Again, Saturday

Seems like this is when I’m writing. There’s not a lot to do, really; what can you do?

The news cycle this week has been dizzying. I had Sarah watch one particular commentator’s take on the dismissal of the Flynn case. I don’t agree with the guy on many, nay most, things, but he laid out the disclosures in a pretty straightforward fashion.

It’d be amusing watching the respective approach to what government(s) are doing. Lots and lots of emphasis on what the President is or isn’t doing, and barely any attention to government messed up the testing.


Other stuff I was going to write about:

  1. In a bit of nostalgia, and I’m sure if you look, there’s many links here (which I’m too lazy to expunge), but I decided to see what’s going on over at a place where I used to try to help, AltDaily. Broken Tribune.co redirect. Seeing that does make me a little sad, but that does reinforce the tagline here. If I ventured into the sewer that is Facebook, I’d find more that a few friends who were involved with it.
  2. Speaking of social media sites, I’ve been playing a little with Locals. I also have an account on Minds, but I’m not sure what to do with it. But back to Locals, I’m following four channels at the moment — Dave Rubin, Bridget Phetsay, Andy Ngo, and Michael Malice. I pay varying attention to these four, but I was curious after hearing Bridget’s adoring review (probably with Rubin on her own show). Some of the content looks interesting, but you do have to pay for a lot of it. Same goes for one of Ngo’s efforts, Quilette, and The Fifth Column. My friends over at Mouthy Broadcast also do some things with one of the donation sites where you can see exclusive content. I’ve been avoiding that particular site for a while since they started making editorial decisions on folks’ content. (Sorry for going full RMS-information-needs-to-be-free, but…) On the site, you have to pony up to like/share/comment on posts. I definitely understand it, but I was totally broke for so long, and I’m accustomed to getting free-of-charge content free pretty much forever. Would I start paying for podcasts? I doubt it. Do I buy things from companies that advertise on the pods I listen to? As sure as my ass is in a pair of underwear I heard advertised on one of them.
  3. COVID-19 has delayed my infusion by a week, and I’m getting kind of crabby with as fatigued as I am.
  4. One of the other things I added to my already-full pod queue is Filmphoria. I heard him on with Robbie Bernstein on Run Your Mouth. I think I bought one of the host’s sweatshirts, too. So I had an odd craving for Jiffy Pop popcorn. The stuff that’s in the Smartfood bag has placated me. Sorta.

So, stopping again. Too much rambling. Whatever. It’s what I do.

Wednesday

In pandemic land.

One of the first things I saw this morning:

The poster’s name is snipped to protect the guilty from his wife, Karen’s, wrath.

One of the local TV stations had this neat infographic on the governors reopening the economy. and the restrictions effect on both disease progression, and domestic product.

Watching it was interesting yes. I’m sure it really spoke to the audience here in the DC region.

But as I thought about it, it occurred to me, government cannot stop commerce.

Even in a maximum security prison, people trade with each other.

See ya

Back in the summer of 2019, I wrote a blog post called, “You can leave.”

When I wrote it, I was talking largely about what I was seeing happening with Google and Facebook.

Since I’ve been in virtual isolation worried about COVID-19/Coronavirus/”The Chinese Virus,” I’ve opened back up to social media, I’m leaving again.  I’ve been glancing at Facebook more often.  I’ve been reading Nextdoor, after the wholehearted endorsement by the corporate media’s Republican sweetheart, David Brooks, on the dumpster fire (all apologies to Ms. Bridget Phetasy, whose Totes-Didn’t-Used-To-Be-Evil video show is called that) that is Meet The Press.

My mistake.  But understand that I’d be okay never speaking to some of you ever again.  If I care the last about you, you’re getting muted during one of my rare visits.  If you do it repeatedly, you’re getting removed from my friends list.

That’s the kindest way to deal with it, even if it means that those people will hate me now, want to see me executed later.  I don’t care.  But, then, I am the one who’s seeing a Psychologist on the regular.

But, back to Nextdoor, the sentiments go along with the area where I live.  My neighbors are authoritarians who want to use the force of government.  Today it’s forcing businesses to close.  What is it tomorrow? When does it get to killing people who don’t behave the way you want them to?

So I’m withdrawing into myself, and praying for Senator Paul

A Moment

That’s how long it took me to realize the reason my early alarm didn’t go off was because, um, it’s Saturday, and the alarm is only scheduled for Monday through Friday.

I’m glad I didn’t wake my wife, worried that she’d be late starting her telework.

