11.21.2004

Worry list

Here's a list of the things I worry about frequently:
  1. Shitting my pants
  2. Keeping my balance
  3. Tripping
  4. Saying something stupid
  5. Being in the wrong place / being in the way
  6. Not knowing what someone is talking about
  7. Doing something stupid
  8. Being an imposter
  9. Not knowing the fast way out in case of disaster
  10. Being unprepared for disaster
  11. Not knowing what's coming around the corner.
  12. Doing the crazy things I think about, like hurting someone or breaking something

Back from the depths

Coming back to the surface is difficult when you've been down so long. The last couple months have been very difficult, with depression and anxiety getting the better of me.

My disability has been approved, so I'm able to make ends meet, and that's a great relief. Not needing to worry about money is a real load off my back.

Politics in a bit -- maybe tomorrow, dunno.

I'm going to a support group in a larger city nearby -- about 30 miles away -- because it's the only one around. And that suprises me. I'm fairly close to a big-10 university with a gigantic hospital, including a fairly extensive mental health system. And there're no support groups for people suffering from anxiety and depression. The amount of driving I have to do is getting to be a drag, and the group itself has a really difficult time sticking to supporting each other with the problems at hand. It's frustrating, but it's the only alternative I've got now. Once I'm feeling better I'll look into starting up my own group. How hard can it be? (don't answer that -- unless you really know)

I'm a mess, but I'm working very hard to get better. I started up a worry list the other day, to take a look at the stuff I routinely worry about. I'm putting it in a separate post so I can update it as I recognize other worries.

Ok -- I gotta explain. The biggest challenge for me so far has been to recognize just what it is that I'm feeling. I've been dealing with anxiety so long that I've really desensitized myself to a lot of feelings. All I've known for years is that I feel like crap and I prolly deserved it. If someone asks me how I feel, I've got no names for it. I don't know if I'm angry, sad, happy (fat chance), anxious. But this is something I'm learning and it's really really hard. I'm working through a giant backlog of denied and repressed feelings, and at a time when I'm really low.

10.05.2004

Screaming.... but not a lot of listening.

Reading an edition of The Nation last year, I read something about press etiquette that I hadn't noticed before. The piece explained that most major news outlets try to avoid calling the president a liar, and then proceeded to go over this line in the sand.

I'm not surprised The Nation did that, it's pretty far left and has more than a little twinge of propaganda (which makes me think "aw, c'mon, cut the bullshit and tell the story" and "it wouldn't hurt you say you agree with a conservative if you actually do. ... *sigh*"). It voiced what lots of others already knew: this administration is full of liars. And not little stuff like blowjobs. Whoppers. Out in the open, and consistently so.

We know the president and his posse are liars. Not news.

Reading through today's edition of The New York Times, Paul Krugman in his op-ed piece "The Falling Scales" says:

Trying to undo the damage, Mr. Bush is now telling those loyalty-tested audiences that Senator John Kerry's use of the phrase "global test" means that he "would give foreign governments veto power over our national security decisions." He's lying, of course, as anyone can confirm by looking at what Mr. Kerry actually said. But it may still work -- Mr. Bush's predebate rise in the polls is testimony to the effectiveness of smear tactics.

He's lying, of course. Hmm. Is this an off-handed journalistic bombshell? Is it a problem that he's breaking some rule of decorum by saying what we're thinking?

I know Bush and his cronies are liars. Many people do. My father-in-law, who's gonna vote for him again because he's benefiting from Bush's 'fiscal' policies, knows too. The downs syndrome couple on my morning bus know it. It ain't hard to spot, but apparently it's difficult for a lot of people to see.

Krugman's choice of words in this instance is screaming to people who can't listen; and for those of us who do it's going from refreshing to screechy -- tell us something we don't know, minus the hysteria.

Rappin' with Swami

While going to pick up my daughter from her playgroup this morning, I ran into an interesting chap. I hadn't run into any Hare Krishnas for a while, and this guy didn't appear to have any of the 'traditional' suff on. Daubs of paint on his forehead, yes. But hey, not everyone's a kook, and I like some of this stuff -- like the Bhagavad Gita, for instance. The excerpts I've read, I've enjoyed. But I also enjoy reading the Christian Bible, the Koran, Buddhist scriptures, and the Chumash.

