Xmas Morning

So, it has finally happened.

Remember that Closed Period that I was awarded from Social Security back in September of 2017? I finally got my first payment today! yep, it has finally fucking happened.

Why did it take so long?

Great question.

It seems that back in February, when they tried paying the money to my old bank account, The check wasn’t returned until 5 days after we had updated our payment info. So, the payment center was under the impression that the corrected info was the old info, since it was corrected before the check was returned. After that I re-filed a claim to get my monthly checks.  So, the calls I have made to the dozens of people since February have been confirming my payment info on the new claim, and not the old one that I had yet to be paid on. Until last week, when I called and got someone that actually figured things out instead of just getting me off the damn phone. So, the payment was re-issued, and it took a whole 2 days for me to see my money. So, I got my first payment today and I have 2 more to go.

Hopefully, I will get approved for my monthly payment and things will be smooth sailing from here.

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Data Mining and the Average Joe.

Let’s talk about Facebook for a second.

The wonderful website where you can share your interests, keep up with family and friends and also exercise some keyboard courage to random people on the internet. What people do not understand about Facebook is that you are the commodity that makes Facebook money.

“If you’re not paying for something, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold”

– blue_beetle

When you give information to sites like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, they build a profile on you based on what products, books, movies, TV shows, political figures … etc that you “like” . This information is used to target ads to your specific profile. This data can also be accessed by other apps that you use and also sold to other data mining firms. So, that awesome “free” game that you used Facebook to log into to get more coins or whatever also has your data. That personality quiz you took on Facebook? Yep, they have it , too.

The issue isn’t that Facebook collects this data, the issue is that you gave them the data and permission to collect and share it. It’s called the Terms of Service agreement. You know, that big long thing that you agree to without reading. Yeah, that one. You entered into an agreement to have your data shared in order to get access to the Facebook site. When you take that quiz to find out what kind of cheese you are, someone is on the other end collecting that data and building a profile based on your Facebook information and your answers. This is how the data firm Cambridge Analytica collected data on over 80 million Facebook users. The very second that you sign in with Facebook to an app, you have handed them all of your data that you supplied on Facebook. Same thing with Google (I’ll get to them in a second).

The apps on Facebook, and the sites that ask that you sign in with facebook, collect your data. They pay Facebook to gain this access. Again, YOU are the product.

So, should you delete your Facebook account and ditch your Gmail account as well? No, the damage has already been done. Maybe just be careful of what apps, games and quizzes you give access to your Facebook account. Also, Facebook owns Instagram. So, if you have those accounts linked; then your data from Insta has also been shared. You may want to unlink those accounts.

OK, now let’s talk about Google.

Google does the same thing as Facebook. You have a profile with Google. It’s called a Gmail account, so when you sign into Chrome/Google with that account they log your data as well. Your searches, your messages, the whole nine, just like Facebook. I give Google a bit of grace though. Simply because I get more with Google. Gmail, Google Maps, Messenger, Android, Google Drive, Google Photos… ect. I know Google is mining my data, they straight up tell you and give you the option to opt out. To me, Google is more Quid Pro Quo about their data mining. I get more out of them for my data. With the Opinions Reward app, I actually get Google Play Credits (Actual Money) for just taking a survey.  You can actually go here and see what data Google has on you. If you use and Android phone and didn’t opt out or you use their apps and didn’t opt out; then it may be a little shocking. Again, if you are not paying for it, then you are the product.

You can also go here to see what Facebook has on you.

Should you be worried about all of this? Not really. Plenty of sites and apps do this (Even this one) to generate revenue. It’s when 3rd parties like Cambridge Analytica abuse and violate the terms of service with these sites that shit goes sideways and there is a congressional hearing. The point that I would take away from all of this is just to be mindful what you give access to sites like Facebook. Is it worth your personal data to find out who your celebrity crush is?

No, not really.

Just be careful out there.

Atypical

I officially turned 41 about 18 days ago.

