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I have been insanely busy the last few weeks. Still getting regular blood draws to reduce my hematocrit level and last Friday was the first time where it was at the level it was supposed to be so they didn't take any. My stepfather died last week and I'm just not sure how I feel about it. I won't get into it in this post, but he basically was a mean son-of-a-bitch and he was abusive.

Also, my cousin who basically scammed my mother a couple of weeks ago got his. He lost athumb in a work accident. He's doing ok, I guess. I still haven't talked ot him I heard through a mutual friend. Funny thing is the amount of money he'd get for being maimed in a settlement is almost the exact amount of money he owed my mother. I guess I got my pound of flesh.

I had a bad bout of insomnia last week too, stayed awake nearly six days. Finally took meds on Sunday and slept for nearly 12 hours straight, then I woke up late today after another 12 hour stint. Guess I needed the sleep. I did manage to get a bunch of stuff done though. Playtesting has proceeded on my and Antoni's Dungeon Fantasy book and the playtesters are putting the supplement though its paces.

My "Cursed Thou Art" Pyramid article got out there. For all the forum posts looking for tools to create new Divine Curses...nary a peep. More than that, I finally gave people a way to create the "Murphyonic Feild" from the Dresden's Files in GURPS and...nothing. Though it does seem that it's been rated overall pretty well. So that's something.

I'm off to do some more work. Gotta go down into the word mines. Later y'all.

ravenpenny: (Default)

I got issues, man. A lot. A whole fucking lot. The futhermucking light on my ceiling fan will not stay at a constant 60 watts. I'm diabetic and afraid of needles. I worry too much. I can't sleep at night. When I do sleep at night, it's like HorrorVision in my head. I'm always walking a tightrope between anger and sadness. I can't be around most people because I'm afraid of what happens if I lose control. And I have to constantly occupy my brain, or it revolts - you either give that fucker something to do or he finds something to do. Now at least one of these things I can do something about. No, it's not the fucking light bulb - that thing is cursed or inhabited by a grumpy tech spirit that my cybershamanic diplomacy just can't assuage. I worry too much. I worry too much because I'm a "What if?" thinker. I do it because people depend on me. They respect my opinion, and they value my perspective. And I'm a sucker for someone in need. I tilt at windmills. It's just who I am. This worrying is part nature, and part nurture. I did security work for years, including working as a bouncer, and where I grew up if you didn't think about who was going to beat your ass meant you'd get your ass beat. Add that to an imagination that is...vivid and you can see where this goes. I'm not complaining (too much), because let's be honest - asking, "What If?" means I've got a plan A, B, C, D, E, - you get the fucking idea. That's how I operate. I expect the first couple to fail and have built in backups and fail safes. But this comes with a price. A old boss put it like this "When you're always prepared - you're always paranoid." He was an old cop, and I loved that man like he was blood. Taught me everything I know about security and law enforcement procedures. Anyways, that phrase has stuck with me a long time, and I've come to shorten it to "Preparanoid." (a obvious portmanteau). Yesterday, I got shitty news. I was turned down by Uncle Sam for the third time because (and I'm paraphrasing here because if I think about it too much I'll need to go destress) "You're issues aren't severe enough! You've never even been hospitalized." Well, no shit! You don't say? Because I've had an intensely loyal and loving set of family and friends, I suddenly don't need as much help as anyone else? Pal, I'm Bi-Polar, ain't nothing I can do about that - my brain chemistry is so fucked it's like Philip K. Dick got into my head before I was even born and said, "Hey, let's just dump this whole beaker of Dr. Hofmann's brew in here. Baby high on acid - that shit will be hilarious." Of course, I don't really hallucinate, not in the traditional sense. No, my brain tells itself stories. The same thing that makes me good at planning, adapting, and overcoming can also leave me paralyzed with fear for those I care about. "If they go out in this weather they could have a wreck." "If L.A. rides the buses someone could try to hurt her." I've learned to deal with the fear over the years by allowing - no, demanding - myself to hope. I am a  creature of infinite hope and optimism, but I'm also a pessimist. I see the worst, because if you know the worst, you can plan for it, and then take what you get in stride all the while hoping for the best. Anyways, I kept hoping that for once, I'd be able to do things the easy way. But nope. My issues are "mild." Let me give you an example of what my brain can come up with if left to its own devices:

Me: Man, I haven't heard from my brother in a while. I hope he's okay.

Brain: Yeah, he's probably okay. You know how he is.

