Castles in the air

A in Calc 1A.  I only know that because the grades are officially published; haven't heard anything from the professor about how well I did on the final itself, but the A in the class is the important part.

That started me down a rabbithole regarding my prior college experience and how it's going to affect me going forward, though.  In short, 20 years ago, I got Fs in 6 classes over two semesters because I tried signing up and then basically never went. 

Now, in most situations, you can go through a process called "academic renewal" or "forgiveness" and erase up to two semesters from the past.  My current school will do that once you get enough credits with good enough grades.  But they can't/won't "erase" the grades from another school.  And the old school doesn't count other institutions in its forgiveness policy: I'd have to attend 24 units there to get them to process the renewal.  Since it's 50 miles away and, frankly, I'm not sure I can find 24 units worth of classes I can take online, that's not likely to happen.

The other option is to re-take those classes at the new school and get better grades in them.  I can do that for most of them, I think, but only one (maybe two; the second isn't exact) would count towards the classes I need to transfer.  And I'm already running smack into the maximum transferable credits limit.  So, if I take them, I'll have to do so in addition to everything else I'm taking.

That's not necessarily impossible.  I could do one or two over the summer, for example.

If I *don't* wipe them out somehow, the absolute best I could possibly do GPA-wise including the transferred classes is about a 3.2, and that's if I get straight As at the current school.  It's entirely likely that I could go just submit to 4-years point out that those two semesters were 20 years ago and thus not representative of my recent progress; I know the "fail-safe" school will accept that kind of statement, as long as it's explained.  I just don't know about some of the others.

So, I've got some deciding to do, and I'll need to talk to the counselor to find out exactly what the options are.  There's also the off-chance that the old school will change its policy at some point, or that I could petition them separately and have them consider forgiving those semesters or at least turning them into Ws anyway (especially since there's no real way to meet the requirements as stated).

But the main point is that I have several possible paths, and some realistic options in each of them.  In spite of the potential difficulties here, I'm actually comforted by looking into it.

In happier/more general news, really geeking out about the SpaceX landing last night.  I watched it happen "live" and was basically cheering right along with the staff in Torrance.  This kind of thing is exactly why I'm pursuing an aerospace degree, even if I'll be in my 40s before I get it.

For both of these topics, there's a quote from Pratchett that seems appropriate:

It takes someone with their feet planted firmly on the ground to build castles in the air.

The permanent blur

I've started the process of renewing my ADHD diagnosis.  I'm not sure what I'll do when (if?) it's renewed - I've never much liked the idea of medication, but there may be advantages for school.

But the initial intake meeting with a therapist in the psychiatry department kind of threw me a little.

Talking with the therapist, we went over all the ways I've learned to compensate: making lists, setting timers and reminders, using routines and patterns, handling tasks in the moment rather than delaying them until later (when they'll get forgotten), planning ahead (sometimes excessively), double-checking my work almost constantly, etc.

After going over all this, and as we're getting ready to leave, I made a comment like, "But, even with all this, I'm generally content and happy."

She kind of smiled at me and said, "Well, other than the constant anxiety and self doubt, right?"

I looked at her questioningly, and she stopped walking and rattled off half a dozen things I'd just said - but pointed out how almost all of them involve being unsure of myself or assuming that I'm going to make errors or screw up.  "You're compensating well, but you're still compensating.  That has to take its toll over time."  She just watched me a moment, and then said, "... and you never even realized that was there, did you?"

"No," I replied, "I didn't.  But you're right."

One of my favorite quotes comes from the play "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead":
All your life you live so close to truth, it becomes a permanent blur in the corner of your eye, and when something nudges it into outline it is like being ambushed by a grotesque.
 I know people who are wracked with self-doubt.  I know people who have massive cases of imposter syndrome.  I know folks for whom depression is a day-to-day struggle.  Whenever I think of anxiety or self-doubt, I think about these people.

But the truth is, she's right.  My reason for seeking out the new diagnosis, for making it official, is (and I told her this) because I want to have every possible tool at my disposal for succeeding in school.  It's important to me this time, far more than I realized until a few weeks ago - and to be frank, there's a part of me that is absolutely terrified at screwing up again.

I've openly told people that I'm keeping the fact of attending school under wraps because I don't know if I'll keep at it or make it through: I dropped out once, so while I think things have changed significantly, I have to accept the possibility that I'll blow it again this time for whatever reason.  That *is* a statement of self-doubt - couched in subtler or sardonic terms, perhaps, but it's there.

And it runs far, far deeper than I think I've ever admitted to myself.  I mean, I know what I'm capable of.  I have a healthy ego (some would say too healthy) about such things.  But at the same time, there's this underlying bit that knows everything could go off the rails and the constant worry that today' the day it'll happen.

It's analogous to being gay.  Coming out isn't a one-time event - it's something we do every time we meet a new coworker or friend-of-a-friend or vendor or anyone.  We assess the situation, decide whether or not it's important or a risk (or both), weigh it all, and then act.  For some of us lucky enough to be in progressive areas, it's something we do almost instinctively at this point, much like I my ADHD compensations are largely automatic.

But it's still there, and it's still this low-level anxiety.  It's one I'm aware of - it's part of why I love vacationing at gay resorts, and it's something I talk about with people all the time as an example of (lack of) privilege.

The ADHD aspect, though, is something I was never really aware of.  I can't deny it, nor do I know that there's anything I can do to stop it.  It's a fact of who I am.  But it's something to think about, and frankly I think it affects my life far more than being gay.

It's not often someone broadsides me like that.

Doing the math

So, at this point, I could get 65% on all the remaining assignments in Calculus and still get a B.  If I get 80%, I get an A.  Since my lowest score on a test is 96% so far, I'm pretty happy.

I signed up for next semester's classes, which will be interesting.  3 this time, English (online), Psych (hybrid), and Calc1B (lecture).  I wanted to take Physics 1A instead of Psych, but my low registration status and the sheer low volume of classes (only 6, with 24 students each) meant it filled up before I even had a chance to register.  I emailed the prof, and he told me to feel free to try to crash the class by showing up to the first lab - the waitlist is apparently full, but if there's room, he'll try to fit me in.  But even if I don't get in, I'll be fine - it's math that I have to be really careful with, since I've got 5 classes to take in 6 semesters.  Physics, I only have 3.

I also emailed my doctor, asking his opinion.  I had a diagnosis years ago for ADHD, OCD, and dyslexia, but it's not on any chart I have now.  Given that I'm back at school, it's theoretically possible that some accommodation they offer may be useful/necessary at some point - I doubt it, but you never know.  But it also might be useful for scholarships or applications to 4-years.  So, I just asked if he thought it'd be worth it, since I probably don't really need any "help" (I'm not really "disordered" by it, not significantly anyway).

