Feb 17, 2019

Life is full of poignant moments.

So, in a few days it will be the one year anniversary of my Mom’s passing.

You know, I can’t ever say I saw my mom frequently. It’s not her fault either as much as it is me just being a shitty son and being overwhelmed by life a lot of the time. My mom being sick didn’t help matters, she was hard to be around for extended periods of time because she was ill. It didn’t make her any less of a good person but there is only a certain amount of time you can spend with a schizophrenic.

That’s not me overblowing things either, my mom was ill a lot of her life and she lived a very, very hard life. If I was to go down the list of weirdo things that happened in and around my mom through the years I think it would be sobering for a lot of people but as much of myself that I do share there are things that I simply won’t share and not so much for me but out of respect.

Anyway, after being on the street for a period of time (and that’s a story for another day) there came a period where she was in one place for a couple of years and then was moved out to Brooklyn to an Adult Care Facility. This was something of a godsend because as horrible as the place was, it was still a step up from how she had been living.

They made sure folks ate regularly, took their meds, got to their doctor appointments and the like. It wasn’t in a nice part of Brooklyn and it wasn’t even easy to get to but there was a certain amount of reassurance knowing I could find her and she was safe.

Sometime in the last four years or so there was something that happened and they moved my mother out into “the community.” This entailed taking a woman who was at the time 74 years old and moving her into an apartment with another person where she would have a social worked look in on her a few times a week for supervision.

When she moved I essentially lost touch. The new agency never bothered to follow up with me at any time. I tried repeatedly to find out who they were calling city agencies as well as trying to follow up with the former adult home but I was unable to get any information on where she had been moved to.

Even after I got a letter from her with her new address I went out several times to see her and couldn’t even gain access into the building. Finally when I did one time no one was home.

Ultimately, last year I got a knock on my door by a local police officer who had been contacted by a doctor at Kings County hospital seeking me out and who after I got back to told me they didn’t expect my mom to last the day.

I could go into what went on the next two weeks but we can talk about another time.

Anyway, my big struggle in life is to keep from appearing on an episode of Hoarders as I try to address the growing mess in the ramshackle and ever deteriorating hovel I live in. So, I sort through big piles of papers that I keep, receipts and the like for taxes and stuff. Things that go into a pile and need to be filed ultimately.

The other day I found two unopened envelopes.

One was from my mom for my birthday from a couple of years ago. In it was a money order for $50 and a card to Burger King (I can’t tell you the last time I set foot in a Burger King but it’s been decades). It was one of those cards that when you open plays a tune and there was this other little gift in it as well.

My mom wrote the usual stuff on the outside of the card... that strange stuff she would always write but for me that was always easy to gloss over because that was just mom. That was her way and really at this point in life there are precious few people who really give much of a shit about me anyway.

In her eyes though I was always special and regardless of whatever she went through she made sure I knew that. She was a really, really good mom. She was sick, she lived such a shitty life, a life that was the kind of thing you would read about in a Dickens novel. Really, it was horrible there’s just no two ways about it. I grew up really poor too, I mean... when people talk about their childhoods and then I place it against mine there isn’t even a contest but you know as a kid, I can’t say I ever really felt that.

My mom was tough, she went through things in her life that would have killed other people. Seriously, the stuff that happened to her was horrific and if I carry one regret it’s that I never was able to make her life any better the way I would have wanted to, I never was able to impact her life in such a positive way as she impacted mine.

My mom was a kid when she had me and she was on her own raising me and now that I’m older I only look back on that with wonder. I really am amazed at her strength and determination.

So, when I opened that card today, I couldn’t help but feel it... a lot sad because even though I didn’t see her knowing she’s not there anymore makes a big difference but when people tell me they are amazed at how I ‘turned out’ given what they know about my upbringing and personal history I have to point to her as the person who made me a survivor, who made me tough, who showed me right from wrong and who made sure I knew that I was very much loved.

Mom, I really do miss you.

Feb 16, 2019

Integration, integration, integration.

As we get further and further into the year, more and more changes are happening in the office as the new masters assert their dominance over the serfs. Companies can be like small European nations that get gobbled up by others. It's time for everyone to learn how to speak German.

Honestly, it doesn't impact me as much as one might think. If anything it’s proven to be a bit better for me. I didn’t get this position I had applied for at another company site. I was very disappointed by that because the other site is only twelve miles from the house and a quick drive that would mean a half hour tops even under the worst conditions in terms of what my commute would be.

