I know this is just bad luck, BUT

The other day I heard what sounded like a bowling dropping on the floor in the apartment above. Then I started smelling burnt wire, it was faint at first, but got worse fast. So I’m running around, smelling my fridge, the computer, anything electrical, can’t find the source. My smoke detectors go off, then I hear smoke detectors going in apartments all around. I run out, knock on one door, no one home, run upstairs, knock on that door, tell the guy something’s on fire, he doesn’t see or smell anything. I go back down to my place and just in the minute or two I was gone there is smoke coming out of my bedroom, I hear a crackling sound. I go in there, and in my bathroom ceiling there is smoke coming out. I found out later the guy’s bathroom above had developed a leak under his floor, the water built up around an internal motor and heater in my bathroom ceiling, and it eventually got high enough that when the motor turned on it shorted.

I shut every breaker in the place down and now the apartment is pitch black. Except for a nice toasty glow I can see through a crack between the metal plate covering the motor and the ceiling plaster. I got a fire extinguisher out of my kitchen, ran in there, cranked down on that plate by hand — it was bolted to the ceiling — and got enough play in it that I could get the nozzle on the fire. And I emptied that fucker into the flames. Which by the way added a thick fog-like white mist to the already smoky interior, but it wasn’t too bad, no damage done except for the motor and some wiring and casing up in there. It stank the place up, god only knows what I inhaled, but it dissipated fast with all the doors and windows open.

But had I not been here, or had I been in a deep sleep, I don’t think it would have stopped by itself.

I know the last few years have just been a bad run of luck. There are plenty of people who have way worse luck, this sure could have been worse. But when you have one bad luck event after another, it’s easy to understand how less skeptical people might start seeing cosmic conspiracies or supernatural intervention. You search, for a cause, for a solution, but there isn’t one, because it’s just bad luck.

Thank you so much

I wanted to drop a note and thank you all. My rent plus exorbitant late charges are paid. Many people emailed me saying they wanted to help but were too strapped themselves — I sympathize. I actually have a little to spare, although I did splurge on a new pair of shoes. Anyway, if anyone is facing dire circumstances, short on food, about to have their power cut off, I have almost a hundred to spare, lemme know in comments and I’ll see what I can do to pay it forward. If you’d rather keep it private, email me at darksydothemoon-at-aol.

While followers of Republican Jesus turned their back on me, atheists saved my ass

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Some readers didn’t get a chance to kick in and asked for the donation page, there’s the link, address is darksydothemoon-at-aol-dot com. But the homelessness crisis and eviction woes are taken care of this month. Well, here I am, up at 4 AM working on job number two, or in Romney speak, mooching.

Update: someone I’ve worked with extensively in the past wants to explore some commissioned writing work at a more than fair rate of pay. Best of all I’ll have extreme latitude on the topic; when and if this comes to fruition and I link it here, any clicks would be as good as paypal gold to me.

 

I avoided eviction with hours to spare. I had to persuade my bank to look at the paypal transfers but they consented and loaned me the 1200 bucks it took (The money will show up tomorrow, for that I’ll pay about 50 bucks in interest). I’ll have a little left over too, unless they find ways to get that.

I’ve sent each of you thank you letters, not a mail merge, a custom written email. But I wanted to get this wider attention, despite the less than unimpressive light it portrays me in. Here’s that diary that got tens of thousands of hits last night:

“The headline read: I May Soon be Homeless. and it wasn’t a joke, I wrote it and it’s about me. (This is not a plea for money; my atheist peers have already taken care of that or I wouldn’t have posed this, and offers to help are greatly appreciated, they warm my heart, but in my view it’s not appropriate for a front page writer to be asking for money. It’s not unethical for a diarist or a politician or an activist, but the FP is a different deal imo)

It’s common fare to read at a religious site that atheism is a hot bed of callousness, dog-eat-dog, no morals or ethics to guide them. Conservatives masquerading at Christians on the other hand hold themselves out as the epitome of generosity and selflessness. They and only they hold the keys to decency and love of their fellow man. The rest of us are one step away from sociopathy and Nazism, or so legions of young are taught in conservative Christian Madrasses.

A few years ago I suffered a personal loss. It happened right when the economy sputtered and plunged over a cliff after years of conservative deregulation, the bills and economic fall out were ruinous. Self professed evangelicals like George Bush wasted no time shoveling truckloads of tax payer money to bail out the heretofore free market and preserves the multimillion dollar salaries and bonuses of those who engineered it. His cohorts have spent the ensuing four years dong everything in their power to prevent those of us who cosigned the loan to save the rich from any relief that catastrophe wrought on our lives.

I was one of the millions of those casualties. After losing almost everything I had worked for the better part of half a century to earn, I moved halfway across the country to take a job paying less than half of what I used to make. Within months of taking that job the career ladder the firm had developed and used to recruit me was broken into firewood and burned so that Bill Lumberg’s stock would go up a quarter point. Things were grim, I took a second job to make ends meet; the ends that include nothing but a tiny filthy studio apartment. It was brutal, I barely hung on for a year or two, and yet I succeeded at work, quickly becoming the most productive person in my 300 person department and winning an award for it.

