You know, every time I tell a story about Bernard I feel obligated to give the Australian Disaster Backstory, and then I think better of it because he's out there, somewhere, and so is my mother.

Anyway, it's time to tell the lolsob story. This is the latest installment in my life as a sitcom; it was clearly the big Nielsens rating arc.

The upshot of our previous interactions for those that weren't there. )

So all this brings us up to the present day.

The Saga of My Broke Summer. )

Actual content from me may be skimpy in the next few days. My family is having a collective nervous and financial breakdown, and as the sole person with a stable, well-paying job, apparently I get to rescue them. It's nothing I can't handle, but calming my parents while suppressing my own rage is a little wearying.

Anyway. Here are some links that don't quite fit in Radio Free Monday for you guys!

Hey remember when I posted about Marvel branded sneakers? [ profile] spiderine knows Natasha would take exception to glittering.

Some of you may have seen a random instagram email blip across my journal this morning -- sorry about that, it was an experiment gone dreadfully wrong. I do kind of like Instagram though, and you can find me there under Copperbadge. I'm sorry I don't know how to link you directly, I don't speak hipster. (I'm kind of grateful to whoever hung that sign, to be honest; it's disgusting leaving baggies of dog poop on the front step of the building, rats or no.)

And finally, my Groupon credit account is running low, so here's my semi-annual pitch. If you're not a member of Groupon and you sign up by following this link, when you buy your first Groupon I get $10 in credit. I have eaten at a lot of fancy places thanks to your Groupon credits :D Groupon is occasionally shady, and I recommend always reading the fine print, but overall I've found it a great resource for cheap entertaining, especially when guests are in town. Groupon offers coupon deals in many US states and I believe a few other countries as well...
Last night I had a dream that I was back in grad school, but instead of studying theatre I was on some kind of bizarre polar expedition involving studying ice cores, which I only know about because of Eureka and The X-Files. I was working with my brother, and at one point we could see a storm rising on the horizon. There was a science station nearby, conveniently, so we ran inside to take shelter. We were in a room with glass windows -- I know, I know -- and when we saw the storm blowing in towards us, someone yelled "drop!"

We all huddled up against the wall so that when the windows blew in -- as they indeed did -- we wouldn't get covered in snow and showered in glass. The storm didn't last for very long, but when it lifted my brother wasn't in the room. I started searching the complex for him, because Mum would be pissed if I lost him, but nobody would page him and the complex was huge, and odds were good he was out in the snow somewhere, snowed to death by the storm.

Thanks, subconscious. Because what I needed on top of an asshole for a brother was guilt that I couldn't kick some sense through his head and turn him into someone who's not an asshole.

For those just joining us: This is my story of me and my brother and how he's a jerk and I'm going to hell. )
I went to bed at 11 o'clock tonight. I don't often have nightmares, especially ones that aren't visibly about the places where my psyche's a bit tender, and I never have dreams I jumpstart awake from. I was dreaming about being at our places in Texas, and about being attacked by a crocodile.


But it was just small enough that it had got its teeth into my left hand and was thrashing around, ripping my hand up. Like, really going to town on it. I couldn't feel a lot of pain but I did feel some -- I suspect I was sleeping on my hand or something -- and I was lying there on our front drive screaming at the police, who kept circling the block past our street but didn't see me. In the defence of the police in my head, our street is very hard to find. I get lost in our neighbourhood all the time.

Finally the thing pulled my hand off -- I want you to think about the amount of typing I do, and then re-read the phrase pulled my hand off -- and I jumped awake. I'm pretty sure I swore a lot.

So, I'm sitting here on my bed, staring at my hand where I can still feel teeth digging in, for about five minutes, taking a break before I go back to sleep. And the phone rings. Remember my phone? The one that, when it rings, is the Daleks screaming TARDIS in four part harmony? It's loud and startling on purpose, so I'll hear it.

And I answer, because nobody's calling me at half past midnight on Sunday unless something's very wrong, and that much adrenaline makes you blind to little social reminders like "check caller ID".

And it is my brother. Calling me. At half past midnight on a Sunday night. To ask me for money.