Me: Thanks. Brian!...I mean, Brain. Sorry.

Imagination: What? No! That's not possible he just told you about that thing. You know? That thing! With the guy! The thing with the guy. What if it happened?

Me: Shit. The Thing.

Brain: Shit. With the guy.

Logical Plan-y Me: DON'T LISTEN TO HIM! HE'S A FUCKING LIAR. It's what he does! He tells stories and comes up with gaming stuff! I mean he does help me plan and all...But no! He's lying! Don't listen to him.

Imagination: That's why you should listen to me! I know things...and stuff. Ignore the Vulcan Boy Scout - he's useless unless you need a nerve-pinch, or you've got a seven-year itch, or you lost your wallet, or whatever. Seriously...what if it happened? CALL HIM!


Me: Oh, god, no. Oh, god. We're doomed! I'm calling him. [no answer]. It's okay. I'll just wait an hour or so and call him again...

And that's how I stayed awake for nearly three days straight. I couldn't get a hold of my brother so I couldn't sleep because I kept coming up with possible reasons why I hadn't heard from him. It's a fucking magic trick, see? I disappeared my sleep. So you know what? I'm going to try letting go. I can't control everything. So yeah, I'm gonna try to let go - even if only a little - who knows if it'll work. Besides, I can't do anything about the fucking light bulb. [Flash] [Burble Luminescently] It's like Lucifer in Edison-Thought Form. Yeah it's the bringer of light and all - but that light drives me nuts. So this is me letting go, just a little. Maybe tomorrow I'll do it a bit more and see where that takes me. I'm going to go sleep now.

ravenpenny: (Default)

It's New Year's Eve and I'm writing like a ferret on speed. I've been awake nearly 19 hours at this point and I've had made 14 hours of sleep in the past three days. Last night, I was kept awake because my brain just wouldn’t shut down, and when I finally did sleep, I had night terrors. It’s always that way for me. I live on the edge of sleep. Morpheus simultaneously holding my hand and smacking it away. My mind is a contradiction, and I suppose, so am I. What I’m about to throw out there into the blogosphere is incredibly personal – but I can’t keep these secrets for much longer. Like my friend Troy before me, I have something to say. It’s eating me up inside and the extra stress of wondering if someone found out is nearly killing me. So here goes – I’m bi-polar. That's right. I'm Bi-Polar, Type II with Monomania if you want to be precise. But I’m not just bi-polar (that would be too easy). I have other issues that lay into me daily, rending what’s left of my sanity like a hungry badger eating a honeycomb. I also suffer from insomnia so bad that I stay awake for days and sometimes over a week. My mind pushes my body to the edge of the breaking limit and then backs off. It hasn’t been so bad lately because my doctor proscribed me a medication which helps me sleep, but I still get bad bouts. It’s like walking around in a fog and never knowing when or where you are. In effect, it’s like a waking dream. When I do sleep, I’m hounded by nameless fears and visions of things that want to eat me, or hurt me, or worse, hurt those I love and care for. I see all my failings and mistakes as a person on a nightly basis. It takes a toll like you could not possibly believe, and sometimes I just want to give up. To just let myself fall apart. But I don’t. I just keep going and hope it’ll get better soon. I lead myself on with that imaginary carrot and threaten myself with what might happen if I do fall apart (that’d be the stick). Each day brings the wild mood swings of someone who is bi-polar, and even with my medication, I walk the tightrope of anger and sadness, with each chasm to my side a pit I can barely crawl out of if I fall. I’ve developed a system to help contain my anger from the world: lots of meditation, constant projects, isolation, a good support group, and forever questioning my emotions and what I am feeling. Is this the bi-polar talking? Should I be genuinely angry? Sad? Happy?

