An Alexander day

I swear, Mondays account for 53 and three-quarters percent of all my extensional crises. This was another bad Monday.

Anyway, to explain my topic, it comes from the children’s book Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, in which the main character contemplates several times about moving to Australia. I’ve thought about it too, and so really shaky days are Alexander days. And today was just one of those days.

Part of it was triggered by getting money out of my bank account to pay for gas, and realizing I have ten dollars to get me through a week and a half after the gas was accounted for. That wasn’t happymaking at all. Of course, this is a common lament these days not just for me but for everybody. It means, at least for me, that once NaNoWriMo is over, I need to just start throwing resumes at anything that comes up that might even remotely have anything to do with what I do, even if it means relocating to a far away city. I’ve given up hope that the company I currently work for will offer me a full time job at all, and I’m just barely making it on what they pay me.

Of course, the long term cure for some of my big issues is to move out from my parents’ house, so I don’t have to justify half the stuff I do them. But that’s neither here nor there, and frankly, I’m just barely scraping by with the bills I have, and if I save anything, Social Security will crack down — they already have, which makes a tenuous situation that much worse. (It also makes it impossible for me to take on other part-time work to try and get a bit of spare change — health care. But I’ve been over that rant before.)

And then to top it off, Monday night is the night of my SQL class. Now, generally, computer classes don’t bug me, but this one for some reason does. And I think I figured it out. Not only do I shut down when faced with instructors I can’t stand, this guy’s teaching style and I don’t match well. He provides notes, but the notes aren’t helpful if you have trouble paying attention in lectures. And that’s how I learn — by seeing, and by doing. And well, really, we haven’t done much. So it puts me in a jam about studying for quizzes and tests. I think I’ve studied well enough and I get blown out of the water.

On today’s quiz, I guessed like heck and then spent the rest of the time doodling xkcd-esque stick figures all over my exam. When I handed it in, I offered a strange smile to the prof. Dunno what he’ll make of it.

Anyway, tomorrow’s gonna be a working day, so I’m trying to get some rest.

NaNo count holding steady at a bit over 18.5, but Monday and Tuesday != good writing days.

vroom?

Another post just to have something up. I promise you all that I’ll try to write you a longer one tomorrow — well, after I do some other things I’ve been slacking on.

I’m feeling a little better emotionally, but I’ve got a bit of a cold, so my head hasn’t completely been in the game. I still remain two days ahead of where I need to be in NaNoWriMo land, so that’s good.

Yeah. And I’ll name a character after you if you donate some scratch here. C’mon, please?

[PS: Take a wild guess who forgot to change the timezone on her blog back after the timechange last weekend? Am going through and fixing all my November posts now.]

I hate Mondays.

Mondays are hard days. Not only are they the start of the work week, but they seem to serve as a reminder of just what kind of failure I am. I mean, I get up, I go to work, and I work. But I know deep inside that I’m only working three days and not five, and that it’ll be another month of struggling to pay my bills, another month of living in my parents house, another month that I’m stuck with what appears to be no way out.

And then after work, I slog my way through the commute traffic to school. Let me get one thing straight. I hate my Monday night class. The only time I was happy tonight in that class was when I thought I might have a chance to slag the instructor in an evaluation. (Turns out, it was an eval for a different prof. When asked if we were doing it, he said something along the lines of ‘I’ve got tenure; I don’t have to do it.’) I’m seriously thinking of taking a withdraw in that class because (a) I don’t think I’m going to pass and (b) I really don’t want to take that class over. The teacher is disorganized and sometimes you’re lucky if you can find a hint to solving some of the labs in the notes. Today’s boiling point moment was when he decided that today we were going to have a quiz — on stuff he was introducing today. Somehow we talked him off that idea, but still. (And yes, for those who have been following my journal, this is my SQL class.)

But this adds into my feelings of inadequacy because I’m mainly taking classes as a way to keep from paying my student loans, because God knows I don’t have the money to cover that bill too. I’d really rather have a full time job where I’m paying down the loans and thus gain the ability to take a semester off. I could have really used it this year — my stress levels have been through the roof this fall. (And now it’s November and I must be completely frakking insane.)

Anyway, yeah, there’s this complete feeling of inadequacy that’s been eating at me and Mondays are just the night when it comes most to the forefront. I just keep slipping deeper and deeper into the hole, and I don’t know how to get out. This is not a happy feeling to deal with.

I mean, objectively, I know I’m not a failure. Emotionally, though, it’s hard to see beyond what appears to be crumbling ruins. There’s a bit of ‘I was supposed to be someone!’ in my head that plays into nights like this; Mondays just bring it a bit closer to the surface.

