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I just called in to Hot Talk to make my points on the Shared Parenting Inititive -- and, of course, the NDSPI guy didn't answer my questions, instead ranting about his own situation. Oh well. It's probably because they don't have an answer of why it makes sense. #

Charles T Dazey was "Class Poet" at Harvard in 1881, had aspirations to be a lawyer, but a turn of his health sent him off to the Dakota Territory to find a new life. In this article about Dazey from the Bismarck Tribune, we learn he didn't just become the average Dakota homesteader. Not only did he name a town after himself, but his writing skills that gave him acclaim in the Ivy League made him into an acclaimed playwright and screenwriter (see a poster from his Broadway show at the LOC), back in a time when this region was barely a state. #

Lore Sj#

Poor Tilde-Carl -- in 9 days, it will reach one year without updates. A cursory glance shows it's already the longest it's gone without updates, no doubt because of the brief disappearances of both Plastic and Suck (more the former than the latter, probably) that have occupied his time, but who knows what else Carl may be up to? My vote is training with the sherpas for an Everest attempt. #

Ladel peg! Wans sup pawn at I'm their worth reel ladle pegs... Try reading the text a little, but for full clarification, click on the WAV link in the right-hand column. All will become clear. #

FM modulators -- the ones people use to listen to their CD changer, iPod, or sattelite radio on their car stereo -- are a conspiracy to blot out NPR and Christian Radio signals that also occupy the 88-90Mhz band. Well, not really so much (unless you just want to blame Howard Stern for wanting to randomly appear on a more stiff-collared station once in a while), but studies by NPR Labs and the National Association of Brodcasters found that the transmitters, which are only supposed to be powerful enough to reach a couple feet to your car's radio antenna, are going to be found in around 1 out of every 100 cars you pass every day and the majority are powerful enough to blot out the radio listening in adjacent cars, against FCC regulations. The FCC is being petitioned to crack down on the overpowered FM transmitters (which amount to pirate radio broadcasting) and get manufacturers to recall the interfering modulators. (via Poynter) #

The ND Bar Association understands the lack of logic in the Shared Parenting Initiative, but it annoys me that everyone's all up in arms about TANF and ignores the fact that the NDSPI doesn't make much sense in terms of "cooperation," as I mentioned in my post about it. When the NDSPI says one thing, then defeats what they said in the next statement, and finally messes up everything in the 3rd statement -- who cares about TANF? The Initiative plain doesn't make any sense at all, and that's what voters need to hear. #

I've been alluding to the problems of the past summer, and I'm still not ready to go into great detail...there's only so much I want everyone to know about how alcoholism, stage IV cancer, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, suicide risks, mental illness, poverty, death, and just-plain-'ol stress is affecting myself, my immediate family, and those in contact with them. Unlike a lot of families (and like too many other aggregate families), the circle of influencing parties is huge when we've got three kids with no common parents between them all.

The bright side is: we are coming out of this.

The dark side is: by admitting I think that all is well, I have caused Fate to send something to broadside us, pushing us back into the hole.

However, the problems of summer have brought significant changes versus our family's status in March. Allie, my wife's daughter, has moved into a group home to help her deal with Asperger's in conjuntion with her impending freedom at age 18. Destiny's counselling sessions have cause enormous improvement -- while the problems that started her in counseling (difficulty in getting homework done) seem tiny when compared to this summer's dealings, we're lucky she had a counselor in place and she's made an enourmous turnaround. I started seeing a counselor to deal with the stress; while I don't think it's fixed anything, I've gotten some new perspectives on myself. D, is as always, D, stoic and reserved, but she's beginning to realize she needs some help with stress as well, along with the loss of Allie's influence on her life.

We joke that the mental health offices we spend so much time in are having a groundbreaking for the Dahlsad Mental Health Facility any day now. During certain parts of this summer, we, quite literally, spent an hour or two every single day in that building, waiting for one appointment or another.

However, outlook is positive now. Des is doing well, Allie's new home is well-suited for her, D is relaxing into her new freedom, and I'm doing OK.

