Write about an experience that changed a long held belief you had. (reach-back to 2013)

From November 22, 2013:

“Don’t ever change.” Such an inscription is probably scribbled inside your school yearbooks. But letting a single event change you, your beliefs, doesn’t make any sense to me. Isn’t one of the signs of terminal adulthood that you lose your snap judgement?

I’ve changed my mind on several different “major” issues as I’ve aged. 22 year-old me probably would think mid-30s me is pretty lame. Maybe I’m just an old conformist.

(No, I was never a goth kid. Wouldn’t have been able to pull that one off, either.)

That said, I understand there’s situations where acting against my original intention is the correct thing to do. “Steer into the skid.” Another thing many young people won’t understand with the ubiquity of front-wheel drive. (Though I suppose it’s true on a bicycle, too. I could ask, but it’d require more than conversation in passing. And how do I avoid the evangelistic sermon? Riding a bike is probably more perilous for me than driving a car. With my vision the way it is, I do neither.)

Back to this after I got distracted by a work-type thing. Then, once again, my work phone was ringing.

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I kind of pushed this one away six years ago. Maybe I was afraid to say.

Now, though, I am willing to admit I was wrong, and change my perspective when presented with new evidence.

Sometimes I’ll find myself coming around to a position I would have never thought I’d hold.

The two things that come immediately to mind are abortion and capitol punishment. I used to be kind of okay with the former, and resigned to the latter. Today, I find myself opposed to both.

No, it’s not a religious thing; I still don’t go to church. But the positions I’ve taken are certainly influenced by the Church’s teachings. For abortion, there’s ways you can keep from forming babby if you want to make sure you don’t do that. For killing people, it’s just that I think it’s a power the state should never have.

The steering-in-to-a-skid thing was really more about what people are accustomed to doing. Professionally, I’ve seen User Acceptance Testing fail because people didn’t want to update documentation. There’s four places where the user is instructed to enter data. There’d better be four places in the next version, even if two of those four aren’t actually needed anymore. But they’re still there to keep the documentation correct. *eyeroll*

I could probably tie these things back to common core tenets. The whole don’t-kill-people is a controversial one, sure.


Two days this week. Three the next. I am so tired.


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)

From November 11, 2013:

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now, and don’t really have a good answer. I try not to make commitments I know I’ll have trouble keeping. My mother has myriad stories of what I’d do as a little kid.

I’m not that little kid, anymore.

A third of the way through this.

Am I really satisfied with what I’ve done so far? Why do I ask myself these sorts of questions?

I do it, because I do care about getting something out of it, personally. I care about the work being quality, whatever that means.

I was being really kind about my feelings on quality with what was going on at work at the time. The folks for whom I was working at the time, were of the opinion that every schedule could be accelerated with additional resources.

As I put it to assembled family recently, five cooks in a kitchen isn’t going to make a single batch of cookies bake five times faster.

Time constraints are a thing!!1!

But, back to the topic, I’m still having picking something in particular out.

I will say that it happens a lot more often now than it ever used to before I was diagnosed.

At the same time, my excuses now are very rarely due to just desire to skip out on something.

If I say that I’m not feeling up to do whatever, I probably actually don’t feel up to doing it. Fatigue is a real thing with MS.

So I might cancel out on something someone else wants me to do. If you think that makes me a bad person, whatever. I’ve stopped even trying to count the number of things I want to do, just because I’m feeling similarly lousy.

So. Short one today. I could write more, but the fatigue actually is hitting some tonight.


How would you describe yourself? How would your best friend describe you? (reach-back to 2012)

From November 20, 2012.

2. How would you describe yourself? How would your best friend describe you?

Does this really matter all that much?

  • Practical
  • Caring
  • Struggling
  • Half-blind
  • Wobbly
  • Placated


  • Egalitarian
  • Not sick
  • Drunk
  • Difficult

But back to the question I asked; to me, it doesn’t matter so long as my wife still loves me, and I don’t hate myself. In the last few years, some people I’ve thought were good friends have revealed themselves to be something else. Others have drifted into their own special worlds (some slightly off). Others, still, have just ignored everything that’s been going on with me. *makes W sign with fingers* It happens. I’m mostly content with my circles now.

Actually, you know what, I’m really content with my circles now. Why? I don’t have to hide things anymore. I have approval from the people whose opinions I care about. How have I done that? Being me, flaws and all…..

I spent the afternoon getting my handicapped access for WMATA.

Given that this was only a few weeks before my life would be thrown into utter chaos, maybe I can reflect some on my naivety.

I don’t know that there’s really a lot to add, really, with where I am now.

I do understand better why I do some of what I do. Obviously, I have OCD, which explains a lot of my behavior. Some of that was overreaction to my various physical maladies; habits I developed to address something I couldn’t explain.

