October 2005 Archives

High Anxiety

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Well, after an okay Saturday of feeling pretty calm and normal, yesterday things started to go into the dumpster. Very anxious, unable to concentrate. Ended up sitting in bed and watching episodes of "Veronica Mars" that I had bit-torrented, then reading till it was late enough to take a Lunesta and fall asleep. Ugh. Yesterday may have been the first time in my entire life that getting an extra hour in the day was a bad thing.

So far, same thing today - feeling a lot of non-specific (and some specific) anxiety, not really able to concentrate too well. Also tired - had to get up at 5:00 in order to make it to work for a stupid-early conference call this morning.

Unfortunately I am now caught up for the season on both "Veronica Mars" and "Lost" and need to download some more stuff to fill the hours I am at home. I haven't really been feeling like going out, or being around people other than my visits to see Kieran and my classes. I'm going to have to figure out some things to do in order to get out, and figure out how to get myself to actually feel like doing them as well. I also need to pick up some books, since I am out of things to read now, and an idle mind is depression's plaything.

I really hope that I start to see some benefit from the Zoloft over the next few weeks, because this is absolutely no fun.

Spectacularly Normal

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Today I have felt perfectly normal - which is to say, bored and a little depressed. But this is much better than feeling like I am somebody else watching myself.

Stuff at work is settling down (though the bastards in Memphis have scheduled a bunch of meetings every Monday through CHristmas at 6:30AM mountain time) so I have actually been able to relax a little today.

Since there is no way I am going to be able to afford the Xbox 360 I had reserved at Gamestop I went in today and cancelled it. SPent the credit on a copy of the all new, all 3-D Civilization 4, which, of course, plays just about exactly like Civ 3, but in 3D....oooooohhhhh!

Right now I am helping a neighbor get his internet connection working before I go visit Kieran. Windows 98 - ick.

The Smoking Section

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Over the last two months I went from smoking rarely to smoking a pack a day. During that time I tried to cut down, wear patches, even chew nicotine gum, but nothing other than actually somking was doing it for me.

I think an indicator of the effect these meds are already having is that yesterday I decided I was sick of smoking, bought some patches, put one on and have not had or really wanted a cigarette since. I don't know if this will keep up or not, but it indicates to me a reduction in my anxiety level that is welcome. The smoking was an almost OCD-like behavior that I am glad to be getting rid of.

Embracing Change

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So, the initial wierdness period seems to be over - though I keep hearing that it takes four weeks or so for this stuff to really begin having a noticiable effect. I feel pretty normal today and I am able to concentrate on work, get stuff done and so on.

As far as overall mood and stuff goes, it's not too bad. I've begun to realize just how unhappy I was with the way things were, and that things needed to change. This isn't the change that I would have chosen to make a few weeks ago, and it still isn't today, but I think that I can make do with the hand I have been dealt, get through this and I will still end up happier than I have been for the last two years. I still think there was another, better way to fix things, but well, this is what I have and I can't do anything but make the best of it.

Yea me, I am such a fucking grownup now.

Ahhhh! Coffeeeee!

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For the last couple of years I have hardly been drinking any coffee at all - occasionaly (like once every couple of months) I might have a cup or two if we went out to breakfast at King's Chef or something like that.

Today when I got into work a cup of coffee sounded really good, so I poured a cup of the work-sludge. It was delicious. So I had another.

Now I am sitting in my chair, one twitching hand clutching my mouse and making rapid REM like movements around the screen as I work. The left hand has a death grip on the chair arm that would easily crush a windpipe.

No more coffee for me today...

Going Through The Motions

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I don't know if it's because the SOX work that I am doing is extremely mind numbing (complex file-naming schemes, lots of repetitive reporting, etc) or if it's the medication, but still feeling extremely detached and remote today. In my counseling appointment discussed some things would normally be very upsetting, but today, not so much.

I feel like I'm just going through the motions, doing what I need to do. I'm hoping that once things settle down at work and I don't have to be thinking about that all the time that I will begin to feel better. This all seems to be coming at the worst possible time; everything all at once, and it's all happening so quickly that there is no thought going into it. Lose everything that matters to me, huge work load, go on meds, all at pretty much the same time. Hopefully a work break will let me get out from under that.

