Categories
Non-Fiction

Ramble On

Oh, hey. I have a car again.

With that comes the ability to get places again, but not much of anywhere to go other than the grocery store and work right now because of covid. It also means costs — car payments, insurance, gas. I also had to move in the middle of a pandemic, so that was fun. My rent cost went up, while I’m on reduced hours and pay at work and waiting to hear back from the state to see if I’m going to get any of the work share money I’m supposed to qualify for. They’re apparently hella backlogged, so that’s a joy. Thank fuck I’d been saving up to make a down payment on a car — I put less down to start than I wanted, because I needed to get into a car, but didn’t feel safe enough not to have the cushion anymore.

I want to scream into the void about everything going on. But I feel like I can’t offer any new insight, that there isn’t anything I can add to the discourse that isn’t articulated better by someone else. Online I’ve surrounded myself with people who believe similar things I do, so I never really have to finish a rant, they already are headed down the path themselves and we just walk together. Offline, I feel like I’m surrounded by people who are so selfish they can’t see past the end of their noses, so beat down by the system they have no fight left in them, or literal assholes. It goes so far as all three groups will roll their eyes at me if I say something — and I’m not good at holding my tongue, so I do say a lot of things. It’s so bad that when I do encounter someone in meat space that doesn’t immediately recoil when I so much as breath half a sentence of political opinion, I almost immediately want to pinch myself.

I feel a need to write. It’s visceral. But I don’t know what I need to say. Do I need to write fiction, non-fiction? I can’t find coherent thoughts, threads to spin and weave from. I have a video appointment for tomorrow to see if maybe I need medication, if maybe this fight I feel like I’m constantly having with my brain is ADHD or something. If I make sure I have caffeine daily, it feels like it’s easier to wrangle my brain into doing the things I need to do, but it also feels like it’s still enough of a fight that when I finish doing enough of what I need to do, I just can’t do anymore. And I feel trapped, because I don’t have a safety net. I question my choice to cut off my family, wonder if maybe having their support would help — but then I remember that I didn’t feel supported. I was made to feel like I was lazy, because I didn’t do what they wanted me to the way they wanted me to. It didn’t occur to them that maybe there was a reason for the way I was behaving. There really is nothing like struggling just to face people, only to get a passive aggressive, ‘it’s about fucking time’ in response to my emerging from my room. To not even considering that maybe I needed to get help with what I was facing, because I was made to believe that I was just fucking lazy and needed to pull myself up by my bootstraps.

I sit here, so upset over things I can’t change. So frustrated that I feel all alone in the world. I have my online friends, they’ll talk to me when I need it… but sometimes I need more, you know? Having a voice on the other end of an internet pipe isn’t the same as someone who you’re sharing a meal with, or someone who will just do the small things for you when you can’t find it in you to do them yourself. A person to argue the rules of a board game with, or stand in a parking lot for three hours after the game store closes just shooting the shit because neither of you want to go home.

I feel so fucking alone. I feel like I’m standing on the edge of the void, and one misstep and I fall in.

It fucking terrifies me.

Categories
Non-Fiction

ko-fi

I’m not gonna hold my breath that anyone’s gonna toss money my way, but figured that a ko-fi doesn’t cost me anything to set up, so I did it. It’s currently a button in the footer of my site. I’m lucky enough to have some money still coming in, though it’s nowhere near what it was since while boss is arguing that we’re essential because we print for a couple of the local hospitals and a few other places, a lot of our other customers are closed because of Covid-19. I’m only coming in intermitently for half days, and it depends on what’s waiting for me to print.

I’m lucky enough to have a savings account that was intended to get me back into a car again. I had been at the point where I thought I could afford to pull the trigger on that, and then all this shit blew up. I probably could have done it sooner if I was willing to buy a junker, and maybe I should have, but I really didn’t want to go back to a crappy car that I didn’t drive unless I absolutely had to go somewhere, because I didn’t trust the damn thing.

Because I was mostly a homebody anyway because of the lack of a car, this shelter in place crap isn’t a huge change for me. It mostly just means less having to go into work, and extra precautions when I go grocery shopping. I’ve only done that once since this started, but may go back for another run sooner than I otherwise should since I really want to make more bread and they didn’t have yeast last time I went shopping. My bread still comes out ugly, but it’s delicious, so I’m good with that.

