Saturday, November 26, 2011


Doug and I have had a nice visit with his mom (Jane). She had gall bladder surgery a few weeks ago and I'm happy to say that she seems to have made a full recovery. Huzzah! It's always nice to visit with family when it is with family members that are accepting and life-affirming.

Doug's been a vegetarian for about a month, but I didn't hold it against him that he ate some turkey. I'm not really sure if I could tolerate meat at this point, after being vegetarian for four years. But Jane and Doug are both good cooks. They made me some tofu turkey cutlets that were quite good, as well as some mushroom gravy to go with the fake turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes.

I ended up giving Doug his Yule present a bit early. He has been wanting a Nook book reader for nearly a year. I could not afford one when the price was $140, but B&N had the gadget for $79.99 last night so I knew I had to get it for him. Doug is very pleased. The Nook has a really sharp monochrome screen that seems to be almost the same resolution of a printed book. I also discovered that I can read his Nook books on my cell phone too. Whoo-hoo! Gotta love the Android App market, eh?

I am grateful to my friend Jeff for watching our two cats while we are away. If Jeff had not done us this favor, I would have had to stay home with the pets. Jeff is a really good friend.

Tomorrow is going to be a drag. We must face the 6-7 hour drive from Erie to Baltimore. The horror... the horror...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


No, I’m not physically tired. I mean I had to get new tires. Some jackass flattened my tires. Since the back two only had 2mm of tread left anyway, it seemed that now was as good a time as any to replace two tires. Blech. I really like my car, but finding spare parts for hybrids is no picnic. As it turns out, the 2010 Honda Insight uses a very obscure tire size. I had to call 14 merchants before I could locate one that carried it in stock (this ended up being, of course, the same dealer that I purchased the car from. Surprise, surprise.) At least I didn’t get ripped off. The tires were $95/each. The tires for Doug’s Scion xD are twice that price.
Oddly enough, whatever punk in the neighborhood that gets his jollies from flattening tires never seems to *slash* the tires. He/she just lets the air out. Go figure. At least that makes it easy to get back on the road since my car insurance company has roadside assistance for a whopping 80 cents per month. But it’s aggravating to come out of the house in the morning and have to deal with this. I was glad that Doug was willing to let me drive his car to work yesterday since his duty shift starts later than mine. He was able to deal with the roadside claim.

So, after having the Insight for nearly two years, I still stand by my grade of “A-“. The car only has one recurring problem. There’s a sensor called a TMPS gauge that has failed four times since I got the car. Honda keeps replacing it for free and the sensor doesn’t make the car undriveable. This time, the sensor lasted EIGHTEEN MINUTES before shorting out. Huzzah!

In other news, I am now a Coordinator for Turning Circle. Positionally, this would be similar to “associate rector” in a Christian church. We don’t use the traditional Wiccan ranks, but instead use “member”, “officer”, and “coordinator”. Doug has assumed my vacated position of Liturgist, which means he is of “officer” rank. I’m pretty happy with how much Turning Circle has evolved in the past four years. In early 2008, it had five core members and met only once per month. Now it has 12 core members and meets for all sabbats and esbets. We also have a wider variety of services than we used to. We can do a dedication and initiation rite. At least one member is registered clergy (so we could, in theory, do a wedding of handfastening service). We have a website. We do two services each year for the Unitarian Universalists. We do four charity projects each year. So we are a fully-actualized religious organization.

Doug and I are visiting Doug’s family for Thanksgiving. I really like Doug’s mom. I feel bad that she is pretty close to being destitute. She made the terrible decision to bankroll her daughter’s decade-long cocaine problem. The best thing Doug’s sister ever did with her life was to die young. I know that’s a mean thing to say, but she was a person without a single redeeming quality. Through her drug problem and bad behavior, she inflicting lasting harm on everyone she ever knew. On the bright side, with her being dead, we now no longer have to worry about some crazed drug dealer banging on the door demanding huge sums of cash while the family is having Thanksgiving dinner (or Christmas dinner, or Easter dinner, or a July 4th barbecue, or whatever). So, while none of us have a lot of money, at least we’ll have a nice family dinner together in peace. That’s worth being happy about.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Onward and Upward

I am happy to say that I am now a Coordinator for Turning Circle. We don't use the typical 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree titles. Instead, we have the ranks of Member, Officer, and Coordinator. So I now co-lead Turning Circle. Huzzah!

