January 6th, 2011

#2476: What else do I not need?

So I fell asleep about 10-ish and woke up around 12:30, and needed food. I decided I could handle a piece or two of the KFC I bought Friday night, and finish off the cole slaw.

First I shredded the remaining breast; then I got the roasted chicken from last month out in order to give some to the cats--well, that smelled bad, so I tossed it in its entirety. I ended up shredding a thigh from KFC for the cats and sat down to eat my food.

The KFC tasted funny. Not bad, but just odd enough that I decided not even to finish chewing the piece I'd put in my mouth. So that's now cat food. The cole slaw was still good, anyway; I ate that and microwaved a couple of frozen egg rolls.

Such a gourmet.

Bottom line is that I won't be making chicken stock from any of that stuff. Well, chicken doesn't have much of a shelf life in the refrigerator, even after being cooked. It'd be nice if chicken processors could irradiate the meat to sterilize it before it's packaged, but let's face it: if chicken's shelf life is too long, they sell less.

* * *

So I got a call this evening, out of the blue, regarding my sister in Maine.

When she's having a bad time, she sits up late and watches rock concert videos and drinks and stews; eventually she gets drunk enough that she boils over and has to yell at someone. I observed this pattern when I was there in Feb of 2009, and she apparently has not modified her behavior much at all.

Some time ago Mom told me that my sister had finally realized she can't drink; but at a pig roast last summer my brother observed that my sister was drinking. It's not much of a stretch to assume that an alcoholic who has not ceased to drink will drink to excess, because generally the only way for an alcoholic to stay sober is not to drink at all. Having one drink opens the floodgates. So: my sister, who should not be drinking, is.

Anyway, it seems that--having no one left in the house to yell at--she began to harangue her 15-year-old son, at times waking him up in the middle of the night to do so. My niece left because of that kind of nonsense, thinking that perhaps it was only directed at her; but it turns out my sister needs to have someone to blame everything on, and my poor nephew became "it" after my niece left.

Any way you care to slice it, that's child psychological abuse. (Teenager--about age 15. Close enough.) Not all child abuse is physical, you know.

I only learned of this after the fact, but my niece advised my nephew to tell his psychiatrist, and my nephew told the shrink Wednesday...and is now staying with another family.

My oldest sister (the one in Louisiana) calls me and says, "[Nephew] has been snatched."

Me: WTF WHA WHA WHA WHA--

That meant "kidnapped" to me, and it only got worse when I asked if she meant that DCFS had grabbed him and she said "no"--but finally she explained it in words of one syllable that no, he'd gone to this other family's house of his own volition, in order to get the hell away from my Maine sister's psychological abuse.

DCFS has not been involved in this. I think if she decides to make a federal case out of it, or claim that [nephew] ran away from home or something, DCFS can get involved; but for the time being I think it's better for all concerned if they don't. My sister, however, has got to stop drinking and get help for her abusive behavior.

Of course, in order for her to take that step and get anything at all from it, first she has to admit that she's got a problem...and she's nowhere near accepting any responsibility for her situation. It's a slim hope that her son leaving home like this will shock her to her senses, but it's just about the only hope we've got.

So far she hasn't called me. My sister in LA called me around 7 PM to clue me in on the situation, so I would know WTF is going on; the sister in ME is probably waiting until I've gotten to sleep to call me and bitch me out over WTF-ever she's going to accuse me of.

...as if there's anything I can possibly do about any of this. Yeah. You try reasoning with a drunk.

What a frickin' mess.

* * *

I saw an article in today's paper listing the about the fastest-expanding careers in Illinois, and apparently "home health aide" is one of them. Well, the article does not say that there's a shitton of sexism in that industry: you just try to get a job as one of those when you're a man, and see how you do.

Another expanding field is "biomedical engineer". Yeah, you know what a biomedical engineer is? It's a guy with an engineering degree who's also a doctor. Good luck with that.

