Work work work

by Mark on

Labs menu-finished!

[mark][Hackerspace] # git init && git pull
Reinitialized existing Git repository in /home/mark/Projects/Hackerspace/.git/
remote: Counting objects: 24, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (24/24), done.
remote: Total 24 (delta 10), reused 0 (delta 0)
Unpacking objects: 100% (24/24), done.
From github.com:bhalash/Hackerspace
   6f2395a..c249f4a  master     -> origin/master
Updating 6f2395a..c249f4a
Fast-forward
 index.html                          |  98
 single.html                         |  12 
 wordpress/functions.js              | 147 
 wordpress/img/calendar.png          | Bin 0 -> 5017 bytes
 wordpress/img/search.png            | Bin 0 -> 9603 bytes
 wordpress/img/search_light_temp.png | Bin 4522 -> 0 bytes
 wordpress/img/widgets.png           | Bin 0 -> 13318 bytes
 wordpress/style.css                 | 172
 8 files changed, 239 insertions(+), 190 deletions(-)
 delete mode 100644 single.html
 create mode 100644 wordpress/img/calendar.png
 create mode 100644 wordpress/img/search.png
 delete mode 100644 wordpress/img/search_light_temp.png
 create mode 100644 wordpress/img/widgets.png

ARGH

by Mark on

I wrote, referenced, proofed, and then threw out a two thousand word rant on how and why Mark Sucks Donkey Balls. Matters currently boil down to:

  • The sensation of marginalization because I’ve lost, or otherwise fallen out of touch with some of my old friends. While I can cite you valid reasons for this (such as my multi-week silences and our busy lives with careers and children), it is difficult to not wholly blame myself.
  • The eternal disconsolation because my children continue to have happy lives without me, and the perverse circle I’m stuck in: What news I hear doesn’t make me happy, and when I’m unhappy I want news.
  • Impostor syndrome-I am so comfortable in the habit of self-dismissal that it makes me uncomfortable to hear any words of praise from family, friends, or even ostensibly-neutral strangers about How Smart Mark Is:
    • My good friend Holly’s lauded the fact that I’m still alive.
    • My sister-in-law Marissa surprised me today with a compliment about how good I used to be with the children in the face of her sister’s craziness.
    • People from the hackerspace and elsewhere all call me intelligent by virtue of merit alone.
    • Even if I’ve let it lie this season, I am still one of the top-ranked enhancement shaman in my region.

The idea of cognitive dissonance looms large for me, as you might’ve guessed from the above. There are several neat double binds that I cannot consciously reconcile. My reflexive response is to seek a place where I am at my least unhappy, through means such as gradually winding down real-life contacts that aren’t work related, quietly ignoring friends on social networks, and attempts to schedule my hours so as to avoid my housemates, and finally bury my head so deeply in a virtual online world (or work) that there aren’t any things from the real world which can reach me.

And here I am now. TL;DR: People were so nice to me that I had to run away, stress out for a week, and finally have a good sulk about it

December 2013

by Mark on 2 Comments.

I’ve made any number of private posts on the blog in the past two months-lengthy spiels about my emotional journey, all carefully hidden away from Mariah, because what the hell Mark, how dare you let her see you be hurt! I mean, given that I have kept Self-hatred going for eight years (come January), it doesn’t befit the blog to have posts that are so sparingly written that they are named by the month.

Okay, so I moved house back in October, and I’m now living with Alanna and Casey on the west side of Galway City. It has been nothing but a positive time for me. Alanna and Casey are both awesome housemates, Casey’s Beaglier Kiki likes me, my room is huge and warm, and well-equipped with a desk and double bed and skylight. My housemates are mature, considerate, and honestly, just there for me to talk to without trying to make impositions on me. We cook for each other-Alanna and Casey both inhale my chili whenever I make it-and I gotta say, I am really happy here. I feel safe, comfortable, and sheltered just enough from the crap in my life, while at the same time I have two connections here who help me keep both a usually-normal day-night schedule and a tie to the real world.

If I am happy here, I’m not happy elsewhere. I’m smart enough that I can be at least a little bit introspective about my awful emotional health. I am a raw wound when it comes to any feeling about my kids and their mother. The lack of any closure in my marriage, and the fact that Mariah can so quickly get over me and pick up her own life butts hard against my guilt for all the bad things I did to both her and Caira and Garrett. I’m so envious at their happiness that it’s hard to speak to any of them, even when (in Mariah’s case at least) I acknowledge that I in no way want to continue or rekindle that relationship-Mariah was just as awful to me as I was to her, albeit in different ways.

