And we’re on high alert

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You’ve go to be kidding me!

I found out that the other half was on a list of folks to be killed by some deranged student at the school

A 15 to 16 year old apparently made a list of people that the kid wanted to kill. I guess you have to take that kind of thing seriously now days.

But really what are the odds? I guess a better question is; are we prone to over-reacting about these things and if so, why?

When I was in school, there were teachers that I harbored ill will toward. While I might have said bad things, I’d never have actually done them harm. Hell, I’d have been hard pressed to even say anything negative to them. 

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Back in the day we actually respected our elders. We knew that if we didn’t we’d be doing time in the Master bedroom with our Dad and his ohhh so thin belt cracking across our backsides!

I can say that I was never abused. I don’t recall ever being bruised by the belt or the paddle used at school. I vaguely recall having a mark where a switch landed poorly because I was running in tight little circles. But that was Grandma and her aim wasn’t all that good to begin with.

My, how times have changed!

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I’m sitting here doing the security check.

Alarm? CHECK!

Doors Secured? CHECK!

Weapons at hand? CHECK!

I keep feeling like I shouldn’t have to be concerned in the least.

It’s a pissant kid for Gods sake!

Then the other half reminds me of the violence in schools today and I go back to the security check. 

Thanks to the internet, public records, and fucking Google search… This address is associated by name with my other half.  Google will even give you directions in less than a minute.

And it’s free! Yipppeee! So much for paying the damn phone company for an unlisted number! Oh and THANKS GOOGLE!

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We’re not living in fear, we’re taking precautions as suggested by the police, and being a little less careless.

What really bugs me about this is the fact that I might be placed in a position where I have to decide to harm a dumb 15 – 16 year old kid.

That is so far out of my comfort zone I can’t even begin to explain.

I’m built to protect children, not harm them!

At 15 – 16 this kid is still a Child no matter how you slice it. God, I hope it’s just talk & the kid had time to cool down while in juvenile hall. 

If something were to happen, where I ended up defending myself or my other half with lethal force, could I live with myself? Could I live with myself if I allowed this kid to harm my other half, because I couldn’t wrap my head around a child being a threat?

There are just some questions you never want answered.

Wow! just wow.

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Just heard about this one in my local area.

Middle schoolers in a suicide pact?  Where the hell does that come from?

Their lives are so tortured that before they can drive they’re trying to kill themselves?  

Don’t get me wrong I have no pity for them and almost wish they’d succeeded. Then they’d at least serve a purpose, kind of a signpost that says it’s not really all that bad.

It would give other parents the opportunity to say “Now girls, go plug yourselves into your ipods, do your homework, and we’ll call you when the pizza gets here to feed your fat asses

I do pity their parents.

What must go through a parents mind upon learning their child was in an almost successful suicide pact? That must be horrible and then of course there’s the high probability that CPS is going to be all up their asses.

Add to that, the stress of paying the co-pay for hospitalization and on-going psychiatric care possibly lasting for years and in short order I could see the parents having all kinds of difficulties. I’m talking marriage ending kinds of problems. I can’t even imagine the weight of guilt these parents are laboring under.

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But no one is ever going to talk about that… It’s going to be all about the reason behind why their little darling tried to kill themselves.

I sound harsh, I know. 

Heck, I grew up waiting for the damn A-Bomb to wipe us out. I had to do well in school because if I didn’t I’d be held back for as long as it took for me to pass or I dropped out, whichever came first.

I had the military crawling all over me wanting me to join up, see the world, serve my country.

You want pressure or stress?

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Try being different WITHOUT any expectation of support, understanding,  or, for that matter without even knowing that there were others who felt just like you.

Bullying was the norm and you either toughened up or you spent your days crying.

I can remember being bullied for the color of my fucking hair. Yeah! My hair color got me taunted and on at least one occasion in a fight. When I was a kid I was a “Soulless Ginger” as Cartman says on SouthPark.

I toughened up, I learned to throw a punch, I became confident in myself and my abilities and created a niche where I was indispensable and thereby insured my safety.

I also learned that safety was transient and no-one is forever indispensable. Turns out, those were valuable lessons and they’ve served me well throughout my life.