Coping with the exposures, and denying, or at least delaying, the reactions has been incredibly difficult.

That so many of my senses are dulled helps, maybe. Something that would have sent me into a major response condition.

But, because I’m lazy AF, (As an aside, I just told a fucking contract recruiter that I didn’t want to work for the [US]AF….) I’m going to address each of these from whether they were true then, and whether they’re still true.

  • Practical

Yes. I think so. My penchant for frivolity was certainly curtailed by poverty.

And, because I’ve been unable to afford anything, combined with the declining to enjoy anything.

  • Caring

I try to be. I also try to be without demanding certain behavior in response.

  • Struggling

Certainly not as much as I would be a few months after I first wrote that, but, yes, every day is tough. Two folks who were in the waiting room with me this afternoon were talking about how they’d retired, and were happily still working at their leisure. A bit of jealousy? Sure. But, again, would I even be able to enjoy that?

  • Half-blind

I think this might be a big part of why there’s so few things I can enjoy.

  • Wobbly

Very much so.

  • Placated

I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote this. I’m guessing it was something work-related. With my start-from-zero attitude the past few years, I think the reverse is true; nobody owes me anything, and I don’t owe anyone anything.

  • Egalitarian

This is kind of intertwining with one of the offhanded conversations I’m currently having in IRC. I’m not going to, like a good Progressive, give you what I’m convinced you need (and give it to you good and hard).

(The discussion was about one of my fears, that of Medicaid For All [Yes, I get that Pocahontas says it’s Medicare For All, but it’d be Medicaid, and completely kill private health care]….Single-payer health care would not only completely kill the private provider industry, it’d, by its very construction, kill everything that deviates from “standard” treatment regimes. As someone with a condition that’s not well-understood, that’s really bad news. If you’re someone with Type II Diabetes, it’s probably a great thing)

  • Not sick

That one is harder to fake these days. That I carry a cane in public is noticeable.

  • Drunk

I have so little these days, it’s not even worth discussing. I’ve been in this new place now over a week, and I’ve had no distilled liquor at all. I’ve had a few beers. Sober AF.

  • Difficult

I can be, sure, but I’m much more likely to just leave if I really disagree with something.

You can leave.


Christmas Shopping

I’ve done a bit here and there, but I am not well along the way to being finished. Something, there, about, you know, MOVING.

Obviously, I have the list of folks who’ll be very happy with gift cards. I can wait a couple of weeks until the Thanksgiving fun is finished. (So after the turkey is done. Yes, I have my pretentious moments, but that’s one of those things that irks me for some strange reason)

Going through this and some of my gift ideas, however, brought up a couple of things with gift-shopping

  1. Many gifts I remember giving were the ones that ended up giving me the most pleasure (for seeing the reaction), and;
  2. So much seems to be a matter of reliving past moments of adequacy.

For the first one, I was going to throw out a few of my past ones. I only remember a couple. Still, I’m trying to remember the ones I’ve given that get a fair amount of use by the recipients. There’s not a lot of things I see lately that I gave which are being used. I hope my grandfather is enjoying the gift I gave him for his birthday. Maybe he’s using that. The mittens I bought my wife, on the other hand, aren’t getting used. (They’re fur-lined. Even if the bunny was going to die, anyway, she doesn’t want her hands feeling his/her fur….) I would assume my mother still uses the very expensive KitchenAid waffle iron I bought my parents while my dad was still alive.

I’m also reminded of something from my Randian past, the gift of a necklace (pendant?) in Atlas Shrugged. The precipitant, the novel’s main character, really likes and values the piece of jeweler. But when the giver gave it to her, he had her model it wearing only the necklace.

So I find myself wondering whether, when I buy a gift, it’s for the recipient, or for me. I just nixed something I was considering, simply because, ultimately, it was something that was probably more for me than for the person to whom I was planning to give it.

On the second, I really don’t want to re-do something I’ve done previously. Again, though, it comes down to the reaction the gift evoked. I might have done something creative, but, ultimately, I did it because of the reaction it’d evoke.

So I find myself trying to recreate that with something similar, but a little different.

Is it even a gift, then?

Too many thoughts for this early on a Sunday.


For whatever reason, when I woke up, and decided to write this morning, I had trouble finding this entry.

I did find what I’d written the past few years. Holy shit 2016 sucked.

*steps aside to look*

Now that I found the draft of today’s, on to it….

if you could change one thing in your life what would it be and why? (reach-back to 2010)

Finally found what I wrote back then after some searching….

Day 22 — Uhhmm – 11/22/2010

It was a foggy and chilly morning, I’d just been asked, if you could change one thing in your life what would it be and why?

Uh, yeah. Do I need to explain?

At the same time, I wonder what my life would have been like without MS.

Similarly, I’ve wondered what life would be like had I been diagnosed much sooner.

