Post-COIVD Chilis Sucks

Sunday, another insomnia day with only one hour of sleep, my friend and I went out to eat at Chilis. This is our usual hangout routine. We go to a restaurant, Chili’s, Old Chicago, Red Robin, etc. and sit and talk. In the past I used to drink heavily so that day was my first real sober challenge. Drinking while super sleep deprived is always great — it puts you in a dreamlike state where everything feels only 10% real –but I was a good boy and drank water. (My friend pounded about four Dr. Peppers so I was even healthier than him.) Honestly I feel kinda shitty about not drinking and won’t pretend that lunch was so much more fulfilling and better because I was sober. Sure I remember more of the conversation and was more present than usual, but it still kinda sucked.

This was our first trip out in over a year. COVID obviously fucked everything up and I was surprised to see the restaurant experience mostly unchanged. There were transparent plastic barriers separating the booths from each other, and people wore masks when they weren’t eating, but nothing much was different.

It came time to order and I noticed that we didn’t have a menu. When they seated us, they gave us a singular laminated piece of paper which I assumed was the menu, but I was wrong. This only showed their drink specials and appetizers. Where the fuck was the menu? My friend pointed out a QR code on the drink menu which said something like, “Scan the QR code to view the menu!” What the hell? His phone, an older Android model, didn’t have a built-in QR reader and he didn’t want to fuck around with finding an app for it. My phone, a Samsung Galaxy S10 does have a QR reader although it took some time before I remembered how to find it. I never use it. When I do use it I do so reluctantly. Fucking QR codes…

It directed me to a webpage with the menu. I copied this link and sent it to my friend. Instead of a .pdf file of the menu itself (like good old shitty local restaurants like Happy Wok have) the webpage had a ‘mobile-friendly’ layout. To look at burgers you hit ‘burgers’ button and can see their selection of burgers. To look at sandwiches you need to click the back button, then click the ‘sandwiches’ button. You cannot see the entire menu at once. Menus are great to browse and selecting a specific food category kneecaps this entirely. I don’t know if I want a burger, a steak, or a sandwich, so why force me to pick certain categories to check out?

The lack of pictures was also disconcerting and doesn’t make sense from the company’s perspective. I’m sure the menu items with pictures sell much more than ones without, and only one of each ‘food category’ had a picture. A picture of a turkey sandwich looks a lot more inciting than a description of said turkey sandwich.

Whatever, maybe I’m just bitching about change here unnecessarily. We ordered, the food came, and we talked.

Our waiter dropped our bill off, and you know those little tabletop electronic devices that you can pay your check on? Yeah, not this time. The little tabletop thingy was still there but had no option to pay; it lost its one useful function. Examining the printed check, my friend noticed a QR code. It was labeled, “Scan the QR code to pay!” Fucking hell, really? This too?

He offered to pay for my meal and called it an ‘early birthday gift,’ which was nice, but the hassle of their new QR system killed part of my soul. He couldn’t scan the thing, I had to remember how to scan the code (having relegated the ‘QR code scanning’ knowledge to my brains trash heap after ordering), and lent him my phone to type in his credit card information.

He handed my phone back to me after paying. “Here, I’ll let you do the rest.” He was talking about the survey. Oh hell yeah, I thought, I can let these fuckers know how awful this visit was. Here’s what I wrote in the comments:

No paper menus? QR code menus? Pay with a QR code? I’m proficient with technology but even this was giving me a goddamn headache.

Image some elderly couple eager to eat out in a post-COVID world. They go to their favorite restaurant, a Chili’s in Rockford, Illinois off of State Street. They sit down, and where are the menus? The waitress tell them to scan a QR code. What is this newfangled technology their talking about? The wife asks her husband what this means and he grunts angrily. He has no idea. It takes all of his effort to pay bills using the internet and now this. He takes his phone out, unlocks it, and stares at all the icons, buttons, and swipes right, left, up, and down. They become visibly distressed and can they just have a paper menu? Why is everything so complicated nowadays? Frustrated, they leave and settle to eat at one of those shitty old-people restaurants. Eight Plates. Nine Forks. Sunrise. Swedish Pancake House. Morning Dew. At least they have paper menus, sure without the fancy pictures and they’re printed in Comic Sans, but they don’t notice and it’s a physical menu.

Sure that’s blown out of proportion — I’m sure if you requested a paper menu they’d oblige — but in the post COVID world I’m assuming this was ‘justified’ by health concerns. Less hand-to-hand interaction between strangers. Less disinfecting the tabletop terminals. You touch your phone all day so what’s the problem with touching it some more to view the menu? Even if you borrow your friend’s phone, they’re your friend and you’re probably sharing more germs with them already than borrowing their phone does.

I’m not a fan of this “health concern” justification, if that’s even the real reason. Remember the drink/appetizer menu that we had? That still exists. And all the menus are laminated anyways; how hard is it to hose each one down with a sanitizing solution between uses? It isn’t. Maybe I’m being a paranoid anti-capitalist but I think COVID gave Chili’s a good excuse to cut costs a bit more. Chili’s is a big, corporate chain so the individual stores don’t print their own menus. It’s not as easy as having a manager fire up his word process/printer and add a ‘1’ to each one of the entrees’ prices, no, someone has to design the menu, print the menus, laminate the menus, package the menus, and ship them to the store. Each of these steps multiplied by how many Chili’s there are means a big expense to the company. Not huge compared to other expenses, but another thing that can be cut. Just pay the menu designers add a few IT people to make a website. Add the QR code to the ‘drink menu’ (because alcohol makes huge money so they can’t cut that menu) that links to the janky website and there ya go. Easy! And the customers will adapt.

And adapt we will sadly. People are dangerously good at adapting, even if it feels like it moves them backward. Look, I love technology — I never have to go to the bank to deposit a check or anything — but the whole point of technology is to make life easier, isn’t it? Netflix: movies without going to the rental place. Downloadable games: games without ordering physical copies. Amazon: shopping from your couch. Online banking with check despots via an app? Fucking great. Online bill pay? I hate driving so thank you. QR code menus? Nah, I don’t like it. It turns a social experience into fucking around on your phone. We eschew personal interactions in favor of our phones often enough to where introducing it one purposefully in a restaurant setting feels slightly evil, like we’re all missing the point. When I’m purposefully trying to not look at my phone to give the other person my full attention the restaurant forces me to dick around on it for five minutes. Ignoring that problem, it’s still just clunky and seems to miss the entire point of technology in the first place. Please give me back my paper menus.

Check out my YouTube channel about off-grid green energy setups!

