Hammer Down

Wow. TWO blog posts in a month? Whatever could be going on??

I feel as if I’ve dropped off the writing map, and I guess that’s because I have. You might remember the sig in my email that reads “And if I go cold, I won’t get sold, I’ll get put in the back on the discount rack like another can of beans…”(B. Joel)  Well, that’s where I feel as if I am.  No longer really relevant when it comes to being an author.

Anyway, as you know from the last blog post, I’d had enough with the shit hole I worked in and started looking for a new job. But, because my life is never, EVER simple, a new wrinkle was tossed at me. Two, actually.

One: The plant I work at is closing and getting rid of EVERYONE.

Now this isn’t as much of a blow to me as it would have been had I not started getting my shit together already, but it still tosses a rather large element of urgency into the mix. In typical corporate fashion, they’ve told us notices will be going out starting sometime in the new year, but, of course, not exactly when. Hey, at least we get sixty days notice.

But of course, the story doesn’t end there, because as I said, things are never simple.

When I get laid off, I will be getting severance pay — except that the state that I live in immediately steals it from me.

Let me say that again: The state I live in steals my severance pay.

How you ask? Like this:

Our lovely Republican governor and his happy band of asshole republican cronies (I will NEVER, EVER vote for a republican again!) changed the rules of the state so that people like me — older people, who’ve worked for YEARS to build up any kind of severance (while STILL paying into the unemployment fund!), and who need that money to maintain mortgages and heath care — don’t get to use our severance. Instead, what happens is that the state decides that it will take the pittance it allows you per week (say… 400 dollars), will be divided into your severance, then won’t pay you a red cent until ALL of your severance is gone at the rate that they think you should spend it! This means that the money I needed to maintain my healthcare and my house is now effectively GONE. And before you even THINK of telling me “Oh but your severance is a benefit and not everyone gets that” let me respond with “Oh, but there are people with twenty thousand dollars in the bank, and maybe they should have to live off that the same way until it’s all gone before THEY get unemployment” because it’s the same fucking thing.

So maybe (if you’ve gotten this far), you’re wondering if that was the second wrinkle. No, of course not. That was just a side trip on the first one. Here’s the second one:

I’ve developed a new health problem — right about the time when I will be losing my insurance. And it’s one of those things that could be nothing, or it could be life threatening.

Fun, no?


At least while I have the insurance, my doctors are being very helpful and I should soon know if it’s the nothing or the something. I’m hoping for the nothing, of course.

So anyway, if you’re even the least bit curious why I haven’t been around, even on twitter, now you know. I don’t want to post a continual stream of negative comments on twitter, I want to talk about sex and my writing. But I’m not really writing at all and I’m STILL relearning the tech (when you go in as a junior person, they don’t expect you know much, but when you’re a senior person well… that’s a very different story!), and will be until I find a new position. No matter that I know there are many other people out there that are worse off than me, the fact is there are ALWAYS people out there worse of than someone, and that doesn’t make me feel any better about my own situation.

Anyway, I know there are a few people who want to know if I’ll ever return to Avatar. All I can say is that it is my intention to do so. But my writing — especially free stuff — isn’t enough to live off of, so I really have to stay focused on keeping myself employed in a United States that has become a country that is By the Rich, For the Rich. So wish me your best, and keep Avatar in the back of your mind.


About Dark Pen

I am Dark Pen. I write BDSM stories, almost always with plot and consider myself a Soldier in the battle against America's war on sex.
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14 Responses to Hammer Down

  1. Man, that sucks. I share your frustration on the health insurance. A rational system wouldn’t have it tied to your employer, which is why the political fights are so infuriating.

    We’re laying off too. I won’t be on the list, but it’s still rough.

    Good luck.

  2. Katja says:

    I guess i will never be able to understand how things work in your country. To be completely honest, after my last visit to the US, I’m afraid that i don’t know how, or better why your country is still “running”. Don’t get me wrong, but a system, that steals away your money (I’m not talking about taxes; I’m happily paying my taxes for schools, infrastructure and public healthcare, unemployment-support and public pension fund) while it is not able to support you with a working social security system, is somehow ill.
    You have my sympathy that you have to hold your head high under such circumstances. If I would have to work in a country, where the working part of the society is treated like you describe, I guess, I would have emigrated a long time ago. No doubt, each time I read about everyday living in the US, like you describe, I’m more than happy to live in europe and congratulate myself for declining the job offer in San Diego a year ago.

    I really hope, your personal situation will become better soon and I really hope that your “medical problem” turns out to be nothing too bad.

    Looking forward to hear from you again.
    I wish you good luck and success with the things to come.

