Posted on Sunday, January 1st, 2023
The first article I read in 2023 was this one: Bring back personal blogging. And it's interesting to me because every new year I debate whether or not I'm going to keep doing =waves arms= all this. The question has been especially wearing on me during the pandemic when I'm just not doing anything worth blogging about.
The article itself has some very good points though.
Social media, for all its popularity, simply doesn't have the community building that blogging did back in the day. I've made a lot of friends via blogging, and a handful of them are closer than many of my in-person friends. My guess is that this is because in-person friendships rely mostly on how often you see them, where blogging friendships rely mostly on how often you keep in contact with them. Even if you meet up with them in-person from time to time, your relationship goes beyond presence.
On April 18th, Blogography turns 20 years old.
Back in the day, I'd hold a week-long Blogiversary celebration with contests, new merchandise, and everything. Just look at this video from 2008 when the Grand Prize was me flying to wherever in the world the winner was so I could deliver prizes and have a party...
And so I did. I flew to St. Louis and had a great time!
I can't imagine doing anything like this now.
I mean, sure I still meet up with old-school bloggers from those early years. I met with one back in 2021, another in 2022, and will meet with another in March (proof positive that the article is right about the communities we built). But that's a far cry from all the "Dave Events" that used to happen... or even the larger gatherings like TequilaCon.
But it's this past community that still exists which makes blogging something I'm not quite ready to give up on yet.
So... here's to twenty years of blogging... and counting, I guess?
Wishing you and yours all the best in this New Year.
Posted on Thursday, January 5th, 2023
We've become so polarized as a society that love/hate is assumed. There's no room for subtlety or shades of gray.
As an example... after the passing of Barbara Walters I was asked about her and said I "...wasn't a fan." Which was somehow interpreted as me hating her. I then had to explain that I didn't hate her, didn't wish her dead, appreciated her being a trailblazer for women in journalism and inspired women to consider journalism, and also liked that she advocated for women's issues. And even though she had some good interviews, she also had some truly shitty interviews. Setting aside some of the idiotic softball questions she's asked people (the whole "...what kind of tree would you be" fiasco is just the beginning), her 2000 interview of Ricky Martin showed what a disgusting, abhorrent piece of shit she could be. So disgusting and abhorrent that she eventually had to publicly express regret for having done it.
And the list goes on and on.
You don't like something... you love it.
You don't dislike something... you hate it.
And there's no in-between.
But there should be. You should be able to dislike something or someone without being labeled a "hater." Getting back to Barbara Walters... I just didn't think enough about her to have that strong of an opinion. Hate? Really? I try not to hate anybody, but if I were to admit to hating anyone, Baba Wawa wouldn't even be on my radar. She wouldn't even occur to me in that context.
I mean, she did give us this absolute GOLD...
The old addage "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" has entirely new relevance today. It's not because you shouldn't talk shit about people... it's that if you even hint at anything negative, people will escallate it toward hatred very quickly.
And Lord only knows that we have more than enough hate in the world right now.
Posted on Friday, January 6th, 2023
This morning I woke up more exhausted than usual. I made a conscious decision to not put on my watch because I just wasn't in the mood to be snared by time constraints today. It's Friday. Whatever happens will happen.
Then, as I was attempting to navigate the ice minefield that was tossing my car around like a ping-pong ball, I saw that I was wearing my watch. And I was like... how did that happen? I have no recollection at all of putting it on.
It's such a habit that I apparently did it without thinking.
And it reminded me of a conversation I had with my "Bible Study for Non-Christians" group last month. We alternate studying the Old and New Testaments, and 2022 was an Old Testament year. We spent the first half of the year working our way through passages in The Twelve (books of twelve minor prophets of the Hebrew Bible). My favorite being The Book of Micah. It's a short book but, in my mind, an important one for a number of reasons. Including... oh yeah... a prophecy of the coming of Jesus from Bethlehem 700 years before He was born.
It also has a passage about how people descend into a daily evil out of habit, not conscious thought.
Like putting on a watch.
My head has been wrapped up in that all day, and I don't quite know how to let it go.
Posted on Thursday, January 12th, 2023
I have no idea how I haven't caught COVID yet.
Most everybody I know has had it at least once. But here I am... chugging along with negative after negative...
Maybe I'll finally succumb in Wave Seven. Or whatever.
Posted on Friday, January 13th, 2023
I don't know that I believe that Friday the 13th is bad luck... but this one sure has been a pile of crap.
Almost makes me wish that Apophis would hit Earth on April 13, 2029.
Current mood (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@bigtugg This is how I imagine I’d handle the news #fyp #russia #comedy #skit #nuclear #nuclearwar #catsoftiktok #blackcat ♬ Chill Vibes - Tollan Kim
Though this is probably more my speed...
The good news is that there's a three-day-weekend coming up.
Posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2023
There are days that I take a look at the news coming down the pipe and I'm overwhelmed to the point of no longer being able to care. It's like... how much crap can we be expected to handle before our brains are going into complete meltdown? I don't really know. My brain is at capacity.
Not a great start to the week to be sure.
Posted on Wednesday, January 25th, 2023
For the past several months I have been receiving emails meant for another person from "Piedmont Health" in Georgia. Since some of the emails are notifying him of an appointment change and pre-appointment procedures, I was understandably concerned that he wasn't getting critical information regarding his health. And the emails are not generic... they are discussing his heart health specifically, which is most certainly a HIPAA violation.
I have sent dozens of message to every email address I can find at Piedmont... all ignored.
I have called several different departments in an effort to get this fixed... absolutely nobody give a shit.
I have contacted Georgia Department of Public Health and GDC Health Services... blown off and ignored.
After calling three times and emailing twice, I receive an email telling me that "my" appointment has been rescheduled...
I even found the Other-David on Facebook (I think) and tried messaging him. Nothing.
I tried fixing this situation yet again a couple weeks ago after getting emails with his health information, and FINALLY got ahold of somebody who said they would get the request to the right department. I was relieved that the situation would be resolved. At last.
The appointment was set for January 31st. Next Tuesday. So today I got even more emails asking for Other-David to set up a MyChart account... check in for his appointment... instructions for the appointment... all of it.
So much for the sadistic fucks at Piedmont fixing the email address of the guy in Georgia who is NOT ME.
I sure hope that Other-David gets a phone call, because I am DONE sending emails and calling and trying to resolve this error. Any email I get from Piedmont is now going directly to the garbage...
I cannot believe that these assholes have ignored me after MONTHS of wasting my time trying to get this resolved. I fucking hate this company. If I am ever in Georgia and need life-saving care, just let me die. I want nothing to do with these Piedmont pieces of shit ever again.
So best of luck, Other-David... if Piedmont treats your heart the way they treat your privacy and communication, you're fucked.
Posted on Thursday, January 26th, 2023
I have a high predisposition towards addiction. This could lead to serious trouble if I'm not careful, so I remain vigilant.
But sometimes I'm far from vigilant when the stakes are low. Take, for example, food. If I find something I like, I go back and buy loads of it. Right now my freezer is packed with a dozen Home Run Inn Cheese Pizzas and at least a dozen TaDah! Falafel Street Wraps. I'm terrified that my local stores will stop carrying them, so I buy loads of them whenever I see them in stores. I'm addicted and can't stop myself. Oh well. There are certainly worse things to be addicted to.
My latest addiction? STAGG Vegetarian Garden 4-Bean Chili...
On Monday I woke up craving it, but didn't have any crackers to go with. You can't eat chili without saltines, so I went to the store after work and bought some.
I've have had it every day for lunch and dinner since. The stuff is just spicy enough to be entertaining on my tastebuds. Any hotter and I wouldn't be able to taste the vegetables. Any less hot and it would be boring. It's just perfectly balanced, which is why I like it so much.
Tonight I'm opening my last can, which means I will have to pick up a dozen the next time I'm at the one store that has some in the valley.
The worst part to food addiction is not buying shitloads of something you love (despite the ridiculous price of food now)... it's what happens when you get tired of it.
If I get tired of eating my Home Run Inn Cheese Pizzas and TaDah! Falafel Street Wraps, that means half my freezer is filled up with something I'm not eating and I don't have room for my latest addiction. If I buy a dozen cans of chili and stop eating it, then I've got my cupboard filled up for nothing. Until I start eating it again, which might be a while.
Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to heat up my dinner of you-know-what.
Posted on Friday, January 27th, 2023
Everybody likes to speculate about what they would do if they won the lottery and came into sudden wealth. The memes are on social media all the time. And the answers are usually something along the lines of "I'd quit my job and travel!" Or, if you really hate your job it's more like "I'd tell my boss to kiss my ass then buy a boat!"
