Weary, Wicked & Wittier Than The White House

 

So, as you may have noticed, this is the second year in a row that has been marked by an extended absence on my part at around the same time.  This is not a coincidence.  The reasons are something I’ve struggled with, but I feel like sharing them might be both good for me as well as make it somewhat easier for some out there that may be dealing with similar issues to know that they are not alone.

I have for some time been dealing with a particularly vicious two-headed demon; fibromyalgia and depression.  The roots go back a long ways and aren’t particularly the point here and now; but suffice to say, the two have an awful symbiotic relationship with one another.  The fibro causes significant physical pain, which makes the depression worse, which magnifies the pain, and so on and so forth.  This is exacerbated during the changeover of seasons – as weather patters begin to change, pressure systems begin to wildly fluctuate and both conditions are particularly sensitive to that.  If you have ever suffered from seasonal depression, or have had a knee or shoulder ache during a storm, imagine that but cranked up to 11 and then happening almost constantly.  Basically the only way for me to work and take care of my absolutely required social responsibilities was to lock my psyche into something resembling this:

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Believe it or not, I’ve wanted to write.  I’ve spoken with some of you, on Twitter or in person, and I’ve sat here some nights, staring at the blank page and cursor blinking at me, but just unable to sort through everything and assemble it into something resembling coherent thought.  But I’ve missed you (EWE’s Note: Don’t admit that to them, you sniveling fleshsack!) and believe it or not, so has EWE.  I promise.  Speaking of whom…

EWE and Editor Weary

But you know what I haven’t missed?  What I haven’t been ABLE to miss?  What I haven’t even been given a chance to miss?  DONALD MOTHERFUCKING TRUMP.  Specifically, I have not been afforded the opportunity to miss Donald Trump saying or doing something that is a complete and utter embarrassment to the country as a whole, both here in the U.S. and to whatever allies we have remaining in the world at this point.

Now, I don’t have the time or patience (nor likely do you) to expound upon every single horrific statement, quote, tweet, or other action taken by our narcissistic, dementia-addled lunatic-in-chief, but I think we can probably sum up the general vibe relatively quickly.  Let’s see…

“A Pluses,” huh?  Who the fuck was grading your sad-sack efforts on that curve – Betsy Devos?  No wonder your administration doesn’t like public education – they probably all grade too hard for you.  And since when did travel to Puerto Rico suddenly become the equivalent attempting to reach the North Pole?  It’s a fucking U.S. territory, and this is 2018.  We have the most powerful, modern Navy in the history of time, and we aren’t actively involved in any major armed conflicts.  Do not talk to me about the “war on terror” bullshit because that’s like saying we couldn’t send ships because they were busy patrolling the shorelines as part of the “war on drugs.”  The bottom line is that your administration was caught unprepared, responded completely inadequately, and as a result, the death toll was 3000.  Would some people have died anyway?  Yes – that’s the harsh reality of natural disasters.  But would 3000 people have had to die if food, water, electricity and infrastructure had been restored to island as quickly as possible thanks to efficient and effective U.S. response?  No, and Trump’s refusal to be able to admit even the slightest bit of error, and in fact to petulantly whine that HE’S NOT GETTING ENOUGH CREDIT FOR HOW WELL IT WENT in the face of 3000 dead souls is a stunning, mind numbing demonstration of just how self-centered and disconnected from reality he is.

Oh really?  Bob Woodward is a liar?  The Bob Woodward that was instrumental in exposing the Watergate scandal that brought down Nixon and fundamentally changed how the media and the general public viewed the presidency and government in general?  The Bob Woodward who has been one of most well-respected, thorough, and meticulous presidential researchers and analysts of our time?  The Bob Woodward who, despite respecting the time-honored tradition of maintaining his sources’ request for confidentiality with regard to their identity, has hours upon hours of documentation of his interviews with them in order to prepare his book?  That Bob Woodward is a “liar” because his book, rather than portraying you as the greatest president in American history, instead depicts you as being so fundamentally disturbed and mentally unfit to handle the rigors of the presidency that those closest to you have taken to manipulating you around your worst and stupidest impulses in an effort to just keep the country functional and out of any kind of doomsday scenario?

