March 26, 2008

It's a Learning Process

Hey, Kids! Don't try this at home. I did, and I regretted it. As I've said before, sometimes I try to use my own experiences as an example for others. In this case, something to avoid.

Something else I've said before is that I have Type 2 diabetes. Don't worry, you can't catch it. It's pretty well under control when I pay attention. On Easter Sunday, I wasn't paying close enough attention. Sure, I can have some dessert (which has sugar) and an extra helping of potatoes (which have starch). Too bad I didn't know that the ham had a kind of sugar glaze or something. And that sugar was added to the corn. When everything was added up, it was harmful.

Two hours after eating, I took a blood reading. And almost fell off my chair because it was my all-time high. Now, other diabetics might look at my number of about 223 and say, "Big deal." Well, the normal range for a healthy adult is 80-120, and my doctor wants me around 100 (which it has been more often than not).

But it was a shock to me, and I overcompensated. Instead of taking one of my remedies, I took three. The third was the worst, because I took an additional 1,000 mg. of Metformin (an oral insulin that I normally have just twice a day, but I did one more). Shoulda stopped with the cinnamon tablet and vinegar water as my first response, but I was wound up and acting like a cafone.

Well, I was getting nervous. Thought it was what I was reading about Tibet, and some things I had e-mailed that were, uh, strongly-worded. I stepped outside to settle down. When I came back in, I was feeling worse. "This isn't a nerve thing", I thought.

I was shaking and pale, and decided to do an extra blood reading. Almost fell off the chair again. I was down to 65! A crash was coming on. I dropped 158 points in an hour or two, no wonder I was feeling weird. So, I had to bring it back up. What a friggin' roller-coaster ride. I ate some things (wasn't hungry, but what are you gonna do?) and I felt better, eventually.

What I did was like smashing a mosquito with a sledgehammer: It kills the bug, but ruins your floor. It had been said to me that dealing with diabetes is a learning process. I learned. It wasn't life-threatening, but it may have threatened my retaining consciousness. Maybe some diabetics can relate to my little story. For everyone else, I have a lesson: don't overcompensate. Respond a little at a time.

March 16, 2008

No Irish Need Apply

Mora Na Maidine Dhuit! Top of the morning to you! Irish you all a happy St. Patrick's Day. My ancestors did not exactly come from the Emerald Isle. They emigrated there from Scotland.

Although the Irish seem to be the second largest ethnic group in the US, I really don't think that people know much about them. The perception is that they have a cute accent, a way with words, invented terrorism, drink to excess and really know how to throw a party. So, before you go out and have green beer, wear funny hats, fake an Irish accent (which most people do rather poorly), wear green clothing and all that, I'd like for you to read a bit about the Irish.

Are there any famous Irish people that have enriched society in general? Looks like I have to do your work for you again. That's all right, I know you're busy. But just a few names, there are quite a few. The ones I'm listing were born in Ireland.

We'll start with some actors:
* Patrick McGoohan
* Pierce Brosnan (I think he was an excellent James Bond)
* Maureen O'Hara

* Maureen O'Sullivan
* Peter O'Toole

And then some musicians:
* Phil Coulter
* Enya (with the really cool name of Eithne Ní Bhraonáin)
* James Galway

* Turlough O'Carolan
* Cora Venus Lunny

Some literary figures:
* C. S. Lewis (he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia, Screwtape Letters, Mere Chrisitanity and more)
* George Bernard Shaw
* William Butler Yeats
* Mary Lavin

* Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory

Moving on to science:
* Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton
* Ellen Hutchins
* Robert Boyle (one of the founders of modern chemistry)

* Lucien Bull (with photography and the electrocardiogram, I've felt his influence myself)
*
William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin

Sports? Yes, plenty. Look that up yourself.

I guess there are more Irish people than you thought that have had influence in the world, huh, Scooter?

