Are you satisfied with the results from yesterday?

Yes, things are all out-of-order with my prompts. My scarred brain is more than a little scattered with all that i’m dealing with right now.

So, on the results yesterday, I’m very surprised. Am I disappoint? Yes. Would Hillary have been a complete disaster as President? Absolutely.

If her campaign can take any solace as they nurse their hangovers this morning, they did convince me not to vote for Trump. (As if that would have taken much, but….)

The really cynical side of me screams something about Trump’s tax returns, but I’m bored with that (and have been for weeks).

Am I surprised/ Yes. Perhaps even shocked.

Same, too, with what I thought was something unwindable for the Republicans – Senator Ron Johnson. While the hipster progressives were focused on Christine O’Donnell, to me, the real story of 2010 was Johnson beating Progressive fan favorite Russ Feingold. I can remember many touting him as an ideal Presidential candidate in the middle of last decade (you know, not long after people like Stuart Smalley were elected.

After he lost, Feingold went away for six years, only to run for his old seat back this year.

Largely against the prognostications, somehow, Johnson won re-election yesterday.

In some ways, that shocks me more than Trump’s win.

As for my votes, I was zero for four. I expected that. Am I disappointed by that? No, not really. As I wrote yesterday, I expected that.

Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see what happens in Congress. There’s not enough in the President Elect’s coloring book to point to any specific things he’ll be championing.

So, I’m surprised, but how the two parties deal with will determine their futures. (I’d be okay seeing both disappear, myself.)


Election Day. Write about your votes.

I’ll go in reverse order, because it’s more interesting that way. Further, I expect all of my positions to be defeated. This is not at all uncommon.

There was an amendment tinkering once again with the Virginia tax laws to excuse more people narrowly from paying taxes. If I was a good Democrat(TM), I’d say, “their fair share.”

The entire tax system needs overhaul in the Commonwealth. More targeted tax cuts for specific people. No. The same thing applies to the Federal system. I paid more in Federal Income Tax (not fucking payroll taxes) in 2009 than I grossed in 2002. Why? I didn’t rent a house from the bank in 2006 that I couldn’t afford. Similarly, I pay for my health insurance with after-tax dollars, and have since I was laid off for the second time in three years in early 2014. During the “Great Recession,” it’d gotten to the point where more than half of people who filed taxes paid absolutely nothing.

To the people who’d be “helped” by this proposal, I’m sorry for your situation; it sucks. But for every dollar you don’t pay, someone else should pay an extra one. Whether or not that’s actually happening is another matter. Eventually, it will have to be paid.

Stop with these stupid token things, and fix the bigger issues. Some of your supporters may actually end up having to pay taxes. Some rich people might end up paying more. Whatever. Do the right thing.

The next amendment was about adding the principles of right-to-work to the Virginia Constitution. I, somewhat reluctantly, voted for this amendment. You shouldn’t have to join a coercive organization in order to work somewhere.

Organized Labor, especially the AFL-CIO, is vehemently opposed to more formalization of right-to-work. That, by itself, might have made me enough to vote for this. At the same time, I’m not a shallow Republican or Democrat, so that’s not enough. One of the things the Democrats have been hammering this year is problems with the “gig economy.”

Your health insurance should be tied to your job. (And if you can’t work full-time in an office, you should be a charity case.)
You shouldn’t be able to use your car to drive people around.
You shouldn’t be able to let people stay in your awesome place while you’re going to be away.

If you agree with those things, I hope you’re probably against the amendment, and support the mainstream Democrat candidates. The new Chrysler, which the US Supreme Court tore up 200 years’ worth of bankruptcy law to create, has only four pay bands. If you have a job there, you will pay a big portion of your salary to the union thugs, and never move up beyond the top band. Good shit. But, hey, after 30 years, you get a watch.

Similarly, for the House of Representatives, after the Supreme Court essentially reversed its 1993 decision on majority-minority districts, there’s actually a Republican running against my Representative (who’s been there since 1993). I voted for him, despite knowing that he’ll probably still lose. So said Mark Twain, “[p]oliticians are like diapers; they need to be changed often and for the same reason.”

Do I think Rep. Scott is doing a terrible job? No. At the same time, he’s been there for longer than some of the voters have been alive. I also was very encouraged by him signing on to Rep. Ellison’s bill significantly curtailing the mortgage interest deduction. Although I’d go farther with it, I’d also add to that an absolute 30-year limit to using it.

The days of buying a 2500 ft.’ McMansion are over. People want to live in cities. They don’t want to live with four generations in under the same roof. Deal.

Back to the House, however. Where in the Constitution is the House limited to 435 members? Nowhere. Make the House proportional again. Take a state’s population, divide by Wyoming’s, and round to the nearest whole number. If the House won’t fit in the current chamber, hold things somewhere else.

