February 15th, 2011

#2543: I'm starting to wonder if I don't have a real problem.

I'm used to the blahs, the blues, the doldrums, ennui, and a variety of other kinds of depression. Considering that no one's life is perfect--or even any approximation thereof--I know that you can't expect life to be 100% joy and glee all the damn time; you take the bad with the good. Being sad over the sad things is normal.

But when the blahs become continuous and disabling, then you're in the soup.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been struggling against what I thought was something physical--hypoglycemia, gut malf, my usual winter stuffy head and inchoate sinusitis--and this morning it occurred to me, Dude, this ain't right, and you know it's not.

What got me thinking was when I interrupted my viewing of last night's ep of House, MD to get on the computer and go to monster.com, to look at job openings in the area. Scanning the list (and seeing virtually nothing I'm qualified for) I realized that I was actually experiencing pain while trying to find some job leads. Stepping away from the computer didn't help any. Real pain, in my chest--not cardiac pain, not a sign of heart disease, but simple old-fashioned heartbreak.

Seems that the last thing I need is to be reminded that "heartbreak" is not just a metaphor. I already knew it; there have been enough reversals in my life--hell, just in the last decade!--that I've experienced this feeling before, more times than I'm due. It's real pain, for all that it's psychosomatic, and it sucks.

Me having to find a job isn't the problem. I'm not afraid of work and I've never minded having to pay my own way. I expect it; it's fine--but I need a job because virtually everything else in my life is in the shitter.

Having to find work--and finding very little that I can do, since the jobs I'm seeing are all "X+ years of experience required"--when I need employment is bad enough; feeling anxiety and depression over it is worse. But the worst part is when no matter what I do, I'm suffering for it: looking for work hurts; not looking for work hurts worse. Remaining unemployed is not an option and there's precious little indication that anything else is going to go my way, career-wise; I'm right back at the basic premise of, "You're screwed!"

Of course, it's not just me obsessing over work and money that's the problem, here. It's all related to Mom's death; losing a family member is bad enough, but losing your last parent is worse. On top of that, there are the estate issues that I'm still dealing with: one of the banks doesn't think the kids are named as beneficiaries--we most assuredly are; I was there when the paperwork was filled out--and I can't find anything on file to prove them wrong, which means getting a lawyer and going to court.

Life sucks. Get a fuckin' helmet. Yeah.

But I'm increasingly finding myself being incapacitated...and that is, as I said above, just not right. I've had this inability to do anything for a couple of weeks at least, and it's taken me this long to realize that it's not just an unusually bad case of the February blahs: this is real clinical depression.

Identifying the problem is 90% of solving it. I've got the number of the office of the church I'm a member of, and I'm going to call about their grief support group. That ought to help.

#2544: GOP, have you heard about the pot and the kettle?

GOP mocks Obama's budget.
Republicans are mocking President Obama's $3.73 trillion budget for 2012 for waving feebly at historically huge federal deficits. As if to show how it should be done, they are ready to start muscling their own package of deep cuts in domestic spending through the House.
...excuse me? What f-ing leg does the GOP have to stand on? The latest figures from the GOP has them cutting $61 billion from a $3,800 billion budget--a whopping 1.6%.

1.6% is not a "deep cut". It's bigger than a rounding error, but not by much, and it's just as feeble a wave at "historically huge federal deficits" as anything Obama's come up with.

Pelosi: "House Republicans are going too far, sacrificing Americans' health, safety and future in order to protect the special interests." ...how? By cutting $61 billion from a $3,800 billion budget? 1.6% is "too far"?

I'm left gasping incoherently at all of this. There's no "deficit reduction" going on here; all I see are token efforts to make it look as if the GOP is trying to rein in spending. But it's not; $61 billion is a literal drop in the bucket!

The budget for next year requires that the US government borrow $1,500 billion. If the GOP gets its way, the US government will still have to borrow $1,439 billion. How does that materially help anything whatsoever?

Answer: it doesn't.

I would like to say that I'm disappointed in how the GOP is behaving, except that I expected this, and it's impossible to be disappointed when someone performs to your expectations. (However low they may be.) I knew they weren't going to do a goddamned thing about the out-of-control deficit spending the Democrats emplaced 2007-2010; I knew it because the GOP stopped caring about "fiscal responsibility" after 1997 and became the party of "Democrat Lite".

What the hell did we vote for in 2010? "Same shit, different Democrats." So I'm ready to make a prediction for 2012:

Obama will win a second term as President, because the GOP vote will be split everywhere. The GOP will get shellacked all over the place as voters like me try to find a party with candidates who will actually do something about the de facto socialism of the federal government.

If the GOP keeps this crap up, this life-long Republican is going elsewhere.

Boortz is right to pick on Republicans, damn it.

* * *

Some popular song I heard sometime in the last year sounds a hell of a lot like the end theme to Mermaid Forest (the OVA, not the TV series) and I had the chorus of the pop song stuck in my head; it was keeping me from remembering the Mermaid Forest song, so I fired up WinAmp and listened to it.