Or my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Dad’s Wrecked Car Wrecks My Week

I would like to say I would’ve had a blog post out in the last week if the week itself wasn’t so damn shitty. I’m probably lying to myself here. My motivation is still at an all-time low.

I can probably get something posted Friday. Oh wait, no I can’t, because Friday is going to suck ass like every other day this week. If I’m going to churn anything out it has to be finished now. Thursday. Today was a hot day, I’m mentally and physically destroyed, and writing anything now feels like a chore. Scheduling a post also means EDITING! which is the worst part of writing by far.

Two weeks ago my dad was involved in a car wreck. I’m not sure of the details, but someone in front of him was turning right, so he slowed down like a good driver. The guy behind him, sadly, wasn’t paying attention and rear-ended my dad. This caused Dad to slide into the person in front of him leading to a three-way fender-bender. It wasn’t really a big deal; despite him being hit by a big-ass SUV in the rear, his car took the least amount of damage of the three. The guy behind him? Car was fucked. (He was younger, his mom showed up, and according to my dad she was not pleased with him. He had the worst day of three by far, not even considering his damaged car…) Lady in front of him? Car: fucked. Dad’s car doesn’t have anything to hint that he was slammed into another car, just a tiny scratch or dent on the front if you really pay attention. Most importantly no one was hurt.

(His tank of a car, by the way, is a 2006 Chevy Cruise. If you’d like your next high-mileage used car to be impervious to damage, look into the Cruise.)

I looked at his car the following day and it was fine. Cosmetic damage to his trunk and bumpers but the car itself was fine. All the doors worked. The thing drove okay. Nothing of functional importance was harmed at all. He asked me my opinion on what he should do about the car: ignore the wreck or make an insurance claim? Dad doesn’t have a job, can’t afford shit, and is waiting on Social Security to either approve or deny his benefits/payments/whatever they’re called. In short, I told him to not worry about it. Cars are meant to get you from point A to point B, his car still did this, so why even worry about it? Insurance probably wouldn’t do shit about it anyways…

He didn’t take my advice (big surprise there). He made an insurance claim which was itself a pain in my ass. My sister and I have a deal where we pay for his insurance and split the bill. When I set this up I put everything in my name. My email, my phone number, with only his name on the policy. It was easier to do it that way. Since his insurance claim involves him he should ideally be the guy dealing with the insurance company. Since they’re unaware of my impromptu setup (we didn’t think he’d ever actually make a claim), they’ve been blowing up my phone trying to contact my dad. Emailing me and me having to relay the email to him and calling me so I can call him and tell him to call them back. They miss his call and call me back. It’s my own fault — I even said so when I replied to their email giving them his actual contact information — but it’s still a pain in the ass to deal with.

I was wrong about his claim by the way. They did not do jack shit; in fact they decided to total his car and write him a check for $6,075. Holy hell! I was certain I put him on liability insurance; where did all the money come from? It didn’t make sense to me at all, but hey, I’m not a hot-shot insurance worker. Apparently this makes perfect sense to them. They grabbed his car last Thursday.

(We use Metromile. They’re a pay-per-mile insurance provider fitting for my dad, who logically, shouldn’t drive that much at all. I own 200 shares of Metromile (MILE) and was tempted to sell them when I found out about the massive payout to him for insignificant cosmetic damage. Was this company really the one I should be investing in?)

And here’s where my trouble really begins. It was easy: dad gets his check, we get him a new car. Nope, life is never that easy.

Since Monday was Memorial Day his check didn’t arrive until Tuesday. He also doesn’t have a bank account. I was to put the money into my bank temporarily. Okay. Tuesday was a trip to my bank so he wouldn’t have to pay a whopping $200 check-cashing fee. (I should open up my own check cashing place. A 3% fee to give people their own money? Hell…) Normally I deposit any checks I receive via my bank’s mobile app. Doing this with a check in his name might be a terrible idea, and I didn’t want to hold things up longer than I needed to. Dad is fairly independent and wants a car, so we’ve been trying to do this stuff as quickly as possible.

We went to look at cars (on Memorial Day) and that sucked. All the places were closed so we drove to those questionable used-car lots that are more numerous than I remembered (they’re everywhere) and shopped unhindered by pesky salesmen. He knew he couldn’t buy a car that day, but surely he’d find one that he liked. Nope. Buying a car is a big deal and isn’t as easy as deciding on a fast-food restaurant when hungry. It’s Thursday and he still doesn’t know what car he wants.

Since the cash is in my account, I’ll have to be involved in the car buying process as well, whenever that actually happens. Not really ‘involved — I’m not buying the damn thing — but he can’t really leave with a car until I write a check to the place, usually the last fucking step in the process. One more big hurdle before I’m free, but if we don’t pull this shit off tomorrow it’ll surely be a shitty weekend driving him around to wherever.

Today involved driving him to the smoke shop for tobacco and finding him a window AC unit. This whole fiasco occurred right before the first real heatwave of the year. He’s a bigger guy so he kinda suffers unnecessarily in the heat and needs an AC. Luckily, my mother-in-law had an older AC unit to give him; the errands were a bit easier because we didn’t have to buy him a new one from Menard’s or something. Hauling an AC unit around an hour after waking up isn’t a joy, but it’s better than going shopping.

Obviously I’m driving him everywhere he needs to go. He tries not to be a bother and I don’t mind helping, but it is getting old having that in my schedule to work around. My insomnia is still kicking my ass — I don’t sleep until 6 a.m. and try to be up around noon — and each day is a struggle to pound down as much coffee as possible and get out of the house to haul dad around. By the time I’m functional, I have a good two and a half hours to do stuff before going to work. Sometimes we’ll finish early, not early enough to go home but too early to go to work. Tuesday I was in the work parking lot 45 minutes before I had to start, just sitting and zoning out to music. I did get to see what time my coworkers pull into the parking lot which was mildly interesting. Some people get there really early, but who was I to judge?

Friday is a fun day because I go to work at 7 p.m. instead of 4 p.m.; I have all the time in the world before work to ‘be productive.’ Hopefully I can get something written but probably not though. Groggily awake at 12 p.m. Therapy at 2, hauling dad around to hopefully buy a car around 3:30 p.m., and how long will that take? Tomorrow is fucked. Saturday will probably be fucked as well. I know it’ll be fucked. I can predict the future: Dad won’t have a car yet and I’ll have to take him to get groceries or something. Sunday I’m hanging out with a friend (cool and all, but damn I’m dreading being social…), and maybe I should put a new belt on the lawn mower? And maybe I should weed the garden? And I need to go to the store. And I need to clean the cat litter. Those windows in my car really need to be cleaned — I haven’t washed them since fall — and the outside could stand to be washed as well. And…and…I’m sure there’ll be tons of time to write a blog post.