Expanding the House would also fix the Electoral College. It’d also be much easier to make sure minority-majority districts stay that way. (I write that as a mostly-white guy who will probably never know his true racial heritage, and is okay with that….)

Virginia’s two Senators are not facing re-election this year (although the junior one with his $160K in gifts as governor will probably end up being Vice President…), so we’re to the Presidential race.

I did what I promised myself that I would; I looked at the last polls, and I don’t think Virginia is going to be close, so I voted for the Libertarians. Since I started voting, I’ve pretty much stuck with this. In 2008, I kind of abandoned this, thinking Obama would be terrible. Otherwise, I’ve stuck to it. If Virginia was going to be a contest within ten points, I’d hold my nose, and vote for the less-horrible major party candidate.

This year, however, the two parties’ candidates were both unspeakably bad, so I adjusted my threshold. I looked at the last Virginia polls, decided Clinton was probably going to win, and punched the high contrast, large text button for Gary Johnson.

Do I have issues with Governor Johnson? Yes.
Do I have issues with Governor Weld? Yes. Even moreso after his bit with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC recently.

So, why’d I “waste” my vote? I want the LP to have recognition going forward. They went with some particularly bad candidates after Browne, but are trying to build a legitimate organization. Thanks to decades of two-party manipulation of election laws to maintain their duopoly, it’s very difficult for something different to get any foothold.

I don’t believe in forcing you to do anything.
If you want to take drugs, that’s up to you.
If you want to do stupid things, financially, that’s up to you, too.
If you want to live as a professional student, fine.
If you want to rent a house from a bank for your entire life, that’s fine, too.
If you want to have a bunch of kids, fine. Understand that they’re your responsibility until they reach the age of majority, and the state will protect their rights until they reach that age if you’re not doing the job.
If you want to follow a seventeenth century English King’s version of the Bible, that’s fine. I don’t.

All of those things bring consequences, and those consequences will be for you, and those who love you, to deal with. Please don’t expect me, a person who can barely see and walk, to pay for it. No, more than that, don’t get men with guns to make me pay for it.


Write about your parents..

Kinda half-assign this one; my dad’s been gone six years next month. He spent 24 years as an Army officer. He’s now at Section 54, grave 5049 in Arlington National Cemetery.

His wife of nearly 40 years, my mother is still living. She’s living in the house they bought as he was retiring from the Army. The house is near the school where she’s worked for more than twenty years.

She left her home in south Landmass at the end of the Vietnam War to join her redirected Lieutenant husband in Japan. Before then, she’d never been east of Pensacola, or west of Houston.

For the next twenty-four years, she’d travel the globe with him, and rate his reprobate kids (the eldest one, for sure).

Today is her birthday; happy birthday, Mom. On Saturday, we’re headed to see her alma mater pay her daughter in-law’s school.

Do I have more to write about this, and her? Sure. At the same time, I’m not feeling particularly loquacious tonight. I actually almost forgot to write today after my latest medical adventure.

I did notice a few more date misalignments in my prompts. Thinking back, however, one of those might have been intentional. Regardless, tomorrow should be fun; vote for some candidates who don’t thrill me, and prep for my medical test on Wednesday.

I should probably at least start working on Wednesday’s entry tomorrow; I’ll be sedated, so I probably should finish before I leave for my appointment.


aying attention about age ten. We were living in suburban Washington, DC. as the Redskins were assembling that 1991 team (which was one of the best teams of all time).

I am a New Orleans Saints’ fan. Yes, I remember Jim Mora for before he was famous for, “Playoffs? You kiddin’ me?”

Based largely on my playing experience, I’m a big believer in tow things – the I-Formation, and the 43 Defense. Vince Lombardi might have won two Super Bowls, but Tom Landry was the best coach in history.

In the NFL this year, I’m seeing those things I like come back.

Unfortunately, the Thanksgiving schedule is still screwed up. But at least there’s some AFC representation. It used to be that either the Lions or Cowboys would face a division rival (think Bears-Lions, or Redskins-Cowboys) or NFC powerhouse, and the other would play an AFC team. They added the Thursday night game probably about ten years ago, and the last few years, those have been completely-NFC games.

This year, there’s two NFC division games during the day, followed by an AFC matchup.

What more am I seeing?

What an absolute genius Al Davis was. His last draft pick is really becoming an internal part of the Steelers’ offense.

I’m seeing some good games on TV this year; maybe that’s why ratings are down. (If you’ve seen CBS’s primetime offerings, you understand that quality programming is not what gets numbers…..)

I have not idea what’s on this afternoon. Maybe I should look at that. Not really feeling like writing today. I think the Redskins are on a bye after their tie in London.

This year, I’m really liking watching the Raiders.


Write about your siblings. How many? Where are they? What do they do? Do you get along better now than you did when you were kids?

