2022 may be feeling even worse than 2021, but I'm still spitting out those bullets... because an all new 2021 RETROSPECTIVE Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Pizza! As anybody who's been reading Blogography for any amount of time knows, I've been searching for a decent frozen pizza for decades. And in 2021 I've finally found one. It's Red Baron Fully Loaded Five Cheese Pizza!
The sauce it great. The crust is amazing. The amount of cheese is a little excessive, but perfectly acceptable. Put it all together and it's the best frozen pizza I've ever had. With a caveat! As good as it tastes fresh out of the oven, it tastes horrible once it's gone cold. And reheating it in the microwave or oven does not bring it back. I've been sawing them in half and cooking only half and a time so I can eat the remainder at its best as well.
• Potato! As somebody who loves fries, I usually end up making them from scratch out of freshly-cut potatoes that I soak, pre-cook, freeze, then fry to get the best tasting ones I can get. But that's a horrible amount of work. So whenever I see a new frozen fries product, I give it a try. Usually I spray them with oil then put them in the rotisserie basket of my air fryer and they turn out okay. But in 2021 I discovered "McCains Quick Cook Fries." And they are a world different from anything else on the market...
The secret of the reason they cook "quick" with no flipping is that they are coated in oil. This is not a new trick. Ore-Ida did this years ago. But, for whatever reason, McCain's fries taste far better. Even though they do lie about the timing. Even when I preheat my oven, it takes closer to 20 minutes than the 13 minutes they advertise to get perfectly-cooked fries. Usually I don't bother to preheat. I just put them in and set the timer for 25 minutes. Bliss. Their crinkle-cut fries are so good that I'd rather have them that restaurant fries. Possibly even more than my own hand-cut fries! A half-bag is the perfect serving size for me and I anticipate eating a lot of these things in 2022.
• Sustained! I have been really trying to minimize waste more in 2021, recycling whatever I can and eliminating disposable plastics from my life. It's the least I can do, even though it's a ridiculously small dent in the amount of pollution produced (corporations are vastly more responsible than individuals, but convince people it's not their fault). One of the bigger steps I took was to stop buying Saran Wrap (plastic wrap). I used to go through a couple boxes every year, but the one I bought back in March will hopefully be my last. I've also greatly reduced the number of plastic bags I've been buying. My favorite replacement is "BioBag" products which decompose quite quickly in a landfill. They're expensive as hell though, so I've also brought "brown paper bag" sandwich bags for regular use...
They work great! But I also buy Reynolds wax paper bags for things that get sloppy (like the veggie burger with extra mayo I eat on my morning commute!). Or when I'm out of brown bags (like I am now). They have little stickers to keep them closed, which probably makes them bad for the environment, but they are fun to pack for lunch....
Wax paper doesn't biodegrade like raw paper (or BioBags), but it does biodegrade better than plastic. And uses more natural materials, so I'm chalking that up as a win (even though I'm trying to use them less and less since biodegradable bags are better). The best solution seems to be using glass containers with plastic lids which you can wash and reuse for years, so I've bought more Pyrex as well. Maybe one day they will come up with lids that aren't plastic but, in the meanwhile, they have lasted me over a decade so far, which is far less than if I were using plastic bags.
• Apples to Apples to Apples! This past year was a tough year for me financially because Apple ended up getting so much of my money. But boy was it money well-spent! My new iMac M1 is a (relatively) inexpensive Mac that flies through even my most demanding work. Despite it being on the low-end of the spectrum, it's the best desktop Mac I've ever owned. Then I traded in for the iPhone Pro Max 13, which is the best phone I've ever owned (and the heaviest). Then I traded in for the MacBook Pro M1 Max. Legit the best computer I've ever owned. And my favorite. Not even a contest...
It is ridiculously fast and powerful, has incredible battery life, and is an absolute joy to work with. THIS is the kind of "pro" computer Apple should have been making for the past decade instead of the form-over-function bullshit they were married to. The weird thing is that this MacBook is still really beautiful despite being constructed for function over form. Yet "curviness" was more important than power to Apple for a decade, so that was what we got. Blergh. Hopefully they won't slide back to old habits. The wild acclaim for this computer by pundits and customers alike should tell them they are finally on the right track.
• Travel-less! It has been genuinely strange going from dozens of trips each year to zero in 2020 and one in 2021. Unless some miracle cure arrives which eradicates COVID from the face of the earth, I'm expecting the same for 2022. Because right now I have no plans to go anywhere. But still, that one trip I did take during Delta but pre-Omicron reminded me of what "normal" is like. Even though I was masked most of the time...
So maybe after they announce a fourth booster I will make a trip just to remember what "normal" used to be like? If I do, it will probably be a trip to San Francisco because that's where my tattoo artist is, and I've been wanting new ink for years now. Fingers crossed.
• Kitty! Once again the thing that saved me in 2021 were my cats. Even at times when I was at my lowest and didn't care about myself, I always cared about them. In 2021 Jenny learned to manipulate me better than in previous years, coming up with an entire menu of meows and behaviors to get what she wants. Jake and I have conversations now. He meows (or tries to) and I meow back. Then we go back and forth for a while. I have no idea what I'm saying, but it must be interesting enough to him that he feels a need to respond!
• Betty! I'm still crushed. I've been avoiding social media and the news so I'm not seeing news about her death over and over. What a shitty end to a shitty year.
• Boosted! I've had people sneer at me for getting boosted, saying that the COVID vaccine obviously doesn't work if you need to get a booster... "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? GET BOOSTER SHOTS FOREVER??" And the answer is yes. Fuck yes. Because there are mountains of data showing that staying current with vaccinations vastly reduces incidents of serious illness, hospitalization, and death. MOUNTAINS OF DATA! So give me all the shots. This is no different than getting a flu shot every year. Except COVID mutates so fast and the vaccine is so new that we may end up getting two boosters a year instead of one. As the science gets better, the boosters will get better. Eventually we may even have the option for a combo flu/COVID booster, and I will take that shot. 1000% I will take it. I have faith in the science which has given us so much. There's a learning process which goes along with scientific research, and I am happy to be a part of it. I have cats to take care of, after all.
So... yeah. Not a lot else happened in 2021, so I guess that's it. Pizza, fries, sandwich bags, Apple stuff, one trip, cats, the passing of a legend, and COVID. Not a banner year, to be sure.
So... it snowed a little bit last night.
Okay, it snowed a lot last night. I woke up and the first thing I see is snow from the roof piled up in my upstairs bedroom window. That's at least 30 inches or so...
Upstairs at the front of my condo I only have little windows because there's a lot of roof going up that wall. They were covered. Can't see them at all...
Turns out it was about three feet, 35 inches.
Jake and Jenny were not happy. Occasionally they would walk out to the catio and meow at the snow because it was blocking their view and they had to hop up on the perches to see out. And when they did that all they saw was snow, snow, and more snow, since it was still falling. My world was covered in white stuff...
It ultimately probably ended up being around 4 feet, though the weight of it kept pushing it down, so it was tough to get an accurate read. Regardless, it was a lot of snow.
Now, when I was a kid, this was normal. We kids would regularly tunnel under the snow from one yard to the next so we had "secret passages." We were pretty nuts about it... spraying water inside the tunnels before nightfall so it would freeze and strengthen the tunnels.
Now, when my mom was a kid, it was normal for her to have snow so deep that kids would climb up on the roof and jump off into it.
Which is to say that the snow levels where I live have been dropping for decades.
Which is also to say that while the city where I live used to be accustomed to dealing with massive amounts of snow, they aren't now.
Which is ultimately saying that I was trapped in my house all day. The city couldn't get to my minor street because they were trying to remove snow from the major streets. And since my street wasn't plowed, the guys who plow my driveway couldn't get to it to plow (not that it mattered).
Since I was stuck, I turned on the television and got to work. My cats joined me soon after...
Eventually I went upstairs to work on my desktop computer because my laptop didn't have room for all the stuff I needed to see. Jenny had fallen asleep, but Jake wandered up to watch me work. Which is apparently very boring to him...
And here we are.
Still stuck at home. Fortunately, I just got a shipment of cat food and treats, so I'm in good shape for them. I have plenty of food for myself, but it's scattershot. I tried to make sure that I used up what I had so it wouldn't spoil over Thanksgiving and Christmas so it's just a few things here and there. But I won't starve or anything.
I fully expect that the city will get to my street tomorrow so I can be plowed out and go to the office.
And if not?
I guess I'll bore my cats some more.
And lo did the city plow my street this morning! For which I am grateful, because I know they have been completely overwhelmed and have a lot of people complaining that their street hasn't been plowed. On my street, they plow just enough room for two cars to pass each other. The snow is essentially pushed to the side of the street. But on many streets, they don't have that option. They have to physically remove the snow and haul it away because there's no place for it to pile up on the sides. There's sidewalks and stuff to consider.
And now I have a 7-foot tall pile of snow in my front yard. Which is not unusual. Unless it's a warm winter, I often have a lot of snow piled there. Except it's usually over weeks of snowfall... not a single day! Once I saw that I could get out and drive into the office, Mt. Simmer was already crumbling. I got stuck and had to go forward and back to escape my driveway! But I did it...
There's a lot of snow out there. Which is kinda pretty to look at...
My joy at being able to excape from my house was tempered by the fact that Sindey Poitier died. Coming so quickly off the heels of Betty White dying, it was tough to take.
I've seen Sidney Poitier in many, many movies. Always great. It may be sacrilegious to say this given the importance of his many roles... but my absolute favorite performance by Mr. Poitier is in Sneakers. Yes, you read that right... Sneakers. I adore him as Crease in that movie. He was funny as hell... and brought a gravitas to the movie that even Robert Redford didn't have. Seriously one of my favorite movies ever made, and Sidney Poitier was a huge part of why...
And speaking of Sneakers... I haven't seen it in a year or two, so I'm going to get on that.
Rest In Peace, Mr. Poitier, sir.
I remember a hidden camera reality show from years back where they glued a quarter to the sidewalk and waited for people try and pick it up. This is an old gag. My grandfather once showed me a nickel that had a nail soldered to it where you'd hammer it into a floor or something. Then along comes somebody who sees the coin and... ha ha ha... they can't pick it up.
But back to the quarter glued to the sidewalk.
Person after person would try to grab it to no avail. They'd pick at it... they'd kick it... they'd get frustrated and walk away.
What the people running the show didn't count on was a guy walking by with a tool belt. After he couldn't pick up the quarter he whipped out a screwdriver and popped the sucker right off. He won a game that he didn't even know he was playing. And got a bigger laugh than the people who gave up.
My life has very much felt like it's a quarter glued to the sidewalk lately, and I have no screwdriver.
And by "screwdriver," I actually mean "ten million dollars."
I wonder if people like Candace Owens who makes money by selling lies and propaganda to people give a shit that they are literally killing people by spreading misinformation.
Obviously they do not. Because if they start telling the truth, their legions of followers will abandon them for another mouthpiece to fit their narrative and the money would stop pouring in. And it's all about the money at this point. There are mountains of data about the pandemic. We've been living with this shit for two years and few things have been studied more thoroughly than COVID. Yes, it's still relatively new and is mutating constantly, but the fact that it's everywhere means that there is an overwhelming amount to real-world cases to study.
Which is why the anti-vax contingent has had to resort to lies and misinformation.
It's all they have (here's a link for the video if TikTok is being a dick)...
@drsiyabmd No, the CDC did not admit what you think it admitted 🤦♂️ #covid19 #covidvaccine #cdc #teamhalo ♬ original sound - Dr. Siyab, MD
I had more than a few people tell me that the vaccine would kill me after I got my first dose. I was called "stupid" after my second dose, because I was "a puppet of the liberal agenda." Which makes no sense, because if your agenda is to kill all the people who follow your agenda, YOU WON'T HAVE ANY PEOPLE LEFT TO FOLLOW YOUR AGENDA! (which makes Candace Owens even more of a puzzle to me... eventually President Trump climbed onboard the vaccination train because his followers were disproportionately dying, so how many people have to die before she does the same?).
And yet here I am. Still alive. Vaxed, boosted and anxiously awaiting the next booster so I will be better protected against Omicron and whatever the hell the 'rona mutates into next.
I thought for certain that after the vaccines had been available for a year people would see that they offer good protection from, you know, dying from COVID and stuff, because there would be data out there to support this (not to mention all the vaccinated people still being alive). But the data doesn't have a fair shot at reaching the people who most need to hear it.
All their getting is Candace Owens, et al.
Which I guess means that people who believe in science will keep fighting to live by wearing masks and getting vaccinated... and those who do not believe in science will eventually see through the lies and choose to live... or end up dead.
Let's go Darwin, I guess.
I take no joy in saying that, believe me... there are people I care about deeply who are in the anti-vax camp... but at some point I'd like life to return to some semblance of normalcy. How else is it going to happen?
UPDATE: Candace Owens is now suggesting that Bob Saget died because he got vaccinated. Apparently the piles of bodies dead from COVID are anecdotal or an outright lie by "Big Pharma," but a single death by a famous person is probably vaccine-related. So, yeah, we're never getting out of this pandemic, are we?
I woke up last night shortly after 2:00am with a blinding headache. By the time it was time to get ready for work, a full-blown migraine had developed. Just standing up to take a shower was a struggle. So I called in sick, took a nap, then got up to drive into the office late. But my eyesight had gone all tunnel-vision and blurry, so I couldn't get there. Instead I Zoomed in from home, managed to keep a pill down, then went back to bed.
It's now 10:00pm. I still have a headache, but at least I'm able to keep food down and sit upright. And write a blog post, apparently. What a crappy segue into my weekend.
I haven't had a migraine this bad in over a decade. No idea why I was so afflicted now.
Just unlucky, I guess.
I wish I could afford to save money.
Allow me to explain... but first... I know that I just published this Pratchett quote in March of last year, but I can think of no better way to illustrate what I'm talking about than this...
The Captain Samuel Vimes theory of socioeconomic unfairness...
"Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles. But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet." — Terry Pratchett, from his Discworld novels.
This is hugely relevant to me right now.
Take for example my refrigerator and stove. I purchased the best that I could afford when I moved into my home six years ago. Which is not the best available, but not the worst either. I'd say my appliances were in the bottom end of the middle. But even so, they were still very expensive to me.
But not expensive enough, apparently.
My refrigerator has been a pile of shit since I got it. The thing was noisy as hell after the installers plugged it in, and after waiting for three months for Samsung to get me a repair person, they showed up, did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, said that the noise is "normal," and then left... all within 15 minutes. And it's like, there's no fucking way that the noise is normal. So I pulled out the refrigerator, found some metal plates that were vibrating against each other, pushed them apart, and the "normal noise" vanished. But two or three times a year I have to pull it out and move the plates again.
