Tag Archives: life and times



This is a picture of me meeting Felicia Day on Monday during her book-signing tour. I don’t usually do crazy things of this nature, but Felicia is probably my single favorite Person From The Internet, so driving the 230 miles to Beaverton to spend a few seconds in the same room with her so she could personally scrawl her signature on my copy of her memoir (which is funny and adorkable and you should totally read it) seemed like a perfectly sane idea at the time.

Besides, my brother lives in Tigard, also in the Portland metro area, so I was able to make a weekend visit of it rather than just doing a five hundred mile round trip in one day.

I adore Felicia Day, so this meeting was the most nervous I’ve been in a long time. I had a bunch of things I’d thought about saying, like “I love your work” “I absolutely adore you” or “You’re my single favorite Person From the Internet, thanks for being awesome.” But I was also afraid of coming off like a creep, because that was a real possibility and it would have sucked. So I ended up not saying much and not really connecting. I even answered a pro forma “How are you?” with my standard “I’ll live,” which was met for the only time since I’ve started using it with what seemed like genuine concern and alarm.

Felicia Day is awesome, and I sort of feel like an ass. Failure Mode of Clever indeed. I don’t know whether to hope that incident made me stand out, or to hope she met enough other people that day that even my remarkable beard didn’t make the incident memorable.

So that was fun.


I am very old. What’s more, I have been very old for a very long time. All of that is very strange, primarily because I’m fairly young. What do I mean?

I was born in 1981, which makes me 34 this year. It also makes me what you could call a leading-edge milennial, as I was in my high school’s graduating class of 2000. But the thing I think makes me very old is that my beginning more or less coincides with the beginning of the digital revolution, and I was aboard from nearly the beginning.

I wrote my first programs with the help of my dad in the latter half of the 1980s on a Mattel Aquarius, a computer so simple and primitive that it made a TRS-80, by then a decade old, look good. But it wasn’t long until my dad’s more successful twin provided my family with a more sophisticated computer and by the beginning of the Pentium era, my brothers and I were sharing a system that was only a generation or so behind the state of the home computing art.

I was a part of the first generation of smart-ass kids who knew everything about the technology their parents and teachers couldn’t understand, so I had a pretty broad exposure to a lot of the tech that existed at the time. But my elder brother was the real master, and I merely his first apprentice.

We ran a bulletin-board system which– for those who weren’t around at the time– was the closest thing we had to the Internet. People had to log on one at a time using a modem-to-modem dial-up connection that generally also dominated their voice line, though a lot of us were so into it that we had a second phone line. We also participated in an international network of bulletin boards, which wasn’t precisely cheap given the prevailing long-distance rates at the time.

And then bulletin boards were over and everyone was on the Internet and even though I was a late adopter in my circle of friends, I was probably on the Internet before you. I watched it grow into what it is today and sometimes I’m still a little amazed.

So I’ve lived my life alongside a rapidly-advancing technology that’s only now reaching maturity. Imagine being the same age as the Model T when Ford debuted the Taurus. Now imagine you’ve been building and fixing cars most of that time. It’s a bit like that.

Given my deep early connection to computer technology and the fact that I’ve long believed and been told that I’m “smart” I just assumed for a long time that my future was in tech. I studied Computer Science, since among my many talents, programming was my most developed. The fact is though that the vanguard of today’s tech industry are now a decade and more younger than me, and I don’t think I’have the skills the industry wants or needs.

I don’t know what my future looks like. If I’ve made one critical assumption that was wrong for the last decade, perhaps I’ve made others. So maybe my future lies on a different course. If so, then, the problem is that I don’t know how to find it. And that I feel so very old.

Then again, maybe not.


“Devastated” begins to describe it, and as a beginning it will do. No word, however, can encapsulate the totality of it. I am fairly certain that a thing that I needed, the thing I waited for, holding onto increasingly desperate hope for, is gone forever.

I can’t imagine the future without it. I can’t see the path forward. I am losing my grip on this world.

And I am terrified.

So, where the hell have you been?