But hey, at least this entry is in the first person - that has to count for something, right?

Current Song (only because it seems wierdly appropriate): Frank Black "I Wanna Live on an Abstract Plane"

Third Day, Third Person

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Interesting. Today Ed is feeling very detached. He feels like an observer watching someone go through their day, receiving reports on what they are thinking and feeling, but he is not actually experiencing those thoughts or feelings directly.

On some level he thinks that this is kind of neat, but on another level he is concerned, since this is exactly the kind of wierdness that he was worried about. He will continue to monitor this, and provide reports.

So Let It Be Rapped, and Let It Be So.

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So...I went to see MC Chris tonight. It was, to paraphrase Hesh, "Freakin' awesome". An excellent combination of stand-up and music. The best part though was Liz, the adorable girl from Florida, who when presented with a Shinra flyer, immediately wanted to have more of them to pass out and gave one to MC Chris. Yes, that’s right...MC Chris got a Shinra flyer and I did not have to give it to him. Instead this really cute girl did. My week has been made.

MC Chris Tonight at Blacksheep/Darkside

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I'll be there at around 7:00 - 7:30. So come, join me bizzles and kick it with the MC with the voice that's the highest.

Day Two

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Feeling much less weird today. Didn't sleep too well, so I am tired, but I am finding it easier to concentrate on work stuff at least. Last night I was feeling slightly sick to my stomach, but not so bad that I couldn't eat or anything like that. Mentally, I feel okay - less anxious, etc.

Day 1 Update

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Slight dry mouth, a little bit of a headache (yes, I ate lunch). Feeling a little weird - kind of floaty, but not enough that I would notice it if I wasn't paying attention. I find that I am less anxious, and seem to be able to function okay, but I feel...weird.

Day One Begins

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So, the decision has been made, and behind door number 1 is...Zoloft!

Supposedly few side effects, and since it screws with both Seratontin and Dopamine levels it should not decrease my already non-existant sex-drive, which I guess is good, since if it went any lower I would have to start giving back the sex that I have already had.

In any case, took the first one a little over two hours ago. I should not be feeling anything yet, and other than a very slight fuzziness and a slight increase in ability to concentrate (which obviously has yet to be focused on anything work related). Feeling okay from a happy-standpoint, but then again I have been feeling a little better anyway as I get used to the situtation and stop worrying about it. So we will see what happens as things move forward.

Who I Think I am Today

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As promised I have been thinking about what are the things baout me that are important to me, so I can see if anything happens to them once I start trying medication. Turns out it's very hard to try to evaluate who you are while youare still inside you looking out. I've come up with a couple of things that I think are important to me, but if anyone else (only people that actually know me...) has any ideas, please feel free to comment.

1. My sense of humour. It's really, really important to me. It's sarcastic, usually mean only when directed at myself (I could be wrong though). I can often see things in a slightly off-kilter way and express it verbally in an amusing fashion. Generally it's more mild smile inducing than laugh out loud, but people tend to remember me as funny. I want to keep that part of me for sure.

2. This is the one that really is bugging me. I tend to attach to people strongly when I attach, but attach pretty rarely. I like to think that I am loyal and once attached, don't give up on people, usually until way p[ast when I should have. No, this has nothing to do with the current situation (okay, a little), but if you know anything about my past, you know what I am talking about. I don't want this to change, even though I know it's probably a bad thing, but it is one of the things that makes me "me". So we will see what happens with this one.

3. I'm nice. Second to funny, I am frequently remembered as nice - they guy who is always personable, friendly and willing to help out with something. I'm not really worried about this one, I mean, anti-depressants don't make you mean, right?

3. I'm smart. I've always been able to solve problems, figure out technologies, etc; The whole "faking your way though life" thing. I've been hideously underqualified for almost every job I have ever had, yet I have managed to figure out what needed to be done, how to do it, and usually excel. That I really can't afford to lose, since, well, it is my only marketable talent, even if those making use of it don't know that.

