An Early Christmas Present

After a very long while, it may be safe to exhale. quite difficult to say “it was worth the wait,” because I don’t know yet if it was, and I’m not certain if anything would be worth the amount of struggle of the last few years, frankly. None the less, it seems the struggle really is over finally.

View from Scandalicious Waffle House

View from Scandalicious Waffle House

Last Thursday I finally got a job offer for a position which is not only full-​time, but permanent! It’s with a long-​established national printing-​house, which has also been in town for decades. I’ll be their “Delivery Specialist,” a fancy term for ‘driver,’ but that’s just fine by me. It combines both the obligatory knowledge of the area with a fair bit of customer service /​company ambassador at the client’s locations as I’ll often be the only one in the firm they actually lay eyes on. That, plus the necessity of understanding the printing business from both sides of the equation makes this a damned good match for me. The pay rate not only higher than my last ’proper job,’ I even have both vacation time and medical /​dental benefits after three months as part of the package! It’s at the entrance to Granville Island, and I can get there using one single bus. Huzzah!

It seems like forever – mostly owing to me being a whiny SOB – but the timeline of me being out of work is remarkably civilized and full of fortune:

  • August 13th: final day of work
  • August 21st: meeting with Elections Canada about employment (just over a week later)
  • August 27th: training with Elections Canada (a week after that)
  • August 28th: first day of work with Elections Canada
  • October 23rd: final day of work with Elections Canada
  • December 2nd: interview for new position
  • December 4th: pick-​up paperwork for position
  • December 7th: first day at new position

Six weeks make-​up the gap between the end of Elections Canada and the start of the new job, but it certainly felt much longer, let me tell you. Even the initial gap at the start of only two weeks felt insane, mostly because I had no idea what I was going to do. That blind panic during the month-​and-​a-​half made the experience far more of a frustration-​inducing lesson in patience than anything I expected. So much so, that somewhere around four weeks from my last work day I cast my net far wider and applied for nearly anything that simply paid money. It’s probable that I would have seen the posting for this position anyway, but it’s also probable that I would not have spotted it quite as quickly or approached it as openly as I did.

All-​in-​all, I feel quite fortunate at getting this resolved so successfully and so – relatively – promptly. Given the economic climate, my age, my lack of qualifications /​degree /​reportable work experience, this could have gone very badly indeed.

That said, after the decades of struggle, I fucking deserve this now. So there!

At the moment, it feels a bit odd that I’ll be at work on a Monday-​to-​Friday basis again after the week-​end. It’s as if there’s been a sudden and dramatic change in the air pressure, as after a massive thunder storm. There’s a wonderful sense of relief which belies the heretofore unappreciated severity of the preceding period. “It feels so good when I stop,” as the old joke goes. Someday I must learn how to avoid smashing my head against the brink wall first.

Studio 700 dressed-up for CBC Vancouver's 29th Food Bank Day.

Studio 700 dressed-​up for CBC Vancouver’s 29th Food Bank Day.

The one remaining down part of this period is Heather’s mother suddenly being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which now seems to have spread into her lungs. The thyroid is pretty good at spreading stuff through the body (that’s its job, after all), but this particular variety is the fastest and cruelest of the four differing types of thyroid cancer. I don’t remember when the news came, but the prognosis wasn’t anything specific as far as I know; “get your affairs in order” was all I heard, so clearly there wasn’t much point in being more specific at that point.

The only redeeming part of living through this with Heather is that I’ve come to a richer appreciation of my own parents’ place in my life. “Tell the people you love now that you love them” is always good advice, but we’ll all be damned if we actually take it; am I right? Still, I’m going to really try from here on.

So many people have been encouraging to me in many ways – some simply by not telling me to shut my stupid mouth – and they all know who they are. Still, all you folks are very wonderful and will be hugged and bought drinks in the next few months as our paths cross.

Right. That’s sorted, then.

ONWARDS!

Mood: relieved
Music: Monk’s Dream by the Thelonious Monk Quartet [Columbia Records; recorded October 31, November 1, 2, and 6, 1962, NYC]
Book: The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester (HarperCollins, October 2009; ISBN: 9780061978272)

BILE BACK-LOG: Trump Trumps Top Twit with a Twist

Owing to having taken a solemn oath for the duration of the election period in Canada to maintain a non-​partisan position on political things, I couldn’t comment publicly on anything of any nature which involved the Canadian political parties, any of the topics covered by those parties as part of their campaigns, any of the individual running, the policies of any of the governments over the years, even foreign nations’ current events which might reflect how I might view a political position in Canada, and… well, everything, really…

This is the first in a series of posts where in I vent my spleen from those things which made me want to smash my head against any flat surface until my brain was sufficiently anesthetized the pain of trying to make sense of the news events was no longer noticeable.