That doesn't begin to address the intrinsic raise I would be getting simply by not having the huge expenditure of commuting both in time and cash - it’s an hour and a half commute each way door to door every day. I could do without that to be sure, three hours of my life I won’t get back... fifteen hours out of every week.

And then there’s the money itself, $311 for a monthly train ticket and $121 for a monthly metrocard both of which are promised to increase this year. It winds up being a LOT OF MONEY out of one’s pay.

So, that didn’t happen but I do have hopes.

The other thing is that people are starting to disappear.

Disappear in the sense that there are layers going away now that the new company is coming in and assessing who does what and if they’re worth their salary. Someone on the upper end of the food chain quietly got the axe a week ago and that recently resulted in a series of musical chairs as people around the office moved.

There’s another group which was on another floor moving into our space because the tenant on that other floor now needs more space so more musical chairs.

In other word a lot is happening AROUND me. Not to me which is good.

I’m actually figuring that the lead account person’s days are numbered although she might not know it. She hasn’t been in the office much over the last two to three months and there hasn’t been an increase from the account in terms of workflow. The things she has been responsible for have not gone well in a transfer of work to another site and overseeing that work. Also, there's a vacuum when it comes to justifying her existence and salary because really things manage quite fine without her so again, only a matter of time.

Her big advocate just moved his office away from hers (they were next door neighbors) and that can’t be a good sign either.

Anyway, I’ve been busy on other accounts which has been all fine and good by me and the upshot has been people have been very, very happy to be working with me as well. Not so much for the peacock though. He has managed to be his usual dismissive and antagonistic self to some new people in the company whose rank he was unaware of.

One instance happened this past week and while it was going on I just got up and went over to the kitchen because it was that painful and I didn’t want to be a witness at the scene of the accident.

So much drama.

It was busy though and I haven’t been able to write as much although I have been reading still.

The book I just finished is worth picking up either as a purchase or from the library. It’s by Sean Howe:



https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1339631158l/13623814.jpg 

I already knew a surprising amount of what the book details, especially more towards the later years but the things from the early silver age and the golden age are fascinating.

It, at least for me, once more confirmed my opinion of Stan Lee as something of the comic industry’s version of a used car salesman. Stan was a great bullshit artist but not much more. If you need any evidence of just how talented and disagree with me you can enlighten me by pointing me in the direction of that great work he did once those key creators left Marvel.

In the meantime, there are some things I found funny, some things I found sad.

There’s a confirmation of something else as well... maybe one day I’ll tell the tale of how an story idea I had fleshed out in the eighties was ripped off by a certain editor and became one of the most infamous overarching storylines for a lead character in a Marvel book.

It wasn’t the only story idea I had ripped off that later saw print, there was something that wound up in a DC book too and it taught me a lesson I’ve carried with me ever since. Nothing gets talked about until you’ve finished writing it.

But if I find myself in a generous mood one of these days maybe I’ll revisit both because I think they make good cautionary tales if nothing else.

Jan 20, 2019

The big female character people are overlooking.

So, let’s just say I watch Star Trek Discovery without having access to CBS stupid thing, never mind the fact that there isn’t really anything I’ll watch on CBS outside of 60 Minutes and if they ran the series in primetime there might actually be a reason to tune in to the damn channel.

Anyway, so you would think that I am talking about the lead in Discovery as the female character but the truth is that I’m not.



File:Mary Wiseman SDCC 2017.jpg 

That’s her. Mary Wiseman who portrays Sylvia Tilly in Discovery. She’s not Jeri Ryan or Jolene Blalock and that’s a good thing now if only the rest of the world takes a good long look and we get some stories where her character is placed in a more central role.

Jan 19, 2019

Is it a glass half empty or a glass half full?

There are a lot of ways we can look at the world around us. We can look at it with bitterness or we can look at it with wonder.

Honestly for me, I vacillate between the two sometime succumbing to the lure of fake nostalgia and then other times being in the moment and taking advantage of that place. The hardest thing in life is to be in the moment because when you are in the moment you are taking a hefty helping of what life has to offer us.

This does however mean taking the good along with the bad though and when you are in the midst of the bad you may be better served by placing yourself in the future.

I'm scrambling at the moment to arrive at a thought because I started writing without knowing where I might end up.

Life has been okay of late although I am admittedly tired.

I don't like winter. I don’t know if I ever really liked it all that much but I can definitely say I am not a fan of the cold weather and the shorter days. These days as I get older, I find I’m tired much more than I want to be. Just getting through the day can be trying at times and the parts of it that you want to pass quickly don’t and the parts that you want to pass slowly just whiz by.

