Life update (03/18/2023)

I have barely written anything this week; my old pal darkness itself has paid me a visit. When I wake up I want to go back to sleep. After I drag myself out of bed, I lack the energy and mental focus to do anything but vegetate around. Although I force myself to go outside for a walk and to read in some coffee shop, every sensation feels grating. I try to avoid landing my gaze on any human being. Both the present and future seem hopeless. I think often of how lovely it would be if I hadn’t been born. So in general, the usual stuff that goes on when I end up depressed again. The only thing that has made me feel better is lying on a massage mat with my eyes closed while listening to ASMR through my noise-cancelling headphones.

I’m sure that the lack of a new chapter of my ongoing novel will be a tragedy for the five people or so that follow it, probably for sick reasons. I’m writing the stuff that I need to write; it just happens that I may be the only person who actually wants to read such a story.

I have been unemployed since January, and living on unemployment benefits that will last for eight more months. Honestly, I hope I don’t get a job until then. For the last few years I have been working as an IT guy at a hospital. I hated that job, but I thought I could tolerate it, until I developed heart problems that get triggered by the stress I endure at the job. I have gone through two episodes of serious arrhythmia so far, and both landed me in the ER. Going back to work, possibly to any job, will initiate a countdown until the next time that my heart fails me again. I only work to earn money, of course; if I could get away with it, I would write for a living. In addition, having a job from now on not only will steal my time, my energy and my mental health, but it could also cause a stroke, an aneurysm or who knows what other nasty shit due to my heart issues.

On top of that, I was working regularly in that health organization because I was ranked first in the list of people to call when regular workers get sick or go on holiday. However, some political bullshit has given further importance to being able to speak Basque, the regional language, to the extent that I’m now ranked the eight. If I don’t get called for the upcoming holidays in a couple of weeks, I’m unlikely to get any contract at all for the foreseeable future. Very few people who aren’t native speakers of that horrid language (that was cobbled together artificially in the seventies, because different regions of the Basque Country could barely understand each other) can get the certification, and their horror stories involve ceasing to read or watch any movie/show in their spare time except in Basque. The instructors that teach the language in publically funded courses seem to always be political activists for whom the language is inextricably linked to fighting for the independence of this region, as well as communism.

In my case, reading and writing the stuff that I need to read and write is the only thing that has kept me alive so far; I didn’t see myself living past eighteen years old, and I would have spared myself tons of horrors if I hadn’t. In addition, I loathe that fucking language, Basque; as if I didn’t find it ugly and useless to begin with, I have many bad memories of random adults related to the school reprimanding me for speaking in Spanish during recess, or even when I was walking around town in my free time. Joke’s on them, though: about half of the time you hear anyone speak on the streets these days, you hear neither Spanish nor Basque. Well, joke’s on all of us for that.

In summary, I may need to figure out what to do to earn money. I doubt I can go back to programming; I haven’t learned any programming of note in years, and I’m far too old already (I’ll turn thirty-eight in a couple of weeks) for an industry that recycles young programmers because they accept terrible wages.

Other than that, I’m loving the manga series Dungeon Meshi, about a group of D&D-like folks delving into a dungeon partly to eat every monster they come across. Well-realized and flawed characters, the way seemingly only the Japanese know how to do it anymore. Here’s a video review by someone who does good job extolling the virtues of that story.

Anyway, back to the winter prediction: it’s going to be cold, it’s going to be grey, and it’s going to last you for the rest of your life.

Life update (02/11/2023)

A couple of days ago I had my yearly check up with my usual endocrinologist. Back in my mid-twenties, after my body started doing stuff that a man shouldn’t be able to, I got an MRI done. It discovered a pituitary tumor. I was likely born with it. In retrospect, it should have been discovered back when I was still a child; after all, gynecomastia isn’t something that just happens. If my parents hadn’t been generally neglectful, I would have been spared the permanent effects of becoming an adult in a boddy riddled with hormonal imbalances.

If you want to know how that’s like, I guess you can check out the videos of the adults that were put in feminizing/masculinizing hormone therapy back when they could barely understand what would be done to them or why, only to regret it later (and be censored for it). In my case, whatever defect in my DNA, or poison in my environment, created the tumor, was the one responsible for this alteration, which may be worse because I never consented to anything. In all cases mentioned, the person ends up fucked for life.

Obviously there are sex differences in brain anatomy (quick google: “On average, males and females showed greater volume in different areas of the cortex, the outer brain layer that controls thinking and voluntary movements. Females had greater volume in the prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, superior temporal cortex, lateral parietal cortex, and insula. Males, on average, had greater volume in the ventral temporal and occipital regions. Each of these regions is responsible for processing different types of information”), and due to my hormonal imbalances, my brain must be more female than the average guy’s. I guess that may explain in part why I feel comfortable writing female characters.

Anyway, my hormones have been under control for the last eleven years or so thanks to the medication I have to take two times a week. And ever since I’m producing healthy levels of testosterone, I want to fuck everything that moves and that may remotely be considered female (slight exaggeration).