Samsung doesn't give a fuck.
I know because that's what they said when I called to complain (not an exact quote).
And now the stupid thing is falling apart. Plastic pieces are all brittle and snapping off. Drawers are losing their smooth glide. After only six years.
Same for my stove. The thing is nearly impossible to clean, and the one time I used oven cleaner it totally trashed the finish of the interior. And when I called to complain? "You should have used the steam clean feature." Well, I DID use the "steam clean feature" and found it to be useless. It didn't clean shit. And now it's starting to heat weirdly, which can make cooking difficult.
The writing is on the wall. I will likely have to replace one or both of these things before they are ten years old.
MEANWHILE THE OLD SPEED QUEEN WASHING MACHINE THAT I KEPT FROM THE PREVIOUS OWNER IS OVER 22 YEARS OLD AND STILL WORKING FLAWLESSLY.
Thank God I didn't have the money to toss it and buy a new one like I wanted. Apparently Speed Queen washers are not what they used to be... but still. Is it really too much to ask that your major appliance purchases aren't a pile of shit from the start and that they can actually last more than a decade?
Had I been able to afford double the price for better quality, it would have likely lasted 25 or 30 years, meaning that they would ultimately be cheaper in the long run since I will have to buy two or three new appliances of lesser quality in the same amount of time.
And don't get me started about clothes. I have shirts that are still perfectly wearable even though they are well over 20 years old. But shirts I just bought last summer? Already wearing through in the elbows. Two shirts got thrown in the trash this morning... one is under six months old... the other managed to hang on for just over a year.
It's categorically absurd.
But what else can I do? I will try to save up the money to get better quality when the appliances finally die... but the odds of my being able to afford true quality... ASSUMING IT EVEN EXISTS ANY MORE... are likely slim since I could easily be blindsided by some other appliance failing in the meanwhile. Or my HVAC system. Or the garage door opener. Or the water heater. Or... Or... Or...
Yeah. More like slim to none.
I was deeply saddened to learn that Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh has died. He was a welcome voice and teacher for me since I became interested in Buddhism way back in 1998 (his book The Heart of Buddha's Teaching was one of the first I read). A consistent advocate for peace, the last book I read of his, The Art of Living: Peace and Freedom in the Here and Now was in 2017... and his last book from 2021 (Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet) is on my list...
In a world that's besieged by darkness, his teachings were a light that guided me. And will likely continue to do so for the rest of my days.
In the darkest time of my life Master Thích Nhất Hạnh was there. His words about his own mother's death got me through mine...
The day my mother died I wrote in my journal, "A serious misfortune of my life has arrived." I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.
I opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants, and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet... wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. Those feet that I saw as "my" feet were actually "our" feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil.
From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time.
I cannot fathom how many lives this gentle man's teaching have touched. Because it's not just those who listened to his words, read his books, and learned from his teachings... it's all the people that those people touched.
Kindness can be more contagious than Omicron.
You will be sorely missed Master Thích Nhất Hạnh, but your love and light will never die so long as somebody somewhere offers a kindness to another. Because it's not irrational to think that a kindness you initiated was patient zero for a kindness today.
I don't see why we have to say "I will die," because
I can already see myself in you, in other people, and in future generations.
Getting older definitely has its drawbacks.
Yesterday morning was fine. I woke up a little tired because I worked late, but was otherwise in good spirits and health. I fed the cats, answered my morning emails, took a shower, packed a lunch, hopped in my car, then drove to work.
Embarrassing enough that I've thrown my back out when I twisted around to lock my front door... but sitting down in my car is now all it takes?
When I went to climb out of the driver's seat I was in absolute agony. Searing pain in my lower back ripping me apart from the inside. I could barely walk to my office. Things got better when I was sitting. No pain at all while sitting. But the minute I got up to retrieve a document or whatever, the pain was back. And it just kept getting worse and worse. By the time I headed home at 4:00 I was hunched over and hobbling. It was the only way I was able to move. Then once I was home I had to haul the garbage can and recycling bin to the curb, at which point tears were streaming down my face. I was in so much pain that I couldn't even scream.
Usually what I do is just "walk it off." Carry on as usual in the hopes that whatever broke inside of me snaps back into place. Except it never works like that, does it? Usually I just make it worse and suffer for a week. So instead of doing that, I did something revolutionary. Well, revolutionary for me anyways. I went straight to bed, laid flat on my back on top of a heating pad, then worked as best I could until I had to hobble downstairs to feed Jake and Jenny their dinner. Then it was straight back to bed. Eventually I fell asleep on the heating pad while hoping I wouldn't move in my sleep.
This morning I woke up after 5 hours and 56 minutes of restless sleep and was very sore. But the searing, stabbing pain was gone. I could move mostly normal-like, and tried to be gentle on my back in the hopes that it would heal more quickly that way.
And so... lesson learned.
Time to start acting like the old man that I am. Try to be more careful and not crash through life at full force like I've been doing.
I may even start holding onto the handrail when using stairs.
Because apparently I'm too old not to now.
The Season 3 opener for Rick and Morty (The Rickshank Rickdemption) still boggles my mind. I've seen it a dozen times now, and I can't find a fault. It's flawless from start to finish. And while the show is still entertaining, it's nowhere near the level we got with Season 03. It's where we were introduced to Pickle Rick, after all.
My Monday started out with a fuzzy little spider paying me a visit in my upstairs bathroom.
The first thing that crosses my mind every time this happens is "A spider... UPSTAIRS THIS EARLY? IT'S STILL WINTER!" and I start wondering if there's a spider nest under the sink or something. Because how did the little guy get here? The second thing that crosses my mind is "What do I do now?" I loathe to kill anything, but I loathe having spiders in my house even more. Even cute little fuzzy ones. I always worry that Jake or Jenny will eat them and get sick or something. So I do what I always do... try to catch it so I can take it outside...
It's still pretty cold out... and there's still snow on the ground... so I'm not sure if the poor thing can survive outside. Which is something that will bother me for far too long.
But at least he won't be puked up by a cat on my floor, and that's not nothing.
This morning I awoke to the news that Milltown Mel the Weather Predicting Groundhog died just before Groundhog Day. He's the New Jersey companion to Punxsutawney Phil, who was made famous in the movie Groundhog Day. I have no idea what in the hell this means in our post-apocalyptic world, but it cannot be good.
And speaking of our post-apocalyptic hellscape...
I am one of those people who straddles the fine line between Conservative and Progressive ideals. I truly believe that politicians who profess to adhere to either are liars, because our political system is designed so politicians really only adhere to money, power, and self-interest. Even the best, most honest politicians who are into public service to be public servants have to be a little corrupt just to exist in the system. The trick is them trying to be just corrupt enough to survive while still being a force for good. And those who are able to resist temptation and stay a force for good are far and few between.
Which is why I detest politicians and our political system with the burning passion of a thousand suns.
Which is why I am loathed by both fanatical Democrats and fanatical Republicans.
Because I can't be fanatical about any of this shit. It's all too fucked up for me to like anything about it. I am firmly in the middle of the extremes and honestly don't care if people hate me for not picking a side. I voted for President Biden not because I love the guy... heck, there are many things about him I can't stand... I just voted for him because he wasn't President Trump. Period. So go ahead and scream your "Let's Go Brandon!" chants because it doesn't irritate me in the slightest. He was never my candidate (though I do find it amusing that people are too afraid to just come out and say "Fuck Joe Biden," but you do you).
It has gotten more and more difficult for me to understand the mindset it takes to love a politician so much that you are wanting to build your entire identity around them. They're just people. And while one politician may adhere more closely to what you want out of government, in the end the vast majority of them are just in it for themselves. And they are willing to drag people from the common things we all want in order to build the fanaticism which gets them elected. Each side whips people into a frenzy about denying the other side what they want (even if they want it too!), so it's a never-ending game of extremes where nothing gets done to make our lives better. Just worse.
It's all-or-nothing all the time.
It's more important to see the other side lose than to see the country win.
Take the whole Carhartt fiasco that's currently in play.
Carhartt is a clothing shop which produces some fantastic work gear. I've owned a number of items from them over the years because I love how tough and long-lasting their stuff is... and I love the fact that it was made in America. At least it used to be. Over the years they've sent most of their production off-shore, just like everywhere else, so they can be competitive. But they still make some items domestically and know they have customers who shop with them because of it, so you can display only those few items made in the USA if that's how you want to shop. Ultimately they are a fine American company who stands behind their products while providing American jobs.
That's something we can all get behind, right?
Not so fast. The company is currently being used to score points because Carhartt has mandated vaccinations at their company. If you want to work at Carhartt, you gotta be vaccinated. Naturally some people are losing their fucking minds, burning their Carhartt gear in YouTube videos, and generally lambasting the company from every conceivable angle. All because their political idols have conditioned them to do so.
And, to be honest, I just don't get it.
First of all, there are many, many companies which have mandatory vaccination. Take Ford, for example. They are mandating vaccination for most of their workers. But do you see people lighting their Ford pickup on fire in protest? Of course not. Political parties and their fans realize that nobody is going to torch a $30,000 truck, so they put a $170 jacket in the crosshairs, because they know that's something they can use to build up hate and stoke their fanbase with fewer consequences.
Second of all, do you know how many Americans are suffering right now? There are many who can't afford a good winter jacket. Maybe they have a cheap one that's falling apart. Maybe they can't even afford a cheap one. So if Carhartt offends you so much that you can't bring yourself to put on your jacket... then instead of lighting it on fire, why not donate it? Except you won't hear political hit-squads telling you to donate your jacket instead of burning it. That doesn't build the fanaticism politicians covet. So instead people laugh and share videos of Carhartt gear being lit up because that's what they've been conditioned to want to see. And they do not give a single fuck that there are Americans suffering who could have used that damn jacket.
And once again I find myself in the middle.
One of the things I like best about Conservatism is the ideal that government should stay the fuck out of our lives. There are limits, of course. I don't think companies should be able to kill their customers, destroy the environment, or do anything that makes them a detriment to society... that's where government should be involved to protect the public good... but, outside of that, I don't think the government has any fucking business telling companies how they should operate. That should be up to them. So if Ford and Carhartt want to mandate FDA-approved vaccinations because they feel it will create a safer work environment? More power to them. And conservatives should be applauding these companies for enacting their freedom to run their business however the fuck they want... regardless of whether or not they approve of the vaccines!
If you don't want to wear the uniforms they make you wear at McDonald's, don't work at McDonald's.
And if the uniforms offend you so much that you don't want to eat there, feel free to not eat there.
But buying a pile of McDonald's hamburgers and setting them on fire in protest while there are Americans who are hungry doesn't make you a patriot... it just makes you an asshole.
If you don't want to be vaccinated then by all means don't work at Carhartt. And if you hate the idea of companies telling their employees to get vaccinated so badly that you can't wear a jacket you purchased, then feel free to donate it. And if you are positively enraged that a company would dare mandate vaccines, then go ahead and tell people how you feel. I support all of this. That's what freedom is about. But, for the love of God, don't let politicians manipulate you into using fanaticism to treat this American company as a pawn to manipulate others! Carhartt looked at the data and decided that vaccines are safe, vaccinations saves employee lives, vaccinations keeps employees out of hospitals, and vaccinations keeps their workers working more-so than if their employees were unvaccinated. And so they decided it was in the company's self-interest to mandate an FDA-approved vaccine. And they made this choice all on their own and without government interference. Yay for them.
But do I support mandatory vaccination of US citizens? Not really, no. This is a tricky one because spreading disease is not in the public interest (which is why I do support mandatory vaccination to attend public schools or hold a government job), but I don't think that the government has any fucking business telling an American citizen that they have to get a vaccine or be deported. At least not when it comes to COVID. Not yet, anyway (who knows if it will mutate into a strain which kills motherfuckers on contact and we have no choice).
Ultimately those who oppose vaccination are citizens just like everybody else, and if they want to form their own schools and build their own businesses for the unvaccinated, then this is America and they should have that freedom. Yeah, it sucks that they will be out there spreading COVID unchecked and gestating further mutations that put everybody at risk, but that's the price you pay for living in a free country. Hopefully, eventually, people will stop buying into the misinformation being used to manipulate them. Because I'm sick of this COVID shit. And our health care workers need a break. And because if I have a heart attack I'd like the emergency room to have a bed for me. And because I'm tired of people dying over bullshit they've been conditioned to believe.
But, in the meanwhile, I've prepared myself to see more ultra-conservatives lighting their shit on fire because a company mandates vaccines... and I'm prepared for ultra-progressives to start lighting their shit on fire once companies start saying that they will not hire vaccinated workers. If they haven't already.
Because that's where we're at now.
We're trapped in a game that we're all losing while politicians tell us we're winning.
And for some reason we keep believing them.
I don't do Twitter or Instagram. I mean, I have accounts, but I look at them rarely and hardly ever post. TikTok is something I actually enjoy, but I never post there. I'm merely a voyeur. The only social media I'm involved in is Facebook and I hate it. They can randomly ban you for arbitrary reasons that make no sense. I once got a three day ban for posting "sexual content." There was nothing remotely sexual about it. I don't even understand how they came to that conclusion. I appealed, but nothing came of it. Meanwhile, friends have been targeted with threats of violence and reporting it only gets them ignored. Needless to say, if you're popular enough, powerful enough, or rich enough, you get to post whatever the fuck you want. Including hate and misinformation which is literally killing people.
But, alas, Facebook is a necessary evil because friends from around the world are there and it's the only way to easily keep in contact with them.
And then there's Blogography.
Blogging isn't the social platform it once was. It used to be that everybody had a blog and you kept in touch by reading and commenting back and forth around the blogging community. Now only the tiniest fraction of my blogging friends are still at it. Bloggers who were only in it to keep in touch moved to social media platforms because it was so much easier. Bloggers who were in it for the money left when the money dried up. Bloggers who were in it for fame abandoned it when the fame never came.
Those of us who remain each have our own reasons.
At this point, blogging is a habit for me. But I do like being able to go back through old posts and remember stuff I was doing my life. Next year I'll have 20 years worth, which is a big chunk of my time on this earth.
From a historical perspective, I sure wish that blogging existed in the 1980's.
That's when my life just started getting interesting, and all I have are random memories from 1985 through 2003. That was college. That was time with the best friends I'll ever have. That was when I first started traveling. Sure I have photos, but they're just snapshots. What happened in-between is a messy blur that's mostly lost because alcohol might have been involved. Had I written things down, I'd be able to remember them too.