Yep, I am now IN my 40s instead of being just 40. So, to kick this off I started having chest pains about 2 weeks after my birthday. At first, I just thought that I had an air bubble or something and it would just go away. It bothered me all week, so that Saturday I made a doctor’s appointment.

That Monday I got a call from the doctor’s nurse and she tells me that she would talk to the doctor and call me back. She told me that she guarantees that he will tell me to go to the ER; however no one ever called me back. When I got to the appointment the next morning, I got an ear full from my doctor. Apparently, if you are having chest pains then you get your ass to the emergency room.

Who knew?

So, we go to the ER.  I get blood work done, an EKG, chest X-rays and the like. After 5 hours I was told that everything checks out & I just have “Atypical Chest Pains”.  After pondering what could have caused these, I come to the conclusion of stress. We had a big thing hit us the week that all of this started.

Let me tell you that story now.

On one particular Monday ,on which all of this started, my friend that lives with us got a call from CPS (Child Protective Services) about his daughter, who also lives with us, and that they were going to be at my house that Friday morning to investigate the claims made about his daughter.

Of course I go into full panic mode and start cleaning the house, with my down time spent on who the hell made the call. I was seething with rage because all the claims were out in out lies. So that entire week was spent in a panic to get the house cleaned up and enraged about the entire ordeal.

Friday comes and the investigator goes into details about the complaint. We provide evidence to the contrary and the investigator leaves satisfied that the claims were false. We all breathed a sigh of relief and got on with our lives. Now in an immaculately clean house, I might add.

So ,basically, someone overheard a conversation and took everything out of context and called CPS. This caused me a week long panic attack and lead to me thinking that my heart was giving out. Which is now a thing because I am in my 40s.

People are idiots.

A Slight Disappointment and the Cost of Living.

Most of you may know that I recently had a birthday. Yep, I am now in my 40’s and no longer just 40. So, shit is all downhill from here.

I try and treat my birthday as if it were any other day. That way there are no disappointments because “X” didn’t happen or no one got me “Y”. This year I backslid on that and actually had some expectations for my birthday.

Boy was that a mistake.

Mind you it wasn’t all bad. I got a good deal of people acknowledging my birthday and an awesome Cthulhu painting; however the one thing that I had asked for didn’t happen and the birthday money I had received went to buying dinner for me, my wife, and our two housemates. It was a slightly disappointing day. So I learned my lesson and will go back to having no expectations, thus no disappointments.

Speaking of my housemates…

So, the plan to move in with his girlfriend finally fell through. I had been waiting for that shoe to drop and it finally did. So, now he is planning to move back to the town that he regrets moving to in the first place.

Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity? Yep.

So now, his plan is to work himself to death & save up all his money in order to move back to where he started from. In almost 2 years of living here, he has saved up nothing and when he did come into money, he spent it on other stuff (mind you some of the things were legit) and didn’t save anything. Now he has until the end of April to get his shit together and get out. If he fucks around and doesn’t save up; then he will need to find a new place regardless of his finances.

I am done being nice.

So, so done.

Dammit.

I spoke too soon.

So, apparently, the 3 -5 business days was AFTER the 60 days that it takes to update my direct deposit information. Yep, it takes 2 months to update 2 lines on my profile with a string of about 10 numbers each. Gotta love loathe the federal government and their efficiency.

Not to mention that it took me 4 hours worth of phone calls to even get this information. You see, I called the National Social Security Office and (after an hour on hold) I was told that I needed to call the Local Social Security Office. Problem is that when you call the local office, they send all of their overflow to the national office. So, I just got sent back to where I came from.

Now all of my plans are now on hold until April 27th. And my Amazon basket is going to be full for quite some time. Sorry HUE Smart Lights, you are just going to have to wait. You too tank-less hot water heater and paid off vehicle. We will be together one day.

Probably around the end of April.

My thoughts on this Whole Keaton Jones thing.