I've found from past experience, though, that when someone invites me to come study one of these texts with them, there's indoctrination mixed in to their definition of study. Or maybe my definition is too strict and academic. In any case, fortunately the guy didn't push any study; we did talk about the Bhagavad Gita, though and that was fun, 'cause he really wasn't very pushy. The edition we were looking at intrigued me, and he said I could have it for a donation. So I did, and managed to finish the conversation without being on any lists.

Sucks to be that concerned about how my personal information is going to be used. I'm pretty trusting by nature, and I like being that way. Not everything is a con, but it's damn hard to tell what is sometimes. I don't like to have to be wary around someone who seems nice and trustworthy. Crap.

10.03.2004


This is me. Time to put a face to the name.

Fat Guys Dance for Pizza

As I wait for my fresh and tasty pizza to be delivered from Papa John's, I got some issues to spew about.

I'm not a huge guy by current standards, but since a good chunk of the population is obese, I'd say the standards are out of whack. I'm a fat guy, I love pizza and it loves me. It hangs around until scared off by extended periods of excessive excercise.

When I worked at a small educational publishing company here in Iowa slingin' computers, we were treated to pizza once a month. When I found myself dancing in my office when the pies were delivered, I coined the phrase. I'm fat. And I dance -- when there's pizza.

I'm gonna eat it and enjoy it. It's prolly bad for my health, but as I've said before, I'm no good so what does it matter? Well, maybe I have to check my thinking on this one; as I eat.

First on my agenda tonight, I have to come up with a list of priorities to help the Mrs. and I figure out when I'm overextended and we have to call in extra support -- for stuff like cleaning, child care. I've been tending to think "It can't be as bad as it was a couple months ago, so things are starting to look up!" But that's not realistic; I'm making progress in getting better from my anxiety and depression, and I've got a certificate from the Depression-Anxiety gods that a setback won't happen, but they lie a lot to me so I'm not believing them.

So what're the signs that we need to be looking for?

  1. Sleeping 16+ hours a day.
  2. Unable to keep the kitchen clean.
  3. Unable to do basic yardwork like mowing the lawn.
  4. Unable to call people in my support network.
  5. Unable to get to Monday night support group.
  6. Letting my physical condition deteriorate -- not going outside, not excercising.
  7. Isolating myself.
  8. Suicidal ideation.
  9. Really, really crummy mood for days at a time.

That's a good start. I'm sure the Mrs. will also have some ideas.

Next topic: Bush and his crew are a bunch of liars. Snore. As I've said before, people don't care. I wish they did.

Aw, crap. I'm out of energy for the evening. Hopefully I can read the paper tomorrow. I like trying to be engaged in the world. Maybe I should get out and talk to people, too.

'Night.

10.02.2004

Blank Spot...Pinko Thoughts

Yesterday's a blank. Thought it was a different day than it was. Could'a sworn today was Sunday. Feeling pretty disoriented. I had a conversation with the Mrs. this morning -- she stopped me and asked me to explain what I was talking about, and I didn't know. Sat there like a fish out of water, eyes ready to fall out of my head.

I'm starting to feel seriously incompetent again. The only thing I can do with any consistency lately is sleep. I'm able to take care of my daughter, and that's taking a lot of energy and I'm exhausted by the end of the day.

---------------------------------

I'm pleased to see what the (left-swinging) newspapers are saying about Mr. Kerry. I'm more optimistic about him winning, but I'll believe it when I see it. The continuing voting nuttiness going on in Florida makes me concerned that a 'win' for Kerry could still yield a 'win' for Bush because of the partisan games being played with votes.

I didn't watch the debates, myself. Watching that man on tv makes me, well, ill. What do others see in this man? I mean, I think I understand, but really it doesn't make sense. I don't really want someone a lot like me in the executive office. I'm not electable, and besides, I'm really way too pinko -- but that's beside the point.

