Daily Reads

Saturday, April 05, 2014

More (probably) bad news.

I was petting our 13yo calico tabby yesterday and found a large lump under her right foreleg.

This is the cat who had to have a double mastectomy about 6 months ago due to cancer with ulcerating tumors.  She healed beautifully from the surgery, although her belly fur has still barely started to grow back.

She's actually been putting on a bit of weight lately, starting to get a belly on her.  I'm hoping that it isn't all mets.

She's my elder daughter's cat, and while said daughter is 18 and understands about cat's lifespans, and cancer, I'm not sure how she'll do if/when we have to put Iris down.

Damn.

Monday, March 31, 2014

It's not been a great day, week, month, or even year so far.

I'm still unemployed.  This wouldn't be an issue, obviously, if we didn't need the money.

And the only library jobs out there are either too far to commute, or else are more IT than library, and due to when I did my library school stint and where I worked, I have essentially no IT.

There's a part time job on the base, which would be perfect skill-set-wise, and at 24h/w it's probably MWF, leaving me two days a week for dealing with the girls' issues, and taking some courses to update my skills so that by the time that the girls don't need as much mothering I'll be ready for something that actually pays.  The next town over is also looking for a new town clerk, which involves a lot of records management, so I'll apply for that too.  The job description does not list living within the town's borders as a requirement, but it pays well enough that if one had to, one could get a small flat/bedsit someplace and not spend much time there. That job application isn't due for two weeks, so I'll get it done before Friday, and I need to contact the contractor filling the library position and see how things are going.  They called me a few weeks back to see if I was still interested and they were supposed to be calling in two weeks or so to set up interviews.  I honestly don't see them finding anyone else who's remotely qualified in the area, and no librarian is going to move to Groton for a part-time position.  It pays better than unemployment, but about 60%/65% of my old job, and if it is indeed two days a week off, along with taking classes, I could supplement the income by substitute teaching or working with the temp agencies.

Today I took my younger daughter to a one-on-one appointment with her therapist.  We started out together, and she announced that she couldn't wait to move out, and would love to become emancipated, except that she's got these medical issues like depression, and she can't drive yet.  I brought up other logistical issues, and the therapist asked if I wasn't upset about her wanting to basically divorce me.  I thought about it and said not really, because I didn't really think she was that serious.  The therapist had also asked me earlier about how things were going, and I mentioned my time online dealing with our troll (see previous post).  She asked didn't I feel that I had plenty of other stuff going on such that I didn't need to deal with other people's problems, and I don't really recall answering that.  I do know that I didn't really react to that either.

Thinking about it in the waiting room later I realized that I hadn't reacted because I've spent my entire life with "Don't let them in, don't let them see, Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know" as SOP. When something hurts you Do. Not. Let. Anyone see. Because they may/will use it against you. And you can't give them the satisfaction. Add in that I really don't have anyone to talk to. Spouse has his friends from the Navy and Kid Litt that he chats with online in the evenings. Elder daughter has her online friends through NaNoWriMo, and Younger has some IRL friends, from school and from her therapy group that she spends weekends hanging out with, and texts non-stop. (She alone has made the unlimited family texting plan worthwhile.) I, on the other hand, don't seem to have anyone right now. I don't even have acquaintances from work who I can vent with if I absolutely need to. The group I'm chatting with online while dealing with the troll are the closest thing I've got to friends right now, and I haven't even met any of them. I could probably call someone from church, but a corollary to the the whole "don't let them in" is that one doesn't feel that one's problems are important enough to bother anyone else with anyway. I don't even feel I can let the family in on it, because somehow that is letting them down. I don't know whether being the one who holds it all together came first, and now that's what everyone expects, or I started doing it because it was what was expected and I was the only one to do it anyway. Whichever came first, when I do break down, it's like the entire family falls apart, because no one knows how to deal with Mommy not being there to keep things running however lopsidedly. Even when my health is shit, I'm the one in charge.

I want to run away.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Trolls. Deranged Cyberstalking Trolls.

About two years ago I discovered Bill Schmalfeldt.  He's a real piece of work, a friend of Brett Kimberlin, the Speedway Bomber, and Neal Rauhauser, who's currently hiding out from subpoenas to make him pay child support.

If you can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps, you can tell volumes about this guy.  His story gets better.  He started threatening Patrick Frey (patterico.com) and Ken White (popehat.com), two lawyers who according to Neal had framed Anthony Weiner by somehow telepathically convincing him to take pictures of his privates (at least in his undies) and send them to women who weren't his wife.  Ken has blogged about him in a post entitled "True Threats, True Incitement, Or Truly Crazy? The Rhetoric of Deranged Cyberstalker Bill Schmalfeldt".  Another blogger on the end of Bill's crazy is Stacey McCain of TheOtherMcCain.com, who describes him as "Deranged Cyberstalker Bill Schmalfeldt". If you Google Deranged Cyberstalker Bill Schmalfeldt, you'll find more than one post. As a bit more back story I should probably add that Bill got himself kicked off of DKos because of a diary he wrote about anal sex, which can only be described as lovingly describing a rape.  DKos isn't exactly a bastion of prudery, and when they think something is way beyond the pale....

