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Time for a shrink.. not a drink..

The feeling is bitter sweet: I got my first DUI over the holiday weekend, but I'm 41. Not a horribly young age to make such a big fuck up- especially since I've been drinking since 27 & made it home countless times with no drama- not to mention the scarce few that did involve lots of drama, including a wreck or two, but no legal trail due to their being in very remote locations.

It's not the infraction that gets to me- it was bound to happen eventually, I don't drink like I used to, and my tolerance isn't what it had become during the hay days of weekend parties after first starting to drink- nor do I have the income like I did then to support such a tolerance. The trouble is the stupid cosmic joke being played on me.

See, I left a party not only to drunk but also too tired- having worked all day at the car wash (big fall from engineer) and HAD to go home because I had to work all weekend (also unlike being an engineer). I didn't even make it a few miles before falling asleep at the wheel, crossing the center line and driving off the road into a groomed park field next to a baseball diamond along side a fire department before rolling to a stop against a park bench- no damage, except the bench is bent a little. This happened on a generally busy state highway just outside a modest town though it was relatively late at night/ early in the morning. I should have been a text book drunk driver, plowing into oncoming traffic.

Back in 1993, my 16 year-old-sister - stone sober, and coming home on that February Sunday night from working on her day off at the pizzaria, hit a patch of black ice on a long flat two-lane black top running across a barren stretch of farm land deep in the sticks and slid into the lane of an oncoming car that hit her dead center in the passenger side: the whip lash snapping her neck and killing her instantly. It was my senior year of high school. I was at home in bed laughing at the Bundy's on Fox's Sunday night line up when my baby sister died.

What are the odds that such an event would take place yet I would find myself in their favor, time & time again?? She was the beautiful, smart, sociable, healthy angel that would rule the world in some high level job while I was the mutant freak loner who barely graduated and only got the previously mentioned engineering job due to an artistic talent, being mechanically inclined, and taking a drafting/CAD course at a tech school for freaks like me.

What kind of 'loving' god does that? Before anybody that doesn't read these gets into a biblical debate, remember I don't actually believe there is a god, though there may have been a more advanced race known as the 'creator(s)' and if there is a god I've got nothing kind to say to that skanky diseased sadistic cunt, but still it makes me wonder what universe lets an innocent die so stupidly while a mutant keeps surviving crazier shit? The logical answer is I've been fighting for my life since birth thanks to these mutations and the late arrival; cancer, so my will was cast in the white hot fires of battle in a war that has now gone on for 41 years thus making me more prepared for such things but I was asleep- I had no control at all, god or Alah could have wiped me out with one overworked trucker heading east but no.

This in no way means I want to die, because I've fought way to hard to get this far but it wouldn't suprise me to die of something just as stupid as my sister after surviving so much- much like having hiked the woods, mountains, shores, and trails all over this half of the country but I over extended my ankle trotting to my car across a paved parking lot in the spring rain. It may mean I'm growing less concerned with my own well being, but not by any means self destructive or suicidal.

A bit of poetic irony(?) may be that I was leaving a party hosted by the old friend that finally convinced me to have a drink at 27: Hot Damn- the gateway alcohol. Seems I always loved cinnamon because on this night I had a fifth of Jose Quarvo Cinge followed by a fifth of fireball. the long island ice tea at a bar in town finished me off. Should've died that night and many times before but didn't.

I'm not a man who buys too much into fate, but the evidence is building to a conclusion of a greater purpose to come. Maybe it's the design ideas in my head that I lack the resources to create.. I should in the future if I can ever dig out of this hole I fell in in 2008 with the markets.

Certainly time to see a shrink again..

Ben. And other recent life developments.

Been a long time since I've sat down and written- besides the journals kept on site while spending last winter on the farm. Monday following the 4th of July weekend I moved back to Muskegon after being gone just shy a year to start work at the Pennzoil QuickChange & Grand Haven AutoWash as a 'Quickchange artist' which meant I changed oil for minimum wage. If I wasn't busy I helped out at the car wash scrubbing down some high dollar rides on West Michigan's richest stretch of shoreline. We have some nice rides in the lube too: my favorite by far being the 1996 Viper GTS that rolled through last summer- summer being the best time to work there while this bitter winter, not so much.

It's been a good job and for the pay I've been a good worker, but it's hardly a career yet it should fit the need for the time being especially if things at home take off since the barn should be gutted and open for 'business' by summer. I'm barely keeping afloat but by then I'll be solidly on my feet again, and if things go right at the DHS this time I'll be healing up from the last round of cancer surgeries at U of M by then as well.

On the relationship side, things have gone as before with my perpetual loneliness. Sure, LOTS of hotties come and go through the wash and lube both as clients and employees (crazy turn over), but only a couple have come close to anything and only one is worth a headline so far: Ben.

Imagine a skinny 21 year old River Phoenix living in Grand Haven as the baby of a large, disfunctional yet strict religious traditional family. He's a pot head, of course- having tried many things no doubt in his short 4+ years of aleged partying (defending that it wasn't younger). There are good siblings and bad, but all see him as the baby black sheep. Pretty much the consensus of the community at large. For his part this stigma has allowed him to do his part in lacking self control or good decision making though unlike previous 'friends' with similar yet not exactly the same backgrounds, this one seems to have a conscience, on top of the passive and gentle soul. That (besides the 'cute surfer' looks/style) is what drew me to him..

We were nothing more than work mates that chatted when possible until the weather got bad and he wrecked the moped he was loaning from his sister (since he lost his driver's lisence in previous bouts with the law). I offered to give him a lift home on nights we got done at the same time- not willing to wait, and before long he was waiting some mights over an hour for me to finish just to avoid walking home- at least 3 miles through the city.

As of writing this I still can't define what it is draws him to me besides a compatibility we seem to share. He all but describes himself as a nigger along with his obsessive love for lil Wayne, and seems to lack respect for anything but police. He knew almost immediately that not only am I into guys (though I think he still doesn't grasp how much) but that I find him attractive and continues to seem to want to discuss sexuality. My low self esteem says the obvious things such a sense would, but there's a growing consensus that he's at least curious but still mired in a lifetime of biblical programming combined with an obvious attraction to women yet an amazing level of hatred for them. Like the previously mentioned ex, he too has admitted to being molested at a young age but by an older female friend of a sister- going a long way to explain the hatred.

All that being said, especially at first, the more we hung out the less he wanted to leave- in large part because leaving meant returning to his childhood home where the cliche parents with a couple elder siblings that failed to launch or are on a return trip with bastard children of their own. An elder sister is also neck deep in DUI charges so he's no the blackest sheep in the herd. He also seemed to lack any concern over the reactions of his actions regarding this defiance to go home while we sat in my SUV on the curb or in the driveway to the point of yelling obsenities at his mother or dad who came to bring him in just a little too persistantly. This lead to the first time he got the cops called on me and the last time I was at his house.

To tell that I must explain his parents. Both were wilder in their younger days as many such right-wingers are- dad even growing up without a dad himself, having only his mom and her bible to raise him.. poor bastard. Though every word we've spoken to each other was in debate to say the least, I feel nothing but sympathy for the misguided old bigot. It's quite possible he has his own issues with is sexuality, according to the son: close friends at the church coming out to be gay, etc.. I find those type of men, similar to frat hazing, feel a cyclical effect of 'if I have to be miserable, SO DO YOU' when it comes to raising their children- especially those who display their own forms of 'weakness' such as sensitivity or even bi-sexuality.