Anyway, then I decided to listen to a few tracks from the Mimi wo Sumaseba OST. (The English title is Whispers of the Heart.) One of the wonderful things about that OST is track 11, "Country Road (Violin Version)".

See, the story is set about the time that "Country Roads" was a popular song in Japan, and the main character writes a translation of it in Japanese; there's a scene where she sings it, and track 11 is that song. The really neat thing: she's singing it as the guy who's going to end up being her boyfriend plays the violin (one he's made, I think) and his grandfather's friends come in with various Renaissance instruments and start playing. So there's one guy with a violincello, and a guy with a crumhorn, and so on; and once she's done singing the song they do this awesome Renaissance riff on the song.

It is criminal that this riff is a mere 30 seconds long.

...but it's emblematic of the entire movie. It's about being different, about making things in unusual ways, about finding unusual and good combinations--syntheses--of disparate elements.

The guy's grandfather is an anachronism, an old-world craftsman living in the middle of a major Japanese city, and his grandson is so passionate about becoming a violin maker that he quits school and goes to Europe to try out as an apprentice. The main character, Shizuku, simultaneously begins putting all her effort into writing a novel, even to temporarily abandoning her studies for her high school entrance exams.

When I think about it, I conclude that Mimi wo Sumaseba has got to be my favorite Studio Ghibli film--or if not the favorite, then very close to the top...but I can't think of a single other Ghibli film that I've watched more often.

The guy who directed it died at age 47 of an aneurysm. Damn it.

The artwork is gorgeous. That's true of all Ghibli films, but this one is the best, at least to me. I understand intimately the theme of trying your best to improve your art, working alone for long hours knowing that you might not ever be good enough, that your talent might simply be too ordinary. Even the music--


So now I'm thinking that I'll have to dig it out and watch it again.

* * *

Speaking of anime, the other day I watched the playlist and mistakenly ran an ep of Arakawa Under the Bridge rather than the sequel series Arakawa Under the BridgeXBridge. I watched the entire first season OP thinking, "Oh, they're using the first season OP this time!" because the series is odd enough that I wouldn't put it past them. But no; it was my mistake.

I'm paying for it, too: I've got the OP stuck in my head. It's quirky and kind of annoying, but my subconscious loves it, so I keep hearing the chorus over and over AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!! and it's getting on my nerves.

Fortunately, I've still got "My Sharona" on tap.

(No, I'm not going to post the lyrics again.)

Fairy Tail changed OP and ED themes already, at ep 12. The first OP was "meh" but I kind of liked the ED.

And, Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii ga Nai--if that bitch was my little sister I'd let her stew in her own juices after a while. Ep 4--shit, if I were that guy I would have just let her open the box from Saori in front of her friends, and afterwards I'd tell her, "Well, that's what happens when you DON'T LET PEOPLE FINISH THEIR DAMN SENTENCES!" Yeah, try explaining to your friends why you got a box of hentai doujins. I'd like to see that.

The "little sister" is an arrogant, annoying twerp. I like the guy and his girlfriend, and I love Saori. (I keep hearing her use the archaic "de gozaru" ending in her sentences, which is a relic from the samurai days. She's awesome.)

Oh well.

* * *

Darkmaster hit 40th level. Last night Sailor V and I were kicking ass all over the Scarlet Monastery, but computer problems forced him off-line for about 15 minutes and I'd been fighting sleep since 10 PM, so I logged off and hit the hay around 1 AM with the Cathedral left unfinished; we're going back in later on, whenever I get around to it.

He's found used copies of the expansion packs on Ebay, so very soon he'll be able to level his toon to 80th. Heh.

This character which I made as a lark is actually turning out to be kind of fun. The changes made for Cataclysm actually make the rogue playable for me.

One good change: backstab no longer requires stealth. Targets move around so much that it's kind of hard to get behind someone, in stealth, and then backstab him--particularly when you're not in a party--and the stealth requirement meant that if you missed your shot before combat began, you couldn't use it until the next combat, because you can't go into stealth when you're in combat.

It also meant that you had to choose what attack you'd use to start combat--garotte or backstab--because using either one would break stealth. Even if you didn't draw aggro, you were in combat because of your attack; you couldn't go back into stealth to use the other stealth attack.

Now, though, Sailor V can send his pet after a guy while I, in stealth, creep behind him; once the wolf has aggro I can garotte him while his attention's on the wolf. Once I'm out of stealth, backstab, then sinister strike until I've got all five combo points, and then hit him with a finishing move. With poison on both weapons, I end up doing a pretty fair dinkum job as DPS.

Still not seeing a downside to the revamp for Cata. I know there has to be one; I just haven't found it yet. A bunch of people were predicting that the revamp would drive people away from the game, but I don't see how; certainly it seems a lot more playable to me than it was before, and it wasn't any slouch then.

* * *

Anyway, I said I went to bed around 1 AM? Yeah, that worked. Or not.

Problem is, I'd start to fall asleep; then GRONK I'd snore myself awake. *sigh* I don't know what the problem was, as I don't normally do that. I know I snore; I don't normally wake myself up in the process.