As far as "inventing terrorism", no, they didn't do that. But they did become famous for it with the Irish Republican Army. That was a radical group of separatists, predominantly in Northern Ireland. They were as typical of the Irish as Bin Laden is typical of Arabs: not. This group's use of terrorism, however, is a black eye that the Irish will have to live down. I was at a Celtic festival and saw a guy wearing a shirt with "IRA", and a fist holding a rifle. It took all I had to keep from showing him some personal terrorism with my fists! Stronzo!

If you look up the Potato Famine, you'll see why there was an influx of Irish immigrants to the United States. What most history books will not tell you, however, is that the English made the whole problem worse. And then they had discrimination in the US.

Let me interject that I get very tired of various groups acting like they have a monopoly on discrimination. (Further interjection: the word slave is based o
n the word Slav, for the slavic people. What does that tell you?) The Irish had plenty of discrimination as well. What were people afraid of? Maybe that the Irish would turn America into a Papist state. Who knows? People fear what they're not accustomed to. Look, they have their share of criminals, slobs and basic losers just like any other group, capice? And a lot more of the quality people than the bad sorts.

So, while you're having your corned beef and cabbage (which is not a traditional Irish dish, but developed in the US by the Irish), try to have a sober thought for the hard-working Irish who have contributed to society in many fields. Maybe give a read about St. Patrick, who was not actually Irish by birth...

Slán leat. Go mbeannaí Dia duit.

March 12, 2008

The Witching Hour

Buon giorno. Well, it seems that someone has been telling Nicky some tales again. These tales tied into things he was told as a child and got him a bit nervous. And I've been wanting to talk again about why we believe things. Or more importantly, why I believe things.

Particularly, it's "The Witching Hour". Now, I've been thinking about it myself off and on (especially when people run off at the mouth). What is it? When ghoulies, ghosties and long-legged beasties go bump in the night, of course. When evil things are more powerful and will get you. Bwahahahaha!

I've heard people who believe in spirit activity say that you can be affected in your sleep during this time. Some say you can't sleep with your mouth open because something will come in and possess you or whatever. Uh huh. Sure.

OK, so the mythology is uncertain. The Witching Hour is mostly a European concept. Do other cultures have one? Also, when is it? Some say midnight, some say three AM, some say from midnight to three (that's a long hour!).

I've always wondered: do spirits observe time zones? "No, Fred, you can't possess him yet. It's central time over there!" For that matter, what do spirits or thingies do during Daylight Savings Time? That would be irritating, to be trying to do some serious evil and then have to wait a while, or discover that you missed your chance because you didn't reset your spirit clock. What happens in other countries, and when does it happen? (The evil spirits in Tibet are wearing Chinese Army uniforms.) If it's witching time here, what about in Italy, for instance? See how easily this gets absurd?

I need reasons to believe things. Not just because someone said, "This is the truth". These reasons include:
* My own experiences
* Experiences from trusted sources
* Scientific facts and evidence
* Archaeological facts and evidence
* The overall weight of evidence in light of other facts: do they hold up
* Reasoning powers
* Combinations of some or all of the above

If someone says to me, "This is so", but has nothing to back it up with, pardon me for being skeptical. For the record, the Bible meets my criteria, and I have found that it is entirely rational to believe that it is true.

Last night, I had a trip to the WC at 2.58 AM (the clock was right there, staring with its evil red eyes. I finished my urgent business and was pulling the blankets back on when I saw the clock blink to 3:00 AM. Ha! Back just in time! Good thing I believe more in getting my sleep than in being alarmed by scattered, unfounded tales.

Sleep well. I will.

February 24, 2008

Emotional Terrorism

You're not going to believe this stuff. I promise you, it's true. My purpose is twofold: to tell the amazing story, and to give an example of how screamingly ridiculous some people can be.