The night I met his father was leading up to Christmas because Ben nd I sat in the Explorer as usual after work, chillaxing and talking about his 'fucked up' suburban life in this rich tourist town and his mother came out again even that night to remind him how far past his curfew it was but instead invited us in for cookies she was making for the holiday. His mother is the counter part to such a 'fire-and-brimstone' father: submissive and meek to a fault with her vocabularly scripted direct from the bible, with the typical slightly broken yet still frail frame. For my part I was a proper country gentleman and boy scout though her and I did get into a bit of a civil debate over religion since it was all she could talk about- how Ben needs to find god and work for forgiveness. Then dad came out in his robe, aparently awakened by the life happening in his kitchen.

There were no introductions. No pleasentries what so ever- the man disregarded my existence all but entirely as he focused his barking directly into the face of his son. Whatever you call the motive, I wasn't going to stand for that. Atually I didn't get out of my chair, but I did get the grumpy old goat's attention turned to me enough for him to hear me respond to his accusation of my being a worthless pothead too with "I smoke pot so as not to put guys like you in the ground". That's almost a direct quote, finding profanity- especially in religious homes, isn't productive. He took it as a threat and I got all his attention as he woke the dead screaming for me to leave his house.. so I yelled back too-some points about his failures a father to his youngest son.

A couple nights later, parked on the curb, with an agreement standing he would be on the property by curfew and I'd be gone an hour later. Ben isn't much for comprimise and before long, the parents literally called the cops. There I sat with my SUV full of pot smoke, with plenty left for later on top of a couple bottles of liquor rolling around in the back with the knives and machete. "Hello officer"

The cop pointed out the smell of weed as he took Ben out his door, but his partner had only just begun with me. My weed card is expired a couple years now, and not in my wallet, but I thought it was as I explained the situation to the cop as well as showed him my skin grafted ear- the easiest damage to see. He believed I was cool with having weed, legal or not, gave me back my lisence, and said I was free to go but not allowed back by order of the police thanks to the 'threat' I'd made on the father's life.

I asked about Ben, saying jail wasn't a solution for his problems and the cop said everyone agreed- he'd be going to a rehabilitation center in the morning. He'd been there before. Satisfied and thankful I left quickly.

The next morning, an hour before work, I'm getting ready as usual and watching TV or listening to the radio- I forget which, when I get a knock at my door. random knocks are as rare as eclipses. Especially when I heard no car, and Scooby wasn't barking. It was because my intruder had walked up. I open the door, and there's Ben with a bottle of pop and favoring a leg.

After I left, he's told of his hospital visit and for whatever reasons he felt at the time things turn into a big fight, punches are thrown, knives are wielded, and Ben ran into the night when dad called the cops again. Thinking there was no going back this time: fighting, knives, he breaks into the car wash where he worked primarily (working at the lube when needed), and in clear view of several security cameras he stole money from the register and left giving a wave to the camera as he leaves. I know because they showed me the highlight reel that was compiled for the police right after I got to work that day, and I had to play completely dumb the whole time- all while trying not to laugh at his antics.

He stayed with me that whole week, doing a great job on the house and even attempting dinner with my out of date food and marginal cookware. I even had to essentially chase off a couple detectives a few days in when they figured out he had to be in contact with me at least. Why did I protect him you ask? Besides my already established crush on the kid, and natural protective instincts, he had walked a solid 20 miles through the night north aross two counties to some guy's house he'd only been to maybe twice before after dark for a moment while I'd stop to get something and who remembers locations like that so quick? It felt like an amazing amount of faith he placed in me, he never stole from me, and the least I could do was return the favor for a relatively good kid in a bad situation with obviously mitigating circumstances.

One way or the other, you'd think this was the end for quite a while- I mean he was piling up charges like crazy with cops threatening me with some as well now but it took me all week to talk him down off the ledge and accept the idea of the hospital versus jail, or his main plan which was life on the run- only coming to my house to rest and say good bye, at first. By Friday I had him meeting his parents at a parking ramp in Grand Rapids near a hospital for rehab intake so he could get his personal belongings and paperwork from them which also turned into a yelling match that culminated in me and the dad going at it AGAIN. Once again Ben was refusing to comprimise. He wanted to change into clean clothes and one more meal with me at the nearby McD's before walking himself into the hospital- I planted the idea it would look the best for him to stand as his own man, and not be walked in like a child. This became a line in granit he wouldn't give way to because mom and dad didn't trust he'd go through with it. He later admitted when I dropped him off at the curb, he thought about bailing then too.

I didn't know one way or the other when I drove away, then got on a plane to Florida to spend a week for Christmas with mom and dad. Muggy is the word to describe that, in contrast to the actic cold we feel today. I didn't know if or when I'd hear from Ben again though he vowed to stay in touch.

Shortly after my return to work, and the new year, I get a text from Ben. I'm amazed they let him have a phone in rehab to which he says they took him in for a week then turned him lose back to mom and dad. As of writing this all but the breaking and entering charges were dropped and they are still pending. Since he had turned 21 in that time, we went out to celebrate! I certainly had him home by curfew though I drop him off at least a block from the house.

Of all the crazy things he's done, and that have happened in our time together both good and bad, and it's been an amazingly short amount of time for such an amazing amount of stuff, last Friday night took the prize.

A couple weeks back, he got real lucky one day landing two jobs while out searching: a gas station fill-in and a first shift factory job, so there was a dry spell- especially when his sister got out of jail from her DUI and he had to give her phone back but then it's pay day and just before closing he comes strolling into the lube. He'd do that on occasion but usually with a text ahead. He said he wanted to party, and got paid so I have no reason to say no (having just got paid as well and glad to not have to support him). We decide to go to a local bowling alley and play pool while we drink but he forgets I don't drink beer and orders a pitcher he ends up drinking himself. He couldn't way much over a hundred pounds so it fucks him up to the point just before we're leaving he sucks some of the spilled beer off the bar with a straw in front of a few guys at the end all watching in dramatic disgust. I hid mine better.

He ends up getting into it with those same guys as we're leaving. He had a head start on me after bowled a game so after getting geared up for the arctic night I walk out into the parking lot to see a croud shoving him away from the alley and him fully in 'little guy' mode barking like an angry impotent dog as he stumbled around the snowy parking lot, even shedding clothes to fight the lead antagonizer by the time I step in. He doesn't listen to my countless pleas to get in the Explorer, or the people saying the bar was calling the cops, and even sheds his last shirt to stand their scrawny and shirtless in zero temps and a winter storm. I finally have enough, pick him up, carry him to the Explorer, and toss him in the back seat with the crouds geers to send us on our way.

Just as I pull out onto the road, the cop car coming to invistigate a complaint pulls me over. Did I mention I'm 4 Tequilla sunrises into my own Friday night celebration? Sure, the buzz was gone but still.. Who knows what actually brought it up, but shortly after the police arive, Ben filled the rear passenger floorboard with vomit. The cops had a good laugh at that. Then sent me on my way. Again. Same weed smelling Explorer full of whisky, weapons, and a kid with pending charges.