I ask these questions when I begin to feel anything. Moreover, I think about what I am going to say before I say it. Will I hurt someone with my words? What about my tone? I’m a very guarded individual in person, though it may not come across that way over the Internet. That’s because over the Internet, I can filter myself slowly, instead of “in real time.” Over the years, the Internet has become my playground and a place I can be free. This isn’t to say I don’t have friends, because I do, but these people know me intimately. They know what I struggle with, and they know if I have an outburst I’m going to be near-instantly sorry. And they forgive me. I don’t know why they do, but they do, and I love them for that. They keep me sane. When one of them leaves me, it leaves scars in my soul so deep that I know I’ll never be completely whole again. Sometimes, I don’t even know how much I rely on them until they are gone. Like my grandmother. When my grandmother died, I drank myself senseless for almost two days straight. (For those of you playing along at home, I’m diabetic. Diabetics and alcohol got on as well as oil and water. I shouldn’t have gone there, but I did. I couldn’t handle it.) When I finally saw my mother silently crying in her room, I snapped out of it. I could deal with my grief later. My family needed me now. Over the weeks and months to come, I felt myself becoming more and more unbalanced. The chains restraining my inner Beast were unraveling, and I didn’t know why. I was angrier than I’d been in a long time. I isolated myself even more in fear of hurting others. I let myself contact only a few people and my L.A., she kept me sane all the while dealing with her own loss. She’s a hell of a woman. But C kept us both together really (and still does). I don’t know how I’d have made it out of the quagmire of my own wrath and pain without him. He hates it when I say I believe in him. That he’s always there for me, and he is. And I know why. Because like me he’s afraid of failing those, he cares for. But he’s never failed me yet. Not even once and I've known him for nearly twenty years.

           I wage a battle on myself daily, and somehow win. But it’s a pyrrhic victory. I must segregate myself from the world. I can't be out there the way I currently am. It’s probably better that way, my anger is frightening. When in a rage, I cannot stop myself from breaking everything around me, and so far I’ve never physically hurt anyone – which is a miracle, in and of itself, and I wonder whether that will ever happen – and how I might come to terms with it. I hope I never have to find out. It’s one of my greatest fears. My life is an unending war against my worst enemy – myself. That Beast in me, I can’t seem to kill it or banish it forever. My pain is a battlefield and the weather my moods. Some days the field is sunny and the wind blows in my direction, other days storms rage above a muddy swamp of no-man’s land. Barbed-wire fences keep the world at bay, and only a few know how to reach me when I retreat. I distract myself with writing, reading, watching movies, and listening to music – hoping in doing so that the Beast will stay buried for just a little while longer. That maybe today I won’t have to fight it.

           That's my typical day.

           Recently, I found out that I may have Asperger's (though my case seems to be pretty mild or I've worked around a lot of the usual issues) after visiting a neurologist for my bi-polar issues. Which is probably why my bullshit detector is so finely tuned (apparently, it's called "Hyper-Empathy" - I admit I wasn't paying attention to the doctor when he spoke). They even confirmed two conditions that I've suspected I've had for a while. I have both panic attacks (yayyyy. T_T), and a form of synesthesia (aural stimuli/musical notes > haptic/tactile feedback). The panic attacks are pretty "normal," but the synesthesia is kind of weird. I literally feel music or sounds (or sometimes, the sound of someone's voice) as touches on my skin. Some people's voices are like being bathed in silk, others like nails on chalkboard. Music takes on a whole new frame of perspective for me. Some music feels wonderful, like the tones/notes are giving me a massage...some are horrible. Like being punched in the gut.

           So there it is, my ugly little secret(s). If you’ve ever noticed I was in a bad mood or just out and out depressed one day and chipper the next, now you know why. Don’t judge me too harshly. And if you do, that's okay too, I don't mind. I may not be neurotypical, but I'm still a person.

On a side note, enjoy some
Jose Gonzalez - the man's voice is like a handshake from a good friend, to me at least.

ravenpenny: (Default)

I had a doctor’s appointment this morning. I began the day like I always do, with something to eat, my daily medicine, a cold shower, and as many minutes as I can catch to read. Luckily, for me, my doctor provides a shuttle service so I can easily go and see him. After a pleasant conversation with the driver, I got out of the van feeling slightly queasy. By the time I’d reached the door to the first floor of my doctor’s office I began to shiver and shake, a tell-tale sign that my blood sugar was dropping fast. I managed to make it to a nearby seat where I psyched myself up enough to go into a nearby saloon. Once inside I asked if they took debit cards (which they didn’t). By this time, I felt the tremors coming on so bad I just knew I’d pass out then and there. But that didn’t happen. The woman behind the desk, Erma Anderson knew something was wrong and asked. I calmly explained I was diabetic and just had a drop. I asked again if I could pay with a debit card and she shook her head. I went to leave, but she came from behind her counter, sat me down and grabbed me a drink and a pack of cookies. I felt bad because I could pay her, but she laughed it off with “We’re all brothers and sisters under God.” Normally, I would have smiled and nodded, but with low blood sugar comes lower intelligence. “I’m an Atheist actually.” I said. She shrugged “You believe or don’t believe what you want, I not going to force you one way or another. We’re both still human, and that’s good enough for me. Now eat.” I did what I was told, but I couldn’t believe my ears. A non-militant Christian in my area? Impossibru! But it was. When I was finally well enough to get on the elevator (which she walked me too) she said, “Now don’t do that again!” and I mumbled a “Yes, ma’am,” and promised to pay her back. I write this because A) I promised her I would and B) I’m generally shocked and must share. Most of the time people run in horror from me when I say I don’t believe in their religion. It’s the modern form of leprosy, except my extremities aren’t falling off. So all you fellow non-believers and believers alike, there are people out there who actually follow the definition of Christ-like. Turns out it’s a lot like “Be kind to your fellow man.” Huh. Who’d a thunk it? :-)