Most times I read these replies and don't know how to answer because so many details are missing.
How much money are we talking about, after taxes? If it's a million dollars, here in Washington State you'd lose $250,000 of that (according to the Lottery Tax Calculator) leaving you $750,000. So... that's likely 10 to 20 years covered depending on how much you spend in a year. Or perhaps 5 years if you go really crazy. So... when you really think about it... quitting your job only works if it can carry you to retirement age. By the time I retire, retirement age will probably be 70 years old, so I could quit work if I spend only $50,000 a year. Totally doable, really. Though, to be honest, I'd probably still work for at least five years since Social Security is likely going to be in the toilet unless Congress stops being a bunch of dumbasses.
Where it gets interesting is if the lottery is more like 10 million dollars. That leaves me $7.5 million to play with after taxes. Even if Social Security collapses completely, if I live to be 80 years old I'd have $250,000 a year to spend! In which case... oh yeah... I ain't working another day in my life. Pay off my house. Travel a bit. Do some remodeling. Go crazy. Then it's just day after day of drawing and woodworking for me until I die.
If I win $100 million, I'm going to space.
I guess this means I should start buying lottery tickets?
Posted on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023
We've been having some nice weather lately. Very nice.
It's been so nice that I've been leaving windows open to get a breath of fresh air flowing through my house. The cats go outside to their catio when they want fresh air, but I'm indoors at work and mostly indoors at home, so it's been a refreshing change. Every year March through May are usually nice enough for open windows, especially in more recent years.
It inspired me to get my Summer clothes out of storage this past Monday and get to washing them. Yesterday I finished...
With all my Summer and Winter clothes in there, my closet is bursting at the seams!
Then this morning I decided to head to tourist town so I could go grocery shopping before work. Only to see that there was snow on my car which had to be scraped off.
Then I got to the grocery store and this is what I saw...
Clearly my celebration of Spring was premature.
On the bright side, shopping for groceries at 7am is always such a treat because there's hardly anybody there. And the older I get, the more I'm thrilled to not have to spend time doing anything with random strangers.
Now get off my lawn!
Posted on Monday, February 27th, 2023
I was doom-scrolling through social media while waiting for files to download and found one of my favorite kinds of videos... somebody bitching about something totally inconsequential. Except it's really not, given how undesirable changes keep getting rammed down our throats, all in the name of "progress."
Take for example breakfast cereals. Manufacturers are pressured by parents groups and government agencies and whatever else misguided nonsense there is to make changes to our cereal so that they are "healthier." Which would be great, except they end up tasting like shit...
I stopped eating all breakfast cereals except Raisin Bran and granola because it all tastes like crap now. I used to eat it all times of the day or night. Loved the stuff. Couldn’t get enough. Now? Even Raisin Bran is awful, but at least the raisins make it bearable. I’m sure soon even the raisins will have to be low sodium and low sugar.
Cocoa Puffs, Apple Jacks, Peanut Butter Captain Crunch... so many cereals are practically inedible now. Well fuck that. Why not make NEW "healthy" cereals for people who want that crap and leave the cereals we have alone?
That's progress for you.
Posted on Tuesday, February 28th, 2023
Wait... this is the end?Where did February go?
There was a cartoon a while back where somebody explained how a person's life is like the sands in an hourglass. When you're young, there's a lot of sand so it appears to be barely moving. But as you get older and the sands run out, it seems to run quicker and quicker even though it's always been falling at the same speed.
I guess my sands are starting to run out because it seems like Christmas was just yesterday.
Posted on Wednesday, March 1st, 2023
A quick trip over the mountains today!
Years ago it was common for there to be snow in March. I remember drive over for my birtday in late March when it was near white-out conditions and chains were required. But these years that's becoming more and more rare. There have been times when ski resorts were shutting down in February due to lack of snow.
But this year? Season pass holders are getting a good deal because it looks like there will be plenty of snow through the month...
I dunno. I'm ready for Winter to be over.
Posted on Thursday, March 2nd, 2023
When the new company was hired to inspect my HVAC, they guy immediately told me of all the problems which were wrong with my 26-year-old system. This came as quite a surprise, because the previous company always told me that my system was great for an older model. But the new guy had the receipts... he took photos of everything and told me that it wasn't a matter of "if" but "when." Everything could run for another two years. It could fail tomorrow.
The cost to fix it so it wasn't on the verge of failure? $1,200.
There was no way I was going to spend $1.200 on a band-aid, so decided to invest in a new system.
The options presented to me were Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The Platinum system was simply beyond my finances to pay for. The Silver and Gold were ultimately the same price once a rebate from the local utility district was considered (they pay you to install a heat pump system to save energy so they can then sell that energy at a bigger profit to businesses or other regions). So Gold it was.
It looks nice next to my new water heater. It also looks like money...
Fortunately I had been sinking money into an "emergency fund" for just such an occasion as replacing a water heater and HVAC system. Once the rebate is considered, I "only" had to come up with $650. Which will, in turn, come out of my tax refund.
Of course now I have no emergency fund left, so hopefully I won't have another emergency any time soon. Knock wood.
So there you have it.
Hot water. Hot air. And (eventually) cold air too.
Posted on Friday, March 3rd, 2023
Ooh! Look at me! I'm on blog vacation for a week!
I am also on a vacation-vacation for a week. Well, I'll never be able to truly escape from work... but I'll do my best.
If I don't end up in prison somewhere, I'll see ya all soon.
Posted on Saturday, March 18th, 2023
Back in February a friend sent me a photo of a neon sign they had bought and said it would be cool if I were to make a Bad Monkey neon so I could sell them. And he included a link to a company called YellowPop... a company that custom-makes "neon-style" light-up signs out of LED strip-lights and flexible plastic covers.
I went to their site, looked around, and started thinking that, yes, this would be incredibly cool to do.
So I looked at the color of tubing they had available and drew up a couple options that I could send to them to see if it were feasible...
I was assigned a sales team contact and quickly got back a rendering of what they could do...
As much as I liked the idea of Bad Monkey picking his nose, I thought that the overlapping yellows were a bit confusing. So I decided on Bad Monkey flashing a peace-sign... then asked if they could add the lettering below it. I also asked to have it flipped horizontally. Since people "read" from left-to-right here in the USA, I wanted the peace-sign to be the lead instead of the tail. I also wanted them to add the word PEACE at the bottom to make the piece taller. Within hours I got back a revised composition that looked fantastic.
There was some back and forth as I asked for small changes to be made until I was happy (my favorite being "the arms need to be consistent width, like macaroni"). But, to their credit... my sales rep (Hi Kristina!) never once got aggravated or acted the least bit irritated (even though I'm sure they had to be by the time we finished!)...
No idea why it's practically on the floor now.
The sign ended up quite a bit larger than I had imagined (30×42 inches) when I first drew it, but there's only so tight you can bend the plastic tubing, so this was as small as it could get.
Now, one thing I should say right off the bat is that these signs are expensive. Like really expensive. As in ZOMG I WILL BE EATING PEANUT BUTTER FOR MONTHS! expensive. As in $1,200 expensive. I did a little poking around to see if there were shops making them for less money, and there were, but not one of them had the glowing reviews that YellowPop had, and that was worth it to me. What good is saving $300 if the result is crap?
Wiping out the entirety of my Black Sunday savings, I wrote back to my most excellent YellowPop rep to order it.
Fast-forward a couple weeks and my order has shipped. It arrived on Friday.
And, let me tell you... it is GORGEOUS. I had fairly high expectations given how much money I spent, but YellowPop went just... beyond. I unboxed it, plugged it in, and literally gasped when it lit up...
If you look real hard, you can see Jake down there checking it out!
Originally, I was going to hang it in the corner of my living room. But it was so phenomenally good that I just couldn't do it. I cleared out a wall in my dining room so it had plenty of space to breathe and be fully appreciated.
But how to hang it?
The instructions they give you are pretty vague. Essentially "Pop in those drywall anchors, attach the metal pegs, then screw your sign to it! The end!" Problem is that with a sign this big you would need to have two people hold it into position, pencil through the holes in the acrylic backing onto the wall, then install the metal pegs. But I didn't want to have to bother two friends or neighbors on a weekend, so I decided to trace the sign onto the cardboard sheet that came in the shipping box. Then I could cut out the tracing, tape it to the wall, and know where to put the holes all by myself...
Ask for help? I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel. I'll do it myself!