Going back to the initial topic: I have no problem using public transport, but my elderly father offered to drive me to the hospital for my scheduled visit. I never got a driver’s license, and likely never will. Partly because I was born with so-called high-functioning autism; my mind makes me lose myself in daydreams in which I don’t recall entering, and when I “wake up” from them, I’m surprised that I didn’t fall through an open manhole or get hit by a car along the way. In addition, and worse, either I was born with or developed OCD (often comorbid with autism). This OCD of mine generates a myriad of intrusive thoughts, plenty of which involve violence either towards others or myself. If I were to drive a car, I would find myself having to drive out of my mind the urge to veer into oncoming traffic or drive straight into a wall.

I suppose that I’m something of a barely restrained public menace. Sometimes when I’m about to grab my coffee, my brain presents me with vivid sequences of me tipping the cup so that it spills the hot coffee all over my or someone else’s skin. Unfortunately that actually happened, although just once: as I was about to take my coffee from the counter, one of those intrusive “animations” came up, and next thing I knew, my thumb had slid in such a way that I ended up spilling the coffee all over a customer’s lap. He was surprisingly cool about it.

I’ve dropped valuable stuff that I was holding because my mind got filled with images of me dropping it. I’ve never held a baby because I don’t want to live with the consequences of possibly dropping them; back when I was a teenager, a cousin nearly booted me out from her apartment because I didn’t want to hold her spawn, and she stormed out offended while saying, “you better change your mind about that!”

I nearly bit off the nipple of a girlfriend of mine because at that very moment the enticing prospect flashed, vividly rendered, through my brain. I still remember the gasp she let out. I miss sucking on tits.

Of course, because I live in an increasingly chaotic Europe (it will last at the most one or two generations), whenever I go out I have to endure vivid sequences of me defending myself from attacks due to the proximity of some group of shady, malicious-looking, military-aged men from some remote shithole, and it doesn’t help that I’ve seen in person shit done by such men, have been harassed by some, and my apartment was nearly broken into in the middle of the day by, again, such people.

Anyway, I wouldn’t have been able to drive myself to the hospital. As my elderly father attempted to find a parking space, I told him, “you don’t need to park, I’ll just get out. And don’t wait for me, because afterwards I’ll walk somewhere to get a cup of coffee.” My father stopped the car almost immediately and let me out. He didn’t say anything. A couple of hours later, I was reading in a coffee shop when my father called. He asked where I was, because he didn’t see me leave the hospital. I reminded him that I had told him not to wait for me. He said that he had told me that when I left the doctor’s office, I should call him to pick me up. He hadn’t.

The situation with my father, as in general with the rest of my family, is more peculiar than that of most people’s families (and so is my own personal situation). My father was regularly beaten as a child to an extent that it gave him notorious brain damage. I’ve never had anything resembling a normal conversation with him. In his early seventies, he’s now a frail-looking, stooped old man whose head wobbles constantly like a bobblehead doll due to whatever damage was done back in the day. For most effects and purposes, I didn’t have a father figure growing up, resulting in all the damage that does to someone.

I thought about growing old. I’ll be thirty-eight in a couple of months. I’ve never felt older than eighteen or twenty. I’m appalled by how fast my body has broken down, including my heart ever since a certain jab.

I have never felt fully human, but the older I get, the less I want to interact with human beings in any capacity. Far more often than not, whenever I listen to other people’s opinions I’m disturbed by what comes out of their mouths, as well as their notions of what is good or preferable. A few times I thought I was fine with someone as a person, only for them to open up and for me to realize that I had only fabricated in my mind a version of this person, one that never existed. And due to autism plus OCD and the way they wired my brain, I simply don’t feel the need to be in the presence of other humans. In fact, doing so repels me: I feel like I’m surrounded by wild, barely predictable animals. Truly, if it wasn’t because I can’t afford it, and because I wouldn’t know how to organize myself to do so, I would live far, far away from civilization, or at least far enough where I would still have access to the internet.

Apparently a significant portion of the world’s population cannot generate images in their brains. I read that somewhere. My mind deals more in images than in words, and I’m constantly aware that language is a very imperfect tool to translate what pops in my mind as images. But due to the conditions I was born with, my mind is a regular whirlpool of images, mostly negative ones, many of them bad memories, that pop up without my control and that force me to deal with them. Two nights ago I barely slept three hours or so, and the rest of the time I kept swatting back the visual sequences that my brain kept presenting to me. For example, how many times do I have to picture the face of agony that my beloved first cat made when she was mortally wounded by a dog? How many times do I have to recall the moments in which I realized that a girlfriend of mine was cheating and was trying to get rid of me? How many times do I have to see the faces of children mocking me for one reason or another? Most of the memories aren’t traumatic per se, but they still leave a foul taste in my mouth.

I have to be careful with the experiences I expose myself to, because any new memory (and they are almost always bad; my brain seems very reluctant to retain positive memories) will visit me for years, possibly for the rest of my life, and I suppose there’s a point in any human in which he’ll have no choice but to go “fuck this” and jump off a bridge.

It’s not all bad regarding mental images, though; for years I’ve found solace in very elaborate daydreams that I can run whenever I want, and that rescue me from the harsh surroundings. One of them starts when three people from the future discover that they all came from an isolated group of Icelanders from the Middle Ages, who were about to starve from a little ice age. The future people, who researched time travel, rescue their ancestors and bring them to the Americas. They provide some future technology, artificial intelligence and such to give them a major edge, but they also give them the task of becoming the sentinels of the New World for when Europeans come and unwittingly kill most of the population through disease, and ruin the treasures of the past through Christianity. An elaborate fantasy that despite how much I’ve worked mentally on many of the characters, will never become a written story, because daydreams are terrible story material; stories are about tension and struggle (and usually end with a definite win or loss), daydreams are about winning as often as possible.