An important thing to remember about this list (which I may add to) is that I am only listing things I like about myself, not any of the bad things about me (and there are many) which I am hoping will be affected by this experience. For example, I am frequently anxious about all sorts of things (money, relationships, all sorts of things) to a dgree that can make it difficult for talent #3 to kick in. I would like to fix that. I also tend to make quick decisions that I later regret - It would be cool if the reduction of anxiety increased my abilty to think things through before acting/talking. Would have saved me a lot of problems recently probably.

Meat Robot Theater

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I think I am going to set up a new category.

Over the last couple of years I have been increasingly depressed. Given what I know now about the last two years I am convinced that it's a combination of things that caused them, some internal and some external. I'm thinking that it's mostly external things and not brain chemistry - I was never depressed before and there were a lot of depressing external things going on to depress me without the help of a bad brain.

In any case, on Monday I go in to have anti-depressants prescribed for me. I'm told that when my external influences change there is a good chance that I won't need them anymore, but that in order to get through the next six months it can't hurt to see if they help.

Now, believing, as I do, that we are little more than the combination of our genetic predispositions, our brain chemistry and our experiences (which get filtered through the above, and our other experiences) combining to program the meat computer that is the self*, this is an interesting situation for me.

Will I be the same person that I am now if I take these things? Say they make me happier - does that mean that the me that I am today (the less happy one) was not the "real" me, that the real me was being affected by circumstances and less than ideal brain chemistry to be less than he could be, or am I essentially killing off the current me, with his less than perfect brain chemistry in order to make a new version of him with different (supposedly better) brain chemistry who will take over from there? To use a Star Trek analogy is the Kirk that Scotty beams up the same one that said "Beam me up, Scotty" in the last scene? Except that in this case I know that the version of me running around after this is different - he's on medication.

I've decided to change the operating environment for my meat computer, which, remember, is all I have. There isn't any "soul" that is going to "untouched" by this physical change. It's like expecting your experience with a computer to be the same whether you boot into Linux or Windows. You may be able to do the same things, and they may look sort of the same, but fundamentally you have changed the way things work (the use of this example does not mean that I believe I will have access to powerful command line utilities after this, though that would be awesome).

Of course, the version of me in operation today doesn't drink at all, meaning that, brain-chemically, I'm not the same person I was 6 weeks ago. And the me six weeks ago was different from the me three years ago.

Understand, I'm not complaining. It's just that this is the first time I have come face to face with the question of what makes me "me". And it's kind of freaking me out to think that I will be intentionally changing that, even though I've done it unintentionally or intentionally without thinking about it thousands of times. So, I am thinking that I will set up a new category, probably called "A Better, Happier You" in order to document what it's like. Partly so that other people can read what happening to me, and what might happen to them if they do the same thing, and partly for the whole "Flowers for Algernon" - like having a journal of what I currently consider to be my real self slipping away thing. Sort of assisted suicide for my personality. I'll be interested to see if I like the new me, even though, of course, I can't trust the way I feel about the new me, since I don't know if I feel that way for real, or if it's the medication. Of course, it won't make a difference - I'll still feel that way.

Then again it might be that I am over reacting and over analyzing all of this and I will be just like me, but not miserable. Over the next couple of days (before I go in) I am going to put together a list of the things that I think make me who am I am, so that I can have some baseline to understand what happens to me. I haven't decided yet whether to publish all, some or none of it. Probably I should publish all of it, since if I don't then some of the stuff that I write about the changes might not make sense to people reading. If I see any of those changing it will be interesting to see how I feel about it then, as opposed to how I feel now (freaked out, slightly horrified, yet with some excitement).

I think part of this freakout can be attributed to the Ambian/Lunesta change over the last 5 months (especially the last 6 weeks, during which I have not had anything to drink at all and used Lunesta every night). I am now a person who falls asleep at 10pm and gets up at 5 or 6 in the morning. I have always been a night person before, and it was a major part of who I was. Now that that has changed it's a really noticeable thing to me. Yes, I am not tired all the time, but I am also not able to really go out - I get sleepy very early. Some of the things that are making me unhappy now are things that I have felt for half my life, even if I feel better without them, am I still me?

