NoJoMo 2019

Hat-tip to this, which is providing some of my prompts for this year. Obviously, they’re intended for a much younger audience, but it provides a bit to work with.

  1. Introduction, etc..
  2. If you had three wishes, what would they be? (Do not ask for three more wishes)
  3. Football
  4. Start of the birthday bits
  5. Birthday Deux
  6. Travel recap.
  7. Describe how you would manage your own radio or TV station.
  8. Birthday Tres
  9. The saying goes, “Money cannot buy happiness.” Do you agree or disagree? Why?
  10. Write about what you think you will be like and what you will be doing 10 years or 20 years from now.
  11. Veterans’ Day
  12. Free-write
  13. Two men or women have it easier in our culture? If so, why do you think so?
  14. Write about your biggest fears (reach-back to 2010).
  15. Halftime free-write
  16. if you could change one thing in your life what would it be and why? (reach-back to 2010)
  17. Christmas Shopping
  18. How would you describe yourself? How would your best friend describe you? (reach-back to 2012)
  19. What was the most creative excuse you’ve come up with to get out of a date, an appointment, or doing a task? (reach-back to 2013)
  20. Write about an experience that changed a long held belief you had. (reach-back to 2013)
  21. Thanksgiving Plans
  22. Write a letter to your 13 year old {sic} self. (reach-back to 2013)
  23. Describe your most recent doctor visit. I’m specifically looking for the one(s) you see most often. (reach-back to 2016)
  24. Write about three things you did for the first time in the past year. (reach-back to 2016)
  25. Recap of your year month-by-month.
  26. Healthcare situation (reach-back to 2016, trip to Georgetown.)
  27. Write about social media. What are your accounts? What have you set aside?
  28. Thanksgiving
  29. Shopping/Free-write
  30. Wrap-up

Sixteen

Write about three things you did for the first time in the past year.

Okay, so three things I’ve done this year that I’d never done before.  Please excuse the odd organization;  i started with bullets, and I’m not sure if that was the correct way to go.  There’s multiple paragraphs for each.  Of course, if I was writing a DoD PowerPoint presentation, they’d be awesome.

Anyway, on to it….

  • Ate a raw oyster. A few, actually. They were listed as a specialty at my friend’s restaurant. I’d been considering doing it. The opportunity presented itself, so I went for it. Reaction? Not bad. Probably something I wouldn’t go for often, but it was good. If you want an example of what a nerd I am, in the months leading up to that time, I actually googled how to eat them. Do you chew them? Swallow whole? What? Obviously, roasted or fried you chew, but what of the raw variety. The answers I found said, essentially, take a few bites, let the flavor circulate around your mouth, then swallow. Yes, this is a pretty lukewarm reaction, but I’ve found months later that I have a craving again. It’s the oddest damned thing.
  • Spent a night in the hospital. This one didn’t happen until it was oyster season again. Obviously, they don’t serve those there. Both times were terribly unpleasant. One night the first time, two the second. The second instance was one day shy of a month later. Both were due to infections. Both of different bacteria. Both, ultimately, of the same cause. Protip: when you’re killing your immune system every four weeks, inserting foreign bodies into your body is a really bad idea(TM). Ultimately, I place the blame on one medical provider. I won’t write much about this here because I’m still considering all options (and, yes, that includes whatever legal remedies might be available). But, in my current job, I have no leave at all. None. I don’t even get paid holidays. If I’m not working, I’m not getting paid. I was also completely out-of-control. When I was younger, I prided myself in my ability to put up with nearly anything. Since I got sick, I’ve had to get over that. There’s things that I just can’t control anymore. My body is included in that growing list. That includes my emotions. I’m tempted to go back to some of what I wrote in about 2005 where I felt like I was completely numb to everything. Things have certainly changed. There’ve been high highs, and low lows. Sarah and I chuckle at one of our animated sons, Butters from “South Park,” (And if you know either of us, you can see how that’s our boy….) who was sitting on a curb crying after his girlfriend (a waitress at a place modeled after Hooters) dumped him. Stan was sitting nearby despairing about getting blown out by his new circle of friends. “I’d rather be a crying little pussy than a faggy goth kid.”
  • Walked away from a terrible work situation. Here, I’m talking about my last job. I don’t even try to miss it, knowing I won’t be able to. I’m still on decent terms with a few of the people I encountered, but there’s others I hope I never speak to again. Aside from the last two jobs, I’ve never felt that way before. Again, there’s a lot more I could say on this one, but won’t. I was used. I hope the people responsible have memories so short that they can look themselves in the mirror again someday.

