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Going for a Digital Swim

A listener to my podcasts donated a really great laptop computer to me, without asking or even giving me a warning other than that I would be receiving a package from him. I then negotiated with him and swapped an item I had for sale for another computer, better in some ways and what I was looking for. I now have better computers than I have ever had, even though they are a few years old. Everything I ever wanted, from a company I would even want to work for if I could bear the altitude.

I have mostly set up one of them to replace my Lenovo ThinkPad T430, and put that one up for sale on eBay. It probably won’t sell right away, as I put the price a little on the high side and had bad pictures, also I should probably put Windows on it for a quicker sale.

In so many ways, my short podcasting career has been such a blessing. But it does constantly emphasize how poor I am compared to most other computer people. I need a good-paying job. Preferably in computers.

Creativity Relocation

I had a lot of fun doing my monthly Distrohoppers’ Digest podcast yesterday. Then I had to get back to work, applying for whatever I could — jobs, help — to get by the next few months. It was exhausting. Sure wish I could justify podcasting for a living, and making one at it. Well, I have taken a step in that direction, as I now have a Sponsus account so people can do monthly donations to my podcasting work, which will get me more decent gear to help with the podcasts. But it’s back to work today, and I really don’t want to do it.

9/20 Ramble

I got a day off. I was supposed to get 2 days off, but I did take most of Tuesday off with dental problems and my team member has family issues, so I’m going in to work today. I’m planning on being on the next episode of mintCast, although I’m not sure what I will actually contribute other than my dulcet tones. And Wednesday is another episode of Distrohoppers’ Digest. We are more broke than I could imagine. Suzanne is taking a class in income tax preparation, so in a few months she might have a job. We discovered last night that our new printer does a nice job of two-sided printing. We went to Sevierville PNO last night and visited with Rick and Ruth, as we do nearly every month.


My new job, which other than being full time while slated for part time was wonderful, has just gone to part time, starting next week. But my wonderful manager is also gone, canned by our slimeball DM and moved to another store. I don’t have a good read on the new manager yet, but at least I’m finally part time. Even so, the culture at the job was supposed to be “Honesty, Integrity, Courtesy” and has changed to “Watch Your Back”.

Something got me back into wanting to play music, and I instantly found two great songs to learn, one by my oldest friend, Blind Lemming Chiffon, and the other by an old folkie, Dick Pinney. And then I bought the local newspaper (a weekly I haven’t gotten around to buying in a long time) to discover there is a nearby open mic (the last of the year, sad to say). So I’m going out tonight to play, hope it goes well.

I have a lot of life to reassemble which had been sidelined by the full-time-ness of the new job. I’ll need to get back into mintCast, but need to miss one more show to get rested up. The Bardic College is just sitting there doing nothing, but that’s approximately all it had done for years earlier so I can still find a way to resurrect it when I have time to do so.

I’m still a difficult husband. But my difficult wife is figuring it out better as we go along, and we’ve stuck together for nearly 3 years now.

I still have to figure out what to do with this Raspberry Pi I was given, and have to put together a fundraiser for the Distrohoppers’ Digest show. I have a pledge of $50, a donation of $30, only need about $120 more and I’ll have the laptop I really need.

Hope things are going well for whoever may be reading this. Feel free to comment.

Huge Hippo Hugs,

Hard to be a Hippo in Tennessee

I survived another week. And while the other part-timer has been hired at my work, the full-timer has to take off next week as vacation or lose her days off. So I’m still working full time yet another week. I’m still on sabbatical from mintCast, and it has impacted the team somewhat. I’m also getting a lot of thank yous and support from listeners of that show. This is very gratifying, and lesses my experience of Impostor Sydrome — I’m actually providing value in some peoples’ lives.

This weekend is not long enough. I’m still very tired after doing mostly nothing on Saturday, But the light at the end of the tunnel has not been switched off yet.

Suzanne may be starting a ta preparer’s class for one of the bit names on Monday. While that won’t pay anything until she graduates and gets hired, it’s a step.

My distrohopping came to a weird point this month, as I have 3 distros loaded which we have not reviewed and deserve to be so, but I can only review one per month. My listeners are voting on which one I get to review. And Episode 004 of Distrohoppers’ Digest exceeded 400 downloads! Episode 005 is well over 200 already.

Getting ready to take a drive in the woods. Hope that helps relax me.

Rolling in Pi

A friend of mine across the pond sent me a Raspberry Pi 2B. So far, the pi, case, and power supply have arrived. I’m still waiting for the wifi dongle and a micro SD card to put the operating system on. I have the best friends, made through my podcasting.

End of the Tunnel?

The new driver at work has been fully trained and will be coming on next week. This means I will get a few more hours off to rest up… but I’m scheduled for 5 days next week, albeit with reduced hours on Monday and Tuesday. Hopefully I can get a full day off in coming weeks.

I’ve taken a sabbatical from mintCast, which I hope will not last beyond the next episode, but if I don’t get some real time off it may need to.

Distrohoppers’ Digest Episode 004 exceeded 370 listeners (downloads) already, which is exciting, and we released Episode 005 on Thursday.

My new Pi has not arrived, but the case and power supply have along with an SD card which was the wrong size, but that’s being taken care of.

Other areas of my life are languishing, pending more time.

Distrohopping Is Fun

I’ve been having loads of fun distrohopping this week. I tried to install new distros on my two extended partitions on the T430, and have wound up with only one booting despite about 4 different distros being tried (s0 3 of 4 partitions are booting)… and my Ideapad 110 now has 3 partitions but only two are booting. Some people think I’m doing this for the stress, but it’s education and I’m passing what I learn down the line. One friend is sending me a Raspberry Pi 2B and everything I need to run it, and another has pledged $50 towards a new machine so I can just put different distros on different machines rather than cramming them onto one.

