Saturday, February 15, 2020

Things you can do to help

Short version: If you want to help me in this time of severe depression and wanting to give up and have the world go away, you could give me money, or [insert clothing/shoes/backpack stuff here], or give me fiction.  For fiction, have a wishlist, a wishlist, links to two games and a DLC pack on Steam, and my Steam account.

~ * ⁂ * ~

Obviously the plan to get this written and posted yesterday didn't work.  On the other hand, it was the plan to post this that got the previous post written copied, pasted, and posted; so that plan, failed though it may have been, did have some positive effects.

I'd actually been meaning to write a post like this for ages, but there were two important factors holding me back.  One is that my depression makes it hard to do anything.  The other is that I always feel sleazy and cheap and other things along those lines when I ask for . . . anything really, but especially when I ask for money or stuff.

I feel like I'm abusing people's kindness, trying to get things I don't deserve, and providing nothing in return.

I know, however, that that feeling isn't entirely accurate.  There are very much people who would like to help and telling them how they can do that isn't, inherently, a bad thing.  That knowledge doesn't lessen the feeling.

The final impetus for actually writing this is that Kristycat asked, "Is there anything we can do to help?" eleven days ago.

~ * ⁂ * ~

I really hate asking for money, but the simplest thing you can do to help is to give me money.  Here's the link.

So, for the most part, being behind on bills has been a matter of depression leaving me too out of it to read mail, check accounts online, remember that bills are a thing, or even stand up (which is a necessary first step for various things that help with bill paying.)  Or, to put it another way, the reason that my phone was turned off, someone was sent to disconnect the water if I didn't pay my water bill right then, and I came within a hair's breadth of losing my internet isn't that I couldn't pay.

The money was available, I just wasn't in a state where I could do anything with it.  That being said, I very definitely need money I don't have.  Part of this is late fees and interest, part of this is that when things get really bad sometimes it takes something that costs money to make it through that, and most of it is because . . .

Well, actually, let me pause for a moment and say that I have no idea where the fuck my finances are at.  It's been at least six months (almost certainly eight, and quite possibly more) since I was actually on top of things enough to know where I stood.

Credit cards, my student loan, utilities, and such, can be looked up online with relative ease.  I think it only took me four or five months to do so.  It's what I owe my mom, who happens to be my landlord, that I don't know about.

She doesn't charge late fees or interest.  She doesn't give penalties of any form for paying late.  She's really nice about that stuff, in fact, which makes me feel like utter shit when, as now, I'm taking advantage of her kindness.

I have to be at least two thousand dollars behind.  Probably more.  (Maybe a lot more.)  I don't know.  I can find out, but it'll take more than visiting a website, and most of the time visiting a website is beyond me.

So, yeah, I need money.  Lots of fucking money.

~ * ⁂ * ~

[I'll try to come back tomorrow and provide the information necessary to actually turn this into a thing you can do]

I need shoes.  I need a backpack.  I need clothes.

My right foot doesn't lift evenly when I walk.  (It's why, before I broke the left one, I sprained my right ankle so often.)  The sole of that shoe is now worn down at a considerable angle.  I'm not sure how much wear is left before it runs out of sole.

One of the main pockets of my backpack has a broken zipper.  The other main pocket has a hole at the top; said hole is so large I've become accustomed to putting things in and taking things out without bothering to unzip the thing.

I have one pair of jeans.  All of my other pants are unwearable, most of them because I wore right through them, and that turned into massive rips/holes at inopportune places.

I think I've got one decent skirt left.  Maybe two.

I cycle through the same three t-shirts in perpetuity.  They all have holes in them, sure, but unlike the rest of my shirts, said holes don't leave me indecent.  Sometimes, if I haven't been able to do a load of laundry in a while, I add two others to the mix.  Their holes don't leave me indecent, per se, but they're large enough and plentiful enough that each shirt has been relegated to the status of "emergency back up t-shirt".

I don't seem to have a winter coat.  I'm honestly not sure how that happened.

The only non-damaged coat I do have is musty smelling suede jacket that I basically never use.

The coats that I do use are two hoodies.  On the outside they look like two instances of the same thing, but one is of higher quality.  I'm not sure that really matters anymore.  They show their age mostly in the way they've faded into a color that might best be described as "Well . . . it used to be blue" and the absolute tatters the cuffs (that's the name for sleeve ends, right?) and pockets are in.

There's one other coat that I sometimes use if appearance matters.  From the outside I think it looks ok, but the lining is damaged to the point that wearing it is decidedly odd.