The semi-isolation for COVID-19 is ongoing.

Monday I have two medical appointments that are going to be done over the phone. The second one is a follow-up to an MRI I had at Georgetown on Friday.

That I was sedated might explain a bit better about why I didn’t fully-comprehend that today is Saturday.

For me, though the experience at Georgetown was a bit off, things have been really not all that different for me, but, as someone who works from home most of the time, that isn’t that big a surprise.

I haven’t been to my office in like three weeks. Okay. And? I’m really smoothing things over with this system I help run, as well as pointing out things that can be done to improve corporate contract performance.

This is what I can still do.

But do I still want to when I see the effects on people, including very good friends, of what’s happening?

That didn’t make a lot of sense, so maybe I ought to quit writing for now.

The temptation to write is very much there right now, and that’s one of the things that I tend to do when I’m mentally-stressed.

Settling Down

Reply to a note left for me on my last entry:


No, it was me going home for Thanksgiving.  I really kind of was having a breakdown when I wrote twenty-nine.  But I’ve kind of been cloistering at home the past couple of weeks, trying to get my head back together.

I think it worked, but I am very much in need of my next Tysabri infusion.  Tuesday can’t get here soon enough.  Ugh.


I did the trip, and ended up on the train thinking my psychologist didn’t want to see me anymore, and I should blow up just about everything in my life.

So I emailed her.

For whatever reason, I convinced myself she was trying to get rid of me as a patient.

No, really.

We discussed it, and it might come down to my life as a kid.  Things suck?  Okay, just hang on for a few more months, and you’ll be able to start anew, somewhere else.

That also might speak to my longtime urge to always build from scratch, and nothing is, or maybe, nothing should ever be permanent.

I think that the resistance to that might be rooted in the desire to improve on something previously good.  Or perfect.

Speaks to my admiration of certain sports figures.  Will anyone ever match Brett Favre’s interception record?  Would anyone ever be allowed to play long enough to break it?

And that speaks to my subtitle — Everything Gets Deleted, Eventually.

That is a unprofessionalism!

Title is the exasperated utterance from a shady recruiter who called back a few minutes after I’d told him that, no, I wouldn’t be working for him, or his shady client.

Let’s recap the timeline.

Monday I got a call from a recruiter about a position not terribly far from me.

I told him, we’ll call him “Recruiter A,” my two requirements:

  1. I am not doing the contract-to-hire (or not) thing anymore, and;
  2. I am finished with work for the Federal Government that’s not on the General Schedule (so as a Federal employee)

I’ve told my current boss that my current role is the last one I will take in support of government as a civilian. Unless I’m laid off, I will. (And if I am laid off, I will see about returning to my last position, as I really loved that organization….)

I listened to his spiel on how that, no, this wasn’t a government gig, and it was in support of a commercial one who weren’t doing government work. (Given that the company is German, that I said, “spiel” is mildly amusing….) I finally got him off the phone after I told him I’d email him my CV when I got home.

I got home Tuesday night, and was a bit exhausted; travel takes a lot out of me these days.

Wednesday, I sent Recruiter A my latest Ops CV. Almost simultaneously, I got a phone call from someone I thought was Recruiter A (we’ll call him “Recruiter B”). The area code, and first digit of the numbers were exactly the same. The voices and accents were nearly identical.

I told him that I’d just sent him my CV. Recruiter B seemed surprised about this, and wanted to know information about my experience, which I thought I’d already given (to Recruiter A).

Recruiter B offered even less information on the position than Recruiter A, and was rather curt when I didn’t express the excitement he thought I ought to have.

We went talked about salary, the same discussion I’d had with Recruiter A on Monday. The salary range was unchanged from the discussion I’d had on Monday. The salary was less than I wanted, but still acceptable for something outside government. After going back-and-forth, I finally assented to him submitting my profile to the client.

About five minutes later, still fuming over his tone, I sent an email to Recruiter A, thinking he was the one I just got off the phone with, saying that, no, I didn’t want to move forward.

Recruiter A called me back in tears, saying that, no, he hadn’t just called me. Uh, so with whom did I just speak?

Regardless, I wasn’t interested anymore.

Thursday I got a call from Recruiter B. Uh, I thought I told you I wasn’t interested yesterday? I’m still not interested. I don’t care that you’ve already submitted me to your client; I won’t be working there.

THIS IS A UNPROFESSIONALISM!

So are you.

And I would never work for a company that hired you.