I can’t come up with a proper segue into the following topic, but the fact is that I feel like I’ve been dead for years and years, maybe since my early twenties. Ever since, I’ve slowly been erasing myself from the world. The way Patricia Highsmith put it (someone else who was autistic), the artistic life is a “long and lovely suicide.” You are mining from yourself raw material to construct valuable artifacts out of it, and you do so, if you are lucky, for as long as your body lasts, but someone who is interested in the world and in living doesn’t sit in front of a screen (or stand in front of a canvas) for hours upon hours to escape from reality. And there’s a good chance that giving in to the impulse to escape from reality through writing, painting, etc. actually prevents you from learning to cope or even appreciate the whole of reality. But fuck reality; it’s just an inferior version of whatever goes on in the mind anyway.

Life update (01/14/2023)

It’s a quarter to midnight over here and today I’ve gone through a surreal nightmare. Granted, most experiences feel like surreal nightmares when your neurological makeup is as screwed up as mine.

I woke up at seven to get on a taxi to get on a train straight to Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital of Álava, a neighboring province, because I had to take a bullshit public exam that would determine if in three years or so, for a period of about eight months, they would keep calling me to work as an IT guy at some hospital (usually the main hospital at Donostia).

Whenever I travel somewhere new or that I don’t visit often, I love the sights on the way. There’s a curious mountain somewhere between my city and Vitoria-Gasteiz that looks like hundreds of meters of gray bones sticking out of the ground. The surroundings are flat, and the couple of neighboring towns look quiet and peaceful. I wonder how it would be like to live in such places.

There’s a sequence in my beloved previous novel, “My Own Desert Places”, when the main guy/girl and his/her love interest take a trip to Asturias. I wrote that sequence in a single Sunday (I have no clue how I managed to write so quickly back then; I wrote the novel in a couple of months). Along the way, the protagonist slowly loses her mind, with hilarious slash disturbing results. I felt pretty much the same on the way back home today, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, I reached Vitoria-Gasteiz, which is a pretty cool city. At least the architecture is intriguing, but my experience, as usual, went something like this: “What a nice and spacious avenue. But why is that retard blasting the morning news so loudly?” “What a picturesque little shop that sells antiques. Oh, that man just hacked up a phlegm and spat it onto the pavement.” “Look at that lovely, centuries-old plaza. But why do these people have to speak so loud?” In short, human beings are the worst part of every single fucking experience. Just imagine how lovely a sudden lack of human beings would be. Or at least if they had learned to keep quiet and reproduce responsibly along the way.

I ate a greasy combo plate at some restaurant that turned out to serve huge portions, but whose patrons were, expectedly, obnoxiously loud. I was seated next to a woman in maybe her mid to late thirties whose husband looked like he was in his late forties or early fifties. They had three young boys who wouldn’t stop annoying each other. The mother looked exasperated. At one point she leaned towards one of her boys and said something like, “do not snatch the toy out of my hand like that. Do you understand me? If you want it ask for it. Say, ‘can you please give me the toy?’ Do not forcefully grab it from my hand,” in a voice that sounded like she resented the kid. A bit later, the youngest of her crotch goblins started bawling. The mother went, “I wish I had come alone, that I had left you three at home so I could have a good time for a change,” or something to that effect. The husband wasn’t around to witness these interactions.

I will never become pregnant no matter what kind viscous experiment I may partake in, but if I were a woman, I think that one of my worst fears would be to have children only to years later resent having to spend my precious time dealing with them. I’ve been near a few women when they gave off that impression (another one I remember was a tired-looking woman in her thirties who was writing on a notebook at a coffee shop only for her son to topple her cup, then wander away non-chalantly as the mother was berating him. The woman then started crying softly), and it made me sad. I wanted to stand up and tell those women to shoot their kids in the face and then ride into the sunset with me. I would become their new son if they so pleased. I tend to fantasize about having sex with virtually every moderately attractive woman I come across.

I was dealing with acid reflux and lots of gas when five in the afternoon came around. I joined a few dozen people at some local college to subject myself to the harrowing experience of having to pass some bullshit exam. Turns out that whoever was in charge of choosing the questions for this exam was an idiot, incompetent, or both: about forty percent of the questions were only tangentially related to anything we do at work as IT guys for hospitals. For example, they asked shit like “what is the Spanish authority that provides guidelines to audit the security of information systems?” Bitch, we have nothing to do with network security nor audits. Those are engineers at a completely different job. I don’t recall even reading about most of that stuff in the books they told us to buy for this exam.

As if the infuriatingly ridiculous questions weren’t enough, the dickhead they put in charge of my classroom only informed us of the remaining time when there were only fifteen minutes left. I didn’t even have time to reread all the questions I had left unanswered. In all the other exams, the examiners started informing us of the remaining time with forty-five minutes left. This, along with the questions they chose for the exam, is the kind of shit that happens when both the jury and the examiners are chosen by lottery.