***

In happier news, the NaNo wordcount stands at 5564, and I wrote this paragraph, which I’m sorta proud of. It comes in the middle of a reporter’s puff-piece on my book’s major villain:

After some pleasantries, we sat down to business. The Congressman was pleasant but undeniably brusque about some parts of his life, such as the much-publicized divorce from his wife of thirty years during his first term in Congress. The mention of her brings an immediate frown to his face. “Rosalie and I had a difference of opinion,” he said. “That and the strains of my freshman year in the House led to an amicable split. There is no story here.” When pressed about comments his wife made about him ‘not being the man I married’, Breen just shrugs and says, “Well, isn’t that what most women say when they want a divorce? He’s not the man I married? What does that mean, anyway?”

fried

So it’s November. November means it’s NaNoWriMo month, which means that I’m running around like a crazy person. Then I stupidly said, “Ah why not, I’ll update my blog every day this month. It’s not like I don’t have enough to do.” Since I’m sure there’s folks out there that want to keep me honest, guess I’d better get the month started.

Anyway, it was a good day. The kickoff was nicely attended, and I got a good chunk of writing done. I added another six hundred words at the write-in we did for TV. I haven’t watched the clip yet, so I don’t know how much of me made it in, but my highly awesome co-ML, , got interviewed and didn’t do so bad. (Ah, here’s the clip. I’m in the background a lot.)

But the combination of staying up way late for write-in, and then getting up way early for the morning write-in, alongside the timechange, is just making my brain go *splat*. And since that means I’m not coherent, that means it should be bedtime.

But I have nearly four thousand words, and I saw a nice sunset. It was a good day.

[TftC] Commute Friend

Third in an occasional series I call “Tales from the Commute”:

So yeah, even a Monday morning commute is always made happier by having one of these always in sight pretty much your whole way across Interstate 80. There was a couple moments when I could bring myself to believe that the pot of gold was just over the next rise.

On the other hand, the idiots who didn’t have headlights on even though (a) the sun was just rising and (b) it was starting to rain really annoy me.

Now to focus on work.

My amusement for today.

Yonder about three months ago, I got business cards from work. They gave my title as ‘Business Analyst’.

Today, we got an org chart. On this one I’m listed as a ‘Software Engineer.’

Yeah, I’m not even sure my company knows what I do. So I have decided that today, I am a ‘Business Software Analyst Engineer’. A co-worker points out that if I get my project management certification, then I could be a Business Software Analyst Engineer Manager.

Okay, I confess, I’m easily amused.

In other news, I’m going to start learning C# on webdesigning through this site https://www.webdesign499.com/all-about-google-amp/. In today’s world, having a website is necessary for every business. Today, every individual wants everything on his fingertips. In today’s world, many companies are running business by selling their products online. Website design helps in this case very much. It plays a vital role in doing in selling your products online. A website represents the business among customers. So according to the professionals at https://huemor.rocks/, websites are necessary in today’s world for promotion and sales of the products. If I’m going to be a software engineer, then I’d better start acting like it. ;) (And yeah, I’m going to fiddle some with Java too, but the company uses more C#, so it’s a better place for me to invest some time.)

More later.

You see the strangest things on the road

[Second in an occassional series that I’ve dubbed “Tales of the Commute”.]

So the car ahead of me in the onramp today was a Lada. Now, first of all, that’s not exactly a common brand here in the United States. I’m a bit of a Russophile, so I recognized the Russian car company, but I’m not sure others would. It’s not overly suprising to see one here as there’s a large Russian community in Sacramento, but it’s still unusual.

But it wasn’t just the unusual car type. Attached to the bottom were a pair of balls. You know, the ones people attach to their trucks to suggest that it’s their *ahem*. Again, other than the slight incongruity of them being on a Lada, no big deal.

No, what got me is that the balls in question were dark blue with a yellow stripe down the middle.

I really don’t want to know.

Frustration

First of all, I’m on swine flu watch, as one of my groupmates was pretty seriously ill yesterday, and my teacher forced her to stay in class until the midway point while he lectured (when he had first told us we had a quiz and the presentations and then she could go) and then we all shared a mic in giving our presentation. I’m hoping that she didn’t have the flu and thus, I won’t get it, but…this year, you can’t be too careful.

Anyway, if you didn’t catch my edit yesterday, this is what you missed:

So the quiz got postponed. However, our presentation didn’t go overly well today. The Star1/Star2 problem we were having I pointed out in discussions, but our main programmer couldn’t talk Access into doing what we wanted. We were fairly dinged on that one, but it was an Access toy database problem. But here’s a big hint to professors: when you require 3-5 tables in the assignment, it’s not fair to chew us out for including 3-5 tables when we could have done it in one.