None of this is the result of tragic accidents or any such thing, it's just what happens when things hit the point of threadbare and you keep going.  It's been so long since I got new clothes that I've worn most of what I have to destruction, and the rest of it is pretty damned close to destruction.

~ * ⁂ * ~

Once upon a time, depression took away my ability to enjoy reading books.  That was devastating on multiple levels.  Things have gotten much worse.  Outside of a couple of franchise specific exceptions (which I'll get to), there's only one story format I can still engage with.

That format is video games.  My best guess on why I can engage with them when I can't with any other form of storytelling is that it's tied up with how one is necessarily part of the action in a game.  It's just a guess though, I very definitely don't know for sure.

The two franchises that I can still emotionally engage with outside of video games are My Little Pony (Friendship is Magic and Equestria Girls both) and Teen Titans (the 2003 series.)

When I thought I might be on the verge of writing again, and knew it would probably be MLP fanfic, I put together an Amazon wishlist of things I thought might help.  There are three types of thing on there.  The first is tie in reference books (all written from in-universe perspectives), the second is RPG books that I would use as reference books (and possibly to run a game if the relevant children are interested, but I've never done anything like that), and the third is art books (concept art is awesome.)

MLP is on Netflix, so you won't find the show itself on that list.  Teen Titans is not on Netflix, so when I made a similar wishlist for it, I put the show as the top thing on the list.  Originally that was the only thing I thought of, which wouldn't be much of a list, but then I remembered a recent Raven-centric comic that caught my interest, the actual tie in comic to the show,* which shouldn't be confused with the later show and comic of the same name, and Amazon reminded me that the "Teen Titans meet the Teen Titans" movie is a thing.

   * though the collected editions only cover the first 32 issues, and I wasn't up for adding the remaining 23 issues to the list individually, and I really don't know why I couldn't just stick this on a wishlist.

When it comes to gaming . . . unless someone wants to buy me a gaming desktop (primary computer is a laptop), a console, or VR equipment, I think I should just stick to talking about the games themselves.  Resident Evil 2 is at a steep discount on Steam until the 17th, Jedi: Fallen Order appears to be the Star Wars game I've been waiting for since Jedi Academy, and I'd like to get the DLC for Arkham Origins (while the season pass doesn't have all of it, it seems to have the important stuff.)

As mentioned though, I can actually engage with games in general.  (It's not like I don't have depression dulling the feelings, but it's way better than nothing.)  That means that I could potentially enjoy games I never heard of (see: Celeste.)  Things I know I want are probably a safer bet, but the possibility exists that something outside the box could get good results.

No matter what, (if I understand Steam gifting correctly) someone wanting to give me a Steam game will need to find my Steam account.  Here it is.

~ * ⁂ * ~

There was probably supposed to be more, but I'm on the verge of losing consciousness.  That's a good thing, though.  Being asleep is better than being awake these days. So, away I go.  Darkness take me.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Comment Dump: The past month and a week and a day

I haven't written anything here in a while.  Specifically I haven't written anything in a month and a week and day.  That is not, in fact, what the title is referring to, it's mostly a coincidence of timing, though there's a decent enough chance of partial causation that one should not call it an unqualified coincidence, instead this a time for hedging.

Anyway, a month and a week and a day ago was when I wrote "Retrospective", the last thing I published here, and it also happens to be the date of an open thread at Ana Mardoll's.  I handle the open threads, and because I'm there anyway, I often write up what's going on even if I have absolutely nothing to share.  So, as a sort of low effort update on what's going on, I'm going to copy the stuff I've said at the open threads over that time into this post.

Also, there's kind of a deadline to this, because no one wants to hear about a month and a week and two days; it has no ring to it.  So, low effort + deadline = decent chance I'll actually post this today, as I am planning to.

I'm planning on making a "things you can do if you want to help" post later today, which is part of why I didn't include the post to that effect in the following.  Most of the rest of the reason being tied up in the fact that it was sort of hasty and therefore sort of . . . crap.

[Content Note: mostly severe depression with spikes of passive suicidal thinking and feeling, also financial stuff, and probably some other things I forgot about]

January 4th, Main Post:
Open Thread: Winter Floof

Unfortunately it was a wet day, so Elliot's floofiness isn't as visible as ideal when one is naming the open thread after that floofiness.  None the less, that is a picture of a pony floofed up for winter.
~ ~ ~

January 4th, Comment:

I used that picture because it was already edited on my computer. Also: floofy pony.

I've been . . . well, I'm alive. Not long after I posted last week's open thread, Lonespark and I went to see the new Star Wars together. I meant to write a post about it the next day. Haven't started yet.