Check out my YouTube channel about off-grid green energy setups!

Or my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Insomnia Sucks

Looks like I’m doing this again. I’ve always been a night owl, but being a night owl is a bit different than having full-blown insomnia. Going to sleep late/waking up late is fine — at least you’re sleeping — while insomnia, the total inability to sleep, is hell. That’s been my existence for the past two days and it is not enjoyable. Anyone who has suffered through it knows exactly what that special hell is like.

I had a severe bout of insomnia years ago. I think I was awake for three or four days. Memory of this time is fuzzy, luckily. I watched a YouTube video about anesthesia a few days ago and it reminded me of insomnia. Apparently some anesthetics don’t stop you from feeling pain, they stop you from remembering the pain. Isn’t that a terrifying thought? In a way memories are all that your sense of self is; if you don’t remember something it’s almost like it never happened to you. Back to insomnia. Luckily I don’t remember the first episode very well. Nothing concrete sticks in my mind about it. All I remember is some fuzzy feeling that I was miserable, terribly miserable. I recall desperately trying to nap at work during one of my two-hour long breaks. I think I did nap for a bit and felt a little better. I suppose it’s nice that insomnia wreaks havoc on your ability to form memories. Once it’s over it almost seems like it never happened.

This time isn’t nearly as bad; I only suffered through one/two day(s) without sleep. I awoke at 1 p.m. on Monday and didn’t fall asleep until 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, more than 24 hours without sleep. I slept until 3, a whopping 1.5 hours of sleep, so I could drag myself to work. Work was awful and I tried sleeping on break to no avail. After work I was tired and felt like my body was physically falling apart, but somehow I ended up staying awake until 5:30 a.m. reading The Wheel of Time. 40 hours awake with 1.5 hours of sleep. It was bad.

I slept okay last night, but still have trouble falling asleep. I have severe anxiety about insomnia which only makes the problem worse. Those vague memories from years ago terrify me, and laying in bed hoping to sleep while being terrified of not being able to sleep only makes it harder to fall asleep. It makes you feel like a dysfunctional human, a total failure of an organism. Sleep is as natural as eating food or breathing; can you imagine the insomnia equivalent of those two? Desperately wanting to eat or breathe but unable to do so. I’m thinking asthma is a good analogy for the later, and maybe a stomach virus or eating disorder as an analogy for the former. Do any other species have insomnia? Is this just a problem with being human, a problem with higher consciousness itself? It seems being as aware as we are is a downside in many ways — we’re prone to overthinking and worrying, stuck in the past while living for a vague future — and maybe this is another example of it. Do other animals have brains that are so overactive and filled with fear that they cannot sleep? Maybe they do, but I doubt it.

Sleeping is easy: you just have to stop your brain from having thoughts. Easy right? You get to think about whatever you want. No, that’s not how it works. Anyone who has casually tried meditation knows that this is harder than it seems. Have you ever read a book only to find out you read a paragraph only to have no idea what you’ve actually read because your thoughts just wandered away to whatever random shit popped into your mind? The mind seems to hate being idle, to have absolutely nothing to think about, so it just makes shit up. Meditation, having no thoughts and perfectly clearing your mind, is nearly impossible. Here, try it now. Stop reading and think about nothing for a half-minute or so. I just tried it. I looked at the wall and noticed the reflection off a picture of the TV that the kids are playing Minecraft on. One of them just said, “Come back in Kitty Cat,” and this simple input kicked off a chain of thoughts in my brain. Nothing important enough to cause insomnia or trigger bad thoughts, but enough to have a thought. It’s like thousands of needles popping the void bubble of zero thoughts over and over again. Once you have perfectly zero thoughts, one just appears out of nowhere making you start all over again searching for that perfect zero-thought void.

Yesterday in bed I realized how shitty controlling your thoughts actually is. My brain would not shut up. I thought to myself, “Okay, I just need to not have any thoughts. I’ll lay here and think of nothing. If I start to think about something, I’ll shut it down.” It worked for about five seconds. It felt like I was batting thoughts down like a person swatting flies or mosquitoes away from them. The act of not thinking was a thought in itself. It keeps your brain working trying to not work. Even when I didn’t have a thought I started to notice the strange patters of color that you see sometimes with your eyes closed. Even without a thought my brain was making up shit visually. With my eyes closed I’d notice how the colors flowed and note the shapes they took, and this became a thought. I also noticed how Talking Head’s “Burning Down the House” was continually on loop on the border between conscious and subconscious. Even without having actual thoughts things were still happening that I was hopelessly paying attention to.

This is what millions of people suffer through every damn day, and how do you even fight against this? It’s literally your brain, the thing that is YOU, not letting itself sleep. It’s doing what it evolved to do — thinking in a higher fashion that any other known creature — yet it undermines itself and the body in the process. Sometimes I hate my brain. Most of the time I hate my brain. I wish I was a goose; they seem happy enough eating grass and shitting everywhere. I doubt a goose stays awake until the sun comes up thinking about not thinking and how hard it is to do. I doubt a goose is kept awake at night thinking about it’s inevitable death, or the size of the universe, or how strange it is to exist, or asking itself what the hell is consciousness anyways?

Not to be a total miserable person here, plus people seem to read blogs to find out useful information and not hear someone whine, but maybe meditation is a solution? It’s not as easy as popping a few Xanaxs, but maybe by training your mind, letting it Git Gud at not thinking, you’ll learn to have no thoughts. And with no thoughts comes sleep. It’s like any other skill; practicing it makes you better at it. You know, that’s what I’m going to do. Maybe I can report back on it in a week or two, but probably not knowing my blogging history. Thanks for reading!

Check out my YouTube channel about off-grid green energy setups!

Or my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

[20210523 Untitled]

I’m on day 43 of sobriety. I don’t like counting days but the r/stopdrinking subreddit has this nice little feature that tracks the days since your last drink. I don’t remember the actual day of my last drink, I only know it’s been 43 days since then. I don’t care to do the math.

My last extended period of sobriety was eye-awakening. I was happy. I was social. I felt like my old self, whatever that meant, like I had solved all of my mental health issues. Like shit, you stop drinking and life is perfect! Not to cover that again but I started drinking again for a month or so, stopped, and here we are.

My mood was about what you’d expected; the first week my mood was awful (due to the lack of booze) and then I was great. Fucking riding in the clouds and finding happiness and purpose with my life. Until the past week that is.