When I got out of that campus, it was dark outside. I was sure that I had flunked the exam. Seated at a coffee table in the mostly deserted train station, because I had to wait an hour until my train back home arrived, I felt utterly miserable. It’s not the kind of miserable that someone as broken as me felt back in the day; I’m fully aware that I’m not built for this world, that most of the sensory information it provides on a daily basis feels like nails on a chalkboard, and that I will never feel comfortable among human beings. I have long ceased to fight against any of that. I was just exhausted, defeated, and wanted to go home.

The ride was a blur of pitch-blackness outside, me wanting to have sex with the stylish fake blonde that was seated in front of me, and me wondering how such sexual encounter would work, given that I had spent the last hour and a half holding my farts.

When I got home at about eleven at night, I found out that I actually passed the exam. Barely. So instead of writing an utterly miserable entry, I’ve written this crap because I feel a bit better. Tomorrow I’ll go back to focusing on writing my novel, which is the only thing that truly matters in this world as far as I’m concerned, at least until I finish it and move on to the next thing.

Life update (01/10/2023)

Today I have travelled to the hills of Donostia for a cardiology appointment. I had sought a second opinion because the first doctor that treated me had performed an echocardiogram then failed to share the results (he was already ending the visit when I reminded him), had gotten annoyed at me when I told him the objective fact that I had never experienced heart issues until the very same day I received the latest “booster vaccine” (he told me, “[manufactured virus of unspecified origin] vaccines have nothing to do with heart issues, erase that from your mind”), and in general behaved like a prick.

This second doctor looked close to retirement, and was cold and abrasive. He simultaneously seemed to believe that patients shouldn’t research their symptoms on their own (“because Google mostly lies”) and that details about cardiological afflictions and their treatments should be common knowledge.

He told me that acid reflux likely triggered my latest episode of arrhythmia, that I possibly have some esophageal hernia too close to the left ventricle of my heart. It may be the reason why I felt like some pressure was coming up my esophagus, only to “inflate” in the general area of my heart, and then break out into an arrhythmia the moment the pressure deflated. However, he told me that I shouldn’t bother to get my esophagus looked at, because the treatment would be the same. Or some shit like that, I’m not sure on that point.

He clarified that I can lift weights, but not heavily (low weights, high repetitions), and that I should focus on cardio instead (I hate cardio). I also shouldn’t consume alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages or even too cold stuff (like ice cream) preferably ever again. I can’t think of anything that has kept me running as much as caffeine has for the last couple of decades, so I don’t know how I’ll handle that.

What infuriated me was the following (paraphrased) exchange:

Doctor: “When was the first time you experienced such issues with your heart?”
Jon: “Well, the last doctor who wanted an answer to that question got pissed at me when I told him, but here it goes: my heart was healthy until the day I received the latest “booster vaccine,” as I was burning up a fever, and I have experienced palpitations ever since.”
Doctor: “[Manufactured virus of unspecified origin] is known to damage the electrical functions of the heart, and therefore the vaccine does as well.”
Jon: “The other doctor told me that these vaccines are unrelated to heart issues.”
The doctor leaned forward.
Doctor: “That’s what they are saying because they don’t want to discourage people from getting it. But of course the vaccine can cause permanent heart damage, because the virus itself is known to attack such tissues. I have treated, for example, many young women that come from other doctors because they are experiencing what is called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS); other doctors have told them that it was anxiety related, but these women could tell that the only factor that changed in their lives was getting jabbed.”

I would like to put the following text in all caps, but it would look ugly as hell, so I’ll use italics instead:

Even though these vaccines don’t prevent contagion, don’t prevent transmission, don’t prevent mutation, that at the most (supposedly) they make the symptoms less severe, even groups that aren’t at risk (such as young people) have been mandated to receive them, despite the fact that a sizeable percentage of them will develop permanent health issues as a consequence, issues that could cause their deaths. In addition, some doctors, by lying about the dangers, are deliberately stealing their patients’ right to make an informed decision regarding whether or not they should get jabbed.

In case you didn’t know, Musk divulged emails from some big shot at Pfizer that used government channels to push for censorship of other doctors that stated that the index of mortality regarding this virus in young people was less than zero percent, and that therefore they shouldn’t get vaccinated. So many people’s heads should roll, but I’ll be extremely surprised if any of them end up defending themselves in a courtroom.

Anyway, my doctor emphasized that I should never get a [manufactured virus of unspecified origin] vaccine again. I suspect that the next time some people order us all into lockdown with whatever excuse, I’d need some signed exemption, or else I would likely lose my job.

This doctor prescribed me three different drugs: one to handle my acid reflux (that I should take every day before dinner), a beta blocker that is supposed to reduce blood pressure (and that could make me seriously dizzy on top of how out of it I generally am, partly thanks to the drug I take for my pituitary tumor), and flecainide in case I find myself out in the wild when the next arrhythmia hits. If my heart rhythm doesn’t revert in four hours after taking flecainide, I should visit the ER.

In the end, this new doctor was a bit of a prick, but an honest prick, and that’s the best kind. In addition, he didn’t fucking charge me for the visit.

I’m unemployed as of last Friday, and I have nothing going on until this Saturday, when I’ll have to travel to Vitoria-Gasteiz and pass some bullshit exam. Hopefully in the meantime I’ll manage to make enough progress with my novel.