---------------------------------------

Side note: Speaking of pinko, I'm reading The Worldly Philosophers by Robert Heilbronner. As a non-economics person, this is an excellent first dip into the subject. So I'm reading about Marx and thinking that his prediction is off by at least 150 years, but it's possible that his theories are correct. Marx explains, to paraphrase heavily, that the end of capitalism will come about as a result of exploiting the workers and giving them the tools to bring about the revolution.

As I see it, the industrialized world has gone to the last bastions of cheap labor, southeast Asia. After exploiting these people, there's Africa, then there's nothing. American workers are too expensive for almost all manufacuring to be as profitable as American corporations want. Manufacturing is leaving the US at a rapid rate. A century of unionizing has made American workers harder to exploit. Capitalists are running out of people to exploit.

I'd prefer to think of the future I see not as Marxist or Socialist, but more like Star Trek. Star Trek is a neater name for the same thing. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. That sounds like the way to live. Plus fusion, perpetual motion and "beaming." Yeah.

I believe that in the near-term, though (say, the next 50 years) we're headed for some class war here in the States. Now I'm being a kook, 'cause I'm just pulling this out of my ass. Wishful thinking.

The only solid method of being a capitalist is: own land, charge rent. Until we colonize other planets, land is a truly limited resource. Land.

Kook out.

---------------------------------------

Back to "reality" -- Bush is a religious oaf who sees the world in terms that demand black-or-white judgments. Perhaps this is what the 'common' -- whatever that is -- man is looking for.

Watched apperances on TV by our Congressman, Jim Leach, and Senator Chuck Grassley. Looking at their voting records, I have to say that I disagree with them frequently. But I like them, and considering the Democratic opposition, I'm going to vote for them again this time.

My wife's had some contact with Dave Franker, and he's a sleaze. He relies on others' ignorance of issues to make his points, which frequently can be wrong or at least misleading. And Grassley's opposition, Art Small -- just can't do it. The guy's kookier than me.

9.30.2004

Walking it off...

Irritable and dozy. I think I'm seeing side-effects from the Buspar already. The Mrs. commented tonight that I look like I'm really having a rough time.

I am. But it's progress. I'm noticing the irritability rather than stuffing it away somewhere to make it go away. I'm feeling it; much closer to now than I have in the past. Ignoring it ain't making it go away.

One of my assignments for the week has been to play my clarinet, but I haven't done it. The last two days, there really hasn't been the time -- not without waking up my daughter, anyway. Partial excuse, partial reality. So, it's an excuse. I guess it really wasn't that important to me anyway.

I haven't been suicidal for a while now. No desire, no plans. No black pit waiting for me to jump in and disappear.

I'm listening to They Might Be Giants, "Meet James Ensor." This is one stinkin' brilliant band. There's a lot of true creativity going on in their stuff, and it makes me want to dance and do research at the same time.

Burt Rutan Kicks Ass

Today's print edition of the New York Times (pg A18) has more coverage of SpaceShipOne, Burt Rutan's entry for the Ansari X Prize. After yesterday's flight it looks as if it's going to be the first to make two flights above 100 kilometers.

I've been following Burt Rutan since the early 80's. Saw his planes -- usually LongEZ's -- overhead regularly here in Iowa. At EAA in Oshkosh, they were everywhere and man are they cool!

He's the guy who designed Voyager, the first airplane to fly nonstop, non-refueled around the world. (His brother, Dick, and Jeanna Yeager were the pilots.) I saw the aircraft up close at Oshkosh the summer before it broke the record. Holy crap, is it neat.

He's got a long list of interesting and innovative designs, with applications in just about every area in aviation from crop dusting to radio communications relays (cheaper than satellites!). I'd imagine his impact on the aircraft design industry is significant.

So his newest design is going into space. I'm not surprised, but I am awfully excited. The X-15 in the 60's made it into space (one of the pilots was Neil Armstrong), and at the time it was a pretty big enterprise. Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo killed it.

At one point, there were a number of private companies developing rockets for private use, with one of the goals being passenger service. They have never really succeeded. Traditional rockets may not be the way to go, and Rutan may be proving that now. It's got Richard Branson's interest, for sure.

Freedom to Lie?

