Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday Check-In

Do you ever just get so pissed off by the stupidity of people that mass murder seems kind of an attractive solution? That education and evolution are just too slow, and a .45 to the forehead would be more efficacious? Or is that just me?

Not that I actually believe that, of course... it's just the emotion I feel when I see Glenn Beck trying to co-opt Martin Luther King Jr's name and ideals for his own demagogic ends, or when I hear that people actually believe Rush Limbaugh's rumor-mongering about President Obama being a Muslim, or when somebody quotes Sarah Palin saying anything... I just want to get a gun and start shooting.

Fortunately for the world, I don't know how to operate a gun, and am in fact quite frightened of them. I shot a gun once, aimed a .38 revolver at a row of cans on a fence when I was six or seven; and not only did I miss (I think I hit a tree), the recoil knocked me off my feet. The feeling of the bullet leaving the gun, and the power behind it reverberating through my hand, was terrible, and I still remember it today.

I've picked up a gun once since then, my cop uncle's when he left it in the house and I grabbed it and brought it to him before he got into his car, and I experienced real fear just holding the holstered weapon in my hand... what if I dropped it and it went off? And since then, I've always thought of guns the way I think of snakes... OK from a distance, but I don't want to touch one.

So it's all in my head, this itchy trigger finger. I don't actually believe I could kill a person myself, or even approve of killing a person. I just have this little atavistic response, my ape brain trying to lash out at negative stimuli, completely disconnected from my higher human brain that abhors destruction of any kind.

Well, anyway, that's what's been on my mind this week.


I think the Zoloft is fucking with my sleep, as well as presenting other side-effects (urethral resistance and gas and drowsiness). I've been having a really hard time getting to sleep at night, and an even harder time waking up in the morning, but I wake up two or three times in the night; and sleep-loss really screws up my functionality. I even left the office early on Friday because I couldn't stay awake. So I'm going to stop taking it this week and see if anything changes; if not, I'll talk to my shrink and see what else we can do.


No gym again this week, and I weighed in at 228 this morning. But the walking to and from my distant parking-space every workday has improved my mood and my muscle tone noticeably, so I think I won't put in for the nearby parking space this month... keep schlepping while the weather's nice. And if I get rid of the drowsiness by getting rid of the Zoloft, I might be able to stay awake long enough after work to get a workout in.

Continuing to live in hope!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Check-In

So another week goes by, nothing much changes, nothing exciting or infuriating or even just weird happens.

I did have something of a meltdown at Grandmother about the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" which the media have been belaboring all week... she was sucking at the teat of Fox News in the form of Sean Hannity's little talk show, where some badly groomed idiot was screaming and yelling about insults to the dead and all that jazz, while Hannity nodded and frowned with all the camera-ready gravitas he could muster, and I went off.

I mean, this was Thursday, and Keith Olbermann's piece exploding the myth of the Ground Zero Mosque was already viral on the web by Tuesday, had been picked up and confirmed by dozens of op-ed columnists and thousands of bloggers; the information that there was no such thing as a Ground Zero Mosque, that it was an Islamic Community Center four blocks away and not even visible from the Twin Towers site, was readily available all over the world. But here they were hollering about something that didn't exist, something that simply wasn't true. Why?

And it's not just Fox... when I logged in to Yahoo! yesterday to check my email, there was a little blurb "Obama approves right to build Ground Zero Mosque"... so incredibly misleading, so misinformative; of course President Obama and any thinking person would approve of the right of a private landowner to build whatever the hell he wants to build on his own effing property. And for all I can tell, it was motivated only by a desire to make someone click the link in outrage. Well, I was outraged, but I didn't click the link, so their little plan failed.

On Saturday night, I watched the classic movie Born Yesterday on YouTube (you can, too!) and was reminded again of what our country is supposed to be like... yeah, the movie was something of a propaganda piece for the government, much like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Legally Blonde II (I bet you never thought to see both of those titles in the same sentence), painting the government as a group of inherently honest people who are occasionally led slightly astray by outside forces; but such propaganda does remind us of what it's supposed to be like, what it was intended to be like when it was founded.

