Life is fine. The universe always is what it is and does not stray from that path, no matter how we feel like our world is ending.

The mechanisms of surviving in Western society, though. This is why people go insane and bring machine guns to work.

CalFed's database hiccuped and lost all the authentication and contact information related to my online banking account. Once I got that fixed, I discovered another several hundred dollars of fraudulent charges had posted to my checking account. The fraud form they'd sent me was missing a few charges, so I added those to Yet Another Fraud Claim; when I got home, there was a second fraud claim form waiting for me, a superset of the first one (with the missing charges). Of course I had just figured they fucked up, and I signed and mailed the first form. Now I've signed and mailed the second one, and a third is on the way, so there are several charges which appear on two of the three fraud claims. I'm imagining they'll either figure it out, or try to arrest me. If I'm feeling like I have too much free time tomorrow (HAH!) I'll try to call Loss Prevention directly and give them a heads-up. "Look, I only want you to pay me the one time. Figure it out."

    16:39 <TROGDOR> wait.  they aren't giving you your money back?
    16:39 > they will eventually, if I have to sell their internal organs
            on the black market.
My reaction to this whole thing is interesting. On the one hand, it's only money, I'll make more eventually, and I'm fortunate that I still have money I can use to pay bills and such. On the other hand, though, I am deeply pissed that someone has been able to rip off half of my life savings through what is almost certainly a series of negligencies on the part of the offending stores (Safeway, Macy's, Union 76, and Sharper Image) without even having the damn card (it's still in my wallet, and I'm not activating the new one until this crap gets sorted out). If I or my house was robbed or whatever, that's one thing, but the fact that it's theoretically possible to get the money back evokes in me a desire to make it happen, as my comment above shows. I also have a profound dislike of large corporations, and I am more than happy to bring any and all of those companies to Small Claims Court if I have to (they can pay me for the vacation days, too). It's a powerful sense of annoyance on my part, focused on money, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. I mean, it just is, but this sort of crusade is unusual for me at all, let alone over money, even with my money hang-ups.

Between that, insurance paperwork, and a meeting, I feel like I did jack shit today. Which is unfortunate, because I feel a little bit like I'm running to keep up at work--I'm supposed to have what I think needs to be a very complete application design ready in the next few workdays, which is fine except that Kensington and I have different ideas about what "complete" means in this instance, and the design I'm supposed to have seems to contain a lot of information I don't generally know until I start writing code.

So I guess all this is that "stress" thing, right? Well, frustrating as it may be, it has no hold on me, and I breathe in and relax my body and feel this new and magical connection between my torso and my lower legs, and it's all okay again. I went to the dojo tonight to at least drop off my dues check, and ended up staying for the second half of weapons class. I haven't been there in almost two weeks, the longest break since I started training, and I missed those people so much. There's a strange sort of intimacy to aikido training, since everyone takes falls for everyone else, and there's an exchange of energy and teaching that is binding and bonding in a way I don't understand. It's also the case in my experience that aikido people are very friendly and nice (sometimes in their own special and unpredictable ways)--aikido is, almost by definition, not the martial art of choice for people who want to fight and be really combative. Although I guess I could say that about Iaido as well (a meditative art of Japanese fencing with an emphasis on concentration and etiquette), but there is a very brash and macho young man is not terribly hostile, but parks his Mustang GT in the handicapped spot and talks about battle. I don't know if Iaido will reach him the way other martial arts reach people: my theory is that on your way to mastery, you encounter and are soundly trounced by many, many people who have already gone that way before you, so your ego is given constant reality checks. Personally, I think those reality checks sink in much deeper when they involve you landing on the floor, but I'm biased by experience.

The knee braces help a ton and allow me to keep standing. I do need them on both knees, though.

I hope you're getting enough sleep. Remember that it always feels like the end of the world and it never, ever is, and the world can be a hard place to live but it has lots of nice people and pretty flowers and sunsets, so it's really not all bad.