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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Now is a Time of Great Decision...

..stolen from Blazing Saddles (watched it again last night).

One issue with being multi-talented and indecisive is figuring out where to expend your energy.  I love to write, I love to compose/record music, and I love to work on computer art.

Problem is,with a more than full-time job, it's difficult (read: impossible) to focus enough energy on any one thing to do the job well, creating a Jack of all trades, but a master of none.

So, the past 2 weeks I've been fretting over many a question having to do with the future of my creative life, given that at any time I may be asked to pack up and move to San Antonio and I really don't want to load myself don with any large equipment.

That lets out buying a guitar rig, the guitar and case with the effects pedal would be a pain to move in a hurry, and buying 2 seats for the the guitar) doesn't make it any easier, and I don't want to check it.

An Alesis Vortex Wireless is super-light, can be carried in a gig bag, and has a bazillion MIDI controllers.. but until I get a dedicated music machine I won't get the most out of it.

Writing is just a matter of putting time into it.  I have no need for additional gear, thankfully.

Artwork?  Right now I have what I need to make alum and track rt, if I drop my animation aspirations.

So, much wailing and gnashing of teeth while I work all this out!  But something will have to go (or I need to win the lottery)...

Work goes quite well, happily coding, testing, and helping out like crazy!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Re-re-re-re-re-installing

Ah, regrets.. I've had a few.

I regret deleting all my music software!

So here I am, re-downloading, re-installing, and re-authorizing. Ugh.  For HOURS.

The one good thing, such as it is, is that this has made me focus on what I'm going to actually use as compared to what I grab on the off-chance I might use it someday.  So, my stable of instruments is small, my effects few and professional-level, and the best of my loop libraries will be ready to hand.

Not having over a dozen software synthesizers and over 100 (!!) software effects will help me spend more time composing and less time wondering hich flavor of reverb/ech/phaser/etc. I really want for a track, which frankly was a productivity killer.

Jury is still out on a physical instrument.. there's no finger pain typing now, but I haven't tried long-term pressure to them so I need to buy a finger exerciser and see where that goes.

Regardless, the Synthetic Aurality music project rises from the ashes!

Scrivener and Jutoh are both installed, so I can get back to my writing, and I've copied all my music to this machine so I have tunes.

Decisions, decisions...

Monday, September 26, 2016

The First Week Of Work

I'm fairly sure my brain has lost 10lb. of ugly fat in the past week!  Talk about a mental workout!

Two days in San Antonio, three days Austin, teleconferences via my cell phone while on the bus, teleconferences on the laptop, source code, hardware, IDEs, setting up a small firmware development lab in my room..

IT'S A BLAST!!!!!

Payday on October 7th., this will put me in excellent shape, let me pay back Anne her bridge oan and pay this months rent, but a desk, chair, and coffeemaker, a few small things around the house, and funds for travel.  PLUS - open a savings account!!  I'm going to move money online from checking to savings, so bank visits in person will be limited to getting money for large cash purchases (and I might even find  way round that).

In the meantime, I'm learning a ton about 802.11 wireless.  IT's pretty wild stuff, and very different from what I usually deal with, so it's going to be my "learn a new skill" thing for this year.

Still in shock from it all, though.  Literally from total hopelessness to top of the world in a few days.  Definitely going to be some partying when that first check arrives!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

And, out of nowhere

My live is a shambling mass of crawling chaos!!

Last Friday, I get a call from a recruiter.. they have a remote job based out of San Antonio, needing a firmware guy.  Sure, submit me!

Friday afternoon.. they want a phone interview Tuesday.  Sure!  Sign me up!

Tuesday interview goes extremely well.  Technical interview Wednesday!

Wednesday technical interview goes extremely well.  Wednesday evening - they want a face to face in San Antonio!

All day Thursday, travel plans, and the agency pays for the bus ticket.

Friday.. bus is late, so I get to the interview 1/2 an hour late, nobody cares.

Five people in 3 hours... brain hurts but I feel like I did really well.  Agency says they should know before I get back to Austin..

On the bus, phone call with job offer!!!! I start the 19th., will get paid every week!