A nation of idealists and ideals, high-minded and fair, embracing reason and eschewing superstition. What happened to that?


I'm on the full doses of everything now: 75mg Seroquel, 50mg Zoloft, and 200mg Wellbutrin. No ill effects, though for the last few nights I've been having trouble getting to sleep, and I've noticed a recurrence of the "urethral resistance" issue I experienced when I was on Abilify year before last... a little trouble peeing and mild discomfort ejaculating. I'm not sure if these problems are the Zoloft or if it's something else going on just at the moment, we'll see what develops.


Still holding steady at 225, it actually strikes me as faintly odd that I am the exact same weight all the time, I usually go up and down a couple of pounds here and there. But I'm not complaining. I am going to start back to the gym one of these fine days; hopefully, since the Seroquel sleepiness has passed off some, it will pass off more and I won't be so tired at the end of the day... I know if I get myself back into the habit, I'll feel better all around.

But knowing something and doing something about it... two entirely different things.

Oh, and I did finally get Claudius into his new tank. I haven't assembled the stand, nor cleared the space in my bedroom (the tank is sitting on a towel in the living room), and the new filter is still in its box... but at least the poor thing's not sitting in an inch of pooey slime anymore. Sometimes that's all one can ask out of life.

Have a happy week!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Picture Post: Armed & Dangerous

And now for something a little different... since I always end posts in which I talk about myself with a bit of beefcake, I am now going to end a post about beefcake with a bit of myself! Avast!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday Check-In

Here I am once again doing my Saturday Check-In on Monday... I was busy on Saturday with the Alameda Royal Grand Ducal Investiture show and party (where I was made a Royal Dame of the Court), and then dinner at The Dead Fish with Caroline (she was craving crab); and Sunday I gave myself a Mental Reset Day where I stayed in bed all day doing very little and thinking even less... playing games and reading and napping. It was a very pleasant weekend, though I'd like another day to do the things I was planning to do on Sunday other than lay around in bed playing games and reading and napping... like setting up Claudius's new tank, which I've been putting off for over two months, now.

I'm actually engaged in the contemplation of a major change to my bedroom: it occurred to me last time I cleaned that I only sleep on about half of my bed; it's queen-sized (naturally) but the side nearest the wall is always stacked up with books and videos and stuffed animals... the area cleared for sleeping is actually narrower than a twin bed. So I'm thinking about changing to a twin bed (or a "single"... also naturally), specifically a daybed that I can use as a couch during the day and sleep on at night.

Of course, I can't afford it right now, which is why we're stalled at the contemplation stage. There's one at IKEA that I like, which is $400 and is white with high sides and three enormous drawers underneath; but then there's one at Penney's I like even better, which is leather and gorgeous and only $700 with the optional leather-fronted trundle (or $500 without).

My thinking is that having more open floor would be a good idea, it would give me a more expansive sense of space in my room, and might make the place less depressing. And while waiting to save up the money to buy the thing, I will be trying to decide if I want to place the bed in front of the window or along the inside wall; the latter would require rehanging all my wall-shelves, but I think that might be fun.

Of course, this whole exercise is one of procrastination... putting off doing anything to my room until I can buy the new bed. But it's fun thinking about, anyway, and better than not doing anything about my room without having an excuse.


I'm still taking the 75mg of Seroquel, and the drowsiness has passed off, so I'm going to stay at that dose; and I've reduced the Wellbutrin to 200mg and added 25mg of Zoloft (this week...I'll be doing 50mg next week), and have no ill effects to report. In fact, I've felt pretty good all week... productive at work, cheerful-feeling most of the time; and when I went to Investitures on Saturday, I didn't get anxious at all. Let's hope this lasts.


