousands of people who come running to me with their sob story." It's as though my slogan becomes, "Every cloud has a silver lining...that's waiting to be confiscated by its rightful owners."

I fight every day not to isolate myself further. When I'm like this, talking to people is a chore. I'm afraid of the things that might come out of my mouth should I not think before I speak. In the Becky situation, I could find myself breaking up with her and sticking to my guns on that one, without having thought the consequences through. And G-d forbid she said something to anger me in the process of my delusional state that caused a possible breakup...Oh, I could EASILY say a dozen things that would leave a lasting, emotional scar.

Now that I'm aware of the problem, I'm working to fix it. It'll be four to six weeks before the Zoloft is correcting my emotional state properly. Meanwhile, I'll the lowest dose of Xanax I can muster for when I become irrationally upset. I may sleep more often, but I won't be suffering from poison thoughts a I do when I'm conscious. What's ore, being asleep will help me to avoid saying things to others that could hurt them.

In fact, a recent dose of 0.25 mg. of Xanax seems to be knocking me out. (Yes, it's THAT strong.) I'm off to rest, perhaps even sleep.

Be well, all.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Michael Cera as Michael Cera in "Michael Cera vs. the World!"

I saw the commercials. I thought, Wow...Scott Pilgrim vs, the World actually looks neat. I'll wait to buy it on DVD. However, on a recent trip to Wal-Mart, I mentioned I wanted to buy it, and Ray stopped me. "Let me rent it for you first. If you like it. you can buy it." Now, having watched it, I can't thank Ray enough. (For the record, Cody's opinion of the movie is as bad as mine, but he didn't suffer through it.)

I'm dying to know how Michael Cera gets any work whatsoever in Hollywood. In ever clip I've watched with him in it, there is one ONE difference in the characters: the name. That's it. There's an old phrase, "So-n-so couldn't act his/her way out of a paper bag." Well, Michael couldn't act his way out of a paper bag that had significant tears in it. Screw it. He couldn;t act his way out of a zen bag!

Well, I wasn't really watching the movie for him. What I really wanted to see was what Mary Elizabeth Winstead was up to lately. I find her very pretty, and a decent actress. However, when handed a crappy script and equally crappy direction, even someone with talent is going to produce crap.

The thing is that the director, Edgar Wright, gave us funny movies like "Hot Fuzz" and "Shaun of the Dead." What was he doing while SPvtW was being made? Was he even on set while filming?

Well, not everyone can produce nonstop successes, right?

What gets me is that this was advertised as a kind of action/comedy. In it, there is a scene in which the mimic a sit-com, specifically "Seinfeld." During said scene, there was a laugh-track. The entire movie seemed to need exactly that: a laugh-track. In this way, I'd at least have a clue as to what was SUPPOSED to be funny. Instead, I found it bordering on insulting. Like their portrayal of gay people. Just as we're trying to move on as a society and show that homosexuality is not something you can turn on and off, and, in turn, CANNOT "make someone gay," along comes Kieran Culkin, playing Scott's gay roommate, who apparently has the power to make straight men into homosexuals.

The entire movie came off as being incredibly stupid.

In an attempt to save myself from a day with nothing but bad movies, I sat down with Cody and Ray to watch "Jonah Hex." This movie's only saving grace was John Malkovich, who is seemingly born to play the role of evil incarnate. After that, I just didn;t care about any of the characters on screen. Even when the back-story was given, I simply didn't care enough about any of the good guys. Heck, I was kind of hoping John's character, Quentin Turnbull, would succeed, even if it meant Megan Fox and her spectacular body being killed in the process. And at 81 minutes, including the credits, this movie wasn't even worth its rental price.

The only thing that saved this day from being an utter nightmare when it came to watching something entertaining was taking in another episode of "Dexter." I'll have to go into that more at another time. Right now, it's late, and my ranting about these bad movies has drained me.

Oh...and if Michael Cera just happens to find and read this post: Mike, please stop. While some of the movies you've been in have met with success, it's NOT because of your "talent." Leave Hollywood behind and...I dunno...McDonald's is always hiring. You can use your "acting skills" to convince people to buy fries with their sandwiches.

Much to my amazement: MISSION COMPLETE!

Once again, I participated in NaNoWriMo this year. Using the name Bor_the_Barbarian-Monk, I started a tale about demon-hunting cowboys...That swiftly went nowhere fast. I tried opening the story one way, saw that as uninspiring, and attempted another opening, only to find that equally as joyless. I explained my woes to Becky, and she suggested I go with the OTHER idea I'd had.

Rather than start a tale of science fiction or fantasy, this one was "literary fiction." Using main characters that resembled Becky and myself rather closely, I began a yarn about a couple that was nauseatingly in love who, but the graces of G-d, won $218,000,000 in the Powerball lottery. Their lives immediately take a turn for the better, as all the things they'd been delaying suddenly became financially possible overnight.