I have one younger brother. He lives, again, in Northern Virginia. For the past couple of years, he’d been living in Texas, on account of his wife’s job. While he was down there, he was doing some data science work for a major telecommunications company, away from government. Now that he’s back in NoVA, he’s back to dealing with supporting government (what our father did for the time after he retired from the Army, and I’ve been doing for the last decade).

I don’t know, exactly, what he’s doing. His interests were always a bit different than mine. His education also far-exceeds mine. For awhile, there, my work experience made up for my lack of post-graduate education. I’m not sure if that’s true, anymore. I also really suck at Minesweeper, so I don’t have a list of initials to string after my name on my LinkedIn profile.

He and I get along a lot better than we did when we were younger. I really didn’t like his high school girlfriend, later first wife, very much. (He probably felt the same way about my longtime girlfriend from high school and college….)

There were a few contentious incidents when we were both in our teens. I also didn’t appreciate his attitude on several things. shrug

Since we’ve been apart, and he’s been away from his first wife, we’ve gotten along pretty well. Our wives seem to get along well, too. (And, M., my wife’s newfound fantasy football obsession is your fault…..she’d refused to play before you urged her….)

Since our dad died, and I quit driving (and making decent money!), it’s been hard to get together with him. When he was in TX, I think I only saw him once. I haven’t seen him, yet, since they’ve been back in VA.

Today is his birthday. I have very vague recollections of my mom being pregnant, and his birth. I was three. I remember more dealing with some of his health issues as a young kid (both at the Naval Medical Center probably about half a mile from where I now live, and at the University of Kansas Medical Center in KC).

I know I hurt him more than once. Protip: don’t put a full crock pot on a bench seat because you don’t have something free on the floor. I also did things to take care of him. (I won’t elaborate.)

He, actually, was probably the one who came closer to fulfilling our parents’ wishes. When I was in high school, then beyond, I really was intent on trying to set my own path. Varying results, there, but he never ended up working in a hellhole like I did for a few years. I don’t root for the sports teams our dad did. (And my adherence to Royals’ fandom yielded thirty years of disappointment….)

Today is his birthday. I seem to remember snow sometime shortly after he was born. It’s stayed pretty warm here this year.

I’m going to stop now, because there’s not a lot more to say, really.


Write about someone you’ve recently lost.

Writing with what I remember of the prompt as pretty much of our Intertur]bes (and TV) is out.

I was supposed to write about someone I’d recently lost.

Today is my grandfather’s birthday. He’s the only one of my grandparents still living.

It also would have been my dad’s youngest brother’s birthday. He died a few weeks ago following several years of health problems.

I didn’t know him terribly well. Same goes for a lot of my parents’ siblings; we were gone. I don’t feel deprived by that or anything. It was part of what happened with my dad’s job.

Sure. I had an idealized view of where my parents grew up, but the more I’ve learned, the more I understand why they never really wanted to go back.

Things weren’t good along the Gulf Coast for a very long time. I couldn’t comprehend the pervasive poverty.

So, what do I know about my uncle? He was a little more than nine years my dad’s junior. My dad’s two younger brothers were born after my grandparents reconciled (I’m not sure if they divorced, but I’m pretty sure they did.) So, in my parents’ wedding photos, he was a pre-teen.

He never ended up with much of a career, and lived with my grandmother until she died. He ended up taking care of her in her final years, actually.

He worked for many years as an Interstate trucker. After Hurricane Katrina, he started doing glasswork for damaged historic buildings.

Not long before my dad died (end of 2010), he had a very serious heart attack, preventing him from doing very much after that. He was trying to do some college work. I think, however, his health prevented him from ever finishing his degree.

Over the last few years, he was very sickly. When my wife and I saw him last, it was basically just him and his cats around my grandmother’s significantly-renovated house.

He died a few weeks ago. I couldn’t go down for the funeral, and haven’t heard much else. Kind of odd to ask family you haven’t seen in awhile about more.

And that’s about what I’d written when my Intertubes quit working.  I didn’t really nail the prompt now that I look at it.  As a kid, it was kind of a question of what’s he driving right now?  He always seemed to have a different car, and be driving a different truck for work.


Collections and Cars. Write about any collections you have, and the cars you’ve owned.

Three years of earning virtually no money has significantly cut my collections.  I simply don’t have the resources to do that sort of thing anymore.

When I was a kid, I collected baseball and football cards.  There’s a Brett Favre rookie card somewhere at my mom’s house. Yes, it’s strange seeing him in a Failcons helmet.

I bought that card at a show on one of the posts in Germany.  Hanau, maybe?  He’d just taken over the job with the Peckers, and I’m a double-legacy at Southern Landmass, so I thought it was kinda cool.  But I was also thirteen, and it was 1993.  The ideas of what was cool were a bit off.