What triggered this post was my struggling to remember details of my first trip to Japan in 1996. I had found a journal where I wrote out single sentences with a bunch of space between them. I had always intended to go back and expand on what I had seen and done so it would be documented and I wouldn't forget. Well, that was over 25 years ago now, so there will be no filling in anything. Half of the sentences are meaningless to me. Take this one, for example...
"I hear it is a custom over there, to exchange cigarettes as a form of greeting..."
All I know is that it was a tag line written in English on a cigarette vending machine in the lobby of my hotel (which I was able to find thanks to some Google sleuthing back in 2014). I guess I wrote it down because I thought it was funny. But four pages later I wrote...
"Lonely night in Akihabara. Was happy to get back to my hotel where my best friend Fred was waiting to exchange cigarettes with me again."
And I'm like WTF? Because I have no clue what that means. If I were to venture a guess, there was probably an illustration or a photo of a guy holding out a pack of cigarettes next to that tagline on the cigarette machine. And I guess I named him Fred. Or something. I haven't a clue. And there's no way I'll ever know. Unless they invent time travel. Or I invest in hypnotherapy... maybe.
If this trip had happened any time after 2003, it would have been documented here. If it had happened any time after 2007, it would have been photographed multiple times and posted. But oh well.
There's still 20 years sitting here for me.
Today I had an eye exam. My eyes, which had miraculously been getting better from where they had been, have snapped back to where they were in 2016... for whatever reason. And my right eye has worsened more than my left. What's that about? Guess I need to take eye vitamins or eat more carrots or something.
In other news... yesterday I went to Amazon to buy something I needed and a banner popped up that said I already bought it in 2019...
Apparently I've experienced a pandemic-based blackout.
My house is fairly orderly, so I was confident that if the item wasn't in the two places I would have put it, that it wasn't in my house. So I went poking around in the garage... ten minutes later and there it was. Didn't remember buying it. Didn't remember where I put it. Didn't remember anything. Guess I need to take some ginkgo biloba or eat some dark chocolate or something.
Could be that everything's going wrong because my sleep is so awful.
Guess I need to take some melatonin or drink some chamomile tea or something.
And I thought yesterday was bad.
As I mentioned, my blog was hacked and I was worried to post in fear of making things worse, so I stacked up my entries until I could take a look over the weekend. So far so good, as I didn't see anything amiss when I woke up this morning. No errant code being generated. No weird posts being linked to. Just some failed logins which were waiting in my email inbox this morning.
And since I don't want to review all my rants over the past week, here's what you missed (some of which I'm certain will appear in my upcoming entries because I can't just let shit go)...
FEBRUARY 25th, 2022
AS THE BUTTER CHURNS
This was all about things I learned that I was doing wrong when it came to securing my blog. I wrote this more for myself than anybody else, because anybody actually needing this information could Google it just like I did and get something more up-to-date than anything I was rambling about. So... yeah... useless. But it was all that was going on in my life at the time, so I'm choosing to forgive myself.
FEBRUARY 26th, 2022
Now that the snows are melting and birds and other wildlife are everywhere, Jake and Jenny have been much more active than usual. No laying around the house... instead they are sitting at all the windows taking in the sights and hanging out in the catio to experience all the new smells that are being unearthed by melting snows.
FEBRUARY 27th, 2022
Let's see... looks like I was discussing heartbreak for people suffering from the invasion of Ukraine... Girl Scout Cookies... Old TV shows I'd like to see resurrected... Sony's new Spider-Verse trailer for Morbius... Freedom Convoys... the Freedom of Information Act... and the mind-numbingly high cost of printer ink.
FEBRUARY 28th, 2022
PRE-SPENDING MY LIFE AWAY
I calculated out (roughly) what my meager tax refund would be so that I can buy stuff that I desperately need to get. A new chair, because mine is so uncomfortable that I can only work in it for an hour at a time. New shelves for my studio, because they are literally being held together with duct tape and fell down in the middle of the night terrifying my cats (but mostly me). And an Xbox Series S (AKA "the cheap one") refub unit to replace the one that I gave away, because I need something to treat myself after the crap year that was 2021... plus the price was too good to pass up (I'm choosing to look at this as an investment!) and I really want to play Halo Infinite.
And... that's a wrap. Hope you enjoyed not having to listen to me for four whole days!
Don't let life distract your from what's truly important... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Homemade! The last French rolls I bought were $4.80 for six, were small, gummy, and didn't taste that great. So this time when I wanted an Old Amsterdam Old Cheese sandwich roll I made my own big, beautiful, fluffy rolls...
Cost me less than $1... and they are unbelievably good. So good that I can't stop eating them. I've had three. It will take all my effort to not to eat a fourth.
• Welcome to My Nightmare! Had I seen Nightmare Alley in 2021, it would have made my best-of list for sure. The story is interesting enough, but it's the visuals and atmosphere that makes the film so special. It's a work of art. Its every scene is gorgeously and meticulously constructed...
And the performances! Bradley Cooper can act, sure... but it's Cate Blanchett who drives this bus home. Then you get Willem DaFoe, Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, and an utterly brilliant and pivotal character by David Strathairn. It's too good. The fatalistic destiny which haunts everybody is palpable.
• Good Bye. Dang. Dieter Bohn is leaving The Verge. He and Marques Brownlee are the only two tech reviewers that I actively seek out because they are just so good at their job. In his farewell video, Dieter talks about his online handle, "Backlon," which is something I can very much relate to. Online I'm "Blogography" for everything because it's my blog name and how everybody knew me. So it became my handle everywhere. As Dieter says, "The choice causes a cascade of associations for whoever sees that handle." And it's 100% true. This is a fascinating video about our online identity... and everything I will miss about Dieter Bohn...
Best of luck at Google, sir.
• Dave! There have been a lot of great guests on Hot Ones, and Dave Growl is right up there...
And here's a bonus bit of Dave for you...
He is hands-down one of the most fascinating people on the planet.
• Depot-Free! It only took three months, four phone calls, and a dozen messages to get The Home Depot and Citi to credit me the $50 I was promised when I opened my account... but here it is! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? I can't believe it. I just made the full balance payment, so I'll believe it when it's posted, I have a zero balance, AND I CAN CLOSE THIS FUCKING ACCOUNT. I wish to God I had never messed with the Home Depot Credit Card which has been a complete nightmare from the very beginning. If you are going to promise a customer "Up to $100 Off" if they open account... and their purchases qualify for a $50 credit... THEN GIVE THEM THE FUCKING MONEY! How difficult is this? Apparently very difficult, given what I've been through. Do they expect people to just give up so they never have to pay what was promised? Well, you got the wrong guy for that.
• Say Human! Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill is disgusting. The inhumanity of this horrific decision sickens me to my very core. And all I can think about is what happens to those kids in school who have two moms or two dads or a trans parent or a sibling who identifies outside the absurd artificial construct of binary sexuality. Their family members no longer exist while they’re being “educated.” Which is to say that they’re not being educated at all. They’re being discriminated against. Fuck those grotesque mockeries of humanity who would be so overtly bigoted and cruel. I’ve long since given up hope that our lawmakers will be decent human beings who want to represent all of us... but I do kinda cling to the hope that I can count on them to be selfish. That they’ll look at friends... family... neighbors... and other people they know... even actors, musicians, writers, and such... and say "I can’t possibly legislate against these people who mean something to me." But of course they can. Because they’re absolute garbage who don’t care who is hurt no matter who those affected may be to them. Appealing to bigotry is how they stay in government, and the money and power they get for that means more to them than anybody or anything. And also? Fuck the heinous assholes who vote for these repugnant pieces of shit. Fuck them twice.
• Just Die Already. And speaking of fucking assholes... this decrepit piece of shit wouldn't know the Bible if it sat on his face...
It defies belief that people believe his idiocy. Has he even actually studied the Bible? I sincerely have my doubts, because most everything he has ever said is not supported by Scripture. These are just his unhinged, demented fantasies. Counting the days until he's sent to hell for his shameless false prophet money-grabbing.
See you in seven days, true bullet believers.
In all honesty I don't consider myself special for having a miserable day. That's going around a lot lately. Like really a lot. And it does seem petty to be complaining about life when there are people in the middle of a literal war just trying to survive.
It sure would be nice to not come off a weekend where I ended up working ten hours only to have a shit-load of crap fall on my head. Made all the worst by whatever passes for "customer service now-a-days." I swear that most companies now just want to deflect problems rather than actually solve them. And it's hard to get mad at the person not helping you because they don't set policy. They're just doing what they're told.
So I try to be kind after being put on hold and getting nowhere, even though I have full documentation to show that I am, in fact, not wrong about what's supposed to happen vs. what's actually happening.
But it's not like the people in charge of these big companies give a shit. They don't have to take customer service calls. They just have to sit back and count their money.
I could really use a vacation. Even if it's just staying home with my cats and watching television.
Happy Monday to me.
My one take-away from my Apple HomePod fiasco is that I am not wasting my time trying to make things work as advertised. Apple said that HomePod would play my iTunes Match library, it would not, and I wasted half a day trying to get it to do what I bought it for. Then ended up sending it back when it wouldn't do it.
I swore never again.
I wasted a huge chunk of time trying to force something that wasn't going to happen.
And so I stopped doing that.
It either works out of the box or it doesn't, and I'm not going to throw any more of my life away fixing shit when it's not what was advertised.
And it's shocking how much stuff doesn't work out of the box. Today I just sent back a frickiin' iPad holder that didn't work Because is it really worth spending an hour... or even ten minutes... trying to figure out why the iPad clamp won't affix to the swing arm? Nope. — I read the directions. I followed the markings on the parts. I spent precious minutes of my life trying it one way, then the other way. Then I was done.
And so I spent a few more precious minutes boxing it back up and starting a return.
But wasting minutes is better than wasting hours.
As I mentioned a while back, I pre-spent my tax refund money on a new desk chair and an Xbox
Halo Infinite is pretty darn good. It's open-world, which is tasty, and the graphics are pretty spectacular. But I'm not going to talk about Master Chief and Halo. I'm here to talk about a game that has really been wasting my time: Disneyland Adventures (which is included in Xbox Game Pass).
Now, here's where things get weird.
As a GAME, Disneyland Adventures is 100% shit. You play "attractions" so that you can perform tasks for various Disney characters. But the "attractions" have shitty controls, are frustrating for me as an adult (NO idea how kids are supposed to play this crap), and I hate them.
But as a SIMULATION of literal Disneyland? This is one pretty great experience. I've been to Disneyland a bunch of times, and they got so much of it right. I mean, some things are missing... licensed properties like Star Tours and Indiana Jones Adventure are missing (the game was made in 2011 before Disney bought Lucasfilm) as is stuff added after 2011 (like Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge). And Jack Sparrow has been replaced by "Black Barty" for some reason. But still... if you've been to Disneyland, it's pretty amazing to see how faithful they tried to be to the park...
Now, as I mentioned, the controls are shitty. It was originally designed to be played via Kinect, a motion controller, but I don't think that Kinect works with
So that's what I've been doing.
Alas, since the mini games are so awful to play with a controller, there's only so far in the game I can get. You perform all kinds of favors for the Disney characters, but eventually they want you to do something inside an attraction, and I'm not up for the frustration, so I'm blocked from continuing. Eventually I'll be blocked from finishing the game completely and won't be able to finish at 100%, but that's okay. In the meanwhile it's a fun way to visit Disneyland in these COVID times.
Even if my avatar in the game looks creepy as hell.
Well, the wheels on the chair are supposed to go round and round. Which is why I was more than a little surprised when the "soft" casters for "hard floors" that I received from Steelcase (after two weeks of waiting for them to correct their error) are most decidedly NOT soft. They are hard as a rock. Really no difference at all from the "carpet casters" that came with my chair.
But worse than that? They barely go round and round.
I put them on my chair even though they weren't soft like I expected... but when I pull the chair out, half of them aren't rolling. They are scraping! The only way they rotate is when I sit in the chair so there's some weight pushing down on them. But I can't sit in the chair when pulling out from under my desk!
AND PLEASE NOTE: There is no wax or oil on my floors! It's just regular hardwood flooring!
So I had to order an entirely new set of third-party casters that are ACTUALLY SOFT, ACTUALLY MEANT FOR HARD FLOORS, and, oh yeah, THEY ACTUALLY GO ROUND AND ROUND!
Steelcase Customers Service says that the casters are "designed this way."
GOOD LORD, WHY?!?? THEY ARE SCRAPING ON MY FLOOR!!!
It's really shitty that you pay a huge amount of money for a new chair, get it with the wrong casters, wait for TWO WEEKS to get the correct casters, only to end up with something so low quality that it scrapes up your floors.
I'm more than a little raw about it.
I would expect this kind of thing from a $40 generic chair you buy from Walmart. I do not expect it from a $700 chair from a premium brand like Steelcase.
Oh well. Live and learn, I guess. More expensive isn't always better.
HOW MY DAY STARTED:
Here lays David Simmer II, he was electrocuted to death one day before his 56th birthday while trying to repair his garage door opener.
HOW MY DAY ENDED:
Here lays David Simmer II, he died of embarrassment one day before his 56th birthday after realizing that his window was open while he was talking to his cat, Jake... "THERE'S MY HANDSOME BEAR! HOW'S MY BABY BEAR? JUST LOOK AT MY HANDSOME BABY BEAR! SUCH A GOOD BEAR! YES YOU ARE! YES YOU ARE!"... knowing full well that the people in the neighboring yard totally heard him.
I feel like I should go apologize or something.
I'm celebrating my birthday by leaving this planet.
Except I don't have any extraterrestrial contacts to arrange such an escape so I'm driving over the mountains instead.
It's either that or sit around trying to find an excuse to not clean out my flowerbeds.
"I'm getting too old for the hand-to-hand violence."
We’ll crap. Guess I have to go into the office...
Kinda weird to be rooting for a positive COVID test. Oh well. I didn't want to stay home and play video games anyway.
No word if I'm pregnant. I guess I should have peed on it?
This morning I had a very early Zoom call. Which got the cats all excited, because they thought they were getting breakfast 1-1/2 hours early. But, alas... no.
After washing my face and attempting to make my hair presentable, I sat down for my meeting... went to say "hello"... and... nothing. My voice was completely gone. All that non-stop drainage from my allergies (which have been worse than usual this year) had caught up with me, and that was the end of it. I had to participate via typing in chat, which likely made nobody very happy with me, but it's not like I had much choice.
