Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Meta Post: Probably going dark for financial reasons

Next month is in ten days.  I need at least $1,400 next month.  I need to focus on scrounging, selling, and begging in a frantic attempt to get that money.  If I'm focused on that (and school) I'm not going to have time for the blog.

Even more terrifying is that my public assistance is up for review.  $530 a month in cash.  An additional $200 that can be used only for food.  Health insurance.  If it isn't renewed I will lose my house.  Full stop.  I may go hungry.

The odds of there being a Stealing Commas are basically nil.

I'm worried about it not getting renewed.  I never really thought about it that much, but the help I've gotten paying for tuition (thank you and I regret nothing, for the record) adds up to a lot.  $4,000-ish per semester.  For three-ish semesters.  It's not like I kept the money or put it in savings.  It went straight to tuition.  But, on paper, it looks like $12,000 dollars of general income.

If they look at it as that then I am completely and utterly screwed.  I lose everything.

I said it was terrifying.  I meant it.  Absa-fucking-lutely terrifying.

I'll see you when I see you.


It was asked in the comments if donating to me now would make the situation with respect to the review worse.  No.  No, it would not.  I'm as confident of that as it is possible for me to be.  It has to do with the period looked at in the review, the time I have to report incoming money, and stuff like that.

If the review kicks me off public assistance, then I need all the donations I can get.  If it doesn't then new donations aren't going to change that and, moreover, it means that the government and I see eye to multifaceted-bureaucratic-eye on the very major issue of tuition money.  If you donate for something else, that I know how to deal with and report and so forth without fear.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

A note on begging for money: Small donations help too.

So, on the subject of begging form money and all that, there's an important thing to remember as I throw out all these huge number and point out that I need a couple thousand (ish) dollars by next month just to turn imminent catastrophe into eventual catastrophe.

Small donations help too.

Generally I assume that no one has anything to give, so this doesn't matter, but there's a possibility that it does.

Someone might look at me talking about $600 for this or $800 for that night think that, not being able to contribute a 3 digit number means they can't help.  That's very much not true.

Wikipedia constantly rubs salt in the wound of how poor I am by saying, "If everyone donated 3 dollars..." as if I had three fucking dollars to donate, but the point is hardly lost on me: small numbers add up.

I don't have exact stats on unique visitors (blogger only reports page views which means I can't tell the difference between one person visiting ten posts or ten people visiting one post each) so I can't really do a breakdown the way they do.

My point in making this post though, is that if you could donate $20 that would help.  If you can't do that but could donate $10 that would help.  If you can't do that but could donate $5, that would help.  I'm somewhat more hazy on values lower than that because Paypal takes a cut of each donation and I don't know, I'd have to check, if it's always a percent (in which case no value is too small to help) or if there's some minimum fee (in which case at some point a donation is too small to help.)

So, anyway, if the various posts about me needing money have left you wanting to help, but you can't help a lot, I do accept helping a little.

That said, don't help any if you cannot afford it.

Friday, January 16, 2015

January 2014

I like indices.  I like being able to find things.  There's an index overhaul in the near future where I'll be making sure the existing ones are up to date and hopefully making them easier to navigate (the original work index, in particular, is one that I've let get away from me to the point it's nearly two years out of date.)

The plan is to spend this year getting somewhat more caught up on things. Specifically:
On the first day of each month I'll post the index for two years ago if it hasn't been made yet.  On the 16th day I'll post the index for one year ago.
Movies and Games
My series of Long Live the Queen posts continued.  Please note that while the following posts are my criticisms of the game, they are not a denunciation of the game.  The game was good.  It wasn't perfect, but nothing is.

  • Inconsistency (spoilers) - Repeatedly in the game it comes to pass that you face a problem, seriously consider certain options, and then later face more or less the same problem and don't so much as think about the possibility that those options (which you've already considered and possibly used) might exist.  The game suffers for it.
  • Lack of Flavor Convos - When the only conversations are because PLOT it tends to detract from the feeling that the characters, and indeed the world, exist independently of the plot and it tends to detract from the flavor of the game.  More in the article, of course.
  • An inability to do the obvious (spoilers) - It's annoying.
Resident Evil: Degeneration, some thoughts - General impressions after watching the movie, and a fair amount of musing on the choice not to be an action hero when the capability is there.

Under control vs. under control (Wreck it Ralph and Frozen spoilers) - I was wondering recently how long I'd been meaning to polish this up and make it into a Slacktiverse post.  Now I know.  Since a year ago this month.  It's about the difference between "Under control means make it never happen," and "Under control means controlling when and how it happens." 

General Stories/Ideas for Stories:
The Princess Story, Part 4 - Princess Lara has a meal with Prince Apo and Princess Melitta where she tries to find common ground with Apo since they're betrothed.

