Monday, May 27, 2013

Convalescence Plans And Charity Gaming

Last Friday, I met with my doctor. And, wouldn't you know it, the ol' Spolverino Luck kicked in. I was (not very) politely informed that the surgeries I'd been having had...for lack of a better phrase...a shelf life. They could only be done so many times before they had to do major open surgery. I was less than enthused. So what went from "well, I can grin and bear this for another two months" turned into "I may be recovering for six months and will have a wonderful variety of medical procedures to do while I'm recovering".

Needless to say, whatever can't go wrong, will, and it will. Catastrophically.

So as I stare down the barrel of an exploratory surgery this Thursday, I've been thinking to myself...what can I do during my convalescence? The doctors frown heavily on drinking during recovery. I might be able to get away with doing some reviews of the spirit samples I have (as they are usually 50-100ml samples). I will be doing cigar/pipe/medwakh reviews as well. But I can't smoke every moment of the day. Well...I CAN...but I can't imagine doing that for every waking moment for two to six months.

So I turn to what I normally do. Video games. For me, video games are an anxiety relief. Escapism means I don't have to think about what I'm going through or what I have to go through. I just focus on what's on the screen. I have a wide variety of games that I could play but that doesn't really involve the IWB readers. So I've devised a plan.

I will play games for (semi) charity.

I say semi charity because, frankly, I am going to have massive bills to pay. I've been unemployed since the last time I've had this surgery. So, as much as I hate to say it, part of the proceeds will have to help me pay my hospital bills, doctors bills, prescription costs, and equipment costs. Can't do much about that. But what I CAN do is donate the rest to charity. The first charity I'll be donating to is the National Kidney Foundation.
They rate very well in terms of charities. See here for a whole work-up on them by the Charity Navigator. I'm sure you know by now that my kidneys are not fantastic, with "not fantastic" being a rather strong understatement. If I could, I would love to help everyone everywhere to have new kidneys. But until the manage to make kidneys out of thin air...I don't think I can do that. BUT WE CAN HELP FUND THAT RESEARCH. So the NKF is a charity I'm throwing my enormous girth behind.

The other charity that I'd like to support is probably not well known by you but is near and dear to my heart. I have, since I was two weeks old, been having all of my surgeries (well, technically, 25/27) at Westchester Medical Hospital in Valhalla, NY.

That's right, I've visited Valhalla and have returned. I'm the craziest Viking ever. So I will also be making donations to them because they have supported me since I was born and pretty much helped me live. Okay, DEFINITELY helped me live.

Now, these are 501c3 charities but, sadly, I am not so you can't exactly write this off. But I will be VERY transparent about this. Everything will be split in half. Half to my needs (until the point at which I stop needing it), half to charity. I will do weekly/bi-weekly analysis costs and make them available to you. IF I make excessive amounts of money (which I'm guessing I won't), then I will donate everything but what I need to charity. Examples for clarity:

Let's say I need $600.
I earn $50. $25 goes to me, $25 goes to charity.
I earn $200. $100 goes to me, $100 to charity.
I earn $3000. $600 goes to me, $2400 to charity.

I'm not hear to EARN money. I just want to keep from digging the debt hole deeper than it already is. It's mainly about donating to charity. I hope you can understand my mentality. If you want further explanation...just email me.

I will be using (for some reason it just lists me as so I dunno what the deal is with that). The link is here. I will also be Tweeting about video games, incessantly, on my other Twitter channel, bacchus_plays. So if you want to support me...and good causes, here's how to do it. Follow, subscribe, and give me feedback (WHICH YOU GUYS ARE NOT FANTASTIC AT). If you have any recommendations on HOW to stream...I'm all ears. is cool. I might go for the Adobe program or the Open Broadcaster Software. Also, if you've got any questions, comments, concerns, or games that I should probably play...let me know. I've got a huge Steam list but it can always get bigger. I will be playing a variety of first person shooters, real time strategy, some massive multiplayer's (FFXI and maybe WoW, depending)...

Oh, and whatever the hell you classify Minecraft as. Not sure WHAT it is, other than "Creeper Explosion Simulator 2: The Enrage-ening."

