This ‘n That

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I haven’t written much in a couple of days.  I’ve been tired and fighting the aches and pains of a weather change, and just didn’t feel well.  Too, I’m not sure what to write about.   I have some ideas, but they all seem to take research I haven’t had time for.

I was thinking that this upcoming election for US Congress people isn’t really going to change things as much as a lot of people are hyping about, no matter who actually “wins.”   There is talk that if the Republicans win control of the Senate, they will enact sweeping legislation.   But that ignores some harsh realities.  As the Republicans have filibustered almost everything that the Senate has actually tried to get accomplished the last few years, despite the Democrats having the majority, they haven’t managed to get much done.  And the Republicans seem to think that if they win a bare majority such as the Democrats have had, that things will be different  Do they honestly believe the Democrats won’t turn about and stop them the same way?  Never mind that anything they pass will have to be signed by the President.  And I don’t believe President Obama is going to sign any sweeping tax cuts, changes to Medicare or Social Security, or any of a host of other pet Republican/Teabagger wet dreams.   And they certainly still won’t have the votes to pass anything over a presidential veto.  So, despite the dire claims that the country will be subject to sweeping changes foisted on the 99% by the Republicans indebted to the Koch Bros and other special interests, I just don’t see it happening.   A lot of sturm und drang for nothing.  A tempest in a teapot.

I have also been thinking about the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment. There is so much tension around the issues of weapons and whose hands can hold weapons in this country, that I wonder if it isn’t time to clarify things, perhaps by repealing or amending the 2nd amendment.  A lot of people seem to think the Constitution is inviolate and unchanging, but that’s simply not true.  Since the original Constitution and the first 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights, were adopted, there have been 16 other amendments to the Constitution passed and ratified.  Several other amendments have been proposed, some even passed, but so far have not been adopted, usually because of failure to gain ratification by 37 states, the last hurdle for an amendment to clear before being added to the Constitution.  The Constitution is not a religious text handed down by the anointed.  It is not sacrosanct or sacred.  It can be changed if needed.  And it may be time to change the 2nd amendment.  Maybe it’s time to say not every nut case in the country has the right to own a weapon.

Have been contacted by two ladies on an internet dating site.  One is about 10 years older than I am, and frankly extremely heavy.  (The medical term is morbidly obese.)   Frankly, I don’t want to date someone who is 70 and overweight.  But how do I turn her down politely?  Do I just not respond to her message?   I’m not sure the other lady is really what I’m looking for either.  I may go ahead and meet her for coffee.  We’ll see.

It’s early, early Monday morning.   My “Sunday night” off.  I slept very little earlier, and I think that I’m going to go ahead and see about getting some sleep now.

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Not Enough Hours

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I haven’t posted anything the last couple of days.  Not here, that is.

Frankly, and I know it’s a lame complaint, but there are not enough hours in the day.   Not enough hours to work a full-time job around my physical infirmities, which require me to take long breaks and extends my work days, plus get some reading time in, plus get some research time in, plus do some self-soothing and just general down time, plus write something that isn’t just pointless but actually says something and is well thought out, rather than stream-of-consciousness just to throw words on a page.

I know I am not alone in sometimes feeling that I somehow missed something.  I failed to learn some essential lesson about how to live life so that I was successful.  I see these accomplished people and I wonder how they get it all done.  It seems like if I try to allot just an hour a day to each of several interests, I have no time for it all.  I can’t spend an hour per day drawing, and an hour per day writing, and an hour per day eating, and a half-hour per day showering and changing clothes, and an hour per day exercising, and 10 hours per day average working at my job, and a half-hour per day working on building flying models and an hour per day reading, and 8 hours per day sleeping, and … well… That right there is more than 24 hours total.  And there is no housework included in that.  For three meals, I have allotted only 10 minutes prep and 10 minutes to wolf it down for each meal.  It seems like anything I choose, takes away from something else.

And now, it is time for me to get logged into work for the night.  I will work 4 two-hour blocks of time, with an hour off between them, so that I will finish at 11:00 tomorrow morning.  I’ve tried repeatedly to do something with those hour-long breaks, but I’ve never been able to figure out how to switch from working to, say, writing for that hour.  It seems that by the time I’ve convinced myself that I’m not working but writing, and try to get into the writing, then it’s time already to log back into work.  And part of the reason that I take those long breaks is because my back, neck and shoulders hurt after too long at the keyboard.   That is part of my physical disability that makes it so hard for me to do anything else in the way of a job, and it defeats the purpose of taking the break if I have to stay sitting here at the keyboard, still with my hands raised to it, pounding on the keys.  I actually need to find something else to do on those breaks.  Sometimes I nap.  Sometimes I nap and oversleep.  Then I have to work later.