Now, the initial thing to say is, it's good that he's done this before and already knows I hate and repudiate him, because it comes as no surprise when I tell him to rot and die and then hang up (usually he has his wife call me back and leave a message about how I'm going to hell). This is a ritual; it happens every six months or so. Normally he calls when it's a decent hour in Chicago. Maybe he did the math wrong this time.

Anyway. Aside from all that, I know there's a bit of the witch in my mum and events like tonight make me perpetually wonder if there's a bit of the witch in me.

I could do with more useful premonitions, mind you.

Back to bed for me. Thank you, internet, for filling my brief need for a therapist and/or spiritual advisor.
Oh man it so pays to do research.

My brother has been sticking Mum with his student loan payments for two years because he's unemployed (because he's an illegal immigrant in Australia and an asshole nobody wants to hire) and she's paying them because Mama Tickey, my stepfather's mother, is a co-signer. Mama Tickey is too goddamn old to be dealing with that bullshit, right? I agree with this. But it means my mother is paying his loans, and that is even more bullshit.


I know how to consolidate loans with the federal government. At this point I'm almost an expert. And I'm pretty sure the rollover would remove Mama Tickey as co-signer, given the specific circumstances. I mean, after all, he wants us to deal with these loans, right? He can't possibly do the paperwork himself.

Bernard, I am happy to do the paperwork. I am happy to paperwork you right into being responsible for your own student loans. And I hope your wife enjoys being married to someone who is suddenly thousands of dollars in debt with the federal government of the United States.

I am never going to enjoy doing paperwork this much ever again.
I didn't mention this earlier because I didn't want to seem paranoid or freak anyone out but MAN. I'm now really glad that I didn't take the car out today.

POINT THE FIRST: I had a very vivid moment this morning where I thought, wow, what if I take the car out today and get T-boned in it, wouldn't that be strange? Tragic but kind of just-my-luck funny, too.

The last time I had a moment like that, it was my last day at work in Oregon, a month after I'd left school. I was prepping to move to St. Nowhere for grad school, and I thought, wouldn't it be funny if something happens to me on the bike ride to work and I never made it to my last day? And half an hour later I was in the emergency room after being hit by a car, an accident which put me off my feet for three weeks solid.


POINT THE SECOND: You remember the insane day I had on Friday, where everyone around me was crazy or unfortunate and I was just like, in the eye of the storm? Mum had that today. First my car failed, which she was in on since she pays the membership fee for that, and then Emmy's bike was stolen (which awesome big brother made her get lock insurance? THIS AWESOME BIG BROTHER) so Lucky had to go pick her up, and then the State of Texas called Mum to tell her she was doing Thing X illegally, when she is not and has never done Thing X. ON A SUNDAY. WHAT.


(Oh actually this is kind of satisfying)

Mum got an email from my brother's mother-in-law. She normally doesn't tell me about them, but Bernard had got a job at some temp employment agency or something, I don't know, I don't pay attention when she talks about him. But he's been screwing up left and right and alienating their clients, so he was sacked. And his mother-in-law is "worried" because her daughter is talking about throwing him out because he hasn't got her pregnant yet.

It's not even that I'm enjoying his misfortune, though perhaps a little vengeful part of me is (I try to live by the Thirty Things, but I don't always succeed). It's that Bernard might finally be learning that ditching his family isn't going to make his life perfect, and that no, actually, he isn't the Big Bad Grownup he thought he was yet. And, if he hadn't alienated everyone who loves him, he might not be in a shitheap right now.

So, to sum up: I did not get into a car accident today, and it was a Good Birthday.
HO THERE SUBCONSCIOUS. You can cram six months of trauma into less than two hours of sleep! I call FOUL.

Apparently I have a snapping point (theoretically this didn't exist) and REM state decided to show me precisely what it was. I have never been more glad to wake up because of my own behaviour in a dream. I was pissed off but man, I was a dick.

Bonus fail for side nightmare, not even the main one, that a "helpful" member of the cafe had a friend on my brother's friendslist (not inconcievable) and thought if they published our names and addresses other helpful people could convince us to work this whole crazy "Die in a fire" "NO U" thing out.