Making sense of Alice's Power - Analysis, not a story.

Snarky Twilight:
Going to the Vampire Lair - Bella and Edward go to the Cullen compound.
It's so white in here why? - We start in the style of Douglas Adams, and move to a semi-plausible explanation.
Meetings and Greetings (Part 1) - Impossible people, impossible clothes, and bets that Edward doesn't like.

Lucy, meet Bella - Bella takes some time off to story hop and ask Lucy (of Narnia) if she really feels like she's doing what she wants instead of what her author thinks will best serve his purposes.

Edith and Ben
Meeting the Cullens - Ben meets Esmund and Jasmine for the first time, Caroline and Alex for the second.  Jasmine lightens the mood, Edith plays piano.

Skewed Slightly to the Left
Calling for help - Cameron needs to call in help to get Tsion across the border.
Getting to the other side - Cameron and Tsion cross the border with a little help from their friends and high explosives.

Image Stuff
Vermont (image post) - It was an adventure.  The tire exploded, there were rainbows, the house may not have been bigger on the inside but it sure as hell felt that way.  So: pretty pictures.

Kaleidoscope music box thing (image post, also questions) - There was this thing composed of pure awesome on ebay (there are pictures) and I wanted to know if anyone had information on who made it, or the proper name for it, or anything about it.  No one did.

The weather, it is here - Trees in fresh fallen snow look pretty cool.

Me Stuff:
Now I am indeed begging for money  - So apparently all is as it ever was.

Desperately seeking money - Things really haven't changed much.  Though I do have less credit and more debt now.

Sunday Confessional - A twitter user discovered that Ana Mardoll was my sock puppet in spite of being older, having a bigger internet following, and living in a different state.  Then there was the whole hive mind, assimilation, and the Custard Initiative may, or may not, have been called off.

Have I mentioned that I hate needing to have money? - It really is sort of distressing to look at a year ago and realize that, in spite of all my hopes that if I just made it through that financial crunch I'd be ok, it, in fact, never ends.

New post up at the Slacktiverse: Who decides what the fundamentals are? - I wrote a post for the Slacktiverse.  I need to do that more often.  It's an important question when discussing fundamentalists.

The cost of an education - It's things like this that make me feel like I constantly talk about needing money and feel guilty every time I make another post on the subject.  However much I may need it (I do) look at the fucking list of posts about myself, two out of every three are about needing money.

Current Financial Situation - An update on where things stood.  A not entirely bad update.  In fact a point I mentioned repeatedly was that I finally had heat.  In January, in Maine, that's a life saver.

The world at large stuff:
Marriage Inequality: How will we explain to future generations? - A transcript from a conversation in a hypothetical future classroom discussing our marriage laws.

Blog stuff:
I'd like to do a quote (from the blog) of the day, please help - No one did, it went nowhere.  I still want to do that at some point.

We'll be returning to regularly scheduled programming - Because logically you can only beg for money exclusively for so long.

October 2012 - Another month index post


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Monthly Donation Reminder and semi-regularly scheduled utter panic

So, the point of these posts is to remind people who might be willing to give me money that they can, in fact, give me money.  There is a paypal donate button at the top of the sidebar you will find to the right of any page on the blog.

The reason for a regular reminder of that is to try to prevent things from reaching crisis points by building up savings through donations when things are not in a state of crisis.

In that capacity, these posts have undeniably failed.  Consider the posts about money in the past week (one, two, three.)  A lot of the problem is timing.  If I'd known that things would go wrong on the electronics front and the dental front then there are certain things I would have put off for a month or two.  Things that will pay themselves back given time.  I don't have that time.

I was looking toward the end of the semester and the $4,000-ish in tuition that I have to pay off by then and investing in a plan to pay that off.  It's a good plan, I'm confident it will work if, you know, my entire world doesn't come crashing down in the next fortnight.  It is not, however, a plan that I can magically change from a four month time table to a two week time table.

To deal with the expenses that had to be paid immediately I've gotten even deeper in debt.  That's a problem in the long run, but it also has a disturbing aspect in the short term: I am out of credit.  I never had that much to begin with (something about credit companies not liking it when you have almost no income) so it's not catastrophic in a massive dollar value way the way it would be for many people if they completely maxed out their credit.

No, the problem is simpler: without credit I have no stalling tactics left.  The bills that are due next month are due next fucking month and there is nothing I can do to delay or finance or what-have-you that.

So, basically, if I can't raise a couple thousand dollars between now and February I'm screwed.

Like I said, the donation reminder threads have failed at the whole crisis averting intention.


Another thing I've been doing in these threads is talking about the months in which they're posted because they usually have far less content than what you see above.