It's ridiculous to "walk on eggshells", trying not to provoke someone. Sure, there's a time for keeping a low profile and just shutting the hell up. But not as a lifestyle. When you live your life so that whenever you're around a certain person you don't want them to "go off" in a baby fit of rage, it's just pathetic. The high-maintenance baby needs to grow up (especially at age 25, for God's sake), and the eggshell walker needs to be himself. Fits happen. Move on. I've written about the psychotic in question before. She's the one that crashed the car on purpose, shown in the previous posting. To show the crimes and psychological studies of this misfit would take an entire Weblog in and of itself.

Neil lives with his second wife and her daughter. There has been enormous tension between Neil and adult-child control freak because he resents her lazy-selfish-criminal-money-grubbing- self-indulgent-drama-queen-welfare-sucking lifestyle. He also cannot understand why her mother lets her get away with things, getting whatever she wants while working extra jobs to pay bills that Freako has run up.

There have been incidents in the past, but on Friday, February 22, 2008, a really interesting thing happened. Neil made an unkind comment to the mother about the daughter. He forgot that the drama queen loves to eavesdrop.

I should point out that Neil is hard on himself. Full of self-doubt and insecurity of his own, he did not say something that he hasn't said about himself—and he's said far worse about himself.

So, wicked child decided to react. Instead of going to the source, she started in on her mother. Her mother said, "Don't put me in the middle, talk to the one who said it." But that did not happen. It was a train load of "oh poor me", and accusations.

Neil could keep silent no longer. He said, "You've got it all figured out, don't you?"

The BB is incapable of reason. She starts railing. Neil made it worse by pointing out a couple of truths that she didn't want to hear. The "F word" flew from her in twenty minutes about as many times as it did in all of Scarface, blaming both him and her mother for all of the misfortunes in her lazy life.

Brace yourselves for this.

The witch actually came over to where Neil was sitting (probably reading this Weblog) and punched him in the face. Twice. (Now, yours truly would have ripped her head clean off, but he must have heard more lessons on restraint and compassion than I have.) She said that he "deserved it". (See what I mean about reason? She's incapable of it.) He says it took all he had, but he only stood up and said, "Do you know what I could do to you?" After more fussing, she proceeded to pick up cans of cat food and threw them at him! They connected twice, and he still has a bruise on his arm.

But he didn't touch her. He also knows how the cops and modern society work—he would have been the one in handcuffs. Why did he stand up in the first place? To dodge further attacks, he was worried about her mother's safety, and the rage that he was barely restraining.

He found out later that the mother thought that the daughter was going after the knives. But I know Neil, he would neutralize a serious threat; it would have been her last mistake. Too bad he's not qualified to work on my crew!

At this point, she blamed her mother for even more of the perceived ills in her life, and then proceeded to call her mother's mother and tell the old lady about how bad her daughter (witch's mother, I don't want you to get lost here) is in life. It's her mother's fault that she has mental problems, that her natural father is said to be a jerk, that she married "some asshole she met off the Internet" (Neil, that is—and Neil uses that word about himself), and God knows what else. Irrational, and actually funny in some ways. Especially the "you've never done anything for me" crap. This testa di cazzo is a taker, not a giver. Neil tells me that he wonders about himself, giving to this creature over and over, when she's not capable of giving anything without an ulterior motive of her own.

Oh, and she confined one of her cats in her room—the one her mother likes best. The cat hated it, scratching at the door and crying to be let out. Tormenting a cat for revenge. How low can you get? But the cat was eventually released.

Note to the guys: think long and hard before getting involved with a woman with kids. You will always be lower on her list than the kids.
The next time you’re considering a relationship with a woman, remember this admonition: If you’re not her number one, you’re number two. And, that stinks. — Marc Rudov

Just know that there is evil in the world that you know nothing about. Does anyone care to share their own irrational nutcase stories?

Addendum 2-26-2008: Neil should see this article about emotional terrorism.

Also, the "adult" in the story above is a lesbian that hates men. Dr. Donald Dutton, an authority on domestic violence, cites a study of 1,100 lesbian and bisexual women. This study shows that women are more likely to experience violence in relationships with women than they do with men. That is, women are quite capable of instigating domestic violence.