But my bigger message, aligning with what I wrote a few months ago, for so many things you can leave. I’m not playing this game anymore. Despite the newly-elected politicians’ desires to control me, I choose to be free.

I am not going to work for a company that doesn’t provide benefits. Even if Medicaid For All (yes, it’s Medicaid; some doctors will refuse to accept the artificially-low reimbursement rates, and will just choose to quit), I’m not doing this anymore. If you want to have full control of my time and effort, you’re going to give me paid time off, paid holidays, and a 401K match. No, I’m not going to do it temporarily. I refuse.

I do kind of feel like I should call and apologize to the guy I made cry. Maybe I will.


Update: I did call,a nd said pretty much what I said here.

I am not going to do this anymore.

Feeding My Compulsions

Yesterday, I pretty much wrote my prompts for next month.

Yes, my doctor says it’s a compulsion, but I think it’s okay. I did resist doing it over the summer this year, so that’s a start.

I plucked a few entries from my past I’m going to revisit for this year.

Below is one of them.

One of the things I am surprised by, however, is that some of this stuff isn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.

I was in a bad place there for a few years.

Certainly I’d be justified in pointing fingers, but it’s over now.


Describe your most recent doctor visit. I’m specifically looking for the one(s) you see most often.

I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking when I wrote this prompt. Maybe I should have consulted my calendar before i wrote.

My two most-recent visits were with specialists. One to replace the folks likely responsible for my two hospital stays this month. The other was to see what’s going on with something else in my messed-up body.

I guess my most recent medical visit was with my longtime dentist. I’ve been seeing the guy pretty much continuously since I was in high school. My medical issues have definitely included attack on my teeth; he’s been helping keep me sort of functioning. Yesterday’s visit was for a cleaning. I have to get an extra one each year because my disease modifying drug affects my oral bacteria. That said, no cavities!

As for regular medical stuff, I’ve been seen at Ghent Family Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School since the day that I had the MRIs that led to my diagnosis.

I should probably write a counter to this lousy Yelp review. They’ve been great for me, especially last year when my oh-so-wonderful Healthcare.gov plan wasn’t accepted by the two specialists I’d been seeing.

Dr. Robert Newman is my primary care physician. He helped find new specialists, including my new neurologist, Dr. Kuczma. I also have to tip my hat to Dr. Thomas Grant, who has looked after me for several years at EVMS.

My last visit was with a resident at EVMS (who I’d link, but I can’t find her bio right now….Dr. Jodi Newcombe). I was there to follow up with them after my second hospitalization, and to get a prescription refilled. She was one of the residents I recommended to my wife after the one she’d been seeing left. My wife ended up with the other one, who’s since left for a fellowship, but she went with me to my last visit with Dr. Newcombe. “I like her!”

I do normally end up seeing a resident when I’m there; that’s what the clinic is for. At the same time, part of the reason I decided to go there is that when I was looking for regular medical care, I had no idea what the fuck was wrong with me. At a medical school, there should always be more than one opinion.

Sometimes, though, I do think the professors take some sick sadistic pleasure in sticking a rookie resident with me.
“Do you have x or y?”
“Yes.”
“Well, which one?!”
“Both. Depends on the hour. Check my record; I have multiple sclerosis.” “Oh.” brow furrow“OHHHHH.”

As I said, I went as a followup after my hospital stay in October.

It was also an opportunity to get my flu shot. I don’t know if there’s some academic group that gives them brownie points for handing them out, but I’ve gotten the flu shot every year since I’ve been going there. Magically, I’ve not gotten the flu. It’s like it works or something.

My wife did get the flu last year, so she got hers on the last trip, too.

But the way the clinic works, you’re seen by a resident, then normally the supervising faculty member, like Grant or Newman, comes in to check over whatever the resident did.

Occasionally, they’ll change things. This past spring, I managed to fall getting off the bus. Validating gravity’s function – it’s one of the things those of us with perpetually-numb feet and vertigo issues do. The resident wanted to send me for a bunch of X-Rays; the faculty supervisor came and checked me out, and decided against it.

Yes, I was sore for a long time, but I’ve recovered. Lasting soreness implies I’m getting old or something.

Monday, I’m going up to see if I might be an appropriate candidate for studies at Georgetown.

I did a study on some thing that didn’t work, previously. This failure pretty much made me swear off serving as a test subject, but I am intrigued by this, and think Georgetown might be one of the places on the East Coast where they might try it. I also have zero reservations about using my own cultured stem cells.