Still, I really can’t dwell on either. Either one would have sent my life on a much different trajectory, and, for all the struggles, I am happy. I’m respected in my profession. I have a wonderful wife, who I love dearly. If I’d been 100% healthy earlier, probably neither would have happened. I might be in the military. I might be an attorney. I might be that guy I always see at the office Christmas party (which, BTW, I am NOT attending this year. Fuck ’em.) spinning bad music as a side gig, because he didn’t make it in top-40 radio.

Who knows?

And who really cares?

(Excuse the exasperation…. another day of just really lousy conversation starters. I thought about looking at these before I went to bed last night, but they’d probably have put me in a foul mood. Three days only this week. Yay. I was below the target weight again yesterday. My doctor, the one who told me to come see her immediately if I dropped below my target, isn’t scheduled to work in my clinic this month….she’s a resident, so she rotates in to the main hospital….but I figure that if I don’t gain something this week after stuffing my face Thursday, that yeah, there’s something really wrong. It can wait a bit.)

The elephant standing on my belly (yes, I have a pretty odd case of the MS hug this morning), I mean, in the room is the same. This condition has affected so much of my life, and I don’t know that there’ll ever be a time when it doesn’t.

Still, since I can’t put a numb finger on an exact start date, it’s impossible to pin down exactly what I would have done differently to mitigate the symptoms I was having. I can’t point to something in, say, 1992, and correct it. What was I worried about back then? I was thirteen. Sports. School. Girls. What was happening in the world. What was happening in my country, halfway around the world.

So, saying, “not have MS” would be easy, but there’s so many other things that influenced why I am what I am.

MS aside, though, I don’t know that there is one thing. (And there I go again with the inability to choose something, anything.) What’s happened to me has happened, and I try to react as best I can in the situations presented going forward.

This gets in to a discussion I recently had with one of my doctors. I’m not someone who plans things down to the smallest detail. Get the biggest things finished, then figure out the smaller particulars later.

Tying it back, then, to football, and this might speak to my dislike of the vaunted “West Coast Offense” teams, with the masterminds who script the first number of plays for each game.

I think that’s foolish. If your third play is listed as a long pass play (with only about a 30% chance of success), how does doing that make the least bit of sense when what you’re presented is a third-and-two. This is even more true when you’ve got someone like Leroy Hoard on your bench.

But back to the prompt, I don’t know that there’s a single thing I’d do differently, or change. All I can do is continue to try to react to the situations presented. My reaction mechanisms have been negatively affected, of course, but I still don’t foresee myself ever doing something I’m going to regret forever.


Halftime free-write

I didn’t really plan this well considering I had a free write just a couple of days ago.

Whatever. I will get through this, because it helps me keep thoughts straight, and I’m halfway finished.

In the background, I’m listening to the Attorney General’s speech. Right in some ways, wrong in lots of others. And I should be killed because I don’t choose one side or the other. *shrug*

I. Don’t Care.

That sentiment, of course, is the biggest bit of my “problem” right now.

There’s lots of places where I could go with my life, but I don’t really care.


18:05 < kcrow> the world womders
18:10 <@sean> we are the world

That ought to explain how much attention I’m paying.

*wanders away to order dinner*

Anyway, back to the point, I do lots of things just because I’ve committed to doing them. I’ve foregone all sorts of things the past few years. I do listen to Adam Corolla. He often speaks about the benefits, for a boy, in learning to delay gratification.

He speaks of how boys end up with great affection, admiration, for adult men who put them through hell. That football coach who made you run until you puked. That drill sergeant who did the same.

And this, again, is going nowhere. Maybe. So, one of the unused prompts.

Are you afraid to confront your demons?

Nope. A lot of what I’m doing with my mental health bits speaks to, again, resisting those urges. They don’t work anymore, anyway.

I’m going to stop now, as I really don’t think this is going anywhere.

Halfway through. Keep pressing.



I used to really look forward to these, notsomuch today.

A lot of the reason is that I’m so incredibly busy.

Certainly, given my spotty employment history over the past few years, that’s not a bad thing.

So, what have I been doing? Trying to figure out a problematic utility in a makeshift environment. In the background is usually a teleconference, or a podcast.

Not thinking about my failing fantasy football teams.

I will say that I’m happy to be in my own place.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so content with where I am, and this speaks a bit to what I was talking about recently (yesterday, maybe? I’m too lazy to go look; apologies.).

There could be bad things coming. There could be really good things coming. I can’t get too excited either way.

Another way I’m broken, perhaps.

I was going to say that I couldn’t even get all that excited about the Steelers playing in Cleveland tonight. But I did go check the weather. No snow, unfortunately.

(As an aside, football in the snow is great so long as you’ve got good traction. I’d imagine it’d be a royal pain if you were slipping all over the place. See the Leon Lett video I posted about Thanksgiving last year…..)