Xanga tells me that the last entry was the first I have posted since 1-14-2011. I believe it.

If anyone is still paying attention to this space, it’s possible they’re wondering why I fell silent, as opposed to
making my then-usual irregular updates.

There are a few answers to that question. In ascending order of importance, they are Google Plus, Facebook, and

I was initially intrigued by the possibilities of Google Plus, and still enjoy it quite a bit. It seemed like a good
place to post extended rants (one of two things I used to do here) because of its whole no-length-limit Facebook-
and-also-Twitter deal. The only reason I’m back now is that G+’s community isn’t quite answering to my hopes, and
people often can’t be bothered to go there just to read what I have to say. Basically, Xanga (as a proper blogging
site) seems to be a little more accessible.

Facebook turned out to serve the other use I made of blogging better. When I started out, this was mostly a forum
for me to post updates on my life to friends and family. Facebook is actually *designed* for that sort of thing, and
most of my friends and family are there (and have been for a while,) making that use of this blog irrelevant.

Now the big one. I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD,) as someone who read my old ersatz-Facebook posts
might have been able to guess. This had gone untreated most of my life and generally manifested as a few months
every year where I basically shut down and snapped at people a lot. Last year, my periodic bout of depression never
stopped. At some point, I just stopped writing. Anything aside of the odd comment on Facebook or a blog just seemed
too daunting. I haven’t written code in so long, I don’t remember when the last time was.

But I’m finally fighting back. Therapy and antidepressants seem to be doing their thing, and there’s a future in
sight where I might be a functional human being again. Look, I’m already writing.

So, what the hell is going on with you, anyway?

Looking back over my blog just now, I realised that I haven’t posted anything meaningfully personal since just after the new year. I’ve been all Battletech-and-Karaoke, and you might have missed even that update since it was a combination Karaoke post.

Well, while I can’t exactly account for not having been in the mood to write about myself for months, I’ve obviously been living the whole time since then. On the educational front, I went full-time at WSU this semster and kinda flopped in a big way. I’ve been feeling too sick to get out of bed as often as not. I’ve finally tracked down what I think is the bulk of the problem (esophogitis due to severe untreated acid reflux,) but other problems persist and it was simple too late for half of my classes, from which I have been forced to withdraw. I sense impending doom coming from the general direction of the Financial Aid Office.

But I really am feeling a whole lot better, even though I still have frequent headaches and moderate-to-severe lower back pain keeps me from walking or standing much. On my last doctor’s visit, I had normal blood pressure and had dropped some weight. I’m currently looking for a GP in the Richland area so I can continue diagnosing and treating these problems. It’s depressing, my body is breaking down and I’m not yet thirty.

A lot of that’s lifestyle, and I need to get that bit figured out. I need to find a way to excersise regularly and get myself on a reasonable, planned diet. I also need to find a better place to live.

My vehicle recently broke down. A piston seems to have disintigrated in a most unusual fashion. I am currently looking into replacing it (the piston, not Burgie,) but this will take time and my dad’s car (which I had been borrowing) having failed the same way has left me without transportation. I did put a bid in on a truck at a repo lot, but the bank hasn’t got back to me yet. Word is that they wanted rather more than I’m offering. Nevertheless, it’s a truck and this economy is what it is. Chances are they’ll eventually relent when they don’t get a better offer.

I have some tension in my personal life over, of all things, EVE Online. My brother took control of the alliance and has been working to try to rebuild it and in so doing seeking the only source of manpower anyone in EVE uses — pirates. It’s understood in EVE that when you’re building an Alliance you make some compromises, and piratey types are the only ready source of combatant manpower. Hell, they’re practically everyone in EVE outside of highsec. EVE, you see, is a griefer’s game. Now, when I say it’s understood I mean that it’s understood by everyone except Alison. And she’s exceptionally attached to this uncompromising vision of what Ethereal Dawn is supposed to be, which unfortunately makes it my problem.