Then one day, sitting at my desk, I suffered a massive widow maker heart attack. I was lucky to survive, luckier still to be relatively unscathed. But even though I had bought extra disability insurance, living on less than half my usual really bad pay ($12/hour) was simply impossible. During the time I was on disability I fell behind on everything; trust me, if the choice is between heart surgery and cable TV, the choice isn’t difficult.

I managed to barely scrape by, for a month or two. But for complications I’ll explain another day, I’m now facing eviction. Late charges and other add ons turned my measly 500/month studio into a $1200 proposition. I live in Texas, there was no financial aid, there were no government programs that would help. By the end of April I would be living on friends’ couches for as long as that lasted, then in shelters or under a bridge I guess. I stressed out so bad one night my heart went into an irregular beat and I had to go to the ER, adding another huge copay on my back.

It was then that I shamefully turned my reg readers on an atheist site, FreeThoughtBlogs, and virtually panhandled. They come through, some were so strapped themselves all they could give was five bucks, but it added up. Enough that I won’t be homeless this month. I get choked up just thinking about it.

What struck me about this was how the so-called followers of Republican Jesus turned me down at every request, in person and in the State and Federal level, even Congress seems more enamored with austerity and than life and family. Bear in mind, I work two jobs, when most of these happy conservative Christians are asleep, I get up at 4 AM and start working. Then I go to my office job and work from 10 AM to 11 PM, I do this 24/7. I have no vices, no dating life, no hobbies, I don’t even smoke or drink. But it’s just not possible to support recovery from heart surgery and cover all the drugs and copays on 60% disability or the full pay I resumed, it’s a stretch to do it on my regular pay. Which I guess makes me one of those 47% moochers Romney was referring to.

I really have to wonder, who are the ones with morals, and who are the ones who lack them? My experience is the atheists are the ones who cared about me, the progressive Christians are the ones who serve their fellow man and community. I don’t know what moral coda the social conservatives follow, but it bears little resemblance to anything Jesus taught, it bears little resemblance to the basic human decency amply demonstrated by my godless amoral peers.”

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Mission accomplished and then some, no further help needed!

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DONE, FINISHED, NO MONEY NEEDED!

Should take you to my paypal page, if not my paypal email is darksydothemoon [break-remove]-’at’-aol-dot-com name Steve Andrew. Physical address available on request in comments.

I’m well beyond halfway almost three-quarters of the way there in only 24 hours, because of godless often demonized fellow atheist who themselves often have almost nothing to spare (Believe me, the five bucks some chipped in, they mattered and I was so grateful because I know how bad things must be for those folks!) Thanks to readers things are looking much better. I’d get all blubbery on you, but I’m gonna save that for a Daily Kos post where I compare and contrast the generosity of atheists with so-called followers of  Republican Jesus for all the world to see.

In fact I just did exactly that!

At first I felt worthless for even having to ask for help, and it’s not the first time either, virtually panhandling is not how I envisioned my golden years. Then this morning I realized, here I am, up at 3 AM working on my second job ( I guess FTB counts a third, part time job, but it’s more a labor of love and my one stop for sanity). A few hours from now I’ll put that aside and go work from 10 AM to 11 PM tonight, where incidentally I am the highest producer out of about 300 people. Like millions of working poor, one of the 47% of the moochers Romney was referring to, it’s not lack of work or unwillingness to work that is killing me, it’s the rate of pay and the bad planning to suffer a massive heart attack.

After three raises over three years for a few pennies each raise, I make about 12 bucks an hour at my main job, where I trouble shoot PCs and Macs down to the component and network level over the phone to suppport the most complex software this side of the DoD,  and via web ticket and chat. It used to be each of those raises was a buck or two, and our healthcare copays were much lower, but even though my company is very profitable, they put an end to that right after I got hired. I can’t even apply for an internal job because I have not reached level three in my current role, and I haven’t reached it because they keep taking down the leveling system and fooling with the requirements for months on end. Even when it is up and running, the end token raise you get has to bottleneck through one guy far away, and in my case it took months after I already met the stated requirements. This is what class warfare looks like, from inside the bunker. So that Bill Lumberg’s stock would go up a quarter point. Actually I worked it out, all those raises combined for all my coworkers add up to less one tenth of one cent for one quarter’s earnings on the stock.

The thought of being homeless terrifies me — it’s not that I’m suicidal, my whole problem is I love life! But the thought of a lingering death from untreated heart failure and untreated Anklyosing spondilitis had me toying with ideas about what would be a more merciful way to go. I know plenty of good people deal with it, and sure I’d get by for a few weeks surfing on friends’ couches. But with an eviction on my record I’d have a hard time getting another place to live; it’s about as far away from the no stress my cardiologist recommended as it can be. Living in a car or shelters would mean, sooner or later, I wouldn’t be able to hold down at least one of those jobs, and I’m not sure what would happen after that. I live in Texas, th social safety net here is a bed of sharpened spikes for the unfortunate to land on.