No

You see, Orange Hobgoblin, it really just comes down to a relatively simple calculus.  Bob Woodward, he’s got credibility.  A track record of proven integrity and reliability.  You, however, have…um, Melania?  Baron?  The human caricature drawing that is Rudi Giuliani?  So really, anyone with even a drop of common sense would realize that banking on your word is not a safe bet.  Ever.

These are just a couple of examples of the freakish, insane alternate universe that Donald Trump has chosen to inhabit. Where 3000 people dead goes from being a mistake that could have been avoided to an “unsung success” that just doesn’t get the credit it deserved.  Frankly, I could go on, but I’m beginning to tire for the night, and there will be plenty of nights to come – but for now kids, I have missed you all greatly, and it’s good to be back! – EWE

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Pain Sucks and Other Wisdom

It’s been a while, humans.  While I would actually love to be able to say I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t had time to sit down with you all, unfortunately the reason is MUCH more of a pain in my ass.  Actually, it’s pain literally everywhere.  See, years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  Essentially, I hurt, everywhere, to varying degrees, all the time.  There are medications and treatments that they try to help mitigate the condition somewhat, but the bottom line is that fibro itself isn’t that well understood yet, and they can’t cure it or do much more than try to treat the symptoms.  Several months back, I started to experience significantly increased, debilitating levels of pain, along with increased frequency of migraines.  Dealing with that day in and out is, quite simply, exhausting.  So after months of testing to figure out what was wrong – as I have a family history of other issues that they wanted to rule out – it was finally determined that my fibro has advanced in severity and intensity, and in addition, my nervous system is actually more responsive and acute than most – top 4 percent of people, from what they’ve said.  While normally, I’d be thrilled to be in the top percentile of anything, when it means you feel exponentially more pain from your CONSTANT FUCKING PAIN DISORDER, it loses its charm.

All that to say…I have to accept a higher level of pain as my new “normal.”  And that has sapped most of my waking energy lately.  So the updates have been very sparse, and may still be for a while – but I promise they will keep coming when possible!

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But while I’ve been laid up I’ve found some ways to spend my time – like, for example, the digital crack that is Stardew Valley on the Nintendo Switch.  Yes, my cat Zero and I have started quite the cozy little farm, creating mayonaise and cheese and trying to win the love of the dark gamer girl Abigail.  Sadly, art imitates life – and she wants nothing to do with me.  Goddammit.

I also decided that, in order to fully immerse myself in the storyline of Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, the ideal class to play was Ishgard’s own Dragoon.  So after some intense grinding to get my level up to snuff, I can say it was well worth it, as much of the lore and history of Ishgard and the Warrior of Light’s quest there is inextricably woven with the Dragoons themselves.  While by no means do you NEED to play as a Dragoon to appreciate the story, I’ve felt much more of a connection to the characters and their struggles as one of the high-flying dragon-slaying knights than I would have otherwise.  FFXIV remains my favorite MMO of all time – and I’ve played many – as well as one of my favorite FF games ever – and I’ve played them all.

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Getting tired (and pissed off for being tired) but before I go for now, one last tidbit that caught my attention, and that is that sleeper-hit SRPG God Wars: Future Past is getting a full story DLC expansion in Japan.  The main game made its way to the West on PS4 and Vita and was one of the best SRPGs I’ve played in some time, so here is hoping that the DLC makes it here (for Vita especially since that’s what I played it on) as well.

Now, it is time for meds and trying in vain to actually sleep for a while before giving up and playing a game while watching Dragon Ball Super all night and being exhausted tomorrow.  This isn’t a cry for help – it’s just my natural state now.  Actually…that might be a cry for help.  I don’t know anymore. – EWE

Sorry – I’m Not Dead Yet

I’m not going to apologize for being absent for a while, mostly because I’ve had pretty good reason.  I will say that I have greatly missed communicating with all of you – but I’ll try to make up for it a bit by filling you in on some of the reasons for my absence.