In the 2000 presidential debates, the press concentrated on Mr. Gore's comportment, rather than fact-checking governor Bush. It's possible this time that the press is beginning to re-find its testicles and may even begin to do some of the checking the public deserves.

But it won't matter this time, and here's why: CBS, by being sucked into the document forgeries regarding George's National Guard service, gave the Republicans a reason to tell the public not to believe the press. Sure, the press may have balls now, but their credibility is stained. So lie away, Mr. President, you've got free rein again!

I'm not a conspiracy person; I think this situation is mostly luck. Conspiracies are much more difficult than dirty pool, and this administration is brash enough that it doesn't really care if the dirty stuff is visible in public. The only people reporting the stuff in much detail are in print, and the 'base' doesn't read that much -- particularly the 'liberal' media.

No, I think this one probably fell in their laps, and it doesn't take a Garry Kasparov to make the best of the situation.

My prediction: Bush is gonna tell some whoppers tonight, Kerry will make some wordy rebuttals regarding prevarication, and Bush'll laugh 'em off knowing he's got the sound bytes voters will be humming all the way to the polls.


9.29.2004

In a maze

It's been one of those days where I'm not really able to pay more than a couple seconds' attention to any one thing -- there seem to be so many things coming at me at once that I feel like I'm living in a blur.

Took my first Buspar today; time to see what the side-effects are like. Really, how bad can they be? Could it be worse than Lithium? Doubt it; that was some rotten stuff for me.

Not a great day. I'm feeling overwhelmed and am having a pretty easy time convincing myself that I'm no good. This is one of the core issues -- I'm no good.

Here's a list of things that make a person no good:

  1. Murder
  2. Rape
  3. Child molestation
  4. Terrorism
  5. Robbery

Hmmm. I don't appear to be any of that. And yet I tell myself all the time that "I'm no good." This is perhaps a distortion of the truth. When I'm no good I deserve what I get. I shouldn't take care of myself, or make a comfortable place to live, because I deserve it -- because I'm no good. I don't deserve to be comfortable, have friends, have roots in a community, have interests or wants, have a life of my own. Because I'm no good.

When I was doing a lot of writing I often had to get the self-abusive crap out of my head before I could honestly write what was on my mind. Pages of really nasty stuff to myself. Not an interesting read, but it let me do some writing without the spectre of a self-abuser looking over my shoulder telling me how crappy I am.

'Nuff for the day. Gonna read a paper tomorrow to see what's going on in the world.

9.28.2004

Dodging Benzodiazepine

Met with my doctor this evening and discussed my med situation. I'm on Celexa right now, with Klonopin as needed. My anxiety's pretty significant, so he's been wanting me to take the stuff twice a day, and I'm scared stiff that I'm going to get addicted or at the very least dependent enough that coming off it is going to be a big problem.

I was very glad that he's willing to work with me on this. He prescribed Buspar, which I'm much more amenable to. I really hope it helps, 'cause what I'm living with really sucks. Knowing that it sucks is maybe the worst part -- that life actually can be better for me.

I've been really irritable today; the smallest stuff gets under my skin. I'm shaky, feel pent-up, harassed, pointy, and unsure of myself. I think I'm using this blog to avoid the work on myself that I should be doing. So I'm outta here for the evening.


An excursion into pr0n

I've been using the web for a while. Since before graphical browsers, in fact.

Once NCSA Mosaic came out though, I discovered a flood of pornography. And being a male inclined to visual stimulation, I indulged in it. I was a frequent visitor to Persian Kitty, Carol Cox, and even Deb of the Web, among others. There was a lot of novelty to it; plus it was free. Well, mostly. The one purchase I made from a dirty web site was a disappointment (what was I thinking?).

I gotta say that it's getting boring, and I think the pornographers think so, too. What they think is non-boring is pretty different from what I think.

I was taking a trip down memory lane this morning, and went back to look at Carol Cox's site. There, in one of the sample videos, was something both very funny and chilling. Funny, because it represented a current trend being tipped on its head. Chilling because it depicted a current trend I find utterly non-sexy, non-interesting, and well down the road to being psychologically ill.