We’ll see how it goes.

Aware of what you can’t see

This week is supposed to be about raising awareness of multiple sclerosis.

I really hate that euphemism, “raising awareness.” Is anyone really not aware of cancer? It’s quite possibly going to kill you, eventually. Yes, you are going to die, and chances are it’ll be cancer or cardiovascular disease.

Is anyone really not aware of male pattern baldness? Maybe I give the common man too much credit; I refuse to assume he’s a complete idiot. Makes me a bad nanny-state politician.

The tens of you who read this may or may not be aware that a) there is a condition called multiple sclerosis, and b) I have it.

You would not know I have it just by looking at me. One of the most common things that people say to me, upon hearing that I have it is the dreaded, “you look so good!” At first glance, if you don’t see my often present cane, I do look better physically than I did not terribly long ago. Although I’ve lost some hair, and have more wrinkles, I’m a lot skinnier than I was not terribly long ago.

I probably weigh about what I did when I graduated high school. How many other folks in their mid-thirties can say that? Otherwise, it’s visually tough to tell I’m afflicted — unless you can see my bruised elbows. In addition to the scar I have on my right elbow from a childhood baseball incident (batting left-handed, and took a pitch right to the elbow), I often have bruises on my elbows from various collisions with things in everyday life. I thought about this as I got the shower wall in the other morning..

This article touches on many of them. I’ll run through the ones that affect me the most, then go try to go back to sleep.

Pain
I’m trying to remember the last day when I didn’t have some sort of physical pain, and honestly, cannot. When I was younger, it was largely attributable to overexertion, and poor dental care. Both of those were partially my own damn fault. I worked out too hard. I didn’t go get those wisdom teeth pulled when I should have, etc..

Towards the end of college, I started having the odd body aches nearly every day. I attributed it to living in perpetual jetlag; for years, I lived in both day and night worlds. Student or entrepreneur during the day, radio news guy at night. In 2005, I signed on with a company that allowed me to leave much of that lifestyle behind. but I still ran too hard out of habit.

Fatigue and Sleep Issues
See above. I think the last time I would have been on a somewhat-normal sleep cycle would have been early in college. From about age nineteen to 25, I pretty much existed on various stimulants (caffeine, nicotine, etc.). Four hours of sleep here, two hours there, a 30 minute catnap, etc..

The concept of going to sleep at 2200, and waking at 0600 was completely foreign to me. In many ways, it still is, because I really have trouble sleeping more than a few hours at a time. Even after a few hours’ sleep, I’m not “rested.”

Since diagnosis, I’ve not gotten better with that. The last two years’ employment drama haven’t helped. Right now, I often struggle through a full workday, go back to my mom’s house where I’m staying during the workweek, sleep for a couple of hours, wake up, have dinner, talk to my wife, and try to sleep again until it’s time to head in to the office in the morning. Not fun..

I’ve tried backing off on the stimulants and depressants, but it hasn’t helped all that much.. I’m tired nearly all the time, and that makes my vision worse.

Vision Problems
I have them big time since around the time I was diagnosed. My vision has gotten worse. The last time I went to an opthamologist, I was at about 20/50 combined, corrected. I was correctable to 20/60 in my right eye, and not correctable better than 20/2000 in my left eye. (For reference, not correctable better than 20/200 combined is legally blind.)

My visual decline has been ongoing, but really accelerated the last few years. I don’t see well enough to feel safe to drive a car. I miss lots of things. Reading the ticker on the TV? Yeah, good luck with that. Failing to recognize someone I’ve known for a long time? Guilty.A sensation like I’ve just had a camera flash me all the time? Got that, too.

I could rattle on for pages about my various maladies, but you’d never be able to see them for yourselves. So, how do I raise your awareness? I can’t. All I can do is tell you my story, my situation, and hope you’ll believe me. I know when I was younger, I probably wouldn’t have believed me, because I couldn’t experience these things, myself. And, of course, I look so good! *sigh*