I’ve also been experimenting with cold brew tea. I’m pretty sure I like my ice tea warm brewed better, but that might be a matter of finding the right teas for the cold brew technique. So far, the Victorian London Fog and Russian Country are okay cold brewed if I add almond milk to them, but I’m not as happy with them without it. Next up to try is one of the teas I recently ordered: Pomegranate Oolong, Raspberry Mojito, and Black Currant Ice Tea. The Pomegranate Oolong is nice hot brew, so I’m hopeful it’ll make a nice delicate cold brew. We shall see, but gotta finish the current pitcher of the Russian Country cold brew.

Other thing that’s happened is I’ve managed to find bandwidth for small stupid shit I should have been doing before. Things like mending clothes that got a tear or needed to be brought in because “standardized” sizing doesn’t even really fit the apex of the bell curve, and I sure as fuck ain’t the apex of the curve. And I’ve started to poke again at a TTRPG idea I’ve been juggling for a while — a Call of Cthulhu game based upon the HP Lovecraft Historical Society’s parody musical, A Shoggoth on the Roof. I need to refresh my memory on CoC rules, and figure out what other trappings I need to plan ahead of time beyond character stats for the pre-gen player characters and NPCs, and a rough plot arc that I want the players to encounter if they don’t go off and fuck behind the potted plant. If I get those Shoggoth in a row, I want to attempt to run it over VC on Discord.

I did file my taxes today though, and realized I was getting a small refund. If I’d had my head on straight sooner, I would have at least figured that out earlier in the year. The last couple years, I’ve owed money to both Feds and state, so I wasn’t in a particular rush to deal with that assuming it was going to be the same. My witholdings are usually pretty close to what I owe, so it’s usually a non-issue each year I file outside of when I forget to the last minute and get stressed over it. Technically today was last minute, but because of the Feds’ incompetence over this Covid-19 shit, that date got pushed back. So.

Edit: I wasn’t happy with how the ko-fi WP plugin was behaving, so I instead just put a link in my menus, which also makes it easier to spot on the site. <3

Categories
Non-Fiction

Becalmed

Today I was in tears over a mobile game. It wasn’t really the game that upset me, so much as it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I feel like I’m dealing with the death by a thousand cuts—I have for a while—but due to a combination of shitty luck and personal choices, I have no real safety net. All my friends are online at this point, I don’t have any contact with any of my family by my choice, I currently live in the most expensive part of the US, and my brain functions in such a way that meeting the expectations of others just feels like it takes a hundredfold the effort it should. So I’m tired.

But any time I think about this for any length, I can’t help but think about how much better I have it. There are people who don’t even make half what I do, who can’t cut ties with their toxic family, who are not physically able to function like the people the world is designed for. So then I feel guilty for feeling bad about my situation. I think about all the things I should be doing to make my situation better — I should make an appointment with a doctor to see if I have ADHD and if medication would help me out, I should be looking at taking classes for things that are more “valuable” to the job market so I can improve my pay, I should figure out so way to afford car payments and gas and insurance. Then I get mad at myself for not following through on these things that should be easy, I then distract myself to cope… and next thing I know, it’s time to give my time to someone else again.

That’s the other thing that’s got me so upset. I feel like not only am I doing everything for myself, but like I can’t even get help with the things I take on to help others. As much as I love the play by post RP I run, I’m honest with myself that I only started it because I’d had so many troubles with how others had run the ones I’d been a member of before, and I end up doing a lot of what needs to be done from an administrative standpoint because it’s hard to find people who are interested, fun to write with, and aren’t complete and utter tools, but also have the time to dedicate to the game. I’ve had to compromise a lot on that last quality because finding all four seems to be impossible, and I can’t compromise on the other three. I don’t begrudge people for it, but it does get frustrating when I feel I need help but I have no one I can ask for it.