Eventually, though, I fell asleep...and woke up at 5 with the bottomless pit below my sternum demanding tribute. I might have gotten 3 hours of sleep, though it's probably closer to 2.

I'd wager some of my current emotional state is due to fatigue. I will now test my theory by going back to bed. Ha!

(BTW, the "mood" field LJ has has 180-odd different moods in it. One is "recumbent". Is that a mood? I thought it was a bicycle.)

#2545: I feel better

Well, after sleeping all day and having some leftover beef stroganoff, I feel enormously better than I did this morning. I'm still working on getting my sleep schedule rearranged into something that makes sense, but when I start freaking out like that the best thing I can do is to hit the hay, because 90% of the time it's because I'm plum tuckered. Like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum at bedtime, and then flopping like a stringless marionette the second he's in bed, my emotional stability is tied to my fatigue level.

Don't know how many times I've done the exact same thing; you'd think that--by now--I'd recognize WTF is going on: "Crap, I'm depressed. Go to bed, dude; you're exhausted." *sigh*

The important thing is, I feel a damn sight better than I did this morning. I feel better than I have since Friday, in fact. Well, blabbing about that stuff here is cathartic; and anyway I think I was overdue for delivering my quota of "drama and angst" as required by the LJ terms of service.

I mean, nothing is different than it was this morning--I still face exactly the same problems I did, and nothing's been solved--but I've got my energy back and the issues don't seem as daunting as they did 11 hours ago.

I'd managed to find 3 job leads on Monster.com. Just now I pared the job leads down to 2, though, because I realized that I wasn't qualified for one of them. Well, one lead is for Manpower; sending a resume to a temp agency is like firing a shotgun into a cloud of geese: if you don't hit the bird you're aiming at, you'll hit something, anyway.

My primary criteria are:

1) Not too much physical labor (ie less physical than my job at Target was)
2) Not less than $10 an hour (if at all possible, but whatever.)

My situation being what it is, it's likely that once the bunker is sold I'll move south to Louisiana. My oldest sister told me that--worst case--I could always go to work for her, as she desperately needs lab technicians who have brains; it's also helpful if their brains are reliably connected to their hands.

I'm not making any plans yet, though; I just need something to pay the bills while I'm still living here.

...having been at Target, though, I'd wager I could work as a truck loader at UPS and surprise the fuck out of all those young guys doing the job--but why? I have a brain and an education; I should at least try to get a job that uses my brain more than my muscles.

I'm thinking again about finding a job like being the inside "Geek Squad" guy at Best Buy. Hardware upgrades, installing software, etc--it's all stuff I can do, and while the pay wouldn't be outstanding it'd be pretty easy work. I figure I need a take-home income of around $200 per week to pay my bills and put food on the table; but I won't be paying rent while I live here and 75% of the utility bills will be paid by my siblings, as we're going to split the bills four ways.

We might end up splitting them three ways, depending on how cooperative my crazy sister feels. There's no way to tell in advance how reasonable she's willing to be. In any case, $200 per week will suffice; I won't be eating filet mignon nor will I be buying a Ferrari, but I won't starve and I won't be living in a cardboard box. My car insurance and probably the Internet connection will be all my responsibility, of course--and I'll probably end up getting rid of the satellite box--but I can live with that, too. (All this is a damn sight better than what I expected before all this, which was that I'd have to foot the entire bill for all the utilities. But my oldest sister says that we should split them, as it's a necessary expense for maintaining our property in ready-to-sell condition.)

Whatever the case, everything is not exactly bleak--and in the absolute worst case, I have money to live on. I don't want to touch it--it's my inheritance, in IRA form, so it costs me 10% to use any of it, and I want to use it as the down payment on a house--but if I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO OTHER OPTIONS it's there. I can live on that; but just thinking about that makes me cringe, because one of the few lessons Dad managed to pound into my head is NEVER, NEVER, EVER SPEND YOUR PRINCIPAL. Particularly not on consumables! Jesus!

The only time it's permissible to spend your principal is when you're investing it; well, buying property is never a bad investment in the long term. (It just comes down to how long a term you find acceptable. Whoever buys property in Detroit right now will make a killing...someday. It might not be until 2200, but it'll happen.)

You certainly do not spend principal on something which will depreciate, like a car. There was this guy going to my college who bought a freakin' Lotus Esprit with his inheritance, and good God did that give me the jibblies just thinking about it. $40,000, pissed away on a freakin' car--and one with Lucas electrics to boot. (At a time when you could buy a fully-loaded Mustang GT for about $20,000 if you didn't dicker.)

(That guy stopped attending school after about a year or so. No idea what happened to him; I don't know if he graduated, or just stopped going. I only just now noticed/recalled that the guy's Lotus stopped appearing in the parking lot about halfway through 1991.)

Anyway: there are worse problems in the world than mine, and for that I am grateful. It's just that sometimes I lose perspective. Sleep fixes that; and that was the case today. So I guess I'd better get after the dishes, and take out the trash, and--