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Middle-Age and Exams? Pfft, I’ve had my fill…

11/02/2016 Comments off

Entry 11/02/2016 08:00:45 AM – Mentat 1204

Welcome to Babylon 5, the last best hope for a quick buck.” – Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5

While I’m not sure whether or not this entry’s going to be going out to the world, I think that quote is rather apropos for at least one of the subjects that I’m going to be covering in this entry.  However, as I’m sitting here breakfasted, caffeinated — mostly, more to explain there — and the happy little Hell-beast is up on the desk gingerly flicking its tail, I’m wondering how to approach everything in an orderly fashion…  Yeah, the usual sort of chaos that comes from the fact that there’s much to cover in the wide, wide world of the Baldelli Homestead.

My annual physical has come and gone.  I’ve gained about 17 pounds mainly due to laziness and more than unusual intake of junk food in the form of chips, crackers and candy.  So much so that after the blood work had been processed, the doctor’s office called me to tell me the usual that my sugar’s a little high and the unusual that my triglycerides are of a concern and that I should change my diet a bit more.  Yeah, sure no problem there.  So at the time of this entry, I’ve cut out all sorts of junk foods from chips to crackers to anything that would be chocolate (yeah, that part’s killing me at the moment, but at least the jonesing hasn’t really started yet).  Instead, I’ve been doing my best trying to eat more healthy snacks — raw fruits and vegetables, less pastas and that sort of thing.

I’ve also cut down on my caffeine intake with my morning coffee, either picking up decaf iced coffee if I’m out of the house or drinking half-caf when I’m lounging about the house in the morning.  While my sleep might be a bit knackered if only because of other influences — like middle-aged — at least I’m learning that if I’m working I need 7½ of sleep a night and when I’m not working 6½ is more than adequate.  At least the good thing is that I’m more than happy about mid-afternoon naps when I can have them just in case.

Oh yeah, and thanks to the more temperate autumn, I’m more than happily picking up my habit of walking at least 3 miles (4.8 Km) during the afternoon.  The good thing about this is that couple this with both quick galivants in the morning and the usual walking of my mother’s Monster Child™, I can average more than 10,000 steps in the day; which I’m sure my doctor’s going to be happy about the next annual checkup.

Then yesterday, I had the pleasure of the other-half of the annual checkup/preventative measure that come with Middle Aged:  the dreaded colonoscopy examination.  Pfft, I say to that.  While I might understand the need for such things when it comes to people from families that have histories of various forms of cancer to even smoking in one’s life — for someone like me I’d prefer to perform an enema with Dranō especially after that gallon of swill consisting of Gatorade and MiraLAX with a Dulcolax chaser.  The day before fast can also go.  I made mention to the doctor an enema with distilled water would have been less of an annoyance than the pre-prep that’s handed out to all patients, but he explained to me that with a cleaned out system they also do checks between the large to small intestines, so that suggestions for that discomfort are out.

While I can barely remember the post-operative conversation because I was still loopy from the anesthesia they used, I do remember that the doctor had explained to me that they had found a couple of polyps — although my mother being present at the time explained they also found them on her and had confirmed they were benign, so I’m playing the waiting game at the moment until it’s confirmed they’re benign from me as well.  I do also remember something about the doctor saying something about looking forward to the next exam in 3 to 5 years.

Thinking, fuck that, I nodded, shook his hand and hobbled my way out to the car.

Yeah, no…  As I said to my mother, if they ever confirm the possibility of cancer, I would rather die than go through the chemotherapy and the various other horrors that await someone trying to get their cancer treated.  Besides, I have other concerns that might be happening later in my life, from the possibility of Parkinson’s Disease from my mother’s side of the family, Alzheimer’s from my father’s side of the family, a stroke in my later years from both sides of the family up at least 5 generations, just to name the ones I’ve seen in my years on this planet.

As a side note, the first thing I did was completely cheat any dietary restrictions and bought a Chicken Ranch and Bacon Calzone from my favorite local restaurant: Vasilio’s, apparently screwed up my maths between cost and tip by at least $0.20 cents, ate that while watching Xmeagol’s stream has he was playing something, passing out in my chair in the office and then hobbling to bed to sleep another couple of hours with the cat on my chest.   It was surprising how I was able to function in spite of being in a post-anesthetized state.