I could write for hours about these, but I think I’ve said enough.  The last one is a bit of a cop-out;  I could have written about the sheer volume of whining about the election.  Oh, you’re going to have a peaceful protest?  Yeah, I give that about half an hour.  Also, nobody cares.  The Commonwealth of Virginia supported a loser.  Again.  This has been true many times in the past.  So, too, that I voted for whoever lost.

But I get it.  I’m a bigot because I didn’t vote for the party of historic racism.  Hmmmm…okay.

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.

Fall Into Fall

I started writing this a few weeks ago, but never got around to completing it.


The last time I wrote, I was complaining about recruiters.

They’ve not stopped. Friday afternoon, after a morning with my counselor (is that what I should call her?), I swa my Tysabri infusion delayed again.

Following that infusion, I was supposed to stop by a former company for a chat. I’d not received a calendar invite, and I was going to have to miss time at work on Monday, so I didn’t dig terribly deep.

That’s rescheduled for later.


Given that I have my next infusion Tuesday, and the reschedule was for five weeks later, I guess I started writing this probably the week after Labor Day. (For anyone reading overseas, Labor Day is the US version of May Day; we don’t really like Socialism, despite what you might hear on the Democratic presidential debates. Heya, hipster Socialists, the state is cancelled.)

Otherwise, November is close at hand, so today I’m starting to gather writing prompts for next month

Yes, I’m going to do that for the tenth year, despite my psychologist’s identification of it as a compulsion.

So much in my life these days revolves around identification of the various “problems” I have. See the bit about the writing compulsion. Oh well.

We are getting very close to moving. I’m excited to be closer in to a city. It’s been too long. I should also respond to a personal email that’s been languishing.

Arts Majors

I’ve long maintained that many of the people working as corporate recruiters are Arts Majors who spell too well to work at Starbucks.

This morning’s bit was a call from a 703 number with no name displayed in the caller ID.

Are you in the market?

Not really, but I’m always willing to listen. What do you have?

You need to answer a few questions before I tell you.

((Technical questions from someone who clearly doesn’t know WTF she’s asking))

What is your current salary?

I’m not at liberty to say.

Okay, then, well, we’ll keep your resume on file.

Nono, wait a minute, you haven’t let me ask my questions.

You wouldn’t answer mine.

Please don’t keep my information on file.

My initial inclination was to release this disreputable company’s information. Then it was to call and complain about this cheery employee.

But I’m not going to do that.

I just want people to stop doing that shit.

You can leave

That’s the phrase that’s been floating through my scarred brain lately.

And I am/have.

Faceboook. Google. Twitter might be next if I can find something that I find to be an adequate replacement.

Sometimes, it’s the only thing left.

On Moving

I did go see a psychologist a few weeks ago in response to a few issues I’ve been having.

Since probably November, I’ve been having these very disturbing dreams. She thinks I have OCD, which seems to be a bit more common in people with my condition.

My, now years’, of writing every day of a month, is a compulsion.

(As an aside, I moved my 2015 and 2016 archives off the main page; I’m not sure I meant them to be there, anyway.)

Yesterday, we spent most of the day looking at places to rent in the District of Columbia.

Though I’d like to be closer to where I’m working (only one day per week, the rest remotely), and where I’m receiving my medical care, I’m scared that we won’d be able to afford it should something bad happen to me.

Paranoia
Paranoia
Everybody’s coming to get me

And a diversion to watch stuff on YouTube.

But back to writing. I don’t even know. Perhaps it’s something that keeps me humming along.

Today’s thought, after a sleep ended by a dream I’d been thoroughly roughed-up by the security staff at some conference I was attending. It wasn’t something that was terribly of interest to me, but I was there for someone else. (Perhaps this was triggered by my wife mentioning something she wanted to see that’s not of particular interest to me

And delete speculation on the cause of the dream.

On the bright side, however, the compulsions for risk have really dropped off since I spoke to her.

I need to listen to the book she recommended.

And maybe write in May instead of the month leading up to my birthday this year, separate things by six months.

My inclination towards the end of last summer’s writing period was to just not do it again.

But the urge is there, and it’s probably better for me than worrying about where I can find something dangerous to do.

When I say, “dangerous,” it’s rarely something that’s potentially fatal, but just reckless. Where can I find some raw oysters to eat? No, I don’t want to put in my seatbelt in the back of this car.

But odd times, to say the least. My scarred brain is calming down some, thankfully. We shall see. And maybe I express my compulsion in May, instead of July and August.