First off, as some of you may have noticed from the godawful fucking heat and humidity, it’s summer!  This has meant that my two little evil-mages-in-training have been on a break from their studies and been wanting to spend time under the burning flame ball in the sky, like this:

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DEAR GOD, WHY?!?!

But since not just MY family, but ALL SORTS of people are ALSO much more active during the summer months, my work as a public defender has been extremely busy as well – and the ratio of incompetent/insane clients has gone WAAAAAY up.  Let me tell you just exactly how mentally draining it is when you are trying to explain to someone that murdering ducks is, in fact, a crime, and they are fervently telling you that it’s ok because the five-faced devil told them to do it…

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Because listening to this guy is just a fantastic idea.

And just in case increased work, increased time with the younglings, and caring for my feline overlord Zero while gaming and reading wasn’t enough, I decided upon advice from my little sis, the absolutely hilarious Kate Quigley, I decided to try making people laugh the old-fashioned way – so I’ve started doing some open mic nights at local bars and coffee houses and doing a little stand up.  Well, I suppose some might call it stand up…for me, it’s kinda just group therapy, where I get to talk about my issues and not bill my insurance!

Of course, it can’t all be upside – about six weeks ago, my fibromyalgia went into (I thought) a flare up.  It happens from time to time, based on weather and pressure changes, and normally I just grit my teeth and within a few days it is back to its normal level of constant-but-not-totally-debilitating pain.  But this time…it didn’t.  After two weeks, I contacted my doctor, and she gave me a significant injection of steroids due to the fact that my fibro meds were having no effect.  If it was fibro alone, the steroids would likely have made it worse, but if they helped, then there might be more going on.  Well…they sure as hell helped at first.  For about two days, I was Superman.  For two more, I was, you know…normal?  But then I was right back where I was before the shot.  Now I was going on a month of mind-numbing pain, and my doctor was out of normal options, so I am currently scheduled and waiting to see a rheumatologist in September.  Needless to say, going through all of the daily activities I described above while wracked with physical pain is…tiring.  So many are the day I have come home and couldn’t even find the energy to game or read, let alone write to you all.  So I would perform my ritual worship of Zero and collapse into bed, where he would then sit on my chest in an effort to comfort me (or kill me, I’m not entirely sure).

But take heart – all is not lost!  First, I am finding time to engage in some reading and gaming, so I will have some opinions on those fronts coming soon!  Look forward in particular to my review of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, as it captured me even harder than the original PS2 game did, and that was one of my favorite PS2 RPGs.  And now, if I can FUCKING REMEMBER TO HIT RECORD, I can even now and then provide you with some footage from my open mic stand up gigs – you know, in case you don’t have enough to mock me for yet, irritating mortal fleshbags (Editor’s Note: That’s not nice; they’ve always been very supportive.)

EWE and Editor Return

So before I go, I wanted to give you one last thing – a bit of the old and the new all in one.  You see, I have not been able to do much experimenting in my kitchen of late – but I have needed quite a bit of caffeine.  And so I wish to recommend a particular purveyor of pure coffee goodness – Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, in my own hometown of Canton, Ohio.  Now, while I fully understand that many of you cannot travel to their actual location (which is a goddamn shame, because it is fantastic), you CAN order their absolutely amazing coffee right through their site to be shipped to you!  I in particular recommend the Blueberry Crumble – and by “recommend” I mean “until you have tasted this, your pitiful, meager lives are wholly incomplete.”

So with that, humans, I bid you adieu for the time being.  But lest you forget, as always, if you are a Trump supporter, I suppose you have something notable you can attest to – it took 240+ years for America to progress to the point that it had this past January, and it has taken Trump only six months to set it back in many ways to before it was ever founded in the first place.  Congratu-fucking-lations. – EWE