So, I watched this video yesterday about a kid named Keaton Jones being bullied. My initial reaction was “Man, kids are dicks” and I still stand by that opinion. I have a friend that took his kid out of school and started homeschooling him because of bullying. I have another friend who had her daughter bullied because and be the only kid in her class  not invited to a birthday party.  I have seen what bullying can do to a kid and it sucks.

I was bullied in school because I was the fat kid; however, it was the 80s and you could knock a kids teeth out back then without the backlash that kids get today for defending themselves. I became the kid that picked on the bullies.

But I have digressed.

After watching this video, something didn’t sit right with me. I always ask myself when I watch these videos “What did this kid do?”. Call it victim-shaming or whatever, but there are always 3 sides to every story. The Victim’s, The Antagonist’s and what really happened. Call me an asshole, but I think that there may be more to this story than actual bullying.

Now, I am not saying that kids don’t pick on other kids for some stupid reason. I was picked on because I was fat. I have seen kids picked on because they like a particular thing or because they have something that makes them different and unique. Again, kids can be dicks, but sometimes the victim isn’t just a poor little kid. Sometimes, the victim is the instigator and just bit off more than they could chew. I think that this maybe the case here, based on what I have seen and read.

The one thing that strikes me as odd is that this kid didn’t feel comfortable telling a teacher or other school employee, but told his mom. The Mom didn’t go to the school to handle this situation or contact the bullies parents. Instead the mom and the kid felt totally OK with making a video for MILLIONS of people to see and airing their issue online. I don’t know about you, but something about that stinks. I have never heard the phrase “Do you want to make a video about it? Will that make you feel better?” come from a parent. To me, this was just an adult cashing in on the current Anti-Bullying craze that parents,  PTAs and School Administrators are still going nuts for.

Now, the mom is being touted as a racist because of some pictures with the Confederate flag. My thoughts on that are that even if the mom is a racist cunt, it doesn’t mean that her kid wasn’t bullied. Hell, that may have been what he was being bullied for. I don’t think the kid deserved to be bullied because his mom may or may not be a racist; however it goes back to the question: “What did this kid do?”. Did he use the N-Word like some people are saying? Who knows.

The other thing that strikes me as odd is that all of these GoFundMe accounts that are being taken up for this kid. One raised $57, 000 for this kid and his family. It was suspended after the whole “His mom’s a racist” thing started, but still. Why does this family need that kind of cash? Are they hiring a lawyer? Does the kid have medical bills from injuries from the bullying? From what I have read, none of this is the case. Again, I think that the mom is just cashing in on a current trend.

Now, the issue with this is that more people like her may follow. Kids may start creating bullies to get free shit and celebrities to flock to them. My thought is that if your kid is being bullied, handle it with the school and with the bully’s parents, not on Facebook. If you are serious about stopping bullying; then do something about it. Be the change that you want to see. That is what will save other kids from bullying. Not a video on the internet.

Also, maybe parents should teach their little crotchfruits not be assholes.

There’s an idea.

Battle Royal

Yesterday was terrible.

I had plans to go to the store and run a few other errands; however those plans hit the skids. Apparently, my anxiety has made a new best friend out of my diabetes and yesterday was their first tag team match vs. my normal day activities.

If you have never read any of my posts (or have no idea who I am) then I should tell you that I have severe general anxiety disorder, along with bipolar disorder and OCD.

Yep, you are reading the blog of a crazy person.

So, my anxiety does it’s usual number and it was the typical battle of myself vs. the front door. Usually, I can calm myself and beat the door, but that day Anxiety brought it’s A Game. For almost 3 hours I stared at the front door of my house trying to gather the will to get up and go outside. To get shit done. Finally, I had summoned the will to go get groceries and run my errands and…

My sugar tanked.

So now the will was there, but my body was not able to get up and move. My sugar was low and I had to stop and eat a snack to get it back up. About 30 – 45 minutes later I had that under control and felt like I could move forward; however a new player had entered the tournament…

Depression.

