Saturday, March 31, 2007

Not all but some; not there but close




I can't tell anymore.

It's up, down, up, down... Nothing works but it's getting fixed. Or it could be if I would do something about it. "You must be proactive with your health, Mr. Klemmer." That's what the psychiatrist told me.

Yeah, right.

Catatonic? Wouldn't that be nice.
Gin and tonic? No, not at all.

I don't want to die but I don't want to live. Maybe it's selfish, but then the only one who is me is me. No more sharp implements or pharmaceutical assistance. But what then? "Didja ever have the feeling that you wanted to go, and still had the feeling that you wanted to stay?" sang Jimmy Durante in The Man Who Came to Dinner.

Just finished watching Cars. I'm alone this weekend and have been wanting to watch it for a while now. You know the part when Lightning first sees Doc Hudson drift? I'm watching that and all of a sudden I start crying like a baby. Why?

I think that tomorrow I'll just... just... just what? Just wouldn't wake up, that's all. I can't keep going but there's no way to stop. I can't take any more but there's no where else for it to go.

What does it mean if you wish you could slit your wrists but don't because you can't think of any place to do it that wouldn't cause an inconvenience?

Can you be manic/depressive if you don't have extreme mood swings?

I think I'll go off the grid for a while. No 'Net usage. I can do without everything but email under normal circumstances. But I think this time is going to be different. "Don't call us; we'll call you."

I'm going to bed now.

P.S. Please do not comment on this post. Yes, I'm talking to you. You know who you are.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

How does one define their usefulness?

My pseudo-manic/depression has me thinking a lot about how I got to where I am today. Not so much the stuff that happened to me but the effect it had on who me is. It's a corollary to the eternal question, "Why am I here?" My question is, "Of what use am I?"

First, we should define "use" and "useful" in the context of this post. If you ask someone what they do, the responses will invariably be their job or career or social status. Things along the line of; "I am a truck driver." "I am an accountant." "I am a super model, and, why are you even talking to me?" "I'm a teacher." "I'm a mother."

All the things that we do in life define us. But they are not the exclusive definition. There are many other things that help define who we are. How we got to this moment in time. And what it is we expect to be doing in the foreseeable future. All of this is affected by your life experience. Your upbringing. Your socioeconomic status. Your religion, race, gender. All of this put together make up who we are.

But this isn't an indication of one's usefulness in life, is it? What is it that we can point to to say this is a useful person. (I am reminded of Sir Topham Hatt telling Thomas the Tank Engine that he was a very useful engine). I have always felt that a very useful person is one who can have a positive effect on others lives. Not necessarily something as spectacular as saving a drowning man. My father was one such man. He lived his life and everywhere he went he had a positive effect on everyone he knew. It might have been a small thing; a few moments listening to a student. Maybe some advice to not play football at West Point and concentrate on the Olympics (Alonzo!)

For most of my life I felt I was less than everyone else. Due to many physical and environmental factors I grew up with an inferiority complex the size of the Superdome. During the 80's I worked hard to bring it down to a small bubble. This then opened up a world to me. I had friends, I was listened to and often sought out for advice. And she I got into all this high-end techie stuff I became someone who spent as much time helping/teaching others as doing my own coding. I gained a reputation as the guy you can go to if you're stuck on something. During the 90's with the explosion of the Internet, I became someone who could do things on a global scale. Granted, I wasn't a household name or quoted in Forbes or the Wall Street Journal. But I knew people and they knew me. And they knew I could be counted on to help in whatever they needed (if I my swiss cheese brain forget, that is).

But what of now? Who and what am I? I'm an unemployed, homeless single father who's life should be revolving around his son but is instead being crushingly dominated by pain. Because of this I feel, whether justified or not, that I have no useful purpose in this world. I'm barely a father; more like a lump of clay. I can't even help out with the shopping or cooking or laundry anymore. Family and friends have told me often that I am a real help and that they think of me a useful. But them telling me this doesn't change the black vortex inside my chest. Nor does it quell the constant loop running through my head of me lying on the couch staring at the TV for the rest of my life.

See, until I know that I am useful, nothing else matters. That's why the possibility of doing techie stuff in the near future plus the formation of a plan that I could actually stick to (hell, it'd be a great achievement if I can just start the damned thing) has brought me back from the brink of total despair. Well, at least one step back.