Life update (12/27/2022)

I haven’t been doing well recently. My writing is progressing at a glacial pace because I’m having a hard time focusing on anything. I haven’t recovered psychologically, and perhaps even physically, from my latest episode of arrhythmia; psychologically I’m dispirited, burned out, unable and unwilling to look at people in the eye, getting annoyed by everything and everyone, and generally paranoid towards humans. Physically I’m getting weird electrical/stabbing pains in my upper torso, pains that sometimes reach my hands, and that cause involuntary muscle contractions. I feel like I can’t breathe as freely as earlier, but I don’t know to what extent I’m just paranoid about the possible damage to my body that the arrhythmia may have caused. I’m struggling with a brain fog that may be due to the medication I take for a pituitary tumor, as well as due to stress, anxiety, and depression. All that is on top of the random palpitations I’ve gotten almost daily since I received a certain “boost” last year.

In general I feel like my heart is going to fail me at any moment, and that I have no justification to spend my time in any way other than writing (the only stuff that provides meaning to my life), because my life expectancy has been shortened (quick google: atrial fibrillation raises your risk for problems like a heart attack, stroke, and heart failure). Instead of that, I’m writing this entry from the office, partly to avoid facing my responsibilities.

This afternoon (I’m on that shift until ten at night) I sat down at my workstation and read an e-mail from my boss: someone important from general management had complained that a spare PDA involved in blood transfusion safety has broken. Our company no longer works with those suppliers, so my boss told me to bring them a 10-inch tablet instead. He left me the tablet, but turns out it hasn’t been configured. I have never been in charge of configuring these devices; I likely lack the credentials to register them in whatever internal system they had set up for that purpose. Hell, I don’t even have a spare USB-C charger to give them along with the tablet, because I have no clue how that inventory is handled. The person who usually does this shit is on holiday. I’m never on holiday because I haven’t had a stable job in my thirty-seven years of living, partly because I’m fifty-two percent disabled according to our government, partly because I can’t give a shit about anything other than my obsessions.

So as someone who is locked almost daily (and for years) in the mental state that Albert Camus summarized perfectly as, “Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?”, I have to go through the absurd, let’s say Sisyphean, task of trying to configure this tablet from zero just to figure out if I can, then email my boss to ask if I should even bring general management the tablet when we can’t provide them a USB-C charger for it. In my current psychological state, I can barely handle buying groceries.

On top of that, I have to study for a public exam that takes place on the 14th of next month. Today I found out that some bullshit political stuff going on has resulted in them setting up a second exam for next year.

I’m exhausted of everyone and everything. I want to quit it all and move somewhere where I could spend days, weeks, or even months without being forced to stare at a human face, let alone interact with any member of the species. Instead of that, the moment I post this entry, I’ll have to figure out how to do someone else’s job just because he’s on holiday.

Let’s pretend that this entry ends with an infinite chain solely consisting of the word “fuck.”

Life update (11/24/2022)

I didn’t want to post anything until I finished the current chapter of my novel, which will take a couple of days more or so. However, I’m feeling like shit at the moment. Writing about it is a way of palliating that psychological pain, so here I am.

My current contract at work was supposed to end this Sunday. I was already dreading the end of the week, because I’m always either told on Thursday or even on Friday (if they even “remember” to tell me) whether or not they will prolong my contract. As a thirty-seven year old man, most months I’ve had no clue if the next one I was going to be unemployed, and that has gone on for years. This time it’s even worse: my boss told me that they intend to keep prolonging my contract week by week for the foreseeable future, at least until January of next year.

People are supposed to be happy that someone pays them to work, I’m guessing. Not me: I’m absolutely fed up with my job as an IT guy at a hospital complex. I’ll mention again, for the umpteenth time, that I’m autistic and have OCD. I need, for psychological and neurological reasons, a set, clear schedule, controllable problems to deal with (if I’m forced to deal with any problems), silence, and the least amount of human interactions as possible. Instead I work at an office with an open plan, forced to deal with the moronic interactions of four/five adult men that behave like schoolchildren, with the corresponding noise pollution. In addition, I never know what kind of problem I’ll have to deal with that day, nor the kind of user that I’ll be forced to tolerate.

For example, yesterday I was ordered to switch the printers of PCs at opposite ends of the sterile processing department (the supervisor wanted the fancier printer for herself). Of course, I also had to configure them at their new destinations. I dressed myself like a local employee to enter the sterile environment. When I finished configuring the fancier printer on the supervisor’s PC and told it to print a test page, the printer refused to recognize that its frontal cassette was loaded with paper. I asked the supervisor if the printer worked properly beforehand. “Oh, I don’t know.” I suspect they wanted me to discover the error and fix it. I’m not the kind of IT guy that fixes physical errors in printers. In addition, the specific model of that fancy printer isn’t maintained by the governmental organization that runs these hospitals: the users are supposed to call Ricoh. After I told her this, she answered something like, “why do I need to do that? I’m too busy. You are the one paid to fix machines.”

As a technician employed with this governmental organization, I’m not paid to interact with that kind of printer beyond plugging it into a local PC and making sure it receives the print order. I considered telling her to fuck off and call the company herself as she’s supposed to; I feel like telling people to fuck off very often at my job. But I went through the trouble of calling the company myself. Of course, they told me that “they’ll send someone.” A couple of days. The supervisor considered that unacceptable, because she was supposed to print something in ten or so minutes (although she had ordered us to exchange a working printer for another one that “oh, I don’t know if it works”).