For his part he felt horrible about the whole thing, and I believe it was a big part of the hurling (if not my bear hugging him into the car around his waste). I laid out the blanket on the couch he normally slept on, then directed him onto it, pointing out the big vomit bowl he never needed before he curled up and passed out. For my part, with him bare chested, and his pants hanging low like thugs do and nothing between me and that cute ass of his but black boxer breifs I believe, I was a good boy.. but vomit and piss aren't turn ons either. Even if I was drunk.

Since I had to work at 10am, I had him up and cleaning the vomit by 9am but between the hang over, and continuing winter storm, I was quite late for work. The carport helped but not much. It was all moot because thanks to the storm work was so dead I wasn't needed and immediately left to meet back up with Ben and spend the afternoon chillaxing down by the beach wathing the storm surge destroy the mountains of ice that had built up along the shoreline, when the storm let you see anything at all beyond the hood. We ventured out as far as we dared at one point but the wind and driving snow made the jagged hills and valleys of ice dangerous.

I dropped him off near home to clean up and get ready for his own night of work at the station and went home.

Life is going ok considering the deep cold. I've met a friend that has made life interesting to say the least, and may make it even more so in the future.. Getting back on my feet financially, and soon medically as well.. The house has a new steel roof that looks like copper, $10k in city water, and 200 amp service but is still gutted inside with marginal heat and living conditions. It's taking longer than expected but I still see building a happy or at least content life here in Muskegon.

time to go get ready for work.. Starting next week I transfer to the car wash since the oily environment of the lube dries out skin and won't help healing at all.

Suddenly Dreamy

I don't dream, or if I do there is no memory of them about 99.98% of the time. That being said, I also don't sleep well- the cancer and the surgical work done to repair it has me constantly waking up through the night to shift my position. Since a few days before Christmas I've been staying with my parents in their Florida snowbird home, sleeping on the fold out couch in the spare bedroom which has a bar that sticks into my midsection making sleep even more difficult, but even with all that I don't dream.. I got to sleep, then I wake up, and it's only a blink in between.

Until a week ago..

I'd already been here for more than two weeks, but had run out of weed a week before yet seemed to have moved away from the 'addictive' plant relatively unchanged- simply knowing my guy is holding a restock for me when I get back to Michigan in a few days from now and am actually enjoying the cleansing; taking a break reduces my immunity thus making those first few hits like the first time all over again :) The lack of weed has been considered a factor for the sudden onslaught of nightly dreams.

Each and every one has been entirely different from those that came before them but each one is so vivid and long term I wake each and every time disoriented, though have returned to the previous scenario during the same night especially if my waking was very brief. The characters often involved someone I was thinking about or talked to that day but often had many if not all characters completely unknown to me, including the locations though scenarios were recognized as normal enough to believe to be real- often leaving me to wake sweaty, heart pounding, and even a tore up bed.

I can usually remember the dream from the previous night, but just bits and pieces of previous night's adventures.. and as I write this last night's adventure grows more and more blurry, yet the vividness remains. Each and every night is like the night before, full of vivid dreams making morning light a blissfully welcome sight. I've awakened thankful the previous night which often seemed to leave my life in utter ruin, with possible prison time if not worse as a result, was just a dream: the shithole that is my present life being a welcome alternative. The haven't been sexual, or even all that destructive, but rarely have any moments of happiness.. Even when Dominic played a starring role the night before last, there was no sexual aspects though he is my type, and has sent strong signals along those lines- it was more reminiscent of his time staying with me this past summer for a week.. He's still under age and thus very hands off, no matter how many different ways he tries to get close (like pushing to come stay with me).

I just can't think of what specifically sparked this sudden flood of night time REM sleep activity but it has suddenly been consistent.. Will it last after I go back to a real bed back home? Will it last after I return to seeking comfort from that plant? Time will tell..

After a week of dreams I don't feel any more or less mentally stable.. maybe it takes a month.


As of my last post, things have not improved.

Disability denied me which I have to appeal & likely be denied again. The township sued me forcing me to pay them a $7000 fee for the honor of hooking into their water supply which cost me another grand or more putting in, all of which basically wiped out the remaining budget- meaning the remaining inheritance money so now I'm living off the parents.

Why did disability deny me? Obamacare caused a policy change at the community mental health clinic which got me dropped from their service over a year ago. Mental disability had become the only card I could really play since technically the cancer isn't disabling if kept in check, but even that wasn't going far since I hadn't gotten care for that in over year BECAUSE U of M dropped me from THEIR care for going back to college in hopes of getting a degree and/or a job, which I failed to do because I don't have an income that could support home internet... or anything else for that matter.

So here I sit in the spare bedroom of the Florida house of the snowbird parents who paid for the flight down with the teased potential of driving a southern gem back home to flip to help move the car flipping business going. Mom was already mentioning cheap airline ticket prices yesterday afternoon; Christmas day.

Their lack of faith in my ability to run such a business, even though I've owned hundreds of vehicles, and spent over a decade designing capital equipment for the plastics industry while watching a business grow nearly first hand. I found what would be the perfect shop for the money and they don't want to 'risk' such a large amount after blowing through the money made off the auctioned off farm land left to them by grandma which netted over half a million. I made it abundantly clear if I had such an amount I'd be running a business rather than simply having blown it all on debts, pole barns, and vacations. The land contract down payment was only twenty thousand but the sale price of the building that covered half the 1.3 acres it sat on was only a hundred grand. The irony of them chastising my use of money while blowing it on unproductive expenses when compared to the potential income of wholesale car flipping, building, and recycling business. Even though I'm staying at the farm I can't even use the shop their until I fix the furnace AND swap out the starter on the GTO simply to get it off the hoist all because my father wrote the book on limping junk along doing the bare minimum to fix things. They both need to understand you have to spend money to make money, and if you do it right the first time you don't have to do it again.

Greed does stupid things to people.

So on top of having cancer eating my face off, the township piling on taxes and fees in an effort to take it from me for a couple thousand in taxes after thirty grand being invested, my social phobias make every outing a mental battle to keep composed enough not to do something landing me dead or in prison, and my living at the farm since my house is still unfit for life as well as the barn being nowhere gutted and ready to create vehicular art, my parents are unwilling to invest anymore into my future than minimally required making every step forward an all out battle I'm not sure I'm willing to fight.

The simple fact I'm no longer not only pulling my weight financially, but often others as well is adding to the increasing stress level.

If my appeal for disability beats getting the car flipping business up and running I'll probably reduce the collection to the tow rig, the trailer I want to build, and the Jeep to ride in back before leaving to travel as much as possible on what disability pays. I need to pull out of this rut though, so hopefully once the shop is running again I'll be able to flip enough to have the funds to renovate the shop at least when spring comes. Good idea until the next obstacle comes along.. fuck you too, god.

Summertime 2013

Party all night, sleep all day!

More like college all day, sleep old man hours at night, occasionally spend money I shouldn't to party with friends.

