Monday, December 15, 2014

It's Been a Long Hard Year, and It's Finally Winding Down.

Well, it's been a rough year, but I'm still around. I swore that I'd keep up with the blogging this year, but my life took many unexpected turns in 2014, and I got majorly sidetracked. First of all, just after my last post here, back in June, we were notified by our former landlord, the idiot that catered to the asshat immigrant neighbors next door, but yet would not come around to get the boiler in the basement working properly (I would always have to go down and reset the thing every time the power would go out, which was quite often) notified us that, because the neighbors were complaining about a smell that originated outside, and not from our house (something was living under their back porch), we would have to move out.  So we had roughly a month to get everything packed, and find a place. Things got pretty stressful, as you could well imagine, and we were down to the wire, not being able to find anything suitable, until about 5 days before we were scheduled to move out of the old place. We finally found a nice, albeit smaller, apartment in New Cumberland, about 10 or so blocks from my brother's place. The next problem we faced was finding a mover. Since it was the weekend that a lot of college students were supposed to be moving, we had a hard time finding someone to move us. I finally found a group on Craigslist (big mistake, but at the last minute, I was desperate) called "The Labor Team".  They showed up the afternoon of the move with 4 people, and a "supervisor" who was barely there. What was supposed to be a quick and easy 6 hour move turned out to be 11 hours, and it was all done haphazardly. They just threw stuff on the truck wherever they felt like it, and we had to make two trips instead of one (When we moved from Erie to Enola, the movers on both ends had everything loaded/unloaded in 3 hours each, with only 3 people on each end).  Then the idiots, instead of taking the legs off of an old desk to get it in the apartment, left it outside in the rain, and it ended up getting trashed. A lot of Kat's stuff that was in her drawers was scattered all over the truck, an antique rocking chair that my great grandfather built was ruined, and they totally wrecked the washing machine (we'll have to invest in another rental from Aaron's eventually). Then they kept harassing us for extra payment for the extra work they did. I agreed to $600, and they were to be done in 6 hours. Due to their messing around, and constant breaks (I think all totaled, we counted about five 1/2 hour breaks), we ended up having to do a lot of the loading and unloading ourselves, and it took way longer than it should have, so they got no more, and the police agreed when I told them, after the idiots tried to get them involved.  So word of warning- Do not answer ads for "professional" movers on Craigslist, unless it is from an established moving company, and NEVER answer an ad from "The Labor Team" unless you want to be scammed out of your money, and have your property carelessly handled and destroyed.

Secondly, over the summer, my dads health went into a very sudden downward spiral, and a lot of time was spent running back and forth to the nursing home where he was.  He suffered a bad fall in June, while we were on vacation, and hit his head.  He was supposed to be watched constantly as a fall risk, but they left him unattended in his chair and he fell. After the fall, he wasn't the same at all. He would have his good days, where he was lucid, and animated, other times he  hardly knew we were there. The last few weeks in September were the hardest. I kept expecting to get that dreaded call while I was at work, and always had my cell phone on vibrate just in case the call came. He passed away on October 4, at approximately 3am. I got the call from Kat and called everyone else to let them know. There was a small memorial service for family and friends at the chapel at the cemetery. Mom's oldest friend Judy, and her sister Matilda came down from NW PA, My cousin, Laurie, and her daughter, Leslie, came down from Edinboro, and we were able to get my sister, Melanie, down from Akron for the week as well. This is going to be a rough holiday without the old man, and he will be missed. Love you, Fott, and we'll meet again on the other side.
About a month and a half later, my mom took a fall in her apartment building, and broke her femur in 3 places. She had surgery to repair it, and is recovering in therapy until at least January, so we'll be spending a part of Christmas with her in the care facility where she's staying until she recovers.

Last and not least, we have the cool stuff, or fun stuff (I got this idea from my friend Tom Keyes- whose name rhymes with "eyes" and not "keys"[Hi Tom] who started a video blog of his own, while dealing with some pretty serious health issues.)  In my free time, I've gotten pretty active in an online game called "Neverwinter", which is based on the newest edition of Dungeons and Dragons.  Since starting up again in August, I have gotten four characters to level 60 (the current level cap) and have about seven more that I am working on. I joined a pretty cool guild called "the Neverwinter Nine" as well, which reminds me a lot of the old pre-endgame madness "Eternity Matters" guild that I belonged to when I played WoW. If I need help with a specific quest or boss, usually one or more of the members usually jumps in to assist.   The plus is that I got Kat active as well. She only has five characters, not quite as many as Altoholic me, but she enjoys the game.