Anyway, stay tuned as I begin reprogramming the meat computer that runs me and find out what happens and how I feel about it. I'm thinking I can probably get a good story out of it as well.

* A Note on Free Will: I do believe that we have free will and that we make our own choices. I also, however, think that our meat-robotness greatly affects the choices that we are able to make. I for example, am programmed to favor certain kinds of decisions. I can make decisions that go against my programming, but it's really, really hard and I usually won't unless I really try, and even then I will keep falling back into the pattern and trying to make the prgorammed decision. The programming doesn't stop you from making choices - but boy does it try to. In my case most of my programming is pretty benign, so it's not a problem. I know some people who's programming is really bad for them, and that's hard to watch.

Do the Right Thing

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I've talked before about doing the right thing, in several different contexts. I find myself in a position where I have to figure out how to do the right thing in a situation where everything feels wrong. It's hard, and sometimes it feels like I'm chasing my tail. What's right from some perspectives seems really wrong from others, things that feel like they are wrong may turn out to be right with time, and none of the things that should give me a superficial sense of "justice" do; they make me feel bad.

I wish that I didn't have to make these decisions, but thinking through them is helping - slowly picking this knot apart and figuring out what, given the situation, will result in the in smallest rise in net misery in the world. I think I have to remove myself from the formula for the moment - it's not that I don't think I matter - I do ( a LOT). It's just that I have a very good idea of what I am capable of recovering from, and I know that I will, so for the moment I can ignore myself and do the right thing for the people around me. I know from experience that, eventually I will look back on how I handled things and if I do the right things now I will feel better about myself, and everyone else will feel better for it.

I regret all sorts of things I have done in the past, that I can't change them, and I need to just avoid making any more mistakes in the future. People are both dangerous and fragile things - I need to make sure that going forward I don't let myself fall asleep at the wheel again.

Happy Birthday to Me

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So, yesterday was my birthday. 42 years old. Older by 12 years than I ever thought I would be.

Spent the evening hanging out with friends - it's nice to know that there are people who like me for who I am, enjoy talking to me, and are willing to be around me even when I am not able to be much fun. Got calls from Will and Dan, which was nice - I haven't had a chance to actually talk to either for a while.

It occured to me that it was ten years ago almost exactly that my previous marriage was winding down. What a difference ten years can make. Or, rather, not.

MC Chris

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I meant to mention this earlier, and totally forgot (wonder why?).

In any case, MC Chris is going to be playing in Colorado Springs on the 25th at Darkside. I am sooo there. Who is with me?

Information Wants to Be Free

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Or least access to it does. Turns out that my new room is within snarfing distance of three wireless networks, which all seem to be about cable speed. Excellent, and saves me $40 a month that can go towards paying for Capoeira lessons (currently on hiatus this week, though back in the plan for next week).


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It's the right thing to do, and everything thing points to that, why do I still feel so bad?

Need Help In Colorado Springs

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Over the weekend I started my big push on the cult project. I started leaving posters and flyers anywhere that I could get away with it. But I need the help of people in Colorado Springs. I have put flyers out at the Cafe on Tejon, and at all the Independant Records, and I put posters up at Poor Richards, but I need more locations where I can drop stuff off. If you know of anyplace in Colorado Springs that will let people put up small posters or leave a stack of flyers, please let me know so I can drop some off.

I am interested to see what if any response I get from people...so far a lot of flyers have been taken, but no emails or anything yet.


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Okay, so I promised that I would write something unserious today, like a review of Serenity, so I guess I have to, but it's going to be short, since I can't write about the one thing that was really important without giving away a major surprise.

So...it was good. But god dammit, why did Joss have to go and do that!

The end.

An Excess of Posts/Stuff to Do

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Many, many posts today as I do battle with SOX documentation and need to take a break and use my brain for something else. Either that, or doing the SOX documentation is soooo mindless that while I am doing it I am able to think about other things, which I then decide I want to post.

