New disclaimer

My revised About page beings with a disclaimer about the name Toastie:

First of all, the moniker Toastie has nothing to do with smoking anything. I never felt I needed to explain this, and, in my naiveté, I only realized in recent years that such a conclusion was one people commonly arrived at. Sadly, there is no known origin of my nickname. It was given to me my freshman year in college for reasons that had nothing to do with pot but were otherwise completely random. In an atmosphere crowded by Davids, Toastie seemed as harmless an alternative as anything else.

If a tree falls in the middle of the woods, does it make a sound

I don’t know exactly how that philosophical question goes and don’t feel like looking it up at the moment. I’m going to try to make this post as brief as possible, with some lengthy philosophical follow-up, perhaps, at a later date.

Volume I of My Journal may be permanently lost. Volume I is the yellow spiral-bound notebook I started on Februrary 22, 1989. It chronicles a few awful months of junior high. I recently though I’d convert it into a blog, so it would finally be out there. I’ve feared for the last 20 years that something would happen to my handwritten journals. If I lost them, proof of anything I chronicled would be lost with them. It would be devastating.

It does suck to a degree I don’t imagine many people can grasp.

I later decided a regularly-updated blog of the journal was a bad idea, but I recently stuck the notebook in my laptop bag. I figured, if I had no better idea of how to kill time at dialysis or elsewhere, transcribing the journal wouldn’t be the worst way to kill time. At least I’d have it all in permanent digital form, whether I shared it or not.

Now, it appears it’s gone. If I had left it at dialysis, one tech told me, “[the cleaning crew] probably would’ve thrown it out”. I’m pretty cynical, but even I was shocked that someone else would have such blatant disregard for someone’s property. They don’t need to know it was a 21-year-old recording of a personal history. But it was my someone’s stuff. Now it’s probably in a landfill. There are some pretty easy self-deprecating follow-ups lines to that. I’ll refrain for now.

I’ve got other things I’ve got to do at the moment…needed to vent about this and move on…

Purpose, or lack thereof

My freshman roommate* oversees web properties that receive 10 million unique visitors monthly according to a web article I just read. That’s 6000-times what my site gets.

*He was only my roommate for about four weeks. He was the most horrible roommate I could possibly have during my first month at Duke. He was several degrees of asshole higher than anyone I had ever met. He helped make my first weeks there hell. When I play the “what-if” game, two interesting scenarios are that he wasn’t my roommate, and that I was somehow able to cope and not have to demand a room change.

Of all the people in the world regarding whom I’ve wished to feel schadenfreude, he’d be near the top.

Well, he’s ridiculously successful. There’s no “yeah, but”s to qualify this. He is the epitome of a great Duke success story.

I won’t try to describe what I am. The unique-web-visitors statistic isn’t the point. Comparing myself to this dickweed isn’t the point.

If I had ANY idea what I wanted to do with my life, none of this would bother me one iota. But I really have no idea. I am desperate to have a clue, if it’s not already too late.

Aremid loves me
Something no one else has

Ambien Symphony

Pawn Stars….decent entertainment….plays off that American ideal that I have…to find something odd you think you can make money off of and go for it…it almost always flops. All of my eBay lists of 10 years ago average about +2.00 at best. I never a found a rhythm.

So many people were doing this, trying to make a second-living through eBay. They made tens-of-thousands a month. Selling stuff on eBay could have been a full-time job.

When I was jobless or underemployed, I aspired to find a niche that could bring a few hundred dollars a month. It never happened. Lots of trips to the post offices. Lots of Excel spreadsheets that showed that a purchase and sale yielded a profit of $0.71 or a loss of $1.94. For the month of June 2001, I’ve made $38.19!!!  And twenty different transactions may have contributed to that windfall.

I always hoped to find the item I could buy for $10 and sell for $20. Profit of $7. Sell 600. That’s $4,200 a month! Cash free! I can live on that.  Except after I buy the first two, I see that they’re only selling for $14. The profit becomes $1.82. Maybe I can still make $1,000. But then I see they’re only selling for $12. Profit is a wash. The rest of the selling is just for break-even. I wouldn’t sell 600. I’d sell 50. Make $7 each on 8 of them. Make $4 each on 10 of them. Break-even on 10 of them. Sell the remaining 572 for a $20 shipping loss.  Total profit/loss: $76 profit for 600 transactions. 8 cents per transaction. Totally worth it.