All I can say in defense of what appears to be a failure of all systems is the restult of a failure of all systems: my health, my home life, and any form of income or health care. Every dime I earn from the school barely keeps gas in the van, so everything else comes out of what is left of the sale money from the Bay City house that hasn't actually sold yet due to the assholes we let move in before the land contract got signed backing out of signing the land contract now that they are living there.

I do not fear prison and will throw their worthless asses out of that house if they stop paying rent.

I'm certain that if I had an income that could support the utilities and high speed internet and/or a boyfriend who was actually good for me and to me I would be doing a lot better, but without these, nor any real potential for employment especially due to the ever increasing size and number of cancer sores on my already deformed and scarred up face, it takes everything I have just to go through the motions.

At some point this week or next week at the latest I'm getting the ball rolling for disability in hopes healthcare arrives in time.

Considering the situation, I'm thinking about dropping out of college. If I'm going to live off the inheritance it may as well be to help get the cancer back in check since I'll be able to return to U of M as well as get $200 a month in food money: all of which I lost becoming a student. Why go further in debt to pay for failing courses?

Probably the only thing that keeps me going at all is the work study obligations and meager income.

As for summertime fun, I still don't trust the water quality at the lakeshore thanks to the flooding last spring that had Grand Rapids' seweage back washing out the river contaminating the whole region: the lake was brown off into the horizon for as far as I could see, though now simply has a murky green tint as usual.

After Dommer's visit for a week I got a lot of things moved to allow forward movement on home renovations. I plan to still have as much done as possible by fall, likely spending all that is left before I go broke on living expenses. Once the ball is rolling for disability maybe I can get some kind of loan from the parents or a bank to support me until I'm accepted and start getting paid. Back pay comes in large checks so that would be quite tempting colateral.

I hate the idea of quitting but I tell myself it is only until I get stable again. Above all else I have to be pragmatic and realistic: it is my health on the line.

Semester 2

Well I survived my first semester, only severly in debt thanks to medical bills but there is hope a local charity program may cover it due to my health and financial situation (as far is regular income). Christmas break was interesting, spent in Florida at the parent's expense essentlially. I didn't miss much since we seem to be on our way to setting another record for warmest year, and it was good to get away from the normal for a while even if it was in the warm south with the old people and no weed because I relied on people I shouldn't have for such a task, obviously. Things were made even more unbearable when I got the word a good friend lost a daughter I had known fairly well, and thought quite highly of: shot in a stupid Grand Rapids murder/suicide.

This new semester is far more intense than last semester; my day begins here at 7am and doesn't end until 9:30pm with only a couple hours at most between some classes to work in homework, practice, or work study hours. Friday is still wide open, and thanks to a recent cut back in my available work study hours it has opened up even more giving me pretty much 3 day weekends.

My mornings are all about the math; 4 days a week of classes and steady homework. I spend the first hour a day doing the majority of the homework to get the mind up and running then the next hour and change in class and any work done aferword. when the schedule gets smoothed out I'll then have a couple hours each day for any other homework and/or work study here in the CAD lab.

at noon on Mondays and Wednesdays I've got english for an hour. She's pretty interesting and the work is pretty easy so far- ironic compared to the last english course. then there is only an hour or so before it is time for the night courses.

For the Graduate on Time Program and to get the degree in a timely manner you want to get around 15 credits a term, and last semester I only got twelve so to avoid summer courses I took on 22 credits this semester.. To do so without going crazy the course studies are quite varied. Case in point; starting at three I'm in the industry tech building until 9:30pm with welding for the first three hours and then 'Introduction to High Performance' to round out the night, and what a way to finish the day! Welding is self explanitory but in Hi-Po we work on the school race cars, or personal projects owned by classmates or others.

On Monday my little group finished tearing out the driveline of the school built electric dragster which got a top speed of 50mph. The next one will be much more powerful, and I'll be handling all the design work! While we were doing that we also watched another group as they worked on setting the timing and cams of a 4.6L Ford V-8 out of a mid '90's Mustang built for road racing, and built nicely. Another group was working on the mid '90s Ford Ranger Splash that has big drag slicks out back with a 6.0L Powerstroke turbo diesel V-8 and transmission out of an ambulance shoehorned between the frame rails: it has a 6" cowl hood that barely clears the turbo and plumbing. It has been having trouble shifting gears due to the computer not understanding where about 5,000 pounds of vehicle weight went. there is something so bad ass about such a truck with 'MUNICIPLE' plates! The school also has an ethanol burning fox bodied Mustang with a custom injected 4.6L V-8, which we will be strapping to a chassis dyno one afternoon as a class trip as well as touring other speed shops in the area during some classes or weekends.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays my afternoon begins at noon as well with the piano course for a couple hours before I go next door to play in the wind ensemble until 3:30. then I have a couple hours to work in the CAD lab before the Solidworks CAD course begins from 6:30-9:30. I was also supposed to have an Inventor course on Monday and Thursday mornings filling that gap but it canceled due to low enrolement leaving my actual credit load at 19.

So, By the beginning of May when summer break starts I'll be further along the bookwork prereq's, know how to weld, know a lot more about high performance and electrical power, know how to play the piano again, and be well versed in AutoCAD, AutoCAD Inventor (because I own both), and Solidworks- the two major designing programs in the local industry. A summer internship at a local shop is highly likely as well, which may lead to at least a part time job to schedule classes around next year, possibly causing me to finish my degree further down the road part time, but the primary goal is to get a job with benefits as soon as possible before the cancer gets out of hand.

On top of all this, the money from the other house will be available, and I hope to be well on the way to getting all new construction and renovations designed up and ready to be built over the summer. By my 40th birthday I should have a nice shope to build my creations and the talents with which to do so, on top of a good paying day job.

Obviously I'm expecting the other foot to drop but it hasn't yet.

I guess I better get back to work. Tom, my 'boss' is talking very seriously about giving me subcontract work through his side business as a freelance engineer for companies. He may even be thinking full time cash-paid side work since I have the home PC and software to do it there, and I'll be adding Solidworks to that as soon as it can be afforded. With potentially $35-$45k starting pay in most cases, and no mortgage or car payments it should be afforded soon.

Dare I say things are looking up?

As a final personal note, the personal life is all but dead. When I can spare $10-$20 I go to the local gay club aobut 10 minutes from home, called MO'Z. My first few visits were quite successful but not lately.. though I only go about once a semester.. maybe went twice last semester. I have no friends to speak of in the area, or at the school- just aquaintences and fellow classmates (usually one in the same). the school's GSA club is all but dead as well being pretty much me and the staff chairperson, who is why I mention this..

I initially didn't give Andy much attention; bald men don't do it for me, but as I've come to know him better he is not very old, just very bald, and he seems to be in pretty good shape; very thin, but I don't think in an unhealthy way. Did I mention he is a PHD? Dr. Andy Ubly.

He has been talking about a panel of gay men having a townhall time meeting where they talk about being gay through the ages; each man from a different age group. It is in a couple weeks and he is having a meeting this coming weekend at his house, told me about it today in the hall.. I'm actually toying with asking him out, if he doesn't have a boyfriend- he hasn't mentioned one. Normally I'm just not that confident but I'm getting good vibes.. so who knows?