And I was down to my last $20, and was ready to wind up in jail for a while, I was prepared and everything was set.

Talk about miracles.  They do happen.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

End Of The Road, Part 3

Things proceed apace.

Most of my newsletters and subscriptions are shut down.  Dribs and drabs filter in but so far all the major sites have been dealt with.

Going to mostly take it easy net week as I plan to be here for 2 more weeks before I pull the plug on this mess for the next 8-10 years.  Football this coming weekend, Texans play Sunday - GO TEXANS!

The landlady has completely withdrawn.  Since Tuesday, she's spent all the time locked away in her room, not coming out except for food or to take care of the grand-kid that she's Granny Day Care for.  And she was snappish with him on Friday.. not sure how bad it really is with her.  I had an unopened bag of pasta in the kitchen cabinet, as of today it seems to have taken a powder.. would Anne be petty enough to hide it out of spite?  I have no doubt she'd do it at this stage of things. Eh, not my fight, plenty of more important folks in my life to take care of!

Next week I will be blogging "Learn From My Fail", which is basically a brief autobiography of how I ended up in this mess.  Hopefully someone will run across it and decide to plan for disaster - which I didn't do - and avoid ending up like me.  This is definitely not working out as desired!

Next up - removing the utilities from my name.  I think I can do it over the phone...

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

End Of The Road, Part 2

No apologies from the landlady today.  She simply avoids looking at me and does her stuff and leaves, which is fine by me.  I don't expect an apology from her as I've never heard her apologize for anything, I don't she has it in her to admit to ever doing anything wrong.

Today has mostly been the shutdown of my job search - turning off job alerts, turning off searches, hiding my resume' on Monster and Dice, emailing headhunters, killing my LinkedIn account.. whew! A slow process but a necessary one as I intend to quietly vanish for many years/

Sold the last of my Native Instruments music software, so that's done.  I have $58 in Paypal and I'm planning on using that for one last blowout Chinese feast as kind of a final celebration for making it this far (heh).  I still have a $35 check coming from Paypal, that will buy me my last booze and some burrito-sized tortillas so I can enjoy the food I have here.  I have enough for a month easily, so no real worries on eating.

I'm STILL fuming about yesterday!  Talked to a bunch of folks online and not one of them thought she had any right to search my food stock for anything, much less walk out with something.  So, while I have my fair share of issues, being overly-sensitive on this subject likely isn't one of them.  Much shaking of head.

No sign of my housemate yet.  I need to type up some support documentation for her on how to reset the router and cable modem, I'm sure it'll need to be done on occasion and I don't want to leave her with zero support.  She's a nice person, likely the only mostly-sane one in this house.

I have vodka and beer, I suppose I could send out for Chinese tonight.  Or get the money in cash and have a mega hot wings feast, I have plenty of tasty goodies for tonight.

Ugh, need to do laundry to clean a t-shirt that needs to go to Goodwill.  Ugh, tomorrow maybe.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

End of the Road, Part 1

And, just like that, it's over.Not the best timing, bit I just had to suffer through another stupid event with the landlady, ut was the last straw and I'm pulling a Plan B shortly after the phone plan runs out.

It took 3 stupid events to push me over the edge, so let me fill you in on them:

EVENT 1: it's nearly Midnight, and I've been sleeping - woke up to go to the bathroom - and had just turned the light out to go back to sleep when I hear a knock on my door.  Being as late is it was I figured I'd better answer it (likely some issue to solve) and it's the landlady, waving a file of money in my face!  I thought wtf man, she said "Here take this money to pay down the water bill in case you get up before me in the morning".  First, we never discussed this at all, so this is coming out of nowhere.  Second, I was half asleep and only wearing my underwear.  And finally, when I told her I had no plans to go anywhere in the morning, she got upset and said "Why not?".  Really? I went off on her a bit and she mumbled something about putting it away.  Weird, and no mention from her on the indicdent the next day.

