Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ephemeris supplements available as paperbacks

Borrowed from the Nomadic Delirium Press blog:
Six Ephemeris supplements are now available as paperbacks from Amazon.
The Ephemeris Omnibus: 2013
Ephemeris: Critters & Pests
The Ephemeris Species Compendium
The Ephemeris Encyclopedia Galactica: Near Space
The Ephemeris Encyclopedia Galactica: Colonized Space
The Ephemeris Species Compendium of Deep Space Species

Friday, April 24, 2015

More government and medical BS

This will almost certainly turn into a rant, so if you don't like my might want to move along.
For a few months last year, I was on Medicaid.  The simple fact was that it was too expensive to put me on to Rebecca's insurance.  Doing that would have meant taking food from our kids' mouths.  The actual truth is that as a family of five, we could have all qualified for Medicaid, but we wanted to keep private insurance for Rebecca and the kids because we wanted to keep our regular doctor, and we felt a lot more comfortable with having the choices a private insurance company offers as opposed to having to go to a Medicaid doctor.  Plus, we weren't really looking for charity.  We believe in hard work, and we felt that we didn't need a government "hand-out," as some Republicans would call them.
So, I was on Medicaid and then I never responded to a letter that I didn't even get, so I was booted off the program.  I wasn't too worried about it.  Sure, we had to pay a small fine on our taxes, but it wasn't really a big deal.  Our income is low enough that we qualify for a lot of tax breaks, so whatever.
Now, with my health deteriorating faster than I expected, I decided I would get on Medicaid again...just in case.  I was denied because I make too much money...
Some people reading that might just shrug it off, but I work around 15 hours a week at barely above minimum wage, so how I could make too much money escapes me.  Even if you add in what I make from writing, editing, and game design, as well as what Rebecca makes, we're still well below middle class for a single person...let alone a family of five.
So, how in the hell do I not qualify?  I did some research and found out that our income is actually low enough for me to qualify, so why didn't I?  The only answer I have is that the government systems are entirely corrupt.  This isn't our first experience with these types of problems.  When the Office Depot I worked for closed and I was laid off, I tried to get unemployment, and it took me more than six months to get that.  During that time, we had to get food stamps.  There was simply no choice, but we got booted out of that program after they sent us a letter saying that someone else was living in our home...someone we'd never heard of.  Our calls and letters to the office were never returned.  Finally I got unemployment, and we let it go.  Eventually, I got off of unemployment when I was hired by OfficeMax, and just so that people understand that we aren't the type of people that abuse the system, I was making more on unemployment than I was at OfficeMax, but again, we didn't want the handout, so we decided it was better for me to be working, even if it meant our family would have to struggle more.
So, I ask again, how screwed up is this system in Colorado that I can't qualify for Medicaid when we have to struggle to pay every single bill we have?  We don't go out to eat all the time.  We don't waste money.  We don't do drugs, drink, or even smoke, and yet somehow we keep getting screwed over by the system.
At this point, I'm about ready to tell them all to go screw themselves, pay to see a doctor, and have him declare me as partially disabled (since work does cause me more pain, and I am having more and more trouble doing my job), and then collect disability until I can get surgery.  And as a disabled person, the government would probably have to help pay for the surgery, and that's going to cost them a hell of a lot more than giving me medicaid on the off chance that I might need to see a doctor...
No matter what the government says, it's always the poor that get screwed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The increasing pain