The metal mounting pegs are actually very smart, because they set the sign out away from your wall, which makes it look more like glass tubing instead of something that's flat against the surface...
One thing I did to make it easier to hang alone was to move the sign a tiny bit off-center so that the mounting peg at the top was firmly anchored square into a wall stud. Then I could screw in that peg long enough to hold up the sign so I could screw in the rest. If I hadn't put it into a stud, it was heavy enough that it would probably have ripped out from the drywall if I tried this.
And there you have it. My amazing new Monkey Peace sign is up...
LOVE IT!!! ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!
The problem with this photo is that you can't tell just how incredible this looks in person. The "neon" looks all blown out and blurry in photos... whereas in Real Life, it is perfectly defined and has a beautiful glow to it. Looks very much like actual neon from any angle until you get close and see that it's not really glass tubes. Remarkably, the light is diffused enough that it appears solid, not at all looking like a bunch of little LEDs.
UPDATE: When it gets dark, the light is even more impressive. Gorgeous. Photos still don't do it justice though...
One piece of advice... spring for the dimming remote control ($29). The sign is actually more impressive when it's not at full brightness, and it's nice to be able to turn it off and on from across the room...
Yes, as you can see, my cats are clearly unimpressed.
So, yeah... thrilled with the whole experience from start to finish. If you're looking to have custom "neon" of your own, I highly recommend YellowPop for the job! They're expensive, but worth every last penny. I cannot stop staring at it.
I guess now I'll be saving up for my next piece. This turned out too good not to.
Posted on Friday, March 24th, 2023
I swear... I honestly thought I was 55 turning 56 today. I've been telling people that I'm 55 all year long. Turns out I'm 56 turning 57 today.
I'd be thrilled that I'm one year closer to retirement, but given the number of politicians just dying to cut the Social Security I've been paying into my entire working life, I am facing the reality that retirement isn't in the cards.
Happy fucking birthday to me.
Posted on Wednesday, March 29th, 2023
Another hump-day on the books.
And all I could think about all day long was this TikTok that greeted me when I woke up this morning (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
We feel you Elmo♬ original sound - Logan Thielbert
Has there ever been anything more relatable than this?
Posted on Sunday, April 23rd, 2023
The weather can't make up its mind lately, but I'm not letting grey skies ruin my weekend... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Ghosty Mc Ghost Ghost! I was SO looking forward to Ghosted on Netflix. The film didn't disappoint. Ana de Armas is frickin amazing... and the fact that Chris Evans could play absolutely ANYTHING he wants, but chooses to play the damsel in distress in this movie just makes me love him all the more (he had already completely changed my mind about his career trajectory with Gifted, which I also loved)...
This is a great action flick, and the performances are everything you'd hope they'd be given how outrageous the story is. There's also some notable cameos to watch out for, if you're interested in giving it a shot.
• Mrs. Davis Loves You! There's a new show on Peacock called Mrs. Davis. I'm loving it, but am having a hardtime putting into words why I'm loving it. Maybe the trailer will help?
Jake McDorman (from Limitless) is in it, which doesn't hurt. Also in the series? A very cool edition of Bristish Knights shoes...
Alas, you can't actually buy these, which seems like a hugely missed opportunity.
• Edna! Comedian Barry Humphries died this past week. He is most known for playing a character which I obsessed over for the longest time...
In one of those sublime ironies, Humphries grew famous for a drag performance, but was a noted transphobe. I always looked at him differently after that. Fortunately most of the time I knew of Dame Edna was well before he outed himself as a bigot. But still...
• S'more! I won't go so far as to say that I hated The Menu... but I came very close. It was a film based on manipulation and shock value which had no value. At least not to me. It also dragged on to the point of tedium once the plot had been revealed. This was a painful conclusion for me to draw, because I loved the cast and the performances were amazing. THAT BEING SAID... the end game was brilliant. From Anya Taylor-Joy's little monologue to Ralph Fiennes's response to Anya's last request to the final shot of the film. It's flawless and haunting. I have fast-forwarded the movie to the end to watch it at least six times. Including just now today...
It makes me want to re-cut the movie down to a 15-20 minute short which is nothing but that which could have been a great flick.
• Pricey Taco! I swear before the pandemic that I was able to walk into Taco Bell and get my usual Two Chalupa Supremes (substitute rice for beef), a side of Fiesta Potatoes, and a bottle of water for under $10. But now? SEVENTEEN FIFTY-SEVEN?!??
WTF?!? And what's worse? NOBODY TAKES YOUR ORDER! YOU HAVE TO INPUT IT YOURSELF ON A BACTERIA-RIDDLED TOUCH-SCREEN! Good thing I travel with hand sanitizer!
• Hey Siri! The fact that Siri has become so fucking useless for home automation shouldn't really surprise me, but it totally does. Lately when I ask Siri to play a song, all I get is "There's a problem with Apple Music." Ask to unlock the door... The front door is not responding (though I can unlock through the app just fine). Even turning on a frickin' light is hit-or-miss. And when you call Apple they don't know shit. About a music service I PAY them for. And HomeKit has always been useless, so I don't even bother to try and get support for that. And so... no idea what I'm going to do. Amazon and Google are pulling resources from their digital assistants, so I don't know if they'll even be around to switch to. Thank heavens I made sure that all my new devices are Matter compatible. Maybe some enterprising company (or individual) will come up with a localized voice assistant for Matter that I can buy to run locally. Then I get a small computer and some kind of Matter-compatible microphones and call it a day. Why is it that companies have failed so miserably with a technology that's supposed to be our future? It started out so promising... now this.
• Taters! I bought a bag of luxury potatoes because I wanted to make potato salad this weekend. But when it came time to do it tonight... I looked at the bag... and thought "ZOMG! I WANT CRISPY-FRIED SPICY POTATOES FOR DINNERRRRR!!" I love them, but they take SO long to make properly. You have to cook them on low under a cover to get them softened. Then you have to add oil and fry at a higher temperature. Then you have to keep micro-dosing oil on them and turning not too early and not too long so they brown up nicely. Then you have to taste continuously so you can add just the right amount of freshly-ground black pepper, salt, harissa spice, cayenne, and Central Street blend. BUT OH SO WORTH IT! So crispy! So spicy! So hot!
Most restaurants won't put in the time and effort. But I'm patient and have very good flipping skills with a skillet.
Now it's time to eat those beautiful taters.
Posted on Monday, May 1st, 2023
My garbage output for the week usually consists of a shopping bag full of unrecyclables and a small bag of cat waste. It barely makes a dent in my trash can, which is the smallest one I can get.
And every two months I'm paying $80.44, which is to say I'm required to pay $40.22 every month for a trash can that I don't use very often...
I wish that we could may based on how much trash we produce instead of getting screwed over when we barely have any. I pay $482.64 a year. That's $9.28 a week. But if it takes me a month or more to fill up my trash can, shouldn't I be paying under $10 a month?
Paying by how much trash you produce would be a good incentive for people to waste less, recycle and re-use more. Or maybe it wouldn't. Maybe people like throwing money into their trash like this.
Posted on Friday, May 5th, 2023
Yesterday I went to make a shopping list so I could plan a trip to the grocery store this weekend. As I opened up the Safeway app, I decided to roll the dice and see if delivery was available to my small city. Unlike the last several times I tried, delivery was actually available!
And so... I gave it a try. If grocery delivery is normal for you, then you already know how it works. But for me?
Ever since the pandemic started and the lockdown happened, I make one big grocery run the first weekend of the month (after payday)... then make little trips for perishables until the next month. And that's what I did when making my order for delivery. Which is silly, really. I signed up for a "free delivery" trial so I could get $30 or more in groceries delivered any time I want for one month. And since $30 barely buys anything anymore, it would be easy to hit that amount.
Habits, and all.
The nice thing about making an order through the Safeway app is that I get all the stupid-ass discounts available... Weekly ad, Just 4 U, Club Card... and whatever else they dream up to make shopping a massive chore because it's a crapshoot if the discounts actually get applied. Because a lot of times, at least one of them doesn't. But with the app, you see the discount on every item. And the grand total you pay reflects all the discounts you got. Refreshing!
Delivery fees vary by how big of a window you request. A one-hour window is $9.95. Larger windows cost less money... down to $3.95. But since I'm on a free trial, I was able to get a one-hour window after work for $0.00. Nice.
Safeway allows you to add a tip for your driver. They default to 5%, but I went up to 10%... which actually worked out to over 15% because the amount is calculated on the total before discount. I've seen the videos about the horrendous shit that drivers have to put up with, and it seems like the very least I could do. Especially since they are saving me a 20 minute drive to the store, followed by 30 minutes shopping, followed by a 20 minute drive home.