That's something else I need to start looking into after this semester: scholarships and programs that could help me out.  Odd to be nearly 40 and looking into this stuff.

Oh well.  Making biscuits tomorrow, then heading to C and L's place for dinner with a few other friends.  Should be fun.  At some point this weekend, I have to head up to my parents' place to hang lights - probably Saturday.

Happy turkeyday all, and enjoy the long weekend.

Tempus fugit

I'm having to pace myself on homework assignments in Calc.  I find I'm getting them done too early, and then forgetting which method I'm supposed to apply for a specific test or quiz.

... Okay, so that's not exactly a problem most people have with school.

Needless to say, class is going well.  I'm at about a 98% at the moment and (according to hints from the professor) the top grade in the class.  And a couple people at work know, including my boss.

That latter part is important, because next semester I want to take Physics 1A.  The problem is that I'm also taking Calc 1B and English, and so the only class I can take for Physics (there aren't many to begin with, and most are during the day entirely) is a hybrid with a lab on Tuesday afternoons.  I checked with my boss, though, and she said it's totally cool for me to take that time off every week.  I don't even have to use vacation or anything to cover it: per her, because I'm salaried, there's "no mechanism for even doing that."

So, that's good, and I can even have a bit less stress.  Universe knows there's going to be enough, what with pulling 14 units and a full-time job, but if I need to I can drop the English class (online) and take it over the summer.  I'm hoping I don't need to do that, though, as if I can handle the 14 units next semester well, I'm set for the remaining 2 years (which all range from 12-14 credits per semester).

Still haven't told my parents, or L, or pretty much anyone other than a handful of people.  D and C know, as well as the new guys in my building.  C's a professor himself - media studies - so we were geeking out about college stuff for a bit two Sunday's ago in the pool.

Oh, that's something else: two weekends ago, it was in the 80s and I was swimming in a pool.  The next day, it was raining and in the low 60s.  I guess California decided to actually have a fall this year.

Nothing new on the dating scene, though I'm going to try a new dating site.  I've also decided to get back into eating healthier again (I really fell off the wagon for a while; school kind of screwed up my habits).  I'm up to about 175, which is well over where I should be (160-165 is "okay").  I need to get back into exercising too, but one thing at a time.

With a whimper

Had my first "wtf happened there" day in Calc last night.  We had a one-question quiz (which are open notes and open homework) that was quite literally exactly a question from the homework, and no matter how much I looked at it or looked at the solution in my homework (which was right), I just couldn't get it to click.  I may as well been trying to read Setswana.  So, probably blew those 10 points, though I might get a few points' partial credit.

Annoying, but not disastrous.  I got 98 on my first test, 100 on my second, and 11/10 on the last quiz, so all in all even losing all 10 points from this quiz I'd still be over the 94.3% I set as my threshold.  Everyone's allowed a bad day now and then.  It just means I need to be a little more careful for the rest of this chapter, but I'm not too worried.

C (of D & C) had to fly up the coast, as his mom had a heart attack on Sunday.  She's been moved back to Canada now and is apparently doing better, but it wasn't good for a bit there.  As part of that, I've been hanging out with D to distract him a bit.  C was at a conference all weekend, and then flew up on Monday, so D's been basically alone at home for a week (he works at home too).  I dragged him out for Chinese food and froyo on Wednesday and may hang out with him tonight gaming or something.

I've been dealing with fumes at the office since the renovation (which may be part of why I blew the quiz - haven't been sleeping well).  It ranges from slightly annoying to massive sinus problems and itchy/irritated eyes.  I've been generally going home around lunch and working from there the last half, but can't do that today as I've a massive, important meeting after lunch.

Starting to think about NYE and what I want to do.  I probably need to book plans shortly.

Curves to infinity

So, finally got my test back.  98 out of 100, with two points off for transcription errors (so I had entirely the correct logic but mistranscribed something from one line to the next).

Possibly, based on statements by the prof, the highest score in the class.  And already it seems I have a reputation.

We had a quiz last night (which was easy), and after we finish the quiz, we're allowed out on break.  So, a bunch of us were hanging around outside the classroom.  I was talking with another guy who I've chatted with a few times; he got a 95, and I told him I got a 98, so we were joking about retaking tests and such*.  A few minutes later, standing by myself, someone else I haven't talked to at all came up and said, "So, you're the curve breaker for the class I guess, eh?", smiling while he said it.

I demurred (and we're not graded on a curve, so it's not really accurate), but I was kind of taken aback.  I'd only told the other guy my score, we were talking quietly, and he'd gone off to the concierge without talking to anyone else.  How did this guy (and apparently others, because I got a few comments after that) know I'd done so well?

Flashbacks to high school, certainly.  I'm one test into my college career (if I have one) and already facing down expectations.

Anyway, the 98 puts me above the track I'd set for myself, so I'm very pleased.  Next test is in two weeks, with another quiz Tuesday and no class Thursday.  I'm very comfortable at this point: starting off better than expected means having more leeway and thus even less pressure.  I still need to kick butt, and I think I will, but it's a good place to be in.

The new guys in the building are back, and I helped them move a 400-lb cabinet up to their apartment (and saved them $200 or so in movers fees doing it).  Was only a little stiff the next day, so yay for that.

Not sure I want to see the Stonewall movie this weekend.  Have to think about it more.

* If you have missed one class or less, the Prof will let you re-take a test in the last week (post-final) of class.  When I said, I got a 98, he said, "Ha, I only got a 95."  I commented that it was still an A, and still pretty damned good, and he said something about it not being a 98.  So I joked with him and said, "Well, maybe this'll be your lowest test score and you can retake it at the end of class."  To which he laughed and replied that if a 95 was his lowest score, he wasn't retaking shit.

Functions over time

I totally forgot how much I love math.  I mean, I didn't actually forget, but it's not something that comes up much.  Distance tends to dull impressions.

And by "math" I don't really mean algebra and trig and such.  To me, "math" means calculus.  It means differentials and integration and the relationships between functions...  The math of science.  The math that explains all the other math.

The first chapter for Calc-1 is always the basic stuff, limits and tangent lines and some proofs.  My first time through, it was definitely my least favorite part of the class, but it's still at least a little interesting.  This time, I didn't have a problem with it because I knew what was coming next.  Well, I say "didn't", but the test isn't until Thursday.  That's when we're officially done with this chapter.

But, due to time constraints during the week, I tend to do the homework assignments early on the weekend.  I finished all the remaining homework for this chapter on Saturday.  Then, on Sunday, I did the first assignment for the next chapter.

And fell in love again.

