Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene Was Bad, But Isabel Was Worse...

The electricity for my apartment complex came back on around 3:30 PM Tuesday. So that was three days without power for me. Didn't miss any time at work -- the print shop regained power Sunday morning. Irene caused the same kind of patchwork damage Isabel did eight years ago. You go down some streets in Richmond, the houses on one side have power, the ones on the other side don't. And there's lots of that.

I haven't seen as many downed telephone lines or trees as I did after Isabel. Although I did see one oak tree that fell on two houses on my way to work Monday. I also saw something alarming at the intersection of Westwood and Broad: a working traffic light that was facing the wrong way. There were semi-trailers and other vehicles turning left onto Broad from Westwood when they should have been stopped at a red light because that red light was facing Broad Street instead of Westwood -- they were going left on the regular green lights they could see, right into oncoming traffic. I called 911 and explained it to the person on the other end just to be safe -- hopefully, I figured, that could prevent a future 911 call or two, in case no one else had called in what I had. As far as I know, though, there were no accidents at that intersection. And as of Monday evening, that light was facing Westwood again. One less thing to worry about.

Still, three days with no power can be a pain in the neck. I'd rather not go through this again anythime soon...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This Just Pisses Me Off...

Fuck whoever the unseen guy in this video clip is...


You know, just because ravens are capable of mimicking human speech, doesn't mean we should require them to do that for our own amusement. If anything, the fact that they are capable of human speech should humble us -- maybe they could teach us a valuable lesson or two.

And maybe I'm just thinking about that dream with the raven I had earlier this week more than I should. All I know is, when I was in that dream walking around with that raven standing on my shoulder, I felt happy.

No, scratch that. I felt honored. That bird, even though it was all in my head, made me feel like I was worth a lot more than some measly damn.

That's enough.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Irene...

It's about midnight here in western Henrico county, and so far, nothing. Just an overcast sky.

There's been talk of this storm being another Isabel, something nobody wants, but that hurricane reached Category 5 status. Irene has peaked at 3 and is currently a 2. I think this area will more likely end up with something like Gaston -- a whole lot of fucking rain -- judging by what North Carolina's getting tonight. But I dunno.

Anyhow, I can survive on peanut butter sandwiches and warm Diet Dr. Pepper for a couple of days if I have to. Right now, I have a load of laundry to do -- while there's time.

Til further on...

And Now, The Favorite Song By My Favorite Band...

My favorite song of all time is "Starless" by King Crimson -- we've covered that.

But my favorite band is Genesis. And my favorite Genesis song is...


Enjoy...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

When They Said, "Repent"...


I wonder what they meant...

* * *

For the record...

I had a meeting with my therapist yesterday morning -- the guy I started seeing after my drinking damn near cost me my job. He's a veteran in dealing with patients with substance abuse problems (he's been there, done that himself), and I've concentrated on that part of my life when talking to him. And he's done right by me, far as I'm concerned. But in the last part of the session, I decided to share an odd dream I'd had that morning before visiting him, as if he were Sigmund Freud, just to get his take on it, or if he had any -- he's not exactly a dream analyst.

I was in what I can only describe as an alternate Virginia from the one I live in. A little medieval, in some ways, but at the same time, there was this... terminal, I suppose, that had buses, trains, and jets flying in and out of it, that does not exist anywhere in Virginia. Yet there were people in this terminal mentioning places like Roanoke and Virginia Beach -- so, same state, alternate universe. And since I was dreaming it all, I had no idea it was all in my head.

Anyway, there were a handful of people walking around this... terrain... with what looked like ravens to me hovering above their heads. And now and then, they'd wrap a piece of paper around their raven's leg, the way people used to do with passenger pigeons, and send the raven off to wherever the message had to be delivered. At some point, one person just sent their raven off, and later on, it came back, and it saw that I happened to be the only person around.

I remember leaning a little, intending for it to land on my shoulder. Which it did. Up til that point, the dream had a somewhat nightmarish quality to it, but once the raven landed on my shoulder, things seemed to calm down -- in fact, the raven was relieved to be able to give its wings a rest. And for most of the rest of this dream, I walked from place to place with this raven on my shoulder, totally cool with it. I had something resembling a conversation with this raven, but all I can remember now is that it was glad to have a place to perch -- I can't remember anything else.

