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User Journal

Journal Journal: Hiatus 11

I am writing this to officially state that I am taking a reprieve from Slashdot and other sites. Mental and physical health have been in decline. And although I have never been what one would call a regular poster or commenter, I thought I would take a few moments to say farewell, for the time being. I've un-flagged the notifications for new journal entries so I won't know when people write them. But after my diagnoses, both physical and mental, I need to simplify things and reading Slashdot regularly was an item to be removed (as is regular computer use). I will miss many of the ranting and raving of virtual lunatics and friends as well as the coherent conversations that would sometimes come between. Then everything got really difficult to do on this site. I'm not abandoning it per se. I'm just taking a break. I contributed very little to it anyway.

I hope this message finds everyone in relatively acceptable health. And good luck to you all, even the assholes.

To Stoolpigeon: Sorry I was never able to come through on a meet-up. Sociability and follow-through are just not strong points of mine. If you're still in the Orlando area you can try to arrange a meet-up if you'd like. But I seem to recall that you've since been removed from the area.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Health update 15

I think I came very close to dying. It started as most things do with a sharp pain in the upper-right chest and should while trying to sleep. Minor pain was ignored, and I went to work. Extreme pain ensued when I took a really deep breath (I smoke(d) so that was regular sometimes) that was summarily ignored. That night sleep came very uneasily as the pain had become more severe and I could only sleep on my back with pain coming with each breath (It's kind of funny what the quasi-conscious mind does with certain sensations. Mine interpreted it as a Space Invader type game and each pain on inhale was a shot down alien ship). By Wednesday I could barely move or breathe because of the near constant wracking agony I experienced with each breath. I was good enough to get to work, with the understanding that I may have to cut the work day short and go to the emergency room. (I'd rather end up in the hospital near work that that which is close to home).

I was admitted to the hospital on July 21, and was released on July 27. It turned out that a sedentary lifestyle combined with smoking had caused blood clots to form in my legs and migrate to my lungs. The records I got afterwards called it multiple bilateral pulmonary embolisms, and one of which could have moved to the brain and have me go all stroke.
So now I'm on blood-thinners, which means I am not allowed to drink alcohol, which was a major blow, being a functional alcoholic. I know that will elicit little sympathy from the teetotalers (not meant pejoratively) in this bunch, but alcohol's a difficult thing to give up when you're physically dependent. They gave me withdrawal medication for that. I was told I could have a couple non-alcoholic beers, which at least gives me the beer flavor.

I was also told I had to quit smoking (which I think they mean tobacco, because although they didn't mention it I also chew tobacco). The patch only marginally works. I have no urge to have a cigarette, except at certain trigger-points while driving. As far a dip goes, I've gone to a regimen of 1/3 real dip, 1/3 snus, and 1/3 gum chewed up and put between my lip and gum. I am gradually reducing the dip amounts and replacing dip with 1/2 snus and 1/2 gum. After that I'll go to gum and try to wean the physical habit of having something between my lip and gum (you'd be surprised how one gets used to that

So I am, due to a medical emergency, having to quit to major addictions at the same time. One was immediate (alcohol) as it would interfere with the blood thinner treatment. Tobacco is a more graduated system of reduction. I don't think I have the strength to go cold turkey on both of them.

The good news, I suppose, is I didn't die. But the hospital psychiatrist came to talk to me (right after my dose of morphine I might add, so my answers were a bit more honest than they would be if I wasn't high) mostly about thoughts of suicide, their frequency, did you think of any plans or methods type of question. Yes I've thought of suicide, (who hasn't?), about once every two to three days. And yes there are numerous methods with various advantages and disadvantages, but none that met the necessary criteria for actual implementation. Besides I will not go out directly by my own hand. I may go out
because of choices I've made (smoking), but it won't be an immediate and direct result of an action of mine. For that little chat (I think) my records indicated undetermined depressive psychosis. (Yay! I'm psychotic). At least I didn't get Baker acted.