Allergies during COVID times is no joke. It's tough to come across as though I'm not infected when I'm a complete mess. And can't speak.
So I conitnue to test daily. Continue to be negative. And continue to wonder how long I will be suffering this year. Last year was only a couple weeks. This year feels like it will be lasting a while.
And yet... Spring is still my favorite season of the year.
There's always that one person whose only endeavor seems to be to make everybody else's life miserable. Most just dismiss or avoid them, but I'm that dumbass who actually tries my best to be kind.
And without exception I end up regretting making the effort.
Maybe one of these days I'll learn.
Yikes. It's snowing.
Like a lot.
Pretty sure that I will be clearing it off my car before going into the office. This isn't something that's going to melt an hour from now.
Fourth day in a row of waking up to a lot of snow falling down.
Previously, it would all melt before the day was ended. But today we got some serious snow. Seven inches I'm betting. Which is kinda a bummer because A) I started assembling my wood shop out in the garage, so my car has to be cleaned off each morning... and B) I already put away all my Winter clothing. I'm especially sad for all the flowers and trees that have already bloomed thanks to some warm days last week...
That ain't melting by the end of the day. It will be lucky if it melts tomorrow.
Yesterday I got a notification that I was now eligible for a second Pfizer Booster. A booster for my booster, I guess. Now, I am 1000% in support of getting "touch-up" vaccinations as efficacy fades, so there was never a question as to whether I was going to do this... I was just waiting for the word to be given.
The minute the text arrived, I went rushing to my local County Health website to make an appointment. Only to find that I didn't need an appointment. This didn't shock me, because all three times I went to get vaccinated, there was hardly anybody there.
What did shock me is that they are only offering vaccinations one day a week. Every Friday from 10:30 to 4:30.
I thought that surely there would be a line if we're down to one day a week... but nope! There was one guy who had already got his, and once he left I was alone.
Interesting to note that I only had to wait for five minutes after this time.
Didn't end up turning into a lizard person this time (again, darnit!), but there was some good news. Zero side-effects...
And so... until next booster, I guess.
Since I had to work all weekend, I was under this deluded fantasy that I would be able to put in a half-day today. Which I really need, because there is so much stuff that needs to be done at home. Stuff that I've been putting off for weeks. Like laundry. Like cleaning the house. Like putting together furniture. Like tying up the flowers in my back yard. And the list goes on and on and on.
Spoiler alert. I was in the office right up until 5:00 and then worked for another three hours when I got home.
In two days I will have to start turning my underwear inside-out because all my clean pairs will be gone. They would have been gone long ago, except I've got huge amounts of underwear and socks left from my back-to-back travel days. Sometimes I'd be gone for weeks, dropping by my car in the airport parking garage only long enough to grab a suitcase with clean clothes before catching my next flight. You can't do that unless you've got four weeks worth of underwear on standby.
Well, clean underwear, of course.
Which is in dangerous short supply for me just now, as noted.
I ordered new sheets from Target last week. It was time. When I got them, there was ONLY the fitted base sheet. No top-sheet. No pillow cases. And of course I didn't notice until after I took them out of the dryer that pieces were missing.
Yay! Off to spend more money I don't have!
So I go to buy the matching flat sheets and pillow cases... ONLY TO FIND THAT TARGET WILL NOT ADD THEM TO MY SHOPPING CART! I CAN'T ORDER THEM! SO I NOW HAVE FITTED SHEETS WITH NOTHING TO GO WITH THEM. What kind of psychopath ONLY orders the pieces separately instead of in a set? Why would you want to? And I can shove absolutely every random item into my Target cart EXCEPT what I need to order...
And so I fire up Target Customer Help Chat. After explaining over and over, they finally tell me... "Oh! You can't put them in your cart because they are out of stock!"
And it's like... way to have a dumpster-fire of a website, Target! NOTHING was stated anywhere that the item was out of stock.
So I scream a little bit.
Then I order the top sheets and figure I'll check on the matching pillow cases later.
Then I go to close my web browser so I can make dinner... and I see a link to buy the other parts of the bedding set. The fitted sheet I already have... AND THE DAMN PILLOW CASES!
So I think "What the heck" and add the yellow and khaki sets to my cart with absolutely no problems at all.
WTF changed? I have been trying to order them for over an hour to no avail... and now, all of a sudden, I can buy them again? Ugh. I have no idea. Kinda bizarre how Target will now have to send a single order in two shipments because I couldn't place a single order. I'm not happy about that (though using my Red Card did mean I didn't have to pay for shipping on either of them).
But I did have to spend an extra $60 I wasn't planning on having to spend. And I'm really not happy about that.
WHY DOESN'T TARGET SELL COMPLETE BEDDING SHEET SETS LIKE THE REST OF THE CIVILIZED WORLD?!?
In my work I've had the opportunity to be around vast wealth. I'm not talking mere millions (though that is certainly "vast" to me!)... we're talking obscene levels of wealth. People who never have to consider the price of anything. Dropping a million dollars at Crystal Shops on a Vegas weekend is like a drop in the bucket to them. They don't look at price tags because $5 or $50,000 is all the same to them. They have more money than they could spend in several lifetimes, so the idea of being concerned over such a pittance doesn't even hit their radar.
Now, I've never had ambition to be so wealthy. It's not something my value system can accomodate. So long as I can afford to pay rent, buy the things I need, and be able to afford cat food, I'm good.
Every once in a while something comes along where I really, really wish that I had such vast wealth that I could just buy something cool without having to worry about paying for it. Or selling a kidney. Not like a Lamborghini or a beach house or anything like that (though I certainly wouldn't turn them down if you're offering). I'm talking about random stuff that should be accessible to everybody, but has been priced so that only the über-wealthy can afford it.
Like this book set called The Sistine Chapel. It's a massive tome filled with actual 1:1-sized images from some of the most remarkable art ever created (with Michelangelo's ceiling being the most well-known). The size you're looking at the art in the book is the size that it is in real life. It's sublimely cool...
It's limited to 1,999 copies and costs $22,000.
Of course I can't spend this kind of money. And if I had the option of being able to pay off a chunk of my mortgage or have this book, obviously I'd put that money on my mortgage.
That's not the point.
The point is that it's insane how something like this is so far out of reach out of the people who might most appreciate it. People who could never afford to fly to Italy, make their way to Vatican City, then take the time off to stand in line and see it in person (not that you'd be able to study the images at the level of detail offered in this book, but still). Some struggling artist who can barely afford to afford groceries, but loves looking at such incredible works like this, is completely out of the loop. And that just seems... wrong. Because these books will end up in the homes at people who buy it to have it as a status symbol, barely look through the pages, then put it on a shelf with all the other expensive things that they buy just because they can.
Not that this is different than anything else now-a-days.
It's quickly getting to the point that only the über-wealthy can afford to own a home, let alone a $22,000 book.
And so I guess I will be waiting for the paperback release or whatever. Perhaps His Holiness the Pope will deem us pleebs worthy and consider such a thing one day.
I am so tired that it feels as if my brain is in a permanent fog.
Having to think, listen, and (occasionally) speak in a non-native language is not anything new. I used to do this in Japanese all the time. But that was decades ago and I was fairly fluent. Now I am older, don't have much experience in the language being spoken, and am dropped into discussions that would be challenging in English. And so now I am at home completely numb.
My cats are having none of it, of course.
Jake wanted attention the minute I walked in the door and Jenny wasn't far behind. After serving them their dinner, I nodded off for a bit. Two hours later I woke up and it was dark. Rather than risk falling asleep while cooking dinner, I decided to grab some crackers and head to bed. Fortunately my lights are Alexa voice-controlled so I don't have to put much effort into that.
I don't think I have any effort left to give.
I woke up this morning and seriously thought it was Saturday.
So imagine my surprise when I got to work and my co-workers were there. So much for being able to blast music while I'm on the job. I know this is why headphones were invented, but it's not like I'll be blasting anything in them when I have to worry about answering my phone and talking to people and stuff.
I started out thinking this was a much beter day than it ended up.
At work we're changing to a new email system. I thought that I could do some kind of export out of the old system and import into the new system, but there's nothing that works like that on a Mac. In some ways it's easier... just drag the emails from the old mailboxes to the new mailboxes... but in other ways it's far more difficult. Because Apple Mail tends to crash when you move a massive number of emails. Which means that I have to select a clump then drag them over in smaller quantities. Which wouldn't be a big deal, except I have thousands upon thousands of emails dating back to 2006 that have to be migrated.
My work emails are just that... work emails. I have no personal corespondence of any kind in there.
Except I kinda do.
Because there's people from years past that were more than co-workers, suppliers, customers, and the like... they are friends. Some of them moved on and were friends. Some of them have passed on and were friends. Gone but not forgotten.
And I'm seeing their names pop up as I grab stacks of emails and drag them from one place to another.
It's like a drive down memory lane. Sometimes happy. Sometimes sad. Sometimes painful.
Which is as you'd want it to be, isn't it?
Pantone is now charging people to use their color books in Adobe Illustrator.
I wonder if there's an alternative system, because this is fucking absurd. Designers don't buy inks... we specify inks so that printers and fabricators can purchase the inks from Pantone.
Except now we can't specify jack shit because Pantone wants us to pay $60 a year for the privilege.
If anything, Pantone should be paying ME to specify their inks to my printers! Something I've been doing for FREE for them for decades.
I swear, there are days I just want to take a torch to corporate America for the way that they treat people. I sure hope that somebody who isn't a greedy piece of shit develops a new color system replacement for people who are tired of Pantone's bullshit. I am betting that every designer on earth would hop on board.
Having to pay to promote a company's products when we don't even get a cut of the sale? Are you kidding me? Apparently Pantone didn't learn their lesson with Hexachrome and needs to be taught another.
As I've said every year of the six years I've lived in my home... irises are the stupidest flowers.
They grow up all gorgeous and lovely and tease you into thinking that they're worth having in your garden... then they end up heavier than the stem will support, flop over, get mowed into mulch by the yard care people, then die after a week...
These are already flopping over...
These I tried to kill off two years in a row. They simply will not die and keep coming back...
If you want plants that are immortal (but still so very stupid), irises might be the flower for you!
You can't keep a good blogger down, even in the middle of your blog not allowing you to upload images for some reason... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• WAAAAAHH! The bastards at CBS canceled Magnum P.I.. The show's first season was incredible. The second nearly as good. They faltered a bit in the third season, but rebound beautifully in the fourth (and now final) season. What's interesting is that the final episode tied up a few things and answered a question which everybody had since the beginning... will Magnum and Higgins ever get together?
What's so shitty about all this is that Magnum P.I. was a fairly sold performer. Not stellar, but more successful than some of the stuff which gets renewed. Guess CBS is dedicating themselves to another shitty reality show that they can buy for cheap and cancel after a year. Well, duly noted. The entire cast was gold, I can't wait to see where they end up next.
• Lost! Okay... maybe it's the Hallmark fan in me, but I really liked this one! Lost City is funny, adventurous, and surprisingly sweet...
Everybody went all-in on their roles. Sandra Bullock, Daniel Radcliffe, Brad Pitt, all great... but it was Channing Tatum who completely owned his character. He was unafraid to play dumb as a box of rocks, and I loved it. If you see the movie (on Paramount+, the worst of the worst of streaming services), be sure to watch the credits for a scene that's pretty great.
• Remo! Fred Ward, Star of The Right Stuff, Tremors, Dies at 79. Except Fred Ward will forever be Remo Williams to me...
Though having Joel Grey play Korean will always be cringe.
And he was a big part of why Big Business ended up working as well as it did...
There were other roles, of course. The guy did great work for a long time. Rest In Peace, sir.
• Heartstopper! This actually is hope...
@merrowchild At this point, who's isn't reading #heartstopper ?! #waterstones #shortstory #booksellerlife #aliceoseman #merrowchild #retailstories ♬ Heartstopper - Adiescar Chase
Kids are going to believe whatever they're taught to believe. But access to information is easier than ever, and sometimes the truth wins out.
• Fruit! When I was a kid, my mom used to pack little tins of Dole fruit in my lunch. Now, of course, they've switched to plastic like everything else. But here's the problem... there is no way... NO WAY AT ALL... to open these little containers without juice pouring out everywhere...
I have tried everything. Usually I go to the sink to open them, but when I'm trapped on a call and can't leave, I have to open it here. This is me trying to be my most careful when opening my pears... FUCKERS!!! Now I look like I had an accident in the bathroom or something.
• Moose! YESSSSSS! WHY IS THIS NOT AVAILABLE IN THE US?
Mayo Mousse. Genius.
I'm guessing eventually I'll figure out how to post this. Probably.
Yesterday morning I was walking out to my car and pulled a hamstring. Right in the middle of the street as I was crossing it. And it wasn't like I was sprinting across... or dancing across... or doing anything weird. I was just walking. And that was enough, apparently.
Getting old sure sucks.
The pain has been pretty excrutiating. I kept it elevated, iced, and took Ibuprofen like you're supposed to, but it didn't make much difference.
This morning it felt fine. Until I walked on it. Or hobbled on it, as the case may be.
Remember when I was young and invulnerable just last week?
Yesterday when I got home I noted that my dogwood tree was fully in bloom. It's an annual event which makes the whole thing worthwhile, and it only lasts for about a week. Then the color fades and the petals drop and I'm left with a nice-looking, albeit 100% green, tree (at least until winter comes).
I made a note to take a photo this morning because morning has the best light for photographing the blossoms because the pink looks the deepest. In the afternoon the sunlight bleaches out the flowers.
When my cats woke me up because there was a small spider on the ceiling, I was aghast to hear rain dumping down on my roof. "Surely the blossoms have all been stripped from the tree!" I said to my cats... who looked at me like I was crazy.
But when I was trudging off to work I was pleasantly surprised to see that not a single petal had fallen...
They were, however, a little bit wet.
I haven't been back to the cemetery since I buried my mother.
I thought I would go back this year on Memorial Day to see the flag remembrance that they do every year, but I ended up taking a pass. Instead I looked at the photos I've taken from past years.
It's not the same, but it's the best I can manage right now...
A beautiful way to remember those who died in service of their country on behalf of a grateful nation.
A common plot device to many science fiction stories (and more than a few comic book story arcs) is one of an alternate timeline. Something happens... usually involving time travel... which causes established events to veer from their intended path, thus creating a new timeline.
One of my favorite uses of this is in Back to The Future:
Lately I've been feeling like I'm trapped in an evil alternate timeline where somebody has changed the path that we're all supposed to be on. And do you blame me? The amount of horrendous shit happening in the world just keeps escalating, and there really doesn't seem to be any end in sight.