For the past week my mood has been shit. Utterly depressed, unable to fall asleep, unable to wake up, unwilling to get out of bed. The only thing that does get me out of bed is the need to piss and to get some coffee in my system. Besides that there is no grand goal or purpose to going through my day. Going to work has been a struggle and I’m surprised I haven’t called in in the past week. It’s strange, it’s like my mood is so damn shitty there is no reason not to go to work and be miserable. Like why not go to work? It’s not like there’s anything else for me to do that’s enjoyable.

Doing physical exercise is mentally exhausting. Playing video games is mentally exhausting. Writing/blogging is bullshit and what’s the purpose? It’s been such a deep depression that I can’t even do those little productive things that make you feel better. Go for a walk, lift some weights, do something you enjoy doing. No, I don’t enjoy doing anything. And I don’t feel like pulling myself out of my current mood because my mood is crappy and what’s the point of doing things that will make you feel better.

It’s hilarious in a way. I don’t remember ever being this depressed. It’s not even a deep and suicidal depression, it almost feels deeper. Suicide is a way to escape your shitty life and the pain you feel nearly all the time and for me there is no pain or no point in trying to escape. There is nothing so damn bad and torturous that I want to escape, life is just fucking boring and useless and not exciting. If happiness is a loving doggie that you want to pet, and suicidal depression is a lion that is constantly chasing you, my depression is an annoying fly in the room. It’s there, it sucks, it’s annoying, it’s harmless, and it’s boring. The fly isn’t nearly as wonderful as a dog but it’s nothing I need to escape.

What’s even more hilarious about this is there is no cause to it. I have zero reason to feel this way. Nothing has triggered it. Nothing has set me off. Last Sunday I woke up to this blah mood and it’s been around ever since. Even with total and brutal self-honesty I can’t come up with a single thing that’s causing it. I haven’t drank in a month and a half. My mood is stable. My life is okay. Things are great actually. But this feeling? Eh, I have no clue.

It’s not all bad, operating on this ultra-basic level of existence. When you feel like you have no drive or purpose it’s pretty easy to convince yourself to do random shit without reason which feels like living life in a more natural way. It almost feels like the dry-erase board that is me has been wiped clean. I’m a blank slate and can do whatever the hell I want, like I’m starting fresh and new. Feeling like life and everything is pointless does give you a good foundation with what to start with. When nothing matters, what do you choose to do in the meaningless of it all?

I’ve had this random urge to bake bread. I’ve never baked bread before but it’s been a goal of mine during the Week of Depression. Life is pointless and shit, but damn I want to bake some bread! (My first loaf turned out nearly perfect by the way…) I also made tofu because that sounded stupid and fun to try even if life is pointless. (This tasted kinda funky…) I’ve worked on a new book with this blank mindset and my insomnia; life is shit so — oh, it’s 7 a.m. and I can’t sleep — maybe I should write to have something to do? Hell, I’ve even been eating healthier somehow; life is shit so what’s the point of blowing money on fast food that ‘tastes good’ when I can eat a fucking avocado and drink some water? I’ll be outside wandering the yard and find tiny bugs and flowers to take pictures of. Not to post on Instagram to farm social cool points, just something to do because there’s nothing more appealing to do. I even took a picture of the new Chinese space station on Thursday as it flew over. I’ve knocked out a book as well, Buzz Aldrin’s Magnificent Desolation only because why not?

The Hustle Sucks

God, how I hate the word ‘hustle’ and it’s cousin ‘side hustle.’ All side hustle seems to refer to is your shitty side ‘job’ where you rake in pennies on your own terms. I’m thinking DoorDash here because I’ve been seeing their ads on YouTube for quite awhile now. It’s such a shitty ad and maybe you’ve seen it. Some girl wanting to make cash on the side while ‘not being stuck at a 9-5 job’. They show her playing guitar — her real ‘job’ and ‘passion’ — writing down lyrics and chords and smiling and shit. Because she’s following her dream with DoorDash making her money on her own terms! One thing that really bothers me about the ad is how she says “I used to make money with DoorDash” or something like that. Notice the past tense. She used to make money; why doesn’t she still make money with DoorDash? It’s a small thing and maybe I’m putting more weight to it than I should but I can’t get that past tense out of my head and notice it every time the ad plays for me, which is about seven times per day.

I suppose DoorDash is a legit job/gig so that’s good. Let’s ignore the MLMers out in the world like my cousin. Or doge traders. Neither of these should be considered a ‘side hustle’ at all.

I really don’t like the r/blogging subreddit. I think I’ve bitched about it here before, maybe in passing. I don’t know what I expected from the sub, but I’m constantly disappointed by their focus on the ‘business aspects’ of blogging. Most of these people only care about SEO, views, referral links, promotional partnerships, and ad revenue. They’re trying to make blogging their side hustle and to me it misses the point of blogging which is to write. Maybe I’m an old and bitter blogger who is jealous because he isn’t making shit for money and doesn’t care enough to seriously attempt to make money. While I’m happy blogging for no pay whatsoever it would be nice to say the hours a week I put into is actually worth some monetary value.

I still have shitty WordAds running here (notice the tacky Duck Duck Go ads?!) and that’s fun. I earn about a penny a day. $3.65 per year, unless it’s a leap year! Then I’ll make $3.66! Getting rich off this hustle, am I right? I noticed something interesting yesterday regarding WordAds though; they only pay out once you reach $100. Let’s do some math, shall we? 100/3.65 is……………………..27.39 years. After 27 years of blogging I can transfer $100 to my PayPal account. Yay?!

I think I’ll shut it off soon because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

(What’s with company names that are two words smashed together with the second one being capitalized? WordAds. GameStop. DoorDash. YouTube. BlackBerry. AdSense. When is Papa John’s going to rename themselves PapaJohn’sPizza?)

My Amazon book sucks dick too. During the GameStop frenzy I thought it’d be a prime time to advertise the book on Reddit and Amazon. I actually sold some books too! I think I sold like 20 or so and was super excited about it. People actually bought my book! Amazon gave me $20 in royalties and that’s almost real money that you can actually use. How much did advertising cost me? About $200. Huh…

I’m proud of my book and think it’s a good introduction to options trading so I tried to advertise it again a week ago. So far I’ve pissed away $150 and have sold zero books. Yikes.

I really think anyone who’s successful selling books is that one in a million person that is stupidly stubborn. They don’t give a shit they haven’t sold anything; they’re going to keep churning out book after book until they blindly strike it rich (or find moderate success). Keep throwing shit at the wall until something sticks sort of deal. Is this who I am? Probably not. I’m more bored than stubborn. I find myself not wanting to publish books or blog posts or do any hard SEO work, but out of boredom I do get around to being somewhat productive.

