The real reason I stopped going door-to-door to beg for candy

This was back in late 80’s early 90’s before social media really amplified horror stories of bad Halloween experiences.

Nope. It was because of me.

The only and last year when I Trick-or-Treated was of course, with the supervision of my parents.  My dad was in charge of helping my brother and I with our costumes (my brother was dressed as a vampire, I was dressed as a witch). As part of our costumes, we had our faces slathered with make up that turned our faces gray and green with a few effects. As an added bonus, we had props (my brother had fangs and a cape, and I had my witches hat and a mini-broom).

To be on the safe side, we joined a group of neighborhood kids who were also being escorted by their moms, visiting-door-to-door. Everything went great until a man dressed in a skeleton costume began to terrorize our group.

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Some kids ran, some just froze and started to scream. My little brother began to cry.

The grown ups were too busy socializing among themselves and did not intervene.

From a kid’s point of view, I had to do something.

I stepped forward, insulted the man and began to attack him with my broom.

He backed off in jest, until he realized I meant business.

At his point I was busy aiming below the belt (at 4 feet 5, it was pretty easy) and kept shouting him to leave our group alone.

By this time my mom stepped in and stopped me. The man ran off, still in costume.

I got in trouble for embarrassing her in front of the neighbors.  We went straight home after the incident. At least my brother and I had a hefty stash of candy to consume. My dad was amused with the incident, and agreed not to allow any more Trick-or-Treating next year. And the year after that.  As a consolation prize, my parents would just buy us a bag of candy to consume, defeating the purpose of Trick-or-Treating.

Every year I buy a bag or more of candy, hoping for Trick-or-Treaters to come to our door, all dressed up and holding their bags and plastic pumpkins out for candy.  During the years I have lived in the states, only 3 children have stopped by our door. Cutie and I were so exited that he began asking them what were their costumes, why they chose them, etc. I guess I wasn’t the only one who missed participating in the tradition.

I hope there will be more kids this year, in this new land, who will stop by my door.

 

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Skill training, part 2

After a few more rejections from several companies, in order to not let my depression spiral out of control, I’ve started going to a nearby gym 2-3 times per week. I do my yoga on the days I don’t go, just to try to ease the pain in my muscles from my workouts.

I am starting to realize that maybe I should focus more on learning C++ and find ways to earn income passively, since I have mentioned before, no one wants to hire me.

On my last interview, the recruiter noticed my C++ book and asked if I were interested in switching careers to IT. I answered that I was considering it and that I was currently trying to master the language since it is used in a lot of programs. She was impressed for 10 seconds. I guess it wasn’t enough to call me for a job offer.

The progress is slow, but I believe it is worth it, simply because a lot of opportunities that exist or will exist will involve a high degree of computer literacy. I just hope that by the time I am polished enough there will be room for me to join a company or create one.

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DIY Alcohol…sure why not?

Before anyone starts to laugh and spit out “you will make yourself go blind or kill yourself”, DIY alcohol making has been a part of my culture since the Spanish-American War. Keep in mind that my male relatives (who served in WW2, Korean War, etc), practiced making puertorrican moonshine not for sale, but for personal consumption.  This moonshine, commonly known as pitorro, is usually made several months before the beginning of the Holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) and is given sparingly to those brave enough to taste the exotic variations made with tropical fruits or my favorite, Nutella.

After getting fed up with spending +$50 for ONE bottle of vodka at the liquor store, I stumbled upon a recipe to make a very tame sugar wine.  Tame sugar wine would have between 8-12% alcohol.  At least with this recipe, it does not require distillation (unlike making rum or vodka). The procedure is labor intensive, since you HAVE to sterilize the jars and keep the water temperature between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, else the yeast would be killed.

Looking at this now, it reminds me of my 7th grade Chemistry experiments, hoping none of my jars would explode:

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I hope maybe to someday make something stronger than this, just to mix with different juices.