As far as post-hospital events go, I've found I have motivation for doing things besides playing my xBox until I'm drunk enough to go to "sleep". All areas in the house in which I live are in the process of being cleaned organized and in some cases remodeled. I'm taking care of my vehicle rather than relying on the constant state of neglect. I feel mostly better physically; I ache because I've done more walking than I am accustomed to. (I went to Busch Gardens 2 Saturdays in a row, and spent time walking around on Sunday with one of my best friends) I reckon those to be considered improvements.

My coworkers have noted that I am acting less miserable, look healthier in the face, and have lost belly weight (beer guts evidentially go away quickly). I am in better spirits than I have been in a long time. I've lost 20 pounds since leaving. And I've been eating fair portions.

So almost dying = good thing.

How have things been around here? My reading has diminished to almost nothing. Any big news?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Automotive weirdness 8

So I'm putting oil into my vehicle and I glance at the radiator. And there's a bunch of little termite looking bugs swarming all over the top of it. I check a couple days latter and they're still there. There's no signs of them inside the vehicle. They seem to live in or on my radiator.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Civilization IV Expansions 2

I just got the Civ IV expansions and I am installing them now. Let me just say that the first new leader I'm playing as is going to be Stalin. A rather obvious choice given my user name. They appear to only have allied WWII leaders. I guess Hitler's just a wee bit too hot to include as a playable character. In the whole game now, they've got Churchill, De Gaulle, Stalin and Roosevelt as leaders.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Goals 11

These are what I have observed needs changing. All but the last two represent things which have deteriorated as my depression and apathy have increased. I just want to record them.

1. Reacquire the near-obsessive sense of order and neatness in the three primary environments in my life: my work area, my living area, and my transportation.

2. Resume an active role in grooming. Keep hair trimmed and facial hair un-UnABomberesque. Possibly regrow the handle bar mustache.

3. Consult my physician and get back on the blood-pressure and anti-anxiety medications.

4. Reduce alcohol consumption to a rational level. Remove alcohol as a consumption-based refuge.

5. Improve diet. Eat at scheduled intervals, regardless of whether I am hungry. Currently, I only eat when I am hungry, which is not very often.

6. Quit dipping and/or smoking.

7. Begin exercising regularly.

8. Reintroduce color and variation into my wardrobe.

9. Purchase a new vehicle. I'm badly in need of one, as the current one is on its last leg.

10. Locate a suitable mate and become involved in a long-term, preferably monogamous relationship. This one may take longer than a year, as it is outside of my complete control. (It requires the consent of another party) Also, I would like to accomplish at least a few of the previous goals before this one.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Recent aquisition 8

I got me a stapler.

Showing the stapler to people, I had an uncharacteristic level of joy. Someone asked "You're not going to burn the place down are you?"

It's sad that the highlight of the last year (at least) is an office supply.

And a 20 pack of Expo Dry Erase Markers. I've always felt compelled to have the most complete set of writing utensils I could reasonably expect to afford.

It's part of a ten-goal plan, most of which should be implemented within the year. The recent events with my relative have caused a lot of thought. And by my reckoning the clearing at the end of my current path was not a pleasant one, and I would reach it by my own hand eventually. Rationality breaks down under constant pressure, and I could no longer honestly say that my current obstacles to self-termination could be maintained. So, I've implemented a series of changes. I reckon I should make a note of what they are and post them.

The first is reacquiring the near-obsessive sense of order and neatness in the three primary environments in my life: my work area, my living area, and my transportation.

User Journal

Journal Journal: QOTD 1

The universe is God's Shrinky-Dink. It captured his imagination at first. Then it got real old, real fast.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Funny anecdote (I found it amusing anyway) 13

I'm helping a friend by tutoring. The course work is in electronic format. She is trying to get her printer to work, and I'm no hardware person. After numerous failed attempts to get it up and running. She asks me if I have any suggestions.

Sure. You're background image is kind fo gaudy. Maybe if you changed it, the printer would work.

But that's not even related!