Well, that's about it for this long-delayed post. Hopefully, I'll be able to be more active in 2015.  Happy Holidays, everyone!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Camping, Storms, Drama Queens, and Real Royalty (At Least Within the Community)

Well, vacation officially started Monday. Kat and I had the cars all packed up over the weekend -save for a few last minute things- and were on the road by 8:15am. We arrived at the campgrounds at 10am, and were completely set up by 12:30.  We were relaxing outside of our tent, under the canopy when the idiots we camped with last year came in.  Just to be assholes, and cause drama, they set up camp right next to us, even going so far to make things dangerous for anyone wishing to cross through outside of our tent by crossing support lines with ours.  They were extremely rude, loud, and obnoxious and tried everything in their power to annoy us. Of course, we just kept doing what we were doing and ignored them.  Around 5pm, they held the annual staff meeting for all staff that was on site, and since I was pre-designated staff (I'm apprentice Em-Cee this year) and Kat went along to see about volunteering for stuff.  The idiots, of course, didn't show up, and missed out on important information such as "no drama" and other things staff should know, and also missed out on some good pizza.  We returned to the tent and got a few things set up, ate dinner, and checked out the camp a bit before retiring to the tent for the night. Around 4am, I woke up thanks to my slightly sunburned shoulder, and was surprised by a very bright flash of lightning outside.
Yes, it was storming, and it was a pretty decent sized severe storm as well. It lasted for about 2 hours, and I was worried about our tent/ camping space holding out, after our experiences last year. However, our tent/canopy fared extremely well, getting only about a couple tablespoons worth of water inside, while the idiots in the nice enclosed space next to ours struggled to keep water off of the poorly placed canopies and the tents. We listened to the chief idiot barking orders through-out the storm while we stayed nice and dry in our tent, throughout.

The rest of the week, so far, has been great, aside from the occasional sogginess and a certain drama queen claiming one of the best places to get wifi access for HIS program alone.  I've been working as assistant Em-Cee for a gentleman named Tom Swiss.  My duties, thus far (As "Minion Dave"), have been assisting with prepping the fire circle, and setting up ritual space as well as helping with setup for some of the concerts. Tom has been a great person to work with, and I look forward to working with him more in the future.  Last night, I attended a concert by a group called KIVA, and enjoyed it immensely, until I went down to the fire circle to greet people and enjoy some of the fire and drumming for a bit. Just about the time it started, another thunderstorm rolled through, which made it even more exciting.  However, it got a bit slick down there, so they closed the circle early. I am looking forward to other concerts (which I will report on later) and bonfires throughout the week.

We have also gotten to meet with a few people we haven't seen for a while, like some of the young people that we had the pleasure of working with last year, and the wonderful couple that married Kat and I fourteen years ago. Jim "Nybor" and Elspeth Odbert,
are very special people, and it's always a great pleasure to see them, visit with them, and learn from them whenever they're around. It's been about 9 years since we've seen either of them, and we were greeted with smiles and hugs, and we caught up on everything that transpired since the last time we met. Both of them were pleased to hear that we both went back to school, and that we both graduated with honors.  Nybor told me that it was time to continue my learning and learn to accept what advice and assistance I can get. Not ten minutes later, Elspeth and I sat down and talked, and (unaware of what was discussed between Nybor and myself) told me I should start learning a manual (crafting) trade such as carpentry or blacksmithing, possibly herbalism to enhance my cooking skills as well as some healing/ medicinal skills, as those will be more in demand once the infrastructure falls apart. I'm going to start researching herbalism, and look for someone who will apprentice this almost 50 year old in a crafting skill.