What I do know is I've been far too alone for far too long and it can't be good for me.. it sure hasn't helped my people skills. Considering my most recent attempts at a relationship the road ahead is that much steeper. Maybe dating a PHD would help?

The 40 year old School Boy

So I'm not actually 40 yet (39 in the end of October), and it's not a movie idea either, but I do feel like an old man outside his environment. I've seen older people here, sure-- but they are the exception, not the rule. We students above 30 are in a minority to be sure, and speaking for myself; things have really changed in the nearly 20 years I've been away from the social world of school. In this modern day of hand held social media devices that can double as a personal computer operated by children raised in a global socialized technological world I'm a fish out of water. It is only my working experience with computers leading up to the social network boom of the latter half of the first decade of this new century that gives me one small advantage, and considering my reluctance for change combined with over 4 years of being out of the game, it is indeed a small one.

It was a letter that prompted this; it came on the Friday before the last full week before school started, from the last attorney I met with about getting me on disability. This was not a direction I liked, and it took unemployment cutting me off on top of many failed interviews to see I was maybe not as employable as I thought. When this letter came, it was the last dirty punch thrown in a bar parking lot beating, and by the end of that day I had begun the process of starting college. It is a testimonial in itself to the advancement of the scholastic world that I was able to even succeed in getting into the fall semester- grant funding in hand, and books at the ready, inside that week. I've still been on the fence about a few classes and have spent a lot of time running leg work around the school this first week fine tuning things, but at the end of the day the schedule will remain largely as it started, with a nearly full credit load for my first semester back in a school- and in a college no less, after nearly two decades since graduating high school, and I barely got out of there with passing grades and not killing someone- anyone who knows me well enough would remember I burried my 16 year old little sister the day before burying an 18 year old second cousin in late winter my senior year: completely unrelated deaths, except in timing and blood relation. I should have seen by then that god hates me- my childhood, alone was evidence of that.

I did go to a tech school for drafting and AutoCAD in the mid nineties, but that didn't feel like a school.. it felt like a job with a dorm: you just learned CAD all day every day on the computer before returning to your rooms after eating in the cafeteria- all on the government dime.

Going to college wasn't without its cosmic curses either.. On the thursday before classes started I found out funding had come through, I had registered for my classes, and had most of the needed books with one business day left to go. I had just left orientation in a good mood when the stomach cramp began.. it had come and gone a couple days before, thought to be hunger pains having not eatten in 6 hours, but part of me knew better early on- eating something had only been timely for the kidney pain to have died off. On this particular Thursday, it didn't.. in fact, it seemed to anger it.

By 7pm, I was sweating like a horse, my blood pressure through the roof (I'd find out later in the ER), in writhing pain thinking it was Appendicities, and my mother conferring in that possibility over the phone and reluctantly suggesting I go to the ER. I have no income to speak of or insurance, and was about to begin the next round of cancer treatments at U of M, so an unscheduled visit to a hospital was a last resort. The pain was so great, the resulting debt was a distant thought as I drove myself in agonizing pain to the nearest ER- thankfully inside 10 minutes from home. A few shots of morphine later I was on a gerny able to have a moderately civilized conversation, and lay still in only modest pain- Loopy as hell.

They didn't release me until nearly midnight, making me take a cab home, and I barely got there before spending the rest of the night hurling my guts from the morphine and popping the pain pills trying to get some sleep. The doctors told me it was a 6mm kidney stone stuck a third of the way down my 2mm ureter tube between the kidney and the bladder, and the resulting surgery I went through on Monday missing my first pep band session, would be likely. I was back in the ER the Sunday before that with agonizing pain, which landed me the surgery the following day. I don't want to go into too much detail, but suffice it to say they do all the work through the head of the penis... I was bleading through underwear for a couple days! I wasn't pissing blood tinted piss, my dick was dripping blood! I still have this fucking stone inside, but these days the pain is nominal; if it flares up I have pills. The follow up appointment is tomorrow, but thankfully no classes on Friday.

So, with a "whopper" of a kidney stone bumping around in the plumbing, I have managed to now complete my second week of college having not been a student for two decades now, and my first experience were arguably the worst years of my life. Thankfully most of the classes this semester are easy prerequisite classes, but I'm terribly rusty on the horn and plan to push through some practice hours this weekend- should no kidney pains or neighborly drama flare up.

As for the atmosphere, college seems to have matured beyond the childish social models of high school. Ther are cliches, sure- but not signs of any real taunting. The advent of technology seems to have caused a greater amount of individuality, but people do seem to socialize still none the less. As for the scenery? The school is typical community college fare, only it's set in a nice patch of wooded hills, and it's in the lakeshore town I now call home. The students provide plenty of eye candy, and my odds are pretty good of finding at least a few to spend some time with and see where things go. The school Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) is having their first meeting this afternoon in fact; at which I intend to be. I'm not sure if it's a west coast school, or simply because it's a college, but there is a free spirited atmosphere here I find fairly calming. Sure I still have my anti-social issues, and still haven't made a friend to speak of, but it will certainly be far better an experience than high school..

If nothing else, I've already buried everyone I've loved all my life and who love me back just the same, except my parents, and natural law dictates they will likely go before me anyway, so I'm prepared for that to a degree.

As for living expenses, the house in Bay City still hasn't sold, so a student loan is likely- but only a few thousand, so with no real overhead otherwise, my debt load will still be nominal when I graduate.

So I leave you now to go finish the needed homework for today's english class, and the folowing prealgebra class to round out the week. I hope this works.. there aren't many options left.

Dark Days

I keep rehashing this; maybe one of these days it will get posted.

The hope is to document my thoughts during arguably the worst time in my life, but as with every other craptastic time in life it wasn't all dog shit sandwiches.

It really started the day I signed on the dotted line for that 10 acre farm in Six Lakes. It was a total comprimise from top to bottom, having started as a request for a loan from grandma for $3k to buy a acre lot in a country style mobile home park, on a land contract, to set my single wide 1984 Fairmont mobile home.. which still sits in the family farm hay field. The mortgaged 10 acre farm was the result, since it had to be close to work, and grandma said she'd loan me more if I simply bought a house because they increased in value.

Not in 2003 they didn't.. or since. When I signed on that farm in the fall of 2003, just before my 30th birthday (celebrated at the new house), it was appraised for $87k. When the bank had it appraised in the fall of 2008 because they foreclosed on it, the value was $50k.. with a brand new furnace and water heater. in 2003, the debt was $48k. by 2008, I had thrown every penny I could afford at it, including the mutual funds, and the debt was $60k. To say the experience was bitter sweet would be putting it lightly. i lost a ton of money, but am glad I'm rid of that house.

I also lost my $40k a year job in the fall of 2008.. the two are hardly unrelated. Having had years of unemployed hell to analyze the events leading up to this, getting in over my head for that farm is a primary reason for my burning out at work.. the drop off in business thanks to the economic crash only helped along my permanent lay off.

I actually lost 2 jobs that summer and fall, having left Eagle after over 10 years of service in search of better pay and a new start in hopes of reigniting my ambition. I was soon to be laid off had I not quit to go work for Tech. Air, but by November that job went belly up- just as the insurance was to kick in.