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There was one suicide in my High School. One that I’ve always felt I should have seen coming or could have, should have, prevented.  The young man was troubled and while I’m not sure, I suspect he might have realized he was gay.  

I’ll never know because he killed himself and the shame and stigma his family felt prevented our asking any questions about the period of time leading up to his suicide.

I know there was some legal trouble that originated with a false fire alarm, and that his father had something to do with the fire department. But I knew nothing at the time about his home life or indeed who he was as a person.

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I knew him, I spoke to him but he was very closed off. I’m not even sure he was gay, I remember him being a “blank”, quiet in class, got good grades, but he didn’t participate in any of the stuff the rest of us guys were into.

I don’t think we were purposely ostracizing him, it was just that his name didn’t come up when we planned to skip school or something.

I’ve always felt bad about not really “seeing” him. I think if I had, I’d have seen perhaps a kindred spirit, or at least his pain.

Things are totally different now. 

Bullies don’t get their comeuppance in the form of a righteous pummeling. They can reach their victims with ease via our technology at all hours of the day and night.

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“I’d rather be dead than red” echoed exactly once off the side of the junior high school as I was leaving for the day. If I pedaled faster down the street, the wind in my ears would drown out even the nastiest words spoken about my Mom’s marital status.

Yes… I was one of THOSE children, (queue sad dramatic music) I was from a broken home!

Little did I know, most of my friends, and the bullies were about to be similarly afflicted.

We grew up, we adapted and we didn’t kill ourselves… well with the one exception, generally we didn’t kill ourselves on purpose. There were some car accidents that resulted in deaths

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My point is, what the hell is going on?

This world isn’t all that bad a place. Yeah it can be a pisser, and you might not get everything your way, but it’s not too shabby a place. 

I can tell you this for certain. (Most of the time… There are exceptions!) This world is a better place because you’re in it.

If there’s something that you don’t like or that bugs you, don’t kill yourself, fix it! Fix it for everyone that comes after you and contribute to the betterment of the planet.

That is of course if you have the capacity to get beyond your own selfishness.

OK I KNOW it’s Friday the 13th already!

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I swear I’m expecting Jason to go walking across my computer screen any minute!

I was working on a blog post minding my own business. I got up to get some coffee, then noticed the trash was full. In keeping with my effort to become more efficient and build good habits, I slipped on my shoes and took the trash out. While I was outside I did poo patrol and then came back in.

Then I made myself a cup of coffee and sat back down at my desk.

I swear I was only gone for 10 minutes 15 minute tops!

I tapped the mouse and the computer woke rrrrreeeeeaaaaaallllyyyy sllllllooooooowwwwwlllly

Hum. This can’t be good!

There is a message from my virus scan software saying that it’s on access scan is offline.

Hum. This is really not good.

I fire up the console application. Its scrolling like a mother!

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ERROR File Not Found. Virus Scan application failed to load.
Warning
Fatal error Antivirus scanner failed to load, Virus database missing or corrupt

ERROR File Not Found. Virus Scan application failed to load.
Warning
Fatal error Antivirus scanner failed to load, Virus database missing or corrupt

ERROR File Not Found. Virus Scan application failed to load.
Warning
Fatal error Antivirus scanner failed to load, Virus database missing or corrupt

ERROR File Not Found. Virus Scan application failed to load.
Warning
Fatal error Antivirus scanner failed to load, Virus database missing or corrupt

ERROR File Not Found. Virus Scan application failed to load.
Warning
Fatal error Antivirus scanner failed to load, Virus database missing or corrupt

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So I think I know what happened… question is how do I fix it? First thought is to ask the AV program to check for updates.

NO JOY. The program posted that it had downloaded the latest version.

Try deleting the latest downloads? NO JOY couldn’t find them and the company web site was pretty much useless about this kind of error.

Delete the preferences, user settings, and anything that looks like new files associated with the AntiVirus program.

OK… Now the AntiVirus program is FUBAR!

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Uninstall / Reinstall

Uninstall works! No more errors and my computer is now running normally. Grab the installer from a network drive and install it.

NO JOY

AntiVirus program reports that this version is too old and cannot be updated via auto-updater. I’m instructed to download the latest version from their web site.

OK Navigate to their website, attempt to log-in.

You’ve entered an incorrect user ID or password. Please try again.