It was a spoof of Bang Bus, a site devoted to picking up women in a van, offering them money to have sex (though initially it's 'modeling'), then using them as a flesh-hole and dumping them off in the middle of nowhere without the money they were promised. There's a lot of awful banter going on the whole time, and enthusiastic celebration when they've successfully tricked another woman. It's all staged, but from what I've seen of the trailers, some are more convincing than others -- but that's beside the point. The treatment of women goes beyond objectification, it's sadistic. I don't care if it's staged. Sadism has its place in drama (I'm not a fan of it regardless of its context); but this definitely isn't drama, it's stroke material, and it's for men only.

This is the new trend in mainstream pornography: overt maltreatment. Some have claimed for a long time that porn objectifies, exploits and maltreats women. I think a lot of it obviously does. But now there's a lot of abuse. Male participants manhandling the women, laughing when the woman gags or chokes on a penis and forcing her to continue. There's a lot of this out there. Consent is ambiguous at best in current pr0n.

Back to Carol Cox. The clip I saw showed her kicking the guy out of the Bang Bus and leaving him swearing on the side of the road. I had to laugh. This woman's been around for a while, and I like the idea of turning convention on its head. It says "BB is staged, and can be turned back on them"

But it doesn't end there. I think there's something ultimately unwell about pornography in general. When I look at pr0n, it's as if I'm wired to be aroused by dirty pictures, and some studies suggest that males may actually be. When I think about the people in the pictures, there can be no arousal; they're doing something that I believe should be very intimate and sharing for the entertainment of others. Probably for the money.

I work at a job that is unhealthy for me and I hate. It helps to pay the bills. Are participants in pornography any different? When I think about pr0n, there are simply too many unanswered questions about motivation and consent for it to be interesting.

I wonder how many men who are asked "Would you want your wife [or better yet, daughter] treated like that?" would honestly say "Yes."


How far to go for Regime Change

Today's New York Times has some continuing coverage of the Novak, et al. CIA leak inquiry.

I gotta say, I'm torn. But on reflection, not much. We got two issues here, it seems:

  1. Someone's committed a crime by using their security clearance to find and subsequently reveal the identity of a CIA operative.
  2. Reporters do not want to reveal their sources, since condition of anonymity (or non-disclosure) is sometimes the only way for important information to get to the public.

The current administration is one of the sleaziest ever, in my limited opinion. I want them out.

But at what cost? If someone could be pinned for this violation, we'd have a start. In order to get 'that person', though, a reporter's gonna have to cough up the name of a confidential source. Who, ultimately, gets served by forcing reporters to reveal their sources? I think no one does.

So throw Novak in jail. Fine, he'll be alright. And I'll thank him for keeping his integrity on this issue, and continue to disagree with what he has to say. Putz.

Here's an excerpt from the Times article (pg A21):

A reporter for The Times, M.A. Farber, spent 40 days in jail in 1978 rather than name a source. "You ought not go back to a source from whom you have obtained confidential information and ask to be absolved of your obligation," Mr. Farber said. "The reporter always has the option of keeping his mouth shut. If he isn't willing to accept that responsibility, he oughtn't be in the game in the first place."

Rock on. What's happened to personal responsibility in the last 10 years?

We all know it's Libby, anyway. I think pinning this on him legally is a non-winner. If he gets convicted of the felony he's committed, Bush will cut him loose as a maverick and continue marching on to re-election. The problem isn't that one guy's committed a crime, it's that people don't care. Much of this stuff is complicated and boring; no sound bites, no increased circulation or ratings for the media outlets. It's a downer. It's for smart people, who are suspicious and probably terrorists. Do you wear glasses? Do you have callouses on your hands, Mr. Pran?

------------------------

I don't like John Kerry, particularly. I like that he's not afraid to use words, or his usage of nuance and moderation. I think he's the best alternative. If Nixon were running instead, I'd vote for him. But Kerry ain't going to win, 'cause the Democrats don't have the organization the Republicans have, thanks to the folks behind the Christian Coalition. Frankly, I think the Democratic party is on the way out, starting with the 2000 election and confirmed in 2002. Liberals, we got our work cut out for us.