Alas, something tells me that Marty McFly ain't going to show up and magically fix everything this time.
Every morning it happens.
Call after call after call of people I don't know popping up in my notifications. Except my phone doesn't ring through for unidentified callers, so it has zero effect on me. I turned THAT feature on the minute my mom died and I no longer had to wait for doctor calls or emergencies that might have come up.
I don't want to talk to people I know on the phone... but people I don't know? That's a hard pass. If it's critical, they can leave a voicemail...
Interesting to note that they are making several calls at once, because most phones allow you to have multiple calls from the same number break through your unknown caller blocking.
But not me, baby.
Anybody I care about getting through to me is in my contacts.
Today I had to leave the office early so I could get home and finish up some stuff that I had left on my home computer. But first I decided to make some bread because I ran out.
It's pretty much a science at this point. Take out the SourJo starter and let it warm up for 30 minutes. Mix together the first half of the ingredients and let rise for 45 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and let it rise for 45 minutes. Deflate it, shape into loaves, then let it rise for 45 minutes. Then bake for a half hour.
At this point you're supposed to let it cool, but I never have that kind of patience...
Yes. It tastes every bit as good as it looks.
And smells even better than that.
I'd bake it daily if it didn't take three hours to make. And I could eat unlimited carbs without consequences.
The fact that time passes so quickly when you're having fun and so slowly when you're not is one of life's most cruel twists. And, yeah, I understand that it only feels that way, but isn't that enough?
I ended up working only a little bit this past weekend, which meant that I had some time to set up my wood shop in my garage and get started on some projects (mostly involving my art studio, which has been gutted so I can build something new that actually functions how I need it to).
On Saturday, it was just past 11:30pm before I realized how late it had gotten. I went to check the clock to make sure it wasn't too late to run my miter saw (I try to never make noise after 9:00pm) and had no idea that I had been happily working away for over nine hours. I honestly expected it to be around 8:00pm when I looked. On Sunday I ended up cleaning house all morning and working until late into the night... losing track of time. Again.
Meanwhile on my Monday I thought my day was near over only to find out that it was only 2:00. And even that seemed as if I had been in the office for an eternity.
It's a darn shame that I need to work to pay for building materials.
And pay for my mortgage and food and stuff, of course.
My internet is out.
This doesn't happen very often. I'm blessed with highly reliable internet service, and this is something I truly feel blessed to have. I know friends who are not so lucky.
Fortunately, I have internet on my phone that I can use as a hotspot. Except I burned through my high-speed data alotment in five minutes, at which time I barely had internet at all...
No big loss... except my smart home is now a stupid home, I can't watch television, and my security cameras are in meltdown.
I'd say that it's time to read a book, but I'd rather just go to bed.
And today is the day set aside to celebrate our independence from Great Britain. No longer a colony of The Crown, we were free to be free in our pursuit for life, liberty, and happiness.
Fast-forward to today, and there seems little reason to celebrate a damn thing. Our freedoms are eroding ever faster into a nightmarish hellscape that has me seriously thinking that The United States of America has become a failed experiment. No longer is there separate of Church and State as we were designed to be, and Evangelical Christianity is the law of the land. The wealthy own our politicians and our existence is constructed to support their interests instead of the public good. Horrific decisions on how we live (and how we're being made to suffer and die) are made by a tiny minority and sold to people as a "good thing." Lies are truth. Truths are a lie. And nobody seems to give a shit.
It's all political games from here on out, and that's why we're so hopelessly divided and fucked. Maintaining wealth and power is all that matters.
One side is conned into worshipping their leaders like gods and supporting laws which make their lives harder... destroying our liberties. One side is conned into believing that their leaders will save them from evils, only to keep believing it no matter how many times it's found to be a lie... destroying our liberties. And it's all hate all the time, because it's easier to destroy liberty when you're distracted by hating "the other side" even though the commonalities between "sides" are numerous, and we're all more alike than different.
And so, no, I am not "celebrating" our freedoms and independence today. I'm celebrating a day off work.
While I still can.
Because Federal holidays are a hit to productivity, and our wealthy owners will likely be eliminating them eventually. And of course we'll be told that this is the best thing to ever happen to this country, and everybody will be smiling as they head out to their 10-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week jobs while having no living wage, no health care, no housing, and barely enough resources to survive.
But there will still fireworks!
I had a very long work day today... 14 hours. Which wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that I got no sleep last night. Just as I was nodding off around midnight, somebody lit up some fireworks, at which point I was wide awake. Even if I were to manage to fall asleep with the noise, the cats tearing off my bed and running into the closet would have been enough to cancel any attempt at slumber.
My watch tells me that I finally fell asleep at 3:30am.
So... 3-1/2 hours sleep then.
It would be nice if I could get at least half the amount of sleep that I end up working in a day.
Today was so exhausting that my brain feels melted. Like I could remove my skullcap, dig in with an ice cream scoop, and pull out a delightful warm pink sauce to go with a nice sponge cake.
Bet you won't see that on the next season of The Great British Bake Off.
Unless Hannibal Lecter is hosting as a guest judge.
"I like what you've done with the brains here, but your sponge could have used a little more time in the oven."
Ugh. I need a vacation.
When I got up this morning, I could barely move. I worked in my wood shop all day yesterday, and was definitely feeling it. A part of me wishes that I would have put that effort into cleaning the mess that is my home (currently nicknamed "The Disaster Area"). You'd think that living alone would preclude a mess being made, since I clean up after myself as I go... but I have two cats. And they are forever shedding and dragging their toys out everywhere and tracking kitty litter throughout the place... and they never clean up after themselves!
Though Jake must have spent some time cleaning his butt, because it's been surprisingly clean lately!
You'd think that this would inspire me to clean my toilet, but it has not.
Though my butt has also been surprisingly clean lately, so I'm trying not to be too hard on myself.
Today was a long, long, very long day at work. I started at 5:30am, finished at 1:15am, and only stopped to each lunch and dinner (plus bathroom breaks). So... nineteen hours, give or take.
I think it might actually be tolerable if I was able to get some sleep, but for the past three weeks my allergies have been in overdrive, which means I'm coughing my fool head off most of the night. Interestingly enough, my cats have become so accustomed to it that they don't even flinch when I'm hacking up a lung. Quite a change from the days when they would dart under the couch or run upstairs and hide if I were to so much as clear my throat.
As if the coughing and lack of sleep wasn't bad enough, I seem to have been locked out of my bank account somehow. Which is to say that I'm effectively without funds. My credit/debit/ATM card is "frozen" and when I try to login to see what's going on I can't get in that way either. Tomorrow (=ahem later today) I will have to call my credit union and find out what the heck is going on. Hopefully it's not because somebody has hacked my account and taken all my money... that would really suck. Though perhaps bank and credit union accounts are insured against that kind of thing? I have no idea.
But I bet you I will real soon now!
I've counted out money from my change jar just in case I need to have that exchanged for real money. I could have sworn I had a $20 bill tucked away in my wallet, but I do not. Apparently I spent it and forgot about it. Entirely possible given how I almost never use cash any more.
I guess my spare change savings is all I got, apparently.
Maybe I should think about trying to find my checkbook? That would be a big help right about now.
I begged my doctor for an appointment to deal with this non-stop cough. His office took pity on me, and worked me in tomorrow. Thank heavens. Because three hours of sleep each night is not sustainable.
Something else that's not sustainable?
I am so busy with work and everything else in my life that finding time to clean up my pit of despair (AKA my home) is almost impossible. Usually this is a task for my weekend, but it just hasn't been possible so I've been doing a little bit here and there when I get home from work during the week.
MY CATS DO NOT LIKE THIS!
Tonight I decided to deep clean my downstairs. That's when I pull out the corded vacuum (which is far more powerful than my cordless) and steam clean everything. This is something I do once a month because I have cats wandering around. And while they are actually very clean animals, they also dig around in a litter box and shed everywhere.
So I turn on the vacuum and the cats go bolting upstairs to flee the noise. I then pull out the steam floor cleaner, which my cats hate even worse because of the hissing sound it makes. I have separate pads that I use on it... one for the kitchen, one for the cat feeding station, one for the living room and guest room, and one for the bathroom. That way I'm assured that I'm actually cleaning instead of transferring filth from one place to another.
In-between changing pads, Jenny comes marching downstairs... meows at me... then runs right back upstairs.
I guess this was her letting me know just how mad she is about my need to have a clean house.
But hey, I'm not exactly thrilled about it. I just wasted hours on housework that I could have spent doing something I enjoy.
Though then I'd be freaking out because I hadn't done a deep clean and probably wouldn't have enjoyed myself much anyway. So I guess it's a wash.
So to speak.
Today I had to run into The Big City so I could drop off some work. It was a quick trip, but I made the most of it by picking up some groceries and then getting some gas as I drove out of town.
It sounds like such a simple thing. But the truth of the matter is that it was not. Partly because the heat makes it miserable to go anywhere and do anything... but mostly because people can be such huge assholes who care about nobody but themselves.
This was made most clear to me when I stopped at the gas station.
All the stalls were full, which is not a big deal. My car is air conditioned and I wasn't in a huge hurry. It was then I noticed a person pull up and head into the mini mart. I assumed that they didn't want (or didn't have) a credit card and needed to pay inside. But that wasn't what happened. Turns out they parked at the pump... went in for a drink and some snacks... then came back and paid at the pump before filling up. WHILE THREE CARS WERE WAITING TO GET GAS!
I was more than a little pissed off, but assholes will be assholes, so what can you do?
But then I noticed that other people were doing this same damn thing. Rather than getting gas then moving to a parking spot so somebody else had access to the pump... people were getting gas and parking at the pump while they went inside for some shopping.
Who does that when there are people waiting?
And you just know that these same people would be laying on their damn horn if they had to wait while somebody went inside for a Big Gulp (or whatever).
I tell you what... I am THIS CLOSE to just doing whatever it takes to avoid people completely. Getting a job that allows working off-site. Staying at home and only venturing out after midnight where I will shop exclusively at businesses that are open 24 hours. Ordering crap via mail order whenever possible. — Because my being assured that I will run into far fewer assholes than have to be endured during daylight hours is a heck of a temptation.
There's a popular meme that many people have posted on social media which goes something like this... "I'd rather be excluded for who I include than included for who I exclude." On the surface, this actually seems like a nice thing. Being inclusive is an admirable goal and something I have strived to do in my life for as long as I can remember. I love the diverse nature of humanity and find life to be far more exciting because everybody everywhere can be so different. Variety truly is the spice of life.
I disagree strongly that you have to include everybody.
Some people... expecially people who are dumbasses or pieces of shit... NEED to be excluded from my life. All the bigots, racists, homophobes, transphobes, flat earthers, willfully ignorant, science-denier, persecuting haters (and those like them) can just go. I really don't want to waste my time on all that. Which is probably a good thing for them as well, because they're probably going to be far happier without me in their lives too.
The problem is that it's nigh-impossible to escape from these people entirely. Sometimes they travel in the same social circles. Sometimes they end up at the same places. Sometimes you have to work with them. Sometimes you're related to them. There's just no way to be a part of society without having to endure it, regardless of the lengths you go towards trying to avoid them.
And in those cases you just have to grin and bear it... while trying to be as civil as possible... and hope you can stay sane.
Something that has been a lot more dificult since the pandemic started.
Which is kinda the opposite of how it should be.
And yet here we are.
This morning I woke up and really, really wanted a toasted bagel with cream cheese. Fortunately, I had both. Unfortunately I had a very busy morning and didn't have time to fix one up before I left the house for work.
But I never stopped wanting that dang bagel!
All day at work. All through my errands after work. Right up through the evening when I finally got home... that bagel was all I could think about. And so that was my dinner. Toasted to get it crusty then microwaved for 10 seconds to get it softened. Then schmeared with cream cheese. It was perfect.
And now I feel as though I have nothing left to live for.
Except chocolate ice cream for dessert, of course.
For much of my adult life I've lived in upstairs apartments. Spider sightings were blissfully rare, and I never had to worry much about creepy-crawlies. Then six years ago I moved into my current home which is at ground level. And while there's not a lot of spider activity, there's more than I've been accustomed to. Much to the delight of my cats, who thrill at playing with a spider for a while before ultimately eating it then puking it up.
I don't want to kill anything, but I don't want to have to clean up cat puke either, so I invested in a box of those tiny paper Dixie cups specifically to be used for catching bugs and transporting them outside. They work great, and can be tossed afterwards so I don't risk dying from spider germs being deposited on my drinking glasses.
Today I found a weird tan spider by my cloak closet and went to get a Dixie cup so I can take him outside. After putting him in the shady part of my flower garden, I decided to count how many cups were missing so I could determine how many spiders I've saved over the years.
The answer is thirty-four.
That's thirty-four times I made the choice to not splat a spider with my shoe but instead set him free. I'd like to think that there's some future karma benefit at work here for me here... but the fact that I'm lucky enough to have a home in the first place is enough for me.
Yesterday I had a disaster of a morning attempting to sign a frickin' PDF. Adobe continues to treat PAYING CUSTOMERS like criminals, which made activating Acrobat on my home iMac incredibly time-consuming and difficult. First it wouldn't authenticate. Then it wouldn't download. Then after restarting twice I managed to get it installed, but the installer wouldn't acknowledge that it was installed. Except I still managed to run it. But then the current version of Acrobat didn't work right with the current version of MS Word. So I had to create the PDFs manually, then load them. But then Adobe wouldn't allow me to sign the documents because I couldn't load my signature. So I had to go to the online version of Acrobat to load my signatures. Then I finally got to where I could sign the damn documents... only to find that Acrobat wouldn't allow me to save anything. Turns out I had to turn off online services for some reason in order to be able to save locally. A process that should have taken at most five minutes clocked in at just over an hour.
Remember the good ol' days when you could just buy a program and then use the program you paid for?
And, as bad as that was, today was even more frustrating.
But this time it was Apple instead of Adobe that I was battling.
My Apple Studio Display hasn't been able to play sound for more than 10 seconds since I got the thing. It starts to play and then almost immediately cuts out. Then you have to switch to a different audio, then switch back, at which time it plays again for another ten seconds and then cuts out. Yet again.
Well, today I finally got the software update which fixes the bizarre audio issues that have been plaguing Studio Display users for months... only to then have my computer get stuck in an endless update loop.
There's two hours of my life that I'm never getting back.
I totally appreciate that computers are getting faster and more capable all the time. The stuff they can do now is close to magic. But what good is all that when they go to shit so often that you actually lose hours of your life?