Presidents’ Day Weekend

I’ve been kind of productive this weekend.

I was going to complain about being exhausted, but I’m actually really not. Do I like the roll in every day? Not in the least. Is it really kicking my ass yet? No, not so much.

The urge to find some place new to stay, however, is much stronger than it was even last weekend. I want to be closer to the city and work. This needs to happen sooner, rather than later.

We can do this; just need to refocus on what’s available.

So that’s the goal in the next couple of months. Hopefully my employer will be willing to work with me on things.

Get off the stage, sweetheart

Headline reference. Reactions to this week’s nonsense with Virginia.

My former Representative, and Virginia’s two senators, called for that yesterday.

.I disagree. Ralphie is a horrible governor, and politician, that’s to be sure. There’s a reason why more than once I set out specifically to vote for his opponents, and against him in Norfolk Democrat primaries. (Norfolk has been a single-party city since the Northern occupiers left in the 1870s.) I do admit that that was more about his undergraduate stint at a state-funded military academy that didn’t admit women until twenty years after the Federal service academies. I also, professionally, cannot name a single Keydet I’ve worked with whose presence didn’t actually detract from the mission at hand….

But, no, I don’t think Ralphie is racist. I think he’s a typical well-to-do Virginia Democrat. Until very recently, proper admiration of the racist party overlords was required to advance.

You can’t just erase that history.

The statues the racists in Charlottesville were concerned about — those were erected by Virginia Democrats.

I almost said I can’t believe that there’s efforts to pretend otherwise. No, it makes complete sense. Erase the past completely, and maybe people won’t point fingers. Nope. Didn’t happen. There’s no record of it.

And even if there was a record of it, all of those racist Democrats, like Fritz Hollings from South Carolina, all became Republicans, right? Erected the Confederate flag over the South Carolina statehouse, went to the Senate, and switched parties.

Oh he didn’t switch parties? My mistake.

But parts of the party’s history, and personal histories of adults involved in it don’t disappear dow the Memory Hole, by just pretending that it never happened because it makes your party look bad.

(Yes, I have a legitimate excuse for whatever I did in 1984; I was a very young child.)

Six

This talk wasn’t any better than the sixth.

I understand the idea of encrypting all traffic, but it relies on two assumptions:

  1. All traffic needs to be private, and;
  2. End-user connectivity is every-expanding.

Let’s look at those assumptions one-by-one.

What’s the problem if I fetch Facebook’s favicon.ico? Why does that need to be private? There’s lots of things that people do online that aren’t the least bit objectionable. Does it matter to anyone that I ordered Pizza Hut for dinner last night? Whatever. I brushed my teeth twice yesterday, too, and used different brands of toothpaste. (The tube I took to Shmoocon was still in the suitcase, so I used the other one in the bathroom.)

Perhaps if I was looking at some nice, wholesome porn, I wouldn’t want people to know about it, but for the vast majority of my Internet use, I really couldn’t care less who could see. That that favicon.ico gets fetched multiple times per day by multiple people on my network is not a problem. Maybe there should be a way to cache that common content, so it doesn’t have to be fetched from the source every time. Like a shared cache? Squid, perhaps? Oh, but that doesn’t work when all content is encrypted. My professional experience shows that there’s many times when bandwidth availability does not increase, which brings me to point two.

There’s lots of instances where, despite your cable company bumping your cable modem speed, significantly that bandwidth has not increased.

In one of my not-too-distant past projects, we had remote sites connected by a 9600bps satellite connections. Much of the bandwidth available on these fifteen-minute-per-hour connections was spent just sending and receiving SMTP traffic How much less traffic would have been exchanged with the encryption overhead? Yes, maybe, there’s faster methods of communication available that would enable encrypted communications, but there’s also contracts in place binding payment of the slow services for years to come. Even on the ground, there’s contracts with telcos that can’t be broken, even in light of faster options. So maybe having cashe-friendly web content, and unencrypted email makes sense there? Maybe?

The EFF, and the blind promotion of arcane “net neutrality” rules don’t take any of that into consideration; they assume everyone is using a fast cable modem, or US-based cell network. No, there’s tons of people who aren’t.

So the solution is to hand the decision-making process over to an unelected group of bureaucrats relying on technology from the middle of last century?

GMAFB.

But, then, I guess I’m just not woke enough to know that I’m paying less for my mobile phone with far better data than I was before NN was repealed. Sorry ’bout that. I suppose, also, that the places with defined contracts also got faster with the FCC controlling things. Oh, they did. Totally. Those 9600bsp connections are now 10M full-duplex. Guess I missed that.