* * *

...so, yeah, I'm feeling pretty depressed. Why on Earth should I be depressed? I mean, life has just been cherries and rainbows and BJs for the past three weeks, hasn't it?

*sigh*

After hearing the news from Maine, I didn't have the stomach to play WoW any longer. I finished a couple of quests and then shut down the client; after thinking about watching some anime I realized I didn't feel like that, either, and just laid down in bed.

Look: my sister's problems are of her own making; my nephew is the one I feel sorry for, because he's dealing with an awful lot of shit--shit he shouldn't have to deal with!--and so I'm angry at my sister for being such an asshat as well as worried over my nephew's welfare.

But "should" and "shouldn't" don't count for anything. We're thousands of miles away from there so there is not a lot we can do, and being utterly helpless in the face of this kind of situation is depressing. Hopefully my nephew can try to get a good night's sleep tonight--at least, have a night where he's not awakened at 2 AM by my drunk sister needing someone to yell at over the troubles caused by her own failings.

I know I'm in a bad way when neither WoW nor anime--nor even reading--interests me. When I run through the list of things I could do, and nothing sounds good, then I know I'm depressed. Ennui sucks.

The worst thing about it: I find myself doing much the same as my sister, minus the liquor: staying up late and watching video. But I don't sit there and stew over my problems; I watch anime, which distracts me from them. And I don't drink; the last alcohol I had was...when? I don't even remember. Before July at the earliest. None of this shit is going to get better if I drink, so why bother?

But this coping mechanism keeps me up at night and it doesn't help me get anything done, so I need to exercise some self-discipline.

...I just wish there was something I could do about any of this, to make it better.

#2477: Damn it, this does not help my depression.

Someone's made a bad movie version of Burroughs A Princess of Mars, AKA the first Barsoom novel (and which I am reading now).

I should probably try to find that movie myself and have a gander at it, but my emotional state is brittle enough that I don't want to endanger myself.

Jesus.

(And, yes, they totally mangled the plot.)

* * *

Why aren't there more promotions like this? Buy a sports car, get a freakin' .50 caliber sniper rifle! Awesome!

Jalopnik (Gawker) sneers at this, of course, making a crack about Viagra, but if I could afford a Viper I'd probably go buy one from this guy just because it's such a cool promotion.

Hey, if you buy a PT Cruiser, do you get a .22LR?

* * *

Do you flatfeet understand the law you're enforcing? Wisconsin cops are arresting law-abiding citizens for legally carrying firearms, and the municipalities which employ them are paying through the nose for these civil rights violations.

Sorry, libs: in the US, "the right to keep and bear firearms" is a civil right the same as freedom of expression and freedom of movement.

The cops themselves are doing their damnedest to punish law-abiding citizens for exercising their rights to keep and bear firearms. The ACLU is nowhere to be found in this, though if the cops were trying to shut up free speech or doing warrantless searches, the ACLU would be all over them.

Here is an example of police trampling someone's constitutional rights:
As open-carry is perfectly legal in Wisconsin and the officers were aware [a Wisconsin Carry member] had threatened no one and caused no disturbance, the officers had no reasonable articulable suspicion which the law requires, to stop and detain our member against her will. In addition, by drawing their guns on a law-abiding citizen who had done nothing wrong, the officers used an unlawful threat of deadly force during their detainment of our member. The police proceeded to, without reasonable suspicion or probable cause that any crime had occurred, conduct an illegal and unconstitutional search of our member's person and car. Our member was then unlawfully arrested and taken to the Brookfield Police Department for processing.
If you don't see anything wrong with that, just imagine that the woman was--instead--engaged in lawful protest of something you like seeing protested.

If a person is not committing a crime, the police have no business threatening, detaining, searching, and arresting that person--none at all--and the municipalities which employ those police should be sued. The departments should be investigated, and whoever is authorizing this totalitarian bullshit should be fired.