You're texted a link once your groceries leave the store so you can cyber-stalk your driver...
All my groceries arrived on time. Everything I ordered was there. Frozen stuff was still frozen. Cold stuff was still cold.
It was like magic.
I seriously felt like a kid on Christmas morning.
There was only one thing that made it not a perfect experience. The two small bags of salad I got were turning brown. Not expired yet. But far from fresh. If I were doing the shopping myself, I would have never bought them. There's $3 down the drain. The rest of the produce was great though.
I'm probably going to pay for the subscription for free delivery. It's $99 a year, but you get a $5 credit every month, bringing it down to $39. Then you get discounts and specials which will probably make it a wash. The only thing I'll be paying extra is the tip for my driver, which far, far outweighs the inconvenience and horrors of having to do it all myself.
And I could do with a little less horror right now.
Posted on Thursday, May 11th, 2023
The older man was having a tough time retrieving the money out of his wallet. It was no big deal to me, but the sales clerk was clearly getting annoyed. She was drumming one of her hands on the cash drawer and acting like she would get paid more if only the guy would move faster.
After paying, the guy grabbed his bag then turned to apologize to me for being so slow. I told him "Don't worry, I'm in no hurry."
His response was "Yeah? The weather ain't what it used to be."
I have spent the rest of my day trying to figure out what that meant. Did he mis-hear me? Was it a metaphor for something profound? Did I mis-hear him?
I mean, he's not wrong... but in what way?
Posted on Tuesday, May 16th, 2023
I bought my mom the Toyota Corolla I'm driving in 2006. It's now 17 years old. I love not having car payments so much that I decided to drive it until it died, and figured I could at least push it to 20 years. I just had the brakes completely re-done last year with this in mind.
Now the clear-coat is peeling off, it needs more work because the muffler is just starting to sound bad, and the engine is getting a little rough. But I figure the cost of having all that done is worth it if I don't have to buy a new car.
And THEN somebody ran into the car in the parking lot of my hotel last night. At least I'm assuming that's what happened because I never noticed the damage before today. I was able to get it popped out, but it's scraped up and a bit cracked. Which means even more money needed to sink into the car.
And so... guess I am ready to cut my losses and buy a new car.
Because I don't really want a new-new car. If I had a new-new car, I'd be paranoid about getting hit in a hotel parking lot way too much. And I'd freak out if anything happened to it. So I want a new-to-me used car. I thought... maybe I can get something relatively recent and decent and certified pre-owned for $15-$16,000. WELP! Even used cars are tragically expensive, yo. IN MANY CASES MORE EXPENSIVE THAN A NEW CAR! And if I can't get certified pre-owned, then there's the idea that something could go wrong with it almost immediately and I'd have to sink even MORE money into it.
Blergh. This blows. Why can't I be a billionaire who doesn't have to worry about things like this?
The Corolla only has 85,000 miles on it. Probably worth just having the work doen and coasting for seven years. At least I know the car was taken care of. I'm tight with the owner.
Posted on Wednesday, May 24th, 2023
I do not take blog hiatuses very often. It's actually pretty rare.I've had maybe 5 or 6 in twenty-three years maybe? My longest hiatus was, understandably, when I was moving my mom to a facility (and the aftermath) because I couldn't care for her any more. It was the absolute lowest time in my life with a hurt so deep that communicating with the outside world (let alone the entire internet) simply wasn't possible for four months. Oddly enough, I didn't take a hiatus when she passed two years later. By that time I had already said goodbye twice... once when I moved her out of my home... again when she no longer remembered me... so it was actually therapeutic to remember how incredibly lucky I was to have such a great mom, and reflect on what an inspiration she is and the horrors of her slide into dementia, then talk about my lessons learned about caring for a loved one with dementia so that maybe it could help somebody else.
Other hiatuses aren't nearly so dramatic. A couple times because I had things to deal with. A couple times because my blog was broken.
But this past week? There really isn't a reason. I just needed a week off. I have entirely too much on my plate to write about anything so I just... didn't.
Let's see what happened...
Since blogging is pretty much... well... dead... I might have to take a minute more often. I always thought that if I took breaks I would just stop altogether, but it hasn't happened yet. So maybe?
Posted on Friday, June 9th, 2023
Horrific food poisoning again.
I remember when I was young and traveling the world that I had an iron stomach. I could eat absolutely anything and do just fine. And I ate at some truly dicey food joints because I didn't have the money for anything else.
I couldn't even consider doing that now-a-days.
Posted on Tuesday, June 20th, 2023
It is remarkable how time just keeps blazing by me. Tuesday is wrapping up, tomorrow is hump-day, and then it's a race to the weekend again.
Which would be great, except my weekends are also blazing past me.
The weekend before last I was sick.
This past weekend I worked from morning until night trying to get my home put back together.
I started with my guest bathroom, which had a leak that caused a bunch of damage. As they were putting the bathroom back together, it was found that the leak had not been resolved, so repairs had to be put on hold. I hired an expert who only confirmed that "Yep, you have a leak" but couldn't figure it out. Then, without notice, the leaking stopped. But instead of tearing out the upstairs bathroom and more walls to find out what happened... or seal up the walls and hope it didn't happen again... I decided to build an access hatch in the guest bathroom ceiling...
There's a panel I'm building which will magnetically attach inside the hatch. That way I can put some water leak sensors up there and be alerted to when/if something starts leaking again.
Then there's my new HVAC system. The heat pump outside has a return line to the blower which runs up my living room wall and over to the garage. For whatever reason, the line is noisy as hell. Sometimes when the heat pump is running, the noise gets so ridiculous that I have to turn up the television.
And so... I tore out the wall... installed mass-loaded vinyl panels... secured the line with vibration-dampening clamps... then installed some pricey sound-absorbing insulation on top of it all...
And that was that.
Now all I have to do is wait for my drywall guy to come in and put my walls back together... then wait for my kitchen doors and drawers to arrive... then I'm going to halt home improvement for a while, because I want to live in a home that's not torn apart for a bit.
At least I hope that can happen. Just my luck something else will go wrong the minute I've finished up the current disasters.
Posted on Monday, June 26th, 2023
I've started creating my own sauce recipes.
It all started a couple months ago when I made my usual go-to dip for veggie corn dogs... Dutch mayonnaise with honey mustard mixed in. But I didn't make it for veggie corn dogs, I made it for beer-batter onion rings. It lacked zing. I needed something with more kick.
So I raided my massive stash of spices and added red chili flakes, paprika, and chili powder. Then I added a dash of onion powder and some berbere spice (an Ethiopian blend that I obsess over almost as much as harissa spice).
It was incredible, and now I make it every time I have onion rings...
Ever since then I've been creating my own oil blends. My own sauces. My own toppings. All using spices I've collected from around the world that get combined to make interesting flavors. It's been a lot of fun. But even better? It breathes new life into things that have grown old. Onion rings. Fries. Grilled breads. Fruit. Vegetables. Cheese dips. The list goes on and on. I'll create sauces for anything and everything.
Tonight I made a chip dip with cream cheese, mayo, lemon juice, and shawarma seasoning. It was so good that I licked the bowl after.
There is a down-side, however. I'm almost certain that I've gained five pounds since I started this madness.
In other news, my drywall guy showed up to patch over the hole in my wall...
Now it dries. Tomorrow he skim-coats and textures. Wednesday he paints.
One repair down, three to go.
Posted on Thursday, June 29th, 2023
The trailer for Dune: Part Two dropped today.
This may very well be the movie that I finally go crawling back to the theater to see. It would be the first in four and a half years.
Because... holy cats...
Today after work I put my living room back together. With all the mass-loaded vinyl, sound-dampening insulation, and vibration pipe clips in there, the sound of my HVAC return line is not nearly as annoying. When I have television or music on it's barely noticeable.
This past weekend I cleaned out my refrigerator because I had another Coke can rupture. Not explode... just a slow leak kinda thing. No idea why this keeps happening. I guess that cans are so thin now that they just don't have any structural integrity?
While I was at it, I consolidated my two cheese drawers into one big drawer...
That freed up a drawer that I can put all my nuts and dried fruits in...
Surprisingly, all my jams and sour creams were still within their expiration date...
All my condiments too...
And even all my salad dressings...
As if that wasn't awesome enough... my breads, pickles, eggs, and sodas were still good to boot...
All clean! Until next month when I have to start all over again.