Another addendum: A follow-up can be found here.


February 20, 2008

Routine

First of all, let me repeat: "stormbringer erotic stories" are not here. It's not me. Got that? Capice? Comprendez? Sheesh, people keep clicking here to find something else. Sure, this is a good place to be, but come on.

Look at that, I've already broken from my routine. Funny thing is, routine is what I want to talk about today.

Routine can be a life saver. When you have repetitive work, you do it the same way every time so that you can be more efficient. For instance, the guy that gets up at the same time every day, has his clothes set aside and ready to go, briefcase packed, stuff he carries set out on the desk (money clip, guns, cell phone, all that), coffee maker is ready to start (or is on a timer)...you get the idea. No need to think too hard and distract yourself, then you get late to where you're going.

When you get the routine down and are comfortable with the work (and getting to it), you can introduce variations so that you don't get bored with it.

It's a tool, not a way of life. Being totally into your routine and getting predictable gets guys whacked in my business.

I suggest that you don't get too rigid on your routine, though, because not only can it make you unpleasant when you insist, you can get entrenched in being boring. There's enough of that in the world.

Send the little kids from the room, Bonnie, I have to talk about adult stuff and still not try to give this movie an adult rating. Don't be too routine in your love life. Boring is a death sentence in the bedroom. My favorite dance is the Bang Tango, but guys, don't bore (heh!) your woman. Some variations in the dance are nice. Give her some small surprises. Get advice from relationship experts like those at AskMen.com or Men's Health. Ladies, the same goes for you. And we don't know what you like or what you want if you just clam up and make us guess!

OK, the kids can hear the ending: Use planning your routine as a tool for mundane and repetitive stuff. But please! Don't let yourself be boring. There are places in your life for spontaneity. If not, you're a robot.

February 18, 2008

More about the Green Cash at Home

Buon Giorno. I've been thinking about money again. What, do you think I work for the joy of it? Not bloody likely. I have businesses and, uh, projects that have money as the end result. The only thing I'm doing for free is this bit of information and entertainment for you readers. So when it comes to cash, I look to keep as much of it in my hot hands as I can.

In my excitement to write the other piece about spending (and in the interest of keeping it from getting too lengthy), I did not put in some information about trip consolidation. The boys and I share rides all the time when we have evidence to hide upstate or to do some other jobs. Sharing rides is a good idea. (Good teenage girls accepting car rides from Nicky is not a good idea.) But sharing rides is not always practical, especially when you get the urge to do some errands.

Fueling up is expensive. Here in the state of New York, sixty cents of every gallon purchased is in taxes. See what kind of losers keep getting elected here?

What should I do? Glad you asked.

  • First, plan your timing.Where are you going, and when? Try to avoid rush hour.

  • If it's just one stop, can it wait? If you put your trips together and do them all in one shot, you're saving money; separate trips cost more in fuel and aggravation.

  • Plan your route itself. I try to make a loop of sorts in my travels. A right turn into the men's club, a right turn and go further down the road to the gun shop, a right turn into one of my offices, a left turn into my favorite babe's apartment complex, a right turn... Capice?

  • Avoid driving in reverse. Going backwards uses more fuel, or so I'm told. Since I don't like backing up in the first place, I'll pull through... I don't know about the rest of the world, but the US has parking places that look like an H, good for two vehicles. I pull through the first one so I don't have to back out later. Just drive out.

  • Take your time going into stops. If you see a traffic light, stop sign or whatever, you can usually take your foot off the accelerator. That is, don't have the hammer down all the way to a stop that you expect. It uses more fuel, and puts more wear on the brakes.
  • Maybe you can make a stop on the way home after work or school.