Every day now, I’ve been trying to make a habit of getting through my latest book and it seems like this year has been really very good on the reading front. I’m now in the third book of the Song of Fire and Ice and enjoying it a good deal.

My life had fallen into a routine although it is a bit of a struggle lately. It’s just hard to get myself going in the morning and I can’t say I’m really excited about work although I am thankful to have a job. It’s not as if anything has been overly bad at work lately either just more a matter of wanting to have something of a change and not seeing anything presenting itself on the horizon in those terms.

I know the job I have now is a bit of a dead end and that can be a little discouraging.

Also, I’m not inspired anymore. I don’t have that urge to go out and push myself the way I might have done once or maybe it would be better stated that my interests have changed.

My opposite number on the account I’ve been working on is a peacock in every sense of the word. It can be insufferable but I have to remind myself that whatever I’m feeling isn’t necessarily in the ‘good bag’ of emotional health.

I hold my tongue a lot only because I don’t think it’s worth it to fight but you see someone showing off and you don’t think the work is actually as good as they might think it is.

Some of the stuff my ON does is truly great and I like it quite a bit but other stuff? Big misses.

Anyway, the lead Account person returned for a day or two this past week after being out for a prolonged period and a couple of things happened that made me realize I simply don’t want to work with this person at all anymore.

I got called into a closed door meeting with my boss. Now, I like my boss, a lot. So, when I have a closed door meeting these days, it’s not as if I don’t think I can speak my mind. But, the topic of discussion was so ridiculous I just turned to him and plainly asked to be put onto another account. I’m fed up really, I’ve been working on the same account for almost two years and I’m one of only two people who have been working on it from the very beginning that is still on it and I’m tired of the bullshit.

I’ve got a thankless job, really.

The peacock (which is a good nickname I think I’m going to be keeping for my ON) is a big believer in planting your nose up the ass of anyone above you in the food chain. I mean like so deeply buried between the person’s ass cheeks that when he deals with anyone else not over him he is dismissive, curt, antagonistic and rude. So much so, no one wants to work with him.

He’s worked on a bunch of other accounts and he doesn’t usually get asked to do much more after that initial time. He’s that much of a pain in the ass.

Now, if anyone over him asks him for anything he can’t bend over and grab his ankles fast enough.

The closed door thing was about me getting blamed for picking up one of his projects being asked to do something small and taking the hit for his gaffe in not setting it up correctly and the junior not communicating things clearly. I take the hit but I’m actually more than a little tired for taking the hit on things I haven’t really been involved in.

It’s happened a bunch of times now and I made it clear to my boss when it happened what happened so he knows about it.

That’s why the closed door thing wasn’t as much of a problem as the person in question thought it would wind up being.

Besides, if you’ve got a problem? It appears there are lots of other people in the company who don’t have a problem with me or my work and who are more than happy to have me working with them on their projects. I guess the reason I got so pissed about things is because this person fucked me on my review and it was right after I handled a huge project that went off perfectly. So perfectly that the client has cited it repeatedly as one of the company’s successes.

The peacock and I had a brief chat the next day and I told him I wanted off. I don’t think he was all that happy about it either.

It’s hard to shift blame when it’s only you.

Jan 9, 2019

Put me out of my misery.

Seriously, I did watch the New Year’s Day special and Doctor Who has soundly jumped the shark. None of the actors are bad, they’re actually likeable but something is missing from the equation. I don’t think it’s casting a woman either as much as it’s casting a woman and having her play Matt Smith. Couldn’t a female doctor just be... I don’t know, different?

I’ve said it before and I was telling someone at work this which was that they cast a woman as doctor who but they really wanted to hedge their bets so they cast three companions hoping to cover the gamut of the audience.

There were even some episodes I liked including the Rosa Parks one and the one set in India/Pakistan with one of the companion’s antecedents being central to the plot. But again, they weren’t Doctor Who.

Even the New Year’s Day special was a bit of, ‘Meh.’

Mind you when Matt Smith first took the place of David Tennant I was very wary but I have to say that there are some episodes of DW that absolutely made me cry they were that good and nothing has come remotely close since Matt Smith left.

Jan 2, 2019

Jumped the shark.

I know some quarters will hate me but Doctor Who has jumped the shark.

Now, some folks might think I’m talking about Jodie Whitaker but the truth of it is I was NEVER a fan of Peter Capaldi and the show jumped the shark once he became the Doctor.