Or earlier than a month if another Coke leaks all over.
Posted on Sunday, July 2nd, 2023
I'm burnt, y'all.
It was the annual Fabulous Fourth Weekend Float for my friends and I. This year our Summer came early, so the creek and river were lower than usual. This made it a little tough to go through spots, but it was still a fun float in the end.
How it started...
How it ended... Note that I put on two coats of sun screen, but still got royally burnt...
As usual, there were plenty of awesome dogs floating as well. I never get tired of seeing dogs in life preservers...
And there were a lot of duckies out too...
So... yeah! Another great float in the bag. Even though I'm so wiped from being out in the sun that I think I'm good for the year.
Not that it matters much given how low the river is.
Posted on Tuesday, July 4th, 2023
Given the way that politicians and our Supreme Court are taking a huge fucking shit on everything this country was supposed to stand for, I approach this year's Independence Day with more than a little guilt. So much blood spilled to preserve our liberties over the years... and we're throwing it all in the trash.
And so I celebrated this country's 247th birthday the only way that made sense to me.
First I had red-white-and-blue cupcakes in bed for breakfast...
Then I hung out with my friends at a pool drinking alcohol in the blazing sun.
It felt like a good idea at the time.
Posted on Wednesday, July 5th, 2023
Remember when hump-day used to be a good thing?
Posted on Friday, July 7th, 2023
When I got home from work today, I was just... numb. Didn't have the energy to do anything except plop down in front of the television with an ice cream cone. Which sounds more entertaining than it was because I never bothered to actually turn the television on.
Instead I told Siri to put on some music while I caught up on the news.
And the first headline I see? FDA grants full approval to new Alzheimer's drug meant to slow disease.
Now, this is a hell of a long way from an actual cure. It costs $26,500 a year, it has been linked to death, it only slows progression for around five months, and it's more for friends and family than the person with dementia, but it's a step! And, from somebody who's intimately familiar with it... from somebody who would have given anything to have a chance at five more months with my mom where she was still mostly herself... I'd have paid the $26,500 and been grateful if it in any way helped.
And that's the way science goes.
AIDS, some cancers, and many diseases are survivable now, and it all started with a step. A step just like Leqembi is for dementia.
But there will always be those for which the science came too late.
For those left behind, I guess you just cling to the consolation that other people may be spared what you had to go through.
Posted on Tuesday, July 18th, 2023
I honestly try to be a kind, caring, compassionate person. That kinda goes out the window when there are abusive assholes unloading hate on their fellow humans... I simply cannot be kind, caring, or compassionate towards them... but I honestly try everywhere else.
Which is why even when I'm driving home and am anxious to get out of the heat and relax after a long day at work, I don't climb all over the bumper of somebody going 10 miles under the speed limit (25mph instead of 35mph). Because for all I know...
There could be numerous good reasons they aren't driving the speed limit.
At least I hope there's a good reason.
Because if either you or your vehicle is unable to go the speed limit, then you really shouldn't be driving.
So there I was driving home trying not to crowd the slow, slow car ahead of me, when somebody comes raoring up behind me. And they are right up on me. And it's like... surely they can see that I'm not the problem? So why be an asshole towards me? Then I started worrying they were going to attempt to pass us both on a fairly narrow road. Which might spook the slow driver and lead to disaster. But nope.
Eventually the car turned off and I accellerated to the correct speed.
For a few seconds.
Before the speed limit dropped to be actually 25mph again.
At which point they were all up on me again.
Posted on Monday, July 24th, 2023
I am not particularly worried about my memory. Yet.
But I do have some memory "blind spots" that drive me crazy.
ME AT THE STORE: "Say! That's a great deal on toothpaste! Should I get one 3-Pack or two? I'll just go with one. I think I have a tube in the cupboard."
ME TONIGHT: "GUESS I'LL JUST PUT THESE TUBES WITH THE EIGHT OTHER TUBES IN MY CUPBOARD! WTF?!?"
Interesting to note how mad I got with my previous extraneous purchases, because I just chucked them in there without neatly stacking them.
Posted on Wednesday, July 26th, 2023
I was already furious that Whirlpool uses cheap-ass plastic axels on their wheels which corrode and fall apart after five years.
I mean, seriously... just look at this shit...
So when I installed the replacement upper rack glides (THIRD PARTY WITH *METAL* AXELS), I yelled "FUCK!" at least twenty times in the ten minutes it took to figure out how to work with Whirlpool's stupid-ass design. Pretty sure all the appliance manufacturers make cheap-ass fucking parts that fall apart so you have to pay for replacements... but that isn't any consolation because I am still filled with rage.
I would have gladly paid 50¢ more for my dishwasher if Whirpool would have used metal fucking axels. God what a fucking piece of shit.
Posted on Friday, July 28th, 2023
Well, that was a day.
I need quite badly to put it behind me and chill.
Maybe I'll just drink instead.
Posted on Tuesday, August 1st, 2023
I've never understood the concept that men have to be abusive assholes in order to be considered "masculine." Is that really what society wants of us? Exploding with anger and being physically violent at the drop of a hat?
I have tried most of my life to not be that guy.
And it all started after my brother and I took a trip to Thailand.
All the men I encountered were exceedingly gentle, soft-spoken, and kind. They saw no need to be hostile or domineering in every situation. After a couple days of reading the teachings of The Buddha from the book that was in the nightstand, I understood that their gentleness was likely a function of their religion (something like 95% of the country is Buddhist).
Before visiting Thailand and being exposed to Buddhism I was a bitter, angry, volitile person who would have a meltdown if a bird pooped on my car. After visiting Thailand and being exposed to Buddhism I had a different view of the world and my place in it. The bird that pooped on my car wasn't attacking me. This was nothing personal. There is no benefit to being angry at a bird. It was just being a bird and doing what birds do, independent of me or my feelings.
I never became a Buddhist, but the precepts and teachings of The Buddha made me an entirely different person, and showed me who I wanted to be. Everything just made sense. At last. So while I still get angry, I just let it go instead of letting it eat away at my soul. Sometimes by blogging about it. I'm so much happier this way.
But anyway... my journey ran through my head after I happened across this TikTok (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@jessandskyler Replying to @user3354426333524 ♬ original sound - Jess & Skyler
"My softness and my gentleness is an act of defiance."
That's a statement that's going to stick with me for the rest of my life.
Posted on Tuesday, August 15th, 2023
I haven't given a shit what people think of me for a long time now.
It's this irrefutable truth which allows me to keep blogging on the internet.
I left a discussion group last week because an asshole wouldn't stop going after people for things like spelling and grammar, even though the meaning was perfectly clear. I finally said something... essentially saying that gatekeeping the English language isn't the purpose of the discussion... then I left. This morning somebody still in the group copied some of the responses to my comment and sent them to me before she left too. The guy I replied to replied to me with something stupid, then other people jumped in and agreed with him. Proving that I made the right decision to go.
Liz Climo put this drama into vivid relief for me...
Those poor, poor people.
Posted on Monday, August 28th, 2023
It's really tough to talk about the final years of my mom's life.
Dementia is a deeply cruel and terrible fate. Not just for the person afflicted with it, but those who care for them as well. In the five years since mom died, I find myself focusing on the many good memories I have and not thinking about the sad memories of how tough life became at the end. I think that's the way memories are supposed to work.
Except when they don't.
Yesterday as I was unloading the dishwasher I was stacking plates in the cupboard and was suddenly taken back.
In the last months that my mom was living with me, she became more confused and agitated. One of the ways that this was expressed was with violent outbursts that shocked me to my soul. My mom had most always been an exceedingly kind person, so to have her scream and attack me because she thought her son was "kidnapping her" took a large toll on my mental health. I couldn't resolve how the person she had been all her life would randomly disappear.
Telling myself that this "wasn't really who she was" and "it's the dementia talking" can only go so far when you're facing these challenges on a regular basis.
One of my biggest challenges was getting mom to eat.
At home, she never wanted to eat. I'd ask her what she was hungry for and she would always say she didn't want anything. Even if she hadn't eaten all day. I finally found a work-around when I realized that if we went out to a restaurant to eat, it was like a visual cue that she was supposed to be eating, and she would. So I would take her out for breakfast and dinner, but try and feed her a sandwich or snack for lunch.
As you can imagine, this became incredibly expensive. I simply couldn't afford to eat out every day. In the days leading up to payday I didn't have the funds, and tried my best to recreate the restaurant experience at home for dinner. Instead of eating on the couch in front of television, I'd set the table and try to get her to eat there. Sometimes it worked.