Bill also sometimes fancies himself a journalist, sometimes a reporter.  As such he decided to investigate Operation Burn Notice and Knot My Wisconsin, who were involved with the Scott Walker's recall election, on Walker's side.  I haven't figured out the whole story, but it seems that Bill decided he had it in for a guy who goes by the online pseudonym of Jerry Fletcher.  He just HAD to find out who Jerry was.  As part of this he contacted some poor woman on Facebook, and threatened her with having her children taken from her by the state if she didn't answer his questions.  I believe that Facebook did take action against his threats and suspend him.  But if you get him on the subject now he will tell you that that sort of threat is perfectly acceptable journalist practice, an "investigative technique", a trick of the trade, and it's perfectly OK as long as you don't actually plan to go through with it.  And anyway, the woman wasn't a nice person, so she deserved being threatened.

A real sweet guy, right?

Something over a year ago, he started harassing a blogger whose blog I follow.  To the point that said blogger ended up filing harassment charges, and winning.  So now Bill Schmalfeldt is an adjudicated harasser on top of everything else.  A Peace Order (which is what Maryland calls a Restraining Order) was put in place, and Bill was NOT to contact John Hoge at all.  Period.  

Did you know that if you put someone's twitter handle right after the @ so it shows up in their feed that isn't direct contact?  Bill knows this. However, no one else, including Twitter, knows it.  So come October Bill was facing 355 (or more) counts of breaking the PO.  In November the PO was extended for another six months, since it was pretty obvious that he wasn't going to leave John alone.  A few weeks back there was a mediation and John agreed to let the state drop the charges if Bill promised to just behave.

Bill is not behaving.  He isn't contacting John directly, but he's spending every waking minute following John's Blog and making snide comments about him and his commenters on Twitter.  We are "Lickspittles" and we are the stupidest folk on earth.  We ignored him completely for 12 hours on Saturday, and he went totally ballistic.  He claims he just wants us to leave him alone, but when we do, he gets upset.

Apparently someone using the same name as a commenter on John's blog, left Bill some nasty comments through Bill's blog's contact page.  There were five which could be construed as threats.  And apparently because the threatener had the same name as someone who had been commenting at John's for maybe a week, (it might have been longer, but the name didn't ring a bell with me) obviously John knew who he was and was harboring him.  Bill demanded that John tell him who it was as well as handing over all the headers on all the defamatory comments.  Bill put up some of the headers from the "death threats" on Twitter to prove that he hadn't faked them, because that was what a lot of us believed, and the headers resolve back to Bill's own computer, with an IP of 127.0.0.1. 

Bill has been demanding that John take control of his blog because he is legally responsible for every piece of libel and defamation against Bill.  As if with his history anyone could defame Bill better than he has himself.  He's been getting more and more hysterical as the week went on. So Friday evening he announced that he had just then sent two cease and desist letters including e-mailing John's lawyer (who he hates, because the only reason he lost the PO hearing is that the judge has the hots for her?!!?!?) who had acknowledged that he had emailed her.  He then posted the C&D on his own blog.  He then started ranting about how he was going to be contacting the county state's attorney (Marylander for district attorney) to have charges leveled against John if he doesn't "get his blog under control and remove all libelous and defaming comments".  The thing is, that current law is quite specific that the owner of a blog which allows comments, even if those comments are moderated, is not legally responsible.  Bill isn't having any of this, because he knows the law better than any damn lawyers.  Monday morning he talked to someone (unidentified) at that office and sent them copies of all the stuff he was complaining about, admitting that he didn't think the death threats were serious, but that it was upsetting. However he had spent the previous week shrieking about how they were real death threats while refusing to call the police, but eventually telling us he had contacted IC3, who deal pretty exclusively with internet fraud. This was pointed out to him, so he posted a screen cap of the contact form, which specifically asks about who defrauded you.  Monday evening he tweeted this:

We pretty much left him alone today, and he spent a lot of it getting upset because he kept checking John's blog.  He made snide comments on Twitter about how the posts which didn't talk about him weren't getting the traffic, so John was going to have to go back to posting about him or Brett Kimberlin (who is suing John and four others in state court, and over 20 others in federal on RICO charges for defamation, another person whose pretty much made it impossible to ever defame him more than he has himself).  

In the early afternoon he tweeted this:


At six I made this comment on John's last post about Bill:



That's actually pretty polite for Bill.  He claims he was raised to respect women, but you'd never know it from how he talks about us.

He's been going on about how smart he is and how stupid we all are for at least the last week. I had already challenged him on Twitter to prove it; tell us his IQ, SAT, GRE, ACT, something, and he'd always change the topic.

Bill, ever the mature adult:
Note he doesn't screen cap the bit where I give my IQ which is what would actually explain his unhinged tweet.