Holly made me confront the fact that a lot of my erratic and volatile behaviour might have been, at root, because of depression. It doesn’t excuse anything, but at least it’s a glimmer of explanation. On top of this, I had a bit of a break at the beginning of November. I broke down, cried, and gave wholehearted consideration to the idea of taking a knife to my arm for the purpose of relieving some of the self-hate. That same week (first week in November), I went to my family doctor in Galway and was put back on Lexapro, and given a referral to a secular counselling service here in Galway city. He was, if I dare say, horrified to hear about my experience with the religious counsellor in Sligo, and my unwillingness to seek any sort of help after that.

On top of that, I’ve been generally avoiding all people. It’s funny how easy it was to set myself up as reliable so that people don’t try to contact me. Let them know you’re depressed, don’t answer the phone, and ignore email-and voila!, I’m unreliable.

I look forward to my first appointment at the start of 2014, and I sincerely hope that I’ll be able to tackle some of deeper problems with the help of both anti-anxiety medication and a trained therapist.

And on that note, Holly has been a real bright spot in my life. Holly, continue being awesome.

That’s pretty much my life right now-depression and video games. I’m tinkering with a new theme for Self-hatred, but I don’t expect much to come of it before the new year. Denominationally-neutral seasons greetings and a happy new year to my three readers.

HOLY SHIT NEW ADDRESS

by Mark on

Casey and Alanna

I moved house two weeks ago. Mumble blog update. I’m out of Prospect Hill, and in with two friends, Alanna and Casey, down behind the Jes on Sea Road. I like it a lot. It’s quiet, my housemates are awesome, I’m close to Salthill (for walking), and not a single item I own reeks of cigarettes anymore. Yay.

If you need/want the address, just whois bhalash.com.

Le Rant

by Mark on

Sad Doge

I do pay attention. No,

My mum nags me monotonously about my self-isolation, waking hours, unemployment, dress sense, evident lack of friends, and social outlets (mild alcohol and constant virtual violence).

Nicole nags me about my health, weight, apathy, diet, and lethargy.

Jenny nags me about my raw mental health, since I dump it on her. She’s my executor if everything does go tits up. She holds the master password to the file that holds all of my other passwords, and what amounts to a sealed set of instructions and letter inside.

Mariah nags me about-about I don’t know what, really. She keeps reaching out to me over Garrett, wishes me good morning like clockwork, and is happy to just come to me and talk. She also gives me shit about my weight, but uses words that would make Nicole blush.

Michelle nags me to stop being a weirdo loner (in the best possible way), from one weido loner to another.

Every one of them, I treat pretty shittily:

Mum’s comments are condescending and ignorant; he doesn’t want to hear what I have to say about my mental health (or anything else); just looks horrified that I drink now (never mind that I don’t drink to the point of inebriation); I refuse to help her with chores because her smoking so disgusts me; and pretty much every other thing I say to her is some callous remark about her smoking. Typical Mark: I think I help when I repeat the same thing loudly and clearly, over and over.

Nicole, in fairness, dropped off the radar when she met Other Mark on OkCupid. She’s simultaneously managing a divorce, a boyfriend, two children of school age, and a budding career as a web designer. Nicole’s indirectly accused me of being self-absorbed through mentions of how X and Y made her the center of attention on whatever occasion. I can’t really blame her, because my opinion of her husband is set in stone, she is genuinely cagey about mentions of Anina’s problems, because it is something that needs to be handled with kid gloves, and any questions about web design issues are met with high-handed criticism. Unless the status quo changes on a topic, there isn’t much for me to ask. Nicole, I do pay attention, even if I don’t ask you half the questions I should. <3

Jenny has a son who is constantly on the verge of spontaneous death from his collection of allergies, has another son who is, to give it a word, precocious. She feels empty, unhappy, listless, and sexually frustrated, quietly struggles with mild depression and tight finances, doesn’t like any of her husband’s family because they are white trash, and hates Texas with a desperate passion. I speak to Liam a lot and Josh intermittently, and I think I am the person she wants to not talk to about her woes. I could ask more often, though. It’s only fair because Jenny is the person I turn to when I’m feeling suicidal, or just want to rant.

Mariah, I have no idea. She outright believes I am a narcissist or a sociopath. While I don’t believe either diagnosis is valid, I do accept my complete lack of empathy toward most people, which includes her family. Most of them could drop dead tomorrow, and I wouldn’t blink. I watched an animated .gif this morning of a man being run casually killed he fell off his bike in stop and go traffic while idling forward, and landed between the wheels of a semi-articulated lorry. I shrugged, and went back to reading my book about aliens on a neutron star. As I recounted elsewhere, I’ve seen, read, and heard truly awful things, and went on with my life without missing a beat.