EVENT 2: About a week later, I'm in the kitchen fixing a cup of coffee and the landlady returns from shopping, comes into the kitchen, and in front of her visiting grandson announces "I bought security lights, so since Ed is the tallest he has to go up on the roof to install them".  Again, I was thinking, wtf, I have a missing foot, insane balance issues to to that, can barely climb steps and she wants the DISABLED guy up the ladder and on to the roof? I did go more off on her this time, she just ignored me and plunked the lights on a chair.  And AGAIN, the next day, no mention of the incident.

EVENT 3: I went out today to pick up my order from Walmart.  Nice trip, got out and about, came home hot and sweaty but semi-happy.  So, I'm sitting in the recliner in my room, bad leg not happy with me at all, and there's a knock on the door.  I say "Who is it?" and in walks the landlady, holding something to her chest. "I'm out of coffee and wondered if you minded me using a spoon of yours?  I came into your room and found this, so I took it, and wondered if I can use some?".  OK WTF THAT ABSOLUTELY DOES IT!! She came into my room and rifled through my food and then ran off with my coffee, without asking, without thinking it might piss me off!!! This woman has mental health issues! Oh, she tries to justify herself by saying she forgot to buy some when shopping, oh Lord I went off on her, asking why she thought it was OK to come take my food without even waiting for me to come home? Really? Sure, steal my food, I'm the one with no income and you're the one with your husbands sizeable pension!  I went all the way off on her, took my coffee back, informed her that I would be locking my door from now on and that I would be out of here at the end of the month.

I have just totally had it.  Dementia? Alzheimer's? Schizophrenia? I have no idea but it was the last straw.

There's something wrong with her, nobody seems to care, and she will literally talk over you or just walk off if you try to point anything out to her.  And she will talk to empty air for about 5 minutes, not muttering to herself (Lord knows I do that on occasion) but conversationally, as if someone were listening and responding.

Prison will be more sane.  Between how hard it's been to get a job this time, my health issues, running down to my last few bucks - I just can't handle it all and I'm powerless to change the situation to a better one.

Well, except for Plan B.  Rob a bank, et sent to jail for 8-10 years, get out and immediately retire because, apparently, committing a Federal crime doesn't invalidate your Social Security!  3 meals a day, a place to sleep, books to read, free medical care, and maybe teach a few inmates some computer science classes.

It beats being homeless, with no medical support.

Anyway, so now I'm moving into the final stages of shutdown.  Short of a miracle, this is it for the next several years.

I'm going to try writing my autobiography in this blog over my final weeks outside, as a cautionary tale.  Don't end up like I have...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Temporary Reprieve

I was fairly sure that it was up for me - no job, no unemployment (contractors aren't eligible for unemployment even through we pay into it, what bullshit) and no food money.

Bleak is not the word.

So, my plan was to go rob a bank, get thrown in jail for 8-10 years, and when I get out I'm eligible for retirement, so.. retire.. and write novels until I died.  3 hots and a cot, free medical, free dental, free vision, given I'm handicapped likely a minimum-security prison.. not a FUN way to live BUT! no living under a bridge with no food, water, bathroom, medical.. never going to go there.

And indeed, committing a Federal crime does NOT invalidate your Social Security retirement!  Now, for disability, if you become disabled in the commission of a crime, well, that won't count towards getting disability insurance and so try not to shoot off a hand/foot during a crime because you won't get credit for it (lol)!

However - my dear landlady/friend Anne is letting me stay rent-free for now, partially in exchange for dealing with various financial matters and generally being the Big Mean Man(tm) taking care of the two ladies living  in the house with me.  Between that and selling off hundreds of dollars worth of music software I won't use again, I have a place to live and food/phone money.

For a few months, anyway.

Given that my situation can't be that unique, I'm going to blog all the way until I pack up and head for the bank.  Maybe my experiences will help someone out, or at least act as a cautionary tale.  LEARN FROM MY FAIL.

So, today: I sold enough that I was able to get Paypal to send me two checks for $48.50 (it's a $1.50 for Paypal to cut you  physical check), one came in yesterday so today I'm off to cash it for fresh food.