I mean, it's just basic differentiation.  For those who don't know, that's essentially calculating the relative differences between values in a function (hence the name), usually shortened to the slope for early stuff but eventually getting more complex.

But even just doing differentiation, we can start to describe the why behind all that crap we had to learn in geometry and trig and algebra 2, like how the relationship between the area of a circle and its circumference is the same as the relationship between the volume of a sphere and its surface area.

I'm having fun again.  I know I'll be (largely needlessly) nervous about the test on Thursday, just because it's the first test and it's on a topic I'm less enthused about.  But I know what's coming next, and I'm really looking forward to it.

This is why I enrolled in the first place, and it's what I completely missed my first attempt at college (I didn't take any science courses).  Even if the degree path doesn't work out, this is what I wanted to do.

Sums and Differences

So, I've had two calculus classes, and I'm running into a wall I haven't had to deal with for years.

We had a quiz on Thursday covering the prior day's section.  It was just two problems, and both had been on the homework we'd done.  The prof gave us 30 minutes to do it, with a 10 minute break after; anyone who finished early could go on break early and hang around outside.

I was done in about 10 minutes (takes a bit to write it all out), along with 3-4 other people.  The rest of the class (36 total) took longer, with about half the class taking 25+ minutes.

Outside, talking with some of the other students, it became really obvious that the answers I got and the logic I used to get them was completely different than what most of them did.  While it's entirely possible I bombed the quiz, looking up the problems when I got home seems to indicate I got them right.

And thus we run smack dab into a situation I dealt with all the time in high school and really haven't faced since then: either the work is easy and everyone else is abnormally slow, or the work is hard and I'm just abnormally fast.

I know, I know, that's a problem everyone would like to have.  Except, it's not.  Remember, I have trouble with thinking of other people as "people" anyway; I have to constantly reinforce the notion that they are actual people just like me.

But in high school, there were all these constant reminders that I wasn't like everyone else.  Sure, in possibly good ways, but different is still different, and when you spend a lot of effort trying to remember how similar people are, constant reminders that you're different are a bad thing.

At work, my job requirements are so unique and so different from those of my coworkers that there's no real way to compare my skills to theirs.  I just operate under the (largely valid) assumption that they're just as smart as I am (or vice versa) but in different fields.

And that's entirely possible for the people in my class, except that most of them are *also* going for engineering, which means this is exactly the kind of thing they should be good at.  There's very little wiggle room for comparisons when you all take the same test and get a score at the end.

I'm... not sure how I'm going to work through this.  I don't want to become the guy I was in high school.  Luckily I do have some absolutely brilliant friends, so maybe I just need to hang out with them more to keep me in my mental place.

Anyway, beyond that little complication, homework is going to be something of an issue.  The average assignments are about 3.5-4h a section, and most Tuesdays we'll be covering two sections.  Which means having 7-8 hours of homework that has to get done between 9:30 pm Tuesday and 7 pm Thursday, in addition to 16 hours of work and 16-20 hours of sleep.  Essentially, if anything else is going on for Wednesday, I'm SOL.

So, I'm taking this weekend to try and get ahead a bit on the homework.  I've already finished what is due Tuesday, and I'm working on what will be due Thursday (about half-way done).  Tomorrow, I'll try to do what will be due *next* Tuesday, and then hopefully be able to keep ahead of the assignments so I don't run into problems.  That means doing probably double the work per section for the moment, since I don't have the list of problems to do and thus am doing all of them, but it should keep a margin for me.

Besides, other than the callouses from holding a pencil so long (we have to do the homework in pencil and paper), I'm actually enjoying the work.  And we're not even at the fun stuff yet (integration and derivatives).

It does mean I may have to reconsider how many classes I want to take next semester.  Three may be pushing it.

Planetary alignments

A medical test I was really dreading got cancelled on Thursday because it was deemed unnecessary.

I had a date on Friday that went well, and I think we'll be going out again.

Spent most of the day yesterday hanging out with friends at Hurricane Harbor.

Today, I met two guys (a couple) from out of state who just moved into the apartment complex and are gamers.

I start classes in a little over a week, and I'm getting excited.

It's been a pretty good few days.  Here's hoping it continues.

Outlook Good

I took my placements yesterday.

I was actually rather nervous, in that general OCD-kicked-into-high-gear way.  I knew I'd do perfectly fine on the English and basic algebra sections, but the whole point of my going back to school was to (re)take calculus and get into the more advanced sciences.  While I was reasonably sure I'd do fine on the College Algebra test, the test is rather short: a couple of asinine mistakes could have bumped me below Calculus, and that would have put a major damper on my enthusiasm.

Turns out, I didn't have much to stress over (as usual).  Aced the English sections, aced the math sections.  I've registered for the Calc-A class I wanted on the days I wanted (a slot opened up the day I took the placements, so it was serendipitous).  I'm doing a group-counseling session today, just because we're supposed to, but there won't be any problems.  I even ordered my parking permit for the semester.

Of course, I'm also looking into taking another class.  Most are full at this point, of course, as the semester starts in a couple of weeks.  However, there's one class with a lot of room that will both count towards my transfer as well as I think be right up my alley: Astronomy.  It's not the basic "this is a planet" astronomy; this one requires trig and goes over orbital mechanics and other technical details.

The only reason I haven't signed up for it yet is that it would mean classes four days a week (Monday through Thursday, all 7 pm to 9:30ish).  I'm not sure if I want to make that kind of commitment yet.  But it would bump me up to 7 total credits for the semester, which puts me in the officially-part-time group, and I think actually might be something I'd really like.  It'd mean I'd have to give up the hikes on Monday, but it could also be really fun.

I'll keep thinking about it - the class is nowhere near full, and I've got a couple weeks left.  Something else that would be interesting might open up as well (I qualify for Chem 1A, but there aren't any classes even with waiting lists that would work for me).  If the counseling session today provides some other incentive for taking another class, that'll probably push me over the edge.  But once I finish Calc A, other options open up as well.

I'm actually excited.  Who knew?

Filling the Void

I've been thinking about something for a while.

I recently got (back; I played it a bit in beta) into Kerbal Space Program.  I'm having fun with it - or, to be more accurately, I'm loving obsessing over it - but there's one thing that's annoying me.

See, in the game (if you don't know), you're building rockets and landers and satellites and such in a mostly-real-world physics setting.  You have you launch them, get them into stable orbit, manage trans-body insertion trajectories, etc.  The game helps you with some of this, of course, so amateurs can play and have fun.  There's a sandbox mode that lets you just go crazy.