How to make an extra $300 a month…a question that a smart person should be able to figure out. I think major caveat is that the work cannot be for someone else. Not 32 hours a month a Borders. All hours spent on my own project. I’m my own boss. As my own boss, I should be able to figure out something.

But I don’t know howto do anything. Way, way, wav behind the curve on web programming. Remedy programming for a micro-enterprise does not make much sense even though I would like it to.

I don’t want to get something for nothing in the world. I want my brainpower to yield some fortune.

It’s very disappointing. It makes me feel very little of myself.  Very frequently.

Not drunk. It’s ambien. Wonder drug ambien. Ambien. to exhaust yourself by exhausting all thoughts. Dump ’em all out there. You won’t remember most of them in the morning, and that is a little freaky.

I have to censor, such as if I mention looking up the Flickr pics of a girl I liked a few years ago. Apparently, best friend figured out I had been browsing the wedding and honeymoon pics. It was just a mental exercise…no stalking mitochondria were activated. Don’t care so much about what is/was happening with “M” but it does a number to see her blissfully happy just a couple of years after she implied the problem wasn’t me, but her. “M” herself was a minor detail in the story. Just another chance to stare at myself in the mirror and think and think and think what could I possibly have done at point X in time so that history would be altered and maybe, just maybe, I could have made that miraculous connection.

Old friend of “M”s discovers the Flickr picture browsing, and she denounces me as a stalker in some comments. Given my sincere lack of interest in the new life of “M” and limited nature of my searching to easy query on M’s non-standard name, I think the “stalker” label was highly insidious.

In any event, I censored. That post is gone. I hate dong that.

What’s the point of this entry?  I am just adrift. Nothing coming up. No course of action to create anything coming up. Work. Dialysis. Holy shit, my house is a horrible disaster zone. I am hungry and tired. I’d rather commune with the internet than try to figure out what cleaning agent will succeed in getting rid of #*$(*$ from the wall and *#$*9 from the floor. The amount of progress I can make is too minuscule to care.

Any visitor to my home will be disgusted and uncomfortable whether I put in X hours, X^2 hours, or X^3 hours. It will never be enough.

I do not want to go to sleep tonight. I don’t want to give up on today. The odds of success for tomorrow are bleak. I cannot admit defeat for today. What there’s nothing…nothing I can do.

Ikea and the local progressives and metablogging

I blogged via iPhone Thursday night and didn’t post it. It’s probably just as well, but, at 2AM late Saturday night, it’s Ambien time again, and my self-censoring doesn’t work well right now.

I’ll block-quote this in case I have any observations 48 hours later.

New bed sheets! Rarest of occasions. From IKEA. I love IKEA. written by iPhone, got some ambien going on so there are my excused for a disjointed post.

Today, I assembled my big purchase from IKEA–a new chair. Maybe I’ll have a Pulitzer-winning post about that in the days to come. Here’s a spoiler: it’s a POÄNG. (For some reason, the website fails to list the combination that I actually got.)

Dialysis still a pain in the ass. No one left to blame. Garrulous patients, waking up to sweats, waking up to frigid air, being paralyzed in deep sleep after coming home, feelin feverish the entire time i am at work…no desire to do anything productive after work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

No comfort to be told that my “numbers are great.”

I’m getting lots of advice regarding whether I should have my kidneys removed. It’s seeming like the doctors are going to leave this chilling decision up to me.

What good will having the surgery or the transplant do me?

A nephrectomy post is in order for someday soon. Nephrectomy…what a lovely word. Oh, and I’d be getting a double-nephrectomy.

Tonight, the Durham young progressives who go by that name that I will not explicitly address had what was probably a pretty neat confluence of the local progressive intelligensia (word?) I long ago decided I felt isolated from this group despite numerous attempts to assimilate.

Too many grad students and post-docs and artists and community organizers and bikers and tri-athletes and assorted hip people of the world…I feel like a NOTHING around these people and when I do go to something, I leave the gathering prematurely .

I have yet to find a way that would let me stay. I reached out a couple of times trying to get the magical answer from the wise oracle of community organizing. Too busy or my problem is too intimate for an answer to be provided.