On that note, it is almost lunch time for me, and after that, time for more concert prep. I will update later in the week with my reviews on KIVA, HVBRIS and other performers here at FSG. Until then, I leave you with a giant bug.
WTF?!?! A GIANT BUG!! Quick, get the raid!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Tales of a Liar, Pervert, and Nobody

This has been bothering me for some time, now, and I've mulled it over in my mind how to approach exposing this idiot, and finally come to the conclusion that this is probably the best approach.  Now, before I continue, let it be known that I don't hold any prejudices against those with alternate lifestyles or different religions, but this one person in particular just sets my hackles on edge, and makes me want to vomit, scream, etc. 
The person in question is a (very) openly gay "leader" of a particular group in the local area.  I had my doubts about him from the moment I met him, but being the "fair" person that I am, I gave him the benefit of the doubt for the first few months I knew him, and then his true colors started to glare out of nowhere. First of all, he started to make subtle, and some not-so-subtle advances at me, all of which were politely declined by me, at first, and then quite firmly discouraged. In the time that I thought we were friends, this person "confided" in me about things that really made me think twice about his motives.  Apparently, at one point, he had a younger friend (a young boy) that used to spend weekends at his trashy dump of a trailer, whom he quite openly encouraged to run around his trailer and property in his underwear and in the nude. His tales never went beyond that, but his comments about the young boy's body, etc really made me wonder. I got really uncomfortable with these stories and finally told the guy that I didn't want to hear anymore.  That was just one of his true colors that began to show through.
Another thing was that this guy calls himself a "leader" and a "teacher", but there were times where he would "teach" about something of which I already had knowledge, and his information was so far off the mark that it wouldn't hit the broad side of a barn, to coin a phrase.  When confronted about this, he flat out told me "I'm the teacher, you're the student. It is not for you to question me." (Say what?  I was taught very early on that questioning leads to learning.) But, then again, what else can you say about someone whose chosen "name" has nothing to do with Fairies, as he thinks it does, but is more synonymous with both a certain Shakespearean fool and an ass.
The final straw was when I agreed to help said person with a few projects last year, and each time, when I volunteered my time, he never asked me to do anything (he outright ORDERED me around like I was some mindless slave) nor was he very appreciative of any of it.  I had at one point come up with a very good idea, and suggested that it be implemented, and instead of thanking me for it, he turned around and presented it as his OWN idea. That was it for me, and I confronted him about it, and quite calmly told him how I felt about him stealing credit for something that I had totally worked on without his help or input.  At that point, he threw a temper tantrum and called a "tribunal", lied to everyone else in the group and held a vote to have me removed from the group, without a warning.  What he didn't take into account was the fact that Kat would not choose his little group over me, and she told me about it. I presented my side of the story, all the while being threatened by his mindless sheep of students, to the point where I just turned and walked away. I let things cool down, but never trusted anyone in the group, least of all him, after that, and finally Kat and I made the ultimate decision to leave.  We made our intentions clear to everyone in the group one night, and stated that our paths were leading us elsewhere (neither of us was learning or getting any "enrichment" at that point in time), and left under the assumption that we were leaving on good terms, and were even told by Mister Asshead that we would be welcome back at anytime.
That was the last we'd heard from him until recently, when certain ideas that we had had for the up and coming event we're going to (that unfortunately, the ass and a couple of his toadies will also be attending) suddenly were nixed and re-presented as "his ideas". I very politely confronted him about this, and received a infantile rant as to how he would not take orders from me (I just stated that I didn't appreciate his actions), and proceeded to call me any number of names.  That was the end. I vowed that I would no longer deal with his assinine and infantile manner, and if I see him (which is almost inevitable) when we take our trip, I will not acknowledge him, and will let it be known that he will be welcome nowhere near our camping area.  He is dead to me.

Monday, May 19, 2014

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times...