But I'm doing "career mode", which means you start off with only basic parts and have to explore and bring back science reports and such to get better tech and more money.  One thing that is bothering me is how to efficiently design and build rockets.  I mean, you start off just slapping things together and seeing if it works - that's half the fun - and after a while you sort of get a rough feeling for how much fuel you need or how to set up your staging.

But since it's based on real-world physics (slightly simplified, but not as much as you'd think), there are ways to actually *know* what you need to do for all of these.  It's not easy - it's literally rocket science - but it's possible.

And I'm annoyed that I don't have the knowledge to do so.

Okay, yes, I know basic physics, and I know some of the equations, but frankly I haven't really done calculus in over 20 years, and I never got very far into this kind of physics.  Which is really weird, since space travel is one of my favorite things.  So, now that I've realized how much I don't know about the fundamentals, I'm rather piqued at myself and insisting I figure them out.

And this goes back to what I've been thinking about for a while.  I literally live down the street from one of the best junior colleges in SoCal (well, and the best technical school in the world, but that's separate).  When I go on my walks, it's one of the things I pass.  And for a while, I've been considering signing up to take a class or two.

That has complications.  I know me.  I did horribly at college last time I tried: lectures are so not my thing; as much as I tell people I dropped out because I was making $100 an hour (which is true), I aso dropped out because it just wasn't working.  I also need downtime, by myself, to recharge, and I'm not sure if I'm really prepared to commit to 2 or 4 or however many hours a week after work to take the classes I'd want.

But I also know that independent study only goes so far for some things, and that structured educational environments and feedback from other participants matter.

I don't know that I'd even think about aiming for a degree - that's an entirely separate discussion.  But taking a Calculus refresher, or some more advanced math, or getting into physics or even an elective or two, seems like something I might - might - enjoy.

I'm going to get a couple old text books and try to refresh my memory on some things.  We'll see how it goes.  But I'm thinking I might sign up for one class - just one - next semester.  We'll see how that works out.

Sin City (and adjacents)

Vegas, baby.  Multi-day drinking binges, gambling thousands of dollars at the blackjack table, snorting coke off of naked dancers.  It's party city.

Or, at least, it probably was for some of the people there.  Me, I was getting up before 7 to go stand (well, sit, mostly) in a booth in a largely-empty convention hall for 10 hours a day.  There'd be a few people coming in during breaks and lunch sessions, but I spent most of my time playing Civ:BE and chatting with the two women who I was theoretically "training" on how we do this sort of thing.

I gambled $3 - one $1 a day on a slot machine outside the elevators.  Didn't win anything.  One of the women dropped $300 or so on roulette, I think, but that was about it.  No shows, nothing exciting.  Heck, I didn't even look up what gay nightlife there was, since I was basically stuck with the coworkers.  The only cute guy I saw at all was on the plane over (30s finance guy, we chatted about 401ks and how guilty he should - or shouldn't - feel about screwing around in Vegas while his girlfriend was back home).

I do have to say, the hotels are huge.  It doesn't help that they kind of run into each other continuously, so that there's limited division between one and the other.  And even then, half of them are owned by the same company or two, so it's more branding than any real difference.

I think, if I were to go back for any reason, I'd drive next time.  I swore I looked it up and saw it was seven hours, but that may have been at peak traffic in LA; it should only be about four most of the time, and I wasted that gets to the airport and waiting for the flight.

I was dead tired when I got back, though, and only just yesterday (Saturday) really managed to catch up.  I got a massage on Tuesday to try and relax a bit, but it didn't help that much.  So I then asked C and D is they wanted to go back to the spa on Friday night; they asked if we could do it Saturday night, so we did that instead.  I had to have L drive himself to the bar, which he wasn't too upset about, but it made it much easier.

... I guess is this where I say that C and D and I finally fooled around a bit. Not at the spa; they apparently saw some people getting it on in one of the steam rooms, and then someone else out on the patio, but that was all.  I was there to actually relax and use it how it's meant (timing myself in the steam or heat rooms, cold shower afterwards, repeat, etc.).  Afterwards, they invited me back to their place to "help" D give C a massage, and I said sure.

The massage went well - I'm actually really good at it; I ought to be, I've had enough of them - and then we of course slipped into fooling around.  D kind of passed out tired, but I got C off before he and I hit the sack.  Then more blow jobs and jacking off in the morning for all three of us.  Fun stuff.  No awkwardness in the morning, no real problems during the night.  We'll have to see if/when it happens again, though I'm pretty certain it will at some point.  It's nice having friends you can just screw around with and not have to worry about consequences.

I got home about 9 am, showered (and took my pill, since I didn't have any with me), and then slept until noon.  When I woke up, I was (and still partly am) completely sore all up and down my body.  I think it's a good thing, as I think it's from the heat/cold treatments in the spa (I had a little of this last time), but only massive hunger got me out of bed.  And I'm sitting here right now trying not to fall asleep while my Indian food delivery comes for dinner.  Definitely going to be an early night.

I'm also on call for jury duty this week; I checked earlier, and don't have to go in tomorrow, but of course I'll have to check up ever night after 5 pm to see.  I doubt they'd ever put me on a jury - I'm like every litigator's worst nightmare, what with being both pretty well-versed in legal process and law itself and a pretty vocal proponent of jury nullification.  But if I have to go down to the courthouse, I'll just catch the light rail straight there.

The guys have plans for Easter weekend, so I'll have to figure out what I want to do.  Might just staycation it, maybe do a few day trips places.  Should be a decent time of year for such.

Anyway, food should be arriving shortly.

RIP: Terry Pratchett

In many of Terry Pratchett's novels, the character Death appears.  He is a bony skeleton in a black robe with a scythe and speaking in all caps, but he's also curious and interested and actually cares about people.  In many ways, I see him as Terry Pratchett writing himself into his novels: Pratchett the atheist, Pratchett the curious, Pratchett the caring, and Pratchett who never quite "got it" as far as people were concerned.  All the characteristics that made him a great author and an even better person.  The following are two of my favorite scenes of his that really show who Death is.

From Hogfather:

“All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."


"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"


"So we can believe the big ones?"


"They're not the same at all!"


"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"


And a longer section, perhaps the ultimate example.  From "Reaper Man":

The journey took an instant that would have taken mere light three hundred million years, but Death travels inside that space where Time has no meaning. Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.

There was company on the ride - galaxies, stars, ribbons of shining matter, streaming and eventually spiraling towards the distant goal.

Death on his pale horse moved down the darkness like a bubble on a river.

And every river flows somewhere.

And then, below, a plain. Distance was as meaningless here as time. but there was a sense of hugeness. The plain could have been a mile away, or a million miles; it was marked by long valleys or rills which flowed away to either side as he got closer.

And landed.

He dismounted, and stood in the silence. Then he went down on one knee.