EDIT: I have added a new charity as well. It is this one:

By all intents and purposes, I am disabled. I meet most of the government definitions. I never consider myself disabled because I guess I feel like there are so many more out there that deserve the title of "disabled" more than I do. But its true. When I read the website...I cried. I dunno if its the Percocets I'm on for the pain or the leftover anesthesia or WHAT...but it hit so close to home I cried. I'm not ashamed to admit it. It's been a wearying few days so maybe that's it. Video games have always helped me escape. I escape pain, discomfort, situations with no silver linings in sight. I can be who I want to be: a powerful wizard or a savvy spy or a noble soldier....instead of a fat kid with PTSD and terrible kidneys. So I will be supporting this charity as well. The charity will be a three way split. If the value doesn't work out, I'll put up a vote on to who gets the extra. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go back to playing Minecraft.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

State of the Blog(ger)

"Men weary as much of not doing the things they want to do as of doing the things they do not want to do." - Eric Hoffer

Edit: The first draft of this read like a LiveJournal circa 2003. This is the second draft. You're welcome. Trust me.

Our family, the Spolverinos, have what we like to call "Spolverino Luck." It's pretty much like Murphy's Law but with a slight addendum. Murphy's Law is "Whatever can go wrong, will." Spolverino Luck is "Whatever can go wrong, will. Whatever can't go wrong, can go wrong, and it will. Catastrophically." At this point in scientific process it has evolved past a postulate, migrated beyond theory, and has almost become law. We're just waiting on data to come back from several trials that had to be independently validated by a non-partial third party. We expect this to become a law within the year.

I mention this to you now on the eve of one of my least favorite holidays, the Festival of Surgeons. Tomorrow I'm scheduled to go down to my doctor and have a gamut of tests done that are not exactly comfortable only to tell me what I already know. I know my body. I know what's wrong and I know it's gonna need to be fixed by opening the hood and rooting around. My body a late 80s Honda that's been held onto too long. To start it you need to hit the dash three times with a hammer, recline the seat, and then touch wires together at the bottom of the steering column...all while humming Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant."

I'm just about used to it by now. So far I've averaged 1.08 surgeries a year for my entire life. I'm just starting to realize that I will probably never get to spend my tax refund check on anything fun or anything new but rather paying off hospital bills, wetting the beaks of doctors, and old man bro-ing out at pharmacies. This is also coupled with the fact that I lost my job around the same time last year because of the exact same surgery I'm going to need again. Two years running. I should get a trophy or something. I've had no real income for the past year (I finally got unemployment in September but I'm barely making loan and expense payments) and being out recovering from surgery means that I am "unable to work" and will subsequently lose my unemployment. I could apply for disability but that only nets me $200 a month which is about a quarter of what I need. Whee. Like I said, Spolverino Luck.

To put it lightly, I'm tired. Physically, yeah, I guess. Mentally I'm exhausted. I can compare my anxiety these days to someone playing a musical saw. Unnatural, high frequency, and oscillating in the oddest of ways. Sometimes I feel alright and I'm able to do things. Other days I pop my anxiety medicine like it's a Pez dispenser and just sit in my room staring blankly at walls...or the inside of my eyelids.

I know, I know. I don't write. I know I SHOULD be writing but I'll be damned if I have the motivation. I generally only have it in me to wake up, make a few cups of coffee, smoke a few cigarettes, and then escape for the rest of the day. I use video games primarily to escape and, while it keeps me sane, it leaves little room for anything else. And if I do get the bug to do a review (which, as I'm sure you know, is rare), I usually end up writing half of it and then let it languish in the stagnant pond that is "drafts" on Blogger. I've got about 20-25 reviews that I just don't have the heart to back-fill with the inane chatter I love putting into my posts but I also don't have the heart to just post them as is because that's just boring. For awhile I thought that I was tiring of booze and writing about it and talking about it and thinking about it...but that's not true. Attending ADI filled me with just a maelstrom of passion and energy about what I do. Granted, it was quickly consumed in the ever-raging fires of anxiety...but it's not like my interest has waned in any way. It is, as the quote by Eric Hoffer states, the weariness of not doing what I want to do for the past year coupled with the weariness of having to do what I don't want to do now.

Don't worry, however. I still have ALL the samples that I've been sent, in various states of cognizance of location. I don't throw booze away...that's sacrilegious. They are all safe, sound, and whole awaiting final judgement by my maw. But until I can get motivated, they will stay unmolested and dormant in my cellars until I call upon them.

I'm not going away, I'm just being quiet as I have been. Just wanted to drop you an update so you don't worry about me. If you'd like to help me (can't fathom why you would), send me emails/tweets/etc. of what you want me to review, to talk about, to analyze. I love reader feedback and I don't get terribly much. So help me get out of this rut and send me some sweet emails. Let's work on this together.

"Life is one long process of getting tired." - Samuel Butler