My younger brother has moved on from Spokane to Pullman and is working toward an engineering degree. I’m very proud of him, and hope he finishes his degree before I complete mine. I found it odd that for the first time I can recall we were having a conversation and it was like we were speaking different languages. He has this whole field of expertise now that I know virtually nothing about. That’s cool, but the point is that it’s different. He’s my younger brother, so for the whole time we were on similar educational paths, I always knew more than he did about the same things, always having a year or two over him. But now I know Computer Science stuff and he knows Mechanical Engineering stuff. It’s awesome.

In other insignificant news, I had this great conversation with a Tea Partier. It probably helps that he was on my football team in high school, but I have to commend Doug for the way he handled himself in our facebook exchange over economics and taxes. I don’t think we agreed on much or settled much, but we had this kind of elevated intellectual discourse that you see so rarely these days.

Thanks, and update

I have to thank all of you who prayed for me or otherwise kept me in your thoughts during my illness and consequent hospital stay. I haven’t been very good about being available, but I’m quite busy trying to get back into the swing of things and I haven’t really had my messenger services active.

For those of you who were wondering, I’m doing pretty well. I’ve got a bit of a cold, but my symptoms haven’t returned, and I got my PICC line out Friday (can’t tell you how good that feels.) I have a lot of work to catch up on, as the quarter ended Thursday with me at least three weeks behind. Had to be Winter Quarter, too. The quarter break is so short that if I don’t have grades (and my instructors were nice enough to give me Incompletes on account of my condition, meaning I can still make up the back work) by April 3, my financial aid will be cancelled. Unless I can get a petition in to the financial aid office and get it reviewed in time. Ugh. Bureacracy.

Resolution and Recovery

Last Thursday, I finally decided I had no recourse but to see a doctor. I don’t have health insurance and this could be expensive, but I simply could not function without the use of my hands or feet. I am glad I did. Upon arriving in the Emergency Room, the initial conclusion was that I was suffering from anxiety or a metabolic disorder. Neither proved true, but while trying to confirm the metabolic disorder, a gal came in and drew five vials of blood out of me. I was very brave. I don’t mind the sight of needles. I do mind the way they penetrate my flesh, but I can endure it.
Moments after she left the room, I said something like “No. Don’t do that. She didn’t take that much.” And I fainted dead away.

Waking up, I had a vomiting fit. Fun stuff. Especially since I’d been to Burger King for lunch. Tastes worse the second time.

Dr. Grantham could find nothing (aside of a slight thyroid deficiency) wrong with me and sent me home with orders to see a neurologist.

The neurologist instantly recognized my symptoms as typical of Guillain-Barre Syndrome and insisted that I return to the Emergency Room immediately. One failed attempt at a Thoracic Penetration (that’s a Spinal Tap for the less technically minded) and I spent the night in the hospital, happy for the rest.

The next day, the Thoracic Penetration was successfully performed under floroscopy. What followed was four hours of lying flat on my back. Somehow I endured it, and avoided the dreaded Spinal Headache that might otherwise have ensued.

On the plus side, the nurse in radiology was very cute. One looks for any pleasure in an experience such as this. (very painful. Very unpleasant.)

Not content at the holes already punched in me, the hospital drew more blood and then (only then!) put in a Peripherally Inserted Core Catheter, a tube which runs from my left arm up into my Superior Vena Cava and can deliver drugs into me or blood into the hands of a medical laboratory. Sadly, this ability was never really used.

What we did use it for was five days of intra-venal immunoglobulin therapy. After one day I felt better. Today I feel — nearly 100%.

Kadlec has great food. If you ever have to go to a hospital for an extended stay, I recommend Kadlec. However, I think the Pharmacy department is a little whack. I’m fairly certain they kept overfilling my IG prescription. Since the stuff’s expensive, the nurses just went ahead and ran all of it into me anyway.

So, I have my hands back. This can only be considered a good thing.

Now, to worry about paying for it…


So…I’ve been ill. flulike symptoms gave way to abdominal pain which gave way to vomiting. I’m mostly all right now except that I have a tingling feeling in my toes and fingers and they don’t exactly do what I want them to.

This scares me.