The thing with the mobile game that got me in tears earlier though? The game has an event going right now where we need to all purchase boosts with in game currency to make the event tasks easier. In order for the boosts to be truly helpful, it’s recommended we stack them. So, I’m leader of the club, I pick a boost time and most of the club pops online to apply the boosts and take advantage of them. Except today I forgot about it until afterwards, and no one pinged me to remind me. Hearing about it afterward, apparently we’d managed to stack enough boots to get like twice the boosts we normally have and I missed it. And like, sure, it’s a game and with the whole fucking world on fire… who cares if I can collect little cartoon cats on my smart phone, right? Except it wasn’t about the game, it was about how it feels like I’m always the one forgotten unless people need something, I’m always the one who’s expected to have her shit together because I figure out the things for other people before I take care of myself. Because I don’t know how to take care of myself.

I stumble through best I can, and everyone says they’re doing the same, but it never feels like others are having to fight anywhere near as hard over such stupid simple things. It also feels like everyone around me is upset with me no matter how hard I try. The only ones who don’t get upset with me are the ones who I manage to hide how fucked up everything feels all the time to me, or the ones I hardly know. I’m afraid to let people in, because I’m afraid to let them down. I’m afraid of what’s going to happen that one time I slip and don’t manage to catch the ledge before I plunge into the depths below.

I am afraid, and I’m alone. And I feel like I should be so close to everything being okay, but I literally can’t see the safe harbor I need even if it’s just right there within reach for me to grab.

Categories
Non-Fiction

Beer Virus

I know this is serious, COVID-19 is costing lives and it’s probably going to cost more than it should in the US due to the combination of incompetence and criminal levels of cruelty that this government exercises. The US has always been racist, it’s always been classist, it’s always been sexist… but these days those in power feel secure enough in their position they think they can say the quiet parts out loud. I still have to make jokes, because if I’m not laughing I’m crying. So, novel coronavirus is now henceforth called beer virus as a nod to the story that was going around about people thinking they could catch it from drinking corona beer. In case you missed it, I’m pretty sure the story was fake or at least drastically exaggerated — the real targets of racism and stupidity right now are Chinese and other Asian-Americans that the stupid and racist lump together in the same group. Never mind that the Chinese government actually responded in a way that drastically cut back loss of life in their country and we would do good to follow their lead.

Part of me knows I should probably stop watching twitter right now. It’s becoming a bit of a feedback loop of “don’t panic, but take this seriously”, and watching the DNC primaries eat themselves alive as the DNC tries to crown Biden nominee because they think they can’t possibly lose against Trump (Hilary got how many more votes and still lost because of the electoral college, wot?) or they literally don’t care because it’s not about political party but class and race. But the fact of the matter is, I’ve manage to curate my feed well enough that the people I follow are still also posting uplifting shit and about their daily lives… and a lot of them I don’t have other vectors of contact with. Some of them I don’t know well enough to connect with on Discord, or they’re not on the other social media platforms that I find tolerable enough (diaspora*, and Pillowfort, for the record — if we’re mutuals on twitter, ask me for my handle on either or a Pillowfort invite if you want one). So I stay for now.

I had thought I was about ready to take that plunge and buy a car again… but with the shut downs, and the pending damage that’s going to do to the small and medium sized businesses in the coming days—especially as the large companies who can afford to pay their employees through this continue to mostly not—I’m afraid to deplete the savings account I’ve been fighting to build as a down payment for a car, in case I need it to keep a roof over my head, or for copays for medical treatment, or whatever. But that leaves me at the mercy of public transit when I still need to go out for necessities. I’ve tried to prepare as well as I can, and I think I did okay… but we’ll see. At least the vogmask I bought because of the wildfire seasons the last couple years can also serve to minimize facial exposure when I have to go out, and I think it looks fucking cool.

It’s currently raining outside, and it’s nice after a long spell of nothing here. This is supposed to be our rainy season, and I want to say it’d been over a month since we’d gotten anything before a recent tiny storm we saw… but this one looks like it’s going to be more significant. If only the feeling of cleansing the rain usually brings worked on things larger than just the air.

Categories
Non-Fiction

The Castle Tower

As some of you may be aware, I’ve been without a car for like five and a half years now. My last car was totaled in a collision that occurred while I’d been in the middle of trying to get my feet back under myself after multiple rugs were pulled out from under me at once. Honestly don’t really want to go into all the stuff I was dealing with, but the car situation was kind of the final blow to send me curling into a self protective ball that I honestly haven’t really pulled myself out of since.