The Happy Typer

After having a demoralizing week, it took me all of the will power I had to finish writing my weekly paper for my Game Design class.

But I finished it and turned it in anyway because it’s the only thing I have going for me after paying for that online class.

I used my current state of mind to develop a game concept that hopefully will not get me an F for this class.

Since I don’t have a job and its the Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, I am left with not much recourse but to do my daily yoga and drink some Dos Equis to get into a better mode.

I won’t celebrate Thanksgiving until November. I am just not ready to overindulge twice on the same month.

I am also trying to cheer myself up through positive thinking: that maybe being unemployed is not so bad because I am not starving or have to put up working in a bad work environment.

On the other hand, I honestly want to earn some money instead of living with the stress of counting pennies.

I will need more beer to try to figure this out.
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Tell me: has positive thinking helped you go through tough times?

Motivation is hard while hunting

After receiving a job offer yesterday, I woke up this morning to find out the client changed his/her mind about me.

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After some digging, I discovered that the client did not like the rate I was willing to accept for the job.

Except that was the rate posted on the temp agency’s website for the job. And I was accepting the minimum rate per hour.

It took a lot of self-control not to mouth off at the recruiter for this bullshit. It’s best not to shoot the middle man until the job gets done.

If a client wants to hire some one for less than the posted rate, he or she can hire under the table who would do a shitty job without the experience needed. Since I am a US citizen, I would have to afford to pay both Canadian and US taxes by April once I start working.

But I didn’t get an opportunity to negotiate with the client.

My motivation is fading.  I will need another drink to process this.

 

Welcome to Canadian Healthcare!

 

I’ve been sick the past few days. First I survived a stomach flu now I am trying to get rid of a IU infection. I did not want to go to see a doctor because my insurance in the US does not have low deductibles while living abroad.  But since I couldn’t get antibiotics without a prescription, I had to bite the bullet on this one.

What I found out during my quest for health care just baffled me in surprising ways:

A visit to the doctor without insurance cost less than $50!  I don’t have a provincial health care card because I have my own insurance from the US. Even when I become a full Alberta resident, I would have to drop out of my US insurance before I can qualify for it. Hell, the doctor’s visit would have been free if I had a card :(.  In the US, it would have cost $50-$60 for 15 minutes with a doctor without insurance.

The waiting time to see a doctor is super-short. I showed up at a walk-in clinic with 20 people already waiting to be seen. So I brought my C++ book thinking I would spend the next hour or two in the sitting area. Fifteen minutes into reading and I was called up to see a doctor.

The waiting time to receive a prescribed medicine is 5 minutes! My jaw dropped as the pharmacist at the Rexall pharmacy told me it would take 5 minutes for them to dispense my antibiotics. I have gotten so used to being told to wait 30 minutes to 1 hour at EVERY SINGLE PHARMACY IN THE US that this was the most pleasant surprise of all. I know that these US pharmacies like to keep customers there long enough to hope the sick and bored would make a few purchases in their stores. But that was not the case here. Rexall didn’t gave a shit how long I would be in their store as long as I wasn’t stealing anything. Hell, the pharmacist even asked me if I had a Rexall card so that I could earn points with my purchase. (I didn’t have one, as it was the first time I go into a Rexall).

The waiting time to book an appointment for lab work is super-short. Whenever I was tasked with getting any type of lab work done in the US, I hoped it would be at the doctor’s office. This is because in the US you would have to wait until next week to find an opening for the nearest lab. Booking an appointment here in Canada took me 5 minutes over the phone and I managed to get an appointment for the next hour.

If the Affordable Health Care Act is modeled after Canada’s health care system, then I am up for it. I am not even a citizen of this country and I managed to get healthcare without filling out a lot of forms or getting quizzed about my insurance provider, HMO, PCMS–no bullshit. And I didn’t even have to wait.

My mind just got blown away. And I will never vote Republican again.