Saturday, March 16, 2013

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool XLVII

Well this is a first in a few years: two of these columns in "relatively" close succession. I have enough to say to warrant it without being too redundant and seemingly self-occupied.

I'm Not Fat; The World Shrank!

WTF happened to me the past several months? I'm now up to 260 lbs! I suppose a lot of things converged to cause this. I have not been exercising this year as regularly as I have for most the past few years. I have been eating for convenience and immediate-term performance while going to school and not eating for long-term health. I have been comfort eating to deal with my mild S.A.D. and my general unhappiness in my work environment which I have managed to hide quite effectively aside from the weight gain. I have also not been exercising adequate time management skills in order to make the time in my daily routine to regularly fix healthy meals. Consequently, I have ballooned out a bit and have nearly reached my maximum weight I ever recorded (264 lbs. although that may very well not actually be the heaviest I've ever actually been as I might have reached higher but never recorded the peak). Anywho, in any case I need to turn this crap around right now as I feel this weight on my and don't like it one damned bit.

Lemoore Gem & Mineral Show

This morning I carpooled with friend and fellow-Santa Lucia Rockhounds member David Nelson up to the  5th annual Lemoore Gem & Mineral Show hosted by the local club there. This was my first visit to this show and after hearing much about it over the years from my friend Keith Olivas, owner of the Art of Jewelry. He had wanted me in it on its inaugural flight but for reasons I cannot recall I did not do it despite the fact that was the last year I did shows within the context of my now-defunct business (well, except for my dabbling my K&K Earthwerks eBay store). Anywho, we hung out a few hours and then returned to the North County (it's about an hour's drive up there and likewise the return). However, that was not before I got a laundry list of things accomplished. Of primary significance I received back signed contracts and money from some of the dealers there who will also be at our 22nd Annual Gem, Mineral & Jewelry Show the first weekend in May. I also gave contracts to two other dealers there one of whom is definitely coming to our show and the other whom used to come and may send her son with some inventory as we need more lapidary equipment being sold in our show.  I also was able to derive some fresh ideas for our show from things I observed (and in some cases photographed) at their show which I shall share with our show board. I also got to have a nice, long talk with Susan Chaisson-Walblom.

Occupy CFMS Is Postponed (For Now)

The revolution against the Old Guard at the California Federation of Minerological Societies (CFMS) is called off for now! For years I have heard of nothing but problems between the various gem amd mineral clubs around the state whom host federation shows and the federation itself which has often been ham-fisted and tone-deaf in its dealings with its constituent member clubs. A few weeks ago at the Ventura show I heard some new grievances and it all seemed to point to the Old Guard whom are employed or appointed at the CFMS and are not elected. These people seemed and seem from what I have heard from reliable sources to be old and out of touch and suffering from delusions of self-importance leading to condescension and obstructionism much like I've been hearing of for years. I experienced an epiphany of sorts at the Ventura show by way of the idea that the clubs should simply refuse to pay next year's club dues until the entire Old Guard resigned/retired. As a group the clubs could go get insurance apart from the CFMS it seemed to me. Today CFMS Past-President and friend Susan Chaisson-Walblom set me straight and convinced me that now is not the time for this as some seemingly-meaningful change seems to be occurring from within the system there as generational shifts play out over recent years. I will shelve promoting the idea unless/until I hear that the CFMS has systemically and institutionally gotten stuck again. In that event I would consider it an honor to play the role of Thomas Paine in fomenting a revolution against the CFMS establishment.

The Drought Here Is Bad

I marveled today at how dry are the grasses along the route between Paso Robles and Lemoore, CA. We are technically still in late winter and there is hardly any green grass to be seen, no wildflowers, and lots of brown grass... from last year's crop. Earlier this evening there was a one-acre grass fire out in the Parkhill area of northern SLO County. We are so screwed this coming fire season... which has apparently already begun... or perhaps it would be more accurate to say last year's fire season has transitioned into this year's fire season without without ever fully ending. Elsewhere in drought news.: parts of Colorado are burning and the entire state of New Mexico is under Red Flag Warnings and has begun experiencing consistent wildfire activity. Just a little further east and from north to south from the Dakotas down to Texas are areas of extreme drought some of which have been going on for multiple years now such as in the Lone Star State.

A Strange Case of Roll Reversal

When my friend moved in next door in 1997 we hit it off fairly quickly and he become my older brother over the 15-1/2 years since then. At that time I was deeply in the throes of mental illness and the social isolation attendant unto it but was perhaps already into my long and gradual rise up out of it that would take another dozen years of my life to complete. Anywho, during those years of friendship with my friend he seemed a paragon of strength and self-confidence even if at times it came across as more bravado and braggadocio than actual foundational strength. However, even back then I noticed certain personality flaws and character defects and spiritual inadequacies which would intensify in their prominence in his life over the course of the years I knew him. Since these long-term shifts gradually played out over many years I did not recognize an overall deterioration until my friend retired from his state job. From that point onwards he seemed to emotionally tank upon retirement, a retirement he had long anticipated and believed would bring him the joy and peace he perpetually lacked.

By last year I noticed things that in hindsight now I must say were instances of the early advent of paranoid delusions and unstable hyper-sensitivity to imagined threats while not taking care of his affairs in the real world but that at the time I dismissed as my friend merely acting weak-minded and saying stupid things. Things are now in complete collapse in his life as he has lost his job and may not possess guns due to a suicidal episode. He is inconsolable and keeps repeating that his life is over and that he failed spiritually and in every other way and that there is no point in doing anything but awaiting the end. I employed my mental health first aid training today and empathetically listened to him and probed to see where his head was and if he was in danger or was a danger.

While he lay pouting on his sofa in his front room I asked him about his responsibility to provide for his wife and adult child who has developmental disabilities and he told me "they're gonna have to figure something out". I am in a quandry as to if I should be empathetic of his clearly suffering a deep and pervasive mental illness involving depression, narcissism,  a bit of being paranoid delusional and quite possibly being bipolar. Bipolar would explain just about everything up to this point. Or should I should be outraged at his callous selfishness and lack of regard for his family responsibilities and his utter self-centeredness and wretched self-pitying? Do I treat him like a victim and try to further employ my mental health first aid en route to facilitating his institutionalization or do I need to chew his ass for being such a selfish coward and demand he gird up his loins like a man? At what point does the mental illness segue into spiritual ineptitude and a crisis of character?

Why am I so cursed that the two most prominent men in my life are to varying degrees crazy and don't act like men? I was once crazy but now am dangerously well. However, it seems so many around me (and not just the two aforementioned "men") are going crazy or perhaps they always were but I failed to recognize it through the fog of my own past unhealthiness.

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