I tell you what... graphic design in the 80's is being remembered with increasing fondness with each passing day.
I've been having a terrible time sleeping lately. Last night I went to bed early at 10:00pm, but my watch shows that I didn't fall asleep until after midnight. Which means that I essentially laid awake for two hours with my mind racing. In other words, it's a day ending in "Y," and when I rolled out of bed at my usual 5:30am I felt like half my brain was missing.
I honestly don't think it's too must to ask that I get eight hours of sleep each night. Or even seven. Heck, over the past four months I'd settle for six. Instead it's been between four and five hours, which is simply not enough. I feel like a zombie all day long. Though I'm surprisingly able to function just fine and get all my work completed without issue. But it's like I'm on auto-pilot instead of being invested. And it's tough to enjoy life that way.
I thought I might be able to supplement my sleepy-time with naps, but that's proven equally impossible. For whatever reason I can't sleep during the day no matter how tired I am.
I guess it's time that I have a sleep study done again?
I dunno. The last time I paid for one and nothing really came out of it.
But at least I could say that I tried something.
Remember yesterday when I was writing about how lack of sleep was turning me into a zombie? Well... I honestly thought that would change last night. Except no.
I was awakened at 5:30am this morning as ping-pong-ball-sized rain was slamming into the roof. And there was Jake right next to my head crying about it. And I honestly don't blame him. The rain was so heavy that it might as well have been 1-inch hailstones, and I was worried about the skylight in my bathroom shattering (something I definitely cannot afford to have happen)...
After comforting Jake enough that he finally stopped squawking at my head and curled up asleep next to me, I started wondering where Jenny was. She's the one who is usually very upset when even a small amount of rain falls on the roof. She paces all over my bed while staring at the ceiling and meowing her head off. If this rain was enough to upset Jake, she must be very cross indeed. But nothing. Perhaps it scared her so much that she's hiding in the guest closet or something?
And then the thunder and lightning arrived.
At which time Jenny came bolting into the room at top speed. She rubbed up against me doing that wailing thing she does when she's worrying about stuff until she too settled down and went to sleep.
So there I was... wide awake after less than 5 hours of sleep, but unable to move without waking up my two sleeping companions. Mercifully, the breakfast feeding alarm went off at 7am at which time the cats went scrambling downstairs to eat... frustrated that my sleep-deprived ass was taking so long to feed them.
Between Mother Nature, Jake, and Jenny, the conspiracy to keep me from sleep continues...
Today I had to pay cash for something. This was an event which came out of nowhere and had me wondering how I actually get "cash" now-a-days. I just never use the stuff. Everything is paid on credit card (so I can get those sweet, sweet air miles that I can never use... thanks, COVID!) or, God willing, via my Apple Watch or iPhone.
It had me thinking back to the last time I paid cash for anything, and apparently it was so long ago that I can't remember. Fortunately I was owed some money where I was paid in cash (which I quickly forgot about) and so I didn't have to find a compatible cash machine or locate a checkbook. I had money waiting to be spent in my wallet.
It's bizarre how much has changed in my (relatively) short lifetime.
For the longest time, cash was all I had. I didn't get credit cards that I could actually use regularly until I was in college (something which would come to destroy me financially for decades).
Well, whatevs. I'd be thrilled to never use cash again.
Even though that will signal the End of Days, or whatever.
There comes a time where you just don't give a crap anymore.
For me that was 22 years ago... give or take.
But if it wasn't 22 years ago... give or take, it would probably have been today. Because I tell you what, I was at the end of my rope by 8:30am... and then had to go to work! I am increasingly mystified at how common courtesy and a willingness to Do The Right Thing have bottomed out. And then something happens to make you realize that there was a bottom underneath the bottom, and you hadn't bottomed out after all.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
I've mistakenly though I hit bottom with people decades ago.
Turns out I was only getting started. And now I know better.
Turns out I only thought I was exhausted yesterday. Because today I found out exactly what "exhausted" really means.
Last night I was quick to take a nap because I knew I was going to wake up to watch the series premiere of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law that debuted on Disney+. Probably a mistake, but I didn't have to be to work until 9:00, so no big deal, right? (SPOILER ALERT: It would indeed turn out to be a big deal). I'm going to reserve comment on the show until we get past this origin episode... but my first impression was very good. I love Tatiana Maslany, and she brought everything you could hope for to the role. A guest appearance from The Hulk didn't hurt matters (where we also get a lingering question answered from the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings credits scene...
But anyway... Could not get back to sleep after hulking out, which ultimately lead to me getting a whopping three hours and twenty-eight minutes of sleep (according to Apple Watch). It didn't help that there were people in the neighboring hotel room who were making lots of noise and slamming doors until 2:30am. Thankfully work went very well, because if things went badly and a fully-functional brain was required, I would have been in deep trouble.
After work I stopped for a road pizza at David's...
And then I was on my way. Three hours of nothing but this...
Could be worse. It could have been five hours of nothing but that.
It's a bizarre situation when you have to figure out how to blog, but no worries... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• One Step Beyond! Ever since Marvel Studios announced that Secret Wars was happening, I've been a bit obsessed about who Marvel Studios will get to play The Beyonder. I think it's really important that they not make him be overly "cosmic"... instead he needs to be played a little funny and with a child-like wonder to belie his unlimited powers. And the person who could pull that off beautifully is Jake McDorman (who was exactly what The Beyonder needed to be in Limitless (the TV series, not the movie)...
Or somebody like him. It would be a mistake to go with somebody with too much seriousness and gravitas. That's just not going to play well in a movie like this.
• Sandy! I saw this incredible demonstration of sand art for The Sandman then spent a good chunk of time going through their Twitter feed to look at all the other amazing stuff they've done...
This one was a Dream to work on with @NetflixMY 👀 Here’s the Lord of Dreams himself from #TheSandman, now with more sand. pic.twitter.com/GElqYzFftL— FallingInSand.eth (@fallinginsand) August 17, 2022
Here's the Twitter feed if you've got time to spare.
• TREK! This just slays me: "Strange New Worlds Showrunner Says Series Pitch Was “What If We Just Did Star Trek?” Such a novel concept!
I do not mind AT ALL doing something new and different within the Star Trek universe... I loved the new JJ Abrams Star Trek movies (for the most part)... but the way that they took the amazing first season of Star Trek: Discovery and just flushed it down the toilet with subsequent seasons drives me crazy. I am really, really hoping that future seasons of Strange New Worlds hangs on to what makes the show so great.
• TANOOOOOOO! I'm more than a little anxious every time there is news "from the production" of Asohka...
I thought it finished filming back in May, so I was expecting it would be released by the end of the year. But if this keeps up, it won't be until 2023! Bigly sad!
• My Modern Consumer Life! Tell me if this sounds familiar...
"wE'Ve SHipPed YoUR oRder!"
"Oh, great! Can I get a tracking number?"
"How do I know you shipped it then?"
"TRusT uS! wE'Ve SHipPed YoUR oRder!"
The fact that it's urgent is not as concerning as the fact that my credit card has been charged.
• My Valentine! Maybe one day I'll be able to clean my home without running across stuff like this. Valentine's Day was a holiday I went all out for with my grandma and mom. I'd order interesting flowers from around the country and always bought their cards the minute they were put out for sale so I had the best selection...
Once I started taking my mom on vacations to give her something to look forward to after her abusive boyfriend was carted off to prison, she asked me to stop spending money on flowers and put it towards her next vacation instead. Still bought her a card though.
• Blue! I finally finished the final episode of the Viagra documentary on discovery+. It's kinda fascinating, kinda impressive, and kinda thought-provoking. The "boner-pill" was discovered by accident when its primary function ended up being a side-effect for a different drug they were developing. That Pfizer took it and ran with it is a testament to the pharmaceutical industry. There's two things that this documentary series dismantles. The first is that Pfizer put huge amounts of time and money into R&D so that men could have erections... all while there's still not cure for cancer. Except it was discovered by accident. Erections are not what they were trying to do at all. The second is that the pill was designed so rich old men could have a sex life long after nature has taken its course and denied it to them. But the truth is that there are many young men in their sexual prime who can't have a sex life due to erectile disfunction, and Viagra completely changed their lives. Sex is a big part of the human condition, and to not be able to have sex is a serious point of suffering that can now be alleviated. So make fun of the little blue pill all you want, but for many people it's no laughing matter.
May the remainder of your Sunday be smooth sailing. Mine won't! I am fixing my deep fryer (or trying to).
Getting old sucks.
It's like something is hurting all the time... and even a minor activity can be recipe for disaster if something strange happens. I try to just take it in stride and be careful with myself... but shit can still happen from time to time, so I end up reaching for the Ibuprofen so I can deal. Yesterday as I was pulling the bottle out of the cabinet, my inner voice was all "Little! Yellow! Different! from those Nuprin commercials in the 1980's. It was just Ibuprofen, so I don't know what was "different" about it, but those commercials are still burned into my brain somehow...
I thought Ibuprofen had been around forever, but maybe it hasn't been? I suppose it's possible that Ibuprofen wasn't over-the-counter until the 1980's, so it truly was different at the time? Who knows. I'm too lazy to Google that shit.
Tomorrow I have to go on a short work trip.
Today I have to clean my house. This is routine for me, because if something happens and I perish from this earth while away from home, I don't want people to think that I was a slob. And so... dusting furniture... vacuuming floors... cleaning countertops... clearing out the refrigerator... washing all my clothes... emptying all the trashcans... it goes on and on.
When I used to travel often, my house was kept a lot cleaner than it is now. But in pandemic times? Yeah, it's a mess more often than not.
The drive over to Seattle was blissfully without incident. The worst part of the whole ordeal was having to say goodbye to my cats. They always know that something's up with I pack up a suitcase, and this time was no exception. As soon as I rolled it out, Jake was going bananas and Jenny tried to climb inside the minute I opened it. Assumably because she wanted to come with me.
Fortunately I'm still able to distract them long enough for me to sneak out of the house by giving them cat treats. One shake of the little bag, and everything else is forgotten.
I should just go home. That would be the smart thing to do.
But I think we all know that I am not a smart man. No... I'm going to stay here over the mountains where I can have another couple evenings without wildfire smoke in the air.
When your day starts out with bad news, it kinda sets the tone for your day... probably your entire week. Here it is 11:20pm and I can definitely see how this is going to bleed into tomorrow.
Which makes me seriously questioning getting out of bed in the morning, I tell you whut. If I didn't have cats who insist on a timely breakfast, I'd probably take a pass. Because as if my Monday Morning Bad News wasn't enough, there's wildfire smoke in the air which is serious headache fodder for me.
In other news...
The attacks on my WordPress install have been unrelenting, and rather than getting hacked yet again, I installed not one... but two security packages. One for WordPress and one for everything else. It hasn't stopped the attacks, but it makes me feel better to know that they'll have a bit harder time trying to break in.
Except now it's harder for me to actually log-in to post, so I guess my life has been made worse as well (or, in the case of today, even more worse. But that seems to be how life works these days.
Traveling the world is not the only way to have a more open perspective concerning the people living on it. But it definitely helps. If there's one thing that I've taken away from my travels, it's that the vast, vast majority of people on this planet just want to live their lives in peace. They want to have a place to life. Have food to eat. Maybe pop out some kids and raise a family. But above all, they want to not have to live their lives in fear. Unfortunately fear is a highly effective tool to control people, so our lives are governed by fear.
They hate us, so you have to hate them more.
They want what we have, so you have to destroy them before they take it.
We deserve to have what they have, so we need to take it.
Our lives are more important than their lives, so they don't deserve to live.
It is an endless cycle of hatred and fear which keeps powerful people in power and people without power in line so that powerful people maintain their power.
In all honesty, I thought that the advent of the internet would severely cripple the ability of people to use fear as a motivator. "Surely once people see that there is no reason to hate other people since everybody around the globe basically wants the same thing out of life, powerful people will lose their grip on us!" I thought.
To say that this was not the case is a gross understatement.
Turns out the internet was just another tool for powerful people to control us with hate and fear. Even worse, it allows non-powerful people to have a global audience for their hate and fear.
And so it has all escallated to such obscene levels that I'm wondering if we can escape it before we destroy ourselves. It's nice to hope so... but reality says we probably won't.
Which is such a shame.
Because all that the vast, vast majority of people on this planet want is just to live their lives in peace.
When Jake used to get sick or be upset, he hid from me. Him not showing up for a meal or running to meet me when I walked in the door is how I knew something was wrong. But now? Complete opposite. When he eats a bug and feels sick or is stressed about something, he will cling to me like glue. He's so clingy that I've come dangerously close to stepping on him.
Last night I have no idea what happened... probably ate a praying mantis for no reason at all or something equally disgusting... but he was on me. On the couch. Going upstairs. Brushing my teeth. Climbing into bed. And it's not like he's on the bed with me... he's squeezed up to me as close as he possibly can be.
At first, it's incredibly sweet that he thinks of me as comfort food when he's not doing well. But around midnight when I really should be going to bed, it's not quite so sweet. I'm scared that if I fall asleep I might roll over on him and crush him, so I continued to work for another hour. Around 1:00am, I was so tired that I couldn't focus on work and started playing on the internet
The first thing I did was find a TikTok where a guy was talking about crAIyon, a site that draws whatever you can think of. And what was the first thing that came to mind? Taylor Swift eating corn on the cob!
Have you ever seen anything so terrifying? Well hold on to your hats, because next up was Ryan Reynolds on a boat wearing a bear hat!
Then came A bear at the movies eating popcorn in a newspaper hat!
And A cat in a birthday hat eating cake!
Once I got to the nightmare that was Ernest Borgnine Wearing a Dress and Sitting on a Toilet I knew that I had to stop.
AND, NO, I DON'T KNOW HOW MY BRAIN COMES UP WITH THIS STUFF!
After that I came across a TikTok which lead me to a YouTube series by comedian/actor Kyle Prue called Rabbit. For such a shallow premise, it gets shockingly deep. By the time I got to the third episode I was completely obsessed and had to finish off all five (even though Jake had already climbed to the end of the bed). If you want a time-waster that has some serious thought behind it, this is a trailer for the series...
Now, right off the bat I should inform you that when he hits the woman with the hammer, it's not what you think. This is smarter than that. And I'm telling you... if this was a television series, I would totally watch it.
And now it's running close to 2:00am so I really, really need to try and get some sleep. It's now Friday so I guess this counts as my Friday post? I sure hope so.
International Labour Day is a global holiday on May 1st which celebrates the contribution of workers to society and advocate for their rights. The United States, ever marching to the beat of our own drum, celebrates our Labor Day today.