Aware of what you can't see

This week is supposed to be about raising awareness of multiple sclerosis.
I really hate that euphemism, “raising awareness.” Is anyone really not aware of cancer? It’s quite possibly going to kill you, eventually. Yes, you are going to die, and chances are it’ll be cancer or cardiovascular disease.
Is anyone really not aware of male pattern baldness? Maybe I give the common man too much credit; I refuse to assume he’s a complete idiot. Makes me a bad nanny-state politician.
The tens of you who read this may or may not be aware that a) there is a condition called multiple sclerosis, and b) I have it.
You would not know I have it just by looking at me. One of the most common things that people say to me, upon hearing that I have it is the dreaded, “you look so good!” At first glance, if you don’t see my often present cane, I do look better physically than I did not terribly long ago. Although I’ve lost some hair, and have more wrinkles, I’m a lot skinnier than I was not terribly long ago.
I probably weigh about what I did when I graduated high school. How many other folks in their mid-thirties can say that? Otherwise, it’s visually tough to tell I’m afflicted — unless you can see my bruised elbows. In addition to the scar I have on my right elbow from a childhood baseball incident (batting left-handed, and took a pitch right to the elbow), I often have bruises on my elbows from various collisions with things in everyday life. I thought about this as I got the shower wall in the other morning..
This article touches on many of them. I’ll run through the ones that affect me the most, then go try to go back to sleep.
Pain
I’m trying to remember the last day when I didn’t have some sort of physical pain, and honestly, cannot. When I was younger, it was largely attributable to overexertion, and poor dental care. Both of those were partially my own damn fault. I worked out too hard. I didn’t go get those wisdom teeth pulled when I should have, etc..
Towards the end of college, I started having the odd body aches nearly every day. I attributed it to living in perpetual jetlag; for years, I lived in both day and night worlds. Student or entrepreneur during the day, radio news guy at night. In 2005, I signed on with a company that allowed me to leave much of that lifestyle behind. but I still ran too hard out of habit.
Fatigue and Sleep Issues
See above. I think the last time I would have been on a somewhat-normal sleep cycle would have been early in college. From about age nineteen to 25, I pretty much existed on various stimulants (caffeine, nicotine, etc.). Four hours of sleep here, two hours there, a 30 minute catnap, etc..
The concept of going to sleep at 2200, and waking at 0600 was completely foreign to me. In many ways, it still is, because I really have trouble sleeping more than a few hours at a time. Even after a few hours’ sleep, I’m not “rested.”
Since diagnosis, I’ve not gotten better with that. The last two years’ employment drama haven’t helped. Right now, I often struggle through a full workday, go back to my mom’s house where I’m staying during the workweek, sleep for a couple of hours, wake up, have dinner, talk to my wife, and try to sleep again until it’s time to head in to the office in the morning. Not fun..
I’ve tried backing off on the stimulants and depressants, but it hasn’t helped all that much.. I’m tired nearly all the time, and that makes my vision worse.
Vision Problems
I have them big time since around the time I was diagnosed. My vision has gotten worse. The last time I went to an opthamologist, I was at about 20/50 combined, corrected. I was correctable to 20/60 in my right eye, and not correctable better than 20/2000 in my left eye. (For reference, not correctable better than 20/200 combined is legally blind.)
My visual decline has been ongoing, but really accelerated the last few years. I don’t see well enough to feel safe to drive a car. I miss lots of things. Reading the ticker on the TV? Yeah, good luck with that. Failing to recognize someone I’ve known for a long time? Guilty.A sensation like I’ve just had a camera flash me all the time? Got that, too.
I could rattle on for pages about my various maladies, but you’d never be able to see them for yourselves. So, how do I raise your awareness? I can’t. All I can do is tell you my story, my situation, and hope you’ll believe me. I know when I was younger, I probably wouldn’t have believed me, because I couldn’t experience these things, myself. And, of course, I look so good! *sigh*

Shmoocon 2015 from afar

I watched this over the stream.

I find it interesting that location services, even when the user says to turn them off, are often still transmitted. I don’t know that there’s an easy way to fix this if the vendors still allow location data to be transmitted even after the user says to turn it off.

Such a feature would be rather easy for Apple to add to the API, but it’d be up to the folks who police the app store to enforce use of it. It might slow application approval, since someone would have to verify that the application is using the correct faculty, etc..

In the disaster that is Android, there’d be no way of enforcing it. With things that I’ve read that say the spyware infection rate being somewhere north of 70% on Android devices, it might well be impossible.

I understand the paranoia, but I don’t share it. I’m okay with my location being tracked. Maybe when I was young and healthy, I would have cared more about being able to just disappear, but I don’t now.

Secrecy and surprise really don’t afford you that much protection if you’re still a lumbering target. I’ll eschew my normal allusions to football, but they’re very appropriate.

I am not at Shmoocon this year, because I couldn’t get a ticket. I am watching from home via the stream. Do with that what you will.