Then, eventually, I wound up at that aforementioned terminal, and I remembered that I had to be somewhere at a certain time -- maybe the print shop, maybe somewhere else -- but I couldn't remember where I parked my car. I knew how to get there from where I was, but... where the fuck was my car?!

While I was running to and fro, I caught a sight of my shadow in the sunlight, and instead of a raven on my shoulder, there was this big spider.

I slapped it off in a scared fit just as my clock alarm went off. A couple hours later, having told all this to my counselor, I asked him what he thought it meant.

The part that he showed the most interest in was the raven. He told me that the obstacles to getting from one place to another were a sure sign of anxiety and stress -- and since I've had a lot of dreams like that lately, and I have been more anxious and stressed than in healthy for a human being, I readily agreed with him. But he asked me what the raven meant to me.

Well, you say "raven" to me, the first thing I think of is that Edgar Allan Poe poem. Or an oversized crow. But I also know that ravens are highly intelligent animals, and in certain cultures, they are viewed as fortune tellers. Trouble is, the fortunes they tell are usually bad (see Mr. Poe). But I dug a little deeper into raven symbolism this evening out of curiosity, and... well, I ended up posting the Cohen video clip above as a result.

Ravens aren't forces of evil. They're forces of goodness. But they're overmatched -- and they sense it. They're doing what they can because that's the way they're put together.

That's what I think the raven in my dream meant. Because that's exactly how I feel every minute of every day these days.

And yet, I keep pressing on. Why? Ask any raven why it keep flying; its answer is the same as mine...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

And Now, King Crimson...

Because it has to be done. Again. It's been too long since I posted any King Crimson. I've posted "Starless" before, either here at the Medley, at skippy's place, or both. Probably at Fur Affinity, too.

But...


It's like this. I heard "Starless" in its entirety for the first time around twenty years ago, and basically, that was the end of it. This is the best rock 'n roll song of all time as far as I'm concerned. Nothing is ever going to dislodge it from first place.

Enjoy...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Yes, Do that...

Fifty-two hours on the clock Monday through Friday. A pre-press department record for me. Factor in the time I spent going to and coming home from work on the bus, including the stops I made at the grocery stores for next-day-at-work meals along the way, and the total comes to... about sixty-nine hours. In five days. This is one record that I will never even think of trying to break. I have been working too fucking hard for too fucking long in this department, as have the rest of us.

That's going to change real soon, though: I was informed by the plant manager this morning that I'm going back to the pressroom after Labor Day. He mentioned something about "reducing the head count" at one point -- I don't recall the exact context in which that remark was made, I just know that come September, I'll be back on twelve-hour nights, this time Wednesday through Friday.

I'm not terribly thrilled about this -- I'm just starting to get something resembling a normal sleeping sleeping pattern, and this is likely going to screw it all up. But you know what? I'll take it. Thirty-six hours a week instead of fifty-two? Okay. Four days off instead of two? No problem. Worrying about just one press instead of all five? Fine.

And if going back to the pressroom doesn't work out? Well, two days ago, they gave me a key to the front door. It makes the kind of work I've been doing a little easier, and it appears I'll be doing some of that instead of running a press on certain nights, so it's convenient to have this key. But when it comes to the print shop, this key isn't the one I've been looking for all these months.

They gave me the one I have been looking for this morning.

I'm going on twelve years working for this company. I spent a little more than ten of those years in the pressroom, nine on the night shift. I've been doing manufacturing work of one sort or another for about sixteen years, and looking back on all of that, I've gotten two things out of it. One was an education that I could use in the real world -- the type you earn by working in factories for, with, and above other people, not sitting in classrooms reciting drills, equations, names, dates, and the pledge of allegiance. The other thing I got was a drinking problem. I was more or less instructed to get it under control back in June. It took a while, but I got it under control. The only reason I took up drinking in the first place, back in '96 (it didn't start at the print shop), was to get some sleep during the day because I had to work through nights. Now they're putting me back on nights. They aren't making staying sober any easier for me.

And furthermore, I just turned 41. I look back on the last sixteen years of my life, fifteen of them drinking regularly to heavily nearly every day, and I don't like most of what I see. Management recently gave all of us a self-evaluation sheet, and ordered us to do what amounts to the management's job for them -- later on, we would compare notes with our immediate superiors. The last question in this reindeer game went something like, "What are your goals for the upcoming year?" I answered with a question of my own: "What does the company have in mind for me?"