Yup, sounds like a line from "A Tale of Two Cities" doesn't it. (Ok, so it IS a line from AToTC.)  However, this pertains to a point in my life which was filled with endings and new beginnings, and new experiences.  This was the fall of 1990.  A relationship that I thought was on good ground had come to an abrupt end the summer before, and I was still reeling from the shock of it all. The group of mutual friends we had was somewhat divided, as there were those that were closer to me, and those that were closer to her, and those who maintained full neutrality throughout the whole ordeal. While it is true that the relationship was over, there were still periods where we would go away from everything alone just to talk. I had thought at the time that perhaps there was some hope in repairing the relationship, but I was wrong.  We still talked, and that was what was important- what happened to end that, however, still remains a mystery to me.  A few events stand out in my mind that I will cherish forever.  I remember one Friday evening in the campus computer center where she and I, along with two other friends (they were more friend to me, than to her, but still they didn't mind that she was there) were working on our homework on the computer mainframe system, when one of the professors from the math department came online and, out of the blue, invited the four of us to his place in the next town over to share some homemade corned beef and cabbage. Since most of us had skipped dinner that night, we were all hungry and agreed to go along. We all hopped into his truck when Dr. Lane arrived and had a wonderful evening, just talking, drinking beer, and listening to his stories about New England, where he was from, completely forgetting about the promised meal until well after midnight (it was around 3am, I believe). By then, the meat, which had been slow cooking for all those hours, was nice and tender, as was the cabbage.
 We all had our fill, and at around 4:30am, we all piled into Dr. Lane's truck for the ride home. Since he had had a few too many drinks, he took the back roads back to the boro, at about 20 miles/hour. She and I were in the back of the truck, and spent the entire trip back to campus talking and just looking at the stars. I don't think that they had ever been as clear as they seemed that night, but then again, it may have had something to do with the 4-5 beers I had in me. There were a few other special moments like this before the rift widened to the point where we were almost complete strangers.  I still think about that night often, when I'm alone with the stars, and wonder where it all went.  I still cherish those moments, and wonder if she still does deep down as well.  Someday, I hope, that rift will be bridged enough so that we can repair the friendship part of that relationship.  Only time will tell.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

He's Baaaaaaack (again)

OK, I'm back after a long sabbatical. I had intended to start posting a lot earlier, but things got rather busy rather quickly around the holidays, and, in spite of my constantly telling myself that I would start posting once I got a job, and once things slowed down enough, I neglected to follow up on my promise to myself to start up again.
 All that aside, I finally was able to secure employment again in December, after close to a year (actually 10 days short of a full year) of being unemployed. I got a call in late November from PHEAA's (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, for those not in the know) FedLoan Servicing division requesting an interview. I passed the telephone interview, and was scheduled for a personal interview at the Mechanicsburg call center shortly afterward. After clearing up some issues with a private student loan that had defaulted, I was hired at the beginning of December.  After a four week crash course in training, I started on the floor as part of the team that handles the Direct Loan consolidations. The job is pretty good for the most part, but there are days that I wish would end as quickly as possible. Those are the days when I somehow get lucky enough to get all the difficult customers on my line (i.e. those who seem to think that they don't have to pay their loans, or think that they should be exempt from paying interest, or blame me (or FLS) for the fact that their loans have defaulted and were sent to collections).  Most of my coworkers are decent, my friend Peggy helped me to get the job, and my former manager from the Gobble Hell, Kim (the good manager) also works there. I've made a couple of new friends as well, such as a younger girl that was in my training class named Katalin (or Kate) who seems to be becoming my partner in crime, so to speak.
One thing that the new job necessitated was the purchase of a second vehicle.  Since, when I started there, my schedule would have me working into the time that Kat would need the car to get to work. So, with a little help from her mom, we were able to find another vehicle. I got a 2001 Dodge Stratus (it's slightly larger than my old 2000 Stratus which died shortly before we moved down here.) It has had a few problems since we got it, like losing most of its exhaust on the way home from work one night, and a massive repair bill so it could pass inspection (most of the repairs were most likely from an altercation with a tractor trailer the night before, which I hope insurance will cover).  Other than that, and a heater that's stuck on "high" with no AC (that will be the next thing I will get fixed), the car is pretty decent and gets me where I need to go.
I'm not really doing much gaming anymore, since I have less time, but will poke my nose into Star Trek Online once in a while. I've been spending more of my free time re-reading my favorite fantasy fiction series of books, Dragonlance, and just watching movies like Frozen and other DVDs.
Well, that's about all for now. I will endeavor to at least keep this updated about once/week, if not more, from here on out.  -peace!

my playlist

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