  • Don't rely on the cheap stuff. In the US, there are usually three grades of fuel available. Using the cheapest one gives you poorer performance, so you spend more in the long run. The mid-grade (often called "special") is plenty. Premium is for the high-end cars. Super premium is a gimmick.
  • Is it worth the drive? Sometimes it's silly to drive six blocks further to save a few grotzits when you'll spend more in fuel than you'll save on the item in question. And if it's something significant, maybe mail order is better than driving to the mall where it costs more anyway. But factor in the shipping.

  • Basic vehicle maintenance. This should be obvious, but some people don't think about it. Good spark plugs, tune up, tire pressure and so forth.
The main thing is to think it through.

OK, play time is over. I have to go pick up a cake and take it to the club. See you next time.

February 12, 2008

Depression, the Universe and Everything

I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed
- Marvin the paranoid android, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


There's something you should know. I have been diagnosed with depression. What a time I'm having: diabetes, high blood pressure, lack of substantial income, depression. The thing is, depression was the first major diagnosis. Oh, and allergies when I was a kid.

I used to talk about it more, and I sort of lost track while simply dealing with it. But I think I can serve a purpose by making this Weblog posting.

I'm not getting you down at all, am I?
- Marvin

First of all, it's not just a case of "the blues" or "being down". Everyone gets depressed now and then. No, I'm talking about a clinical diagnosis. True clinical depression involves brain chemistry, and the imbalances thereof. When you're depressed in this way, circumstantial depression gets worse; it hits you harder than other people. Other times, you're depressed and simply don't care about anything.


Some signs of depression are:

  • It lasts a long time
  • Loss of interest in things that normally bring pleasure
  • Sleeplessness
  • Lethargy
  • Seeing the dark side of things
  • Short attention span
There are more, but you can search those out on the Internet yourselves.

Funny, how just when you think life can't possibly get any worse it suddenly does.
- Marvin

I used to take antidepressants. Yes, used to. You see, I learned about thinking things through and not seeing the darker side of things so quickly. In another post, I mentioned Albert Ellis and his REBT therapy (look it up, I'm busy). Also, some Buddhist principles; both have helped me. Things are what they are, not what I think they should be. Addendum, November 2010: Since then, I have rededicated my life to Christ. The logic of Ellis still applies, but I have God himself living inside of me and I get help from the Bible.

There is someone I know who says, "You don't understand. I got depression!" So? I have it, too, but I won't let depression "have" me! (I hate it when someone will use an infirmity, real or imagined, as an excuse for not trying to do something for himself or herself.) Under therapist supervision, I went off the meds. Here's a kicker: fish oil. That's right, you heard me. Fish oil. I prefer "Nature Made" brand. I take it for circulation and heart stuff, but guess what? It has antidepressant side effects. Not sure how well it works, but I prefer it to relying on medication. I also gave up therapy. Too expensive over too many years. Friends help, though. I do have some that actually care and don't just pretend.

Do you want me to sit in the corner and rust, or just fall apart where I'm standing?
- Marvin

I still have to watch it, though. When I get into some of my "spells", I'm glad I do not own guns, so I don't use a bullet on myself. Yes, sometimes I get the urge to jump off the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge or swallow a 9mm hollow point. So, I have to make myself a "safe promise" and see it through for another day. It's something how much of a difference another sunrise can make.

So, if you have depression and it's major, look for some online depression screenings. See a doctor. Suicidal people should dial 911 (in the US, of course) or call a trusted friend. Or e-mail. I have people that care about me, and I care about, and we help each other. Sometimes, a kind word can help and you don't even know you've done it. Get with your pastor or a trusted Christian friend.

Life's bad enough as it is without wanting to invent any more of it.
- Marvin

What am I saying? First, if you have depression, get help. Second, I'm an example that you can function with it. Third, it cycles up and down, so wait it out.

Wearily I sit here, pain and misery my only companions.
- Marvin

Don't use it as a crutch, either. You become a walking joke. Fight back. OK, that's enough for today. Be good to yourselves. Stay out of shadows.

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