What was my point here? Oh yeah, fuck the side hustle, especially with blogging and Kindle books. These two make DoorDash seem like a legit, career-defining job. At least DoorDash pays you money without you being lucky or doing everything perfectly. Better yet for a side hustle: McDonald’s. Seriously. Rake in the $12 per hour with set scheduled shifts. It’s easier cash than any other side hustle. Sure you’ll be miserable and unfulfilled, but you’ll have a few extra hundred dollars every week.

Check out my YouTube channel about off-grid green energy setups!

Or my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

May Vidya

“Stay busy at all costs! Don’t become bored!” This is one of my ‘rules’ I’ve been following when I decided to stop drinking. I’ll toss a list together whenever I get the motivation to do so, but this one I found is key to not drinking. Boredom leads to misery which leads to drinking. Obviously it’d be best to do something useful and productive to stay busy, but sometimes you need to do whatever you can to get by. When motivation is near zero, when your mood is trash, when you don’t want to actually do anything productive, what can you do? Video games!

So here’s a little bit about the three games I’ve been playing as I get back into sober swing of things.

Kerbal Space Program

Kerbal Space Program deserves it’s own post; it’s one of my all-time favorite games ever. As a kid I loved the Flight Simulator series, have always been passionate about spaceflight, and enjoyed building Legos. This game combines all three into a fun and accurate game about spaceflight. You build your own rockets/spaceplanes and explore the solar system; the only limit to what you can do is your own stubbornness and creativity. Kerbal Space Program also has a fairly accurate physics system; you really learn orbital mechanics in a hands-on way. Seriously, you’ll understand why we can only launch to Mars every two years, understand what the hell delta-v is, and learn the massive difference between orbital and sub-orbital flight, among a ton of other things.

Kerbal also has a way of keeping you playing even if you’re done with the game. It’s really easy to screw something up like running out of fuel or becoming stranded on another planet/moon which naturally leads to the inevitable rescue missions! No Kerbal left behind! There is no real need to rescue stranded Kerbals — they live forever — but something about fixing your screw-ups is immensely satisfying. So even if you’re done exploring the solar system there are usually a handful of Kerbals that you can rescue. Sometimes your rescue missions also get stranded meaning you need to rescue the rescue crew as well. Kerbal Space Program is rescue missions all the way down!

In my current game I have a crew of Kerbals stranded in a very high orbit around the sun. In terms of our real solar system, these Kerbals orbit between Mars and fucking Pluto — they’re way the fuck out there — and I just now got a rescue ship to them. They’ve only been in space for 70 years so I think they’re happy to see the rescue ship! Sadly the rescue ship doesn’t have enough fuel to make it back home, so I’ll have to piss away another 20 in-game years doing gravity assists until I can actually get them back to Kerbin, the home planet. After 100+ years in spae I’m sure my Kerbals will love to finally walk on the surface of the planet they call home. Those poor guys…

A bit about PS Now…

We somehow ended up with a PS Now subscription. It happened the way all things at our house happen; one of the kids wanted to play one of the PS Now games and only played it for a few days sticking me with a recurring $10 per month subscription charge. I figured since we had it maybe I should see what games are on there. I can always cancel if they don’t have anything.

PS Now, in case you’re not aware, is PlayStation’s game streaming service. You don’t download the games onto your PS4/5, you play them over the internet. This sounds like a great idea — you can play a fuckton of older games that you might’ve missed without purchasing them or storing them on a limited space hard drive — but has some glaring downsides. You might already be aware that latency comes into play here, and you’d be correct. By streaming the game, all information, button presses, audio, video, has to be sent over the internet. Can this even be done fast enough to yield a playable game?

No. At least not with our totally ass internet. I’m blaming Comcast again. Let’s say I want to open the menu on a game. I hit ‘O’. The signal goes to the PS4 via Bluetooth, via the PS4 to our Wi-Fi router, via the router to the modem and onto our ISP, then it gets sent to the PlayStation servers where the ‘O’ button press is actually received and processed. Shit happens there and the “opened menu” command gets passed right back along via the same path back to my TV. Sure the internet is fast, but even a few hundred millisecond delay is painful. PS Now works great if you can deal with the slight delay to everything. I could not imagine playing a Dark Souls-esque game via streaming though.

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

Ace Combat 7 is a one of these PS Now games I’ve been playing. For some reason I’ve been wanting to play one of these shitty flying/shoot shit games for awhile and it scratches my itch well even if it isn’t realistic at all.

Not that I was expecting it to be realistic. I knew what I was getting myself into: a dramatic and chaotic shoot-airplanes-down game with zero realism to it. Sure the planes are real — you start with an F-16 — but beyond this the game is a joke. You have 70 missiles for some reason. Your radar only locks onto enemies within a few thousand feet (or meters, does it matter?) of them. Dogfights only happen at 5’000 feet. Hell, there isn’t even a button to retract your landing gear, it goes up automatically when you take off. Flaps, speed brakes, fuel management, what the hell are those things? There’s a ‘go fast’ button and a ‘slow down’ button. That’s all you need to fly a technologically complex fighter jet.

If you’re looking for an accurate combat flight simulator, don’t play Ace Combat 7. (I played Jane’s F-15 a long time ago. That game was accurate and therefore boring. You take off and fly for two hours before reaching your target. You lock onto airplanes 30 miles away and lob a missile at them. If you blow them up you don’t even notice anything beside the blip on your radar screen disappearing. Targeting a tank with a laser guided bomb is a pain in the ass. Most missions you get shot down by a surface-to-air missile because that’s what really fucking happens IRL.) If you want to pretend you’re a badass fighter jet pilot zipping around the sky with no regard for realism, go for it. It is a fun game, but please don’t sign up for the US Air Force after you play it for a few hours.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is the precursor to Skyrim and the sequel to Morrowind. Most people have played Skyrim and this was the sort-of-popular game that came before it. And Morrowind? One of my favorite games of all time. When Oblivion came out in 2006 I was super excited — finally a new Elder Scrolls game! — only to be sorely disappointed.

Oblivion is boring. Nearly everything about it is boring. I know I should consider it on its own merits but if the company that made Morrowind churned out shit-ass Oblivion how can you not be disappointed? I was also an angsty teenager so this transgression by Bethesda was especially egregious.

Morrowind has a varied and alien landscape, Oblivion is trees and mountains. Morrowind has a unique culture inspired by Eastern and Native Americans, Oblivion is Middle Ages 2.0. Morrowind had gameplay that could be used and abused, and you can’t even levitate in Oblivion! Morrowind had boring faction quests making you feel like some unknown piece of shit (which you were), in Oblivion you’re the hero of everyone you introduce yourself to. (Oblivion didn’t go as far as Fallout 4 or Skyrim though, thank God.) There are more examples but I need to stop otherwise I won’t play Oblivion anymore.