To explain, here’s our Entity Relationship diagram in our presentation:
Our project ER diagram

(You can click on that to make it bigger.)

Here’s how the prof said we could (and should!) have done it.

id name married to?
1 John 3
2 Jeff 5
3 Jill 1
4 Jim 6
5 Jacob 2
6 Jean 4

Besides the fact that this table assumes poly relationships aren’t acceptable (which, of course, in the US is true, but not in other places in the world), I’m not sure how you’d handle marriage dates, as obviously John and Jill would share a marriage date. And since our assignment said not to track divorces, I guess if John and Jill got a divorce, then we remove both their entries from the table. But what happens if Jill meets Johann and he sweeps her off her feet and they get married? Would I need to re-enter Jill at that time? Wouldn’t it be easier if her record already exists?

And that’s still not excluding the fact that the prof told us to use 3-5 tables in the assignment. I was pretty sure we could do marriage in two tables, but that still didn’t meet the three to five requirement. And as for the poly thing, he said we could make our own assumptions when I went up there and asked about things like gay marriage. So we made an assumption that poly was okay. Grr. And interrupting the flow of our presentation by asking us questions in the middle of it? *sigh* I dunno, I guess it’s a teaching style, but it seemed a little rude.

Grr. yeah. This is still eating me today, but i’ll try to drop it.

I think I need a vacation from the world.

You know that dream about how you walk into class and everybody’s in there taking a test you didn’t know about? Sometimes I feel so stressed about that, I just want to go camping and check who makes the best cooler to get the best cooler with me in my trip.

Yeah, it’s like that. At least I’m not naked.

More later, perhaps.

[Edit: So the quiz got postponed. However, our presentation didn’t go overly well today. The Star1/Star2 problem we were having I pointed out in discussions, but our main programmer couldn’t talk Access into doing what we wanted. We were fairly dinged on that one, but it was an Access toy database problem. But here’s a big hint to professors: when you require 3-5 tables in the assignment, it’s not fair to chew us out for including 3-5 tables when we could have done it in one.]

spitting nails

Don’t mind me, I’m in spitting nails mode today over several dozen things all colliding at once.

Some of it is financial troubles, which I don’t feel like getting into right now. But here’s the exchange on Twitter that has pushed me over the edge. (Sorry, , you’re not the reason I’m spitting nails, but the convo with you caused somebody else to tweet things that really set me off.)

katster: I need to win the lottery. It’s the only way I can get myself out of the hell I’ve been residing in.
katster: I don’t know how else I’m going to be able to pay my bills and build up a modest reserve, let alone do fun things.
katster: Oh right, I forgot. I’m not allowed to do fun things because I’m poor and thus lazy.
underpope: Sounds like you’re tuning in to the Governator’s mindset there.
katster: it ain’t just the governator. it seems to be a common thought of Republicans in general. :P
underpope: Sadly, this is true.
katster: Yeah, and it’s eating me up more than usual today. I think I need to find a new job, but where is the next question.
SocialMedia_Mkt: stop eating, be productive, you need a job right: [link to how to monetize Twitter redacted]

Now, I happen to think that folks that think they can monetize twitter are pond scum and should be first against the wall when the revolution comes, but that’s beside that point. It’s the nature of that advice that just made me see red. On a day when I’m already feeling like crap, this was the last thing I needed.

So yeah, today’s epic fail award goes to assholes like the one above who doesn’t have hesitation to tell complete strangers to stop eating and become pond scum.

Other than that, I may have more to say later on the other issues as I’m not sure how to approach them. But right now, I’m just — yeah.

detritus

In no particular order:

  • My souvenir book and program guide for the worldcon just concluded in Montreal came today. My cat is thankful to the committee for providing her with cat toys. Cat toys? I hear you ask. Well, you see, in order to keep the souvenir book flat, somebody attached package straps, and my cat seems to think these make wonderfully awesome toys. This is why I voted for the folks in Montreal; I knew they would be thoughtful like that. ;)
  • Had to take my car in for servicing today — it needed an oil change. Not a big deal. On the way home, I found somebody with a car that had a license plate of RIP BUD, a license plate frame that read “In memory of my son Bud”, and one of those in memoriam stickers in the back window. I understand that grief is a powerful thing, but I’ve got to wonder what the story is that made somebody feel the necessity of shelling out for personalized plates to bear his/her grief. Guess this is one of those things to file away and let the brain see how they can make fiction from it.
  • Got my first distribution of the eAPA out as the OE. It’s a bit scary being the dude in charge, but I think I can handle it. It’ll get easier from here on out, I’m sure. That said, I’ve got to start trying to figure out how to get new members — I love the ones we have, but new members are always fun. So if anybody out there reading this who isn’t already in on the fun that is the eAPA and want to join in, it’s once a month in pdf (and if you don’t have a pdf writer, I can turn it into pdf from Word or Open Office documents without a problem). The folks in the APA are nice and we don’t bite unless you ask really nicely. So come on…whatcha waiting for? Join in the fun. Toss me an email.