These kinds of thoughts related to feelings of alienation occur whenever anything is happening around town that I think I’d be interested in if not for the feeling that I just don’t quite fit in. Unfortunately, this means I don’t go out and try new things. I become more and more isolated from people. I live, if I am to believe The Independent and Bull City Rising and Barry’s blog and other exceptional sources, in a progressive, smart, vibrant, fun city. But I stay in my house.

Tonight, I have found myself with writer’s block, obsessing over the point of this site. I am reminded of a post I made back in September 2008 called Block.

My WordPress admin page to Add New Post…I have a blog…what do I want to do with my blog…

I star dozens of Google Reader articles every week, ostensibly because I want to share them with people…but I usually don’t…because I don’t know if I’m preaching to the choir…or trying to grab the attention of people who might not otherwise care about something..and am I really making anyone care who didn’t before…or is it ok to just post something to make the point that I care about something…

I have more lousy experiences at dialysis than I chronicle in here…but everyone gets the point that dialysis sucks…what good does it do to chronicle it in detail…especially because I’d truly prefer not to think about it when I’m not actually there…

The occasional ramblings about feeling like a failure…Feelings along these lines bubble up far more than I choose to write about them in here…I don’t know what I am accomplishing when I publicly write about these feelings.

Pet photos…I keep taking ’em, and I keep posting ’em…the world must see my pets…

And why I’m reeling off thoughts about blogging tonight? I just noticed it’s been a week since I posted anything.

But I’m digging up what I had saved on my iPhone only, and you’ve read that. So this is sufficient for tonight.

It’s 2:35AM now. Sleep very soon…and likely sleep until I convince myself that it’s ridiculous to remain in bed any longer (likely 11 or 12:00).

Where’s the requisite pet pic?

Z-curl  2010.07.01

Facebook’s Pandora’s Box

This topic warrants a lengthy treatment, but I’m whipping it up at 1:30AM on my keyboard-impaired Lenovo-warehouse-purchased Lenovo SL410, obtained about three weeks ago.

I would like to discuss an evil of Facebook. Facebook suggests you friend a person from your distant past. You have lots of mutual friends since you both attended the same high school, middle school, and elementary school together. You go way back. You remember that he was one of your best friends back in the third grade. He skyrocketing to the head of the cool kids between fourth and twelfth, my high school’s very own Zack Morris–popular, smart, handsome, charismatic. Despite that, I don’t think he ever really became a standard dick. I had some contact with him as the ill-defined geek always on the periphery of various cliques. There was no ill will. We were probably still friends, just not great friends.

I never saw him again after high school graduation. Facebook can tell me that, while he moved far away from his best guy friends, he stayed in touch enough that they’ve at least reunited in the recent past. The summer after my freshman year at college, I severed the long, constant, but weathered chain that had bonded me to an entire group of guys, most of whom I had known for a dozen years. I hung up a phone, and I never looked back.

I cannot imagine I’d have ever fit into that group, heading into our twenties. I questioned whether I ought to have been on the periphery of that group in my teens.

But there are so many what-ifs Those make me numb. I know I shouldn’t care, but most of them would surely look down on this life that I lead in 2010. No, it’s not what they think.

I was class salutatory. For three minutes in late June 1993, I loved everyone in my graduating class, and they loved me. I had all the potential in the world.

And then I failed…and I failed…and I failed…and I failed…and I failed…and I failed…and I failed…and I failed…and I failed… (Each of those corresponds to a time; I’ll spare the annoyed readers from the details.)

Now…my high school’s Zack Morris…while he was cool, mischievous, smart, and good-looking, I think he was a fairly decent guy. My little bit of research concludes that, over last 17 years, he’s grown into a brilliant, savvy, business genius who helps a small business that brings joy to the masses thrive while saving the planet at the same time. He appears to be enjoying life, and he better friggin be for the point of my post.

My point…I can’t imagine that I’d ever be like Zack Morris. That’s just not who I am. (No, I am neither Screech nor Slater in this analogy.) I happened to have all of this potential all those years ago, and I am almost completely certainty that it’s all gone. And I will never do anything worthwhile with my life that my 17-year-old self, a guy who had never even heard of Toastie, would’ve been proud to know was in the cards.

Bonus pet pic