Organizing liberals is like hearding cats. What to do?

I think I'll put my head in the sand for a decade by moving to Canada.

9.27.2004

Khaki = Brown?

So check this out.

The Mrs. and I are talking politics, as usual, and headed for our regular high-anxiety discussion-ender: "If Bush gets elected again, we gotta move to Canada".

First stop: Fascism. I think we may be going there. There's not really a religious following yet for Bush (that'd be a sin; one of the 15 -- whoops -- 10 commandments has something to say about that). But the cuddling up with industry and the lack of a viable second party are making me see some interesting parallels to some of the stuff in Depression era Europe.

Next stop: Hitler youth and, by extension, the young pioneers (hey, I know they're not fascist, ok?). You know, to help provide 'guidance' for our children. A moral upbringing and life framework. A lot of impressionable young people anxious to get approval and 'help the country'. By turning people in. And teenagers frequently have conflicts with their parents.

Hell, with the kind of problems we're having keeping 'adequate security' in this country, it's practically an open invitation for vigilantes. "Cops ain't around -- I gotta do my part to keep an eye out for suspicious swarthy people."

People will want to help keep a lookout for terrorists. They can come from anywhere, you know. Here's an interesting quote, basically at random from a google search:


Baden Powell's Boy Scouts was used as a protype for the Young Pioneers. The ethos of the pioneers followed many precepts of the Scouts such as loyalty, honesty, be prepared, ect. but the precepts of citzenship taught were quite different. The Scouts always tried to involve the family and stressed a boy's responsibilities in it. The Pioneers, however, were a state organ designed to instill a child's duty to the State and to help ensure his socialization was not contaminated by parents not committed
to the Socialist ideal. the best example of this is Pavlik Morozov 1918(?)-1932(?), the mosdt famous pioneer of all time. Pavlik was supposedly killed by "kulak" (wealthy peasants who resisted collectivization) relatives for denouncing his father to Stalin's secret police (OGPU-NKVD). He was adopted as a patron saint by the "Young Pioneers". It is incoceivable of a British or American boy being so honored by the Scouts. The ideological component may have changed over time. A Russian reader believes that the Pioneers are poorly understood in the West, he comments, "Special communistic Ideology was not a major component of the Pioneers as is commonly accepted in the West. What was emphasized was patriotic education."

Next stop. What organizations do we have already that might be co-opted? Hmmmm....

Heh. As I'm writing this, and researching "brownshirts" -- lookee what I found. Dunno if he's full o' crap, but he appears to agree with me, so I'm going to quote him. Can I be a TV 'journalist' now? Please?

Boyscouts. Their shirts are khaki, but that may be close enough. Plus they're pro-Christian, anti-gay, and anti-'unnatural emissions'. Plus, there's a lot of 'em. There's a lot of co-opting going on lately, so why not here, too? Especially if it's in the national interest. BSA claims to have some Muslim-related support, but I'm thinking that they will probably fall by the wayside, particularly if they're interned.

So we're going to Canada if Bush is re-elected. I wonder how long it'll be before Hallmark and Staples stop selling address books?


Evening in the trenches -- complaints ahead

Went to my support group this evening. *sigh*

OK. I might not be functional, but I gotta say that even functionality is relative.

{begin rant}
So people are having a tough time with their lives. That's why we've decided to come to an anxiety-depression support group. But I think people make things really hard on themselves by not freaking looking at themselves. Furrfu.

One person's having trouble getting a message to her doc that she's having serious problems with her medication -- side effects, apparently. So she calls the office and talks to the receptionist who says the doc's busy, call the pharmacy. That's it. The sufferer lets it fall there. But complains in group that she can't get the message through to the doctor.

Come on! If you're serious about getting help on this, you can't let this drop like that. I'm really not all that functional, and even I can do that. Cripes.

I'm not saying that everything someone does or doesn't do is within their control, but if you've got the wherewithal to consistently and voluntarily show up to a support group, you're telling me you can clear the high hurdle but not the low one.
{end rant}

I'm spending some time this evening working on the format of this thing. Typical, really. The important stuff is the words, and I'm getting distracted by the pretty formatting stuff. Polishing turds, methinks. Just write, dammit!