Matt Smith who I didn’t want to like turned out to be a really hard act to follow and not just because of how much fun his Doctor was but also because Amy Pond and Rory and Clara...

Look, I can still watch episodes with Alex Kingston and the whole gang and just be amazed by it all. It tugs at the heart stings. The way fish fingers and custard became something that lasted so very long and not only that but lines like ‘Run you silly boy.’ are really the stuff of great Doctor Who.

Capaldi not at all a favorite.

I’ve been catching up on the Jodie Whitaker episodes of Season 11 and I have to say some of them are really good BUT, they’re not Doctor Who if that makes sense.

You know, it’s funny... they made a big deal about casting Doctor Who as a woman but if they had any balls at all? They certainly wouldn’t have cast a blonde White Woman in the role, you know if you wanted to make a statement, how about if they had cast Mandip Gill as the Doctor?

Mind you, I get what they were trying to do. They tried to appeal to all these different demographics with casting the companions but it’s just painful how ham handed the whole thing is.

I like all the actors that are the companions in Season 11, they’re good even if they’ve got shitty material to work with. So far, there was an episode about Rosa Parks that was very good and also an episode about the partition of India and Pakistan that was good but they’re NOT Doctor Who episodes.

They’re entertaining and well done but they have gone so far away from the franchise it’s not the same thing.

And Jodie Whitiaker... they didn’t have to write her like the female version of Matt Smith and they have been doing the character a bit of a disservice by doing that. Is there really a reason to portray the Doctor as a woman and also as  a bit more bumbling than Capaldi’s Doctor was?

Anyway, as I said, I don’t expect to make many fans but the series may have jumped the shark after Matt Smith left.

The Impossible Astronaut or Let’s Kill Hitler? Those are really, really good episodes. And you know there are a bunch more that are really good from that run too.

I haven’t seen anything even remotely close to that in a couple of years.

Jan 1, 2019

The alternative to the long dirt nap.

Today is New Year’s Day! I love New Year’s Day for one very, very big reason.

THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS OVER!

YAY!

Maybe there was a time when these things were important but the last few years they’ve become less so and now I just as soon go to sleep after Halloween and wake up January 2nd. I don’t like this time of year at all... the days are getting shorter, there’s less light and it’s getting colder. All things I could do without and there’s the added bit about there not being any baseball! I miss baseball and for all the Hot Stove maneuverings it’s not enough for me.

I make do with football but I’m not a fan of that game really and I actually like watching the season run down because I know that it means spring training isn’t far off once the superbowl happens.

This year was no different than years past although in comparison to the hell of the job last year things were much better on that front with the new boss now in place. It’s world’s and away a so much better atmosphere overall. To the extent that I really LIKE my boss. I generally do anything they ask within the confines of the job but I wouldn’t go above and beyond for the last guy because he abused things, not so with the new boss.

In the meantime the company has now merged as of January 1st so I guess that means the other shoe will drop in the coming months as things change further and the parent company takes a firmer hold on things. There is no such thing as job security but I try my best to be as useful as I can and though we’ve been slow I’ve made it clear I’m willing to do anything to keep busy and people on other accounts are glad to have me helping them and like working with me.

That’s no so much the case for my peer who works the account with me but that’s his deal...

Now I titled the post the alternative to a long dirt nap and here’s why:

In the past six to eight weeks it’s been one thing after another... there was the infection and cyst in my mouth, followed by the oral surgery to remove a stump of a tooth and the cyst as well as grinding down all the bone around where the cyst was which left me looking as if I had gone a few rounds with Tyson, after which just when I was starting to feel a little better I broke out in hives all over the upper body and when I did see the doc got a flu shot and came down with a cold for a week (that appears to be going around) and then right before Christmas I got two more stumps of teeth removed and broke out once more.

This is in the context of everything else that goes on in life, trying to get new medical set up, exhausting all the transit and FSA benefits before they go away (because our company pulled a fast on on us and cut the benefit year by six months) and all the other sundry things that need doing and the diminishing reservoir of energy to do them.

Yet, with all that? Life’s pretty good. I can’t say I don’t have problems, big ones I’m trying to deal with (let’s not talk about the roof on my house and the water that flows in in several rooms when it rains) but that’s what life is.

And the alternative is the Dirt Nap... so, I’ll take what it throws at me and hope for better in 2019 and if you’ve suffered through reading all of this I hope 2019 holds nothing but good things for you too!