Piracy on the High Seas! And High Desert!

Quick background to the last month. Quick being relative.
The slow one, think that uncle in the attic.

1. Herding 200 cats (the number of campers/members of Spanky’s Wine Bar: Burning Man). I  am the Bar Mistress.  Also known as the Bar Manager; instructor, finder of manly sized men as bouncers when need arises, and keeper of whips, paddles,  flogging instruments, bar backs(poor minions), wine bottle fillers-another post, keeper of spreadsheets for bar supplies, employer/HR for bar, well hell.
At least I don’t have to get topless. But I do.
Here’s a peek at the bar from 4th of Juplaya last year (58,000 people smaller than the Burn)…and look it’s my name in lights. Well, highlighted links at any rate. Yep… I’m (ta da!) Piano Wench

Here is the art installation I’m happy to work with when it burns on Friday- before the March Off (contest of all the marching bands on the playa -trust me there are at least 20 now but our  Burning Band was the first).

Anubis art installation. Fucking Fab

Wanna know HOW much perverse fun I have? Here’s the link to my camp and fine friends at Spanky’s Wine Bar 

2. Yet more back surgery last month. Have no idea if it helped but it hurt like fucking hell. Cried and screamed the entire procedure. Literally. No, Dr. Mengele II would not put me out totally.
On the plus side am having the other side of the spine done after Burning Man in September. Mengele admitted that he didn’t give me enough IV pain killers last time. It’s a Facet Joint Ablution. Basically searing the nerves at the base of my spine…. to inedible bacon. Lots of Percocet. Except I detest taking it. Have plenty of addictions now thank you very much.

Was at said doc’s office this week. Didn’t know but they do random drug tests. Hell, am on opiates per their prescription so can understand.
Office did one at my first visit three months ago. Gee hard to believe but it was clean. This time the nurse handed me two large (as in quirky/funny) purple dice similar to what I used to sell in my game store. Do NOT get me going on polys you gamer dweebs,  and told me to roll them.

Why? -said I
Random drug test, if you roll 3, 6 or 9 you have to be tested -said nurse
Laughed so hard it hurt. Used to be drug tested by Warner Brothers -as an Exec Producer. Told the GM back then that they should GIVE me drugs to improve scripts and shows. But I digress.

Rolled an 8. No pee-in-a-cup fun. Then advised her when they tested me at the next surgery I will have been on the playa for two weeks…. there might be a spike in the THC levels. She cracked up.

3. PIRACY!

So I go to check my bank account online -which ya do- and see that there are a shitload of ATM charges. Pick up the phone. As I’m waiting notice they are all Withdrawals.

Long story longer: My BEST girlfriend for 5 years stole my debit card, credit card (actually my mom’s credit but a card in my name for emergenies) and all of my cash. Plus a $20.00 chit from Silver Legacy. Don’t ask.

Refused to believe it was her -despite other friends telling me it must be due to the area the ATMs were located. Made police report, bank, etc. Finally the bank called and said they had two pics. It was her. My BEST friend. In the first picture you can see her face full on and in the second she must have realized that there may be a camera. She hid her face behind my money and my debit card. GUT PUNCH.

I barely live on disability and cannot make the bills. She knows this, and has always been very generous to me because of it. She’s has made a habit of taking me out to lunch once a week. We had lots of fun.

I loaned her $25.00 via PayPal several weeks ago because she said she had no money for gas or food for her or her 17 year old son. Never got it back. The day I found out about the theft was a wreck. Best friend (ha!) came over . Told me not to worry, don’t bother calling the police, she’d loan me 1K to make it through. Wellllllll never got a loan and I DID contact the police. It’s her.

She knows now that I know it’s her. No arrests have been made so am sure she’s making up fabulous stories. Have a room mate  now. The day she stole all of my cash/savings/rent/etc I had taken her to the bank to deposit my roomie’s half of the monthly bills. She saw me put in my PIN number several times that day. Bank ‘temporarily’ refunded what was taken via debit card -less $55.00 for the  fucking ‘deductible’ because it was a VISA debit?! three days ago-.

Am out nearly $150.00 between their ‘deductible’, the chit and my cash. Good deal. I make less than 1K a month on SSD.