I manage to get the bypass loader working. I didn’t know they had one, because, again, my organization doesn’t maintain those printers. But the printer had the frontal cassette set as the priority source of paper; every time you sent a print order, the display showed an error, and the user had to select the bypass loader manually. The supervisor told me that it was too much of a bother. However, to change it in the options so it considers the bypass loader the priority, I would need admin privileges.

In the end, the supervisor made me responsible for dealing with the printer company and notifying her when they decide to send someone (if they even call me to notify me). I’m not supposed to do any of that, and certainly I’m not paid to do so either. I just gave in because such people are somewhat likely to complain to my bosses for it, and although the bosses know that dealing with those printers’ specific issues isn’t my responsibility, they’ll get annoyed with me if they receive a complaint call.

After that whole incident, I was done for the whole morning; I wanted to shut down and wait out until I left the office. However, it was half past ten in the morning, and I ended up having to deal with plenty more.

Every single day plenty of users demand us to do stuff for them, but often they fail to provide the basic information for solving those issues. “Hey, I need access to the shared folder that my coworkers access.” You end up having to write back to ask for personal information, what computer they are using, the specific path to the folder, etc. Plenty of times they prove themselves hard to reach. Often when they write you back it’s as if they failed to read half of your original message. Sometimes they give you incorrect information, although the correct one was plainly displayed on the screen in front of their fucking eyes. Needless to say, the whole thing is maddening.

When my boss told me they were going to prolong my contract and he saw that I wasn’t ecstatic about it, he said that he knew I intended to take a break to study for an upcoming public examination, which will determine how often they’ll call me back for such contracts. That exam is on the fifteenth of January, and I’ll likely be employed until then. I’m studying at the office, between tasks; I refuse to waste any time doing job-related stuff during my free time, which is devoted mainly to writing. However, I didn’t feel like I could share with anyone I know in person the real reason why I didn’t want to continue: I hate this job, I hate having to be employed, I have waking up at six in the morning to be surrounded with human beings until half past four in the afternoon, and I feel like I’m going crazier every passing day.

After I found out that I’ll likely be employed for the entirety of December (if they cut my current contract short, they’ll still call me to cover other people’s holidays), I’ve felt a cold ache in my chest, added to strange twitches and spasms I’ve felt in there since I received the latest “booster vaccine” about a year ago or so (which caused me atrial fibrillation, a physical issue with my heart). And honestly I just want to hide at one of the rooms that contain the network racks, to either kick a wall or cry for a bit. Perhaps both.

A logical solution to this issue could be to get another job. But by the time I was offered the first contract for this governmental organization, I had “struggled” to find employment as a programmer, for which I was trained. And by struggled I meant that for most of those years I couldn’t get a job, and half of the time that I did get a job, I wasn’t paid for it.

The last time I accepted one of those internships was through an organization that supposedly helps autistic people. The programming company put me working alone at a desk (I was fine with that). I dealt with a single boss who was happy with my performance, but by the end of that internship I was told that they wouldn’t hire me because they didn’t think I would be able to work well in a team. They knew I was autistic. The HR woman wanted me to feel proud that I had wasted six months of my life programming their intranet for free, because now their job was easier. Needless to say, I will never work for free again.

Anyway, my parents, with whom I don’t particularly get along, weren’t too happy about having to pay for most of my stuff during such periods of my life. But they forced me to exist, although they barely tolerated each other. Regarding my current predicament, I have never earned as much money as I do at my current job, although that isn’t saying much, as I barely earned minimum wage as a programmer. However, I’m a single man with no social life, so I’ve managed to build up some savings.

Very often at the office, while I waste another hour of my limited time as a living being, the thought crosses my mind that I should be sitting at home and writing. That’s what I’m meant to do due to the particular combination of nature and nurture that produced my idiotic existence. Some of those times I also think that if I had been born a hot enough girl, someone else could be working their ass off to pay the bills while I sat around at home while diddling myself. I’d have a juicy pair of tits as well, instead of these pituitary-tumor-induced man-boobs. Unfortunately I’m a weird-looking guy who’s only getting older, losing more hair and struggling to lose extra weight, and I wasn’t much better in my prime.

Regarding non-writing-related stuff, Chainsaw Man has been a joy (I was giddy throughout episode 7, knowing what was coming during that work party), and the Steam version of Dwarf Fortress will come out in less than two weeks. Silver linings, I suppose.

Life update (11/02/2022)

I usually write these entries to vent my frustrations, which serves a self-regulatory psychological function. However, I’m currently fine. Although the next cycle of depression will hit any day now (a process that will continue for the rest of my life), these days I can say that I’m perfectly content. In my free time I’m able to do exactly what makes me feel fulfilled; if I didn’t have to keep a full-time job, I’d feel like I’ve won the lottery.

Some years ago I gave up on writing because I’ve never felt comfortable enough working in my native language. As a child, I needed to put my thoughts down on paper for the same self-regulatory reasons as these days, but my mother didn’t believe in privacy nor in boundaries, so the moment I left the house, sometimes even while I was taking a shower, she went through my notebooks. When I complained about it, she told me that she had the right to do so.