I, of course, had to work.
Which is fine. I plan on taking a half-day off on Wednesday.
Somebody else who isn't getting a holiday today either?
Otherwise you have to assign feelings to
Look, I did it again.
I think I'm dead.
Or, at the very least, dying.
So you'll have to excuse me not feeling like blogging tonight. I'm going to go to bed so I can die in peace.
EXPECT ME TO RISE FROM THE DEAD TOMORROW FOR THE LATEST APPLE EVENT! NO RESPECTABLE APPLE WHORE STAYS DEAD WHEN TIM COOK TAKES THE STAGE!
This year we've been blessed with few wildfires plaguing us. And those that have been around haven't really blown into the valley all that much.
Very early Sunday morning I woke up smelling smoke, which always provides a small amount of trauma because my mind instantly transports back to when I was in the middle of a fire and panic sets in. Once I realized that it wasn't my house on fire, but was instead smoke from one of the three fires in the mountains, I was flooded with relief. For about 5 minutes. Then I had to think about how this would affect my serious smoke allergies...
The nearby hills are completely missing here
Here is the treat that I get to endure when the smoke gets terrible...
So... not a great day to be me! Hopefully you're having a better day being you.
I am getting close to my breaking point here. I am doped up on allergy medication all day, which means I'm falling asleep all day. The irony being that the constant drainage of my sinuses makes it impossible to actually sleep.
This is Day 3 of being held hostage by increasing amounts of wildfire smoke. Except I still have to go into the office, which involves my opening the door to the smokey hellscape outside, dashing out of the house, then closing the door as quickly as I can (then hoping that the air purifiers will get rid of any smoke that crept inside).
But the cats? They don't seem to care about the smoke at all. Both of them are out in the catio several times a day. You'd think that their enhanced sense of smell would be overwhelmed, but apparently they care less about that than having a few remaining warm days outside (though it's not so warm here any more!). I worry about their tiny lungs... but they're so low to the ground that there's not much smoke there. But the smell is still fierce.
I remain hopeful that they'll be able to put out the fires very soon thanks to dwindling heat and occasional rains, but every time I look at the wildfire map the fire perimeter seems unchanged.
I'm destined to have smoke on the brain for a while longer, I guess.
I have had enough of this smoke.
I guess you could say that it is looking a little better today, but the smell is still hanging in the air and the hills are still hazy. It would be nice if they could manage to get the wildfires contained... not just for my sinuses, but for all the little woodland critters that are being made homeless.
IN OTHER NEWS...
Since I can't go outside except to drive to work, I have been staying indoors huddled up next to my air purifiers and watching a lot of television. And holy crap have I got a winner. If you want to see one amazing television show, then tune into Netflix for лучше чем люди (which translates as "Better Than People," but has been retitled Better Than Us by Netflix). It takes place in the near future where robots are around to help humans... but a new kind of robot prototype escapes, and her programming is not like other robots!
This series is gorgeously realized. The tech that's integrated into people's lives all seems remarkably intuitive and real. The world that's been created is amazing... not so far from our own, but jusssst different enough to be fascinating. And the cast is incredible (the young girl who plays Sonya is so good). Seriously one of the best things I've watched in a minute. The more you watch, the more it sucks you in! I have no idea why Netflix didn't promote the heck out of this show. You can watch all sixteen episodes dubbed into English, but the original performances are so good it's better with subtitles.
It's mind-boggling just how often I am expected to put up with crap that nobody else seems to have to. Maybe it's because I'm a total pushover and try too hard to be nice. Maybe it's because the path of least drama is my default mode of operation. Maybe I lack the strength to put my foot down.
Whatever the reason, I'm obviously not bothered enough to change anything, so I guess it's on me.
Though I think the fact that people take advantage of this says a lot about them.
I'm going to not worry about it because a new episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is on in twenty minutes.
Remember yesterday when I said that I had a fever for 30 minutes, then a sore arm, then nothing else from my booster's booster to my COVID booster?
If only that had been the end of it.
I woke up freezing three times in the middle of the night last night. It's kinda a haze, but I did remember the first time very well because I was shaking so much that I fell over when I got up to grab another couple of blankets. My teeth were chattering so much that I thought they would break.
I've had "chills" before... but never like this!
I woke up tired from lack of sleep, but otherwise feeling fine. Except the wildfire smoke was heavier than usual today, which was really tough on my allergies. I ended up leaving work at noon because my head hurt so bad that I couldn't concentrate.
And now I'm at home with three air purifiers running while I watch YouTube videos. Like this interesting one from 2019 by one of my favorite content creators... Marques Brownlee...
I actually have a very early model Mac. This makes me want to drag it out and play with it again. It's still remarkable to me.
January of last year I ordered a workbench from Home Depot because it finally went on sale (I had been coveting it for months). It arrived and, alas I never had time to assemble and install it. So it's been sitting in my garage these 20-some-odd months. It's a really cool model too, because you can fold it against the wall when you need it to be out of the way. Since I use my garage as a woodworking shop, that's essential.
They said it was adjustable height, and they even showed it installed in a garage on their site (albeit a much nicer garage than mine!)...
But here's the thing about garages... the floor slopes slightly away from the side walls and away from the back wall so that when you wash out the floor all the water can more easily head outside. It's not a lot... usually around 1%... but it adds up when you are talking the distance of a 6-foot table.
But no problem, right? They advertise the bench as being height adjustable!
Um... yeah... no.
The BACK legs have screw feet which are adjustable. The wheels on the front legs are not adjustable at all.
But it gets worse!
The distance that the back legs will unscrew is less than the distance between screw-holes! Essentially making them useless for trying to level out your table. And since the front legs are not height adjustable at all, one side or the other will not touch the ground if one side is higher than the other.
The upshot of all this design stupidity is that I have to shim the table on three sides in order to have a level surface. The two back legs since the screw-feet can't extend far enough. And the front right leg since the slope of the floor means it can't reach the ground. Who the fuck designs this kind of nonsense? Why even bother with the screw-feet on the back legs when they can't extend far enough, can't be independently screwed out to the length you need, and are useless for side-to-side leveling?
The back shims are permanent. And that's fine. But I'm incredibly irritated by the fact that I have to slide a paint stir-stick under the front-right leg any time I fold out the damn table. And don't even get me started by the soft, cheap-ass screws they give you to bolt the thing to the wall. Even with a good large-sized Phillips screwdriver head that fits like a glove... AND USING A HAND-DRIVER INSTEAD OF A POWER TOOL... the things still strip out. Cheap-ass bullshit.
I'd return the stupid thing, but since I waited so long to take it out of the box, it's too late.
The thing is built like a tank, which is nice. But had I known the hot mess I was getting, I would have just built my own. But that's kind of how it works now-a-days, doesn't it? Do it yourself or risk disappointment. The irony that I would have bought all the materials at Home Depot is not lost on me.
Just when I think that prices of stuff can't surprise me any more than it already has, I walk out of the grocery store with one bag of food that I paid $65 for, and I'm in shock all over again.
It's really breathtaking. In that I can barely catch my breath from the money I just spent.
Remember when you could order a two-bedroom house, ready-to-assemble from Sears for $1,175? Pepperidge Farms (and the internet) remembers...
$1,298 if you want an interior bathroom.
Which I do, but the $123 difference could buy me two bags of groceries.
It's frickin' October. Why are we still plagued with wildfire smoke?
Every morning I get up and look out the window to see how bad of a day I'm going to have with my smoke allergies. If I can see the hills clearly, I can get away with minimal drugs so I can breathe, speak, think, and live. But if I can't see the hills...
And it's supposed to continue all week. Oh what fun.
Once again my heartfelt thanks to those firefighters out there battling it out with the flames. Where would we be without you?
My world may be on fire and I feel like I'm dying from smoke inhalation, but never fear... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Todd! Skylar Astin's new show So Help Me Todd is surprisingly great (he was in Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend). If you're looking for something good on TV, this is worth your valuable time...
Please please please can we get a second season of this show. There's so few series on TV now that I really love, and this is definitely one of them. If you've cut the cord like me, you can stream it on Paramount+
• Speaking of Awesome TV... You guys... YOU GUYS! Late last night I watched the Marvel Studios Werewolf by Night special on Disney+ and it's BEYOND good. Exceeded all my wildest (and very high) expectations. I watched it a second time so I could be more detached to catch all the references I might have missed the first time (no spoilers, but there are some amazing tidbits for Marvel Comics fans!). I highly recommend watching it late at night first like I did, because that's really the best...
The clever story... the brilliant cast... the incredible music... the gorgeous cinematography (lovingly shot in black & white)... it's all so wonderful. Especially if you're a fan of all those old monster movies like I am. I'm not posting the trailer because it's best to watch it with no warning, but I give it my highest recommendation. Seriously hoping that Gael García Bernal and Laura Donnelly return for more Marvel projects. They could do a new story like this every Autumn and I would be thrilled. I would subscribe to Disney+ for this and She-Hulk alone... Marvel Studios is really firing on all cylinders.
• Speaking of She-Hulk... I've been loving Marvel Studios She-Hulk: Attorney at Law up until
And the very end of the episode actually accomplished more than the previous episode could. This show has been brilliantly shining a spotlight on misogynistic crap that is systemic to our society (which, of course, has the dude-bro incel brigade up in arms)... and when you watch the coda to this penultimate episode, it's ALL driven home. Everything She-Hulk is shamed for is what men are celebrated for. I cannot wait for next week's finale. This is my favorite Disney+ series after Hawkeye, and I am really, really hoping for another season. Just back up a dump truck full of money to Tatiana Maslany's house and get it done.
• And One More Thing... I'm not going to post spoilers past what's already been spoiled in all the ads for the amazing latest episode of She-Hulk... but there is a huge bomb dropped which doesn't spoil the story that I am still reeling from as I watch it a second time. It's a throwaway line where they say "The Sokovia Accords were repealed..." And it's like... WHAT?!? That's a huge deal that drove an entire film (Captain America: Civil War) and popped up in other films as well. And they dropped it as a nothing line in frickin' She-Hulk? It's actually kinda awesome. And impressive. This is such a great episode. Everything that came before doesn't prepare you.
• Hasan-Bhai "See, that's the crazy thing they never tell you about adulthood. Life gets very real when 'don't want' becomes 'can't have.' " There are so few comedians who can do what Hasan Minhaj does in the way he does it. The guy is hilarious... but so very, very smart in his comedy. To the point that it can be devastating. I have missed him A lot after Patriot Act was canceled. Well, he's back and worth your valuable time on Netflix...
His previous special, Homecoming King, is the best piece of standup I've seen. The King's Jester is almost as good.
• Taking the Temp! Yesterday I installed the warming pad in Fake Jake's shelter... and have a WiFi temperature gauge set on top of it inside the wind-breaker berm. The good news is that he’s spending most nights inside my neighbor’s house, which will be a lot more comfortable as he gets older. But I still want a place he can go if he’s outside so he doesn’t freeze on nights when it's below freezing. I used to have a camera inside so I could check in on him and be alerted when he's there, but all my Wyze cameras have finally died, and I don't plan on buying any more because of their abusive WHY THE FUCK AREN'T YOU SUBSCRIBED TO WYZE-PLUS?? pestering in the Wyze App. What's interesting is that I can still tell when he's laying in the shelter because the warming pad heats up once he lays on it. Here you can see where he was on it at about 2am, then left an hour-and-a-half later...
One of these days I might find a replacement camera that will work, but everything is so expensive that my wallet may not agree to it.
• Toasted! Oh noes! I had half an avocado left and felt bougie as fuck, so I made avocado toast with flakey salt, crushed red pepper flakes, diced green onion, and fresh-ground toasted peppercorns for lunch today... and it turns out FOX "News" was right... now I can't afford my house! AND IT'S ALL MY OWN FAULT!!
I do like me the avocado toast though. Especially when paired with my potato salad, which I made with cayenne pepper in the sauce, and it tastes amazeballs.
We now return to my wildfire-smoke-filled existence already in progress.
And so I took a week off blogging. I have to take so many medications to function at work during the day that I have to stop taking them when I get home so that I'm not in a 24/7 stupor. It's very difficult to form coherent thoughts while coming off medications, coughing your head off, and having your nose and eyes running like a faucet.
Thank heavens I was smart enough to not post right away, but wait until morning so I could review what I wrote.
And I wrote such gems as "...wishing I had time off so I could take time to not have to worry about not having time to do stuff..." and "I wonder if I wonder the smoke will ever stop smoking."
And so I decided to have a one-week sabbatical, visit my sister (where it is significantly less smokey), and spare everybody my incoherent ramblings.
Which, admittedly, is a minor step down from the semi-incoherent ramblings I usually drop on Blogography, but a guy has to have his standards. Mine are low, but not in the basement. Yet.
We may get there in short order if I have to suffer through this wildfire smoke much longer.
It was never my ambition to become a homeowner. I thought I'd rent a small place and spend my money traveling the world. Then my mom got sick and it became necessary to have a home in our old neighborhood so that if she got out of the house there are people who know her and could guide her back to the house.
But then... something happened. I found out that my home gave me an endless number of projects for my budding woodworking hobby. And the more I worked on my house, the more I loved having it. So thanks for that, mom.
But it hasn't all been a bed of roses.
I had a ceiling leak in my guest bathroom.
Then I had a ceiling leak in my kitchen.
Apparently the plumbing in my place was not done all that well. But eventually I got it all resolved and decided to move forward with renovating my kitchen... and repair the two massive holes in my ceiling.
The furthest I got was hiring a contractor and having my countertops replaced then having my cupboards all torn apart.
The contractor I hired contracted COVID in April of 2020. Ended up hospitalized multiple times, then had to move away to live with relatives because they couldn't work anymore. I've been trying to hire contractors to complete the work for nearly three years. Four of them, to be exact. And all that time I've lived out of drawers stacked on my countertops.
Yesterday Contractor #6 actually showed up. I followed one of his trucks out of town one day, then checked my dashcam footage to get the number so I could call. Two weeks later and they started taping up my kitchen and bathroom.
It will be so nice to have a kitchen again.
Three years ago before my ceiling leaks, I was deep into a kitchen renovation. I ran out of money when I renovated the rest of my house after buying it, but managed to save my pennies for a couple years to get going at last.
Turns out that I should have put off a different room and had my kitchen done first, because I hated it I hated it I hated it.
All the wood was this weird putty color that had a grey wash over it. Which meant that it always looked dirty. As somebody who's a bit of a germaphobe (especially where I prepare my food), it bugged me every single day. How can I tell when there's dirt on something when everything always looks dirty?