All in all a Fab month kids. In the words of Howard Jones my hero and mentor in the 80’s…


Send hugs, kisses and booze to to the playa (Burning Man). If you send me your address I WILL send you back a postcard from the Burn. There is the Burning Man (Black Rock City) post office, If nothing else you can keep the fucker and sell it on eBay in a few years. Don’t ask me how I know this year will be valuable 😉

~Miss R
aka
Piano Wench
c/o Spanky’s Wine Bar
8:00 and Esplanade
Black Rock City, NV
89412

Steak, Asparagus and the Band Next Door

First you’re probably wondering how an Executive Urban Hobo such as myself came to be eating steak and asparagus. No not ‘steak and vegetable ‘food product.’ The real deal.

Well, after receiving the obscene amount of a monthly stipend from SSD it’s time for grocery shopping. Asparagus on sale at $1.88 and two tiny filets wrapped in bacon for $3.97. I don’t purchase anything that isn’t on sale. Hear that Red? –grin-.

Aw, downsizing from Balducci’s and A&P bites heh.

Yes it was a splurge but we here at YoYo-Dyne have put on considerable weight after winning a huge loss after last’s year’s surgery. A tasty splurge.

Back to tuna, cheap ground beef and a bag of frozen chicken breasts to make the rest of the month. Oh how I’d love some fish..mmmmm fishies!

F’ing low carb diet is expensive on my ‘salary’ and a pain in the ass to prepare in the 45F kitchen at night.

Back to the topic. Slight derailment after speaking of a tasty meal. Uh huh.

Fell into a stupor after said tasty meal to be awakened by…The kids next door.

Have mentioned on prior occasion that I live in an old 1928 (drafty, impossible to heat, scary and dangerously wired, big-ass with the requisite spooky enormous basement) duplex. The architecture and lay-out make up for it, I assure you. In the Fall and Spring.

My neighbors are all members of a band. Actually two bands. One’s a sort of Rockabilly. the other Punk. Have played in other bands with two of the neighbors, when we practiced in my basement. Our lead singer and guitarist used to live in this place.

Now their bands practice in their basement. More fried-to-a-crisp electrical cords, small electrical fires and fuse blow-outs on their side now. Told you, this place is old and the circuits prevent the use of a toaster (or space heater) or practice Peavy amp use at the same time. It’s all fun and games until you’re outside in your bathrobe/fleecy sweats and T-Shirt in the snow, at the back of the house, at 7:00 am in 12F weather outside in snow because your Demon Seed is  home from college and uses the microwave and two lamps at the same time..

Second Derail Apology:  This means I can hear everything up from the floor and through the walls when it’s practice time; which sucks on Sunday morning I can tell ‘ya.

They put up with the concert grand piano,  MIC’d vocals, and occasional jam session in the living room on my side so it works out. Yes, we DO blow the damned circuits in the living room too. I blame my bass player friends.

Who doesn’t?

From my nommy stupor tonight I hear a new tune (for best acoustics the bathroom is highly recommended; you can hear the trumpet and banjo far more clearly). These guys play all originals, in both bands. Caught my ear tonight with the sounds of a fave Old 97’s tune ‘Wont’ Be Home’

Dig this tune. Also dig my sleep. It did compel me to make a cocktail though and wake up. Whoop. Can be up all night tonight. Just as well actually.

About 300 blog notifications again…behind. That’s the least of the nasty news today so in reality the tune made my day.

So a shout-out to The Kids Next Door. And their 5 peeps packed into a two bedroom ancient duplex, basement electrical smoke, other tasty smelling smoke, and smiling, wonderful companionship on warm summer nights sharing the porch..

Back to your regularly scheduled madness.

~Miss R

Buy a Gun, Enjoy My Self-Loathing or Move Along Citizen

Have you ever suffered from depression?

bi-polar hell

I mean the type diagnosed by a physician. Not a few weeks of sadness, or grief over a loss or death. Yes, these will all lead to depression but for the majority of people who suffer these or other tragedies it may mean several months or more of counseling, perhaps an anti-depressant for several months in order for a therapist to work with the depressed patient.

No, I’m talking long-term, 20+ years of clinically diagnosed depression including meds and therapy. Followed by an accurate diagnosis of Bi-Polar for at least five years. More meds. Different meds. New cocktails of meds. Sadly current medicine (forced by the insurance companies) no longer truly allow a psychiatrist anything more than prescribing medication. To conquer problems you also must see a therapist. Of which you cannot afford because they rarely accept Medicare and you’re no longer able to pay all of the co-pays if they did.

And if you’ve lost everything; a successful business –that you built up by working 14 hours a day, not being able to hire even one employee for the first two years, finally being featured in magazines, opening more stores, a huge e-commerce business as well, television coverage, and mentions all across the Internet.