I'm looking for things to do. I need stuff to occupy my time, because I am tired of wasting it or filling it up with stupid things.

For example, I recently started taking Capoeira classes (Capoeira is a brazilian combination of dance, tumbling, music and martial arts - think Eddy Gordo in Tekken, but you need to be able to clap and sing at the same time in real life). I decided to do this for a couple of reason - I need exercise for one. I also wanted to do something that that I knew I would completely suck at and see if I could stick with it. So far, four lessons, I totally suck at it and feel bad for the other students who get matched with me for practice (at the same time it feels like middle school P.E. and getting picked last every time). I am still sticking to it though. I am slowly getting it, hey I've got the basic stance (the Jenga) almost down (it's easy by the way, at least for everyone else in the world). It probably the hardest physical thing I have ever done, and I'm getting some satisfaction from sticking to it, though the blisters on my feet may kill me, and all the children in the kid's classes could easily kick my ass.

I have also decided recently to start photographing things. Not seriously as in "I am Taking Up Photogaphy", but just as a hobby with a digital camera. It gives me some satisfaction, it's a reason to leave the house and it doesn't involve other people. All good things, right?

I've also realized that I miss something from my past - something that I have occasionally missed before. Back in the late eighties I volunteered at a center called "Computers and You" in San Francisco, where I taught disadvantaged kids how to tell stories using Hypercard. It as extremely satisfying, but I got my job at Visa and the time to do that slowly disappeared. I'd like to find something like that to do again, though I am not sure what yet, or how to go about it. I mean, I make my donations to the red cross, I give to other charities, but giving away money doesn't have the same impact I felt I had working with those kids.

I also need to write more. That is one reason that I am posting more lately. I have a whole bunch of stuff that has been stuck in my head, and I need to get it out. I figure this is better than talking to myself, but I need to find some other outlets as well.

For a long time I have felt like I was passing through life without leaving much of a trace. It wasn't always like that. I used to do stuff, or at least try to do stuff. I wrote game stuff that got published, my old jobs involved either being helpful or creative (whether it was introducing people to books, making sure they didn't get ripped by buying software that does more than they need, making videos and promo stuff, making sure that privacy rights and disenfrachised/unbanked issues are taken into account in the credit card industry, or making neato internet and new media thingees). I don't have that in my 9-5 (really 8-5) anymore, so I need to start making time for it in the other 4 hours a day that I have. Plus some on weekends.

Goofing Off

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Since I am now an exceptional employee, I feel obligated to use any break time that I have to goof off, offsetting my work success for me personally, without actually interfering with it. So, without further ado, a brief review of a CD/DVD set I bought recently (if you choose to buy it, buy it from Amazon.ca, it's about half the price that Amazon.com has it for, and it's actually available now, alas, I get no money when you do that).

Anyway, the CD/DVD set I want to talk about is "In A Coma - 1995-2005" by Matthew Good/The Matthew Good Band (they broke up and he when solo about 4 years ago). Most people outside of Canada, and watchers of MuchMusic have no idea who Matthew Good is. Apparently he's very big with our soon to be annexed friends to the north. It's not too surprising that he never caught on down here though. As this collection shows, the musical style is pretty typical, almost formulaic hard rock, with the occasional ballad tossed in. I never would have heard of him either if one day I had not been doing search on Kazaa for "New Wave" and come across "I Miss New Wave", possibly the most despairing song that I have ever heard, and I am an aficionado of depressing music. The song just dripped with loss, longing, and the sense of a wasted life. I liked it, needless to say, a lot. I then ran across the video for "Anti-Pop" a great rock song with a neat video that, upon further listening is also pretty depressing.

Since then I have sought out more and more of his stuff, buying the CD "Beautiful Midnight" because I feel an obligation to actually pay money ad support artists that I like.

When I heard that "In A Coma" was coming out I started looking forward to it, since it's a best of, not a greatest hits and has many, many songs that I had downloaded on it, so I could salve my sense or rightness in a single purchase.