That was good (not the movie, seeing it with Lonespark) nothing else is or has been. Come mid February, it'll be three years since I broke my ankle. A few days more and it'll be three years since I needed to go off my hormones (because of surgery related blood clot risk) and that fucked up everything.

The injury is . . . I think I'd actually forgotten that there's a metal plate in my foot. It's long since passed. I'm not even close to having recovered mental-health-wise.

I was going to write a post looking back over those three years, talking about stuff that had changed, what I had-- yeah,this isn't quite that. Or all that close, really. I should probably remind everyone that I've never been actively suicidal, and have never engaged in self-harm.

Hope you're all doing better than I am.

January 17th, main post:

Open Thread: Snow Day

Picture taken yesterday morning on my sister's farm.

~ ~ ~

January 17th, comment:

[Content note: depression, passive suicidal thinking, the fear that it will become active]

Sorry about the lack of open thread last week. Depression has been really bad. Eating, drinking, sleeping has been hard. Too hard to do right more often than not. There have been times when I couldn't do anything but cry and want everything to be over.

Wanting to disappear, wanting the world to go away and never bother me again, wanting to give up, wanting to go to sleep and never wake up. Imagining, say, being hit by a car and finding the idea fairly positive.

A fear and sadness filled breakdown when when I wondered how many times I can come up to the edge of suicidal without taking that next step and becoming suicidal.

So on. So forth. Honestly, nothing really out of the ordinary. Just more of the same, if unusually intense.

I haven't written in two weeks. The last post I wrote, which was the "woe is me, I can't write fiction anymore" shit that everything is these days, was on the same day as the previous open thread. The previous open thread being two weeks ago because I failed to post one last week.

February 2nd, main post:

Open Thread: Puppy

There are sixteen dogs in my sister's house now.  Her two adult dogs, their thirteen puppies, and a housemate's adult dog.  This is one of them, her name (for some inexplicable reason) is Panda-dora.  When the picture was taken she was a month and a week and a day old.

Sorry there was no Open Thread a week ago.  Sorry this is so late.

~ ~ ~

February 2nd, comment:

[CN: depression and a dash of passive suicidal thinking/feeling.]

I'm still alive. That's basically where the good news ends. (And it doesn't even feel like good news to me.)

I don't know the last time I wrote something. Definitely nothing new since last time.

There hasn't been anything notably bad that's happened. Just sort of steady-state not-good status quo.

That status quo involves my sister completely disrupting any attempt to turn things around by getting me to come up to her house all the fucking time. This isn't because she got run over, by the way. It's how she always is. She calls on everyone all the time without really caring about what it does to their lives.

That's not the primary thing, though, because her disrupting attempts to make things better only matters if those attempts exist, and usually they don't.

February 9th, main post:

Open Thread: Ice on a Windshield

Not much to say about this one.  While I think the liquid water in the upper right adds to the picture, it doesn't add enough, in my opinion, to make it into the title.

Sorry that this is late again, but at least it exists.

~ ~ ~

February 9th, comment:

[CN: More of the same, so financial troubles, depression, a touch of passive suicidal thinking (but not much of the last one.)]

Fell so far behind on my bills that my landline has been disconnected. I didn't even notice until I tried to make an outgoing call earlier this afternoon.

The sad part is that that wasn't one of the bills I had any reason to fall behind on. The money was there, I've just been too out of it to go through the necessary motions. I almost had the same thing happen to my internet a week or two ago, and came within a hair's breadth of having my water turned off in . . . January, I think?

Maybe December or November for the water. It all runs together. Could be January, like I originally said, but I honestly wouldn't surprise me if it were October or some such instead.

My utilities, at least, don't charge absurd late fees. They just want to get paid, it's not like credit card companies and such that see late fees and interest as the place where the real money is made.

The one truly getting screwed by all of this isn't even me. It's my mom. She doesn't charge late fees; she doesn't disconnect my utilities. As such, when there isn't enough money, she's the one who doesn't get paid. I don't even know the last time I paid her, at this point what I owe her has to be downright staggering, but I won't know how much it is until I go through a bunch of records (because I haven't been keeping proper track) and I'm honestly not sure when I'll be in a state where I can do that.

Everything sucks, and I'm pretty sure I'm a horrible person. I look down on m sister when abuses my mom's willingness to . . . basically to suffer to make my sister's life easier, and here I am doing the same thing. I'm hurting her financially and emotionally (money is, far and away, the thing that puts the most stress on my already constantly stressed mother.) Not really in a position to judge my sister's mistreating of our mom, if I'm doing the same damned thing.