Michelle has deep-rooted demons from being abused and raped over several years by a family member. She compensates by throwing herself into a constant stream of activities that doesn’t leave a moment free to think. Her partner Trevor has lost sexual interest in her and has taken to masturbating to porn on the Internet, and it’s the crisis to end all crisis’. I respond by pointing out that we did both stranger and worse.

In every case, I’m Mark. My harassment of mum about her smoking is borderline abusive, because I’m angry at her; Nicole (I think) feels put out because I say nothing for a month then dump awfulness on her; Jenny quietly wishes I had more interest in something, anything; I ride Mariah’s ass about her relationship with Caira, and her new proclivity for sucking every dick in reach; and I chortle at Michelle’s crisis over her partner because of what she’s done with me in the past-she has a weird double standard. I give my opinion loudly, clearly, and repeatedly, whether or not it is wanted, and in every case I do so regardless of any expected outcome: Mum will never, ever stop smoking, Jenny will always be there, Mariah will probably break contact again if I continue to be antagonistic, and Michelle will implode.

Mark’s tack is angry, disinterested, self-assured, and self-centered, in every case. In some cases I might not care about someone’s welfare, but you can bet that I listened and picked up the the details.

College
I’ve spoken to every person possibly relevant to my situation at I.T. Sligo-The dean, the head of my department, the student union, the admissions office, and even lecturers. They all go silent, without fail, and don’t respond. The college has offered me no help or any information whatsoever. The subtext is: “Go away.” I dropped out. I failed to contact them. I failed to get help for myself, and they just don’t want to deal with me.

I’ve been independently advised that this is probably the case in actuality, and with selections made and classes already begun, the staff hope to put me off as long as possible so as to make me go away and not be a problem.

On top of the above, I’ve been told that I will have a very hard time getting my Back to Education Allowance for a repeat year, and that I will be asked to provide a letter that gives me a clean bill of mental health. I simply cannot do that, given that I am a wreck half the time.

The “best course” option laid out for me is to apply for a new Level 8 course in Galway for a start in September 2014, begin again in first year, and work my way up from scratch. This is a pretty good option that will let me stay in Galway, but I don’t like the delay. Another three year course will push any graduation back to 2017. I’ll be 35 by then, only starting a career.

In the interim, I am being pushed toward completing a JobBridge internship in an area of relevant interest. Fill up he nine months, do something productive with my time, learn skills, and get myself ready for a college application in September 2014.

Me
No less fucked. I either rage mindlessly at people in World of Warcraft if I can’t kill them, kill them, or I mope about offline feeling sorry for myself as a failure. Any diet and exercise plans went out the window when I had a mini-crash. I chase myself around in my own head, and I refuse to reach out to anyone because, hey, it sounds like so much self-pity.

In WoW? Pretty fucking great. So last night, I ganked someone I didn’t like-Paltarr, a former office and guildmate under me when I ran Triumphant. He didn’t appreciate this non-consensual PK action, especially as it came from a member of its own faction, and began to trash talk me. He cried that he missed a (once hourly) monster spawn, which led my group parking at a chokepoint and repeatedly kill him as he desperately tried to reach it. At one point I jumped Paltarr and murdered him while he was mid-sentence typing to me.

It was glorious. We died, in the end, but it was glorious.

August 2013

by Mark on

Me at work in 091 Labs
Me on the roof of a car park

I have been slacking a little in manifest textual updates on the blog; Facebook currently has the audience of friends who care about my existence, and it is easy to just dump an update onto my wall and forget about it. Generally, I’m in good form. I’ve started to change my food intake, reduce my dependence on sweet things, and exercise more. I have had great advice on this from friends such as Nicole and Ciaran from the hackerspace, and I’ve had it beat into me that I shouldn’t look at this as some kind of dieting fad with set goals. Rather, I should just make those changes I want to that will improve my health, and everything else will come in time. I already feel better, just by walking by someone lugging a pizza and bottle of soda from the supermarket.

I’ve started to cultivate a taste for beer, if only to get myself away from chugging Coca Cola and Red Bull around the clock. It’s 4am and my current sidebar beverage is a glass of low-fat milk.

College

The biggest bind on me right now is college. To cut a long story short, this is my situation:

  • I cannot apply for a grant renewal with the Galway V.E.C. until I have a letter from I.T. Sligo saying I will be accepted back as a repeat student for the academic year 2013-2014.
  • The staff of I.T. Sligo are on holidays or otherwise unavailable until mid-September 2013.
  • I would like to make plans for either Galway or Sligo now, and not in five weeks.
  • If I cannot return to college this year, then I’d like to plan for it now.