So I guess I am paying a bit of attention. But it hasn’t been enough to get me excited enough to setup the good TV in the living room. Yet.

I was watching some game over the weekend, and did notice the remarkable number of empty seats in the stadium. Given that I think it was a game in Cincinnati, you could place some of the blame on how bad that team is. Again. Like Coslet-LeBeau bad.

But, yeah, barring temperatures like during “The Freezer Bowl,” winter weather and football do mix.

Back to TV, since this is all-skate free-write. I got distracted there for a minute, and my wife brought up the big TV after saying she, too, wasn’t interested in the Stilluhrs-Browns. The good TV might get done this weekend, mainly because she’s curious about whether the movers broke it.

The discussion also included some on streaming services. One of the gusts I heard today was pitching this. But I don’t even have time to watch what I already pay for.

I am curious, however, to know if there’s something out there that has, maybe, some stories that’ll get my scarred brain more in the writing mode.

It’s been a long time since I attempted any storytelling. Maybe it’s time.


Write about your biggest fears (reach-back to 2010).

This is what I wrote back then:

Day 15 — Facing Fears – 11/15/2010

I am not a corageous person by any means.

That said, I’ve had to face down many fears over the past year. I just can’t be afraid of little silly things anymore.

For example, look at some of the later pictures in Day 13. I hate needles. No tattoos or piercings here. Even more than that, no tracks on my arms…..

But I have to take an injection every single damned day. Having the gun helps somewhat, as I don’t actually see the sharp until after I’m finished.

I’m trying to come up with something else, but falling way short. There’s so many things I was uncomfortable about before that seem just nonsensical these days. And I have more than just me to worry about now. But I have someone with whom I can share those things. Never once has she ridiculed me, or thought I was being a baby. I don’t make this stuff up. Do I worry more than I ought to? Sure. Is that fear? I don’t know.

But with that, and I’m not sure if this is fear or pride, I’m much less uncomfortable asking for help these days. I’m not Superman. There’s shit I can’t do. Maybe at one time I thought I could do most anything……

Fear of falling…
Fear of failure…
Fear of losing my hair…
I’ve got to get it together, man…
It hasn’t happened yet….

So much has changed in nine years.

One of my biggest complaints nine years ago was about needles. Today, I don’t give a shit.

Hurt me/hurt me/I know, right?/as if!

Thank you, Zappas.

Anyway, I’m in a very strange place. It could be attributable to many things, but I rarely fear any consequences. Where I am now, certainly there’s things I’m concerned about, but I rarely get too wound-up about anything.

Going back to the last, however, I know there’s a lout less I can do now than I could do then.

Understanding my limitations, both physical and emotional, does definitely affect what I attempt. Back in 2010, I would have said I can’t run a marathon, but I could do a few miles. Now, I can barely walk a block. Consequently, I wouldn’t frustrate myself even planning to compete in a marathon.

The past decade, however, I’ve dealt with prosperity, as well as incredible hardship.

But I’ve survived.

And don’t really think there’s anything I would enjoy. So I don’t want much, if anything.

My wife’s family was asking what I might want for Christmas.

Socks. That’s about all I can think of. Seriously.


Do men or women have it easier in our culture? If so, why do you think so?

The original draft of this said, “two men, or women.” I literally can’t even.

I think that I had something in mind. I probably wrote something about this at some point in the past, but I’m too lazy to go look for it. Was that mansplaining?

Snark aside, how relevant is this when anyone can choose his/her/its own gender, and it’s nearly child abuse to point a young person towards a particular identity?

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I have to go get my infusion.


Veterans’ Day

101 years since the Western Front went quiet.

I can vaguely recall my dad taking us driving around The Somme battlefield. I would have been something like seven or eight years old, and the concept that a million people died there was just incomprehensible.

As I’ve gotten older, I think I’ve come to recognize just what a disaster for Europe, and the entire world, World War I was.

As I dressed for my appointment this morning, the local NBC affiliate had video of vintage planes dropping poppies over Dover.

I worry that the history of it is lost on most Americans. OK, Boomer, I get that you knew more people who fought in World War II. Bubuhbut Tom Brokaw said they’re the greatest generation!!1!


That you didn’t learn, or teach, anything about WWI is completely on you.

I do distinctly remember my great-grandmother telling the story of marrying my great-grandfather during the break between basic training and deployment. This was despite the company commander’s direction that they not go get married.

So much of what’s happened in the world since, I think, can be traced to that war.

As for the veterans, my father was career Army. My father-in-law was career Navy. Much of what I do, now, is in support of the Army and Marine Corps. Previously, I, personally, have supported the Navy and Air Force.

One of the cooler things I’ve happened across in the past few weeks is ABMC. Yes, I saw a few of those as a kid. (And I’d really like to work for them if any recruiters come looking….)