The Roman year was originally ten months starting in March.  There was a mushy period of days that weren't in any months between December and March.

January and February were added.  There weren't enough month-less days to make two months, so days were shaved off of other months.

January comes from Janus.  A Roman god who looks forward and back (he's got two faces) the name has roots in the Roman word for 'door'.  So it made a certain amount of sense to have it be the name of the gateway between the old year and the new.

January, when created, had 29 days, which makes it a short month.  Thus the ides are on the 13th.  Julius Caesar added two days to it.  Those days, like all days he added, were added after the ides.  It hasn't changed since then.

Metapost: If your comment doesn't post tell me

With the exception of spam-bots who want everyone to click questionable links about Kim Kardashian and such, no one's comments have been intentionally kept off the blog.  I have in the past had cause to remove the comments of an actual human being (a couple of cases where people accidental posted the same comment twice, and one religious fanatic who kept on copying and pasting the same hateful violent pseudo-rhetoric) but that hasn't come up in a long time.

Any recent comments that have not posted are because something is broken.  The bad news is that there's nothing I can do to fix it.  I use Blogger's native comment engine and that gives me no control over the actual workings.  I can't troubleshoot.  The settings are such that everyone should be able to comment, that means that there's an actual error, and that's something I can't address.

But tell me anyway.

So how do you tell me that you can't comment if you can't comment?  If you were posting through a certain account* I'd like it if you'd try to comment again , this time as anonymous, just to see if the problem is that it's blocking you in general, or if it is instead blocking your means of commenting.

If that doesn't work, then email me.  [cpw (at) maine (dot) rr (dot) com]

I want two things.  First and foremost I want your comments.  If you're making comments and they're disappearing, that's bad.

The second is that I want to know precisely what is wrong.  Is it screwing up for certain people?  Is it screwing up for certain means of commenting?  What?

After I post this I'll go through the Blogger error reporting process (once I can figure out what it is again, it's been a long time since I had to do it) so they can get to work on fixing it (I hope.)


When I go to comment my options are to do it through accounts on:

Additionally I have the option of Name+Url and Anonymous.

I already know one person's OpenID comments aren't getting through, it would be a good thing to know if that's true for everyone with OpenID or not.  It would also be good to know if other methods are failing to get through.  So, if people could comment on this post with various methods (no need for much in the way of content, just say, "Posting via TypePad account" or something) to see what works and what doesn't, that would be nice.


*  For example, it was someone's comments via OpenID disappearing into the aether that let me know something was wrong in the first place.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Light in the Darkness

[Originally posted at Slacktivist and Right Behind.  In 2010.]
[Late in the Left Behind Series, New Babylon is cursed with oppressive darkness.  It isn't just that the darkness makes it impossible to see and no light source can drive it back, it is that it hurts.  The woman in the main story is one Rayford bumped into.  Krystall is selfless character first met in the same episode and later ... well, L&J didn't want to deal with the question of how one treats good people who are damned, so she ceased to be.]

Elior walked across the tarmac of New Babylon's airport, wherever he looked there was someone writhing in agony. The screams of the victims blended together into a sort of hellish white noise. He couldn't stop to help them, not yet. Like all angels, Elior was a messenger. He was here to deliver a message.

He made note of the position of every person. He might not have time to save them all, but a little reconnaissance beforehand could help him to save more of them. God hadn't actually told him to save them. He'd said nothing of the sort. But God hadn't told him not to save them either. That left the decision on what to do in Elior's hands and Elior already had his answer.

To better understand the situation Elior dropped his supernatural defenses and experienced what a mortal would. He cried out and raised his defenses. The pain had defied description. Bad enough that he hadn't even noticed falling to the tarmac. He picked himself up and continued on his way.

His goal came into view. A man walked away from her, that was odd. It was clear the man could see, but who else would be able to see in this place? Elior knew it didn't matter, if the man were important God would have mentioned him. Still, it made him curious.

Elior pushed it out of his mind, and approached the woman. He knelt beside her, "Emma, God sent me to tell you that he has heard your prayer." He placed his hands on her. She stopped writhing. "It is never too late to come to God. But neither is it free. If you swear to forsake evil and actively do good, God will take you into his embrace."

She swore it without pausing to think, but Elior knew she was sincere. For now that was enough. Time would tell whether she would live up to it. He granted her the ability to see in darkness and helped her to her feet. "Do you have any questions?"

Emma thought for a moment. "Why is this happening?"

Elior looked around, shook his head, and said, "I don't know. I'm just a messenger. I would stop it if I could, but God won't let me interfere in the Antichrist's plan."