Everything sucks, a lot of things hurt, and I just want to go to sleep and have the world go away.

Saturday, January 4, 2020


The beginning of 2017 was by no means a time of great joy.  It was, however, a time of hope.  I used to be that the problem that always had me skating on the edge of financial collapse was--

You know what, fuck it.  We don't need to get into that, because I'm already on the verge of crying just thinking about back when things were better.

I had graduated, without tuition numbers added up properly, I was going to be ok financially going forward.  Then the thing with my sister's neighbors.  Everything started to fall apart.  Yet as 2016 drew to an end, I could believe that things were going to get better.  That the future was bright.

There's a reason for that.  From the start of the new year to February 15th I posted 43 times.  Not quite a post a day, but close.  Of course, some of that was talking about bad stuff in my life.  A lot of it wasn't.

There were six self-contained snippets in my story verse with super people (yes, there are superheroes, but there are people other than heroes too.)  Five installments on what was then an ongoing story set in the same universe.  (An index for that story, too.)  Four things talking about the setting and those in it that were not themselves stories.

There were three Kim Possible fragments.

There was a silly random story, a story idea in summary, and two times I related unpleasant real life things in story form.

Stepping away from stories, there was a post about my first impressions of that year's Arisia, a post about something I'm often curious about, and two essay-like things (how this is not like the end of the Roman Republic, and when magical world building makes sense vs. when it doesn't.)

On the meta front, there were two things about Stealing Commas stuff and two posts about my then-new Patreon account.

Also, outside of the usual categories, I had a post describing the artwork I envisioned on two cards of a tarot deck in my head.

That's a lot of stuff.  22 stories or story related things (not counting the index) alone.

In that month and a half, I did as much storytelling as I have in the past nineteen months. 

There's a reason for that.  My hormones had been figured out, my depression was managed as well as it ever had been, and --even with the terrible things happening to my sister-- things were generally looking up and looking positive.'

Then I broke my ankle in three places.

And, you know what?  I didn't think it was going to be that much of a problem.  I was taking notes for the posts I was gonna write about it and shit like that.

Then I had to go off my hormones because of blood clot risk.  And everything fell apart.

In less than a month and a half, it'll be three years since I broke my ankle.  My mental health still hasn't recovered.  I don't know if it ever will.

If I remember correctly, right before I broke my ankle I ordered jars so that I could buy ingredients in bulk, but then not have to deal with the huge fucking containers constantly.  By the time they arrived (again: if I remember correctly) my ankle was broken.  Unboxing happened today.  34ish months later.

I don't want to be here anymore.  I want the world to go away.  I want to go to sleep and never wake up.  Not die in my sleep, just call in Maleficent and have me sleep forever.

None of this is new, other than the jar thing, you've probably read all of the stuff after "Then I broke my ankle..." several times before.

I don't know what to do.

Nothing I've tried to do has worked, but that's not so much because things have failed, it's more that I haven't been able to fucking start anything.  So, in a sense, nothing I've tried to do has actually been tried.

I want to disappear.  I want to not be.

Existing is nothing but sadness, false hope, crushing disappointment, and bills I can't pay.

So, that's the past 34.5 months.  Likely forecast is for more of the same to continue indefinitely.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

My sister is back in her home, I'm back in mine, and there are puppies

All told, my sister was in the hospital for several hours less than two weeks.  I spent almost all of that time away from my home.  Most of it was at her house, but for several days at the end I was staying across the street from the hospital.  (There's an apartment building set aside for the loved ones of patients who don't live in the area.)

At no point in that time away from home did I sleep well.  It's over a week and a half since I got back home, and I'm still not sleeping right, which leads to not eating or drinking right, and also getting my medication schedule all screwed up.  Which is part of why it's been over a week and a half since she got out of the hospital and I'm only just now publishing a post saying she got out the hospital.

So, all of that said, she seems to be doing pretty well, though she's actually back in the hospital today for minor surgery.

The day she got out of the hospital she gave an interview to a woman named Donna Perry.  You can read the resulting article here.  You can also read it in several other places, which come up well before that on Google, but that's the newspaper Ms. Perry actually writes for.  There's some stuff in there that I didn't know about until I read the article myself.

People have a tendency to want to help someone after something goes wrong, and if you can afford to and you want to, there are three ways you can do that.

The thing that would (probably) get her help the fastest at the moment is this Amazon wishlist, since if you pay for something on there it'll be shipped straight to her house right now.  She had me set up Paypal and Ko-fi accounts too, but I don't have the information needed to connect those to her bank account, so any money donated is going to have to wait until she gets around to that.  (If you happen to be reading this in January, though, presumably that's been done.)