Change the perspective. The furrowed landscape falls away into immense distances, curves at the edges, becomes a fingertip.

Azrael raised his finger to a face that filled the sky, lit by the faint glow of dying galaxies.

There are a billion Deaths, but they are all aspects of the one Death: Azrael, the Great Attractor, the Death of Universes, the beginning and end of time.

Most of the universe is made up of dark matter, and only Azrael knows who it is.

Eyes so big that a supernova would be a mere suggestion of a gleam on the iris turned slowly and focused on the tiny figure on the immense whorled plains of his fingertips. Beside Azrael the big Clock hung in the centre of the entire web of the dimensions, and ticked onward. Stars glittered in Azrael's eyes.

The Death of the Discworld stood up.


Three of the servants of oblivion slid into existence alongside him.

One said, Do not listen. He stands accused of meddling.

One said, And morticide.

One said, And pride. And living with intent to survive.

One said, And fighting with chaos against good order.

Azrael raised an eyebrow.

The servants drifted away from Death, expectantly.


Azrael's expression did not change.


The dark, sad face filled the sky.


Death took a step backwards.

It was impossible to read expression in Azrael's features.

Death glanced sideways at the servants.



Ever have one of those days when you wake up and every part of you feels off?

Yeah, that's my day today.  Headache, slight nausea (had some breakfast, seems to be going away), sore muscles, tired (damned DST change)... about the only thing I don't have is sinus problems; if I did, this would be a classic sick day.  As it is, I'm just hoping it wears off enough that I can focus for work.

Part of the malaise is because I hiked on Saturday: 7 miles to the top of Mt. Allen/Sandstone Peak, which is the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains.  It was fun, and I'm glad I went, but it was hot enough that the effort pretty much killed me for the rest of the day.  Or, rather, it should have; I went out with L anyway, including a point where he said, "I'm just going to use the restroom and then we can go," and then proceeded to walk over and chat with someone for twenty minutes.  I swear I was about to get up and tell him to take a cab because I was going home just as he came back and apologized.

And then on Sunday I had to head up to my parents' place to mow their lawn (their on vacation), then hung out with C and D by the pool for a chunk of the afternoon.  And then tried the new Civilization: Beyond Earth for a while and was up far later than I should have been without the time change.

So, all in all, I can't blame anyone else for how I feel this morning, but that doesn't make it any better.

Heading to Vegas for a conference this weekend.  It'll be my first time in Vegas in over 20 years, though I'm not going to have a whole lot of time for sight-seeing.  I'm basically spending the trip baby-sitting others at the conference booth, teaching them how to sell the product.  We'll see how it goes, but I'm anxious for them to take over as much of the responsibility as possible.

Starting to plan a mini-vacation for Easter weekend.  Might rent a cabin up in Big Bear with C and D - one with a hot tub.

Anyway, back to work - query's done.


No romantic plans for valentines day.  Probably going to dinner with L, probably (hopefully) breaking it to him that I want some of my Saturday nights back (basically, that I want to have the option of doing other stuff and that some of that will be last-minute-ish).  Might be hitting the spa with D and C, though that might be Sunday.  If it's Saturday, I'll have to figure out how to handle L, since I'm not going to want to drive back up to the Valley just to come back.  Maybe I can dump him in a cab or something.  If they decide before tomorrow morning, I can of course, make L drive down and meet me or something similar.  I've told him before that I'm not his chauffeur.

I *am* getting a massage tonight, at a place near my house.  It's just a massage place, though it's called a "spa" (not one of those little store-front things; this is an actual large facility), but it's not terribly expensive. So, we'll see how it goes.  1.5h, male therapist, focusing on swedish and sports massage.  Looking forward to it: I normally only do massages on my vacations, but I haven't had one in ages.

Booked some time off for Easter weekend; theoretically, it's to go to the Grand Canyon with the hiking group, but the more I read about where they're camping, the less enthusiastic I am: it reads like putting a tent up in a mall parking lot.  Not only flush toilets and potable water, but showers, laundry(!), and major grocery stores within a half-mile(!!).  I'm just not feeling it.  So, I may head out somewhere else for fun.


I'm still riding something of an emotional high from this weekend, and I've been trying to figure out why.  I mean, not that it's bad or anything.  But why did it mean so much?

I kind of stopped dating when I was 26ish.  For one, the places I used to hang out closed down, and I had a few less-than-wonderful experiences with dates over a year or so.  I also got sucked into really stressful stuff at work at about the same time.  I don't think it was deliberate or conscious, but it just stopped happening.

I starting sortof-trying a few years ago, but even that has been exclusively digital and only half-assed.  There were all sorts of thoughts holding me back, some legit and some less so, and many of those are still around today.

But, really, the main thing is this: I've said it before that I don't really empathize with people.  It's not that I don't care, I just don't have visceral emotional reactions to people's emotional state.  It's all an intellectual exercise to me.

In a work environment, that's not necessarily bad: reacting emotionally in a professional setting is usually a bad thing.  That doesn't really fly outside the office, though.  And since I was 26, most of my human interaction has been at work, which means I've kind of slipped into my at-work personality all the time.  Even when I hang out with L, the lack-of-emotion is a good thing (or things would be even more strained than they are).  Those few events where I've tried to slip into "social me" have all been taxing social situations to begin with: generally involving L or his friends or people at work.  So, they're draining and exhausting no matter how I behave, but even worse when I'm giving any extra effort.

I've been doing it so long now that I just got into the "this is how I am" frame.

But it isn't necessarily.  I can - and do, or at least did - be friendly and personable and "faking it" enough to get along really well with people.  I have the natural advantage of not giving a shit what people thing about me, so I used to just walk up to folks and start conversations.  I had dozens of *actual* friends, people I hung out with and new and got along with really well who didn't make me feel drained or exhausted at the end.

I think, this weekend, I had that experience again.  I mean, I won't deny I was exhausted, but that was from lack of sleep and energy expenditure.  It was the activities that exhausted me, not the people.  I actually had fun being social and friendly and personable.  And I haven't done that in a decade.

It's like finding a gift card in your wallet that you forgot about.  Or, maybe better, a free membership to a place you used to go but haven't been to in ages.

The question is, what do I do about it now?  I think, first, I need to stat hanging out with L less.  That's this weekend's conversation, if I get the guts to bring it up.  He's going to take it as abandonment, and maybe it is in a sense, but it's something I need to do for me.  Saturday is when most stuff happens, so I need the option of being available.  Not every weekend, but certainly some of them.

Then we'll see after that.

Started working on the photos a bit last night.  Tonight I need to maybe do some laundry, though I also need to find out if I can use my shower again (maintenance guy said the drain was leaking into the apartments below, so asked me to hold off until I hear from him).