    • Dark Pen says:

      The US wasn’t always this way. It’s only in the last 20 years that the rich have gotten so rich that they own everything, and have used that power to completely skew society to keep it that way. They’ve also managed to successfully portray the US as a place where the common man can still work hard and get ahead — and that’s complete bullshit. There are always people who can, and do, manage to get rise to the top, but they are now the exception rather than the rule. This generation’s children is the first ever in this country who will not be better off than their parents were. However, those in power have managed to fool a large part of the country into thinking that they can still get ahead, like their parents did. They’ll find out too late it’s not true.

  3. aaron says:

    I am an avid reader and have reread avatar every time a new chapter came out. Even the military is laying off as the bigwigs dont want to pay us so I feel your pain. You have my best wishes as well as my prayers

  4. DarkMatter says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your job (I’m optimistic about the health thing, so I’ll hold off on that).
    I also have a question for you. You have been complaining about the state of the US for some time now, and you are obviously not really in a position to change it. So the question is: are you in a position to leave it? If you are disappointed in a company, you usually vote with your feet and you choose another company. Could you do that with a country? Would you?
    On a related note: In Germany, the economy is currently at a record high, unemployment is at a record low (esp. in the tech sector), and we actually do have a working social system (and healthcare that is not bound to your employer). The “Euro-crisis” has left us almost untouched, and as the rest of Europe is getting better, the (export-driven) German economy will get even better as well. Of course it’s not all bunnies and roses here, but maybe it could be an alternative for you. Maybe something to think about.
    I don’t know the first thing about immigrating into the EU from the US, but if you have any other questions that a Germany citizen working in the computer science field might be able to answer, let me know (as the blog’s owner, you should be able to see my e-mail address, right?).

    • Dark Pen says:

      When I was younger (MUCH younger!) I was in Germany a number of times. It was a really nice place, and I thought the people were very friendly. In fact, I traveled in several European countries and mostly liked every one of ’em.
      Still, I’m not sure how I feel about permanently leaving the US of A. I think it would be very difficult for me, because in spite of the really rough patch we’re going through, I have some hope that Americans will get their collective heads out of their asses, toss out the moronic tea baggers, and get us back on track. That hope, however, fades year after year as I watch people spend all their time on the latest sports game and whatever idiot reality TV show they’re watching, and ignore how bad things have gotten. They smugly assume that “It could never happen here.” and they’re wrong. Not only can it, but it IS happening here.

      That being said, I don’t know the first thing about living in Europe in spite of traveling there quite extensively (many) years ago. I wouldn’t even have the foggiest idea HOW to get a job in another country, and I don’t speak any other language other than English. I used to speak something else, but that was a long time ago and it wasn’t a European language.

      Thanks for the food for thought, and yes, I do have your email now 🙂

      • DarkMatter says:

        Yes, I get that leaving your home country would be a big step, possibly a last resort. Let’s hope it’s not necessary!
        By the way, there are plenty of companies where not speaking German (as long as you speak English) is not that much of an issue. If you should decide to look into it, let me know, I might be able to give you some leads.

      • Dark Pen says:

        Thank you, I appreciate that.

      • Codey says:

        Well maybe leaving the continent is not the answer but Canada is right on top of you, free health care and a much better economy than the US, and although we might not be in as good a spot as Germany we do still have a little dignity left. In allot of our provinces English is good enough, French is good but in reality it’s only really here in Quebec. I’m not sure exactly what type of a job you are looking for but there is a huge amount of industry developing in Saskatchewan and Alberta, they are so short on people that they are basically paying people to live there, whether for school or a job they seem to have benefits for anyone who is willing to move out into the middle of nowhere. Plus if the US magically gets back on track, you’ll just be a few steps from the US. Best of luck to you, and if you don’t mind me asking it would seem that you’ve taken avatar off line, makes me sad but I understand if it’s something you have to do. Sorry you’re having bad luck, just remember bad things always come in threes but there is a rainbow after a storm.

      • Dark Pen says:

        Canada. Yup, that’s a thought, but for heath reasons, the cold makes it not an option. As for the US getting back on track, well… it might, but it might not. I don’t think that history is on our side, simply because the tech that we created allows the people who control it to control everything else in ways history has never seen.
        If bad luck only came in threes, then I’d have some hope, but since I’ve had pretty much nothing but bad luck for a lot of years, I don’t see it changing any time soon. The best I could hope for at this point is getting a decent job before money runs out. I have a little while yet before I lose the job I have, so hopefully that will be one piece of good luck.

        Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. N says:

    I hope the tech relearning and job hunting is progressing. And do hope the health worries are not proving to be a serious problem. Good luck

  6. Shay says:

    I wish you all the best with your ventures. I have enjoyed reading your stories and as much as I hope that more chapters are released, its much more important to be Healthy and Well in RL. Yours Sincerely,


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