And I think that’s pretty much all the news that is news across the nation. At least, at the moment.

So we’ll leave this with a question: what sort of detritus is in your head at the moment?

A bottle of pills [extended healthcare rant, part 2]

[Alright, this is a bit long, but do me the favor of reading it through, okay?]

There’s a bottle of pills sitting on my bookcase. Every night, I swallow one. Although I try not to overdo it because I don’t want to get addicted, I found this article https://firststepbh.com/blog/broward-county-inundated-opioid-addiction-treatment-cases/ to learn how to prevent and combat drug addiction.

I asked once at the pharmacy how much it would cost me to fill the script. Their response was eighty dollars for a month’s supply. It could be worse. The last time I asked the same question, the particular script didn’t have a generic, and the answer was somewhere slightly north of two hundred dollars. And speaking of drugs a black market that was selling drugs was discovered and raided, http://fherehab.com/news/dark-web-black-market-men-arrested-two-lived-in-same-ohio-town/.

I suppose I’m a lucky duck in the sense that I’ve got some form of health insurance, as much as that health insurance is Medicaid (although that’s a frakking joke here in the State of California, let me tell you). And the reason I qualify for Medicaid? Well, because my income is low enough that I’m on disability. And why am I on disability? That’s what the bottle of pills is supposed to address, although you can also find other nutrition supplements at sites like https://reportshealthcare.com/rapid-tone-diet-review/.

You see, some of you know this, but a lot of you don’t. I’m bipolar. (Not to mention the other chronic medical conditions I have, but those complicate the situation, so let’s stay right here.) I’m lucky, if one can call it lucky to have a mental illness, that I’ve got the slightly less serious form, which doesn’t involve the complete detachment from the world that a full-blown manic state can cause.

Of course, the sudden chasms are all the much worse for it. I’m prone, especially when I’m not being good about taking my medications, of falling into a deep and horrible chasm from which there is no escape. The whole world goes dark and grey, like a fog so thick that I begin to think that I’m the only person in the world. I seriously contemplate ending it all, to stop being a worthless sack of meat that nobody particularly cares about. I can barely get out of bed, let alone do all the things the world requires of me. I start shying away from people, because if they knew, it might contaminate them and I couldn’t live with that. If I had to interact with the world, I’d put on a brave face, keep my head down, and try my best to act normal as much as every word is difficult and every step is agonizing and I’m doing my best not to break down and start crying or screaming. And all this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Did I mention I fell into this hole in the last semester of both my undergraduate and graduate programs, and it was only sheer luck that saved my hide in both cases?

It’s an awful place to be, and something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. And it took us forever to find a pill that would keep me from falling into that dark place. The one I’m on now seems to be doing okay, although it doesn’t take away the intrusive thoughts that everybody’s looking at me and either rooting for me to fail or doesn’t care if I did. I deal with that the best that I can, and there are days that are better than the others.

Enough so that I’ve gotten a job. It’s only part-time. And in this country, being part-time (or being a contractor) means that the company doesn’t have to give you health benefits. Well, okay, that’s fine at the moment, my income is not high enough for me to move completely off SSI. So I still qualify for the little bit of help this country grudgingly gives to its poor.

And the amount of money I make is, quite frankly, unsustainable. The car payment doesn’t help, of course, but I needed a reliable car. And, you know, while my parents are great and awesome and wonderful people, I need to get out of here. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I’m nearly thirty-one and still living with my parents.

So I’m looking for a full-time job, which is difficult at the best of times, because I have to find a job that provides health care. Which means stringing together a couple part-time jobs or doing contract work is out of the question. Also, being at my job, if they raise the money I make an hour while keeping me part-time, at some point I’ll cross the income threshold for SSI.

And when that happens, that eighty dollar bottle of pills that’s my link to sanity, let alone the doctor to prescribe it, ends up being too much to afford. And then bang, I fall back into that hole that I’ve worked so goddamned hard to climb out of, get to the point where I can’t keep the job, and et voila, I end up back on SSI and I get to start over. That is, if I even qualify for it on the second fall.