I survived Death Valley

... and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt.

Actually, it was fun.  Well, mostly fun in the "new experience" sense, partly fun in the "actually entertaining" sense.  Worth going, certainly.

I'll probably do a full adventure-post or two later once my pictures are all done.  It won't be for a few days, as I slept 13 hours last night and will probably sleep another 10-12 tonight, plus I have to go to my parents' tomorrow to talk about taxes, so I won't even start working on them until late tomorrow or Wednesday.

Those posts, however, won't contain certain details.  So, to start with, D and C have an open marriage; D is far more playful/outgoing that C is, and C's a bit not-quite-stuffy in most situations, but C has no problem with D going out and messing around.  There are a couple of limitations there, but the main one - which is extremely amusing to me - is that D has to send back photos or texts while doing it so that C can "participate" :)

Well, Thursday night, I crashed out early but D had something of a party in his tent with some of the other like-aged guys; stripping when you lost was par for the course, and the expected shenanigans ended up happening (I didn't find this out until Friday morning).  Apparently, D even tried to get me involved at one point when he heard me coming back from the restroom, but I didn't hear him (I was pretty zonked).

Because of all the hiking Friday, everyone headed to bed early that night; D only had one guy in his tent, someone who forgot to bring their own for some reason.  I was told on Saturday that, for specific reasons, C wasn't happy about the exact individual staying twice, so D told me "You'd better have stay with you tonight; don't worry, he's a great cuddler."

To effect that, we planned on having the Saturday night party in my tent - especially since it was larger.  As part of that plan, D moved his air mattress over.  We ended up with six guys in there total, and most of naked after a long round of strip-go-fish (don't ask) and all naked after a few rounds of truth or dare.  As it was already after 1 by then and had been another long day, people started to get sleepy/touchy-feely at that point, and I "did my duty" and slept with .  Literally, mostly, though early in the morning he started trying to jack me off.  I didn't object, but for some reason morning wood and masturbation just don't go well for me (it takes me forever to get off), and the way we were laying, I couldn't really do him while he did me (though I did as much as I could).  When my alarm went off to take my pill, we just got up and started the day.  D had stayed as well, though the other three had gone back to their tents earlier.

(Shortly before getting up, I heard one of the trip leaders walk past and comment, "Well, it looks like someone had a party last night..."  when I got outside, I saw why: the other guys had gone through 4 or 5 bottles of booze during the games, and the bottles were strewn all over the floor of the vestibule for the tent :P )

On the drive back, D and I talked a fair bit about those fooling-around sessions (as well as a lot of other things), and I got some more details about his history and his relationship with C.  I think I also may have satisfied him that I'm in the same position about such things as he is (I'm perfectly fine with fooling around with people but only when everyone involved knows there's nothing more serious happening), because he kind of relaxed and became a bit more open after that.  We'll see if this changes our interactions at all.

But in general, I'm very glad I went.  And at my appointment with the nurse today to follow up on the Truvada stuff, he reviewed the form I filled out and said, "... so, you've fooled around a bit since last time?" with a smile.  I said, "yeah, nothing major and no actual ejaculation, but it's a start."

That's probably the best summation, on a lot of different angles.  It's a start.

Time to get ready for tonight's hike - yes, I'm a glutton for punishment.  D won't be there - he begged off as having too many chores to catch up on, but insisted he wanted to go next week (C's working late and they only have one car, so I'd have to pick him up).

Eastward bound

Packing up to go camping.  This time, it's with the outdoors group I joined.  The guys who camp are apparently much different from the guys on the weekly hike - younger age on average, for one - so this'll be a mostly new group.  I say "mostly" because D is going with me, literally in that I'm driving both of us out there.

The trip runs Thursday to Sunday, and Saturday night is a potluck.  This presented a bit of a logistics issue, since that means being able to prepare something for Saturday night without ready access to a kitchen or high-grade refrigeration (I'll have my camp stove and cooler, but, like, I wouldn't want to chance seafood for instance).

But I hit on an idea that I think will be awesome: cold noodles with peanut sauce.  I've already made the sauce up, and it's pretty awesome.  The noodles are the only part I'm hemming and hawing about: it's be easier to make them ahead of time and just keep them in the cooler until Saturday, but I don't know how they'll react to storage (most pastas are fine for a few days).  So, I made one small batch last night, added a little oil, and stuck them in the fridge.  We'll see how they are tonight when I get home.  If they're not sticking or anything, then I can make the rest up and not have to worry about taking a big pot to boil things in.  If not, I'll take the pot and cook them up Saturday afternoon.

One thing I'm a little concerned about is space in the car: one of the requirements this time is to bring a coupe bundles of firewood.  When my other friend and I went camping last time, we pretty much packed my little hatchback solid, but that was 1) with bigger bags and 2) all of his photography stuff (which ended up being a not-insignificant amount).  I'm already planning on taking a smaller bag myself, and I very much over-planned last time so there'll be at least a little more room.  But I'll have to finagle the firewood thing somehow.

... Getting about $1800 back in taxes, which will be nice.  The fed one was submitted electronically (the state requires a filing fee, so, screw that; it can get mailed), and that usually gets me the refund in a coupe of weeks.

Monday is my first follow-up on the PrEP thing.  So far, so good: my GFR is down very slightly, but that might just be normal variation kind of thing.  I've actually put on a little weight since I started taking it, though some of that is muscle.

Oh, I suppose it's worth mentioning that my dad's mother died on Sunday.  She was 95.  I hadn't seen her in like 25 years, and haven't spoken to my dad in about 19; I also respond to deaths the way others generally do.  So, I'm pretty much fine.  Ironically, my strongest response was frustration/annoyance at possibly having to deal with my father, though so far that hasn't arisen (my step-sister messaged me on Facebook about her death).  I'm definitely not going to the funeral, as that would cause more problems than it's worth (and funerals are for the living, not the dead).

In happier news, L is now has a room in a townhouse on a (theoretically) long-term basis.  He's not paying rent himself this month, so he should be building up enough in savings to cover his own butt for the near future.  Either way, there's no more risk of him having to move in with me, and I'm not bailing him out in the future.

I'm also going to Vegas for a conference in March; since I haven't been there as an adult, this may be interesting.

7 down, hundreds to go.

One week in, and the first round of side-effects is pretty much gone.  I still get a little queasy right after meals, but that fades quickly.

Some of the last-minute supplies for the camping trip are coming in.  My shower should arrive today or tomorrow - it's a pump kind, not an overhead hanging one, since I'm not all that sure there's going to be anything to hang it from at the campground.  I'll have to test it out before we go.