(Someday I will write a quasi-RP fic in which I explore precisely what would happen in fandom if two well-known fans turned out to be brothers, hated each other IRL, and brought it to the internet. It actually could be extremely funny if done properly.)

Okay, back to bed.

Seriously, thank god, my stepfather's a good guy and nobody should shout at him like that.
Having an estranged fundamentalist nut-job brother has had a few signficant uses in the past year, most notably as a great story to tell over dinner. Just now, however, Emmy and I raided the closet where he kept all his shitty fantasy novels and put them up on swaptree, where apparently shitty fantasy novels are in high demand. If the traders accept our swaptree offers, we will totally make out like goddamn bandits. The deal is, she keeps the books here and handles the mailing, whether or not the book is going to her or me, and I pay the postage.

In other news: PIZZA. That is all.
Everything I own is tidy. This is what happens when most of what you own is in boxes in Austin.

Still, hooray for cleanliness! I have been cleaning my flat in anticipation of Guests and I have been cleaning my computer in anticipation of the New Computer, Oh Baby. Everything that's ready to go is in a file called "Migrate" and everything else is lined up in order what I need to do in order to make it ready to go. I've kept my files a lot more organised than I thought I did, actually. The only messy area was my portfolio, mainly because art is hard to organise and also I saved a copy of every resume I ever sent out. Most of them are deleted now except for the really brilliant ones. Also, I am a genius and saved all the installer files from every program I own.

I'm thinking of modding the Inspiron once my stuff is off it. Dunno what it'll be yet; steampunk's kind of been done, but I'm thinking of painting the back of the monitor to look like a TARDIS, then reworking the keys with alien-lookin' letters and raised faux-wood ridges on the wristguard. I've painted laptops before, notably the white laptop with LONER stenciled on in gold, and it's amusingly transgressive.

I fly out of here on the 31st to go home for New Year's; Mum is very excited and cooking lots of things. Should be a nice, mellow time, especially without Bernard around. Though I'm sure he'll manage to call and make a nusiance of himself eventually. His latest trick is defaulting on his student loans, which Mama Tickey cosigned, so now Sallie Mae is harassing my octogenarian grandmother. Way to be a man, Bernard.
I just woke up from a nightmare that consisted solely of seeing Bernard saying and do socially unacceptable things he has done in real life to someone I wanted to impress.

I can't even...

Man, Tuesday is really going to suck, huh.
Oh. My. Sweet goddamn.

*falls off the bed laughing*

Mum just called. Now I know why Bernard called me earlier. Ickle boo is in debt and wifey's parents feel they're doing enough just housing and feeding him and shouldn't have to shoulder his financial worries as well. Apparently they think I'm a softer touch than Mum since, after I unceremoniously hung up on him, Mum got an email from the little woman. She called me up and read both the letter and her reply to me over the telephone, which I could have lived without but whatever, since her reply was also pure gold.

We're not a healthy family, my clan, but all this dysfunction has instilled in me the ability to find the humour in everything.
Hey guys, you know what would make this day complete? A phone call from my estranged fundamentalist brother!


It was a very short conversation.

And then his wife called me and man, I wish I could play you guys the voicemail she left, it is comedy gold. Apparently I'm selfish and unChristian, which goddamn, it took her this long to figure out?
Note: For those who have no idea what the following is about, my autistic twenty-year-old brother eloped to another country with a religious extremist last Christmas. Whatever drama you're imagining, triple it before you even come close to the reality.

Mum has a call with Bernard tonight, so I've banished myself to the Continental Breakfast Room at the hotel. Most hotels have one of these -- it's that niche just off the lobby that always smells like waffles and masquerades as a "common room" when the plastic cereal-dispensers aren't out.

Mum and Bernard have a call about once a month, and otherwise mostly communicate by rare text messages and emails. Bernard isn't really allowed to have his own email anymore; all e-communication goes through his wife. Healthy, no?