* * *

Interesting point: A Princess of Mars contains a veiled excoriation of communism. Dejah Thoris (the eponymous princess) tells the Tharks that their "communal" way of life has led them to be nomadic barbarians who can only continue to survive on a dying planet because of the ongoing efforts of the red men of Mars (Dejah Thoris' race) to keep the entire planet habitable.

Heh.

* * *

As for me, I took half a Xanax at 4 AM and proceeded to toss and turn until the sun began to rise. The last time I saw the clock before falling asleep, it was after 6:30 and light was beginning to creep around the window shades; and because of the lateness of getting to sleep, I didn't wake up until 2:30 PM.

This is getting ridiculous.

Tonight I'm taking a whole Xanax at freakin' midnight.

Tomorrow I want to visit one of the banks and take back the trans-epidermal neural stimulator (TENS) that Mom had to help her with her back pain. This'll be easier if I don't sleep until freaking three PM. Both destinations are on the same city block, so it'll be a good use of time and effort.

...as long as this stuff gets done in a reasonable time frame, hopefully no one will complain about it.

But I know how it always works out: I ask for input on how to do things and get no replies; I do what I think needs to be done; and then someone gets mad at me because I didn't do it the way they think I should have done it. Well, I've asked my questions and waited several days for input--and gotten none--so I'm going to proceed the way I think best. When the inevitable complaints come rolling in, I'll just have to print out a copy of my e-mails and wave them under a few appropriate noses.

* * *

I wish I had something funny to say. I don't. Nevermind.

#2478: Oh yeah

...when I got up this afternoon (grumble) I saw half an inch of snow on the ground.

When did that happen?

Well, the newspaper was not covered with snow, so it must've happened sometime after I went to bed but before the paper arrived. Dang.

At least I didn't have an anxiety attack last night.

* * *

I've been eating a lot of grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. There was a lot of both left over from the wake. I haven't touched the turkey; I'm probably going to shred that and give it to the cats because--again--I don't trust poultry of indeterminate age.

Last night I did finally manage to play some WoW, though--before my sister called, and after my nap and mopy post about all the bullshit--and got Vicki bumped a few more levels. I'm running quest chains almost exclusively in Kalimdor (except for when I ran the quests in Duskwood) instead of the Eastern Kingdoms.

I don't know if it's me or the quests, but I've hit doldrums for the first time since the new maps went live in November.

But I finished Un'Goro crater and moved on to Ashenvale; explored Felwood and harvested a lot of herbs to make inks from; then I moved into Winterspring and began questing there. Vicki hit 55th level, and I should be able to do a little power-leveling of her Inscription since I have about 40 vials of shimmering ink. (I said I farmed herbs....)

Felwood's herb population has been greatly enhanced by the elimination of the "corrupted" plants and the associated quests. Unfortunately, it's bass-ackwards: the lowest-level herbs occupy the highest-level areas, and vice versa. I was fighting off 47-48 level monsters to get gromsblood, where I'd been fighting 44-46 level monsters to get golden samsan. WTF.

But Winterspring has icecap, which is the same level as golden samsan, and which is ground into the silvery pigment from which one makes shimmering ink. And it has a lot of icecap.

It had been a while since I last hit a vendor; my inventory was full and I kept having to drop (destroy) things. Naturally I got rid of the least-expensive items; but finally I gave up trying to finish quests and just made for Everlook. There I was finally able to dump all the junk in my inventory, and put the stuff I wanted to save for later into my bank.

There was a sweet shield (a purple) in the guild bank, which I grabbed; I dropped 50 GP into the guild bank for that--and nearly made it all back just from questing, killing stuff, and generally making trouble.

I'm going to need more, though, for my flying mount, which is coming up in a few more levels. Around 400 GP for the training, 40-ish for the mount, and another 200 for the "flight master's license" which lets me fly over the EK and Kalimdor.

Guess I'd better put back some herbs for the auction house.

* * *

...I wonder if my niece has started playing WoW yet? I should e-mail her and find out, though I have to wonder if she'd really want to play with her dorky uncle.