Insurance had become a big issue, since around the time I turned 32 a progressive skin cancer started showing up about my face and upper body. It's a late stage symptom of Gorlins Syndrome: a group of defects one is born with generally inherited, and for my it came from mom. Though she had few of the syndrome's defects, I have nearly all of them, resulting in the cancer that appears in the men of the family in their early 30's.. This didn't sit well, having thought to have beaten all the defects I was born with and confident I'd see 100 years of life. I had lived by a relatively strict diet and stayed active and healthy all my life in pursuit of this dream, and in spit of all the obsticles and neigh sayers.. That all shattered when told of what the future of this cancer held. I had seen it's unchecked effects as a boy when an aunt on mom's side had died from complications as a result of this cancer having practically eatten her face and upper body off over the previous 20 years. Bing a skin cancer, it doesn't kill you directly, but the growing expanses of exposed internal tissues and organs result in infections, and increased risk for sickness. I didn't know I had that disease until it appeared, and mom told me aunt Marriane had the same thing: images of her head and shoulders wrapped in those blood soaked bandages haunt me today, almost daily

If losing the job and farm hadn't been enough, I found myself moving back to the family farm when a friend I was renting a room from evicted me after his boyfriend complained enough about my being there. The grandma who loaned me the money to buy the farm, mom's mom, was in her late 90's and in failing health, so I was there often anyway to see her, so moving home just fit the needs at the time, rather than find another place to live in Greenville. Because of all this bad luck, I was able to be there by her side in her final days until her death in the early spring of 2009.

She had been an independant woman until her fist fall at the age of 94. From there it seemed her health deteriorated by the month, with ever increasing care needed, culminating in full nursing care in the Luthern nursing home. She had a modest estate, of which mom had been made executor, and so as to keep the home from milking her dry, much of it was invested in investment properties: houses that were flooding the market at that time for pennies on the dollar. The same housing crash that took my farm, provided the family with a modest amount of real estate wealth.

When she passed, I was left with some savings bonds. At this time, my next step in life was in the air still, but it was becoming rather apparent the cancer was needing attention, and when the government health system I had paid into since I was 16 told me to fuck off, taking up residence in a county with a free clinic became necessary, so with a good portion of those bonds, i also bought up one of those foreclosed treasures.

I settled on Bay City for 3 major reasons.

First, I was toying with going off to Denver for a while, and maybe other destinations beyond, to live as a sort of stationary gypsy, moving about every couple years until I found myself again. Because of this, the parents didn't want me buying a house too far from them if they had to look after it and handle it as a rental should I leave. that, and they wanted me close by anyway.

Second, a long time friend with benefits named Charles had recently become a bachelor when his wife took his kids and left him when his crack habit cost them their home and his job. He and I were back at our childhood homes at the same time, and having been long time friends, we spent a lot of time together. He said he wanted to be with me as more than a friend with benefits, but didn't want to be far from his kids.

Third, Bay County had a free clinic.

Within the first 6 months, charles ran me broke supporting him, as we quickly drifted apart, culminating in my giving him one of my trucks to drive to and from his new found job, only to have him sell it to his crack dealer in Flint in exchange for the drug and some cash then tell me, his family, and the cops it was stolen. I had told the cops to start looking in Flint, 3 counties south.. guess where they found it? finger prints lead them to the drug dealer, who presented the twice signed bill of sale (since the title was in my house). Our relationship came to a loud, and violent end that would have turned bloody the day I threw him and his father out when they came to get his stuff, but when he wouldn't leave having gotten his things, i went to get the shot gun kept in an upstairs closet only to find he had stolen and hocked that too. Instead I used an aluminum bat.

By the end of the first year, I finally got into the clinic, and then to their skin specialist only for him to tell me within the first 5 minutes that the cancer was too bad for him to fix, and I needed to go to U of M: of which they were not affiliated. U of M took another year to get into their charity program, and doesn't care where I live.

With the cancer tieing me to U of M, and thus Michigan, Denver never happened either.

The summer of 2011 was spent bed ridden in that house full of pain and bad memories in Bay City, while I recovered from weekly skin graft surgeries, and cancer sore extractions at U of M. It had become my prison. Living in the city had been fun when charles was there, because we did things together, but by 2011, the hustle and bustle all around me had grown old for this country boy. I had no friends, and no job. Unemployment was all that kept things going.

I had a little under $20k left, which was ear marked to renovate the house a little more (having put all new windows in it), and build a pole barn in the back yard. It had become increasinly apparent to me if I spent all that was left, I'd be stuck there for years to come.. But I had never stopped my search for a place back in west michigan.

Then came a screaming deal that should have been my dream house just a few minutes from the family farm: an acre in the middle of wide open farm country with hardly a neighbor in sight, a 2 story 3 bedroom fixer upper with a full basement, and a brand new $40k vynil sided pole barn that would have made the dream work shop for $17k. The parents figured I'd jump at it, using the argument I couldn't build the barn for what I got the whole place for, much less build a barn at my own house for half the size (thanks to city regulations). I probably should have lept at it, except for the fact it was only minutes from the parents and everyone who had ever known me from birth, including Charles' family home also only minutes away. I couldn't use any of these arguments, for obvious reasons, so fate saw fit to give me another one: Camp Vira.

I always had a couple online listings I kept an eye on that fell in my price range, and at this same time Camp Vira had been one of them. It was 3 wooded acres just outside Muskegon, not 15 minutes from lake michigan, and though the house was very small, and in desperate need of repairs, having sat abandoned in those woods since around 2006, and unchanged since the late '70s, it also had a very sound and well built chicken coup next to an even better built horse barn with a loft. With the steel gable roof, tongue and groove siding, and 4' masonry wall with cement floor and stalls, it would cost over $30k to build today, and the whole place was listed for $22k. I wondered if they'd take $15k, and before I could ask the realtor told me they'd probably take $15k and be happy, during our first phone conversation. This was my first real sign it was meant to be.

The moment I stepped foot on the property was the second. From that moment I knew that place would be my new home, and from the moment I took possession on it until today, I have only grown more certain of this, as well as happy with this decision. It took all i had left just to buy the farm and make it livable, but once I flip the Bay city house, most of the rest of the needed renovations will be completed.

I call the farm Camp Vira because the late widow who spent the majority of her life living on it was named Veronica. Her and her husband Jacob had built the farm beginning sometime in the 1930s, with additions added to the house and grounds over the decades, including the barn that was built in 1944, and it's concrete floor that was laid in June of 1950: they wrote the date in the wet cement just inside the western door. They had an operational livestock farm, and a couple horses of their own through the '50s until Jacob's death just before Christmas 1969. Vera kept what she could; mostly small livestock and animals, such as dogs and chickens, until her health got too bad in the early 2000's where she first went to a nursing home. She died in 2006 or so, in her late '90s. She never remarried. I find this point quite loyal and romantic- especially since everyone who I have talked to that knew her said she was always a tall, attractive blonde.

I have yet to meet any member of the family; everything was done through middle men, and realtors. Everything I know about Jacob and Vera is gleened from what the family had left behind after her death. The house, and outbuildings came fully stocked with personal belongings, furnishings, and clutter accumulated over a lifetime. The horse barn had become a shrine after Jacob passed: the calenders all stopped in 1967, and hang still. He had a heart attack in 1966. The barn then simply became a catch all in the years following his death.