For food, I've been spending right out of Paypal to Walmart.. I can get a large quantity of non-perishable foods (and you'd be amazed at what Walmart carries) to fill in around the fresh stuff.  $30 will get me a few weeks of beans, canned meat, sardines, crackers, and soups.

It won't be all gourmet cooking, but combine ramen, water chestnuts, straw mushrooms, and sesame oil and you have a good meal for dirt cheap.

And, while sending out resumes that I never even get a "thanks for sending a resume" auto-response from, Im cramming on JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3 in an attempt to re-train myself into a new field.

Watch this space to see how this freaking stupid drama finally ends.

Friday, July 15, 2016

So, it's not just me!

Read it and weep:

http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/15/news/economy/my-job-nearly-drove-me-to-commit-suicide/index.html

Over 45 and unemployed? Tough shit!  Too many people, not enough jobs.  Prepare to become homeless, because America doesn't give a rat's ass whether you live or die.

Committing a Federal crime is a good career move when you're old: free food, drink, medical care, and a place to sleep.  Screw the society that has screwed YOU.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Going Dark..

Sometimes you roll the dice and you win.  Been in a few good start-ups, a few good companies.

Sometimes, you crap out.  First, Unilectric, a start-up, lost their funding in December 2015 and dumped me unexpectedly on the street.  Second, American Innovations hired me to write code, and then stuck me reverse-engineering and documenting 98 THOUSAND lnes of code and I burned out trying to do the impossible.

So now, I'm 57 years old, the only jobs around require a degree I didn't bother with in 1977, and I can't find a part-time job to bring in money while I try to polish off a CS degree.

If I didn't have eye damage and could drive, I'd get a commercial drivers license and drive a truck.  If I didn't have the foot amputated I could take a menial job and work someplace where you have to stand for long period of time (like a cashier).

I have NOTHING.

I have "too much experience" for an entry-level tester job (really, I've done test for one bloody year), "too little experience" for an intermediate tester job (ok, where do I get 3 years of test experience), and am "overqualified" for several other positions
(read: we don't hire older folks).

So, it's time to shut things down and Plan B it.

Both my Twitter accounts re shot down.  I deleted my Facebook account yesterday, and my poor lonely MySpace as well.  Today I will delete my Bandcamp account.  The only thing I'm leaving behind is my SoundCloud account, which is free and will eventually be deleted from lack of activity.

I shut down my bank account Monday, because, who spend money on an unused account?

If I can't sell this laptop online then I will take it to a pawn shop and get what I can for it.  I have no intention of bothering getting another laptop, why?  I can't use it where I'm going (prisons take  dim view of bringing electronics in with you).

It's been 57 years of a Hell of a ride, but that's as far as I think I can ride it.  There's just nothing happening for me and I'm tired of fighting an endless uphill battle.  I'll let Club Fed take cre of me, and when I get out I'll be retirement age and I can just go live in someone's rented room, writing, until I finally die of old age and/or diabetes and/or high blood pressure (or just plain disgust with life itself).

This blog will stay around until Blogger deletes it.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it any more!

The greater portion of this post is going to be ranting and railing against the world.  Some of it might be amusing, some of it might be disturbing, but hopefully none of it will be boring!

Warnings and caveats out of the way, shall we proceed?

First: my last contract ended April 30th. and I've been unable to find another one thus far.  I get told that either (a) a Bachelors is mandatory even if I've shipped a dozen commercial products or (b) that I'm "overqualified".

No Bachelors when I have 35 years of experience and I learn a new technology for each new job? Come on, this just means you want some cheap fresh-out you can pay nothing and work to death.  Good luck shipping reliable bug-free products with a newbie! Wait.. that explains why modern software ships with showstoppers.

And "overqualified" means "too old".  Stop lying, I know bullshit when I smell it.And I call bullshit on this kind of statement.

This kind of thing has pushed me to the edge of my patience.  I could easily teach a masters-level class in multi-threaded real-time software development in constrained-resource systems, sheesh!  Why do I need a piece of  paper when I have products out on the shelves RIGHT NOW?

Idiots.  I'm surrounded by idiots.