When you engage in NaNoWriMo, they give you a block of statistics, providing you update your novel information regularly. They suggest you average 1,667 words a day. I managed an average of 3,876 a day. Mind you, there were several days where I scribbled out over 4,000 words, and one where my total came to over 7,000. It was pretty intense.

But what would inspire me to write so much daily? I mean, I'm disabled, with my hands showing signs of rather extreme atrophy (according to my pain specialist). Well, my muse this time around turned out to be my sweet, beautiful Becky. I shared each chapter as it was completed, to which she often replied, "Write more! I wanna know what happens next!" Despite the fact that my fingers would tingle from having been working so much, I found myself utterly inspired to just keep going, and going, and going. Even when I was exhausted and craving sleep, if an idea was in my head, I had to stay away to get it all out of my head.

With her kicking me in the butt, and that deadline hanging over my head, I found myself writing more and more every day, without ever truly knowing what direction the story would take on a daily basis. I managed to run the gamut of emotions, making the story funny, touching, enraging, and sad at different points of the telling. And my greatest kick was sending Becky the results of my day's worth of typing and listening to her react to the words I'd mustered.

This may sound cruel, but my favorite reactions from her were when she cried. These weren't tears of upset in any way. They were tears of joy and love. Like when I told of our self-written vows during our fictional wedding. Using the way we truly feel about one another, (and for the sake of this post, I'm changing the names to ours), it came out something like this:

"Rob," her vows began, "I didn't know what love truly was until you came into my life. Then, with patience, understanding, and humor, you taught me all about love. It's about unity. It's about caring. It's about communication. And so it is that I vow to give you my lips with which I can talk to you, my ears with which to listen, and my arms with which I can hold you. But most of all, I vow to give you my heart, which holds all of the traditional promises of loving, honoring, and obeying. I am yours forever, Rob."

Then it was my turn.

"Becky, I honestly thought this day would never come; that something would occur to keep me living a lonely existence for all eternity. On this day, you change my life forever, for I know that there will never be another to replace you. From this day forward, you have my heart, my mind, and my soul. I vow to do all in my power to keep out lives filled with love and laughter, and to honor and cherish you until my dying day."

Right around the time when I wrote this, I knew I wasn't really writing this for NaNoWriMo as much as I was writing it for Becky, and only Becky. It didn't matter if I completed the tale, so long as I did my best to do so for her.

Well, tonight was the night I finished. I went with a somewhat unexpected ending, but it carried a message that I deem both true and important: the greatest treasure anyone can ever find in the world is love. Money just makes a lot of things easier. But love is the greatest reason to live.

And with this much reported, I am now overly exhausted and really need to get my butt to bet. Perhaps I'll come back and say more...But for now, I'm simply pleased to announce that I managed to write a novel, completely dedicated to my beloved Becky, in 12 days. =)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Programmable nightmares!

I treated myself a little bit last month when I bought a computer game called "Darksiders." Right away, it grabs your interest by bringing the biblical Apocalypse to Earth. According to the tale, Heaven, Hell, and Mankind were to have it out when the time was right, but SOMEONE brought it about too early, and human beings were wiped out...completely.

And who takes the blame? The main character, War. That's right! You get to play one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In the game, you return to Earth a century later to find the planet in ruins. So you have to go on a quest to not only find out who is REALLY to blame for the "premature apocalypsation," but also to gather up the tools you'll need to defeat the big baddie at the end.

One of the tools you find along the way, (and everything you find is REQUIRED in order to complete the game, or at least portions of the game), is the Mask of Shadows. This item allows you to see into the Shadow Realm, and use those things that you can suddenly see. Without the mask, it doesn't matter if you know where things are...you can't use them. This includes something called a "shadow current." (Don't look at me. The designers of the game have a thing for shadows.) By leaping onto these things and using the ability to glide, called...*sigh*..."Shadowflight," you can reach great heights.

After investing 81 hours into the game, with some parts of the game played over again because of major screw-ups on my part, I reached the end of the game. The time had come to head for the big baddie at the end, and I equipped the mask of Shadows so I could see the Shadow Current and use my Shadowflight to reach the area I needed to start the very end of the game...

...and the game wouldn't let me use the Mask of Shadows. I tried everything I could think of. I switched items. They started behaving oddly, as well. I restarted the game. No help. I restarted the computer. That was also useless. Finally, I surrendered to the idea that I might simply have to restart the game from scratch, maybe give it one more attempt before completely losing my cool...