4 hours of my day had been stolen and now, I sat there feeling worthless, feeling broken, and feeling angry with myself. I called no joy and crawled into bed. I talked with my wife, and chanted my mantra “Depression Lies” (Thanks Wil Wheaton) and moved forward. I cooked dinner, and my day returned to as normal as it could be at that moment.

That night I came to terms with something. I will always have to fight. This is a war, not a battle. I have to fight not only my mental health issues, but now my physical health issues as well. It’s a war on many fronts, but one that can be won. I just have to fight. It sucks, but I have to do it. I have the tools, I have the support structure, and I have the drive to persevere. Because if I don’t fight; then like in a real combat situation I will die.

It’s brutal, but it’s the truth.

So today I got up, fixed a healthy breakfast, and ran my errands. I lost yesterday, but today I struck back and I won. I will lose again, but I always have to keep fighting,  celebrate my victories and learn from my loses.

That’s how wars are won.

 

 

Still Waiting.

This blows.

I know that the Federal Government moves at the speed of narcoleptic snails, but this is ridiculous. My disability hearing was almost a month ago, and I have yet to receive a letter stating how much that I am getting. Much less a check. I am about to refile for disability here in about a week and I still haven’t received anything from my first filing.

I hate waiting, BTW.

I am also waiting to be able to see a psychiatrist. I had my assessment the other day (and yes, I am still crazy). Apparently, despite the fact that I am seeing and hearing shit that isn’t there, I am rated on the lowest level of care with the county mental health facility; however a therapist will be coming to my house once every couple of weeks or so. That’s pretty damn cool; however I do not get to see an actual doctor for my meds for almost another month. That’s not very cool.

I am also waiting on my unemployment claim to be reviewed. Hopefully, I won’t be rejected and will get some cash coming in until my other checks drop. Again, just more waiting.

So, that’s what is going on with me at the moment. Just sitting here waiting for things to happen.

Maybe I should go clean up my house a bit.

 

 

Repetitive.

It seems like I have covered this topic before, but I fear that I will be covering it again and again and again.

Because ‘Murica.

The mass shooting that happened in Las Vegas was horrific. 50 people lost their lives and hundreds were injured. Why? We don’t know because the coward offed himself.

Now we have talked about political vehicles that launch whenever one of these things occur. We have talked about motivation of these things. We have talked about the details of mass shootings to the point that I have forgotten what we have covered. So, my apologies if this is repetitive.

When the shooter was first identified, the media started asking what they always do (when the shooter is a white guy) and that was question his mental health. I am sure that they were shocked and amazed when the family stated that he had no issues with mental illness. Now, does that mean that he really didn’t? Of course not. There are members of my family that don’t know I struggle with mental health issues, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is that mental illness gets the blame as the cause for the incident and the idea that all mentally ill people are just sitting around waiting for their moment to snap and take out a pre-school is perpetuated further.

Say this with me now:

“The Mentally Ill are not mass murderers in waiting”.

As a mentally ill person, I have N E V E R thought about, or planned a mass shooting, bombing, or anything. I am horrified by these things and I am terrified that people with a history of mental illness are always looked at when these horrific events happen. I am not stockpiling ammo, or weapons, or anything. Matter of fact there is only one gun in our house.

Nerf Maverick

That’s right, I am a mentally ill white guy living in Texas that doesn’t own a gun and is not planning a mass shooting. I am like a fucking unicorn.

So what is the root cause to all of the mass shootings? If it isn’t mental health issues; then what is it?

In my opinion, there is not a root cause for mass shootings; there are several.  One is the current gun laws that we have in this country. In Texas, it is harder to get a fucking drivers license than to get a gun in Texas. I could literally go to [Insert Name of Sporting Goods Store Here] and shell out the cash for an AR – Whatever and be out the door in a matter of minutes.  That’s right, minutes. My wife and I have been helping my niece get her drivers licence and it has literally taken months and we still haven’t gotten it, yet.