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I recheck the credentials I have stored. The date on the receipt matches the date stored in the credentials so what gives?

Sigh…

I normally wouldn’t really care all that much, but the way that this has happened is reminiscent of the way AntiVirus gets disabled in WinDOZE computers and It’s spooky to think that someone might have figured out how to do the same thing on a Mac.

Of course if someone had created some piece of malware that could mess with my system like that… I’d be really, really, pissed off.

I end up getting the password reset, and then I’m able to download the package…

It installs flawlessly and then updates the virus definitions.

GOOD, now we’re making progress.

All is right once again with my computer and gee whiz it only cost me 4 hours.

I’m doing a full system scan, just to be sure that I don’t have something nasty crawling around in my machine. Call me paranoid!

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At least I haven’t had the horrendous time suck a buddy had. His Windows 8 machine is still a smoldering pile of donkey doo. Since it’s a laptop maybe a steaming pile of cow poo is a more appropriate description.

Sorry man… I told ya last year you might be better off with a Mac instead of yet another Windows machine. I have sympathy for ya but have to say I told you so.

Oh, it appears that my antivirus problem was simply that the update data was glitched in transmission. I guess I need to figure out what files I need to wipe to force a complete virus database download if this happens in the future.

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OH who the HELL am I kidding? I’ve been using this AV software since 2008 and this is the FIRST time I’ve seen it do something like this. I’m going to call it a “One-Off” and not waste any more time on it.

I have better things to do with my time…

After all this isn’t a Windows System.

What makes one reality better than another?

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I dream a lot. Sometimes even when I’m supposed to be awake.

When I have recurring dreams I tend to pay attention. Those are usually the kind of dreams where I’m trying to give myself advice. If I listen, that advice is pretty good.

Then there are dreams that are so real that when I wake up it’s as if I was living another life. For want of a better term, visualize a Matrix like reality.

What really gets my attention are dreams that are, both recurring and Matrix-like. Lately I’ve been having one of those dreams.

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This dream is either loaded with meaning or I’m living another life someplace else. I suspect it’s the former, but can’t help hoping it’s the latter. If this dream was/is another reality I think I’d like to stay there. It feels like I have a chance to get it right, if I somehow could stay.

It’s winter. There’s a lot of snow on the ground and I’m checking a fenceline. I look almost like I do now, maybe a bit more weathered. I’m wearing a stetson just like the one I have, but it’s beat to hell. It looks like it’s seen more than a few seasons outside.

There’s a noise behind me. It’s a good sized chestnut horse. I know his name instantly, and I notice he’s a bit skittish looking to the east and a line of storm clouds. I calm him with easy familiarity and he settles. This action feels like a dance we do often. Usually, its about him wanting a lump of sugar from my pocket, he knows I’m a soft touch. I know he knows, and he knows I know.

Winter Scene

Today is a bit different, this squall line is heavy, and there’s winter lightening in it. The wind is rising and every once in a while I can hear the rumble of thunder. I nuzzle the horse, “Come on Mac, lets finish up and get back home. I’ll turn the heater on in your stall.” I mount up, the horse continues a slow walk allowing me to inspect the fence from the saddle instead of trudging through the snow.

We walk for a while, then I notice we’re near the abandoned house on the property. The house is steep roofed, built solid and is at least 100 years old. When I bought the property I chose the other house to live in, because this place is so close to a busy road.

Snow is starting to fall. I see what looks like movement through one of the windows of the house. “Great! Squatters,” I think.

“Mac, we’re going to have to make a slight detour then I’ll get you back to your nice warm stall.”

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I tug the reins slightly toward the house. Mac’s not happy about it but he does as I ask. We get to the house and I put Mac under the roof of the back porch. When I walk through the door to the place I’m met by an astounding sight.

The squatters have a full-on business going in here. They’ve knocked out all the walls they could and turned the lower level of the house into a wide open space with sellers stalls in it.

Out front toward the road is a wide parking area. There are cars and trucks and all kinds of people selling all kinds of things. A lady offers me a cup of coffee for only 7.99!

I tell her and the rest of these people that this is my property and they all need to leave. I feel a little guilty about it. But come on! Shouldn’t I at least be getting a little rent? Then I notice there’s power here. I didn’t connect the electricity to this house.