Bah.  It really is time to get logged into work and stop complaining right now.   I’ll think more on this later.  I think about it a lot.  I just don’t come up with the answers.

Global Climate Change

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Global Climate Change and the marches to raise awareness are the big stories of the day, aren’t they?

At one time, I actually agreed with George H. W. Bush, when, as President of the United States, he said that this was an issue that needed more evaluation before we rushed into changes that might have a heavy economic impact.  That was his position in 1989, when he took office.   A quarter-century ago.

A lot has changed in the last 25 years.  By the dawn of the millennium, much study had taken place and we knew that statistical norms for “weather cycles” were being exceeded.  We knew by then, without question, that levels of atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases were rising, and that CO2 released by modern human industrial activity was the largest contributor to the increase.

And we did nothing.  Because it would inconvenience too many people.  People might have to learn to drive less.  People might not get to cool their environments as much in the summer, or warm them as much in the winter.  They might have to find ways to use less energy largely produced by polluting methods that were rapidly being recognized as wholly unsustainable.  It might cost them something to not foul the planet they lived on to the point where we would die from the very pollution we insisted we needed to live comfortably.

Following practically every news article today on the internet about Global Climate Change marches, if they allowed comments, the comments were practically overwhelmed by people claiming that climate change is a fraud.  Many of them contend this is some sort of liberal plot, to keep big business from making as much money as it can.  Or scientists falsify data so that they will get big government grants. This is patently absurd.

Honestly, if it paid that well to be a climate scientist, the Koch Brothers would be climate scientists, not CEOs.  And nobody cares how much money the Koch Brother’s make.  (I refuse to call it “earning” it!)   We care that that is all they care about.   We care that they are polluting the water and air and earth, and making this planet unfit to live on in the name of profits.  We care about their grandchildren who will have to live with the collapse of an unsustainable environment, even if they don’t.

Frankly, I fear we have already passed a tipping point.

A sudden enough change in the way the industrialized world functions at its most basic levels, manufacturing, transportation and habitat, would probably cause a global economic collapse.  Because we didn’t take small steps a quarter century ago.  And we are a quarter century too late for small steps to do any good now.  In the near future, possibly in my lifetime, we will see huge methane blooms from thawing permafrost and seafloors.  When we reach that point it will be easy to see that we waited far, far too long to take action, because climate change will be like a runaway reactor we can no longer slow down.

And there is nowhere to run.  There is no corner of the planet that will not be affected.  And we will have none but ourselves to blame, because we didn’t want to be inconvenienced by having to change the way we did things before we knew better.

I Can’t Talk To You

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This is going to be short tonight, because I’m in a down mood.

The backstory is this:   My granddaughter re-posted something on social media (it’s okay, she’s 19 and old enough to be on the internet.)  (You can read about what she posted here:   http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/stjude.asp )

What my granddaughter poster was just the post blaming the First Lady for causing an uproar in St. Jude’s Hospital’s operations for a day “I assume for a photo shoot.”

I didn’t know that Snopes had already addressed this issue, but I posted a couple of comments laying out pretty much the same issues.   This wasn’t something she decided to do on her own.  She wasn’t sitting in the White House of an afternoon and said “I know what’ll make me look good!  I’ll go visit the little sick kids!” And then she called St. Jude’s and said “Yo, Imma comin’ down there.  Git y’selves ready!”   She was invited.  As has been every First Lady since my granddaughter has been alive.  I can see how my daughter-in-law’s right-wing family would have reacted if Ms. Obama had been invited to St. Jude’s and turned it down.   “Lookit this!  Bitch is too good to go visit sick kids in the hospital!”

After I replied, her mother, my daughter-in-law, my stepson’s wife, told me this:  “Pretty sure my daughter didnt ask for a rant about your thoughts. She can care about the family’s that were inconvenienced by her visit. I agree with her.  If my husband had to not be with me while I received devastating news about one of my children, I could care less about the presidents wife. I do anyway but would have even better reasons.”

My granddaughter and daughter-in-law have cut ties and dissociated their accounts from mine on social media before because I pointed out where their criticisms of the President were erroneous or misplaced.  So, there is no way I can reply to this without inflaming the situation and risking them excluding me from their social media again.   There is no just reply I can make to that whatsoever.