I still need to decide if I should get a smaller tent or just take my big one.  It's not supposed to be that cold, though it can be at times, so the extra space isn't as bad as it would be if it were close to freezing.

L's staying at a friend's place and moving into his new room on Saturday.  He says it's already paid for through February and that he's signing the lease tomorrow, so on Sunday I may finally be able to stand down from my internal DEFCON2 status.

He said something else on Saturday night that.. well, I can't say it surprised me, other than he admitted it, but it's making me think.  He got angry that someone dared to have a coat resting on an unused chair at our table (we were on one side of the table with three extra chairs on the other side), and in the ensuing kerfluffle, he said something like, "You and I obviously have different notions of propriety."  I was annoyed and didn't stop myself from responding, "I wouldn't call it propriety.  I'd say you have a stronger sense of entitlement than I do."

L replied, "Yes, I do.  I feel I'm entitled to being treated in a certain way, and if other people don't respect that, it's my job to put them in their place."

That's really problematic to me.  I mean, I've always known that about him: that, in essence, he's fallen from a definite level of privilege but still thinks the world owes him something just because of who he is.  But I was never sure if he realized it, consciously.  I guess he does.

Thinking about it on my walk yesterday, I've never known him to do anything charitable.  He flat-out stated that he just ignores "those people" if he encounters them on the street, but even with friends, I don't think he's ever done anything that didn't in some way benefit himself.  So I have to decide - scratch that, I have decided that I'm not going to waste extra effort on someone who is so ruthlessly self-centered.

I mean, I have a thing where over the years I've basically "adopted" people who I think have something useful or worthwhile to give back to the world if only their financial or other situations were stabilized.  My goal is never to change someone but to help bring out the best in them, to in a sense take away all the things that might be holding them back and say, "Okay, here: you've got the means and opportunity now; what do you want to do?" and hope they pick something that helps others.  In general, it's paid off, and I can count a handful of success stories; there's only been one failure and one "still waiting to see", though at least this last one is independent and far more happy than he used to be.  I don't know that I've said it here, but one of my philosophies has always been that you can't save the world but you can help teach the world to save itself: those are more than just words to me, and I've spent a lot of resources in trying to do it.

When I first met L, and even until today, he talked a lot about improving the world in certain ways and trying to solve various problems.  Thinking back on them, though, all his solutions or methodologies always involved him becoming rich, successful, and/or powerful in the process.  In a sense, the way he wanted to save the world was by ruling it - not for the world's benefit, but for his.

Well, if nothing else, he's to a point where he should be more stable.  I don't know if it'll mean he's more productive or happy - I hope so - but I doubt it'll mean he'll turn around and try to help others.  So, I guess that makes two in the "we'll see" column; who knows, he may surprise me.

Got a couple of hits on Tindr; we'll see if they lead anywhere.  I've also gotten back into working out more (I never really stopped, but it did fall to a pretty low maintenance level), so we'll see how things go.  I also think I'm going to sign up for a massage at a place down the street this week; it's a formal spa but only $50 for an hour.

Out with the old, in with the new.

You spin me

... just a short post, but dayumn this pill is making me feel weird.

Like, okay, I expected the nausea.  That's not horrible, though it feels more like indigestion to me than queasiness.  What I didn't expect - and am not sure how to interpret - is the weird blood-pressure-type dizziness and weirdness.  I keep getting that blurry-around-the-edges tunnel-vision thing you get when you stand up to quickly.  That's the worst piece of it, because it's actually making it hard to concentrate/focus.

Two days in a row now, it's kicked in about 1.5-2 hours after taking the pill.  I've eaten something for breakfast both days, just to try and minimize the nausea, so it's not like this is on an empty stomach.  Yesterday, it lasted until about 5-6 (so, roughly 11-12 hours).

Let's hope I don't get a bout of BPPV while this is going on; I'm not sure I'd be able to sit up.

(Got my car battery replaced yesterday and my oil changed.  Yay for adulting!)

The new one-a-day

I am so not used to spending multiple hours at the doctor's office.  My usual appointments are 15-20 minutes waiting, then like 5-10 in the consultation, then maybe a prescription on the way out the door.

First off, they took me back about twenty minutes late.  Then, the consultation with the doctor was about 20 minutes.  Then I had to talk to the pharmacist for about 10 minutes.  Then off to the pharmacy for 15 minutes, then off to the lab to get some blood drawn for yet more tests and another 20 minutes.  All in all, I was there for about two hours, but I walked out with bottle of (not-so-little) blue pills.

You're supposed to take them at the same time every day, so I'm waiting until tomorrow morning for my first.  Hopefully I don't react badly to it; the big concern is kidney function, but since those seem perfectly fine for me, the doc doesn't think it'll be a problem.  Apparently osteopenia is also a potential issue, so that's what today's blood draw was for: calcium and vitamin D levels.  My calcium test already came back fine: isn't it great that we live in an age where we can have blood drawn and two hours later have an email notifying us that the results are ready?

I'm not sure I'm going to tell anyone I'm going on this.  I mean, you guys know, and I'll probably tell one friend about it (he's thinking of going on it and is more nervous than I was, but he's also much higher risk and has already had one "scare" that included post-exposure treatment just in case).  But I'm not telling my parents or anyone else, I don't think.  It's no one's business.

I also got the first of the three Hep B shots that I'll have to take over the next six months.  Yay, I guess (this one's really made my arm sore).

The camping trip is all booked, and I'm trying to decide if I should get a smaller tent, since the only one I have is the big 6-man (which actually only really would fit three or four adult men).  That's kind of overkill.  But I'm also starting to get a lot more careful with how much I spend, especially now that I shouldn't be supporting L any more.

... Oh, right.  L.  So, he's been staying in a motel.  He's apparently got another place he's moving into on the 24th - a room in a house in the valley - and he seems kind of excited about it.  Now, last time it fell through at the last minute, so I'm not going to hold my breath against the odds of him snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but it's encouraging.  However, the people paying his motel are stopping that today, so for the next 12 days or so he's going to be staying somewhere else.

A nursing home.

I'm... kind of at a loss as to how this will work out.  I could be wrong, of course, but every nursing home I've been to or seen has been a pretty depressing thing overall, and most of the residents didn't have much in the way of freedom.  L's not bed-ridden, isn't doing physical therapy, and isn't going to want to be trapped in a room all day.  I'm not sure how he'll take it, but we'll see.  It's only for 10 days.

The really awesome - to me, anyway - part is that he's actually been listening and is planning on saving as much money over the next month as he can for a buffer.  He's realistically targeting having about a thousand dollars put aside by the end of February, which would be great if he can pull it off.