Anyway, last time Mum spent three hours trying to actually get in touch, and then another six hours weeping or something, I wasn't there (Dad Lucky was, I really gotta buy him something nice for all the shit he puts up with). She has Xanax with her this time so she'll be okay whatever happens; I don't think anything can make her quite as insane as the night Bernard decided to assault me in the hallway. That was really the high point or our little en-masse family nervous breakdown. Never let it be said that I am not at the heart of the action.

Way to ruin my Mum's holiday, Bernard. I hope you die slowly in a farming accident.
I'm training a new temp today, which is good, because I'm totally calling in sick tomorrow.

As part of her training I ditched the desk for fifteen minutes and went to meet with the supremely hot building concierge, who wanted to tell me all about their new services and give me a chocolate bar with their web address printed on the wrapper. When I came back, New Temp gave me a terrified look.

"Two people called! One of them wanted to talk to someone but I couldn't find them so I sent them to someone else's voicemail and then they called back and finally left a message with the right person and also someone else wanted to reserve a conference room but I didn't know how to do that so I just took a message," she said.

"Uh, okay, I'll take care of it," I replied. She beamed at me.

"Your job is very exciting!" she declared.

Of the many things my job is -- satisfying, low-key, slightly overpaid -- I have never considered exciting to be one of them.

Also, Mum just sent a mass-email about departing for the airport to me, Dad-Lucky, Emmy, and Bernard and his wife.

Gee, thanks for giving my estranged brother and his creepy idiot wife my professional work email address, Mum.
Mum: Don't hang up on me! I'm very sensitive to being dismissed these days!
Sam: I didn't hang up on you, your phone died.
Mum: Don't take that tone with me!
Sam: Your phone died and then I called you back!
Mum: I can't talk about this right now.

Oh my god I am going to biblically slay Bernard myself for fucking up our family. I am going to smite him with Cain's fucking rock.

Good morning world, and Happy Birthday Mama Tickey!

Mama Tickey, for those of you who are new, is my stepfather's mother, and two years ago I got to spend some real quality time with her when she took me for a holiday to Galveston, where she has a vacation timeshare. I squired her and Aunt Lily around the city and discovered the true definition of the Southern Belle in those two women. Despite not being blood related and her having a whole brood of grandchildren already, I am something of a favourite because I'm an artist and the only one, and this is not bragging, who can hold an intelligent conversation. My new cousins are...

You know, they're not even that nice, they got into a food fight the last time I was at a family meal with them. They are my age.

They're not offensive or particularly deeply stupid, they're just not very well-spoken or thoroughly educated. Which is fine, as I don't have to deal with them very often. Though I suppose they will all be there today; Lucky has several siblings and all of them have bred with varying degrees of ferocity. The party's going to be about fifty people and mexican food, so I plan to hide in the corner with a cola and only emerge when Mama Tickey wants to talk to me. Seems safest, and there's the least chance of being in the crossfire of any impending refried-beans flinging.

With her usual impeccable timing, my brother's wife wrote mum an email this morning. Way to ruin the first weekend I've had with my family since you left, Bernard. High five. Oh wait, you're an asshole, and so is your wife. So, no high five.

I'm sure it'll be fine, it was inevitable that Bernard would come up in the course of the weekend, but I'm hoping we'll all be distracted by Birthday Shindiggery.

Also, I have shown off the scar from my broken wrist and been petted and made much of, so that's all right. :D
Aha! See, Karma is swift. To make up for all my tribulations this morning, NiceBoss brought me sweet and sour chicken, teriyaki beef, and rice from the lunch meeting downstairs. I may have to redub him FoodBoss.

Mum texted me while I was eating lunch and seriously, this is never going to end. I warned her and warned her to keep a close eye on the phone bill since giving Bernard an iPhone on her account, especially since he was taking it out of the country with him, but I guess she figured since he always had it turned off when she called, she didn't need to bother.

One $1200 phone bill later...

Someday I really will write a book about all this. It's just that I kind of suspect the climax has yet to hit.