As is the case in a lot of the US, public transit is basically little more than useless. In the bay area, I sit on the cusp of just between usable and useless since I live and work in one of the suburbs and not in one of the city centers—SF, Oakland, or San Jose—so I’m lucky when there’s a bus within reasonable walking distance of both home and where I’m trying to go, and if it’s even as frequent as once a half hour. I know there are places worse off than this, but this is still just enough of a hindrance that I end up just staying home most of the time.

The last place I lived, I was supposed to have use of the kitchen, but honestly that became a death by a thousand small cuts, and it didn’t take long for me to just give up on fighting it. I ate out for nearly every meal for most of the time I lived there, and sometimes that was the only time I’d leave the house on a given day if I didn’t have work. Playing ingress helped for a while, as going out and capturing/maintaining the portals in the area near my house gave me a reason to vary my route to and from food, or spend a little more time before I went home in the evenings after work during DST (as it would be dark before I’d get off the bus during standard time). In time, I gave up on that too after just a few too many issues with the community making me feel unwelcome — a couple incidents with abusive players in both factions, people mansplaining how I should play the game, and the inaccessibility of the community events for someone who didn’t have a car.

After getting notice I needed to move from my last place, and a lot of stress surrounding the move, I’ve landed in a place that’s much closer to work, and allows me to carpool with a coworker. Also, I can actually use the kitchen and the shared use of that space is functional enough that I don’t feel pushed out of it. It’s also located near enough I can walk to the game store I used to spend a lot of time in — particularly it was one of the things that helped me cope with all the shit I was dealing with before my car was totaled. Even though I’ve been living in this place for six months, yesterday was the first time I’d actually made it to the game store since I moved.

Part of me had hoped that I’d run into some of the people I used to hang with while I was there, but I didn’t recognize any of the employees, and the two people I encountered I’d known previously I only had fleeting interactions with. I should reach out directly to some of the people I used to hang out with, see if any of them are still hanging in the store and try to coordinate meeting up with them if possible. I did end up buying myself one of those dice trays that you can flatten for storage. I also eyed the GM set for Star Trek Adventures entirely because it comes with a map of the Alpha and Beta quadrant, which would be super helpful for plotting for my Trek RP. (Shameless plug — USS Joshua Norton. Not currently open for new players due to the plot we’re running, but we love lurkers and welcome you to read along. Lurking on our Discord means you’ll be first to know when apps open again too!) I should do a little research into how much the map agrees with hard canon, to see if it’s worth buying.

I did make note of when their painting night is, and I still have projects I was painting before I stopped being able to go regularly that I would like to pick up again. Hopefully I’ll follow through on that. One project I have halfway done is I bought a pair of huge tentacle earrings at Hot Topic that were just black, and decided I wanted to paint them. So they’re sitting with the first layer of paint on top of the primer. I would really like to finish them and be able to wear them. I also have a copy of Mansions of Madness that has a shit ton of miniatures that I could paint. I wasn’t particularly enthused by the game, it was a gift from a friend for Christmas one year, but my ex had loved it. When we broke up, he bought himself a copy and I was hella annoyed because if he’d just talked to me I would have given him my copy and asked him to buy me something of similar value to replace it. Alas.

Anyway. All that to say, I’ve been hiding a lot lately and while I’ve been frustrated, I’ve worked myself into such a rut it feels nearly impossible to get myself out of it. I hope that yesterday’s visit to the game store is an indicator that I’m starting to make progress, and I have set up a journal I bought from Red Bubble a while back for bullet journal after a friend talked that system up earlier this month. Hopefully I’ll find it useful. I already use my phone for a lot of reminders, both with alarms in my alarm app and longer term stuff in my calendar, but given that my fiction writing feels better when I start it hand written, I’m hoping that a flexible handwritten process to track my day to day stuff might help me calibrate in a useful way.

Also—I hope I’m not jinxing this by writing it out—I might actually have enough saved up to able to get a car again. I’ve been desperately saving for a while with the occasional dip into the fund for sanity saving or necessary purchases. I thought I might have been close to doing it just before I’d gotten notice I needed to move from the last place — that panic and need to spend money to facilitate the move, put the car on the back burner again. Just my vague awareness of my current situation makes me think I can make the plunge, but I need to take the time to do a hard review. But fingers crossed, I’d really like to get into a Honda Fit again.