I ended up teaching myself English. It became my personal language that gave me the space I needed to grow on my own, space I lacked even physically: I had been forcefully moved into someone else’s bedroom, where I was treated like an unwanted guest. As I aged, most of the stuff I read or watched was in English, most of the authors I admired were either native English speakers or Japanese (I’d gladly learn Japanese if I thought I was capable of becoming fluent at it), and over the years I gave up entirely on reading in my own language. However, I didn’t believe I could become proficient enough in English to write at a professional level. I wrote plenty of stuff in Spanish, but it never felt comfortable, and I found myself having to translate many thoughts into words that wouldn’t have crossed my mind.

A now defunct English writer who moved to Spain in his thirties, after I told him about these issues, shared that he had stopped reading and writing in his own language to adapt. I didn’t want to do that; I don’t feel like I have much in common with the Spanish people (or even the Basque) although I was born here, nor see much merit in most of their cultural productions. After the couple of books I tried to publish in Spanish failed catastrophically, I gave up on writing.

Long story short, I ended up writing my own stuff in English anyway. You can check out all the texts I’ve written in the last few years through my personal page. My English will never stop sounding “odd” to native English speakers, but maybe that gives my texts some freshness. Besides, Nabokov pulled it off, so why can’t I? Some people have told me that they enjoy the stuff I’m writing these days, and that’s as much success as I was ever likely to get.

Anyway, I wanted to mention three things I’ve been interested in lately. Randall Carlson posted through the After Skool channel an interesting talk about the origins of Halloween. He relies on the works of researchers from previous centuries, who had been bothered by the uncanny fact that the Day of the Dead and similarly themed festivities were celebrated pretty much in the same dates in extremely distant locations and by cultures that weren’t in contact with each other. For example, when the ancient Spanish first met the Peruvians, they realized to their astonishment that both shared the 2nd of November as the Day of the Dead. Long-dead researchers, now mostly “cancelled” due to wrongthink but whose research can be accessed at least physically, studied cultures around the world and came to the conclusion that these festivities were based on some unknown event that happened in the distant past. Randall Carlson suggests that the event is the Younger Dryas cataclysm, for which we now have lots of evidence, and the details he brings up about these cultures’ practices and beliefs suggest so. I wasn’t on board with some of his speculation, but you don’t have to agree with everything.

Leire, the deranged protagonist of my ongoing novel We’re Fucked, mentioned ages ago that if she found the drive to do so, she’d love to make a video game that was more or less a modern version of Tarn Adams’ Dwarf Fortress, but likely without all the Tolkienesque fantasy stuff. For those who don’t know, Dwarf Fortress was an artisan project that started back in 2006 by a likely autistic man, and that consisted on an extremely detailed simulation of a fantasy world. The result is hard to explain, but it became the grandfather of a whole genre of games, of which Rimworld may be the most successful modern version. However, I was never entirely on board with Rimworld, because it doesn’t feature height layers; height-based structures, mining, etc. have been so vital to human development that colony builders that don’t feature it don’t feel right to me. The creator of Rimworld argued that it would have been too computationally expensive to implement it in his game, and that whole thing bothered me so much that 3-4 years ago I went through the trouble of programming a 3D-based pathfinding algorithm myself: here’s the link. However, it was written in Python; through the process of developing that I realized how flawed the programming language is, which ended up becoming a rant in my current novel.

Unfortunately, Dwarf Fortress was so graphically unpleasant (based on ASCII characters) and with such an abysmal interface that despite its gloriousness, I hadn’t been able to get back to it in years. However, the Adams brothers have been working to modernize it and release it on Steam, and it’s coming out on the sixth of December.

The last thing I wanted to mention was Chainsaw Man. Its protagonist, Denji, is wild and deranged, and plenty of the visuals and interactions between the characters are strange and absurd. I couldn’t imagine any production company adaptating this story successfully. However, Mappa has been knocking it out of the park.

The latest episode, number four, features the fight between Denji and the Leech Devil, the first one in which we get a real sense of how unhinged and feral our boob-obsessed protagonist is. The cinematography and animation have been consistently incredible. The voice actors are giving their all as well, but that’s to be expected: the Japanese seem to have the most passionate VAs in the world. 10/10, would smell Power’s shit.

Life update (10/27/2022)

This week I’m working afternoons. I’d rather always work in the afternoon; that allows me to spend at least a couple precious hours every morning writing, which is my main preoccupation these days. I’ve already polished about a thousand words of the chapter that will conclude the current sequence.

I was supposed to go to the dentist, but she got covid. My brother and his wife got the virus as well.

These last couple of weeks, my non-writing, non-working hours have been filled with Japanese matters: Ichiko Aoba’s music, manga, and Chainsaw Man. Mappa is doing interesting stuff with the adaptation. The pacing feels a bit weird given how quickly the manga moves, but I’m enjoying revisiting the deranged exploits of our boob-obsessed, mommy-worshipping neglected boy Denji.

The following video is the ending of a single episode of the anime (the third one). I can’t imagine how much money and manpower they spent on this.

As a manga reader who’s currently following the second part of this story, it’s been real nice to see Power again.

Besides all that, I’m doing as fine as someone so mentally unstable could.

Life update (10/18/2022)

Early in the morning, my boss sent me an email that asked if I could come to work in the afternoon this Friday, instead of in the morning as per my schedule. I informed him that, although it was also a surprise for me (because I found out just last week), my contract ends this Thursday, so I wouldn’t come to work on Friday. I guess that the sudden end of my contract is an additional issue for him because I was also supposed to work on Saturday.