"No, not Nicolae. He would make a piss poor Antichrist. Nicolae is like an angry child who has no real goal in life other than to throw tantrums whenever he notices he doesn't rule the world. The real Antichrist is going to try to pass himself off as Jesus. Can you imagine what would happen if Nicolae declared himself Jesus? There'd be so many questions he couldn't answer, chief among them being who the Antichrist was.

"The idea of an Antichrist is so prevalent in popular culture that anyone claiming to be Christ needs to be able to point to someone as an Antichrist. Who could Nicolae point to? Tsion Ben-Judah?" He paused to consider that. "Actually that's not far off.

"Anyway, Nicolae is not the Antichrist. He is a patsy, and an idiot to boot. If the real Antichrist were as stupid as Nicolae my work would be much easier. I wish the real Antichrist was as ineffectual as Nicolae. The real Antichrist is working with the real Lucifer who has, for centuries, been setting this up. They did this," Elior gestured to the ubiquitous darkness and suffering. "But God let them, and I don't pretend to understand why."

Emma asked, "What does God want me to do?"

God hadn't told Elior. His instructions had ended at answering questions, with no indication of what answers he wanted Elior to give. There was always the standard answer, "Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in strangers, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and come to those in prison." He paused a moment, "Speaking of which, I have something for you," he handed her bread and a water bottle.

Emma snatched them and immediately bit into the bread, then stopped, pulled the bread away from her mouth, and looked at the starving masses around her. Elior knew what she was thinking. "Go ahead. There's enough to go around." It was the fastest he had ever seen someone eat, and he worried she might drown on her water. She survived, coming out somewhat better fed and watered and completely unscathed. "I'm planning on helping them, if that sounds like something you'd like to do, I could use the help."

Emma nodded.

"Now I might not be allowed to make this all go away, but I can preform some miracles." He handed Emma a loaf of bread. "That will feed as many people as needed. You don't happen to have any fish ... no, you wouldn't. Nevermind. You'll find the bottle is full again, and will remain that way. Go around feed people, comfort them, give them a drink, see if any of them will come to God, but most of all get them moving. The overall goal is to get all of these people moving as far as they can as fast as they can that way." Elior pointed. "If any of them will accept God call out my name. I'll see about doing for them what I did for you."

Many of them were quite willing to accept God.



Elior watched as the woman's soul left her body. She was clearly shocked, death by gas grenade would do that to a person. She also exhibited the kind of serenity that only people who had been relieved from great pain ever experienced. "Hello, Krystall. My name is Elior."

When she faced him she filled with fear. "No, no. I'm not here to hurt you. You helped strangers. Even when you thought there was no benefit for yourself. It cost you your life, but it earned you something far more important. I'm here to take you to Heaven, to a place prepared for ones such as you before time itself began."


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The cost of education this semester

So basically this is another begging for money post, but it's also a status update.

I listed two unknowns before.  One was the cost of getting the tooth filled, obviously that came in.  The other was the cost of books for school.  Now I know it, sort of.

Books will cost at least $331.40.  I say at least because that's if I can get them all used and that is supremely unlikely since used books, being cheaper than new ones, sell out much faster.

If I have to buy them all new it becomes $425.59.  So that places everything in a nice easy to get a grasp on range.  The hard part is, as always, trying to find a way to actually pay the damn bills.  Recall that I'm still trying to scrape together 12-24 hundred dollars due primarily to dental and electronic difficulties.

... well, in point of fact about a quarter of it was completely expected, it was just that other stuff (unexpected stuff) wiped out the savings intended to pay for the expected stuff.

So returning to the land of education is financially frustrating.  But on the plus side, I'm almost entirely sure that if I manage to avoid head trauma and stay on my medication I will definitely get a MUCH better grade in my first and longest class  (It's worth one and a third times as much as the average class, you see, thus the meetings are longer) than when I took it before.

I mean, last time I took it I got a concussion and spent like a third of the semester suffering the after effects.

Also: Zen Buddhism.  I shall learn about it.

Tuition is $3,898, but that's an issue for another time.  The university, of course, wants me to pay it right now.  But fuck them, they fired the teacher who has helped me the most, did it without just cause, and when asked why they lied about it.  I know from experience that if I pay them by the end of the semester it'll be fine for me, so they can wait impatiently for their money.

If I can get the current crisis solved I'm confident I can pay for tuition by semester's end.  If I can't then, assuming I still have a home, the money that would have been used for tuition will be used to pay for the current crisis and any kind of fees and interest incurred by whatever means I need to use to kick the current crisis down the road (if such means exist.)

And in keeping with not wanting to have a string of "I need money" posts with no interruption, I'll keep on getting older stories posted here.  I'll shoot for a story about what an angel worthy of the name would do when faced with an episode from one of the later Left Behind books, to be posted around noon tomorrow.