So here I am, trapped. I’d like to do contract work. It’s more suited to my skill set and it means that I can keep my own hours, which is a good thing because I’m a night owl and run naturally on a noon to 3 AM clock. But I can’t do that, because I can’t afford to take a job that doesn’t come with benefits. Which leaves me caught nicely in a catch-22, where any attempt to make my situation better ends up, in all probability, making it worse. (Not to mention that this just feeds that little anxious voice in the back of my head: “See, they’re all rooting for you to fail!”)

Which makes me see red when I see the rhetoric that ‘all people on welfare are lazy.’ Are they lazy, or are they just trapped?

And this is just in relation to the bipolar. I’m not even bringing in the other medical conditions I’ve got, that’ll probably end up killing me. I know nobody makes it out alive, but, if you want the honest truth, most days I don’t think I’m going to make it to fifty.

…and this came out a hell of a lot rawer than I expected it to be, so be gentle.

Back from the Bay Area…

At work, trying to get things done. There’s an interesting concept.

Anyway, let’s begin with a picture:

I am absolutely sure that isn’t what they meant, but I got a pretty good chuckle out of it.

So, I went to the Bay Area. Things I did:

  • Went to the Office of Letters and Light (the folks who run NaNoWriMo) to sign my ML form for the coming year. I may be the only ML who will do it that way.
  • Drove to ‘s place; got smothered in kisses by Zoe, who is my second most favorite dog in the world after my own. Also, forgot to take the greenies wrapper out of my pocket after I opened them to give to doggies, which led Zoe to keep sniffing my pocket hopefully that there would be a second treat. Also, saw chickens and got a slice of awesome bread that made.
  • Got back on the freeway, drove back to 680 and made the loop around into the South Bay, as 880’s traffic can get really bad. Stopped in Milpitas to kill time; found disgusting bathrooms and that picture in the Borders there.
  • Went to the BASFA meeting because (a) I’ve been wanting to go and (b) the UK TAFF delegate was supposed to be there. Alas, ran afoul of the air travel gods and failed to get out of Seattle until 5:30, which meant that he was too exhausted when he got here to make the trip down to the meeting. So sad! But other than that, I had a good time, even if the meeting went way longer than I expected.
  • Got back in the car, and drove home mostly without incident, although I got slightly lost in Concord/Walnut Creek/Pleasant Hill looking for caffeinated goodness, which probably cost me a half hour. Paid my bridge toll in dollar coins, which I think weirded out the attendant a little. (Why did I have dollar coins? Well, see, I give TAFF delegates shiny gold coins.)
  • Got home at 1:30 AM; got back up and went to work this morning

I think that’s about it. I don’t know when the next time I’ll make a trip over — finances are kinda tight. Folks are trying to talk me into showing up at Silicon, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’m hoping for a Big Game trip, myself, but again, money’s tight, and getting a ticket to Big Game at Stanford’s breadbox is difficult.

That’s about it. Guess it’s time to go back to work, now that I figured out why I was critfailing my HTML roll.

baseball and a status update

God, has it been nearly two weeks since I bothered to update my blog?

Ah, here, have a picture:

I took this at the Rivercats game last night. It’s the first time I’ve been out to Raley Field, and, while the Cats sucked rocks through a bendy straw last night, it was a perfect night for baseball, especially as the sun started to set. For those of you who don’t know, the Rivercats are the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s, and the stadium is just across the river from downtown Sacramento. (That gold bridge on the left? That’s the Tower Bridge, which crosses the Sacramento River, and is generally one of the two things used to as icons to identify Sacramento. The other is, of course, the State Capitol building.

Anyway, just letting folks know I live. I’ll have more to say later.

Things to do today

I’ve put together my ballots for both the 2011 Worldcon and 2010 NASFiC, and am heading off to mail them, along with my mother’s job application.

I also have to go to the library and straighten out a technological problem — the new self-checkout machines are awesome, but if they don’t record that I’ve paid my fines despite taking the money out of my bank account, then we have a big problem. Okay, well, it’s relatively minor amounts of money compared to some of the library fines I’ve racked up, but it’s still money. (I also have to go switch books around, but that’s less of a problem.)

Then it’s over to the grocery store to get the ingredients for chicken soup. Yeah, it’s the middle of summer, but the temps are only in the eighties today, so it’s a good day for soup. Besides, for an improvised recipe, I make pretty darn good chicken soup.

I also want to get some writing done, pay a few bills, clear a couple boxes out of my room (or at least make them more organized), do laundry, get my old car up on craigslist, and deal with some email backlog.

So yeah, that’s my day. What are you all up to, my friends?