The homestead has been in a state of chaos, disrepair and blackmailed repairs when the issue gives me the feeling that I’m not living in a house, but out in the forest like the Radical Faeries I knew used to in Atlanta, GA.  Starting with the roof, apparently there had been water damage to parts of the roof on the eastern side of the house.  I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it publicly, but I’ve made quite a bit of noise on it privately as there was one night when it was seriously lashing out that when I took a break from whatever gaming I had been playing, went to the toilet and heard that the facet was leaking in the kitchen.  Without turning the light on, I checked the faucets and when I got dripped on, realized that the dripping water was coming from the third floor. Investigating, it turns out that the water dripping was coming in from the roof above the third floor with it running down the walls and straight onto the floor on the third and as gravity is a harsh mistress, was coming into my apartment in the process.

I can put up with a lot of things going wrong in my part of the shelter, but water in my apartment is definitely not one of them.  I talked with the landlord and his temporary solution while he was dealing with things in his life was to put a basin down  in the hopes of catching the water before he had to call out for someone to work on the roof.  Turns out that his temporary solution was as useless as a screen door on a submarine, and I was forced to hold back the month’s check as a means of blackmailing him to getting someone to work on the roof.   And so before the next rainstorm that we had, he got someone to work on the roof and since it’s rained more than few times in the following weeks — my apartment (and the third floor apartment) — have been bone dry.

Then yesterday, as I was prepping for the colonoscopy exam, I was entertained with a very lukewarm shower.  Without my morning coffee, by entertained I actually mean tortured.  After investigating the problems in the basement, I encountered water from one of the three sewer outlets in the basement (seriously three of them for a three by three apartment building).  Seems to be the front one that deals with the sinks (for the kitchens) in the front of the house.  After relighting the pilot on the water heater and checking it a couple of times between last night and this morning — so far it’s remained lit (knocking on wood) — and while the water’s definitely warming, it’s not the piping hot that I’m used to…  I adjusted the temperature upwards a bit, it’s significantly warmer, though not as piping hot as I remember, but then I just changed it less than an hour ago, and it’s a large tank so I’m not sure.  Let’s hope that ends the problem, but if not I might need to look into a new water heater sometime in the future.  More on that I’m sure.

On my off time, I’ve been playing the usual games and added one more game to the repertoire.  First and foremost ties into the reason for the quote that opened this entry:  Star Trek Online.  While I play games my way and solo, I often watch chat (and sometimes the exchange/auction house) the price gouging in that particular game has been astronomical.  With the introduction of Tier-6 Kelvin Timeline Constitution Class Cruiser  (otherwise known as the JJ Abrams’ Enterprise), pricing for starships has gone from the rather insane 500 million energy credits to well over 1.2 billion (there’s an EC cap on players that’s only to 1 billion) and have incorporated exchange of Master Keys as necessary for the purchase from sellers.  While I had no issues on the Energy Credit Costs, going into real-world money — upwards between $270 to above $300 USD — for an in-game item seems to be  the epitome of greed.

Perfect World/Cryptic  seem to well aware of the greed and seemed to have instituted Energy Credit requirements for Fleet/Clan projects, but the truth of the matter is, this instituted method of greed control is too little and much too late as the price gouging and greed going on within game, as the sellers have now completely moved onto Master Key exclusively for exchanges for sellable ships.   PW/Cryptic’s solution is too little and much too late and I’ve suggested that PW/Cryptic look into a solution this morning, but I’m pretty damned sure it’ll go ignored.  The game is making more money now than when it was subscriber based.

Then there’s Warframe.  I’ve covered that game’s ongoing issues in this forum thread.  While I’ve made my peace in that posting (and pretty much ignored the comments that were made on it), I’ve pretty much said my piece and made my piece with the imperfections of the game.  I continue to play the game in spurts — what I like to call burst playing (playing missions in a burst of one to three per run) — either based on the alerts that I see, or for the grind for leveling up weapons (and later warframes).  After that I wander off to do whatever else it is I want to do during that time.