Given these circumstances, I'm left with few viable alternatives.  A missing foot and diabetes isn't enough to get disability.  I have 10 years left before I can retire.  90% of the jobs in Austin are either networking, Web, or test with a minimum 4 years of test experience (no entry level jobs?  Where does that 4 years come from, this is AFTER the degree).  Full-time embedded jobs are sparse and mostly in places with no mass transit (there's that darn amputated foot issue again).

The final fallback is to sell the laptop, go out on one last mega-blowout party, then burn the local IRS office to the ground.  I'll get out when I'm 67, which is retirement age, and I can find  nice romm to rent where I can write for the last few years of my life.

But I'm not *quite* out f ideas yet!

So today, I throw aside everything but game development and writing, bail music creation, and focus on learning WebGL and mobile/Web-based games.  This has two beneficial effects: one, I learn new skills that will get me work even if the business fails; and two, it ould possibly lead to the development of money-making mobile entertainment apps!

So now I'm off to find  part-time job of any kind and spending all the rest of my time writing novels or games.  Simple as that.  It's my one last shot before I Plan B it.

Whee, here we go!

Monday, April 25, 2016

And so, it begins

Well, Friday last week was the last straw.  All I could do is stare at the code, and sit while the cramping between my shoulder blades slowly made its way up into my skull.  Zero productivity.  Less than zero enthusiasm.  No way to produce a professional-level result.

So, I emailed my agency, told them I was going to close things out and leave, and managed to give my boss a 2 minute heads-up between his meetings.  And then I went the Hell home and had a few beers!

I haven't emailed out a single resume', but those automated resume' search bots have found me and I've already been in contact with a couple of headhunters.  All of the jobs are real development projects, by the way.  Design, write, test, deliver.. that's my kind of job!

With any luck 4/29 will be my last day here.  I need about a week off, then go full-press on the job search.  I'd prefer to stay in Austin, but I'll go where the work is, as long as they have bus service!

Today - no real muscle tension, haven't ground my teeth all morning, feel enthused to create a documentation roadmap and prepare thing for a professional exit.  Downloading some large files so I can write code at home, to keep sharp and continue to grow my education.

Oh, and learning Nuke video editing software and Houdini visual effects software.  I don't want to be an engineer for the rest of my life!

More as it happens...

Friday, April 22, 2016

Losing my remaining marbles!

This job will be the death of me.

Imagine being a writer, and you've ben hird to write, so you're told.  To start and do a nice piece that goes into the commercial product, great!

But then, your boss comes over and hands you an immensely thick book - 98,000 lines - and tell you that your new assignment is to read through it, write a synopsis of the important major and minor points, and create some diagrams to make it easy to follow.  And you have about 3 months to do it, and it's on a topic you're not real familiar with, there's alien jargon throughout it and it's some of the most boring reading you've encountered in your life.

Welcome to my job, only it's programming and not writing.

The stress is incredible.  My mind is not set up to tediously plow through tens of thousands of lines of other peoples code, from the instant I get into the office until I go home I have a near-continual stress tension headache, and all I can think about is going home and having several beers.

So, resume' updates and possible two-week notice coming soon.  I'm going to try to last another month but no promises, I need out of here!

In the meantime, working on my 5-year plan to change careers and get the Hell out of software engineering.  Between music, writing, and video editing/visual effects I should be able to support myself decently, don't need to be rich, just pay bills and afford beer.

Damn, I hate his job.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Stress is not good for a body..

This job is going downhill fast.

I was originally told I would be doing programming and bug fixing when I signed on.  And for my first month here, I wrote code - a nice Windows CE firmware updating program. 

Everything was going well until I finished the little app and they gave me my next assignment - which has NOTHING to do with writing software!

Instead, I'm going through all their existing code, trying to extract the critical algorithms and produce diagrams/spreadsheets/text documents that would allow a third party to re-implement their application on a different operating system.

Yep, a reverse-engineering job, the kind of job I actively AVOID.

For this kind of job, you need to enjoy - or at least have the patience to - sit down day after day and read over thousands of lines of Other People's Code, threshing it to determine which code is the "meat" - the core algorithms that make it work - and which is either user-interface-specific or operating-system specific and thus not critical to the basic functionality of the application.