In other news: Tonight I am going to go home, order a pizza, and Torchwood my face off.
I was right, apparently we Weren't Talking. Still, Mum came round and emailed me, as you do, and it wasn't a terrible email in and of itself but the strain of having an asshole for a son is clearly getting to her. She thought some things of me that she would not think under ordinary circumstances. And I blame Bernard, because I can.

It's not so much what she said, which we straightened out on the phone, as what Bernard's doing. But the email arrived right before lunch and I was literally shaking with anger when Coworker J showed up to relieve me. I had no appetite at all so I bought a banana and a coke from the lunchroom, because it was the least I could eat which would still keep me going.

I actually ended up walking over to the convenience store nearby and buying a pack of cigarettes. I smoke very infrequently, which is just as well because when you haven't had a cigarette in a long time, one gets you buzzy. The buzz knocked off the worst of the anger, and I'll cope with the rest. R can have the pack, I bought his brand.

I just don't know where to put all the anger when it happens. It's gone pretty quickly, but it's deeply unpleasant when it's there. Short of finding a quiet place to hide and sulk, a cigarette was the next best thing. Not that I recommend this as a form of therapy, mind you, but at least I'll be able to get through the rest of this day, which is turning out to be frankly horrific.

There's a reason February 29th only happens once every four years.

Anyway, things are sorted and that's the important part. Mum's probably still a bit ticked but she'll get over it, and hopefully all this went down for the best. I have not got time for any more of this bullshit.
I am cheerier than usual at work today because (see: yesterday's post) every person who comes through the door is potentially the person who said something nice about me in the staff meeting when I wasn't there. It's not so much that I want to reward them for saying nice things about me as it is that now a standard has been set and I can't let the side down. :D

That having been said, Mum and I might not be talking to each other. I'm not really sure. She called me last night at nine-fifteen freaking out over some new shit Bernard has pulled, which I'm not going to go into because it is deeply stupid on the part of both mother and child and I'm sure really it's about the fact that *checks watch* I am now brother in law to possibly the most annoying person on the internet.

But I am done with the family drama at nine-fifteen at night, I am done with domestic espionage, and I am done with this kid pushing my buttons. So I told Mum I didn't have the information she needed, I told her how to google it, and I got that little bitey "I'm angry at you" edge to her voice when we were saying I goodbyes. I texted her this morning but haven't heard back, which doesn't necessarily signify much, but I'm also done with getting the silent treatment solely because I choose SANITY, so the ball's in her court.

Wow, that was a lot of bile for someone who's cheerier than usual, huh. You should see me angry. Actually, nobody should ever see me angry.

And I have a headache.

I think I'm possibly having a very confusing day.

Fucking leap years.
Well, THAT was an interesting night.

No glass alligators, but sometime during the night I managed to get my splint off without waking up. Found it on the floor this morning. I think it's likely that this happened during the screaming nightmares, which were not apparently inspired by Mabuse at all but involved the house I grew up in and, perhaps predicably, Bernard. That was quite a game of hide and seek.

He'll be married by this time next week. Mum and I don't talk about him. Growing up, it was always Mum and me against the world, and she talked to me about problems she was having and together we figured out how to raise Bernard, which was difficult in the days before AS existed as a diagnosis. For her, in some ways, it still doesn't. But we always talked about the problems she was having and now with Bernard I just can't. Or I choose not to. The line blurs.

She respects the boundary and she has therapy and the anti-depressants seem to be working, so I don't fret about her as such; she seems to be doing fine. She has Lucky, too, and they go out to the land a lot and plan the house they're going to build there and the orchard they're going to plant. I think she feels some relief that Bernard is someone else's issue now, and probably guilt about the relief, but I choose not to feel guilt, either. He's a grown man; he's made his choices, and I've made mine. I chose my family, despite their imperfections, and he chose to run away. So fuck him.

I'm sure mostly it's decompression from the week, adjustment to having my arm back again and the resulting pain, which is not insignificant. It's not a great headspace to start my Saturday in, but I'm not planning on doing much of anything today so it hardly matters.

Fic in a bit, probably. Yes, still stuck in a Torchwood phase. I'll break away soon, promise. :D


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