I’m sad that members of my family would basically say “I don’t give a fuck that you think I’m wrong.  I don’t care what you think.”   That just hurts.

I would like to believe that especially people in my family respect my intelligence and common sense.  I don’t know if it hurts more that they don’t, or that I have to watch them be close-minded and prejudiced, and I can’t figure out what to do to show them a better way.

I can’t talk to them.

The Real Reason It is Good To Have Money

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“Another Saturday night, and I ain’t got nobody…”

Okay, it’s not Saturday night, it’s Friday.  And, unlike the song, I didn’t just get paid, either.   Payday is the 5th and the 20th, but for some reason I only occasionally get paid before the official pay date when payday is on a weekend or a holiday.  This cycle, payday is on a Saturday, and my check wasn’t deposited, but should be there on Monday.   In the 5+ years I have worked for my current employer, my checks have never been deposited to my account on Saturday or Sunday or a holiday.  

So, I’m well and truly broke until Monday.  Then it’ll be a trip to the dreaded Walmart for groceries, because it’s very literally the closest and cheapest place for me to shop to fill my cabinet.  I kind of wish it wasn’t.  I wish it wouldn’t be such an imposition to boycott Walmart.  But, I need light bulbs, and groceries and acetaminophen and there are few places I can get it all with one trip.  Since I don’t have a car, one of my housemates who does gives me a ride for less than a taxi would cost me.  But I can’t afford to be going three or four places to get what I need just to spite Walmart.  I don’t have an extra $15 or $20 to spend on carfare twice per month.  

Yeah, I’m that broke.  Destitute.  Penurious.  Impoverished.  Hey, I’m a thesaurus!   

If I had money, I might have a car again, even though I really don’t like driving.  I never was a “true American male” in that sense.   Wasn’t champing at the big to get behind the wheel of some overpowered muscle care in 1970 when I turned 16 and could legally do so.  I’ve seen cars I like, cars I thought were sexy, cars I thought would turn heads, but I’ve never been real focused on trying to acquire one of those for myself.  I would have liked a Hummer if it was a little more practical, just because of its overall utility.  I owned several American Motors Gremlins in my time.  Seriously.  Held onto one that I bought for $200 for over 10 years.  When it finally just completely died and couldn’t be salvaged any longer, I bought a 5-year-old Chevy Cavalier station wagon that I then drove for 15 years, until I finally junked it almost 3 years ago now.  And I’ve not had a car since.  

What would I buy if I had more than enough money to be stupid with some of it?  We’ll, I’d probably buy two cars.  I would buy something small, seriously miserly on gas and upkeep, perhaps even a hybrid or electric.  Maybe an electric Smart Car.  The biggest drawback, to me, of a small car is that I would then be even more anxious about being on the road with all the idiots who would try to run over me in their two-story four-wheel-drive pickups.  And I might get a van or a truck.  To haul model airplane stuff to the field and back.  If I had money and I needed to impress a date or something, I could always rent a vehicle for the evening.  

See, that’s why it’s good to have money.   There are a lot of things money can’t buy (but probably fewer than you think; I once quipped “Money may not buy happiness, but it’ll buy a good enough actress I can’t tell the difference!”)   The most important thing money can “buy,” isn’t even a purchase.  

It’s options.

When you have money, you have choices.  What poverty does is steal choices.  If you have a little money in the bank, you can quit your job without worrying about needing the insurance and not being able to go six months without while you wait to be eligible at a new job for their group insurance.  (If you find a job that offers insurance.)  You can decide where to go on vacation, rather than sitting around because you can’t afford to go anywhere if you do get a couple of paid days off.   You can decide to look for housing where the schools are good or crime is low, rather than where the rents are cheapest.  You can decide which restaurant to go to, instead of being limited to a choice of which flavor ramen to fix for dinner.  

I’d have the option of shopping somewhere else instead of being forced to consolidate all my shopping into one trip (which actually isn’t a bad idea and is a good habit) to Walmart (which is the bad part).

Unquestionably, the single reason it is good to have money is because it buys you options.

Mania And The Downside

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Ideas.  I have lots of ideas.   And, of course, I’d probably be better served by going to bed and getting some sleep so I can work my job tonight, than staying up bouncing between a half-dozen half-finished blogs, a half-dozen partly read books (at least two of which I doubt I’ll bother finishing, because frankly, they’re just not very good or engaging), news programs I’m too distracted to watch, research I’m too tired and hyper to concentrate on, and all the other things that are keeping me awake at the moment.