I’ll add my relevant Facebook update here, verbatim:

August 5:

A big question in my life recently has been whether I go back to Sligo and repeat second year, or do something else, whatever that something else might be. I had a breakdown that started at the end of last September, dropped out of college, life, sight, and sound for more than six months. I tried to hang myself. I self-harmed, and I subjected myself to ever flavour and form of self-hatred that you can conceive.

I’ve improved since then. It isn’t noticeable day-to-day, but I can look back at the month before and say that I’ve changed, but I’m still not healed. My temper is as bad: I was assaulted in Galway during the week gone, I snapped, and I left the idiot who attacked me in a heap on the ground; there are still days when I hate myself to the point that all I want to do is take a long walk off a high bridge; I’ve had to walk away from sharp implements more than once in the recent past; and, you know, the rule of thumb is that my self-esteem is nonexistent.

Don’t get me wrong! I’m better than I used to be. Having spoken to Caira, and that she forgave me, was one of the balms I needed, and it’s helped me let go of a lot of the crap I was carrying.

But, Sligo. I’ve cleared hurdles with the Galway VEC about my grant, although I need paperwork from I.T. Sligo for them (who in turn have been like a black hole that swallows all emails and phone calls). Despite this, I simply do not relish going back in September. I know how fragile things are, and I suspect that with a lack of activities in Sligo to catch my interest, I’d just wind back at square one and waste another year staring at a wall.

All this said, I’m going to settle my outstanding debts (~€360), find somewhere to live in the city or county, look for web/programming work, and see if I can get into NUIG or GMIT for September 2014.

TL;DR: Galway, not Sligo.

/wall_of_text

I can’t really put serious pressure on the admissions department of I.T. Sligo, or anyone else, because I’m one student of (I’m sure) several who are in the same boat, but that hasn’t stopped me from giving them puppy eyes over the weekend.

Garrett in a chest of drawers
Caira eating a loaf of bread

Family

Things have really warmed with Mariah, although there are moments where I feel struck through with the pain of how far we’ve come and how much we’ve separated. Honestly? I’m jealous of the fact that she has her own life with friends, where she can meet strangers, while I still hide in out of sight and sound, bury my nose in work (or play) and avoid everyone. Yeah, go me, that’s crazy cat fella Mark for you.

I am proud of the children Garrett and Caira have become. Garrett’s turned into this wonderful little clone of his mum and I. He’s full of energy, picks up everything, is (like his sister) scarily intelligent, and he’s hugely social. He remembers Ireland, remembers me, and still talks about it non-stop. Caira is…Caira; a bastard hybrid of Billy, Mariah, and I, a little girl full of energy and fun, and intelligence, even if she’s troubled. She has to repeat the first grade at school, and a recluse who wants to do her own thing at all times. Caira has amazing perception, even if you practically have to pull out her fingernails will a pliers before she will demonstrate it.

I’m worried about her performance at school. If you do anything with her, you have to do it on her schedule, in her time, or you may as well go and bang your head off the wall. This isn’t compatible with standardized testing, standardized schedules, and standardized school. I’m hopeful that either the counsellors at school or someone in her family will find the key that unlocks her mystery.

I spoke to Caira on Friday gone, and she seemed pretty happy when she finally stood still and said hey. She wants a photograph of me, and Garrett wants a toy robot.

Ella making faces at the camera
Ella and I making faces at the camera

Coding

I’ve finally started to give coding serious attention for the sake of experience, learning, work, and eventually money too. I find coding is 20% cool brainstorming, 50% writing, 15% debugging, and 15% crying into my beer because the fucking thing doesn’t work. I’ve moved from C# into PHP, (better formatted) CSS and HTML, a brush of JavaScript, and a lot more shell scripting. Self-directed learning without peer review is awful-and it’s a good deal of why I want to return to college-because I don’t know if my work is good or bad, if it is good but I have bad habits, or actually, genuinely not-bad.

I think I’ve picked up a few valuable lessons to date (that the available documentation will always be awful is a good one), and struggled through a lot of self-dissuasion about handling larger projects. I’ve already had one offer for effectively an internship with a developer in Galway that I want to pursue if I stay here for the winter.

I am also in the final stages of wrapping up a large project for a group at NUIG-the final handoff is this week, and I will hopefully share screenshots, and thoughts on the project after that point.

That’s it for now. For the lack of anything else to close on, here is Killer:
Killer on her back