But it wasn't just the material my cupboards and drawers were made up... it was the shape. There's this weird groove that goes around the center panel which collects dust... and it has these rounded corners on everything that I didn't like at all.
The plan was to repaint the cupboards then pay to have my doors and drawers rebuilt to be the shaker-style I love.
AND THEN PAINT EVERYTHING WHITE!
During the original renovation when I had all my walls painted white I went through a dozen shades until I found the white I wanted... a touch warm but not yellow. Plus a different white for the trim which was a bit more glossy but a visual match (it's weird, but going from eggshell to semi-gloss makes the color change!).
So when it came to my cupboards, I thought the color of white was already chosen. I'd just use the trim color. Done!
But then I painted a cupboard door to see how it looks.
And was mortified to find that painting a large surface looks entirely different than painting a thin strip of trim! So it was back to the drawing board. The wall color in semi-gloss didn't work. The white colors around my colors didn't work. And then... just as I was going to give up and pick a color that wasn't white, I mixed two of the whites I had sampled... and ended up with exactly the right shade. Proud of myself for my ingenuity, I took it to the paint store, explained what I had done to get the color I wanted, only to have the guy say "Oh yeah, that's Simply White."
Then yesterday and today they started spraying Simply White on all my cupboard frames...
After almost six years of dirty-looking cupboards, the kitchen of my dreams is starting to come together!
My cats have always just run and hid when people are over. I've tried really hard to slowly introduce them to people who are not me, but they won't have any of it. Any time somebody is over, they run and hide in the storage closet in my bedroom that's behind my clothes closet. Eventually I just propped the door open so Jake and Jenny could have a safe space whenever they wanted it.
On Monday I just left my bedroom door open. There's no need to close it because my cats will never come downstairs while the workers are here. Especially with all the noise they were making.
But what I didn't count on? Lunchbreaks.
When the workers went to lunch, Jake wandered downstairs. Then when the workers returned, he didn't run back upstairs... but instead ran out in the catio. Where he stayed the rest of the day until the workers left at 5:30 (I went out and put a litter box out there just in case).
After that, I just closed my bedroom door so they couldn't leave. I already had their auto-feeders and one of their Litter-Robots in there, so they were set. Except they stayed in the closet the entire time and only came out to eat and use the litter box when I'd sit in there with them.
I don't want them licking the primer off the cabinets... but they are going absolutely bonkers trapped in my bedroom. So I decided to build a kinda barricade to keep them out of the kitchen...
Let's see if you can figure out how long it took Jenny to figure out a way around it, shall we?
A) 5 minutes
B) 2 minutes
C) Literally seconds... you have a ladder for them to climb right over it, dumbass!
My second attempt was to wrap the ladder in plastic, which seemed to work great...
Last night I just moved and re-taped the dust barrier to keep them out, which worked fantastic...
Today was clean-up day as all the painting stuff was hauled away. My kitchen cupboard frames are painted! And they look great! Now I just need to have the backsplash tiled and save money to have my cupboard doors and drawers made.
And maybe my floors re-done.
Jake and Jenny have had the full run of the house since 2:00. And do you know where they are now? In my bedroom.
Even though I've moved their food and litter box back downstairs.
But what about the bathroom, you might be asking? You said that there was a big hole in the ceiling, so did that get fixed?
No. No it did not.
But we'll get to that disaster tomorrow. Right now I want to just be happy that I have my kitchen back after three years.
I've never been nostalgic towards bygone days, but I understand the appeal. And understand it more with each passing day.
This world is turning to shit, isn't it?
Look at me... so pesimistic, and it's only Tuesday.
Today I'm driving over the mountains. A prospect that looks a lot better than it did yesterday when the snow was dumping down.
Not that I'm worried about the driving, mind you. I've been driving in the snow forever. No, I'm worried about the sheer number of idiots on the road who either drive too fast for conditions or don't pay close enough attention while operating a motor vehicle.
Which is most people, alas.
It always seems weird that some people want to risk getting seriously hurt or dead... or causing others to get seriously hurt or dead... by not slowing down and paying attention.
I guess it's all worth it if you can text grandma that you're driving balls-to-the-walls so you can be there in time for cocktails.
I've never understood the love of eating dead turkey... even when I ate dead turkey. It's dry and pasty and smells weird. The only way to make it edible is to smother it with gravy or cranberry sauce or both.
Still, I'd imagine it's tastier than live turkey.
When it comes to being thankful on this Day of Thanksgiving, I suppose my list is longer than most. Me and my cats are relatively healthy, have a place to live, have food to eat, and nobody is wanting to eat us...
IF ONLY I COULD BE THANKFUL FOR SOMEBODY GIVING ME A MILLION DOLLARS!
For decades I've saved my money all year long so that I can shop Black Friday sales for all the stuff I need and want at a discounted price. Usually clothing.
That hasn't been the case this year.
In trying to get my home repaired, every cent I have has to go towards plumbers, electricians, and contractors and such. And they ain't cheap.
But it is nice not having a hole in my kitchen ceiling... even if other ceilings and walls are still torn up.
That's a story for another tax refund.
It's surprising how many people ask me "Do you miss traveling? You used to travel all the time and now you don't! I guess when you do something a lot, that kinda becomes entwined with your identity. Sometime that defines you to others and, to some extent, to yourself.
The truth is that I did miss it very much at first... for about six months after my non-stop travel ended. I had become so accustomed to it that it seemed normal, and not traveling seemed like things in my life were not normal. It was like I didn't know what to do with myself if I wasn't flying off to Honolulu for a couple days to present at a conference... then flying to San Francisco for an overnighter to see that paperwork was handled... then flying to Vegas for a few days for one reason or another. I was gone for 1/3 of the year, now I'm home 99% of the time.
And yet... two years later now... I am quite happy to stay at home.
Sure there are some places in the world I'd still love to visit, but the drive to actually go there has subsided. Now the idea of spending hours upon hours in airports and in planes just doesn't appeal to me. At all. Maybe once COVID has finally been eradicated I'll join up with another charity to keep fighting the good fight and start traveling again, but the longer I'm going nowhere the more I doubt it.
Maybe it'll just be a vacation here and there.
Though I don't mind saying... the idea of a staycation where I'm just building stuff in my garage woodshop sounds like it would be the best vacation ever.
There hasn't been any new snow... but my street has a bit of snow on it, which means it can be tricky to drive on. I know to keep it slow and steady, but some people do not. When I got home from work tonight there was a car gunning it and getting nowhere. I was more than a little worried that their tires would grip a random chunk of pavement and they would launch towards me.
But it didn't happen, I managed to slip past into my garage while they were still grinding away.
When I went to my window, they had managed to skid another half-dozen yards... but were still flooring it in an attempt to get anywhere. A part of me wanted to run out with some kitty litter and say "Hey, let me thrown some of this down so you can get started, then drive slow and steady and you'll get out of here." But they had seen me driving my smaller, lighter car without issue and learned nothing, so I figured it was probably a lost cause and I would end up getting shot or something.
Ten minutes later I checked again and they were gone.
No idea if they changed tactics or just lucked their way into a part of the road that they could drive on.
I'm just glad that I didn't have to use up any of my kitty litter. Stuff is expensive.
Decades ago when I had work in Seattle, I'd go out with colleagues afterwards and we'd hit up all the wrong spots in town. None of us had money for the right spots, so it was what it was.
One night as we were leaving some dive bar after all our spare change was gone, we ran into a fight. Two women were very drunk, very angry, and very intent on hurting each other. Problem was that they were too drunk to really do much damage to each other, and were mostly clawing at each other without actually connecting. As we were deciding what we might do, a guy standing in a doorway informed us that he had already called the police, and he was keeping an eye on them in case things escalated.
I was reminded of this today when I saw a woman screaming at another woman in the parking lot as she was driving away. Sure neither of them were drunk, but they were actually doing a heck of a lot more damage verbally than the women "fighting" outside of a Seattle dive bar. From what I can tell, there was a disagreement over a recipe.
I think? Apparently they both laid claim to it and that was a point of debate.
Given how they were screaming, I sure hope it was a recipe for Coca-Cola. Or Famous Amos cookies. Or something good like that.
Because I think we'd all be disappointed if it was for Snickerdoodles.
Having nothing you can say about something when there are plenty of things you could say is pretty much my idea of hell. But keeping the peace over being mired in drama is my idea of paradise. And so... looks like I'll be holding my tongue. Again.
Regretfully I did not think to write a Bullet Sunday entry before I started my colonoscopy prep.
Needless to say, there won't be a Bullet Sunday post, because I am not blogging from the toilet. See you next Sunday.
When I had big fun at my colonoscopy five years ago, I was disappointed that I'd have to wait ten years for another one.
Oh... I'm totally lying. The procedure itself wasn't terrible at all... it's the prep for the colonoscopy which is absolute agony. You essentially have to completely clean out your bowels over four days of special low-fiber diet followed by liquid diet and something which reams your colon out by causing constant diarrhea. I made the HUGE mistake of scheduling my previous colonoscopy the day after Halloween, which meant I was passing out candy in-between sitting on the toilet.
Then I found out that since I had "pre-cancerous polyps" removed from my last colonoscopy, my doctor wanted me to have another one after only five years. And today was the day.
Except I actually had two things I needed to have done, which gave me a choice... have the colonoscopy with light sedation today, then come in on Friday... OR have the colonoscopy with NO SEDATION today, and have my other stuff done after. Since the worst part of the colonoscopy (the prep) would have to be done either way, I decided to get everything out of the way in one go instead of having to take an extra day off work.
The prep was, as I remembered, horrendous.
The colonoscopy with zero sedation? Not as horrific as you might imagine. Though just about any experience after colonoscopy prep is going to seem like a walk in the park.
There is some discomfort as the doctor drives the scope around your innards... and it hurt a bit when he was going around a corner of my colon... but I have to say that it was fascinating being fully conscious and watching it unfold in real-time on a TV screen while I was chatting with the doctor. I think it was fun for him too, as I am incredibly funny and charming and he had a much better time than if I were fading in and out of consciousness. We talked about all kinds of things... like how fantastic my prep was because there were no seeds or fiber in my colon... and what he was doing and looking at with each step of the procedure. It was... despite minor pain... a great experience.
PLUS I was able to stroll right out of the recovery ward. After putting my clothes on of course.
I then walked over to have my labs done and go my second appointment (which was not nearly as much fun). If I didn't have the second procedure, I could have just drove home. No waiting. No bothering a family member or friend to drive me.
And so... yeah... next time I have to have a colonoscopy, I am going to skip the sedation again. I don't know that it's for everybody (especially if your pain tolerance is low) but the benefits are just too good to ignore.
The great news is that my colon was clean as a whistle. No polyps (pre-cancerous, cancerous, or otherwise).
No idea if I have to get another colonoscopy in five years or ten years. Hopefully I will have forgotten most of the prep ordeal by then, because right now the memory is fresh and I never want to go through it again.
I have never understood making fun of somebody for hard work.
This past Summer I was in the grocery store very early in the morning where an aisle was blocked off so that a guy could mop it. As I walked past, there were two women (old enough to know better) who were trash-talking this kid because they wanted something down that particular aisle. The guy, who was thankfully unperturbed by their rudeness, offered to get something for them if they could hold on a minute. Which they couldn't, apparently, as they walked off in a huff.
I thought of this today when I was at the grocery store where something had spilled, and they had it sectioned off for cleaning. And it got me to thinking about all the hardworking people who have to put up with people's shit over what they have to do to make a living.
Now I'm wondering what, exactly, the alternative is supposed to be. The majority of people take the best job they can get. That may end up being a shit job they don't like, but it's what pays their rent and puts food on the table. So what else is there? And why is it that the best they can get worthy of ridicule or abuse?
Somebody has to do the job, after all, and if it's a job which is that distasteful to you... can't you just be thankful that it's not something you have to do and move on with your life? And you just know that a goodly chunk of the people being abusive assholes had their job handed to them on a silver platter or, also a big possibility, have never worked a day in their life.
And can you imagine their reaction if a dirty floor didn't get cleaned up?
After my colonoscopy on Monday, I had some minor surgery which was a follow-up to a tedious problem caused by an older minor surgery.
Ultimately everything went very well, everybody is happy, and I was sent home with pain medication in case the resulting pain was a big too much to handle. And what's weird? No pain on Monday. Only minor pain on Tuesday. But fairly awful pain yesterday and today. It starts once my meds start wearing off around 1:30 to 2:30. At which time I could take another pill, but that may ultimately lead to something worse than pain, so I just get myself as comfortable as possible and let it pass.
The good news is that it seems to be passing more and more quickly.
Right now it's almost 9pm and the pain is practically gone.
The hope is that tomorrow I won't have to take any medication at all. Or, if I do, it ends up only being a half-a-pill or something like that. Otherwise, I think it likely that my recovery will just drag out ad nauseam for another week or two. Something I honestly can't afford... mentally or financially.
which is a darn shame, because I could really go for some hospital chocolate cake.
I don't celebrate Christmas. I haven't in decades.
Back when my grandmother was alive, I put on a good show over it, but since she died there was just no point carrying on pretending. Sure, I still ended up taking my mom to the odd local Christmas event in town or asking if she wanted to tag along on a work trip to Orlando so she could wander around Walt Disney World at Christmas (her favorite time to go), but that was for her. Not for me...
And now that my mom is gone, I really don't have to pretend.
I make my annual pilgrimage over the mountains to have Christmas dinner with my family-friends, toss out a few presents for the kids, then trip right back over the mountains for a post-Christmas nap.
Which, to be honest, is ultimately the best part of Christmas for me now... a nap.
I don't know why, but Santa cupcakes just taste better...
If Christmas is your thing, hope you're having a good one!
It seems a little pointless to be recapping all the things I did in 2022 when I didn't really do much except work. Didn't go anywhere notable. Didn't do anything notable. It's an entirely different ballgame than it once was. Thanks to the charity I worked with folding and the pandemic raging, I'm content to stay at home watching TV and hang out with my cats.
Which has me wondering if I'm just done traveling now... even when COVID is dead and buried. IF COVID is ever dead and buried.
I mean, an occasional vacation would be nice... and I still have dreams of visiting some places in the world (maybe)... so a few flights will be in my future, but nothing like what once was. Some years it seemed like I was gone half the year. Pretty sure those days are gone.
Fortunately, the US Government hasn't banned TikTok yet, so I've aways got that to keep me entertained...
🥰🥰🥰♬ sonido original - Ķĺęvēř Ëŕãżø🇪🇨✍💎10⚽️👉?👈💙
Until 2023 then.