Seeing clearly in the flat autumn light

I love the light of autumn, but it's so damn hard to get out. But I did, even though there was a compelling reason for me to do so. My daughter.

I talked to someone this morning in the local book store; seems she's interested in book design as well. I was terrified, and I'm always worried that all kinds of ugliness is going to come out of my mouth. But it didn't, and for me it was a nice conversation. I left when I thought I was starting to get irritating. I think I'm best in small doses.

When I'm working, I'm a systems analyst for a big-10 university hospital, running their joke of a billing and scheduling system. I'm a high-tech janitor, and the work's exactly that boring and uncreative. Odd, because the thing that got me into computers in the first place was the incredible room for creativity that I saw -- and found. But not here. Dunno if it's this job in particular or the industy; either way, I've got to get out before I'm completely hobbled.

I'm reading On Book Design by Richard Hendel and I find I'm eating it up. Much like I did with The Elements of Typographic Style about a year ago. Now I'm starting to get projects in my head, like these:

  1. Get a number of other PostScript fonts ready to go in LaTeX. I've got Minion Expert, Sabon, Caslon Expert, Gill Sans and a couple others, but there're some more I'd like to get ready as well.
  2. Choose several texts from Project Gutenberg to set, preferrably from fairly disperate times and styles.
  3. I'm really only familiar with LaTeX's method of typesetting -- what do the "real" people use? and how do they use it?
  4. Talk to people, like Wendy at the book store.
  5. Visit a library's special collections area to pour a bit of art into my head and see what's interesting.
  6. Talk to some of the instructors who teach book design.

But all this should probably be secondary, 'cause only a little of it is directly going to help me get better and deal more easily with the world.

My vacation and sick leave are almost at an end now, and I still haven't heard back on my application for long-term disability. So one of my projects for today is to write to some people who can hopefully donate some vacation time to my cause.

Gonna go to an anxiety and depression support group tonight. This is a double-whammy for me: going out to be with strangers and talking to them about depression and anxiety. I'll be the one sitting close to the door and jittering.

Oh yeah, another thing: my doc wants me to be taking Klonipin twice a day. Fantastic. From what I've read about this little chunk of joy is that it's a crapshoot. It either works great and you can walk away from it when you need to, or it's a trap where gnawing off a limb to get free might seem like a good idea. And you can't tell which one you're going to be. I don't wanna take this, and I'm going to try every other combination in the brain-chemistry arsenal before I go on a benzo with any regularity. Sheesh, I already don't have enough control over my anxiety, and now I gotta consider Klonipin? Thanks, doc. Scaring me into forced denial's helping me feel better real quick. The insurance company should give you a bonus.

On another note, it looks like none of the available choices here are really good for me as a template. Some are close. So it looks like I get to learn about CSS after all. Or, take a nap and make the day go by faster.

9.26.2004

Raising the curtain.

First post!

In order to get this blog rolling -- 'cause up to this point, it's only existed in my head, and that hasn't been published very widely -- I'll try to fill in some of the back story, and why it is I'm choosing to publish stuff here...

I'm a long-term bearer of anxiety and depression. The latter is fairly treatment resistant and mostly caused, I think, by the former which I've only recently learned about. I woulda thought that being anxious all my life would be something I'd notice, but it's taken at least 15 years of occasional debilitation for me to take notice of what's been going on in the background.

Things I do and things I like:

  1. Riding my bike; it's a true passion for me. Got my current ride here.
  2. Making and listening to music. I'm a clarinetist by training.
  3. Hacking computers. In another life, I support UNIX boxen and get to solve all manner of interesting problems.
  4. Hacking in general. Check this out for more.
  5. Typography -- probably where I'm going next. I can't seem to stay away from it...
  6. Politics. Well, I'm pretty quiet about it, but it's something I definitely pay attention to.

There's a lot more, but that's enough for now.

Why'm I doing this? 'Cause it's time to start spouting words, and I've been wanting to blog for a while. And since it's free here, what the hell?