Apparently my efforts as a podcaster are getting people to listen to me and appreciate what I’m doing even more than I am. That is very satisfying, and I may yet have a decent self-esteem, or even become a paid podcaster.

A Lot Of Water

…has passed under the bridge since my last post.

I got married to Suzanne the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2016. I’m sure she has more regrets than I do, but we have shown that we are mutually committed. We are working at the present time to get her green card status made permanent. It costs money.

I have stopped doing Uber after about 33 months. I am driving a cute little 2014 Mazda 2, but I am working for O’Reilly Auto Parts as a driver, and get to drive their vehicle. The pay does not look that good on paper, but the amount we’re spending on gas, repairs, and even phone bill has gone down significantly. I have a very good manager. A very poor District Manager, but because of that I’m working full time instead of part time. And I can use the money right now.

My health is about the same. Not better, not worse. My health care provider, WellCare, has just changed my doctor and location, and I haven’t met with them yet, so it remains to be seen whether things continue on a steady keel.

I have been doing a podcast, mintCast, since October. Having a great time with a fun team. We meet every Saturday afternoon and record the podcast every other Sunday afternoon. I have had so much fun that I’ve started another podcast, Distrohoppers’ Digest, with one of the team, and we’re recording that one monthly, about to do our 4th episode.

It has taken time away from me. Between the full time work and the podcast work, I have not touched my guitar since May 1. I have not done any work on Triad Bardic College, where there is so much to do. But I’m having fun, other than the stress of keeping my relationship together.

This has been the hardest relationship ever. Not because we aren’t committed, but because we are who we are. On paper, we should be perfect for each other. But my autism has come out in super-spades, and her issues with her parents rise up time and again. If we can get through this, it could be a relationship for the ages; if we can’t, it will be a worthy attempt.

I am playing with Linux as an operating system. No room for Windows in my life, and there has never ever beenn room for Apple products. I have two laptops right now, with 4 different distros on each (2 in common, for a total of 6 distros), and also have a Linux box sitting on the floor waiting to be dealt with. If I ever get time…

I usually like where I’m at. I do get depressed from time to time. I have had two friends, one closer than the other, pass just in the last week, and that doesn’t help matters. My mother is at home again after a long stay in the hospital and rehab facilities, and will turn 90 next week. As usual, if it weren’t for her I would not be solvent (as much as I am) financially.

I’m in debt reduction and have about 2 years to go. I have no idea how we will come out of it.

Long term, I have different goals than my wife. I want to live in the mountains, staying at home and welcoming visitors. She wants to travel the world. I don’t see a middle path. But we are together for now.

My spirituality has fallen beside the road for the most part. Survival is at the forefront, and most of my friends have gone away, either from my actions or those off my wife — or from just not having time for anyone or anything except survival.

I have two editing jobs I’ve put on the back burner. Just like everything else.

I did hear from my last wife, Laura, recently. She has moved to Colorado. Her mother passed a couple years ago, my angel. My 3rd ex, Beth, is in frequent contact with me. In fact, I apparently am singing in her dreams. I wish she would send me the lyrics, I haven’t written anything new in a long, long time.

So that is my ramble this time. I have consumed more than a few ounces of high gravity beer, so that might be the cause of any potential typos.

Update on my Journey with my Kidneys

Update on my Journey with my Kidneys
Moss Bliss
July 21, 2017

In 2001, after 12 years of taking large amounts of lithium carbonate at the request of my doctors for a perceived diagnosis of bipolar disorder (often 2100 mg/day or more), my kidneys gave out. I saw a nephrologist in Asheville, who demanded I stop the lithium immediately. My psychiatrists started a new Medication Guinea Pig Dance, but that is a different story, which I have written about elsewhere (culminating in termination of all meds in Nov. 2003).

My Creatinine levels were 3.4-3.8 at this time. The nephrologist said that they would not get better, but that they wanted to monitor them to keep them from getting worse.

Over the next couple years, I took issue with the idea that my kidneys could not improve. I asked about supplements, herbs, etc. During this time I was getting gout in my finger and toe joints. Eventually, an Asheville herbalist named Corey Pine suggested he had heard something about stinging nettle seed extract being of help.

After research, I ordered some from David Winston’s company. It was expensive as herbs go but cheap as medicines go, around $80 for 8 ounces (which currently lasts me 3 months). Over the next three years, my gout went away, my kidney-related back pain decreased (but did not go away), and my Creatinine levels got lower, eventually bottoming out around 1.9-2.1. This continued for several years.

In 2015, the Creatinine levels began to climb again. As of my last few blood tests this level was 2.4. My trips to the bathroom at night have increased from 0 to 3 or 4. In April I started doing more research, and in May I ordered some Astragalus (herb, not extract) on the basis of that research. The bottle said to take 3 capsules twice daily. Being cautious, I have been taking 2 capsules twice daily.

As of July 20, my nightly trips to the bathroom are in the 1-2 range, my kidney-related back pain is greatly reduced, and I’m feeling that the improvement is related to the Astragalus.

I have a new nephrologist (finally one who listens and even laughs) as of about 9 months ago. He is willing to look at the evidence as soon as I have new to present. My next blood test is scheduled for January, followed by another visit to the new doctor. I will check in with you. But my body tells me this stuff is amazing, and I’m going to increase to the recommended usage as of today.

I am fully aware that everyone is unique. My kidney damage was caused by high levels of lithium use; the herbs I have used may or may not be of use to you. But I thought you might like to hear a success story.