But sometimes it most definitely did not.
One time we were sat at the table to eat and I was trying to encourage her to try something. She became upset... then smacking dishes off the table. I tried my best to remain calm, asked her if maybe he wanted to take a nap, then lead her to her bedroom since she could never find it on her own by that point.
After the ten minutes I allowed myself to have a mental breakdown, I set to cleaning up the mess of broken glass along with the spaghetti, salad, and bread that was all over. My mom came out as I was cleaning up. I asked her if she couldn't sleep. She ignored me and asked what happened. There was no point in telling her that she had caused all this, so I said that I dropped some dishes when I was clearing the table.
Suddenly I had my mom back, and she was telling me to not feel bad as she helped me clean up.
Then she joked that maybe I should buy Corelle dishes since they wouldn't break.
Since I was running low on dishes (this was not the first time she had broken them because dementia makes you clumsy) I thought that buying Corelle was actually a great idea. So I did. And even though Corelle is not indestructible, the amount of breakage was drastically reduced.
Until even Corelle was too dangerous to risk, and I switched to Melamine plastic which is even safer from breakage (but not toxic chemicals, so there's a definite trade-off happening... but if you have dementia, it's hardly the concern it would normally be).
I still have the Melamine, which I only use when I host a barbecue or something... and even then I top them with a paper plate to protect from the toxicity you get when eating on the stuff. I still have the Corelle as well. But that's something I use daily. And it was unloading it from the dishwasher that took me back to less-than-great times, and the despair that goes along with it.
Whenever this happens, I make time to pull the photo albums I made for her from our trips and much better times...
That's my real mom right there.
And that gets me back to whatever my "normal" is now.
Posted on Monday, September 4th, 2023
It's Labor Day and I'm actually taking the day off for once. After working day and night to complete a project over the last ten days, I deserve it.
Also... I really need to finish up a woodworking build so I can have the tile guy seal it into my kitchen tile for me. I got a good start on it early this morning... only to find out that the pricey poplar boards I bought from Home Depot were absolute shit. They warped ALONG THE LENGTH, which takes real effort to accomplish. I ran to Lowes and bought poplar boards that weren't skewed to hell and... get this... cost half as much.
I don't know why I ever buy wood from Home Depot. It's never that great, even when you pay extra for the pricey stuff.
I guess I just like the convenience because it's closer.
Posted on Wednesday, September 6th, 2023
People have been telling me that my thinking is abnormal for as long as I can remember. And I absolutely get that. It's not like I don't see it myself. My brain is just wired different, it's a part of who I am, and people can either choose to accept it or move on and (wisely) forget all about me.
A perfect example of this happened last night.
I was scrolling through Facebook and a video of a cat lounging in front of a window popped up...
Except... where is this?
And, all of a sudden there's my brain going into an obsessive state and I simply must know where this kitten lives or else my head will explode. It's like a puzzle I can see but nobody else cares.
First thing I did was see the tower in the background. That could be from anywhere because a lot of cities have towers like this. The difference being that this one looks like it has giant windows for an observation deck. It's not just a boring radio and communications tower like so many of them are.
Then I looked at the roads. The traffic drives on the right. That excludes Japan, Great Britain, and all the colinization on behalf The British Empire (Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, etc.). But there's something strange here. Not that they drive on the right-side... but that they're offensive about it. Look at all those arrows! And this got me to thinking that maybe this country is next to a country that doesn't drive on the right, so they are plastering it everywhere to make sure they see it.
My brain immediately went to China, for some reason, which meant this could be Hong Kong or Maccau. And it ain't Hong Kong.
So I did a search for towers in Maccau and, sure enough, there was "Maccau Tower" and it's a visual match for the video.
Then I saw the Casino & Hotel Lisboa building, and immediately felt stupid. This is an iconic architectural structure that I would have recognized immediately if I had not been so focused on the tower.
So then I was off to Google Maps to see if I could triangulate a position.
It wasn't difficult. Between the geographic features, the design of the grass patches next to the river, Maccau Tower, and Casino Lisboa... the answer was pretty obvious...
Fortunately my brain was satisfied with that level of cyber-stalking and I didn't feel the need to track down the person and the floor of the building! That would be too obsessive, even for me.
And this is the kind of thing that I do all the time.
Which would be fine if it were happening at normal hours and not at 1am in the morning.
Posted on Friday, September 15th, 2023
All week I've been trying to finish up a project that should have been finished last week. But something always came up. Which is why I was doubling down in committing myself that, come hell or high water, I would finish it up today.
And then I went in to the office. And was immediately hit with numerous crises that had nothing to do with my job, but needed to be handled by somebody which, alas, ended up being me.
Needless to say, I never even got to touch what I was planning on working on today.
Which means I'm working this weekend.
I thought Fridays were supposed to be the best day at work?
Posted on Monday, September 18th, 2023
I worked 11-1/2 hours today. I'm done.
Posted on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023
Every year I tell myself that I won't turn the heat on until October 1st. It's a noble goal that I fully intend to honor despite the fact that I always fail.
Year after year I'm turning the heat on at the end of September because it's just too darn cold in the mornings and evenings to go without. Bundling up in hoodies and blankets is not the same as actually being comfortable.
Just ask my cats.
I generally factor them out of the equation because they're walking around with fur coats on. And they still go outside in the catio, where it's far colder than in the house. Plus I put out kitty warming pads that they lay on to keep warm. So... whatever.
But, as I mentioned on Caturday, Jenny has started squeezing behind me on the couch... pushing and pushing until she makes a hole behind my back, then turns around and sits there to glom off my body heat...
It's cute... but it ain't comfortable.
Then this morning I woke up cold, which is never a good thing, so I finally relented and everybody is happy.
Well, my cats are never truly happy... but they're happier than they were yesterday.
Posted on Friday, October 6th, 2023
I'm not an overly-sentimental guy. Sure I have experiences that I treasure and I guess thinking about them could be considered sentimentality... but I don't really view it that way. One area that I fully admit being sentimental about is food. It just pushes all the sensory memory buttons for me. For my Washington grandma, her apple pie was truly epic. Award-winning epic. Mind-bogglingly epic. For my California grandma, it was her incredible enchiladas that send me. I make them more often than is probably healthy, but it was something I associate with her so deeply that it goes beyond a memory. It's a connection with how I remember her.
This is getting somewhere I promise.
Another thing that my California grandma made that I love is "Magic Marshmallow Rolls." I remember very, very well the first time I got to eat them. They were just beyond anything I had ever had before. Melt in your mouth incredible. My mom got the recipe from her, made them from time to time (but never often enough), and once I became an adult I got the recipe and started making them for myself. But then I became a vegetarian, so the gelatin in marshmallows meant that I don't make them very often now. I wish there was a vegetarian marshmallow that worked the same, but it doesn't seem to work that way. Oh well.
Fast-forward to earlier this week.
I needed to place a grocery delivery order on Monday night for delivery Tuesday morning. I decided that I would order the large marshmallows and crescent rolls required for Magic Marshmallow Rolls. Essentially you coat a marshmallow in melted butter with sugar and cinnamon then wrap the crescent roll dough around it. When you cook it, the marshmallow melts and disappears, leaving behind sweet, gooey goodness. It's for this reason that they are also called "Jesus Resurrection Rolls" or "Easter Empty Tomb Rolls"... assumably Jesus is supposed to be the marshmallow in this scenario, and he disappears from his crescent dough "tomb" when he gets "resurrected."
Then yesterday morning I got a notification that Safeway had made substitutions on my order.
The Jet-Puffed large marshmallows were out of stock.
They asked if they could substitute mini marshmallows. And my only option is to click "Yes" or "No." You can't talk to the shopper and ask them to substitute with a different brand of large marshmallows like you can with Instacart. You can select a substitution before you send your order, but it takes a lot of time to go through every item, so I often skip it.
I was mad.
How the fuck can I replace my single Large Jesus Marshmallow with a bunch of Tiny Jesus Marshmallows and get the dough to seal around them without it becoming a lumpy, leaky mess? If I had wanted mini marshmallows, I would have ordered them. Where is the correlation with this substitution? I guess it's for the people who don't care about the size... they only care that they're made by Jet-Puffed.
I don't get it.
It's like the time they wanted to substitute a pepperoni frozen pizza for the cheese pizza I had ordered. I'm a vegetarian. I don't eat meat. Which is why I ordered a cheese pizza. And it's like... in what universe does this make a lick of sense? So lesson learned. I now specify a pizza substitution that I can actually eat. And this week I learned I have to substitute large marshmallows with large marshmallows if I actually want large marshmallows.