Your retirement money, savings, home, vehicle all lost to the recession of the Bush years (and attorneys to divorce and restrain a psychotic ex-husband), and you are dependent on a Social Security Disability stipend of less than $1000.00 a month.
How the hell will you EVER feel better?

Add back surgery, which did not work –FAIL tag-  and the cost of co-pays to doctors and hospitals that you cannot possibly pay off.
Constant pain, inability to swim, hike, ski or even walk long distances. And another surgery being scheduled.
How the hell can you SEE a future?

Have you ever attempted suicide? More than once? More than twice?  And failed? –Insert FAIL tag- . Pro-Tip: pills are too easy to accidentally throw up, or change your mind. Plastic razors chew up your skin and you don’t bleed quickly enough. Use a gun for godssake.

Oh, and you’ll be 50 in another month. Wonderful. With no more close friends; they already know about your problems and seriously don’t want to hear anything else. Hell I wouldn’t. Family you don’t dare reveal your psychological pain with, nor an understanding boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband? Your fabulous fifty party –as if turning 50 is a fucking pleasure and isn’t deathly depressing in itself- will be at home.
The entree a can of tuna fish and a single piece of pie from Raley’s market for dessert. Okay maybe dinner out –my genius boyfriend suggested a casino buffet. I’m thinking the tuna far preferable. And safer.

A call from my daughter –the only reason the suicidal ideation backed off, with her 4.0 grades and beginning college-. A card and call from Mom.
Missing Dad since his death, so no call from him. His birthday is/was a week before mine.

So, I spend 16 out of every 20 hours awake weeping uncontrollably. No longer wanting to live, but not wishing to crush my daughter by blowing this neuro-scrambled brain on the walls.
The back pain never ceases, unless I drink too much. At which point I’ll pay for it in the morning and it’s goddamned fattening as well. Not even self-medicating is a viable option.

Enough self-loathing for today.  Am tired of being witty, enjoyable or even caustic.
I just want it all to end. There are no dreams left.
Some days are like this.

 

Economics, SSD and Late Night Ranting

In one of my insomniac-let’s-write-inappropriate-and-overtly-personal-shit moods. So here’s a rag on Social Security Disability, Taxes, The Last Ex-Husband and The Kitchen Sink.
Now with more Whiny Goodness!
Cabin Fever Games, Crystal Lake MI

Montage: my Cabin Fever Michigan location. Note the Demon Seed enjoying her latte. She’s all of 12 years old here. Love it.

Spent the afternoon filling out paperwork for Social Security Disability. What a pain in the ass. How the hell am I supposed to remember every incident going back 15 years? Especially since I’ve only been sober a little over 10 of them.
If you know me up-close and personal you’ll know why I’m filing. If my claim is approved I’ll just tell people that I’m retired. Or an eccentric billionaire.

Our current Social Security system is a mess and doomed to take a header. Everybody agrees on that. Chris Prince offers a fine essay on the problems and some solutions on how to fix it. I concur with him. His ideas lay on the liberal side of the political spectrum. My god when did liberal become a nasty word? Maybe about the time conservative went the same way after infiltration of the Christian right. I find politics and politicians as distasteful as Americans of the 1800’s did. This country’s party ideology and divisions were just as polarized then. Look, there are good arguments on both sides of the political spectrum.

I also VOTE every election. Otherwise I’ve no right to bitch and can’t help plan the revolution. 

Of course the entire Social Security system is only going to get worse and the odds of any Social Security Retirement Benefits being extant in 20 years are nil. Forget about Disability.

If I am eventually granted benefits the payments are going to be enough to pay rent on the current place. Sadly there will be no money left for groceries or school supplies. I’m planning on selling the kid to the gypsies (should have done this years ago while I still could have gotten a good price. You try getting rid of a teenager) AND giving away the cat so I can eat HER food.
For 10 years I was running my own business and for 5 years playing the piano. Hence for 15 years I didn’t have the money to pay into the Social Security machine. So my benefits are at poverty level. this despite the 20 years I DID pay in, some years making a six figure income.
There is not enough money to pay into the government programs if you’re a self-employed American. Not unless you’re making a hell of a lot more than I did.
I have never received:
welfare, food stamps, subsidies to pay my utility bills or rent. I’ve never received alimony or child support. All those years I had no insurance and all medical expense were paid out of pocket and not from Medicaid.
Paid more than my share of taxes and have worked since I was 14 and put myself through college.
Excuse the bitterness but what the hell kind of system encourages people to go for the American Dream and then screws them without any lube? I started a fine Capitalistic business with the stated purpose of helping out the Trickle down Economic Theory. Bush Sr. was in office back then. This train of thought was all the rage ‘ya know.