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I stomp through the front door and out to the road. There, at the edge of the property is a brand new power relay. Nice shiny new transformer, a new fence surrounding the unit and bright coppery connections at the top of the insulators. Obviously someone is paying for this, I wonder if it’s me, and I just haven’t gotten the first bill. Everything I’ve seen looks like this is all new and these people have recently arrived.

I go back inside the house and ask to see whoever is in charge. I’m directed to some punk who smells of weed and who tells me they thought the house was abandoned.  Since the house needed people and they needed a place to live it was like a match made in heaven so they moved in. He’s telling me I shouldn’t be upset. The power company was really nice connecting the house to the grid, they said they’d send a bill later.

I asked him about the fence that they cut to gain access to the property, meanwhile I’m thanking my lucky stars that I didn’t just turn the heard loose into this pasture and decided to check the fence first. If I hadn’t, I’d have lost the whole damn herd.

Summer Field

What I get from weed boy is more bullshit about no fences and that the house needed people. I realize I’m getting nowhere with this dumbass. I’m pissed off because this is exactly the kind of shit I moved out here to avoid.

I pull my cell phone out of my pocket, I have just enough signal to call the sheriff.  I’m going to make this his problem. Then I’m going to get on Mac and go home, we’re probably going to get caught in the storm at this point and his nose will be out of joint for days.

I press the call button…

Suddenly back in my bed. The sun is shining warmly through the bedroom windows, I can see the bright green of the vegetable garden and beyond it the barn. I’m freaked out, I jump out of bed throw on a pair of flipflops and walk out to the barn. Mac is half asleep in his stall. I can hear Lucy barking at the cows in the pasture, she’s probably making them do cardio, the cows must be just thrilled with her this morning.

I think Lucy’s the bossiest dog I’ve ever had, she’ll be up here soon demanding her breakfast. I open the barn door to the corral. Mac meanders out into the sun, and starts his morning routine. I smile, it’s like he stretches and warms up before the start of the day. I put his breakfast in the trough and make sure his water is fresh.

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The morning sun is comfortable on my skin and if it wasn’t for the work that I need to do around the place, I’d stay naked all day up near the pond in the north pasture. The thought brings a smile to my face.

Lucy comes padding up to the porch, all tail wags that I’m up already. She goes into the house through her doggie door. I grab the door handle…

I wake up here, in this bed, I’m sweating in a panic. I feel like I’ve travelled, and that I’ve lost something. I call for Lucy, I don’t know at first where I am. Sunny, my golden retriever, jumps up on the bed. He’s looking at me with the concerned look all retrievers get when their “people” are upset. I get a nose lick from him, then look at the clock.

It’s after 12PM. I’ve slept for 13 hours.

I pull some sweats on and hustle it to the slider, both dogs run down the stairs gratefully. I feel bad that they waited so long. Usually one or the other will wake me up but for some reason today they didn’t or couldn’t.

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There’s no mess to clean up. They come back inside bouncing and wanting their treats. I give them more than the usual allotment to thank them for being patient with me.

I flip the coffee maker on and over the first cup of coffee wonder at the reality of the dream. Or the reality of this place. Scent, sight, taste, sensation all were equally vivid and “real” in the dream. Even the weirdness of the dream within the dream felt “real”.

The strange part is that I’ve dreamt about the house the squatters were in before. I’ve seen the fence, the property, Mac the horse and Lucy. I have memories of being at that place and having a completely different life there.

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I have equally “real” memories of being here.

Is this what some of the Native American tribes were describing when they said their dream life was just as real as their normal life?

I notice a couple of things between the realities.

Here, now, I’m a technocrat. There, I have technology, but my life is more physical.

Here I live in a town and while it’s not LA, there are people around me. There, I live alone except for the animals.

Here, my view of the world is defined by what others have built or let me see. There my view is defined by nature, I see sky, sun, trees, mountains, and fields, I don’t see humans. Obviously they exist, but as a rule, in that life I know solitude.

My first cup of coffee is done, I’m awake and the dream life is fading.  As I wake up more and this “reality” settles in, I wonder if I’m just wanting to return to the places where I was truly happiest. Secret places from my childhood that were green, and alive, and where my future spread before me. Back to the places where turning left, or right on a particular day could’ve changed the entire outcome.