She changed the background image. And the printer started working.

She seemed angry even though the printer was working.

I have a history of making stupid suggestions to computer problems that have no relevence to the task at hand that work.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Suicidal relatives 18

Well, I got a call from a cousin that I haven't heard from in ages. He was not doing very well. I won't go into what the problems are. Not my place. He mentions suicide as a solution.

Me: Wiat a moment. You know I'm not the one to talk to about that.

Him: No. I'm talking to you because you won't try to talk me out of it.

Me: That's not entirely true. I will caution you to carefully consider the ramifications of your actions and the hurt you will cause others, and yourself should you survive the attempt.

Him: I will.

Me: Do you remember how you felt when (name withheld) offed himself? [a cousin in common]

Him: Yeah.

Me; That's how everyone'll feel, except some will feel it worse about this than you felt about that. I don't condone the action. I would rather you didn't do it. But that's not my call. Everyone takes their own path.

Then we exchanged departing pleasantries. And based upon the esitmated timeline I recieved from my mother a couple days later, he consumed an over-dose level of drugs almost immediately after the phone call.

He survived. He's institutionalized. I have yet to speak with him since the incident.

I dislike life at times.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Employment update 8

About two weeks ago a colleague and I were converted from contractor to permanent employee. I've been working at this place for about two years, and I'm told this conversion is a good thing. The benefits like insurance, vacation, and 401K-type crap are improved. My salary saw what I would consider a considerable boost (This raise equaled my first salary about ten years ago). And because of the discrepancies in the way each employer handles payroll, I got paid for one week of my new job's pay plus my last two weeks of my old job's pay plus the pay for the unconsumed vacation time I had accrued in the two years. So I got the rough equivalent of six weeks pay this pay period.

Unfortunately, this coincides with a reduction in the contract for the firm with whom I was previously employed; and some folks got let go. It's sad because I got along fairly well with those who were laid off. I'm just glad I didn't make a big deal about my conversion.

I got to go through orientation. I got the Kool-aid presentation and a tour of the facilities in which I have been working for the last couple years. I'm recognized by virtually everyone (even if not recognized by name) so almost everywhere the group went there was someone who greeted me by name. The new hires thought that was amusing and asked if I had a fan club or something. The human resources person asked me if I was exited about starting with the company. Most of the time I answer questions honestly without thought about expectations of response or the desired response by the inquirer (I've got a reputation in my department for that and as a result am consulted by some superiors when they want an answer without the rainbows and sunshine that were supplied to make them feel better) I responded "No." When asked why I wasn't exited I explained that my duties were not really going to change. I'm pleased with the transition as it does mean improved compensation and a reduction of the paperwork that I would have to fill out, but I wouldn't use the term exiting. I'm excitement-impaired.

That's pretty much what has changed recently. I hope this finds those who read in good health and decent spirits.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Harrison Bergeron 8

The other day the topic of that story came up. People around the office seem to enjoy getting my opinion on things. I think some people like bitter and cynical observations.

I told them that I think the problem with that story is that peoples' sense of self-importance makes everybody who reads that identify with Bergeron...Especially people who read Vonnegut.

Then someone says "Hey! I like Vonnegut!"

Don't make me report you to the handicapper general.


I wasn't joking.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Unrelated Thoughts: Iron Man movie and Jim Jones 5

Iron Man movie: I thought it was entertaining. I liked the allusion to future character inclusion.

Jim Jones: I did not know that Reverend Jones sold monkeys door-to-door. I wasn't even aware that there was such a profession. I can't really imagine how that worked out.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Well damn 8

I play the lottery on occasion. I just checked my ticket from Wednesday's drawing and it turned out that all of my numbers were exactly one higher than the numbers from the drawing.

I'm not normally the kind of person to do the whole "well if only this number would have been different I would have won $X" thing.

So I share this infomration with a coworker. They respond "Wow. What're the odds of that happening?"

"Umm. The same odds as winning."

"Oh. That sucks."

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