What is this called? What kind of Economics? Anybody? Anybody?
Something -doo Economics. VooDoo economics.

Work for yourself! Become a Success! Do it Baby it’s a fair platform for everybody. Here’s the Real Deal….
There are no programs anymore to help small businesses. Not anymore and not for a long long time. Not if you’re male, female, black, white, nothing.
IF you work 14 hour days and after 5 years are running at a profit, you’ve beaten the odds calculated by the Small Business Administration.
So now you’re able to hire employees and take off a day or two each week.
You pay wages. You shell out payroll tax. You pay an accountant and lame-ass bookkeeper.
You get older but in order to cover medical expenses, the mortgage, the child, blah blah blah you only make an okay living. When tax time comes you’re taxed at 30% being a Sole Proprietor.

Wait. It gets better!
*She says switching from 3rd Person to 1st Person*
indicating severe agitation and frustration

My gross was under 250K so there were NO LOOPHOLES such as those enjoyed by such illustrious firms as Enron or Halliburton or Arthur Andersen. So I took it in the tush every tax time.

After 15 years you’re older, wiser, jaded, had some fun and some tears and met some great people too but can’t seem to expand any more. You DO know how to run a business though. From the ground up.
Then suddenly retirement looms in 20 years, your kid’s potential college education scares the hell out of you, and of course the body begins to require intermittent repairs. Think 5 year old car beginning to show some signs of wear. Check out The Health Care Blog for stats on the uninsured self-employed fodder in our society.
So you pack it in to try again in a bigger population and demographic. More money and a chance to add a bit more to that friggin IRA. We all know that caca happens though.

So you get a REAL JOB (icky!) for the first time in 15 years. Not too bad. A serious drop in income but oh the perks! Insurance! A 401K! Creativity! No employees! No psychotic customers! Only a psychotic teenager. Not a bad trade. Depressing but manageable.
What happened though? The promises of our childhood dream of self-sufficiency if you work hard? Of course we all know it’s crap but being a dreamer I kept working on it.
How many of you are doing the same thing? Being a dreamer is a tough business. About as masochistic as being a retailer. I still carry this trait in business and love. With the same results in both.

Fuckity fuck fuck fuck. Okay I’m ALMOST done ragging on the government.

Naturally I contemplate about how much is my own responsibility. Much as I’d love to blame the government and society for my current situation that would be total bullshit. Next thing you know I’d be out in the shed writing my Manifesto.
Where did I go wrong?

WARNING: Approaching Tangent in Window
is Larger than it Appears!

Besides the psycho abusive husband that took me who took me to the cleaners during the last 10 years and in the divorce? Ugh. Ultimately that was my fault too. I married the prick. It took me 8 years to find the courage to leave. Am pretty sure I only married him because he had a huge schlong. Sadly the blood flow to operate the thing drained it all from his brain leaving only the anger portion functioning. In my defense I’d only been sober a few months. I was sick. I really do think that taking the path less traveled (by sane people) was a large factor.
I did warn you.

So now I that need some help (which is so depressing that I cannot begin to express it) all of the years that I DID pay into the government coffers seem to be for nada. Hell I worked for The Man for over 10 years in the Finance Industry. Kicked ass as an Entrepreneur and paid the state and feds in exorbitant taxes. Helped people whenever I could. Never dipped into the welfare system. It gets me a poke in the eye with a blunt stick. Well, I did get this blog. And this T-Shirt. And this lamp, so I don’t need anything else.

To sum up:
a. Starting your own business and working hard does not necessarily get you ahead.
b. Never marry a guy with a big dick, walnut-sized brain and anger issues
c. Love your kid even when she drives you up a wall. You love her and she loves you. no matter what.
d. Try not to file for Disability if you’ve already succumbed
to a. and b. listed above

e. The government is not your friend. They’re mean bastards.
f. Never blog after midnight
g. This year is going to be way better and I’ll keep dreaming the good dreams
h. The white zone is for loading and unloading only.

Rachael
“Is that a candy bar in your pocket or are you happy to see me”
Black
and that’s still
~Miss R
To you.