It’s actually fun though. I’m looking through some nostalgia goggles to be sure but Oblivion does have a few perks to it. Sure it’s shitty and boring, but in retrospect Oblivion pulls off questlines like no other Elder Scrolls game has. Morrowind’s faction quests were shitty and boring, and Skyrim’s a bit over the top (that whole you show up on day one and the entire group fucking loves you for some reason), but Oblivion hits that perfect middle ground. There’s good progression in the questlines of factions; you show up as a nobody and slowly turn into a somebody and it feels like you’re contributing something to the group. I also have fond memories of the daedric quests in Oblivion while not remembering any of them in Morrowind or Skyrim.

A big gripe though: PS Now fucking sucks. The slight delay makes combat in Oblivion nearly impossible. You slightly move the stick and it doesn’t register. You move the stick a bit more and your aiming cursor moves 45 degrees across the screen; try shooting a goblin with an arrow as he’s charging at you with those wonky controls and tell me how it works out. It doesn’t. Anything that requires precise aim, like bows, magic spells, and magic scrolls are nearly unusable. It seems I’ll have to have a melee build because when you’re smacking someone with a mace you don’t have to be as precise with your aiming!

As I write this I realize I haven’t played Oblivion in a week. Am I already burning out on it? Maybe. But maybe I’ll play it later today, we’ll see. If anything it feels like I should make a dedicated post on this game someday because there is a lot to bitch about and to praise. It’s a conflicting game to be sure.

Check out my YouTube channel about off-grid green energy setups!

Or my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Personal Growth Sucks

Do you guys ever hate being human? It’s so damn complicated. I have on my ever-present and ever-growing to-do list to “write a blog post.” Easy enough but seeing as I’ve been up since noon and am just now getting around to writing something it’s hard not to ask myself, “What the hell is my problem?”

So I went about trying to trick myself into writing something. Opening the computer, opening WordPress, playing some music, and making myself some coffee. Still nothing. Motivation is at zero today. I busted open my journal Google Doc and wrote in that, trying to get into that “The hardest part of anything is starting!” mindset and damn it actually worked.

But why’s it so hard to write? Why do I have to go through three hours of tricking myself into writing? Being a human sucks. And doesn’t it feel like I’ve beaten this dead-horse of a topic enough over the past few years?

We listened to an Oprah podcast at work this week. I was skeptical because it’s Oprah but it was actually really good. I don’t want to get into the podcast itself because it’s a mess — a bunch of stuff about self-actualization, intentions, values, and everything about ‘living your best life’ — but it was a good mess. It all made wonderful sense and was enlightening.

My supervisor/fwiend asked me after the podcast what I thought about it. I said I needed some time to think and process it all. Luckily she took notes on it like it was a school project or something and I took a picture of the notes for future reference. My brain still feels fucked and my memory useless (I’m blaming the drinking from a month ago by the way) so a reference page with the main points was great.

My immediate thought after the podcast was, “Why is being a human so fucking complicated?” Seriously though, do we need to listen to podcasts and experts to get a grasp on how to live as happily as possible? I want to say no — life should be as easy and as natural as anything — but I’m going with a resounding ‘yes’ to that question. Being a human is complicated as fuck, maybe unnecessarily so, but complicated. Especially for people trying to actually grow and live as happily as possible.

(Another guy was there and listened to the podcast. His immediate reaction was to say, “I’m going to go eat my food” and walked away. He totally got the point of the podcast! His “I am” statement: I am hungry. His intentions? I intend to eat my food.)

We had a guy at work who didn’t seem very bright. He seemed like he lived life to his base needs; he worked to get money to pay for his shit, liked going to the race track and watching cars drive in circles and crashing into each other, and apparently loved to drink Mt. Dew and Jack Daniels. He could’ve been an alcoholic but he didn’t seem too worried if he was. He lived his life and didn’t get a shit about anything I seemingly worry about constantly.

He’s dumb as a rock but I have the suspicion that he’s probably one of the happier people I’ve came across. He never seemed overly happy, but he never seemed overly miserable either. Hell, his wife passed away a year or two ago and he seemed upset for a few weeks at most. I’m not trying to trivialize how other people cope with loss, but it didn’t seem to bother him outwardly. And six months later he had a girlfriend and seemed as happy as he’s ever been, once again not outwardly happy but living life like it wasn’t hard or challenging at all. He exists day to day and that’s just what he does, seemingly without deeper thought to anything going on around him.

I’m conflicted here because, well, what is the point of all of this? I mean life by the way. If it’s to be happy and content with the day to day humdrum of it all, this guy probably has it made. Dumb as a rock, but content and happy with his Jack and Dews and his new girlfriend. Something smart and wise about The Allegory of the Cave here to illustrate my point. How important is ignorance to being happy?

And what in the hell am I doing? I’m writing a big rambly blog post about happiness, ignorance, and wondering what the hell the point of it all is. Who’s really the flawed human being here: me or the dipshit from work? I’m always bothered by everything, wondering about everything, trying to discover the deep secrets of existence, trying to be my best self — as enlightened as Buddha himself, stressing out about how my life is always running out of time and trying to do something important with the rest of my time. Objectively my life is pretty damn good but I can’t help thinking there is more I could be doing and I’m not living up to my protentional or something.

Maybe we’re just two different people: he’s living his best life because he doesn’t give a shit about anything ‘deeper’ whereas myself is fixated on ‘deeper meaning’ so I’m continually needing to gain new information and insights for how to live my life. Maybe it all makes sense given who we are as people. I still think it’s bullshit that life — or maybe my life — apparently requires me to listen to podcasts and go to a therapist and make lists of values and intentions to feel like I’m making personal progress, but I can’t help but feel like I am making progress and maybe this path is the path I gotta take. Sure it’s painfully slow progress but it’s progress none-the-less.

(I did some Googling and came across this Reddit post from someone who gave some good criticisms to the whole “self-development trap” as he calls it. It’s interesting to see the counterpoint, the idea that you will be you no matter what you do. I’d still like to disagree but oh well.)

Check out my YouTube channel about off-grid green energy setups!

Or my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Infinite Choice Sucks

One thing I learned from my vacation and sobriety is that are tons of things to do. I’m a huge proponent of the “boredom leads to drinking” theory but maybe that’s misplaced. It might be a “lack of motivation leads to drinking” or something like that. If you have a bunch of shit you need to do but no motivation to do them, it feels really similar to boredom. When you’re bored you want to do something fun or exciting and writing a blog post or cleaning the cat litter feels more chore-like than anything else. Drinking gives you a little (TEMPORARY) boost to motivation and that can help you get the ball rolling on being productive.