You need someone with a lot of doggedness, a fast learner, and who isn't going to be upset because they AREN'T CREATING ANYTHING NEW OR FIXING ISSUES OR DOING ANYTHING CREATIVE AT BLOODY ALL.

I was born to write code, damn it, not produce pretty pictures.  I *can* do it but not as my primary job function!!!!

So far, every day of the past 10 days has resulted in a nice stress headache and muscle cramps in my shoulders and the back of my neck - which Tylenol barely touches - and takes all weekend to fade.  This never happened when I was actually writing code.

My gut feeling is that I'm likely to hand in my notice within 2 weeks of this posting,  My living expenses are low and, while I will lose my insurance, if the foot is healed up enough I can get along fine.

We'll see how long my patience lasts.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Feh, just... feh!

Today is one of those days where I really feel like I absolutely hate software engineering with an undying passion,

My mind fights against digging into the code I see.. I'll zip off and spend all lunch hour studying music theory or the craft of writing, but seeing code makes me faintly ill.

This isn't the first time, but it's the first time I haven't rally felt like fighting it.

It's time to seriously look into a career change.

A day In The Life

Occasionally, I've had people ask what it's like being me right now, with all my stupid health issues and the bloody cast on my (what's left) left foot.

Here's my day:

- Wake up in the morning, which usually involves me thinking "Wow, made it to another day". Waking up takes about 5-10 minutes before I reach an operational level of consciousness.

- Foot check!  Make sure left leg isn't turning bad colors, make sure nothing is seeping out of the cast, make sure the cast doesn't smell like rotting meat.  Check to make sure right foot hasn't decided to turn traitor, rub on diabetic foot lotion to keep skin happy.  Dry, cracked skin gets infected easily.

- Bathroom!  Thankfully the knee scooter fits into the bathroom with me or life would be FAR more painful.  On/of the toile is time-consuming and tricky with one foot and few things to brace on.  Shave while standing on one foot and braced against the sink, great morning exercise.  Wipe down with these "dry shower" things, think baby wipes for adults.  I'm not allowed to get the cast wet at all.  Every other day or so, use spray-on dry shampoo to keep my hair from going bad.

- Now come the wall of meds.  First, check my blood glucose as this will change how much insulin I shoot up.  Always, 12 units of long-acting insulin, then from 3-8 units of Humalog regular insulin depending on my blood glucose level.  Top this off with Lisinopril for my blood pressure and metformin to add yet more control to my blood sugar, and I'm done for the morning.

- Breakfast!  Atkins meal bar and sometimes a beef stick.  Plenty of water as well.

- Get dressed.  This is the easy part, shirt and pants go on easily even with one missing foot.  I had to cut open and re-pin thel eft pants leg as the hospital dressing, and now the cast, don't fit down a normal pants leg.  Crappy pants design, and these are NOT skinny legged pants!

- Call a taxi.  There's no way I can reach the bus on the knee scooter, and even if I could there's no sidewalk for the 1/3 mile walk from the bus stop to the office, so it's paying for a ride.  This is setting me back close to $300 a week!! This is where all my money is going, it should be going into a savings account.  Sometimes get the cab to drive through McDonalds for additional food.

- Arrive at work, scoot to my desk and drop off my micro-pack "Happy Bag".  This pack contains my glucose test kit, my Humalog insulin pen, needles for the pen, dextrose tablets in case the blood glucose goes too low (yes, it happens, rarely) and alcohol wipes for sterilizing where I take blood from for blood glucose tests or injection sites for insulin injctions.  Work is pretty asy - halls are wide, los of room in the bathroom, most people understand about the foot and my work space is accessable.  If only there were a bed and shower here, I'd just move in.

- Lunch!  Send out or have soup.  Sometimes check blood glucose and inject insulin to compensate, if it's been a tiny breakfast, just eat the soup.  The Campbell's soup-in-a-microwave-cup is relatively healthy, low sugar and acceptable carbs.  Chinese food will kick the blood glucose up pretty high if I get anything with a sweet sauce or high carbs.  Dry rub chicken wings are great, but French fries will do some damage. 