The latest ritual (Autumn Rite) went pretty well. The only hiccup was that I did not know the other Coordinator was allergic to sage smoke. So she ended up sorta looking like an Old West desperado since she wore a bandanna over her face for the rest of the ritual. Oops! So for 2012, we're adding "known allergies" to the member database. 

Our little dog, Stella, is fully recovered from her surgery. Two weeks ago she decided to eat a USB cable. Blech. It was $5 to buy and $996 to remove. Egads. But she is back to her usual bouncy self and she was able to be rid of the Cone of Shame. 

I passed the first of five tests at the police academy. I scored 97%. So far so good. I need to pass four more tests with at least a 75% on each test. After that, I will get a huge caseload of desperadoes. Whoo-hoo! I also get fitted for my body armor next week. Huzzah!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

You know you're a loser when...

So, I've been having to take a long, hard look at my life's accomplishments lately and I've come to the conclusion that I'm worth a lot more dead than alive. I'm a colossal loser. My accomplishments are pretty close to meaningless. Doug deserves better than me.

When my father was 41 years old, he was a millionaire. At age 41, I presently have $19 in my checking account. At age 41, my dad owned a $400,000, 6-bedroom home on a half-acre of land in a very posh neighborhood. He also had six cars and two motorcycles. He had rare art from all over the world, including a Salvador Dali. I, by comparison, am barely keeping up with a tiny, 11-foot-wide rowhome in a dodgy neighborhood. My home needs repairs that I cannot afford to make. I don't own any art. I barely keep up with my car payments. And far from being a millionaire, my net worth is something like $10,000 if all of my assets were sold and the proceeds used to pay creditors.

That's pretty pathetic for someone who started working at age 14.

If I was killed in an accident or dropped dead from heart failure, Doug would get a $50,000 insurance payout and a $32,000 check from the pension service. I'm worth more dead than alive.

My other "accomplishments"? I manage to lead worship services that few people attend. When Doug leads, the attendance is typically 2-3 times more than services I lead. I'm just not that likable. I wrote two books that ultimately had about $25 in royalties paid -- ever. So if that's not the definition of a flop, I don't know what is. I wrote a roleplaying game (a three volume set) that took over ten years to write and has over 1,500 pages in all. No publisher would touch it with a ten foot pole. I was pretty good at jogging, but then my body developed a heart illness (yes, I can even be a loser in exercise). I compensated by doing bicycling instead, but then my bike got stolen (the losing streak continues) and I couldn't afford to replace it (because I am a loser).

Want to know more? Well, I'm also a loser at hang gliding. I've wrecked three gliders and could never afford to get a fourth (because I am a loser). I damaged my body in a diving accident and have had long-lasting medical repercussions as a result. I have few friends. Most people can't really abide being around me for more than an hour or so. I'm emotionally crippled. I have a dissociative disorder that prevents me from ever feeling whole. I have a college degree that is utterly worthless (it's in mathematics and I'm not actually all that good at math). When I worked in private industry, every company I worked for ended up going out of business. (Yes, I am that much of a loser).

In attempt to show that I can actually accomplish something, I applied to be a probation agent. The pay is better after a year in "trainee" status. The trouble is that I'm probably going to f--- this job up like I f--- everything else up. Losers only know how to lose. Doug deserves better than me. If I screw up at this new job, I will have to do the honorable thing before the termination papers can get processed. At least Doug will get some insurance/pension money so that he won't lose the house. I should just drive the car into a retaining wall at 100 MPH. That would at least end the losing streak and let Doug have a chance at a life with someone who doesn't drag him down.