Today is one of those days where I have a list of stuff to take care of but it already feels like I’m woefully short on time. It’s only 2 p.m. too! The entire weekend feels this way; I used to be ‘bored’ on the weekends but now I feel like the weekend isn’t nearly long enough for all the crap I want/need to do.

Here’s todays to-do list: Write a blog post. Change the description for my Amazon Option Trading book. Advertise Option Trading book. Make a rain barrel for our garden. Buy supplies for said rain barrel. Make a YouTube video about making a DIY rain barrel. Make a solar YouTube video. Buy my mom Ice Mountain water because who the fuck knows why I have to do this really. Deliver her Ice Mountain water. Take down my wind generator because it has a broken blade and vibrates annoyingly when it’s windy. Shave. Shower. Cook. I’d love to get off my ass and go for a jog/bike ride but this is obviously low-priority given everything else. At this point I feel like if I went on a bike ride I’d only be doing it to procrastinate the real work I should be doing. Real work takes mental effort whereas bike riding is, well, riding a bike. Somewhere in all of this I’ll probably have to eat or make food for the kids, you know, just little random shit that can derail your focus.

TMI, but the coffee just kicked in and I have to use the bathroom. See what I mean?

There’s also the non-zero possibility that I become derailed by YouTube sometime today. Most days I somehow end up watching two hours worth of YouTube, mostly educational, sciency videos where it feels like I’m learning something, but I’m still pissing time away doing absolutely nothing I’d be proud of. When I’m dying I doubt I’ll be like, “I lived a good life. I watched so many YouTube videos and learned so much!”

I suppose this blog post is about choice. I’ve been fixated on it the past few days. Think about it: there’s nearly an infinite amount of things you could do right this minute. You could run outside naked and play in the street. You could hop in your car and drive to California. You could go rob a bank. You could take a nap. You could look for another job. Anything (Obviously within reason)! You’re about as free and as conscious of this freedom as any living being has ever been and it’s pretty crazy to think about.

And if you’re reading this you’re choosing to read this for some reason. And I’m very appreciative that out of the millions of things you could be doing, you’re here. I’d say you’re using your time terribly and should be doing something else, but thanks!

I’ve never forgotten this quote from Anthony Bourdain. I don’t even know the guy much — he did something about food and traveling, that’s all I know about him — but the quote stuck with me like few others have. Here ya go:

Choice is a pain in the ass. We’re all human, and therefore we’re all animals, prone to all those animalistic tendencies. Our minds wander around, thoughts just appear out of no where, and most of the time we don’t even know why we do the things we do. I have a strong urge to piss away three hours playing Kerbal Space Program, and why exactly do I want to do that? Do I want to waste time doing something fun or do I want to procrastinate the real work I feel I should be doing? Basically being human and trying to be effective with your choices is like herding cats.

But I suppose choice is what defines our lives. Given the wide range of possible things you could be doing right this moment and with the limited time you have, your options are stupidly, dangerously, and maddeningly limited. It’s stressful to decide on what you should/want to do. I have ten hours left in the day before I’ll be tired and go to bed. What will I do with those ten, and only ten, hours? Will I piss it away on YouTube or do something better, something I’ll be more fulfilled by? I’m hoping for the latter, but herding cats and all.

A lot of people seem paralyzed by choice, floating along in life where things only happen to them like a raft passively floating down the river. This is bad because it robs you of agency to decide and dictate your own life. You might feel like a passenger in life, floating along and reacting instead of acting. You could be reacting to your subconscious as well, making choice even stranger to think about. Random cravings for Taco Bell that piss away an hour of driving without any thought behind whether you’re actually choosing to get shitty Taco Bell or you’re just on a raft with your subconscious calling the shots.

Choice, you have near infinite things you could be doing, but you’re reading this. What are you going to do after you read this? I hope you give some thought to your actions and realize your choices define you as a person, they write your life story. Be proactive and choose well. Thanks for reading!

Check out my YouTube channel about off-grid green energy setups!

Or my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

On the Quest for Skittles

A friend at work just got hired at the Post Office. Good for him and I’m glad he’s gotten out of UPS. Sadly, he only found this out Wednesday and he starts next Monday. Wow, so much for the two-week notice. So much for giving the rest of the crew time to actually adjust to this guy leaving soon. Two full work days and he’s gone! It’s kind of shocking really.

He’s a cool dude, and over the past year I’d like to think we’ve become pretty good work buddies. He’s one of the guys that I was going to miss with our dreaded crew shift change this week, and I guess I get to miss him some more because he isn’t even going to be there after tonight. Eh, enough crying from me; I really do wish him luck and am glad that he’s found something bigger and better. I always admire when people live up to their potential. Not that his potential is to be a Postal Worker but I hope you get the idea. He’s moving forward in life.

I like to get people going-away gifts if I care for them enough and can actually think of something to get them. The last time someone left I bought a fifty-pack of Pilot G-2 pens from Amazon; she was leaving to be a hot-shot supervisor and what better gift for a supervisor than a metric fuck-ton of G-2s! (I only use G-2s, preferably the 0.03mm G-2s. The 0.05mm ones are fine while the 0.07 and 0.1mm pens just have too fat of a line when you write. They’re smooth, but they’re sloppy. I’m not joking here either: I only use G-2s and refuse, REFUSE! to use any other pen. You can take your shitty Bics and fuck right off because I have about three G-2s in my pocket at all times.) Despite this, I couldn’t really think of anything to get this guy. Nothing at all.

BITCH, YOU THOUGHT I WAS JOKING? WELL I WASN’T. #G2LYFE #G2GANG

Then inspiration struck like lighting. Where do thoughts come from? No one knows, they just kinda appear out of nowhere and you have to be aware and lucky enough to grab one out of the ether when it appears. It’s the essence of creativity! My great idea: Skittles and Gardetto’s. Seriously.

The past few months at work we’d sit in the crew van and eat Gardetto’s and Skittles. They’re somehow the dream team of vending machine snacks. You eat the salty Gardetto’s and wash them down with the ever-so-sweet Skittles. I don’t know why this combo is so damn good but it is. We bonded over our love of Gardetto’s and Skittles!

After therapy I drove to Schnuck’s to find two massive bags of these snacks, the bigger the better. And what better place to go than a legit grocery store? Apparently I was wrong. I only found a couple of ‘large bags’ of Gardetto’s; 8.6oz bags containing a measly eight servings per bag. I bought two of these because they were so damn smaller than I wanted. The candy aisle was even more of a letdown; they didn’t have any large bags of Skittles. What the fuck Schnuck’s? What a shitty fucking store. I wasn’t about to buy the smaller vending machine sized bags in the checkout lanes and was also stubborn enough to not give up. I had only two hours until work to find a big fucking bag of Skittles and I was more determined than I’ve ever been. No one was going to fuck up my plan. No one.