After a summer spent on a couch, healing up from having my face sliced and diced, it took a bit of effort to get back up to speed, especially in between continuing weekly surgeries at U of M, and the 3 hour commute each way. none the less, when I was able, I was at that farm clearing, cleaning, and sorting out the house, and outbuildings, then getting the house up and running enough to live in. with winter approaching, the race was on.

the house was heated just in time for the cold weather, and hot water flowed by December, allowing me to live their full time. i then found a part time job slinging tires in a nearby lakeside town suburb; i lvoe the job, but barely put in 8 hours a week these days. this wouldn't be a problem, except unemployment cut me off a few weeks back, and the 6 hour round trip drive to ann Arbor to get hacked on takes every penny i make.

These days, the job search continues, but isn't going well at all. Few leads, and even fewer return phone calls leave me with less and less hope. the cancer is a huge part of this problem, but though I have filed for disability, that will take likely years to push through, if it goes through at all. the local DHS is keeping the lights and heat on, but other bills pile up with no sign of financial help in the near future.

As I write this, there isn't a square inch of my face, and upper body that hasn't been sliced open over the past year. I'm living on money borrowed from mom, driving her car while they are in Florida because it get's twice the mileage of my van, and fed by food stamps. the township is forcing me to put in city water, which will cost thousands, and the tax bills are starting to come in, on top of the old house still full of my belongings and an ongoing expense itself.

Love hasn't found me either, but who would love such a man? About all I have to offer is a run down farm in the woods. I've met a few people who catch my eye, but it's just casual passing small talk. There is even a nice gay bar only 10 minutes away, and I didn't even leave alone the first two times I went, but they were just flings.

I've made a couple friends, but mostly time is spent walking Scooby all across the miles of trails that spread out in all directions around the house; we log a good few miles for every walk, adding up to easily 10-20 miles a week. I probably know the surrounding woods and trails better than most of the people who were born there. I can't wait to get a reliable income again and get a quad.

Things will hopefully get better this summer, but even in this dark time, there is no where I'd rather be than at Camp Vira. I have no plans to move, unless someone offers me an almost stupid amount for it (lots of zeros): I'd have to be able to move closer to lake michigan, or at least water access, with as much or more land. Anyone who might try to come and take it from me better wear kevlar and have their affairs in order; they won't be coming back. This house is pretty much all that matters to me anymore, and thus I have nothing else to lose.

I keep hoping this is rock bottom, but the bottom keeps dropping. It had better be close, though, or things could get real ugly... and my self control will no longer over ride the need to survive: Legal will no longer be a concern. Prison is a viable option actually, since it would provide a warm bed, 3 meals, cable TV, and health care- not to mention potentially a better sex life.

The plan is to find enough income to survive, while I move out of and sell the old house. when that's gone, the new house and barn will be renovated to suit the future- meaning the house will be high efficiency, while the barn will be converted into a large one bay work shop I can create my own vehicular art to play with and sell. I hope it will one day be enough to live on, but if it can just keep me in cool toys such as ORV's and fast cars, I'll be happy.

I had better be further towards this plan by the end of summer, or things will likely get far worse. Self esteem, as is my self preservation, is waining. My future doesn't look bright, no matter how much better or worse things get. If it gets bad enough, I fully intend to go out with my boots on.. the end will be as interesting as the start.

I hope things go to plan: I hope rock bottom is the foundation on which I rebuild my life.. but should my luck continue, my general hatred for people will come to the front of the line.

Time to go: the library only gives you an hour to use the computer with all the other broke fuckers. How far I've fallen..

Floyd Sr.

My father's father passed away last thursday at just shy of 93 years old, after a couple bad years of failing health. It's a fact the man lived a full life, having raised a family of 6 (3 boys, and 3 girls) in their 3 bedroom home on Murphy Lake- the lake on which I was literally born and raised. He was in the Army for WWII, worked 40 years for the phone company, and then traveled the country with his wife of 66 years in retirement.

I was never close to the man. He was a typical man of the time and region, saying little but when he did it was usually gruff and to the point, if not out and out screaming and cursing. He was hot tempered, as is dad and myself, but he was a good man, with good old world values. In this way we were never going to be close because we didn't see eye to eye on a few very key issues, such as homosexuality. In fact a couple years before my little sister Amy died, my immediate family had been all but cast out of the Hancock side because Amy befriended one of the only black boys in school.. To the best of my knowlege, they had never been more than friends, but the family- especially grandpa, blew it way out of proportion. He himself actually barked "I won't have chocolate vanilla swirl great grand children!" in our living room the day the shit hit the fan. I thought for a moment it would come to blows between dad, who was the oldest child, and charles, who was the second youngest specifically because charles was telling my dad how to raise his kids and he himself had never even been married (to this day).

After that, relations between us and that side of the family were strained at best, and Amy died at 16 a couple years later in a car accident no doubt thinking her grand parents hated her. The sad part of it all being when the fight went down, their friendship had already grown apart. For this, I will never forgive them, even though I know it's just the place and time in which they were raised, but they were adults in a more modern time, and did not act like either.

I was more neutral and forgiving at the time than I am even today. My relationship with that side of the family is that of tolerance at best, knowing that if that's how they felt about Amy befriending a black peer, then they really wouldn't want to know I've dated a few black boys myself, as well as brown skins, and asians, on top of the numerous white boys and girls.

My mother didn't even go to the funeral, but neither did the second oldest daughter, though whatever her reasons were didn't even compare to my mother's. Her hate for my father's parents started at their own wedding when mom's best friend; a black girl at the college they both attended, was to be in the bridal party. Dad's parents said they wouldn't show if she was there, so mom's best friend said she understood and didn't go. Mom was later a member of HER bridal party, and though they both say to this day they were not only the only white people at that wedding, it was one of the funnest weddings they ever attended.

On the flip side of this, the boy Amy Befriended recently was shot dead in a drug deal gone bad, so I can't help but question my own feelings of the subject, especially when considering my own recent life experiences with the crack smoking black garbage dwelling in the dying blue collar city of Flint. I am only quick to point out I don't hate all black people, just the ones who live up to the 'Nigger' stereotype, but they weren't all black.. just a vast majority.

I'm in a bad spot in life right now. Gone is the $40k a year job, as well as the unemployment payments that were half of that, only to be supported by what help I can get from U of M (on top of the weekly cancer surgeries), and the local DHS, as well as the 8-16 hours of min. wage work I get at a local tire shop, which barely pays for the gas for the commuting to U of M.

The fresh start in Bay City turned out to be some of the worst months, if not years, of my life, thanks to my long time friend with benefits, Chucky Wood; the most cold hearted, evil person I've ever known. I consider him the Devil, since he is good looking, charming, funny, and cold as ice: the only person I ever knew who would ruthlessly rob, and use anyone and everyone he could, including his own family (parents, siblings, wife, and children). We are obviously no longer friends, and the benefits ended even before that.

with the last $18k I had left of the money mom's mom left me when she passed away March of '09, I jumped at a screaming deal in muskegon, and RAN as far from that side of the state, and all the pain of my past it still holds to the relative freedom and beauty of the west coast of Michigan.