If only I wasn't so lazy I'd be enjoying Jesus Resurrection Rolls right now.
Instead his tomb will have to wait until next week when I can =shudder= go to the store.
Posted on Tuesday, October 10th, 2023
As I was driving over the mountains for the Peter Gabriel concert with Jester, a big pickup came roaring up behind me. I was in the passing lane, but I was... A) Actually passing somebody, and B) Wasn't going under the speed limit... so there was no cause for him grinding on my bumper. The speed limit was 70mph, I was passing at 75mph. As what usually happens, the person I was passing increased their speed, which meant I had to increase mine to 80mph... then finally 85mph just so I could finally pass them and get that truck off my ass.
The minute I pulled right again, the truck went blasting past me. Probably flipping me off in the process, because isn't that what these aggressive asshole drivers do? Even when I wasn't doing anything wrong (except exceeding the speed limit so he would get off my ass).
As we rounded the next corner an unmarked police car was pulling off the side of the road with lights blaring.
And sure enough, I caught up to the pickup that was likely going 90mph as he was pulled over.
Ultimately I don't give a shit if somebody wants to exceed the speed limit (although I think that 20mph over the limit is probably too dangerous a speed to be going). Heck, I bounce around 5mph over myself. But holy crap... is it really necessary to terrorize people on the road to do it? It's not like I was driving in the passing lane under the speed limit and not passing anybody! I was using the lane as it was designed to be used!
Oh well. Assholes will be assholes and all that.
Posted on Wednesday, October 11th, 2023
With all the violence, death, and persecution going on right now, it would be so great if everybody could just not contribute to any more of it. Find the time to be kind and all that. And yet... exactly the opposite seems to be happening. If anything, the assholery is being ramped up to a frightening degree.
And the response to it all leads to an interesting observation on humanity: there's money and power to be made from hate, and the usual suspects are cashing in hard on it. That's what they do.
Most of the time I find myself rolling my eyes and marveling at the hypocrisy of it all (so much Christian Love™®© out there!) while trying not to go insane.
But, alas, it's too late for me. Nothing else to do but hide under the covers, eat chocolate pudding, and delve into my secret shame: watching reruns of The League for the hundredth time...
Because Taco has the best outlook on life in these trying times.
Posted on Wednesday, October 18th, 2023
Remember when ovens had a knob you turn and the heat came on and cooked your food?
Now you can only get these stupid-as-shit electronic button boards, and so often when I set mine, IT JUST SHUTS OFF WITHOUT COOKING SHIT! Ironically, you can get knobs if you get a gas stove (not an option where I live) or buy a super-expensive one (which I can't afford).
I don't understand why burners have knobs and it's no problem, but ovens are all getting idiotic electronics. I'm guessing it's a cost-savings thing but, if that's the case, then why aren't the burners getting electronic panels as well?
Everything is shitty and nothing makes sense.
Posted on Wednesday, October 25th, 2023
The past couple nights have been cold and rainy. But today the cold and rainy weather didn't wait for evening. It was cold and rainy when I left work at 4:00pm.
Which is unfortunate because this is exactly the kind of weather that drains what little energy I have left. All I'm good for is sitting in front of the television drinking hot chocolate while wrapped up in a blanket. That's it. I'm done. If I'm lucky I grabbed some Halloween candy before I sat down.
Guess I need to start wearing a jacket to work now. Bleh.
Posted on Thursday, October 26th, 2023
Oh boy.Every October for years I've changed my Facebook profile picture to my goth look for Halloween. It's kinda a tradition and nobody is hurt by me looking awesome for a month. OR SO I THOUGHT! But more on that in a minute.
Here is the photo...
Long time Blogography readers might recognize this as a still from a video I made fifteen years ago for a video edition of "Bullet Sunday"...
I've started increasingly commenting on posts that are racist, bigoted, antisemitic, hateful, or stupid. The reaction is mostly what you'd expect. And I'm used to the hate... this is not my first time on the internet. But now the comments are all about my profile pic, not my comment. I have been called absolutely every name you can imagine. Because I'm wearing black makeup. For Halloween.
This is weird to me because I don't think much about my appearance (which should be obvious to anybody who meets me). The idea of having perfectly matching clothes or dressing in the latest style or looking "cool" or whatever just doesn't interest me. Except when it comes to Halloween, apparently.
I'm fascinated how people don't bother to make an actual argument about what I've said now. They don't like what I'm saying and how I look in my profile pic, but it's how I look that's what they choose to comment on. Which just reinforces the fact that ignorant assholes are ultimately bullies above everything else. Hating people for how they look or how they choose to dress is their priority.
I am trying to be unshocked, but this is not remotely surprising. It's the easiest shot to take, because forming an argument in support of your opinion is hard. And the easy shot is all they know.
Not that I really care. Goth Dave is the hottest Dave.
Posted on Friday, October 27th, 2023
Not so long ago I noted how strange it is to hear about tragedy in a place I've been on Facebook.
Since I've been to a lot of places on this earth, this seems to happen more and more often.
Not so long ago I posted this:
And now this...
For around a decade I had work taking me to Lisbon, Maine.
Twice a year I would fly into Portland then drive up to the city of Auburn, where I always stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn. It's a nice, reasonably-priced location overlooking the Androscoggin River. The region is home to some very nice people (including those that I worked with), and has interesting eateries across the river I enjoyed like She Doesn't Like Guthries and Pedro O’Hara’s*, a Mexican-Irish restaurant.
Also across the river? The city of Lewiston.
If you've been watching the news since Wednesday night, you know why this has been haunting me.
A single shooter with an assault rifle mass-murdered 18 people in two locations in Lewiston, Maine. Needless to say, I had a rough night followed by two rough days wondering if anybody I know was hurt or killed. As of now I am still wondering because I can't bring myself to email anybody to find out. They have enough to deal with, as the shooter is still at large.
This fucking sucks.
My post about Bangkok was 23 days ago. I didn't even have a month to get over that before this happens. And that's just places I am familiar with. There's loads upon loads upon loads of places going through exactly this kind of thing week by week. And I'm mortified that it's just become background noise to me.
Until it's not in the background. Like Lewiston, Maine.
Lewiston may be the second-largest city in Maine after Portland, but it's not a big city. The first shooting at a children's league bowling alley event is just next door to a restaurant I liked. The second shooting at a cornhole competition even bar & grill is just down the street from a McDonald's that I stopped at for breakfast dozens of times. So, yeah, you might say I'm familiar with the area where the shootings occurred. An area where on Wednesday night people were just living their lives, never knowing that 18 of them would end up dead with even more injured.
Which is all kinds of fucked up. Especially when now-a-days you can't even say you're sad that 18 people were murdered without being told you're "anti-gun" or "woke" or whatever other bullshit labels get hurled by assholes lacking any sense of empathy, decency, or compassion. Something I'm getting used to, despite it never making any sense.
Not that anything surrounding mass-murder ever could.
Posted on Wednesday, November 8th, 2023
I have written before about the decade I spent getting out of credit card debt. It was a slow, very painful process, and I have tried my level best to not go back to that life*. It's not always possible because emergencies do happen, but I've been fairly lucky overall.
The process I used to get out of debt was the "snowball" method where you consolidate as much as you can into lower-interest debt, then pay off the remainder by making minimum payments on everything except your smallest balance. On that account, you throw the maximum amount of money you can to get it paid off. Then you move to your next smallest balance. And so on. Until finally you're on the low-interest mega-balance, which you put every last cent into paying down.
I think the process took just over seven years, where I only spent money on the absolute bare essentials... eating and living as cheaply as possible so I had the most money to pay off debt.
Back then I used a spreadsheet to budget and plan.
Now I use financial apps which link to your various accounts and estimate your bills so you can get an overview of how much money you have and how much you owe. They're really handy.
For the longest time I used Truebill, but they started sending my financial data unencrypted through the email and said "Oopsies, there's no way to stop this from happening," so I moved on to Mint which had been bought out by Intuit. Mint is a fucking abhorrent app. I hate it with every fiber of my being. You can't turn off notification, which are constant and annoying. You also can't turn off ads, which are also constant and annoying. But it's free... so whatever. I deal with it.
Except now Intuit is shutting down Mint, so I'll be saying goodbye. Because it's so shitty, I won't miss it. What I will miss is having a way of tracking my finances that's free. Rocket Mortgage bought out Truebill, so what I may do is go back to that to see if the privacy bullshit has been cleared up. So long as you don't update more than daily, it's free.