I still need to call a psychotherapist for an appointment. Got three names/numbers on Monday but keep putting off calling. I just don't feel like dealing with anything.

At all.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Something odd happened today

Well, a couple of somethings. It was like one long, drawn out somethings really. The oddity factor is that the somethings were all what you'd call "bad news" but the end result was anything but.

Finances have been beyond tight for a long time now but it seems that lately every time we get a little ahead something breaks. A couple of months ago it was the dish washer. It was old and on it's last legs anyway so that wasn't a great surprise, really. The trouble began when they tried to put the new one in. Seems this house was built with a non-standard sized dish washer. We'll have to remodel the whole kitchen to get a new washer installed. Then one of the cars broke down and needed fixing. A tree fell in the back yard a while ago but it finally got to the point where it needed to be removed. So a landscaper came in and cleared out a bunch of junk along with the tree. The last thing was a letter from the IRS saying I owed taxes on income I didn't report. What income you might ask? Seems that in '05 the bank wrote off a $6600 debt I had with them. There's no way I could pay on it anyway so they just ate the cost. However the IRS sees this $6600 as income so I have to pay tax on it. Get it? I have to pay tax on money I owed. Insane. And there's a bunch more crap on top of that, not the least of which is my ex.

Another part of the somethings is that my buddy who's been letting me CoLo my server for free these last 10 or so years is kicking me out. It was coming for a while now; I'm surprised it lasted this long. This means I need to find some other hosting arrangements. Like everyone else I need as much as possible for as little as possible. But I have some good options already. Ideally getting a circuit into the house would be best but the only circuit everyone says they can install is a T-1. A minimum of $300/mo. I'll be lucky if I can afford a tenth of that.

My mother found out about the, a-hem, "scratches" on my wrist. First she was in shock, then panic, then 3 inches shy of a stroke before finally beating me soundly 'round the back, shoulders and head. OC, it wasn't like getting hit by anything harder than a stuffed bunny so it was nothing. When she finally calmed down we were able to eat dinner. Pizza Hut is having this 5 medium pizzas for $5 each. The fuckers charged us $10/ea instead, but that's another story.

But here's where it gets odd. Today was the first day I didn't feel utter and total despair. I felt a little blah but nothing like the last few weeks. Maybe it's the Prozac kicking in. But I think it might have to do with something that's got be thinking again. I recently ran across the development web application framework called CodeIgniter. It's PHP based and seems to be in the family of things like Ruby on Rails. While I'd love to learn Ruby, I already know some PHP and the documentation for the thing is incredible. Better than most commercial products.

So I hatched a plan. I'll learn CodeIgniter and get better with PHP. I'll pick a good AJAX library (right now I'm looking at dojo, myAJAX, xajax, yui & prototype). I'll build one or more sites that will have interesting things on them along with Google AdSense and/or whatever Yahoo has that's similar. Maybe I can make enough to keep the server online. My afore mentioned buddy is getting about a grand a month with his setup. And it's all residual income.

You see, I'm good at a few things. If I were healthy I'd be running a data center by now. I know this because I've already had to turn down offers to do so. I can do SysAdmin stuff, some Network and even some Security. But my first love is programming. I am not what you'd call a brilliant programmer. Hell, I'm not what you'd call a half-assed programmer anymore. It's been forever (12 or 13 years at least) since I really did any coding. But I love to do it. It's fun and it makes me happy.

And therein lies the key to why today was odd yet also a potential turning point. My life is still shit; the pain is still the single most dominant thing in my world. There is absolutely no way out of this "pit of despair." I will never again have my own place to live, my own car, my own job, my own girlfriend. But... Just maybe... I could do a little hacking.

"Hackito Ergo Sum"

I hack, therefore I am.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Hesitation: The act of hesitating; suspension of opinion or action;

Do you know what hesitation marks are? Maybe hesitation cuts? If you've watched a little Law and Order or CSI then you've likely heard of them. They are seen when someone is trying to stab or cut but is, at least initially, unsure of themselves. Maybe not sure they want to do the cutting or unsure how best to do it. Either way, they are fairly noticeable to those trained to notice such things.

The Miss USA 2007 Pageant is on right now. I have the TV muted so I don't know what's happening. To be honest I don't care. Whomever Miss USA ends up being will have no impact on my life nor anything remotely touching my life.