As of the last time I paid attention to the developer news (through their weekly Live-Streams on Twitch), I was moderately pissed-off that I lack one of the many requirements for doing the recent story about to be released next week (The War Within), but also made my peace on it as I’ll be able to check it out sometime in the future.  Hell, thinking about it, it almost took me six months after the release of Second Dream to actually play and finish it, so I shouldn’t be too miffed that I won’t be ready for the newest part of the saga on release.

In place of Rift that I’m dumping again, for two reasons; in its place I’ve picked up and starting playing Elite: Dangerous. Unlike Warframe (which also gets called Farmframe from the amount of grind in the game), E:D is clearly grind from the time you start playing the game (either in Solo or Open area Modes).  I’ll definitely playing this game much like I do Warframe in burst mode to prevent the potential burnout that can occur from playing a game with more than a little sameness.  I still haven’t figured out how I want to play this game, given I’ve seen some pretty impressive Twitch streams covering aspects of taxiing for money to YouTube for bounty hunting and from what I’ve been reading on the wiki there are other choices and combinations thereof.  I’m still trying to make up my mind on that, although knowing me I’ll probably go with something Privateer and legal.  I don’t like fines and I hate the thought of being hunted down by other players.

And that’s about it for the time being.  Tomorrow it’s the 0400 laundry run and then it’s back to life as usual.  Until the next time.

The New Year

01/07/2016 Comments off

Entry 01/07/2016 02:16:30 AM – Mentat 1036

The great thing about a computer notebook is that no matter how much you stuff into it, it doesn’t get bigger or heavier…” – Bill Gates

I’ve gotten into the first week of the new year and in spite of the fact that I’ve been more than diligently writing personal diary entries, it’s been some months since the last time I had written publicly was about the time of the mugging. In the following three months since then I’ve been inordinately quiet online while happily producing various Mandelbulb and (mostly) JWildfire fractal work. While I’ve been more than happy about keeping my diary private (offline), the primary reason hasn’t been because of the frivolousness of the entries. Not at all really; after all I’ve been well known for taking the most frivolous and dog-eared end of any element in my life and turning into a melodramatic moment of story-telling proportions. No, the ongoing issues that I’ve been having since starting this job has been the ability to focus on any one thing and staying with it from beginning to middle to end. Instead of focusing and staying to that course, I often find myself going in a hundred different directions at any given moment. Further, the more intense the issue — the more frustrated I become when trying to describe the issue — the more likely I am to run away from it, finding something else to distract myself from that frustration. I have since gotten a little better about this at least privately — whether this will extend publicly remains to be seen — but I’ll endeavor to do my best one way or another.

I got hired at the contract I’ve been working for the last 9 months. In spite of the anger issues that I had been going through because of that mugging, the delusional pats-on-the-back the manager (only in the position 3 weeks longer than I’ve been working there) that firmly believes she’s changed things for the better, and the host of other issues I’ve seen, witnessed, experienced both just prior through to just after the hiring process. As I’ve said before (around the end of September) I’ve never been in a department that completely lacks the ability to reading (and comprehending) e-mail sent to them personally as well as a blast to the whole department. The icing on that cupcake came a couple of weeks later when I was pulled into the manager’s office and was chastised for the “scathing” e-mail I had sent QA coordinator (a contractor barely into his 30s) and how much he cried to the manager about how harsh that e-mail was to his feelings. After about 15 minutes of being berated not only by the manager but also the witness (because she’s female and I’m not, it’s common practice to have a witness — usually of management — to ensure nothing goes afoul. This witness is also a team leader for the department), I decided to go onto the offensive to shut the meeting down when the manager said, “if you got an e-mail like the one I wrote, I’m sure you’d had been crying in my office about it.” I looked at her and said, “Uh, no I wouldn’t. I would have handled that criticism like an adult and not a spoiled child.” And then went on to state the apparent issues that continue to plague the department, including how no one reads e-mails, no one seems to be able to take any criticism and how everyone cries foul for any slight that might come out or inferred. I got loud enough in the meeting that the window on her office door rattled and when I left that meeting people in the department were unusually quiet like they thought I was getting fired.

