More about Chapter 9

I’m beginning to see where Chapter 9 leads. Or at least the direction I’m heading.

(NOTE: I wrote this almost a month ago. I let it age a bit to see how it felt. Still feels good, so I’m going with it.)

First, I’ll be moving. This was the decision that’s held me back. I love my apartment. I love the building, the location, the neighbors, my landlord. I love my two layers of plaster moldings in the living room, and I especially love my kitchen. I’ve never had a kitchen that’s a nice as the one I have.

But since losing the Presbytery gig two years ago, I can’t afford it. I tried to get a replacement second job. That worked out so miserably that it was the first time I ever deleted entries here. Stricken from the record. I’ve had a hard time coming to accept that I just can’t work more hours than I do, and that my income is going to be limited to what I make at the library.

So the apartment has to go, which is really a shame because its a large part of what made Chapter 8 the happiest of my life.


Second, a big drain my what remains of my meager income is Obamacare. My income is low enough that I get a huge subsidy. But the remaining portion of the monthly premium I have to pay consumes every last leftover cent of my budget. And it’s going up by over $50 a month in January.

It’s an interesting conundrum. While I have health insurance for the first time in over 20 years, I can’t afford the co-pays and deductibles to use it. That’s just plain silly.

I’m in relatively good health for my age. Hell, I’m in better overall heath than some people I know in their teens and 20s. But there are nuisance items—quality of life matters at best. So I took funds from the dwindling savings and saw the doc.

I left the first appointment with referrals to three specialists. I’ve seen them all now. I already have two new daily prescriptions, and one that’s to help an occasional flare up.

In any event, at a followup with my primary care, it was confirmed:

I’m really healthy for a 57-year-old American male.

The doc wishes she had lipid numbers that look like mine. So with that and a clean EKG, I won’t be needing a cardiologist in the foreseeable future. Thanks to cycling.

As a cyclist, the first thing I looked at in the blood work was hematocrit. Mine is 43. Just fine for civilians, but again, as a cyclist, I know that one number means an awful lot. I’m wondering how to improve it. And no, I mean to improve it without resorting to what Lance did.

Of course the other question is, why? After all, I’m at a level that I find satisfying. I’m only ever passed by actual racers. I climb better than most people. My endurance is limited not by my body but by my ADD. And in my race against the Grim Reaper, I’m still ahead.

I guess it’s that since I first got on a bike, there’s always been something to improve. There still is, I suppose, but what I lack is a reason other than, “because it’s there”.

Anyway, after sorting out the rest of the health matters, I’ll move on to dental. I figure with my health, I have a good 30 years left, and I’d like to get the same mileage out of the original-equipment choppers. After that, it’ll be time for new glasses.

So there’s a second reason to reduce housing expenses. All that shit’s expensive.


Third, and what’s coming out of the blue in Chapter 9, is a change in musical tastes. This one has me completely mystified. Blindsided.

(NOTE: This was written before I posted the one about SPYAIR fandom.)

Since the first night I walked into a dance club in 1975, dance music has tripped my trigger. Lately, I’ve kept my addiction alive with mixes from SoundCloud. Since I discovered SoundCloud, I’m all over the place there in the different dance genres and sub-genres, and I follow easily a dozen different DJs.

About a year ago I stumbled on a cycling manga, Yowamushi Pedal, and the subsequent anime. (See links in the right-hand panel.) The music in the anime, particularly the opening and closing themes, blew me away. Punk. Jpunk, specifically. Japanese punk rock.

Over the past year I looked for the MP3s and the videos, and that led to other songs by the same artists, and eventually to a branching out into the wider world of jrock. I’m not sure where the lines between the genres and sub-genres lie, but whether punk, alternative, pop, rap-rock, metal, even speed metal seems a lot more interesting from Japan.

It doesn’t bother me that it’s sung in Japanese. I can’t understand most American singers either. So I’ve always treated vocals as just another instrument. (Part of it the vocalization itself, the other part is that I’m “poetry impaired”.) So on that basis, it’s no problem at all for me.

And yet, there are a couple of songs I like so much, I’ve rummaged around and come up with Romanized Japanese lyrics (Japanese language written phonetically in Latin characters) or roumaji karaoke versions (or both) and I’m working on learning to sing in Japanese.

Yes, I know. Sad, isn’t it?

In any event, when I move to the old folks apartment building (The one I’m considering has a freshly refurbished shuffleboard court!), you can bet I won’t be joining the other seniors around the community room piano for sing-a-longs. I’m hoping the concrete walls, floors, and ceilings will insulate them from all the guitars and that silly old guy singing in Japanese.

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