My best friend is the son of a psychiatrist.  He told me many years ago, when I was a teenager, that I was manic depressive.   It’s the closest I’ve come to a diagnosis of having bipolar disorder.  I tend to avoid the people who could actually diagnose me with that and I’d have to listen to them.

When I was married, my now-ex-wife referred to my “Superman days.”   Many days I would go along, not getting a hell of a lot done besides working and sleeping and eating, and then I’d have a day, usually once or twice per month, when I got all the things done that needed doing besides eating and sleeping and working.  Mow the yard, paint the house, install new faucets, whatever.

I never went out and spent a lot of money I couldn’t afford on a lot of things I didn’t need, just to be buying things to fill some hole inside me I couldn’t explain.  I never went out and tried to have sex with a half-dozen ladies all on the same weekend (like the aforementioned friend of mine did one weekend on a visit home from college).  I never binge drank, or binge ate, or binged on drugs.  I never did a lot of the things that most people look at as examples of manic behavior.   My mania was (is?) always characterized by having a lot of ideas about things to write about that come so fast and that are all so good that I can’t seem to get them all written down before I forget something.

The downside of the mania is, of course, depression.  When it comes time to do the research, it’s overwhelming.  I can’t find the answers to my questions.  The slogging work of actually pounding keys is too much effort just now, because I’m tired, I’m in pain, my hands hurt from neuropathy, my back hurts, and I just don’t have the energy any longer.  Putting pencil to paper for a drawing, I can’t make it “look” right.  Cutting wood for a project and figuring out the design won’t work.  Everything grinds to a halt.  No ephemeral pleasure seems to be worth daunting effort and the chance it will be unsatisfying anyway.

After the party, there’s always clean up to do.  Pick up the cups and bottles, fill the trash bags and the dishwasher.  Arrange to the clean the carpets you just cleaned before the party so they’d look good for guests who trashed your floors with dropped ashes and spilled drinks.

But… It was a hell of a party!

Another Day Older

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Trying something new for something to eat tonight.   Sliced some cabbage into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick slices, drizzled them with extra-virgin olive oil, seasoned with seasoning salt and black pepper, and topped with 1/4-inch slices of sweet yellow onions, wrapped in foil, and put in the toaster oven at 350 degrees.

We’ll see how it turns out.

I’ve been pretty broke lately.   Got behind on my rent and can’t seem to get caught back up.   I’m not getting any further behind on that, but there are other things that crop up.  My annual $3000 deductible on my health insurance.   Haven’t bought any new clothes in so long that most of the shirts I own are out at the elbows, they all have frayed cuffs, stained collars.  There are some things I just plain want, that I can live without but that I’m tired of doing without.  A bedside lamp.  A hair dryer.  Things I’m sure 95% or more of the people who might read this take for granted.  (I had a hair dryer and a lamp, but they got left behind when I moved because I moved from Kansas to Texas with only what I could fit in my 20-year-old Cavalier station wagon on its last long trip.   Yet another story for another time.)

I’m thinking of going to one of those “begging sites.”  You know, you sign up, tell your sad tale and plea for people to donate money to you out of the goodness of their heart.  If nothing else, maybe I can garner enough donations to catch up on my rent.

You know, I’ll have to sit down and think about writing up how it is I came to be in this position.  When did I start losing everything to get to the point I am now?   What could i have done differently?  A large part of this was driven by health issues and some major surgeries; I’ve thought long and hard about a lot of those, and don’t really see much I could have done differently. Today, a large part of my income goes toward health insurance premiums, prescriptions, copays and deductibles.  Bad enough that I’d be poverty stricken without all that.

I came here late tonight to make this web log entry.   So it’s almost time for me to log into work.

Yes, that’s right.  All these money problems and I actually have a job.  I suppose I need to do a blog entry about budgets and how I spend my money and my time.   What obstacles I face to increasing my income through regular means.   For what it’s worth, I’ve got roughly 1200 days until I turn 62, and I have every intention of retiring from my job at that point.  I’m not sure my physical condition will let me keep working much beyond that, and I really hate the idea of just dying in the traces and never having any retirement at all.

Gonna go check on my roasted cabbage and onions!   I should have put some garlic in there, too, shouldn’t I?