A few hours later, the big boss of the office calls me in. I had declined to accept a four months-long contract starting in December that involved a 25-30% pay cut (I only work for money, and for that purpose I sacrifice my time, my energy, my health and my sanity, so I’d rather be unemployed than take on a worse situation, particularly when I have been sinking into depression more often than usual these past months). When I attempted to hear from his lips that my contract ended this Thursday, as registered in the app handled by Human Resources, he said, “no, we have prolonged your contract. Hasn’t the secretary told you?”

So I’ll spend this Friday afternoon in the office until ten at night. When I get home about an hour and a half later, I’ll have to fall asleep as soon as possible, because I wake up at six in the morning to return to the office. The best thing about working on Saturdays was being alone (and getting paid, of course), but unfortunately I’ll have to share the space with someone with whom I’d rather not spend even five minutes.

My broken brain had already built some hills based on the fact that I would find myself unemployed on Friday, which would mean that I would be able to spend hours and hours writing; that would help me finish the current chapter in a couple of days. But this mundane nightmare will continue until at least the 27th of November. After that, I’ll be lucky if I get a two weeks-long break before I’m called back for the Christmas holidays, and I’ll have to waste plenty of that free time studying for an upcoming exam.

Do whatever you have to do: grift, steal, prostitute yourself, build an OnlyFans empire, or date someone who can pay the bills while you lie around at home masturbating. Just don’t become a fucking wage slave.

Life update (10/15/2022)

My current contract at work ends next Thursday. They may prolong it, but they still haven’t figured out if that will be the case, which leaves me in a state of uncertainty. Much worse, though, is that I’ve recently learned that some law changes will imply that I will get offered fewer contracts because I can’t speak Basque. I was born here in the Basque Country, but neither of my parents speak it, and I have lived my entire life in a border town in which you only rarely heard Basque. These days, half of the time I can’t understand a word of whatever language some random person is speaking.

For whatever reason, the big boss of our office wants to keep me around, so he suggested that he’d finagle a contract to make me continue for six months more, under a sort of subsidiary company that works for the regional sanitary organization. I would be doing the same job, but with administrative issues (for example, I’d lose my mailbox and likely be unable to access some admin stuff unless they figure out a back door deal). Much worse yet: I’d get paid 25%-30% less.

If I don’t accept that offer (they still haven’t figured out the details), I may work for about two months of the next six. If I take the offer, I’d work under some shady circumstances, tolerating the same shit at the office, but for 25%-30% less money, which, I admit, would likely be what I would be earning in the private sector as an IT guy.

Let me put it out there: I only work because I need to earn money. Isn’t that the case for most people? They seem to pretend otherwise. And to receive a significant (for me) amount of money at the end of the month, I sacrifice my very limited time, my energy, my health, my sanity. If I don’t accept that contract, I’ll likely find myself with a few weeks of peace at the least, which I would use to study for an upcoming public examination (which I need to pass with a good enough grade), but mainly would allow me to write much more.

I’ve been on phone duty for two weeks. I suppose I should feel bad for mentioning constantly that I’m autistic; in any case, autists are known to need order and predictability, but I work as a firefighter of the computer world: we never know what issue we’ll end up dealing with, problems that can prolong themselves for days or weeks. I’m not one of those people with such social anxiety that they are terrified of phone calls, but talking to people drains my energies and makes my skin crawl, so by the end of the day throughout these last two weeks I’ve been out of it, barely able to do anything productive. I’m not even halfway through the current chapter I’m working on, which should conclude the latest sequence of the novel.

I know damn well that I will never make any significant money writing. I write because I need that magic to remain sane enough, although being me and existing in this world feels near unbearable. I’m too deranged to connect with the vast majority of human beings, in part because my subconscious is a maelström of weird/uncomfortable compulsions. The more that others learn about me, the more they regret knowing me. Only other freaks tend to stick around (and I’m grateful for those few).

In addition, I’m so self-destructive that I’d say fuck off to that six months-long contract (and the about 6,600 euros that it would provide) just because I’d rather be unemployed, not have to wake up at six in the morning, and be able to sit around in my pyjamas and write. I’d leave future me to deal with the consequences.

I don’t know what to do. I have never been sure, because I simply do not care about my well-being to any significant extent. It’s hard to do when I was convinced that I wouldn’t survive long enough to reach adulthood. I have drifted through my life getting used to whatever circumstance I ended up in. Most of the time something goes wrong, and the current example of that pattern is me losing access to as many contracts as I used to get, and likely ending up earning significantly less.

I have felt old for a long time. This afternoon I went out to take a walk and then sit at a coffee shop to listen to music and read for a while. The demographics have changed so much in the last twenty years or so that I feel like a foreigner in another country. I read for a bit at an outside table of my usual coffee shop (which I have visited for years, although I’ve never interacted with the locals except to make my order and say thank you). At one point I closed my eyes and listened to Ichiko Aoba’s gorgeous music for a couple of minutes, until some intellectually disabled woman who was walking by babbled something at me and at a group seated nearby, which broke the spell. I left shortly afterwards. I managed to write very little for the rest of the day.

I lack answers to even my own problems. All I do is work through my psychological issues on a daily basis, whether through writing or more blatantly hedonistic activities, because that makes me feel better. Meanwhile I just grow older and stranger.