- Work, work, work.  Lots of coffee and even more water, dehydration is a constant issue for me and many diabetics.

- Call a taxi to go home.  Sometimes, I get dropped off at the grocery store and then get a cab once I have supplies, or if I feel death-defying then it's a run through Taco Bell or similar.  Eventually, I get home.

- Home!  Put up anything I bought, then into my room and on to the bed.  Check my blood glucose, shoot up insulin to compensate for left-over glucose from lunch, and take another metformin.  Dinner will be what I bought out, or an Atkins bar plus beef/cheese snack and/or nuts.  Usually a beer or two, that's not enough to trash my blood glucose.

- Work on the computer - write, compose music, play games, chat.  Sinc I currently can't really walk, going out isn't an option - Austin is one of he least handicapped-friendly places, bar and restaurant wise, of any city I've lived in - hell, Tulsa was better about handicapped access!  Shame on you Austin!

- Stick in my high-density earplugs to drown out the screaming noisy imports living in the rooms next to mine and sleep.  I'll be moving to my own place as soon as I recover and get some money into savings, before I kill screaming parents + screaming kid and get free room and board for life.  Honesly, they don't speak but maybe 5 words of English.. how'd they get into this country?  Thankfully I speah enough Spanish to say basic phrases like "good day", "how are you", and "it's midnight shut up and go to sleep".

Welcome to my world, at least for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Deliver me!

As much as I would love to sit on every spare penny I have to help me move into my own place faster, there's a pile of stuff I need to keep me going on a daily basis that I don't want to apnd the energy/pain/effort to get in person.

So far, I've managed to get all my diabetes supplies (lancets, lancing supplies, glucose test strips), nutrition supplies (probiotics, meal bars, vitamin/.healing booster drinks), and infrastructure supplies (storage carries, sundries, ear plugs) all via Walmart.  This includes beef sticks/beef and cheese sticks as snacks, and microwave soup or the office!

The amount of wear and tear on me that this saves is amazing.  I've been able to keep weight off my healing leg far more this round than when I had the two toes amputated, which should make my foot doctor super-happy as the less weight on the healing foot the better a shape it ends up in.

Of course, this leaves me without any fresh foods.  Currently I just send out for a food delivery if I want fresh, it's a painful expense but it beats fighting the crowds at the grocery store for things like hot dog buns, cheese, and bread.. which, I guess, I will have to risk and get anyway.

Friday is a holiday, so it's a three-day weekend and I'd just as soon not send out all 3 days.  Once, sure, but not 3 days worth!!

If only som grocery store in Austin delivered.. hmm.. come here, Google!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Gross hospital pictures!!!

Well, not really.

I added a page containing several pictures I took while in Seton hospital.  None of them are hideous, thee are IV pics and my 1/5 foot with stitches, but I skipped the bloated hand pics from the botched IV because it was just nasty.

I'll add to it once the cast comes off and we move ahead on getting me out and about!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

General Comments on Limited Mobility 1

When I was in the hospital, I got a lot of attention from the physical therapy folks.  Apparently losing a foot is supposed to be a pretty traumatic thing! Whaaat... ever.  I thik my foot/ankle doc made sure it was going to be easy to deal with.

Regardless, they were hung up on a basic walker.. a small, rickety device that felt like it was going to dump me on the floor at any time.  I got OK using it, but it was truly painful in my shoulders/arms/hands.  They mentioned a knee scooter but insurance wouldn't cover it..

..but somehow, the hospital folks got my insurance to cover 80% (!!) of it, and I became he proud owner of a Drive DV8 Knee Scooter!!  And it stomps the crap out of a walker any day.

First, it holds me up, unlike a walker whee I have to hold myself up.  Put knee of bad leg on seat, grab handlebars, terrorize others.  The leg bone holds me up with0ut expecting my upper body to keep me upright.  I can go 10x further on the scooter than the walker.

Second, control.  With the handlebars and brakes I can almost dance in this thing!  Reaching things is a doddle and since the knee seat also passes as a bench seat I can get in a lot of posiions that make fridge raiding, hitting the bathroom, etc. very do-able.