This weekend was the first time in literally months - probably 3 or 4 months - that we've hung out and he hasn't either hit me up for money or pressured me about staying here or both.  I was shocked.

Anyway, without his periodic demands, I should be able to manage my money better and actually plan for things.  I also really do need to set up some outside consulting stuff to bring in a bit extra to help pay off bills and buy toys (and yes, I've said this a lot).

On the try-new-things side, I used the sauna downstairs for the first time since moving in 3.5 years ago.  I guess you have to turn it on an hour or so before going in, but once it warmed up, it was pretty decent.  I'm going to plan it better next time so I can do the steam thing as well as have a shower in between sessions (heating the place up for one 10-15 minute shot seems a waste).

Going on a hike tonight; it'll be chilly so need to dress warmer than normal.  We'll get to see how the latest rains reshaped the trails.

Minor things for the week

L is.. well, I don't know what his current state is.  Last I heard, he was being put up at a motel by a charity, but that theoretically ends Monday.  We're hanging out tomorrow, so if he doesn't have a place yet, I expect to get harangued all night.  It won't change my answer any, but it may be the last time we hang out if he doesn't give it a rest: I'm willing to put up with someone being unpleasant to be around, but I'm not willing to spend hours being harassed.

Booked a weekend camping trip in a few weeks.  Going with the hiking group out to the desert, so that should be fun: I've been wanting to do star shots out there anyway, and this is a good trip to be my inaugural with them.  Also, my friend D is coming (his husband may not be able to get time off of work), and it'll be his first camping trip in ages too.  We're going to carpool out there.

It does mean I need to get a few things.  Like, I don't have a solar shower yet, so that's one thing; I found a pump one that looks cool but is kind of expensive, but I think I can afford it.  I'm also thinking about getting a smaller tent, since I need one for backpacking anyway.  That would be expensive, so I have to consider it carefully, but putting out a 6-man tent for myself, especially if it's colder temps, is probably a bad idea (D is taking his own).  I also want to grab a couple of those pocket warmer things just in case, but those are cheap.

Oh, I got a 3.4% raise for work.  It'll probably end up being an extra $40 a week, give or take, which will pay for the rent increase I got and then some (not much, but some).  That kicks in Monday, so I won't see anything from it until the end of the month due to pay cycles, but it's still nice.  Apparently, that's the maximum raise the company is giving out this year; I got the maximum last year, too (3% then).

I also get my pay-out from unspent holiday pay next Friday; that should be ~$470.  I suppose I could use that for camping stuff, but I originally going to put that towards other things.  We'll see how my pocketbook looks after this weekend.

My appointment with the MD to talk about PrEP is on Monday.  I've gotten all my test results back; nothing seems odd to me except that my Hepatitis B vaccination apparently never took (I guess you need multiple shots; I only ever got one).  So, I'll probably be getting that vaccine here too shortly.  But I don't think there's anything to stop me from going on the meds starting Monday.  This will be interesting.

In a random note, the gym at my apartment put in a new machine downstairs; we had one of those multi-function stations, but this one is all pulley-based.  I haven't used the weights down there in ages (I have free weights in my apartment and generally only use the treadmill in the gym), but I might try the new thing out to see how well it works.

Hot and steamy

I went to a Korean spa on Saturday.  Now, I've been to plenty of clothing-optional resorts, and I'm not exactly inhibited, but this was literally the first time I'd been to any kind of spa or bath house.  So, I was a little anxious, but I went anyway: my friend D and his husband are the ones who asked if I wanted to go, since they were going (and apparently had been before).

It wasn't bad.  Some of the steam rooms had the steam on way too much for me (I actually had trouble breathing in one of them), but overall the experience was pretty relaxing.  And since I'd spent the afternoon (this was at night) with my best friend, it made Saturday a really awesome day.

Which is just what I needed, since L's been having his typical chaos.  The guy he was supposed to move in with on Saturday decided to "cancel" their agreement on New Year's Day.  Technically, he couldn't do that, since L had keys and a contract, but the charity paying L's moving costs didn't want to pay to move L into a place where he wasn't welcome.  The problem, of course, is that the lockout happens today (Monday), so this put L in a bit of a bind.  The service said they'd put him up in a motel for a bit and move his stuff into storage, but that the hotel funding would take a few days to set up.

So, of course, he sent me an email saying, "Give me a call when you have a chance."  Which is a signal that he's going to try and strong-arm me into something, since otherwise he'd just ask in email or call me himself.  Again he asked if he could stay with me, and again I said no, and he got angry.  Then his phone started cutting out, and he just hung up.  I haven't really spoken to him since, so no idea what's going on at this point.  But I'm also not sure I care much.  I mean, I hope he gets his living situation worked out, but if he decides he doesn't want to speak to me or that I'm a horrible person, well... that's his decision.

The couple hours at the spa relaxed me, and I slept extremely well Saturday night.  Also checked out a new coffee house yesterday, before hanging out with D a little; it was okay, not somewhere terribly comfortable but not horrible either.  I'm still in search of a hang-out-for-an-afternoon kind of place.

Had my blood and pee tests done on Friday, and the results seem unremarkable (I don't get the STD results online, due to disclosure rules, but there's not going to be anything exciting there; the resultsI did get was things like kidney function).  A couple of numbers might be a little cause of concern if they were accompanied by other signs, but they're probably just normal human variation (trace values where ideal is none kinds of things).  I have my appointment with the physician to go over the results a week from today, so that would be the day I start PrEP if she sees nothing concerning.

I was actually thinking about that at the spa.  The place is Korean, so there's that population obviously, but it's also something of a gay cruising joint (though relatively low-key apparently).  I didn't see anyone doing anything risque, but I definitely got a lot of looks/stares.  Some of that may just be because, as I said, I'm not exactly inhibited and tended to walk around naked rather than wrapped up like most of the guys.

Anyway, the thought was that I really shouldn't do anything even if the opportunity arose :) The nurse I saw pointed out that the idea of the initial STD tests was to form a baseline before giving me the prescription and to be absolutely sure I was "fine" before I started; he also said I should be careful not to do anything that might change my status between the tests and the consultation, which is basically saying "don't have sex for the week between".  Which normally wouldn't even be an issue, but I also don't normally go to spas :D

Anyway, nothing happened, and it was great, and I'll probably go back again at some point (with or without D & C).  It's kind of a drive, so I might also see if there's something closer to me, but I could also justify it if I got a massage or something while there (which they offer).

Should be a slow week this week (and of course saying that, things'll go crazy, right?).  Though I think I want to book a camping trip out to the desert: my hiking group is going, and it's time I actually took advantage of the opportunity.

... That may be the motto for this year: taking advantage of opportunities.  We'll see.