So far, I haven't done any note-comparing. And I've never been very good at reindeer games, either. However, my question has been answered. I'm going back to the pressroom, on nights. Not an answer I like.

But then there's that other key I'll have. The one I can use on Mondays and Tuesdays, when I'm off work. I'll just leave it at that for now...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More Random Stuff...

Well. Let's see...

Today marks my 41st birthday. I guess that's cool. Today also marks my fortieth consecutive day of Sobriety Maintenance -- I consider that the more important of the two. Didn't get much sleep last night, though, in spite of this being the busiest work week I've had since going to the pre-press department, with me getting home at 12:30 AM today, yesterday, and Tuesday. It's just been an insanely busy week at the print shop. And it's going to get a little trickier -- one woman in our department will be going on vacation soon, and she won't be back til the end of August. Oh well. Uncle Sam's gonna love the chuck he'll be getting from me covering this pay period. As will Aunt Virginia.

Speaking of the print shop... I was given a key to the place yesterday. I was surprised they did that. Two months ago, my drinking had put me at risk of losing my job. How's that for turning things around? I guess they do want to keep me around. One more reason to stay the hell off the beer.

Not that I'm worried about having a relapse. Not soon, anyway. I feel a lot better now than I did one year ago, not long after I'd resumed drinking rather heavily on a nightly basis, and that's because I stopped the drinking completely last month. I'm getting more and better sleep as well, last night notwithstanding. You take what you can get. One day at a time...

* * *

I didn't catch any of the recent debate between the Republican candidates. From what I've gathered about the event, I didn't miss a thing. Those folks have nothing to offer or to say to me anyway, and there's no way any of them are getting my vote next year -- I'm not rich enough to vote Republican, and I'm not heterosexual, just to state two reasons why. The GOP is run by an old white bigoted throwback named Rush Limbaugh, and the largest segment of his audience is other old white bigoted throwbacks, and the more retrograde this shrinking demographic becomes, the more they gravitate toward Glenn Beck, a self-described borderline schizophrenic who makes Limbaugh sound like Phil Donahue. Roger Ailes must have started watching Beck's show on Fox with all that boycotting of advertisers going on and decided, "Okay, even I think this guy's batfuck crazy," because he took the show away from him.

Forget about all them. I'm voting for Obama next year. I'm not thrilled about the prospect, but given the choice between holding my nose while voting Democratic and holding my ankles while voting Republican, I'll go with the former...

* * *

And now, some Animusic...


Enjoy.

Later...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Going On Thirty Days...

Since my last beer. Now that I have that big problem under control, I have two little ones to deal with: caffeine and sugar. I've managed to regain eighteen pounds since I quit drinking -- no mean feat in the middle of a brutally hot and humid summer. But I'm still just under 200 pounds, and as long as I can keep it under 200, I'll be satisfied. It's just that I had been drinking so much for a while there, it was killing my appetite -- I would go an entire day or two without eating a morsel of solid food, but come the evening, I'd dive right back into the beer. A week or so after laying off the alcohol, I started eating like a pig. I've been going through Diet Dr. Pepper like it was water, but I think I've also eaten more ice cream and chocolate in the last month than I'd eaten in a year or more -- that would explain the rapid weight gain, even though I haven't slowed down any. So I need to work on those two areas.

Then there's the issue of sleep. I'm getting anywhere from three to six hours a night/early morning, and it comes in strings of short, broken segments. That's better than I was doing a month ago -- I was going three or four days in a row with no sleep, with or without the beer. It's not so much the lack of sleep that bothers me now, it's the difficulty I'm having in dragging my ass out of bed in the morning. Often, I can't get to sleep before 3 AM, and I'm supposed to be up and out of bed around 9, so naturally, that hour has to be the hardest one for me to stay awake in. Lots of recovering alcoholics go through insomnia to one degree or another. That's mine.

I seem to have lost all interest in making music, for now. As for the drawing, that lasted about three days. You take things one day at a time and hope for the best. There's not much else you can do.

That, and I don't know why I still bother reading political blogs -- or why I still maintain one (if you want to call this a political blog). I do spend more time reading books than I used to. And I've been spending way too much time at Pogo, especially after getting home from work. I could definitely be putting my free time to better use.

But at least I'm not drinking...