'Camp Vera' is what I all the 3 wooded acre farm I bought there, since it was the abandoned estate of Vera Heethius; the widow of Jacob, who together they had built and ran the small farm until his burial 2 days before Christmas, 1969. She continued living off the farm as best she could until 2003 or so when she was just too old, and went to live in a nursing home before her passing a few years later, having never remarried, or even taking up with a new man.

i fell in love with the farm the moment I stepped foot on it, and have no plans to ever leave it, but nothing else seems to be going right at the moment since I can't find a good job, unemployment cut me off, and I'm still perpetually single, with this genetic progressive skin cancer trying to eat my face and upper body off. As soon as I sell the house in Bay city, this place will get updated and renovated as best as the funds will allow, but until then I've been limping it along on the hair thin shoe string budget I have, while cleaning the place up from it's years of neglect left abandoned in the woods.

I mention all this because I'm in a real bad place, mentally. Before I got into U of M, during the darkest hours of the cancer overrunning my face, and in the months following the end of the relationship with chucky, I was seriously contemplating end of life scenarios, and that mind set and depression has never really left.

When I got word of grandpa's passing, I went back to the family farm for the weekend prior to the funeral this past Monday, to get everything turned on for when dad got in from Florida (he's heading back south today, as I understand it). Being back there, as well as the funeral home where Amy's viewing was held, on top of him being laid to rest in the same cemetary, I found myself dredging up all those long since forgotten thoughts and emotions, only this time my life is in a much worse place than it was then, though arguably that was the worst point in my life, second only to this past couple years..

My thoughts and feelings on the subject have changed; as an adult, with years having past since then to analyze and reanalyze my feelings about it all, i miss her even more, only in different ways, because unlike pretty much every other person in my life, my little sister was one of the very few people who ever truly loved me, and I her: as children, we were often all each other had, though she always had more friends than me. Now I see people as they truely were, and you come to realize who really mattered.. and for me, most of them are now dead. Even my cousin Greggy, who died when we were both about 8 years old, of cancer. I never cried harder before or since. He and I had been like brothers since we were both sons of the two oldest brothers of the family, who had also been extremely tight. We were almost the same age, even. He too is buried not far from Amy.

In the end, it occurs to me I've already lost those closest to me, save only for my parents; the two people who have stood by me far more than any other ever will, and i likely will out live them as well, though considering my own health versus my dad's dad living to 93 yrs old, I can't help but even second guess that: to think my parents may bury both of their children sends a chill down my spine.

Every day I grow colder, and angrier towards people. Every minute, it seems I grow more detached. with all I've lost, it's not hard to see my pragmatic mind never letting anyone in too close again for fear of losing them as well, because besides those I've lost to death, others have been lost to me simply through the changes of life. After a while, you just stop trying, since you know it's just a futile battle in the long term. If they don't die, or leave, they'll likely betray or use me. nothing has ever scared me more than the prospect of dying alone, and the older and colder I get, the more likely it seems.. with grown health issues, such as this progressive cancer, my pragmatic mind can't help but wage a good argument against even bothering to live to be an old man.. loneliness and pain are all I have to look forward to.

Yes God; I know.. i hate you too.

Writer's Block: Pros and Cons

How has technology benefited the world? Or has it worsened it?
There are pros and cons, obviously: the pros are seemingly endless, ranging from the lightbulb to the smart phone, and all the things they alone have done to advance our way of living. Just in the past few years alone, we are seeing a lot of change all across the world (good and bad) thanks to the advent of the social networks born of the internet and telecommunications systems. My neighbor can all but ignore his 4 year old son because the boy is endlessly entertained through one media device or another, right down to his dad's smart phone; a device the boy works better than I could if for no other reason than I don't have one.

Let's keep with the kid, though, as I transition to the 'Cons', like his father leaving his son to all but be raised on these devices, and he is just my example based upon the countless children I've personally seen and the rest I've only heard or read about that are being practically raised by these devices. I'm not too quick to blame the parents, since the world seems to have transitioned from raising an independent, moral, ethical, disciplined, and well rounded child to coddling them so as not to upset their delicate sensitivities because they are litigiously scared of their own shadow when it comes to control and punishment. It seems now the parent's job is simply to keep the child fed, well groomed, and out of jail; to keep up appearances, as it were, yet accomplishing nothing more than raising their spoiled brat into being a spoiled adult. Then, when life (which isn't so afraid of it's own legal shadow) kicks that child in the nuts with a cold rejection, or a humbling job, they can't handle it because they are unprepared for it, and that adult child jumps the rails, sometimes walking into a mall with a shot gun.

This is just one of many ways I see in which technology has spoiled us, and making us lazy. Why go over to someone's house when you can simply text them? texting is the laziest level of communicatiion there is; it allows nearly complete emotional irresponsibility for what is said. example? dumping someone via text versus face to face. even compared to a phone conversation, it lacks all the awkwardness and related guilt. This of course is just one small example meant to help paint a larger picture, but let's look at other ways tech has hurt us as a people.

Infastructure is another. where once was a library full of books, now there is a kendle, or related digital book format. You once had a huge industry to produce these books, from the lumberman, paper recyclers, printers, and binders, to the publishers, writers, and book stores that sold them. Now you have a smart phone factory in china, some UPS drivers, and boutique stores. sure, there are environmental concerns for both, but you can't argue with the fact that the older way of doing things required more manpower, which resulted in less joblessness.

technology lead to automation, which means the full office staff, and factory full of labor that got us through the industrial age, can now be done by a talented office manager, some readily available office software, and a machine that can be run by one man, but produce that of ten.

Technology has also lead to advances in medical sciences, which has not only improved fraternal rates, but reduced infant mortality drastically, allowing for the population growth to boom; meaning we make more people every year then we did the year before, while losing less. If you combine this with the advent of automation and technology, you get an exponentially increasing gap between work that needs doing, and the number of available workers to do it. As an unemployed engineer, I pay close attention to these statistics, and just this morning the number I heard was 4 people for every available job. Out sourcing sure didn't help this, but I think this too will moderate itself thanks to popular opinion, and the unforseen complications and logistics of such distances.

As I said, I'm an engineer by trade, with no where to work, but even in my field alone this comparison of population to automation was quickly evident when you compared the workforce requirements before and after the advent of Auto CAD (computer aided drafting). what once took a group of guys weeks to draw up now took one guy days to draw up on the computer, with half the needed knowlege because the computer handled many of the tougher computations. Now take two dimensional CAD, and compare it to the modern three dimensional modeling programs, and you can nearly double it again, thanks to leaps forward in element analisis, and tech. You can now design and build products, as well as run them through stress tests before you ever physically make a part- the amount of research, developement, and wasted resources this cuts down on is staggering when compared to the way things were done just a few decades ago. You then compare that to how many more people are in the world now than were there then, and the problem becomes evident.

For me, technology and it's potentials are no different than any other vice: best handled in educated, and controled moderation. Unfortunately, such self control seems to be rare these days, and growing more and more scarce. I fear for our future, as we try and fully cope with the true depths in which technology has and will change our lives all across the globe. We are only just beginning to see the signs with political and social turmoil- with uprisings, and power structure shifts all in the name of freedom and the iphone.



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