The fact is, I could go on and on (and on and on) about it, and the more that I do the more I’ll feel my blood pressure once again rising and the more aggravated I’ll be about it. And while it’s true it might get a bit of frustration that I’ve had pent up over the months — I suspect more than it’ll just torque me up in ways I don’t want to cope through. And I’m rather liking having my attention to coping through health and fitness issues more than work-related issues. With that I keep reminding myself that there are some places that have it well established on how to handle such situations and such issues and there are places that don’t. This is just one of those sort of places that doesn’t. And the bottom line is that I’m just riding it through to see whether the changes are going to be for the better, or for the worst.

After all the zaniness of getting hired and getting the Golden Ticket to allow being hired at this place, I’ve continued with my regimen from my doctor as he balanced out my medications for high blood pressure as well as dietary changes because of these medications (low sodium mostly); I come to find out the main medication for controlling high blood pressure — Metoprolol — is also used to control anxiety. This was after the second month of the medication adjustments; of which two of those months I was seriously crotchety as I was fighting the near constant fatigue I was experiencing. By the third month — I had gotten used to the medications and whatever hostility I had been feeling just washed away and disappeared. Because of this, I’ve learned to take advantage of the medication and allow most of the aggravating instances at work to wash away and deal with them if I can deal with them. Or to leave them be until I can handle or not.

The other drug that I take — Chlorthalidone — reminds me vividly that I am middle-aged. Seriously. Because of one of the side-effects of regularly taking it, I’ve had to include taking Metamucil (AKA, The Radioactive Sludge) as part of my diet. I think the most annoying part of about it is that if I miss so much as two doses of Metamucil — my bowels stopper up faster than you can say, “Screaming Jesus on a Ferris Wheel”.

All I can think on this is — so this is what Middle Age is all about? And I thought the first six years were going to be a cake walk through to retirement. Nope, this is where the true “fun” begins.

The second part of this middle-age is the amount of fun I’ve been having in the kitchen trying low-sodium and more healthy alternatives to the things I’ve been eating most of my life. While it’s true that I had learned my cooking from my three grandmothers (maternal, paternal and step-father), I never did take advantage of that experience on just myself. While it’s true that I normally cooked such meals for boyfriends & partners (or for special occasions) it was rare to do so for myself. Further I’ve been expanding upon it thanks to places like All Recipes, Food and Food Network as well as Epicurious just to name the few off the top of my head. While I might not post the pics on WordPress, DA or Blogger — I do on occasion post them to Twitter and Facebook. And if you’re curious enough — you can always ask me what I’m trying out at the moment.

Couple this with the exercise/keep busy routine that I’ve had going since October last year and I’m happy to say that I continue to lose weight. I’ve currently gotten to my first goal weight of 185 lbs. (83.9 Kg) and I’m currently working on my second goal weight of 170 lbs. (77.1 Kg). I’m optimistic (but not overly hopeful) given that it’s winter and I’m not overly enthusiastic about walking in sub-freezing temperatures. It’ll definitely be happening over the spring to fall of this year though, rest assured.

Next up for 2016 is finally getting around to redecorating and renovating the Homestead. That’ll start in the spring when it warms up. Heh, unlike the douchebag ex-landlord that I worked for — I am NOT doing any interior painting in the winter. Not now and especially not ever again. I guarantee there will be pictures coupled with the potential for the mis-adventures that will and can occur.

Overall, I’m getting rather used to it just being Moe and me. At least Moe and I have come to an agreement about certain things; namely his not kneading the duvet when he comes to bed and clawing up the rugs instead of his scratcher. Though it took me a while to realize one of his habits is actually love bites, even if he doesn’t do head-butts. While he hasn’t ever drawn blood, he tends to clamp down a bit harder than I’m used to. And while he’s not as friendly as any of other cats, because of it he’s a perfect alarm for people coming into the house and when noises are too clamorous outside. If it’s too noisy he’s gone… disappears… and runs immediately for somewhere in the bedroom. He’ll only come out after they’re gone or it’s quiet in the neighborhood once again. Which is perfect when I’m unconscious and drooling into a pillow.

While I’ve set about 25 goals for this year, three of which are currently sitting on my desk: publicly posting (some more) of my journal entries, trying to write a short story without the necessary muse for writing and whether to continue posting fractal work for 2016. So the operative question I’ve had since the new year is will I add them to the list of goals or not? Well, it remains to be seen.