Edit: By the way, if you're in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia go see Erma for yourself! She runs a tip top business.

ravenpenny: (Default)

So, as I’ve posted before I like to mess about with food and drink. I had some company over the other day and they knew that I occasionally made Sangria and asked for some. So I improvised a bit and it turned out crazy good. This was the result:


2 liter bottle of Mountain Dew

¼ lb of cherries pitted and sliced in half I used rainier cherries)

2 kiwis sliced

1 lemon cut into slices

¼ lb of strawberries

8 oz of lemon schnapps

8 oz of triple sec

¼ cup simple syrup (I used Splenda, but sugar is fine).

1. Pour all liquid ingredients but the Dew into a single container. Shake it like a Polaroid picture.

2. Pour dew and mixture together. Stir well. Put in fridge over night.

3. Add fruit.

4. Serve chilled.


ravenpenny: (Default)
If you’ve been following along on my blog or Twitter you know I like to cook. Before I was diagnosed with type I diabetes, I used to cook all the time. Now, not so much. I used to love to bake too but cakes, cookies, and everything in between are more or less beyond my reach other than a few specialized sugar-free recipes.

Everybody has that task or hobby that they do to clear their mind – mine happens to be cooking and/or cleaning. After my diagnosis there were many things I could no longer eat. Anything with refined sugar was off limits to me. While this does limit me in what I can eat, I’ve been slowly going over (my) recipes and shifting them to more diabetic friendly ingredients. No sugar, more artificial sweeteners, sugar-free honey (which is gawdawful on its own but I can deal with it in cooked products), and so on. I’ve only had to watch my sugar intake for about 18 months now but as any diabetic can tell you finding anything ready-made without a heap of sugar or massive carbohydrates is next to impossible. The old adage “Fast, Cheap, and Good. Pick two” Is very applicable to fast-food, snacks, “instant” meals, and so on. This means most of the time I’m making my own meals. The following is an old recipe of mine that I dusted off and decided to revamp. Enjoy.

Ginger Lemon Teriyaki Chicken Ingredients

4 tbsp sesame seed oil (or olive oil)
1/16 cup minced ginger (or 1 tbsp of powdered ginger)
1/8 cup minced garlic (or 2 tbsp of powdered garlic)
½ cup of carrots
½ cup of sliced celery
1 medium-sized bell pepper
1 medium-sized onion
1 lb. of diced chicken (I use breasts because they’re easy to prepare but any will do)
1 cup of mushrooms (I like to use baby Portobello mushrooms but any type can work)
½ cup of sliced black olives (fresh is better but canned work just as well)
¼ cup of your favorite table wine.
½ cup of sugar snap peas
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
1 whole lemon sliced into wedges

Sugar-Free Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients

3/4 cups low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup Splenda (or other sugar substitute, Stevia works quite well)
1 ½ tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp ground ginger (leave this out if you are using fresh ginger above)


1. Heat pan on  medium with 2 tbsp of oil, garlic, and ginger till the ginger begins to brown.
2. Add carrots, celery, bell pepper, and onion. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until onions are brown.
3. Remove carrots, celery, bell pepper, and onion from pan. Put in a covered bowl to the side.
4. Add the remainder of the oil and cook the chicken thoroughly.
5. Add mushrooms and olives. Cook until mushrooms are brown. Add wine.
6. Combine teriyaki ingredients in bowl using a whisk.
7. Add back the carrots, celery, bell pepper, and onion and turn down the stove to a low-medium heat. Add snap peas, tomatoes, lemon, and teriyaki sauce. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Plate and serve – arranging lemon slices on top.

Makes about 4 servings and each serving has about 13g of Carbohydrates and 4g of Sugar.











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