He's now saying he didn't say what he said yesterday, even when we show him what he said, and we're the idiots?  It's like Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland: "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

We are not expecting much to actually happen.  The person he is talking to is the SA's media person (would you talk to the DA's media person if you were reporting a crime?) and anyway, libel and defamation are civil torts, so the SA can't do damn thing, even if there was any, which we're pretty sure there isn't.  

I've taken to calling him Moldwarp, because he keeps calling us Lickspittles, so something Shakespearean seemed appropriate.  It's a mole, but gets used to mean someone who digs in the dirt, seldom seeing the light of day, often with implications of not-so-smart; the name directly means thrower upper of dirt (and Bill flings it with the best), and there is also a weird English prophecy which got attached to the Tudors about a person called the Moldwarp who ends up losing everything because of his pride.  ALL of those definitions fit Bill Schmalfeldt.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

An attempt at humorous captions.

Frank Fleming at IMAO does caption contests on Obama.  I gave this week's a try:


 Both are Inspector Clouseau quotes.  It seemed somewhat appropriate.

Shucks, no Ragnarok

Apparently, someone, somewhere, somewhen, decided that yesterday was supposed to be Ragnarok.  Given how many other apocolyptic end days have been scheduled recently and fizzled, I don't think anyone really expected anything to come of it.

Alex Heigl, writing for People, has one of the best descriptions of it I've seen in ages.  He must have grown up on Anna Russel's Ring Cycle sketch.  A cosmological bar-brawl indeed.

He's probably got it right.  We survived just fine because we have the Hulk.



Migraine Sunday - I'll think of a better title later

Woke up this morning to a head full of ache.  I first thought it might be my sinuses which are still getting used to the idea of having air pass through them, and right now the house air is very dry.  But two cups of coffee and 4 advil, and it's only slightly better, and I'm rather queasy with some odd fleeting visual disturbances, so migraine it is.

I called the church to let them know that they needed to find a another reader for the second reading today, and have settled in to peer at the computer screen and mostly do puzzles to try to distract me from the only slowly fading pain.  I started to type "discomfort", but it's not down to that level yet.  At that level I go on with my normal routine.

And I did some more digging on the term moldwarp or mouldwarp (I've even seen mouldiewarp).  I've been using it for our favorite internet troll and adjudicated cyberstalker, because while it means mole, it gets associated with folks who grub in the dirt, and sometimes with lack of intelligence.

Today I found this, a legend of the Mouldwarp, on a Tudor discussion forum:

According to the verse prophecy, the sixth king after King John (Henry was, in fact, the twelfth) would be the Mole or Mouldwarp, a hairy man with a hide like goatskin whose fate it was first to be greatly praised by his people, then " cast down with sin and with pride."  After his fall, the Mouldwarp was to "lead all his life/In war and in trouble and in much strife," condemned by the vengeance of God to wage a losing battle for his kingdom.  In the end he would to down to defeat amid scenes of gore and destruction - his castles fallen, the rivers red with the blood of his vanquished armies, the very hills sundered in two with dread - and would flee like a coward to end his life in exile on a lonely island.  England would be finally given over to the Mouldwarp's enemies, and would be knows thereafter as "the land of conquest."
The parallels are more apt than I thought when I picked the term.  Right now this man is leading his life in trouble and strife, waging a losing battle for relevance and his friend Brett Kimberlin.  If he can't swallow his pride, he will go down, and go down hard, because based on what he's doing (or at least saying he's doing) he could be looking at potential jail time for threats, stalking, failing to obey a restraining order, etc., etc., etc.

So, now I'm going to go back to doing number logic puzzles which actually don't require too much thinking and no spelling.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Not exactly comforting

Today in the mail I got a notice from the Connecticut Department of Labour, telling me that I "have been selected to be part of the .... Enhanced Re-employment Services program". I checked this out at the department's website, and it tells me that
"The Enhanced Re-employment Services program identifies customers who are likely to exhaust their unemployment benefits before returning to the same or similar employment.  This program provides additional services to these job-seeking customers to help them get back to work more quickly."
This is NOT comforting. However, it does tempt me to send a copy of the letter to my old HR department, since they seemed to think that I would have no trouble what-so-ever finding a new job, and anyway, my skill set is so transferable. They got a deer-in-the-headlights look when I told them that a) there were no full-time library jobs within commuting distance, and b) my skills don't transfer to any jobs which pay $25/h. 

Mostly the website talks about help with resum├ęs, employment referrals, etc., though perhaps at the orientation I will find out that they will pay for some retraining. If I could add some IT certificates, particularly in web page and database management I might be able too find something within an hour of where I live. Maybe.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

And today is.....

Clean Off Your Desk Day.

Which would be a great idea if
a) I had a desk
and
b) it wasn't Sunday, when I wouldn't be near said desk, even if I had it.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas is here...

A lovely recording of The Carol of the Bells.  I found this last year, and I recommend the group highly. 


A slightly different take, combining Carol of the Bells with God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen. And again, find and listen to everything by these guys that you can.

 And then for something very different.


And one last Maddy Prior, this time with the Carnival Band. I haven't watched the video, I just listen.