The day is going to come when I lose that main job or move on to bigger and better things, there are signs we could be looking at a layoff in the next few weeks. On the day, I’ll provide more details about just how unethical that company has become when treating — or imo opinion pickpocketing — its lowest paid, least influential workers. Suffice it to say it was the worst career decision of my life. And by the worst, I mean it was a signficant factor is almost causing to lose everything.

STOP!!! I may soon be homeless

I have plenty now, thanks!

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Done, finished, well past what I need, stop giving and thanks!

Should take you to my paypal page, my paypal email is darksydothemoon [break-remove]-’at’-aol-dot-com name Steve Andrew. Physical address available at request in comments.

Once again I’m desperate, this time facing homelessness. See, one of the ways apartment complexes for the less well to do prey on poor tenants these days is by cooking up charges on top of the stated rent, clearly intended to transfer costs from the owner to the tenant and generate lucrative late fees in ther bargain. My complex has done this to me several times; they accept my rent, a cashiers check since I have an out of town account, then I find out a week or two later there was another fee so they didn’t deposit the rent and retroactively tossed in all kinds of later charges. They’ve done this twice while I was recoveing from the widowmaker,

To make a long story short I couldn’t swing it this time; $ ~1200 they’re now demanding for my $500 shitty studio apartment. It’s bizarre, it’s surreal to write this and read what I’ve written, but the truth is I’m about to be homeless. I’m ashamed to ask for any help, but homelessness is even more shameful, in my current state of health it could be fatal. You guys are under no obligation to kick in anything, if I don’t get a dime out of this I won’t hold any resentment and I’ll keep on blogging for as long as I can.

Coming off of disability, 60% base pay, calculated by using 60% of the disability period my doc recommended which means an efective rate of 0.36 base pay, while my medical expenses doubled, left me broke, I just didn’t have any reserve. I asked if they could would accept $800, every dime I had and could pawn or borrow. They said they’d see if that were acceptable – the next day eviction papers were served, which I take to mean the answer was no.

I work two jobs plus FTB, every single day I work, seven days a week, between six and 12 hours, with no hobbies, no vices, no social life, and yet I still simply don’t make enough to cover the expenses incurred from a heart attack, disability calculated from already terrible base pay, and subsequent surgery, heart meds, copays, utitilies and rent. It’s not a moral failing, it’s sure not laziness on my part, it’s just math.

I’ll tell you, it’s good I’m not the suicidal type, my whole problem is I want to live, I love life, I like everything about it. So I’m not going to end it over this or anything else. And yet I found myself toying with the best and easiest way to clock out in case that becomes the only option.

I have a plan, I’m going to have to stiff the landlord for now and use that money and future checks to buy a tiny piece of property. It’s very cheap and that way I can at least pitch a tent if need be and not worry about sleeping under a bridge or straining frendships by couch serfing, or trying to shuttle between homeless shelters. It stressed me out so bad my heart went into an irregular beat and I had to go to the ER, creating yet another huge bill to come.

The wonders of fundamentalism + Rand Paul libertarianism in one simple image

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The middle school suffered severe fire damage. An apartment building adjacent the plant was completely leveled, killing about 15. See that tan circle off the northwest corner of the plant? That was a playground. A nursing home was within the blast radius and was completely leveled. You can see many more pictures of the damage here. Here’s our newest Senator, Ted Cruz, hard at work on the badly needed aid:

Raw Story — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) says that he is prepared to make “all available resources” available from the federal government to assist in the recovery after an explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas — but the senator voted against aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy earlier because he said it was “pork.”

There is a reason zoning laws exist, there’s a reason we have government aid. But Texas being Texas, apparently the “freedom” to set up shop next to a bomb trumps everything else—including the lives and properties of far too many in West. Because that free market magic has worked wonders all over the US.

If only there had been more guns and less gay in Boston …

I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine? #2A
@NateBell4AR via web

It begins. Because everyone knows shooting at an explosion fixes everything ::Eyeroll::  An actual relevant, valid question might be more along the lines of how did these guys manage to assemble such a vast deadly arsenal and would background checks or other restrictions have made that more difficult? Meanwhile Tony Perkins also has a theory

RW Watch — If Congress wants to stop these tragedies, then it has to address the government’s own hostility to the institution of the family and organizations that can address the real problem: the human heart.

As I’ve said before, America doesn’t need gun control, it needs self-control. And a Congress that actively discourages it–through abortion, family breakdown, sexual liberalism, or religious hostility–is only compounding the problem

The brothers grim in Boston

The two men sought by the FBI in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing led police on a wild shooting, robbing, bomb-throwng chase through downtown Boston and Watertown last night beginning around 11PM local time. After a fierce firefight with police one suspect is dead, at least one police officer seriously wounded, and last I saw one suspect remains at large. Another police officer died from multiple gunshot wounds received in what is believed to be the initial confrontation with the two suspects earlier. So who are these guys? [Read more...]