So, we make people have licenses to show that they can safely operate a vehicle, but we do not do the same for a firearm. We make people have insurance to cover their liability in case of an accident, and we make them register their vehicles with the state; however we do not do jack shit for guns. Until we have comprehensive and logical gun laws in this country, we will continue to have mass shootings.

What else do we need to fix?

We need some common sense laws regarding the modification of firearms.  The media has been reporting about the “bump-stock” that the Las Vegas shooter was using. I know that these increase the rate of fire for a semi-automatic rifle; however I didn’t realize by how much. Then I saw this video.  It shows that the semi-auto basically becomes a fully automatic weapon with the flick of a switch. These are legal because you are not altering the actual firing system, but just the stock. We need to regulate this shit and quick. Sorry, but I am not sorry, there is not a legitimate use for this type of accessory. This isn’t used for hunting, this isn’t used for home defense, and not one gun-owner is going out to stop any tyrants. This type of thing isn’t needed, period.

We have to change the way we view gun laws. No one…REPEAT…NO ONE is coming for your guns. We just want to make sure that responsible people own guns, just the way we do with automobiles, and make sure these weapons do not actually become assault weapons. Yes, you will have to go to an actual gun dealer and not a convention center to buy a gun. Yes, you will have to wait, and go through some hoops; however this will lead to less dead kids, less dead concert goers, and just less death all around.

But… but… criminals will still buy guns illegally.

Yes, they will; however most criminals have stolen their weapons, or have purchased them illegally anyway. This will still happen. My thoughts on this are that if we stiffen the penalty for gun theft, and illegal sales; then we will see less of this, too. If guns are harder to get for the bad-guys; then we should see a reduction in crime. Other countries have done this, why can’t we. Of course, until the GOP stops sucking the NRA’s dick for their campaign money shots, none of this will probably happen.

Look, I don’t have the solution (even though the gun & cheese plan I had was pretty solid), but I have ideas. Ideas lead to solutions. Hopefully, one day, I won’t have to post about this shit anymore.

Sadly, that day isn’t today.

Victory-Ish (With a bit of Catch-Up)

Yeah, yeah… I know I haven’t posted in a few months. I have been busy.

However, I thought that I would come back to you all with some good news.

My SSI hearing was on Wednesday Sept. 27th. I had planned to let go of all of the constant mental and cognitive acrobatics that  I perform to keep the resemblance of stability that probably everyone sees right through; however that wasn’t necessary. I was a W R E C K when I got to the Federal Building. My anxiety peaked, thoughts were racing through my head and I could only look at the ground the whole time.

We arrived REALLY early and sat in the lobby. Waiting for our lawyer to arrive. Once he arrived he had some fairly good news. The judge had already made the judgment of a “Closed period”. Because one of the doctors or therapists had made the note that I was improving, he said that I could take the closed period, but not the residual monthly check. Basically,  I would receive payment from the date that I filed in 2015 to the date that I got out of my last IOP (BTW, I went into another IOP during the time that I was away from here) which was around September 15th, 2017.  So, Y x 25.5 months = Closed Period Check (Y is the unnamed amount that I would have been paid monthly during the closed period). I was told that I could re-file at anytime and that I would have a stronger case this next go around and that it probably would not take as long. So, I will be refiling later this month.

I feel that this is a win. Simply because, now I am not worried about back pay. I already have that out of the way and I just have to focus on getting a monthly check. I was working a job at the time and that also hurt me a bit. I was working for a company called Teletech troubleshooting a very popular brand of computer peripherals venture into cloud-based security cameras. I quit just a few days ago because the management there was horrific. I mean, these people couldn’t have run a fast-food joint much less a help desk. I was asked to work off the clock, threatened with termination if their software didn’t perform correctly, told that they would make any extra time disappear if I went over my 20 hours of availability and just treated horribly. It was just ran terribly. So, now I won’t have that weighing me down during my next filing and I already have a SSI Judge stating that I was previously disabled. So, I am fairly optimistic about this next go around.

I also plan on keeping up with this more. Maybe not posting every day, but at least once a week.

See you soon!