So…

Rob Delaney on Twitter is re-​tweeting some seriously insane things from Republican Presidential hopful Donald Trump’s Actual Real Account. EG: he’s accused George W Bush of destabilizing the Middle East by invading Iraq, thus ignoring George HW Bush invading Iraq, Nixon & Ford propping-​up the Shaw of Iran, Eisenhower & the CIA for installing the Shaw in 1953 via a coup d’état, and the Allies for having built the foundation of boundary disputes in the first place c. post-​WWI.

But he seems to have always suffered from of selective memory, because in December of 2011 he said this:

So… ignore the cause, point finger at the idiot brother of an opponent, then posit the raping of another sovereign nation’s resources as the spoils of war that was created by the USA? The man is unhinged! More than a thing to laugh-​at, he is seriously dangerous! I mean, PEOPLE LISTEN TO HIM AND AGREE WITH THINGS HE SAYS!!

Aaaaaand he gets worse only a few months earlier than the last one saying this:

What? Was he saying…

Oh! He •did• mean that in 2011, because there he is clarifying it 2½ years later! So Iraq should •thank• the USA for destabilizing the Middle East by handing over all its national assets (save for the historical things, you know, rocks and old paper are boring, give us the black sticky stuff) in recompense for the Americans who died in the effort to force Democracy and apple pie down the unwilling gullets of the Iraqi peoples?

And then there’s this, proving the man is an idiot doing what he claims is something he is a genius at:

Donald John Trump, born June 14, 1946. Probably less useful than anything you can imagine, but if accused of that he’ll just declare how proud he is of it.

Mood: infuriated
Music: “The Primitive and the Passionate” by Les Baxter and His Orchestra [1962, Reprise R9-​6048 Stereo]
Book: “The Map That Changed the World ” by Simon Winchester [HarperCollins, October 2009, ISBN: 9780061978272]

Something Pretty for a Change

Since the last post, a few positive things have happened (hooray!).

I’ve finished at the ‘day job’ of the last year, but two weeks later to the day (today), I’ve started a short gig working for Elections Canada. Until the middle of October (at which point I had better have something else ready to go, or I’ll be really screwed again), I’m working as a ‘Revision Agent,’ which means I register new voters, and correct or up-​date the records of existing ones. Hooray for democracy and the longest election period in modern Canadian history!

If you would like to know more about how to register to vote, or to check if you already are registered, or any other questions, HEAD HERE.

The one challenge of this position is that while I am permitted to have any opinions about anything involving the various parties or election process in general, I may not give voice to said opinions. Thus, no ranting and raving here (or anywhere) about debates, events during the campaigns, or anything else.

[:: heavy sigh ::]

So… in lieu of me venting my spleen about anything political, here’s a couple of pretty pictures I took this afternoon.

Sunny sky! [click to embiggen/close]

Sunny sky! [click to embiggen/​close]

Big W! [click to embiggen/close]

Big W! [click to embiggen/​close]

Mood: hot
Music: I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty [2015, Sub Pop Records]
Book: Marvel Comics (The Untold Story) by Sean Howe [HarperCollins, October 2013; ISBN 9780062314697]

FML (no, ‘From Manufactured Lard’ is not what it stands for)

[Edited to fix a few errors of grammar, lack of proofing, and occasional bit of ‘not paying attention owing to being in a bit of a rant,’ but nothing of any substance]

Earlier today I went to a ‘testing session’ for a job I really wanted to get a shot at doing. They have pensions, benefits aplenty, and job security coming out of their proverbial ass. It even has worthwhile stuff I could do, and thus would feel like I’m really making a difference in people’s lives. This would make me very happy.

Okay, they also pay pretty well, provide free counselling, a lounge area and Nintendo Wii, an employee discount program and computer purchase program, free parking and bicycle lock up, an on-​site fitness facility and change rooms/​showers… but anyway…

Basically, I need to find a place to work as I’ve just been laid-​off from my current ‘day job.’ Because of that job I was able to move out on my own. Because of that job I was able to select this apartment within walking distance. Because of that job I was able to feel like I was settling down in a neighbourhood close to everything including my long-​standing GP. Because of that job I was able to actually start stretching out and enjoying my independence.

But now, after barely over a year…

Fuck.

The search for work has been kicked into life again at high gear, as after the 13th of this month there is no income other than the government’s Employment Insurance system which will not cover my rent entirely, never mind the desire to eat food upon occasion. Thus, by the end of September or earlier I may either have all of my belongings in storage and be living in a rented room somewhere; or simply be laying in a gutter slowly wasting away.