Weight and exercise are all related, anyway, so I'm conflating them lexically as well as categorically. But no gym again this week... however, I don't have the nearby parking space this month, so I'm walking 2/3 of a mile daily at work, to and from the edge of the 2-Hour Parking zone where I leave my car. My weight is holding steady at 225, but I'm feeling a bit more fit and toned... more than the daily walk will account for.

So that's what's up with me this week. I'll be back later on to do a picture post, so stay tuned!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday Check-In

This has been a pretty good week... it had some low points, but it had more high points. On one occasion, I even said aloud to the universe (and the two people in the room with me) "I feel good!" It was a lovely feeling, a feeling I once took for granted, but which now I must cherish and acknowledge whenever it occurs.

The high point was learning that Prop 8 had been overturned; although it really has little to do with me, as I've quite given up believing any man worth having would be daft enough to hitch his wagon to my trainwreck, I have to say that I was elated by the announcement. Walking on air, even. It was a relief from a load of anger and resentment I hadn't even realized I'd been carrying ever since November before last.

The low point was discovering that the pre-filled document I had lobbied for, and thought I'd gotten, and had already printed out, and had already announced to the rest of the staff, was after all a no-go; I was furious, partly because I really felt we needed that document pre-filled, but (to tell the truth) rather more upset that the announcement went out already and I would look a bit foolish having to retract it. I got so depressed after that (not because of it, I think, but rather due to the extremes of emotion, going from elated to irate within eighteen hours) that I was afraid I might not make it home... if the traffic hadn't prevented me from picking up any speed, I think I might have plowed my car into a tree or pylon.

But even that low-point was balanced back to the good when the director who pulled the rug out from under me about the pre-filled document took a moment to commend me in front of all my coworkers at the staff meeting on Friday. I guess I'm a sucker for praise, but I thought it was really sweet of him to give me a pat on the back for my initiative in repairing (or at least attempting to repair) faulty processes. And then I had a really good time this morning, trolling some garage sales with Caroline; I bought a gorgeous Lenox creamware vase, urn-shaped with swan handles, for $20.

So, like I said, a pretty good week.


I emailed my psychiatrist for my monthly check-in with her, and she felt that the short-tempered grouchiness I've been experiencing would be zeroed-out if I balanced my Wellbutrin with Zoloft; so now I'm going to be taking half-doses of the two antidepressants as well as the dose of the mood stabilizer (Seroquel); and if the drowsiness from the Seroquel doesn't sort itself out by the end of this week, to go back to the 50mg dose.

On Thursday, I experienced the severe depression, weepiness and suicidal ideation for most of the afternoon and into the evening; but I went to bed at 8 and slept for almost ten hours, and felt fine the next day. And as I said, the rest of the week my mood and my physical well-being was at a level that I would like to inhabit all the time... I mean, I felt really good most of the week. So we'll see what the Zoloft does to me, and hope that the short temper goes away with it.

(PS: I did a blood draw this morning and got the results just now... I love Kaiser's online services!... and my glucose levels are perfectly normal. So the Seroquel hasn't hurt me at all, and that's good to know.)


I did not go to the gym nor pay the remotest attention to my diet, other than trying to avoid too many sweets and not overeating, all week. My weight was 225 this morning, down a pound from last week, so no tragedy. I think that I'm not facing any medication-caused weight-gain, so eating normally results in keeping steady; I still want to throw off that extra fifteen pounds, and really want to get into the habit of going to the gym after work. I just have to keep plugging away at it.

It seems as though I've hit a boundary with my wallowing: I hate my messy room, I hate being fat, and I hate everything being the same; I want to change. I realize that change will be slow, but I want it, so I will continue to work for it.

And on that note, ciao until next week!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Voter's License

I am thrilled to pieces about the overturn of "Prop H8"... I rather expected that the law would be deemed unconstitutional, seeing as how it is unconstitutional and any moron with a copy of the Constitution could figure that out; but I was braced for another suckerpunch such as I felt when the goddamned thing was passed in the first place.