On the subject of Amazon wishlists, anyone reading might have noticed that everything I've been writing has had an MLP bent for over two years now.  If you'd like to help me in that arena, I set up a list that has reference books along with a few RPG things that I'd use as reference books.*

Lastly, puppies.  Thirteen were born the day before my sister's birthday.  These were taken when they were three days old:



* I mean, I could try to use them as intended by actually running a game, but:
a) I've never done anything like that before
b) I'd have to wait for my sister's younger two to be old enough. (Once upon a time I was told eldest loved all things unicorn, but if it was accurate, it appears to have stopped being true since then.)

Monday, December 2, 2019

My sister was run over (by her own truck)

[Getting run over isn't a pretty thing, I'm going to be talking about the aftermath.  This is your warning, read at your own risk.]

It happened on Tuesday, much of the information I've been given was third hand (I didn't go up to my sister in the emergency room and order her to regale me with the story of how she got there; I didn't do that in the ICU either), so it's possible some details are off (or missing) but I'll tell you what I know.

The daycare my sister's middle and youngest child attend is one of those smaller more personal affairs where it's run out of the provider's home.  That home is on a hill.  Maine, especially non-coastal Maine (after losing the farm, my sister's family moved inland), is cold in late November.  To keep the kids from freezing, my sister left the truck on (and thus the heat on) while she got them in.  The middle child, a three year old, knows how to unbuckle himself.

In what is, so far as I know, his first time shifting gears in his life, the three year old put the truck in neutral.  My sister's luck being what it is, she was down hill from it.

Thursday, November 21, 2019


Quick but important question:

Is anyone reading this?  Does anyone care?

I guess that's two questions.

The short version is that I feel like if I shut down Stealing Commas it wouldn't really inconvenience anyone.  No one would care, and I'm not even sure that anyone would notice.

Given my lack of output writing-wise, I feel like that might be the reasonable thing to do.

But those are feelings.  Facts might be more useful here.  So, if you're reading this, please leave a comment saying so.  If you care, please mention that as well.

The long version is after the break

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Quick computer question that hopefully isn't important, but could be -- (deleted files and Chromebooks)

Chromebooks don't have a recycle bin.  Deleted things are deleted.  I deleted what looked like some empty folders.  Then I realized it wasn't showing me hidden files.  So I could have deleted some important stuff.*

Now, they say anything deleted on a Chromebook is gone for good, but I haven't zeroed out anything, which means that that's probably not entirely accurate.  Especially since the hard drive I deleted things from was external, which means I can and have removed it, which means they're not going to get overwritten (unless they already were, which would have needed to happen almost immediately.)

The thing is, though, you can't just install shit on a Chromebook.  It needs to be Chromebook compatible which most things aren't.

Right now, everything but the Chromebook is out of commission, which means that if I want to recover those folders, and the files they may or may not contain, I need to do it using the Chromebook.

So, we come to the question: How do I recover erased files on a Chromebook?

Please remember that I am well aware that there's no native function for doing that.  I'm not asking "Where is the Recycle Bin so that I can take the files out?"  I'm asking, "The files are well and truly deleted but have (almost certainly) not been overwritten, given that, how do I get them back?"

Basically what I need here is either "This is an app on Google Play that is simultaneously: capable of doing the job and Chromebook compatible" or "Even though you know nothing of Linux, you need Linux.  Here is a step by step --leaves out no details no matter how obvious they may seem-- process to recover erased files with the version of Linux you can install on a Chromebook."

The Linux thing is in the beta stage right now, which means it might not work completely properly, but this is the key thing: it used to be that you had to swap your Chromebook into developer mode to use any Linux thing whatsoever, and that process can (apparently) erase every fucking thing you have.  The beta stage "install Linux with the push of a button" function doesn't require any such tinkering, and is relatively risk free.

It also doesn't give you much in the way of control.  There are literally no options.  You push the button, it installs Linux, and you have no input on what that actually means.

(Even if you can't help) if you're reading this, thanks.


* Important stuff not actually from the Chromebook, I was supposed to be copying something, but instead I moved it, when I noticed the mistake I canceled the move, and I was undoing it, but the Chromebook didn't merge the relevant folders so I took a look inside to manually movie the files in the folders into the places they were meant to be, and didn't find any files to move.

I deleted the seeming superfluous folders, and only then did it occur to me, "There might have been hidden files."  I checked, and (sure enough) hidden files were hidden, so I have no idea if I deleted any or not.