I can’t get over the feeling that I’ve lost something.

Really? Republicans are in a dither about a True Blood characters comment?

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True Blood is a TV show. These characters are fiction and what comes out of their mouths is a story.

That being said, and being a bit of a True Blood fan I found the comment to be consistent with Pam’s character. 

Pam Said “My god I look like a republicunt,” and she did. She looked like one of the trophy wives seen all too often in the theater of American politics.

She said this in private to Eric who is dying of a vampire disease. It was typical Pam, she tends to drift toward gallows humor.  Pam is plain spoken and tends to be a bit crude. She’s also vicious when pissed off, yet fiercely loyal to her family and friends.  Like all vampires she’s drifted over sexual lines and explored the unknown. I think this is simply a function of being old in the True Blood story line.

So I have to ask why the hell the Republicans and Conservatives are freaking out and taking offense  at what Pam said. I won’t even mention the insanity of the Conservatives only NOW commenting about the homoerotic overtones contained in True Blood. If they find this sort of thing offensive they probably should have stopped watching True Blood oh… four or five seasons ago.

Don’t they have something better to do?

More interesting is that instead of laughing it off, OR perhaps realizing that the show reflects the general view of Republican conservatives and addressing that image problem. These people are wringing their hands in the media. Really????

Apparently Sarah Palin was invited to do a cameo. She declined, so we’ll never know what that cameo would have looked like. I personally could see a scene where Mrs Palin pulled a big assed .357 out of her purse and started shooting the Yakuza that were hunting down another character. That would have been fun, and allowed Mrs Palin to squeeze off a couple of shots for the 2nd amendment.

Who knows, Pam might have liked Mrs Palin.

So Republicans & Conservatives… Stop embarrassing yourselves over a piece of fiction. 

More importantly, Stop embarrassing me!


In other Insurance news…

UnknownWow!

Spent hours on the phone again with the insurance company.

This time it’s not about getting my insurance back on-line. It was about figuring out what policy would be best for me to migrate to.

Got that all sorted out, I think. The new lemon scented Obamafresh plan will take effect March 1.

But here’s the really interesting thing I found out.

Obamacare hasn’t really helped anybody.

Oooops! Big surprise! Yeah, I’m behind the times.

Here’s the thing that rebooted my brain.

I’m not making any income. So when I get ahold of an insurance rep I point this out and ask what can be done to lower my insurance rate.

Unknown-1Medi-Cal is the answer.

But Medi-Cal I point out, severely limits my choices of Doctors, Hospitals, Drugs, and provides far less care than I, or anyone should consider acceptable. I thought Obamacare was supposed to make that better. I thought that’s what the whole subsidies thing was about.

I thought the subsidies were designed to allow people at the lowest end of the income bracket to purchase decent coverage and look forward to not waiting for care.

Obviously, I’m some kind of moron.

If, on the other hand I was making 90K I’m eligible for a subsidy? WTF?

First and foremost, I’m a capitalist pig. Even I think that’s obscene!

That being said, as a general rule I have no problem helping out those folks that are less fortunate than I am.

I believe that we should help the folks in our own country before we start sending bloody fortunes to 3rd world cesspools where hatred of America is taught in the damn schools. That however, is another topic.

I believe today and have believed for the majority of my life that NO CHILD in this country should ever go wanting for food, clothing, medical, or dental care. It’s an obscenity that so many children do go without such things.

This is not to say everyone should have a free ride either. Eventually, everyone should be employed.

However, children that don’t get enough to eat, who are sick, whose teeth are rotting out of their heads typically don’t do well in school. Without basic education we doom those kids as adults to be forever poverty stricken.

This must change. I don’t believe in grand sweeping changes which our politicians love to engage in for political purposes. I believe in evaluating the problem then solving that  problem. Often the correct answer is the simplest, arrived at by the straightest path.

Obamacare had potential. It could have fixed a problem by simply making sure the people most at risk, had care available to them.

So what the hell is Obamacare doing aside from throwing the medical care system into chaos?

If anyone should have subsidized care it’s those at the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. That’s just simple common sense. What are the politicians smoking?

I stuck with paying for my policy. I’d rather deprecate my 401K than put up with shitty medical care. But what of those less fortunate?

Where do they turn? Who is their advocate?