In the gleeful aftermath of this landmark decision, I was enjoined by a fellow JUBber to visit the Fox News poll on the issue ("Did Judge Make Right Call In Gay Marriage Case?" is how it was phrased, as if it were a disputed base hit) and skew (or perhaps "balance" is a better word) the results away from the usual Fox News redneck reactionism. So I voted, pleased to note that my opinion was in the overwhelming majority at that moment (it went back and forth a lot, in the few minutes I spent on the site), and left a comment for the delight and enlightenmnent of others:

"It is the responsibility of the Judicial branch of government to interpret and enforce the Constitution, not the responsibility of the People; if the People vote for something that is in direct contradiction to the Constitution, it is the duty of the Judicial to overturn those votes. This is how we have a democracy instead of mob rule."

I read through the other comments, something I doubt many other commentors bothered to do, and was dismayed (but not surprised) by the complete lack of understanding of the System of Checks and Balances that I was taught about in junior high school Social Studies: they kept harping on "the will of seven million voters." They all seem to think that sheer numbers makes something right... as if all Justice requires is a whole shitload of people with no actual standing in the question being misled by colorful advertisements paid for by Mormons.

So my proposal is that voter registrations have an examination component, like being licensed to drive. Fifty questions on the Constitution and basic US Government concepts (such as immigrants have to pass to become citizens), and maybe a practical component where you have to demonstrate an ability to correctly interpret the text of a ballot measure.

Of course, considering that the possession of a driver's license doesn't guarantee, or even mildly encourage, good driving habits, one can't hope that licensure would create intelligent voters; still, it does keep the most dangerously ignorant malpractitioners in the passenger seat, and would reduce the disputes raised by the clearly misinformed.

Like when I had to take traffic school for a moving violation a few years ago. At the beginning of the class, the instructor led a round-robin introduction where we told what we were "in for," what violation had landed us in this Piedmont High School math classroom on a Saturday morning. And all of the people in the class claimed they had no idea that the thing they did was illegal (like the girl who pulled a u-turn over a median curb to get a parking space... how could that be illegal?) I knew that what I had done was against the law, and freely admitted it; I was just grateful that I spotted the CHiP in time to slow down... I'd been going over 100mph on a winding country highway, but he only clocked me at 80mph.

But in each of these cases, everybody knew that even though they had been ignorant of that fine point of law, they were still dead to rights or they wouldn't be there. They knew where the law was, and what it said, and they did not dispute the law nor seek to be vindicated by overturning the law... they only protested that ignorance=innocence (which, as all of us who were paying attention in Social Studies know, is not the case).

So, as this issue wends its way toward the US Supreme Court (which is a very scary place for a "moral" issue to be, right now) I will be following its progress. But I have to say, this decision (and you can read the whole thing over here, it's really interesting) has given me renewed faith in our system of government, faith that was seriously shaken by the passage of Prop 8. I am heartened to see that Justice can and will overcome opinions and feelings and moral stances from people who are not even affected by the law that they want to see passed and enforced. Reason finally wins a round!

O happy day!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Picture Post: Put That Thing Out!

I quit smoking twelve years and three weeks ago. I still frequently crave the cigarettes; but then I see these young people smoking... and it just pisses me off. I remember being young and thinking it was no big deal, I could quit when I want to, it's my body isn't it, I'm an adult I can make my own decisions... yada yada yada. I would give just about anything to have skin that fits again, being able to stay awake for more than sixteen hours, and standing up out of a chair without audibly creaking; but I would never wish to recapture the stupidity of youth.

Speaking of skin that fits, though...

But seriously, if you're a slave to the nicotine, you can get out from under it. I mean, what have you got to lose? I won't lie to you, it's incredibly hard to do, nicotine (especially the genetically altered nicotine of American cigarettes) is more addictive than heroin. But just think of the benefits to your skin, your breath, your lungs, and your pocketbook.

Think about it. It's gonna be illegal eventually, anyway, so why not get ahead of the trend?