Finally, flexibility.  The handlebars fold down in 5 seconds and the darn thing fits easily into the trunk of a taxi.  It's lightweight so I can pick it up and re-aim it if needed, not to mention it makes my taxi drivers happy they'e no screwing up their backs to move the thing.  And finally, i's narrow enough it can go where my walker couldn't!!

Walker: $12.  Scooter: $95.  Freedom scooter brought: PRICELESS.

Footloose! Oh, erm, foot MISSING

Long time no blog, because of medical issues.

Got an infection in what remained of my toe bones in my left foot, and after 2 MRIs it showed that I had two choices: lop off 3/4 of my left foot, or risk losing the leg.  What a no-brainer! So, off same most of the foot...

It took 3 surgeries to get 'er done.  My foot/ankle doc,Dr. Stockton, is the best in Austin and is a total rockstar.  The first surgeon wanted to amputate a ways above the ankle.. four months of physical therapy - screw that!  Dr. Stockton says he'll have me up and walking in 2 months AND I have enough foot to be able to get around at home without special gear!!!

For now, I have this cool thing called a knee scooter - no weight allowed on left foot stub - but I can get around like nobodies business, AND I'll have a cup holder for it in a week or so (lol)!  I tried a walker and it was horrible, but the scooter makes me almost as mobile as being on foot.  Maybe a basket next.. heh.

Due to a potential staph infection, I've been on antibiotics 24/7 since I was in the hospital.  I have this creepy implant called a PICC line that goes straight into a vein on the left ide of my chest, the doc gave me pressurized balls filled with antibiotics that I infuse myself with every 8 hours, i's creepy to give yourself an IV but it beats trying to sit at the doctors three times a day.  They remove the implant tomorrow morning.. omg.. get this sick thing out of my body!!!

But for now, between my scooter and my dark purple cast (casts come in colors now, too damn cool!)  I should be good for the 4-6 weeks it'll take for the amputation to heal.  I can do 99% of my shopping online, which lets me stay focused on healing and staying in good spirits!

Oh, yeah, morale.  I've been getting the "I hate my life" thing pretty often, feeling like all the pain and trouble and lack of sleep and loss of independence has ruined my life forever.. it's hard to overcome.  Thankfully I have a ton of friends online, so all the texts/calls/PMs/online well-wishes helps keep me going.  Once I start creating music again, things SHOULD clear up - if no, it's therapist time again (le sigh).

More coffee and back to work!  Pics on a static page coming "soon"!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

You can get used to anything, I guess

I ended up spending a week in the hospital with a big hole in my foot and my blood glucose gone wild.  I wasn't sure I was going to make it, temperature hit 103.7 and the nurses had me in ice packs.. but between the fever meds and 2 kinds of antibiotic IV drips on 24 hours a day, they pulled me through.

Biggest change - the doc took me off my pills and now I'm injecting insulin.  I never thought I'd get here (urgh), and kind of figured I'd never be able to shoot up insulin.. but, if you  want to live, you'll do the most surprising things.

I use an insulin pen.  This is a thing that looks like a magic marker that contains injectable insulin.  Just mix it up, screw on the needle, stab yourself in the stomach fat (and heaven knows I have plenty of that!), hold 10 seconds, pull the needle out - put needle cap back on and unscrew (dispose of properly) and you';re done.  Takes all of about 45 seconds to one minute to do it, the needle is super-thin and I barely feel it, and there's no complex process of filling a syringe (omg shudder).

So, thankfully my new job has medical insurance and mine becomes effective March 1st.!  First thing I do is find a doc who knows how to deal with Type 2 diabetes and I get myself healthy again.  Could be a long process, but it's time to get working on it if I want to finish a couple more albums (heh).

Anyway, soon hopefully moving back into my own furnished efficiency apartment as my current contract is supposed to be long-term, possibly contract-t-hire.  It'd be nice to stop interviewing every six months to a year.. blech.

More music coming, and soon.. some games!  Zombie Slugs rises from the ashes!