...and now Steam, through which the game runs, wanted to update. The problem there was that it would update to 99%, and then stop. Even after waiting for two hours, I was having no success running the update. I did...something, I can't remember what, and the update suddenly stopped at 26%.

But I wasn't ticked off just yet. A wee bit frustrated, but not angry. Upon the suggestion of my resident computer guru, Cody, I did a Google search for "steam update freeze," and found the potential answer. Those who were responding said that when they removed AVG, the virus scan program, the update ran without an issue. So all I had to do was remove AVG, and all would be well, right?

Well, it turns out that AVG is like herpes. Once you have it, there's no getting rid of it. I tried using the uninstall option on the program itself, and that didn't do anything. I tried using my computer's control panel, and that also did nothing. I went to AVG's site and looked up how to remove it, only to find some of the most useless instructions ever. Like saving the program to my desktop. That option never even comes up. Use the "uninstall this product" on the "select setup options" while running the installation program...? There is no such option. I tried simply dragging the program to my recycle bin, and it refused to move because it was running. Heck, it was running even when I'd disabled it. My final move was to put Steam into the programs AVG would overlook when it ran, and that proved as useless as everything else.

All I wanted to do was play my game. The game that I bought as a treat for myself. I don't do it often, and this was a good one, as I'd played it on the PS3 and had fun. Now I could play on my computer, meaning I could bring it with me when I finally moved in with Becky. Instead, I have a $44 piece of crap that was once an entertaining game, and an anti-virus program that appears to be a virus itself.

I think I need to open up my NaNoWriMo projects and kill some people on paper. The story doesn't actually call for anything like that, but it will certainly make me feel a bit better. And I think the characters' names that I'll murder will be "Steam" and "AVG."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's fiction...Really!

My absence from my blog hasn't been due to anything terrible. If you know me, you know I've been saying things here and there on GitP or Facebook. The main reason I haven't been saying much here is because much of my writing time has been going into this year's NaNoWriMo competition. I've managed a stunning average of over 3,800 words per day, which is amazing for several reasons.

First, there's the fact that my hands aren't what they once were. With the degradation of my muscles, I thought such regular typing would leave my hands exhausted. It's not nearly as strenuous as trying to open a bottle with a cap that's on too tight, but it DOES require that I hold my hands up and coordinate my fingers to hit those keys that I want to an extreme. A blog post may be 2,000 words at the absolute maximum. But 3,800 words a day, for six days in a row...? That's something I wasn't expecting at all.

Next is the genre I chose. Literary fiction is not the kind of thing I usually go for. I prefer science fiction, or fantasy, or anything that isn't about the real world. Instead, I've chosen to use Becky and I as the main characters, and am writing about what life would be like if we won $218,000,000.00 in the Powerball lottery. Calling it Winners, Losers, & Others, I have cranked out a total of over 23,000 words thus far. I honestly didn't think I had it in me to write that much on a subject that didn't involve imaginary worlds with fantastic characters.

Finally, the subject matter isn't all that fascinating. What is there to really write? "I win an absurd amount of money. I choose to split it evenly with the woman I love. The annuity comes to a rounded down figure of 7,260,000 each year. Rounding down again, it becomes $3,600,000 for each of us. Put half away for taxes, and that leaves us each with $1,800,000. We spend it. The end."

But I've actually been having fun writing this, dragging all sorts of characters from our lives into the tale. Oh, there are enough alterations in it to make "real" people fictional, but a great deal of it is based on how I think the "real" characters would respond to Becky and I becoming wealthy beyond our wildest dreams. It's been a form of exploration, imaging how I would go about doing some of that which I mentioned in a blog post some months back. (I mean, I REMEMBER writing a post about "what if I won the lottery," but I can't remember exactly when I wrote it.) And so I have been creating interactions for those things I'd like to do.

Like the idea of helping my friend Julie. Life can't possibly be easy with three small children, a house that seems to be coming apart at every turn, and a husband who is having difficulty finding work. In the story, I arrange to set up a bank account in my name, and simply have her as an authorized debit card user. In this way, she avoids having to pay the absurd taxes on the money, but has access to the $150,000 I'd put into it annually.

In the story, when I go to visit her for the first time in almost two decades, I discover the house is worse than I'd ever imagined, and it becomes a fight to get her to pack up her family while I do "something" about her living conditions. And I found myself enjoying the fact that I would make such a strong case to "enforce" my aid on a beloved friend.

Becky has been eating up this story. The moment there's a potential lull in our conversations, it's, "WRITE MORE!" She says the story is excellent, even though I argue that it's crap. The reason I say as much is because prose isn't really my strong suit. I can write great dialogue, but a descriptive passage...? It's all crap.

And now, with 50,000 words needing to be cranked out by the end of the month, I think I'll reserve my writing strength for more of that. Be well, all. =)