My ex-wife is going through a lucid, rational period at the moment. These things come on every now and again. Hopefully this one will last long enough to get some positive stuff done for our son. He's doing so much better in this new school but lately he's started slipping back into his old form. He got detention this week. His first one of the year. I'll hold off on telling how many times I was "detained" in grade school until he's much older.

I'm wandering around the topic, it seems. Writing non-sequitur to keep from getting to the real heart of the matter.

Have you ever found yourself doing something that you really didn't want to do? I don't mean like kissing your great aunt Flora or cleaning up the dogs poop. I mean doing something serious. All the while your brain is saying "Stop that!" But your hands and body seem to ignore it. I have never had this happen to me in a conscious state. Never, that is, until 5:30pm today.

Everyone was out of the house; my mother took her grandson, my son, to a local park with some other kids from the neighborhood and my brother was just leaving work. I figured I'd take a shower and get dressed in something other than pajamas for once. I brush my teeth then get the shower running so it's nice and warm. Just then, for no reason at all, I got my leatherman and made a short one inch cut parallel to my arm at the left wrist. It was nothing, barely a scratch, and it didn't feel all that nice either. But for some reason I still have no grasp of, I did it again. And again. And again. Then it stopped. Right out of the blue. It now looked like a cut one might get from working with tools or running in the woods. So I took my shower and thought nothing more of it.

After I finished showering, I dried off and got partway dressed. While looking in the mirror during my normal after shower cleansing routine I suddenly got the letherman and started running ice cold water over my left wrist. After it got quite numb I started cutting it again. This time shorter cuts, about 1/2 inch, but these were much deeper. I didn't go all the way through though. I don't know why I didn't. I don't know why I did it. Then it just stopped like the first time. When my brothers got in they noticed it but I played it off like I just bumped into the door or something. Mum and son haven't seen it yet. Or at least haven't mentioned it.

The scariest part of this whole thing is not what could happen to me. It's what would happen to my son if I were to do something unreasonable. If I were to succeed then there'd be no one there to be his father and teach him about life and family and his grandfather, my father. If I am unsuccessful then I'm put in a bed at the psych ward and my son would be taken from me. But as much as I hate the idea of not being here for him I am also noticing that maybe my being here is not in his best interest. I am damn near blinded by pain every moment of every day. I don't own the shirt on my back. I'm legally and effectively homeless. There's no hope of me ever finding any kind of employment. There's even less hope of me finding any kind of female relationship. Hell, I couldn't afford a $20 hooker. I don't even have a car. All my life I've wanted a family to live and grow with. One that was mine and also part of the bigger family of us all. Now I have nothing. Well, almost nothing. I do have my son. But am I giving him the best environment and support to grow and flourish?

The effects of a suicide on the surviving family and friends is devastating and can lead to some very difficult times. I know this. It's always harder on those left behind. But in the long run, the benefit of not having a debilitating presence in ones life can overshadow the loss. The trick is knowing where the line is and if it should be crossed. I can't see the line but it seems that a very strong part of me wants to cross it.

I just have to hang on 'till Monday. I got the info and numbers to three Therapists in the area. I'll call and see which one has the earliest opening and make an appointment right away. I am also going to read some of the Buddhas writings. His stuff has helped center me in the past. Maybe it'll help now.

Or at least keep my hands busy with books instead of knifes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gay advocates demand apology from Pace

Gay advocates demand apology from Pace By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON - "A gay advocacy group Tuesday demanded an apology from the Pentagon's top general for calling homosexuality immoral.

In a newspaper interview Monday, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had likened homosexuality to adultery and said the military should not condone it by allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces."

I don't think that they're going to get an apology. The military is not likely to back off on this. There's no stronger homophobic organization than the military. It doesn't matter that anyone with three braincells knows that homosexuality is as much like adultery as it is like skipping rope.

You know, I almost didn't post this. The feeling of "bottomless pit" is become all encompassing now. I'm forcing myself to do my usual things to try and keep some sense of normalcy.

It's not working.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

There is something terribly wrong

In just a few days I have fallen into a pit the size of the Mariana trench. It's actually been coming for a while, I think. I started noticing something was up when there were 45 to 50 unread non-spam messages in my inbox. That's not at all like me.