Overall, it's a great set. The first CD contains the "best of" stuff, with highlights "Giant", "Generation X-Wing", the aforementioned "Anti-Pop" that I already new, and some songs I have never heard before like "In A World Called Catastrophe" and "Oh Be Joyful". Overall it's a 90% good songs CD. Understand that this is despite the fact the I am not a big traditional rock fan - the lyrics really make it up for me - his whole rock for losers vibe compels me to keep replaying it.

The second CD (only in the deluxe version) contains rarities and acoustic remakes of old songs. A couple of the rarities are things I have heard, and overall their great. "Fated" is a song that always gets to me. The acoustic versions are okay, but they lose a lot of the anger that drives the originals, ad seem a little muddy in tone overall. "Apparitions is good though.

The DVD (also deluxe only) is uneven. The early videos are, as you would expect from a Canadian indie band, poorly produced from a technical standpoint, with transfer glitches. Some of them just don't work, like the video for "Rico" which for me doesn't match up to the song. Some of them are great though, "Anti-Pop, which I mention above, "Apparitions", and "Alert Status Red", a video that includes footage from the columbine shooting security cameras in a really powerful and effective way.

I actually don't know anyone else, personally, that would like this set. Most of it is so dark, so lonely, and yet so affecting to me personally that I have a hard time recommending it to others, because, well, obviously you wouldn't get it. For that reason, and that reason alone I think I can recommend it to just about anyone - very few artists have an impact on me like Matthew Good has. It's not that I like the music, or even the lyrics, it's that he has a message and a tone that makes me feel something. If it can do that for me, then maybe it will do it to you too.

Strength in Adversity?

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Ah well, so sue me, I can't stay content-free for more than a day.

Yesterday I was taken aside at work by my former boss. Oh great, I'm thinking, what have I done wrong now? Turns out that what he wanted to do was make sure that I was aware that executive management was complimenting me lately, saying that I was doing a great job and that a VP had called me an exceptional performer, highlighting the excellent work that I had been doing over the last month in particular. Ha, ha, ha! The last month!

I guess it's true that you can sublimate and re-direct your issues, problems, etc and turn that into something valuable to someone, if not particularly to yourself.

What I would really like is the opportunity to direct all that energy into working on the things that actually matter to me, but I really don't have the ability to do that on my own. It's not an opportunity that I can create on my own, so I guess I will continue to kick ass at work for a while.

I promise that tomorrow I will write something really, really superficial, like a review of Serenity or something.


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Welcome back the old Edwin Gore's Dopey Homepage, currently content-free once again!

Just a little note to mention that when I was in WalMart the other day I noticed that they have 3 DVDs of the old 30s/40s Max Fleischer Superman animated shorts. I have no idea what the quality is like, but they are only a buck, so really, they would have to be terrible for you not to get your money's worth. I'm guessing that the total amount of content on each dic comes out to around 35 minutes, but at 3 bucks for an hour and a half of entertainment, you are not allowed to complain.

For those who don't know about the Max Fleischer Superman animated shorts, the art direction and design greatly influences Bruce Timm's Batman and Superman cartoons in the 1990s. If you liked either, these are worth looking at as art history if nothing else.

w00t w00t!

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My post about the Blackmail Boxes got picked up by BoingBoing. Yeah for me! Even more though, yeah for Chaos Studios who actually made the art that I merely photographed.

What the ^&#@ Do We Know?

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I have tried writing 6 entires to use this title tonight. It's a great title, with a movie tie in and everything, but I can't seem to find the right words for an entry that matches up to what is in my head. It's something along the lines of "I don't know what the right answer is, but I know when the answer is wrong".

I'm pretty sure there is something in quantum physics, or maybe Zen Buddhism that says it better, but right now I can't be bothered to Google for it.

Blackmail Boxes

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The art group Chaos Studios here in Colorado springs has recently put up a display called "Blackmail Boxes" in downtown. It consists of black mailboxes with various threatening, blackmail related phrases on the sides. It's a pretty weird feeling when you come across them unsuspecting. I've put up a flickr set of photos

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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