My health continues to eerily echo that of Warren Ellis’ except I don’t smoke and haven’t actually gone into an Acute Stroke Unit (yet). My cholesterol is far higher than it ought to be for someone who eats as healthily as I do, exercises regularly by simply walking everywhere (it’s cheaper), and so on. Yet, the man whose work I enjoy reading, who has similar struggles to mine, and I recently said if he ever disappears, I’ll need someone new to keep me going (then shortly after he nearly died… one can’t help but feel responsible in a way) continues to keep going, so I do also.

But.

Meanwhile…

Did I mention I’ve been laid-​off? Did I also mention I was at a testing… oh right; let’s get back to that.

I blew through the initial test in record time. Piece of cake.

Then the “keyboarding test” (this is what they call ‘typing’ now), during which I was supposed to get at least 44 words per minute as required, and I nailed 35 words per minute.

So, would I like to try again? Yes!!! Mother of God, YES!

So I delivered the same results on both tests. Again. Exactly.

Well… okay, you’re done for today. Thanks for coming!”

I’d been there for just 30 minutes. For the first set of about six batches of tests.

Were I permitted to continue on for the rest of the tests, I would have aced them all. Seriously.

So I returned to my current job. Which I’ll be finishing one week from the day I’m writing this.

…fuck.

There is no way to explain how much panic fills my soul at this moment. I have nothing to fall back on. Nothing. Zero. Except for the State, but… HA!

This state of affairs merely points out ho much I have not accomplished and how little I have to offer the word, other than piffle such as the occasional podcast recommendations. This is not something from which one can make money to support oneself.

Much of my nearly-​fifty years here falls into that category. Much of it has been my own devising, as well.

So much of my life has come to nought.

I have tried so many things that didn’t work out at all:

  • photographer
  • store owner
  • actor
  • arts journalist
  • director
  • TV /​radio presenter
  • publisher
  • husband
  • face in the crowd /​nameless citizen

Some things which could have worked out either were declared ‘not good enough for me,’ owing to not being sufficiently exciting or something; or I simply bit off more than I could chew and barrelled ahead anyway.

Meanwhile I chose to ignore all my options to become trained in something — anything — safer as a back-​up.

Now it’s too late: I’m almost 50, unemployed, estranged from my wife, trying to support myself, and there’s no time left.

No wonder I hate myself. Who wouldn’t?

Yes, it’s incredible I keep going, despite the struggles that life throws at me. Yes, isn’t this continued struggle admirable? Am I not incredible for my fortitude? Am I not such an amazing —

Fuck off.

Certainly I appreciate the support and encouragement, but, as someone pointed out the other day, aphorisms don’t pay my bills. I’m getting tired of not having enough money to pay bills like a grown-​up is supposed to.

Certainly, I have made bad choices as outlined above regarding my job skills and life’s path.

Certainly, I have done bad things to people over the years and my karma needs to be redressed.

But.

So. Very. Tired.

So. Very. Tired.

Seriously, this is getting to be too much effort. Honestly, if anyone needed a sign or some sort of Massive Injection of Luck /​Help at this point, it would be me.

Anyone able to do that: the usual address, please.

Mood: frustrated
Music: The Out-​Islanders’ Polynesian Fantasy, (1961); Capitol [ST-​1595]
Book: Marvel Comics (The Untold Story) by Sean Howe; Harper Collins, October 2013 [ISBN 9780-​06231469-​7]

The Value of Effort

Sometimes, just sometimes, I wonder if it’s all worth it.

You know: the tears, the hiding under an eiderdown or behind a public appearance of peace and calm, the sitting a chair aimlessly scrolling through Twitter looking for something to react to with an expression of wit (which is a barely concealed attempt to remind people you exist in the hope someone actually gives a crap), the careful recording of thoughts in a journal to remind you that things actually got done, all of that. All of that shit. Everything good and bad and up and down and progressive and constructive and regressive and self-​inflicted and loving and hating and everything possible in between. All of it without exclusion.

Is. It. Worth. It.

Am I worth it?

Do I care about me?

Does anyone care about me at all?

Does anyone who cares about me do so in any unselfish or non-​self-​interested manner; or are they merely doing it because they feel obligated to care, or hope to benefit somehow from doing so?

Who, if anyone, cares about anyone?

Why?

Then, out of nowhere I see a cat silently ‘meow’ at me.

Suddenly I don’t worry about anything anymore and spend five minutes scratching its ears, and the world disappears for a while.

Hobbes

Hobbes