I've even gotten some extra work, too, in a much more traditional sense. Allie's group home is quite expensive; the house we're living in was rented with the expectation that we'd have us and three children living with us. So, I've re-entered the workplace.

Stress tends to make me feel like a failure; things that are my responsibility go badly, things out of my control affect the things in my control, and nothing seems to be going right. D's freelance work brings in quite a bit of money; me, not so much. Tell someone who thinks he's a failure to go get a job, and in a couple hours ask how he's doing.

All the good jobs require skills I don't have; retail jobs expect work schedules with disregard for other obligations; the pay has to be worth my time; I was fired from my last job, so who'll want to hire me now? All I saw were obstacles.

One morning, while browsing the Job Service website, I find two listings that appeal to me: CopyMax and a document scanning company, ISC. Both use skills I have, both are somewhat related to our home business, and both are part-time jobs. I sent off two resumes, and kept looking to find something else.

ISC called me back that afternoon, and hired me three days later.

I initially blew off Officemax; they did leave a message, offering an interview. I had already been hired by ISC, and felt my plate was full. First, one of the references I gave to Officemax delivered a glowing review of my abilities, and so I felt obligated to live up to their opinion. Then, of course, like I said above -- after getting the job with ISC, I felt everything was going great...requiring Fate to throw a curve-ball, and 3/4 of D's freelance income disappeared. Suddenly, getting a job at Officemax seemed much more urgent. Two interviews over two weeks later, I was offered the job.

For someone who felt rather worthless, getting two job offers for the only two jobs that were applied for, well, that felt good. Doing well at both jobs feels even better. Working 8-10 hours a day, fitting in freelance stuff wherever I can, feels exhausing. However, the money situation is resolved, we've got extra resources to help with the obstacles, so life is looking up.

Not that I say that too loud, else something bad happen. It always does.

Until then, I'll at least let myself feel a little pleasure at recieving paychecks, getting compliments from those who I work for, being recognized for my cool glasses, and otherwise feeling like I'm accomplishing something and holding back the incorporeal horrors that threaten our family. Now, when do I spend time for myself? I'm trying to fit that in, but there's only so many hours in the day. It's a balancing act, and if it keeps Fate from screwing with things for a while, I guess that's OK.

While I'm not one to randomly link to other blogs, I ran across this one while browsing Technorati. Fargoing is a blog from a non-Dakotan who moved to Fargo quite recently, but started blogging a year ago when they found out they'd be moving. Unlike a lot of other blogs, they don't dwell on personal issues, focusing more on life in the region directly...something I wanted to do more of on Fargophilia but haven't had it 'gel' yet. Fargoing does it well, probably because so many thing I take for granted seem new and shiny to them. They got their first taste of snow today; we'll see how long their positive streak lasts, or if they can accept the weather and make it through like the rest of us. #

While I don't condone it, nor plan on building one of my own, I find instructions for a homemade tattoo gun facinating. The site shows some of the handiwork of such a machine, no doubt handled by an expert in amateur tattooing. One may remember that tattoos were done by hand, with indelible ink and a small sharp object, for thousands of years...but I'm still glad my tattoo was applied with a sterile machine wielded by skilled hands. #

The Fargo Public Library is on the cutting edge of modern library technology, fitting the new Northport library branch with RFID tracking of items, which also allows for self-service checkouts. Bibliotheca RFID's product, the BiblioChip library system looks excellent; of the places that benefit the most from RFID, libraries are high on the list, due to the huge variety of single items to be cataloged and tracked. A RFID-less carton of ramen noodles with a barcode on the side is still rather efficient for WalMart, but keeping tabs on the only copy of A Clockwork Orange in the library is greatly improved by RFID. #

Lore Sjoberg has some advice for budding writers: write all the time, and submit your writing to anyplace that will consider it. The smug side of me says, "duh," but the rest of me reminds smug-me that I want to be a professional writer, yet do neither of Sjoberg's suggestions. So, I link it here to remind myself, and maybe help someone else along, too. #

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