Cars.  I don’t currently own one;  I’m too blind to drive.  I sold my last one, a 2003 Mustang GT at the end of 2013.  The proceeds largely went to support me and my wife after I’d gotten laid off for the second time in a year.

Similarly, the proceeds from the sale of my 2001 Jeep Wrangler were largely used after I got laid off in 2013.  The Wrangler didn’t net me very much;  it had something like 260,000 miles on it when I sold it.  Original clutch.  How I managed that is completely beyond me.

I sold my 1992 Wrangler back to my dad for a dollar.  He sold it to a nearby used car dealership.  I think it had something like 180,000 miles on it.

I never had a car with an automatic transmission.

Living in Tidewater without a car is very difficult.  Thankfully, I am afforded telecommute opportunities in my current position. Getting to my work site via public transit is possible, but it takes a long time, and requires two transfers.  It aslo takes about an hour and a half if I hit the schedules just right.

I don’t really know what else I can say, other than the idea of living an an exburb holds no appeal for me these days.

My mother sometimes speaks fo “living off the land.”  How about no?  Not something that ever really held much appeal for me, and even less as I’ve aged.  Not being able to drive has compounded it.

I rahter like indoor plumbing and hot water.  Maybe that makes me a bad person.


My day as a goth kid. (Yes, my wife is planning on doing this to me.)

My wife has decided that I need to be her Goth Boy.

It hasn’t happened.  Yet?  She’s been really busy with school.

She can dress me up however she’d like, though.  I won’t return the favor;  she can dress as she pleases.

So, if wearing a dog collar for a few hours will make her smile, fine.  So long as I don’t have to look like Aaron Rodgers, Goth QB, or the kid in the Mom’s Minivan demotivator poster.

On a similar, but unrelated note, I’m getting skinnier again.

I lost about 60 points after I got sick.  For the most part, I’ve kept it off.  I think I’m probably about ten pounds more than I was at my lightest.

But after this latest hospitalization, I’ve noticed things aren’t fitting again.  My pants.  My wedding ring.

In other words, Thanksgiving can’t get here soon enough, if only to fatten me up a bit.

So, what else is up?  Paratransit Services screwed up royally again this morning.

I’m tired.  I hope I’ll be up for this thing I’m attending on Friday.

Also, do I have the stamina or desire to watch the last World Series game tonight?

On the brighter side, I was able to get things setup for my trip to Georgetown School of Medicine.

I’m very tempted to fire all my specialists in the wake of two hospitalizations within a month, plus now a problem with one of my prescriptions.

Good shit.


Introduction. Why I’m doing this for a sixth year.

So, as I fired up EMACS to start writing, I had a 1.txt in my $HOME.


Yeah, it was something I’d written long ago; probably in college. How it got there, I don’t know. Maybe something from one of my summer writing bits.

I do enjoy writing. How proficient I am at it is up for debate.

So, to the basics.
I’m 37 years old. Married. Work in Information Technology for the US Federal Government. I’m now well into my sixth year after being diagnosed wtih Multiple Sclerosis.

This is my sixth year doing this. I started on my Diary on the now-defunct OpenDiary (OD) site.

So, what’s kept me doing this year after year?

There’s something about having something to do every single day. When OD was up, I’d often use the prepackaged prompts. As I’ve been writing on my own, I’ve taken to either creating my own prompts or recycling things from previous efforts. (Back to the odd textfile in my $HOME.)

There’s also a bit of a sense of accomplishment in finishing a month. The last couple of years, I’ve done a second stint in the month before my birthday. Is it a countdown? No, not really. Neither is November; if it was, I’d be doing it in the lead-up to Thanksgiving or Chrsitmas.

I’m not doing that, however.

The past few years have been exceptionally difficult. I’m going to try to avoid writing too much about that. On top of my myriad health problems, I’ve seen a marked decline in income. (Checking my SSA statement shows that I’ll be lucky to get back to my 2012 earnings next year.) I’m not going to write terribly much about that; those who need to know do, those who want to know can buy me a beer, and I’ll tell. I’ve been writing a lot lately, in conversation with a friend, about bits of administrivia. There’s a big portion of that discussion that’s been about management. Meanwhile, I’ve also been listening to the Reason Podcast, where they’re discussing a lot of similar issues.

There is no One-True-Way(TM) for just about anything.

Eventually, you have to find your own way to do things. Maybe you’ve been previously inspired by someone or something, but your situation is yours.

Similarly, this effort is something that works for me. I’ll be doing it my way. If you like it, great. If not, that’s fine, too.

So, who am I?  A dude trying to help out the best way I can.  Professionally, I need to keep my irritants from negatively affecting others’ impressions of me.  Having me on your team is a good thing.  Now how do I convince people of that?  (And some of the folks who’ve beautify-illustrated their prowess at taking multiple choice tests by taking certification tests might just be completely worthless.)