Onto Walmart. Luckily Walmart being a total dogshit store has a massive selection of candy and chips. Schnuck’s is too far up their own asses being a proper grocery store to stock total bullshit items like bulk bags of Skittles. Walmart (for the first time in my life) did not disappoint. I found my big bag of Skittles — a whopping 1lb 11oz bag with who knows how many servings and calories — as well as a bigger ‘family sized’ bag of Gardetto’s. Mission Fucking Accomplished.

So this was kinda a silly and stupid post, but please appreciate how even your best and simplest ideas and plans somehow get fucked up. I’m not trying to get into a big spiel about how hard work and persistence is the key to success, but that’s actually what I’m saying. Look at me, today I’m the perfect example of it. I faced untold hardships and struggles and somehow accomplished my dream of getting a giant bag of Skittles and Gardetto’s for my friend’s last day of work. He’s gonna be eating this shit in his mail truck for weeks!

Check out my YouTube channel about off-grid green energy setups!

Or my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

An ATM Trip (and It Sucked)

Another day where I wanted to write something good and life shits on me.

My dad called and asked to borrow $20. Again. He borrowed $20 last week after finally paying me the $200 he owed me with his stimmy check/BidenBux™. I don’t mind borrowing my dad money because he pays me back. It might take awhile, but he’s good with his debt. My mom on the other hand…

I checked my wallet and I had seven $1 bills on me; this is not $20. I didn’t say anything about going to the ATM because I figured he’d find out soon enough. He showed up, I hopped in the passenger seat, and told him I didn’t actually have $20 so a trip to the ATM was on the itinerary. And yes I made him drive me there because I’m doing him a favor so he can work for his money. I always try to have $60 cash on me at all times to make these random, “can I borrow some money” situations easier, but no one is perfect.

We get to the ATM and there are two cars in front of us. The first dude left, circled around and parked in the parking lot. I’ve seen many people do this at the ATM and don’t really give a shit what they’re doing. My dad on the other hand: “What’s he parked over there for?” I said I didn’t know and continued to jam out to Poison’s Talk Dirty to Me; it’s their best song. Poison can fuck right off — I despise hair metal from the ’80s — but that song is a fucking bop. “Do you think he put something on the machine to steal people’s information?” No, I really doubt that. Who the fuck would install something on an ATM in broad daylight and then sit forty feet away? These people are sneaky — jail time isn’t fun and defeats the purpose of robbing people — and clever. They’re not going to sit there and manually steal shit. If you’ve programmed a device to steal info from cards you probably also programmed a ‘memory’ feature where it just, you know, stores the information for later.

I also didn’t have to try very hard to know what he was really thinking: “I bet this guy is going to sell/buy drugs.” Everyone on the West Side of Rockford in a parking lot is looking to buy drugs. Obviously. Luckily, he didn’t say this so I didn’t have to cringe and wonder what the hell happened to him over the years.

The second guy was fucking around doing his thing at the ATM and dad called him a “stupid motherfucker” for some reason. Not to him directly, but said it aloud in the car. For what reason, I don’t know, but shit, how dare this guy use the ATM? We’re also sitting in line waiting to use the ATM so what’s the big deal dad? Just let me listen to Poison for fucks sake.

I didn’t care so gave him my card and told him my PIN. (Never say ‘PIN number’ by the way. PIN stands for personal identification number so saying ‘PIN number’ is like saying personal identification number number. It’s the same with ‘ATM machine’; the M in ATM is already for machine, you don’t need to say it twice!) He fucks something up so I get out, walk around, and get the money for him.

He then proceeds to circle around and park in the exact same spot that the first guy was parked in. You know, the guy stealing card info/dealing drugs. I became excited; we’re we going to steal some shit or buy some drugs? Sadly, no. His car was overheating.

So there we were standing outside with the hood up looking like two basic white dudes looking at a car engine. All we needed was a few beers and grease all over us and we’d be a stereotype. He pops the cap off the coolant reservoir, pours in the remaining coolant he had (it wasn’t enough), and slams the hood. We were on our way.

I gave him the remaining coolant I had in the garage. I don’t even know why we had two bottles, maybe I’m just obsessive about having fluids stocked, but it was nice to get rid of them. Dad opened the hood, filled up the rest of the coolant reservoir, and pondered what the hell was wrong with his car. He recently changed the thermostat so it wasn’t that. He asked me what I thought was wrong and after ten seconds of silence I said, “I have to think about it.” I was serious too; let me mull over the problem for a few hours, let my brain percolate it in my subconscious. Let me sleep on it, maybe I’ll have a dream where the solution is obvious. Hell if I know what it is currently; I hate cars. They’re complicated and fixing them is bullshit.

Anyways…

Sometimes I wonder when my parents went off the rails. Maybe they’ve always been this way and I’ve never noticed. Maybe I needed to get away from them and have my own unique personality and life before I realized how flawed they are? As a teenager I saw my parents as adults, people that have their shit together and have life pretty much figured out, and sure I complained at the time about how fucking stupid they were but it was mostly me being a stock, basic, edgy teenager. Somewhere between then and now my view of them has changed. They don’t have a fucking thing figured out! I don’t either, but I’m further along in having shit figured out than they do. When did I become a more functional adult, even with all my fuckups and issues, than they are?

When did my dad get so paranoid about strangers? When did he become scared of every single thing in the world? When did he start to see evil everywhere? Does he see a different world than I do? Is he living in an alternate reality? I saw people at the ATM getting money for whatever the fuck they’re getting money for — I don’t really care — and he sees threats. When did my dad’s health spiral out of control, and why? Why doesn’t he have a job and why can’t he support himself? Health issues obviously, but why doesn’t he give a shit about his health? Why doesn’t he want to fix anything in his life? Why’s he so passive and willing to live in his shitty current state? Why does he have no will to improve or be proactive? Why won’t he just go see a damn therapist for once? He doesn’t seem like the dad I had a decade ago and that is both confusing and scary. It’s hard not to reflect this back on yourself; what if I lose my fucking marbles in ten or twenty years? What if I go off the rails and stop making sense? What if I stop being a dad around the kids and turn into a kid myself where they have to support me and my fuckups? I don’t want that to be me.

Shit, that got deep at the end. Thanks for reading.

Check out my YouTube channel about off-grid green energy setups!

Or my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.