Then, the other day, I was watching V for Vendetta. At the end, the big finale was accompanied by Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. I'm sitting there watching this and start losing it completely. Tears are pouring down my face and I can't even think. While the movie was good and I did enjoy it, there was nothing about it that would, or should, have affected me like that. Neither should the 1812 Overture. But what really pegged it was yesterday.

For some reason that I can't yet determine, imap stopped working on my server. This isn't catastrophic; I can still ssh into the box and use pine. But when it happened I could feel my whole innards sink. It shouldn't have. I've had worse problems with the system over the last 11 years. But this time it was like a kick in the gut. I didn't even want to look at the computer.

That put me on the set of something wrong. This afternoon the proverbial walls fell down on my head. All I have wanted to do is get away. I don't know what I'm getting away from or where I'm getting away to. I just need to escape. I haven't felt this trapped since, well, do a search of this blog for "sleepwalking" or "suicide." Yes, you read that right. The doctors always inquire if I'm having thoughts of harming myself or others. At 14:54 today I seriously thought of taking all the sleeping pills I have. This scared me. The good thing is that I don't have more than two or three pills left so even if I did take them it wouldn't have done more than knock me out till tomorrow. Yet the thought was there.

The Haru Basho starts Sunday. There are about a dozen virtual Sumo games I play as well as do some official stuff in one of them. But I don't even want to think about them. Sumo is one of the really fun and enjoyable things I have in my life for recreation. Not wanting to play or even just follow the Basho is just not normal for me.

Thankfully I have an appointment with the psychiatrist next week. It was setup when I visited the Neurologist on March 2nd. I don't know if this is just me feeling the weight of everything or something serious. That's what we'll find out next week.

I hope.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Test Results - What's in a number?

I had a physical back on the 28th. This was my reentry into the medical world of wonder (or insanity, we'll see). I'd been avoiding them for most of last year due to the seeming stupidity of it all. Anyway, here's the results of the blood tests. I have no idea what any of them mean but it seems they're all close enough to "normal" that no red flags popped up. As soon as I get 'round to it I'll post the outcome of the physical.

Component Your Value Standard Range
HDL 38 > 40- MG/DL
LDL 144 - MG/DL

Component Your Value Standard Range

Component Your Value Standard Range
WBC'S AUTO 5.0 3.5-11.0 K/UL
RBC, AUTO 5.34 3.90-5.80 MIL
HGB 16.1 12.9-17.2 G/DL
HEMATOCRIT 46.8 40-51 %
MCV 87.6 78-101 CMICRON
MCH 30.1 25-35 PG
MCHC 34.4 30-36 GM/DL
RDW, BLOOD 13.0 12.0-15.4 %

Component Your Value Standard Range
NEUTROPHILS % 55.3 - %
LYMPHOCYTES % 31.9 - %
MONOS % 8.6 - %
BASOPHILS % 1.6 - %
NEUTROPHILS 2.75 1.7-6.3 X1000
LYMPHOCYTES 1.59 1.1-3.5 X1000
MONOCYTES 0.43 0.1-0.9 X1000
EOSINOPHILS 0.13 0.0-0.7 X1000
BASOPHILS 0.08 0.0-0.1 X1000

Component Your Value Standard Range

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Earthquakes Shake Sumatra, Killing at Least 70

Earthquakes Shake Sumatra, Killing at Least 70By PETER GELLING Published: March 7, 2007 JAKARTA, Indonesia, March 6 — "Two powerful inland earthquakes rattled the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Tuesday, leveling hundreds of buildings and killing at least 70 people, according to government officials in Jakarta."

Indonesian airliner bursts into flames on landing POSTED: 0252 GMT (1052 HKT), March 6, 2007 JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) - "A commercial airliner arriving from Jakarta burst into flames Wednesday upon landing at Yogyakarta airport in central Java, an official there told CNN.
The Garuda Airlines Boeing 737-400 appeared to overshoot the runway before flames shot out, and witnesses reported hearing an explosion, according to media reports."

And you know they haven't even put a dent in the recovery from the tsunami. Right now that part of the world makes the aftermath of Katrina look like a slightly messy kitchen. Even with all the problems surrounding the recovery effort (FEMA? Are you listening?) the Katrina victims are better off, by orders of magnitude, over the people in Southeast Asia.