Monday, December 31, 2018

December 31, 2018

It's been a strange year for me. But the world (and America in particular) has also had a messed up 2018.

I wrote 2 years ago that Donald Trump could be a great President or give in to his caustic personality. Obviously he has done more of the latter- a summit with North Korea's Kim the Insane and a good economy due to less regulation and the abolition of the Obamacare tax are overshadowed by his obsession with a border wall, his desire to end birthright citizenship, tariffs with China that are undoing the good Trump has done for the economy, and his stonewalling over the Muller investigation that is proving that Trump's personality quirks (i.e. paying off mistresses and lying about it) are more criminal than the Russian contacts and meddling done by Trump associates and to a smaller extent by allies of the Hildabeest. Trump is rapidly becoming the Republican version of Bill Clinton (the most corrupt President of my lifetime), and that is not a compliment.

While North Korea is less likely to nuke us than they were at the start of 2018, China is becoming more aggressive, and Mad Vlad Putin's Russia is becoming more confrontational.

The environment is changing. Contrary to most radical environmentalist beliefs, climate is not static and is always changing. Some things man cannot influence or control (i.e. volcanism, tsunamis, the East African Rift splitting the continent of Africa apart, the fact that warming always comes after an ice age, the slow crustal sinking on the East Coast that is changing that coast's sea level), but pollution is affecting wind patterns, rain, and temperature variances. It used to be called Global Warming, but it's not causing warming everywhere. In some places, rainfall is increasing (especially the Northeast), while out West and in the Southeast, annual rainfall is decreasing. Glaciers are melting, and there is unusual warming in the Arctic. Combine rising sea levels and the natural sinking of the east coast, and it spells disaster for Atlantic coastal communities, especially Florida, the NYC area, and the Gulf Coast.

Trump's attitude led to the Democratic takeover for the House, which promises even more gridlock in 2019. Conversely, it also led to a more Republican Senate, which is good on the judicial front but bad for gridlock and getting anything legislative done. The judiciary has no business doing the legislative branch's work, but both sides seem to be content on letting the courts approve things that could never pass a legislative vote. This is why there was so much contention over the Kavanaugh vote earlier this year.

I have problems with most of the media. Right wing talk show hosts are screaming more and trying to defend Trump actions that are indefensible. The left (espeially NBC/MSNBC) is anti-Trump all the time (even on the good things he's done), and supportive of things that are even more radical than anything Trump has done (i.e. open borders, excessive regulation, Medicare for all, pre-JFK Federal income tax rates, Socialism, and overt hostility towards Catholics and Evangelicals).

Personally, I don't see how this country can unify or avoid a civil war. Hopefully I can afford to move out of the US if it ever gets to that.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

December 30, 2018

What a long strange year it's been. I started the year with a high paying job in a small town in Maine. I had an apartment, a cat named Misty, and a 17 year old Ford Taurus that had handled a cross country move from Texas to Maine with minimal difficulty.

Less than a month later, I was unemployed, the apartment was no longer in my name, Misty was in the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society shelter, and the Taurus had barely survived a move from Maine to Brooklyn after a steering hose burst that wiped out my savings. My remaining possessions were in a storage unit in Long Island City. By the end of March, the Taurus was in the possession of a formerly car-less West Indian couple from Long Island, and I was in a psychosis inducing living environment in the New York City shelter system. By that time, I had resumed regular writing for the first time since March 2016 thanks to the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen Writers' Workshop.

By the end of April, I had enough. Elmhurst Hospital diagnosed me with a severe case of depression. I had snuck my laptop into the shelter and composed a few songs- one of which mixed EDM and classical. I used what little savings I had from my state tax refunds and public assistance to pay for a one way flight out of NYC and the shelter system to Denver.

I spent a little over a week in Denver before ending up in one of their shelters, which was run by Denver's Catholic Charities. That situation was a lot less chaotic than the CAMBA, Ward's Island, and SCO shelters in New York. I was able to find temp work rather quickly. But the temp assignments were not permanent, and the one permanent job I secured (which lasted 10 days) put me at odds with my body clock and the shelter's meal schedule. During my spare time, I joined a writer's group from Denver called Hard Times. But after 2 months in the shelter and nothing permanent on the horizon, I decided to move back to my hometown of Colorado Springs in mid-July.

I blew most of my savings on a month and a half of a house share rental in the Hillside neighborhood. After numerous job rejections (including one at the Chidlaw Building where my father worked in the 1970s), I was hired by Elwood Staffing (the successor to my former longtime employer of SOS Staffing), and sent to a warehouse on the south side of town. The work was unlike any previous warehouse or assembly work I had done before. My coworkers were very close-knit and social, a major departure in attitude from previous co-workers in Denver, NYC, and Texas. My medical records were transferred to Peak Vista and Aspen Pointe. By the end of my first visit to Aspen Pointe, I found out I was misdiagnosed in NYC and Denver- I have been suffering from (previously undiagnosed) PTSD for years, dating back to when my father was still alive. Numerous events have triggered it, including my mother's sudden death in 1991, the events of 1995 (when I lost my grandparents and father within a 9 month span), my eviction and subsequent blacklisting by the Colorado Springs Salvation Army in January 2015 which led to a Catholic Charities assisted Greyhound ticket back east, and most recently, the violent DeLousio-mandated NYC shelter nightmare.

By late October, I had enough money to buy a car, a Buick Century. Due to an extended Thanksgiving break, I drove the Buick east towards Pennsylvania and NYC. I got to visit my relatives in PA for the first time in over a year. And the Buick was big enough to fit all of my belongings from the storage unit, which I emptied in the Buick's only (day) trip to NYC. The ride back was scary, after running out of money due to an unexpected insurance bill and snow-related road closures in Missouri.

Less than a week after my return from Pennsylvania, the warehouse laid me off. Apparently the decision was made high up in the company because my supervisor and co-workers had no idea until I returned to clean out my locker. Elwood sent me to a lumber company (which resulted in 2 hours of work and a finger injury) and to a moving company that handled events at the Broadmoor. About 10 days after I was laid off, I was called back to my former warehouse site, and I'm still there to this day.

I have been going to Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral since I returned to the Springs. A few people there remember me from the previous times I attended Mass. One family even invited me to their Christmas luncheon, to which I am very thankful.
What a long strange year it's been. I'm not quite up to where I was in early January. But I've discovered a lot about myself. I'm probably more open to different kinds of friends and relationships. I'm probably more Catholic than I was at the start of the year, as various church-run institutions in Denver and Colorado Springs helped me recover from a traumatic and violent situation in New York. I'm a more prolific writer than I have been in years. I have written 2 short stories with characters I haven't written about since 2011. Thanks to Holy Apostles, Hard Times, and Wattpad, anyone can read and comment on these works. I haven't composed as much music as I normally do (although I'm working on a couple of tracks for my annual New Year's Day release on Tuesday). Hopefully in 2019 I can get more settled.