The regular followers of this blog know that I occasionally blog about my dealing with chronic pain, and this is another such blog entry.  For over a decade now, I've been dealing with pain that's caused by a reconstructive chest surgery I had when I was a teenager that has slowly been breaking down.  Unfortunately, the deterioration seems to be increasing.  It used to be that I had pain in my two lower left ribs, but now I'm beginning to have pain all through my all of the ribs and in the sternum.  It's also become painfully obvious that my sternum is collapsing further into my chest.  Although that may sound scary, it actually isn't.  The collapse is very slow, which, unfortunately, is causing me to have shortness of breath.  The odds of a rapid collapse that might puncture something are extremely small, so I'm not really worried about that.  My biggest concern is the increasing pain.
The other night at my oldest's honor band concert, I went to put my arm around Rebecca and felt a few of my ribs pop, meaning that I couldn't even put my arm around my wife to enjoy our daughter's performance.  It's now gotten to the point that I can't go out and play volleyball with the oldest, or soccer with our middle daughter, or pick up my youngest and play with her like I used to.  It's very depressing, but I know that just about anything I do can cause pain.  Last night I took a deep breath and felt a rib pop and the pain increased dramatically.
It's obvious that at some point I am going to have to have surgery to repair this, but that's not something that is even remotely feasible at this time.  I am uninsured, and the cost to put me on Rebecca's insurance right now would mean that the family would be eating ramen for a long time to come, and it would also deter our plans of getting our own house.  Hopefully she will get promoted before the next open enrollment, and that will at least make it a little easier, but such a dramatic surgery would put a real strain on us, as I would be useless for quite some time...something I would not deal well with.
Dealing with this pain, it has become quite clear to me how some people can be driven to suicide by chronic pain.  Don't worry, I'm not suicidal.  I have an amazing wife and three wonderful daughters, so I wouldn't do something like that.  I'm just saying that the pain, the feelings of uselessness, and the depression could certainly lead someone to make that decision.
For now, I just have to do whatever I can to avoid things that will cause pain, which is almost anything.  I have to take it easy when I'm cleaning the house, when I'm at my "real" job, and just about anything else.
Well, that's enough griping for now.  If you've actually read this far, thanks.  This wasn't an effort to try to get people to feel sorry for me.  I don't want that.  Sometimes, it just feels good to document these types of things for others to see.  In time, I will get this fixed and I will be out of pain.  For now...I deal...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Battle for Turtle Island on sale

For the next week, you can get the e-book version of the role playing game The Battle for Turtle Island: Buffalo Wars for 50% off…that’s just $2.50. Go to and use coupon code XF49R at checkout.
Imagine it’s the 19th century, and the colonization/conquest of the Americas is underway yet again, only this time magic is real, and the Indians have a lot more of it than the colonists. This is the world of The Battle for Turtle Island: Buffalo Wars.
The colonists may have the better weapons, but the Indians nearly double the magic of the colonists. Maybe this time the history of the Americas will be very, very different. The Battle for Turtle Island: Buffalo Wars is actually two books in one. It has the core rules for The Battle for Turtle Island RPG, which will be a series of books featuring the different parts of the Americas, and it also has the Buffalo Wars supplement which looks at the battles for the plains.
You can choose to be a Cavalry Soldier, an Arapahoe Medicine Man, a Colonist Trapper, an Apache Warrior, or any number of other classes, and your character can choose to change classes as they advance. This book contains, the character classes, the special abilities for each Indian tribe, the goods, the spells, and much more.
The only other thing you’ll need to play is some dice and a vivid imagination.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

More healthcare cost griping

The bills are starting to roll in for Rebecca's recent surgery, and once again it's time for me to gripe about healthcare costs, and the screwed up American healthcare system.  The hospital attempted to bill the insurance company over $45,000 for the procedure and recovery.  This doesn't even include an overnight stay.  She was discharged the same day.  Granted, the insurance company negotiated a lower cost, but it's ridiculous that things are this expensive.  True, a big part of medical costs are caused by frivolous malpractice lawsuits brought about by less than scrupulous people, but you can't honestly expect me to believe that it cost the hospital that much money for my wife to be there.  Even with a healthy profit margin, that's still insane.  Especially given the fact that the insurance company was able to negotiate a lower price, that shows that hospitals are overcharging.
It's also interesting to note that the insurance company is negotiating a larger percentage discount on bills now that we've paid our deductible...meaning that they have to pay 90% of the coverage.  This also tells me how corrupt the insurance companies are.
I still believe that Obamacare was a step in the right direction, but we still have a very long way to go if we want a healthcare system that truly works.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to figure out how a lower middle income family is supposed to pay our 10%. Guess I need to write some more books...