Or maybe I'll move on to a paid solution and see if it's worth it to me. I mean, anything is worth not going into debt again... I just mean that it's worth not going back to a spreadshet.
*Well, except for my mortgage, because it's actually cheaper to go into debt buying a house than it is to rent now-a-days.
Posted on Wednesday, November 15th, 2023
I'm single because I want to be.
I don't know that this statement needs defending, but if I were forced to do so I'd say that "It's just the way I'm wired." I love being alone. Just me, two cats, and an empty house. It's bliss. I'm totally set. Tried the whole relationship thing multiple times and it wasn't a good fit, so I decided I'd rather live for my friends and occasional hook-ups than be miserable.
Or, if I'm being honest, making somebody else miserable. Because haven't women suffered enough?
Men get to be alone. Sure people tend to think we're gay for wanting it, but we're largely left to our own devices. Women, on the other hand, are labeled "UNFULFILLED" and "SAD" and "A DETRIMENT TO SOCIETY" when they want to be alone. As if not wanting a husband and children somehow makes them "less than." Which would be laughable if it weren't so harmful. Personally, I can't understand why people give a shit. Some people want to be on their own, so just let us be.
In the last decade there's been a lot to be said about the incels. Meaning "involuntarily celibate men." These are guys who are alone because they can't find a woman willing to put up with their superiority bullshit... and blame women for it! And since it's "totally not their fault because they're just being an alpha male" they feel justified badmouthing women at every opportunity and committing heinous acts where they lash out against society (in general) and women (specifically). It's a serious, serious problem, and the violence born out of it is no laughing matter.
Where it all takes a turn are the men who own the "incel" label... but claim it's because a terrible women did them wrong. To them it's justified. They hate on all women now and it's a woman's fault. To an extent, I do get that. A bad relationship can easily cause enough pain for people to lash out in illogical ways. I've been there. I'm not going to go into the crazy details, but suffice to say that when I was in my worst relationship I was lied to, betrayed, cheated on, and exploited. It was awful. It resulted in me drinking too much and contemplating self-harm. And for years after I dug myself out of that hole, I felt I'd rather be alone the rest of my life than to risk going through that again. I didn't blame "all women" for what she put me through, but I can see how a guy could make that leap. For a while. But to turn it into your entire identity for life? That's on you. And women not wanting to be with that is also on you.
But that's not the only road that gets traveled.
Over the weekend I was scrolling through the cesspool that is social media and ran across what I thought was an incel rabbit hole. But as I continued to scroll... I saw that the men participating in this new trend of sharing their feelings about being alone are not blaming women for their situation at all. They're just expressing how sad they are that they can't find a partner to share their lives with. They're not violent about it. They don't feel women "owe" them anything. They're not raging against all womankind.
They're just... lonely.
After a while of watching I was overwhelmed with compassion.
But, since this is the internet, "compassion" is not the normal response. There's loads of people branding them as "beta males" and "weak" and, of course, "incels" (from the other side of the spectrum). Telling them to "buck up" and "be a man" and "stop embarrassing yourself." Despite the fact that these guys have done absolutely nothing to deserve any of it. Men don't get to be sad and vulnerable out of loneliness, you see. That... that... deserves to be mocked, belittled, demeaned, and dismissed.
And so now I'm feeling bad for being a part of the problem.
Here's me, absolutely loving being single and alone watching guys pour their heart out about how the crushing loneliness is breaking them. And the first thing to enter my head was to lump them in with men who don't want to change their shitty behavior so that a woman might actually want to be with them. As I was watching, I kept waiting for them to unload the "I'M ENTITLED TO SEX BECAUSE I'M A MAN AND WOMEN SHOULD DROP TO THEIR KNEES AND BE GRATEFUL THAT I'D WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH THEM!" rhetoric. But I didn't see it.
Well, I did, because TikTok can't distinguish between lonely single guys and hate-filled incels, but the majority of the videos were not that.
And of course it's not just guys. Plenty of women being crushed by loneliness too. Not surprisingly, society is no more kind to them than they are the men.
Being alone is exactly what I want and I don't ever feel lonely because of it. So it's difficult for me to comprehend the mindset of somebody dying of loneliness. Of dying from a broken heart that they have never been able to give to another person. But I don't have to understand it to feel for people who are in this boat. Everybody deserves to find love, and somebody who has never had it deserves every bit the compassion as a guy whose wife of 60 years just died. A broken heart is a broken heart.
My first reaction was a bad one. I hope I can do better in the future.
And I really hope that I can be less dismissive of my fellow men who are hurting and just want to be heard. To be treated with kindness when they're in pain. That's really not a lot to ask.
Despite our toxic society telling us otherwise.
Be kind out there, my friends.
Posted on Tuesday, November 21st, 2023
It's funny the things you remember.
I rewatched the Wham! documentary on Netflix and it got me thinking about the George Michael video for Faith with his iconic jukbox, cross earring, and BSA jacket, which made me run to YouTube to watch it (and then, of course, the follow-up video for Freedom where he sets all of it on fire)...
All of a sudden I had a flashback to a pair of pajamas my grandma made me when I was little. But I wasn't wearing them in the flashback... I was looking at me wearing them. Probably in a photo. So I went running to look through all my scans of old family photos and, yep, there it was...
What's amazing is that I recognized the pajamas as being BSA pajamas even though I couldn't really read it until I zoomed in and digitally enhanced it, which means I likely remembered it in my subconscious from when I was a kid somehow...
I have no idea why BSA fabric was being sold here in the very rural valley we live considering the brand is British (BSA = Birmingham Small Arms). Nor do I know why my grandma selected it to make pajamas for me. Although it might have been because I've been a motorcycle fan from a very young age...
All due respect to George Michael, but I think I wore it better...
Weird how I can remember a pair of pajamas from 50 years ago, but can't remember why I walked into the kitchen ten minutes ago.
Posted on Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023
They say it's never too late to start over.
I suppose it depends on how old you are. And what you mean by "starting over. Many things in my life... from the area where I live to the career I have to the people I hang out with... have been the same for decades. But in other ways I've started over a multitude of times. Intentionally. It keeps things interesting for me when the basics of my life never change.
As the cold and darkness of Winter starts settling in, I started trying to think of something else I could change to shake things up. Break up the monotomy of the season.
And came up empty.
I don't know if it's because I've suddenly gotten too set in my ways or don't want to put the effort in or what, but there's no change I could think of that I actually want to make. Which makes me think I need to do something radical like dye my hair pink or pierce my nose or move to Scotland.
Or maybe all three.
Posted on Thursday, November 23rd, 2023
As a vegetarian, today is far from "Turkey Day" to me.
I haven't eaten meat for over 37 years, but I was never much of a turkey guy to begin with. I'd eat it... but at a 50/50 ratio with jellied cranberry. I also didn't care for steaks, ribs, sausage, ham, pork chops, chicken, or any kind of seafood. The only meats I did like were hamburgers, bacon, and pepperoni. That's it. Everything else was eaten reluctantly.
Turns out I was predisposed towards vegetarianism from the start. But discovering Buddhism was what it took to push me over the edge.
I'm rather happy with the vegetarian alternatives to hamburger and bacon. And, believe it or not, I was never a fan of hotdogs until I discovered the vegetarian variety.
There is no adequate vegetarian substitute for pepperoni.
If there was, that would be something to be thankful for.
Posted on Friday, November 24th, 2023
In the Before Times I used to put as much money as I could manage into my savings so I could spend it on Black Friday sales. Since my buying power could end up being 200% of normal (or more!), it just made financial sense to buy everything I need for the year on this one day. Especially clothes.
But then I remodeled my kitchen, did a bit of landscaping in my front yard, and had a water leak... and all of a sudden my savings are more than gone. They are non-existent.
Which is not that bad for once. I don't need any electronics or appliances or housewares. The clothes I have are in wearable condition. There are no tools, video games, or cool toys I am dying to have. My car is still mostly running. And my shoes are still in one piece. Albeit thanks to Shoe Goo.
My boots and shoes don't get a lot of heavy use, but they still fall apart. Mostly when the sole's toe-cover comes unglued. Fortunately that's an easy fix. Shoe Goo and an overnight stay in a bucket to keep it held in place is all it takes...
So... yeah... not much happening today for me. Certainly not like it's been for other years.
I've still got nearly a half-tube of Shoe Goo left, so I'm good.
Posted on Monday, November 27th, 2023
Well. This day could have gone better.
On the bright side, it could have gone much, much worse.
Anyway, happy Monday...
Cats are the best.