Driving Sucks: The Boredom of Traveling

My sister had her gallbladder removed last week. It’s not a major surgery as far as surgeries go but it is removing a fucking organ so it’s kind of a big deal. Anyways, she’s off work because UPS (Yes, she also works at UPS. My dad worked at UPS. My cousin worked at UPS. My wife worked at UPS.) doesn’t want her working a week after having an organ removed. As I won’t shut up about this week, I’m on vacation. She always visits us so why not return the favor and visit her for once?

Davenport, Iowa is exactly two hours away from Rockford. My family likes to take I-39 to I-80 but if you look at a map this takes you unnecessarily south from the straight line distance. It’s wasteful and the highway is boring. I plotted a new route that is both shorter distance-wise, the same time-wise, has no tolls, and is half winding country roads and half interstate. I might be blowing this out of proportion but this route — my route because I ‘invented’ it — is the perfect way to drive from Rockford to Davenport.

I present to you Illinois Route 2 to Dixon and then to Davenport via I-88. Circle the quad cities to the north via I-80 and you’re there. The optimal route.

Don’t be fooled, “Best Route” is really like 1 hr 55.

About 20 minutes into the two-hour trip I was already pissed off. I hate driving. It’s boring. It takes too much attention but it’s not mind-challenging attention. It’s driving. You follow the lane. It’s just enough to keep you occupied but not enough to keep you entertained. Cruise control takes a bit of the bullshit out of driving but you still gotta follow those fucking lane lines! I imaged owning a Tesla and letting it drive you wherever you tell it to. I wouldn’t sleep but it would be nice to sit and think, enjoy the scenery and the music, and just exist without the distraction of having to constantly stay in your lane.

Illinois 2 is a beautiful road. It follows the Rock River southwest, and by following the river I mean it hugs it for major portions of the road. It’s windy, it’s wooded, and it’s picturesque. It’s a fun road to drive on. It’s not a mindless interstate filled with trucks and jackass drivers. It didn’t matter. Even 20 minutes of Il. Rte. 2 had me bored and this only became worse on the interstate.

60 mph is a good speed because it means you drive a mile every minute. It turns the road distance signs into time. 72 miles to Moline? 72 minutes: 1 hour 12 minutes. Sure we were going 75 mph, but the math is still close. 72 miles is nearly an hour. An hour on the flat, straight interstate surrounded by endless corn fields.

I remember my North Carolina friend and his recent trip back to Rockford. 15 hours, right? Something like that, it doesn’t matter. Once you’ve driven for 4 or 5 hours nothing really matters anymore. You’re zoned out and exist in some realm outside of everyone else. Just the road, traffic, and the sun slowly making its way across the sky. He drove this in a single shot and took four 15-minute naps when he stopped for gas. Fuck that. Fuck everything about that, it sounds awful. This is a scenario I image to be similar to hell. “Sit here tired and sleep deprived and follow the lane lines. For how long? For forever!” My North Carolina friend is apparently built differently than myself.

Music is nice and we listened to Green Day’s Dookie (one of the best albums of all time) and Insomniac. Even this wasn’t perfect as you gotta focus on the road and traffic! Music is best when you can listen to it without distractions; anyone who writes knows you can’t really listen to music without it turning into background noise. Even this minor pleasure was stolen from me as my Bluetooth thingy (it plugs into the 12 Volt outlet and broadcasts a radio signal to your car) kept fucking randomly cutting out. I eventually unplugged it and tossed it violently into the backseat when it cut out in the middle of London Calling.

The radio station was on some right-wing talk news channel when the Bluetooth shit out and I tried to listen to it for shits and giggles. Nope, it was infuriating. They were talking about aborted fetuses and how they’re used for scientific experiments and the condescending moral overtones to the whole thing made me uneasy. I vaguely understood how someone listening to that for a few hours each day would become radicalized and that was all the insight I needed to change the station. What did I change it to you might ask? Static. I listened to static because it was better than talk radio. After a few minutes my wife was sick of my radio static and found a proper radio station that was playing Somebody to Love by Queen. Thank God! I belted out the final verse or whatever and noted silently that Queen kinda sucks to listen to in the car. Freddy Mercury has such an intense and badass/beautiful/bombastic voice that you cannot sing along to their songs. You just can’t. It ruins the song. Queen forces you to sit there and listen to Freddy while you feel like shit at your own (lack of) singing abilities.

Green Day. Gun’s and Roses. Metallica. AC/DC. And so on. You know the deal.

My wife drove on the way back and being a passenger was nice for the first half hour, but then I was bored with that. Following those damn lane lines earlier was a pain, but at least it was something to do. As a passenger you just sit there and while it was nice to look around at the scenery we do live in Illinois; what the fuck is there to actually look at? It was also night so that didn’t help. I looked at the stars but as an astronomy nut I’m not too excited by stars anymore. I wanna see SpaceX satellites, the space station, galaxies and nebulae. I’ve seen the fucking big dipper plenty of times. Did you know the big dipper is next to the constellation/zodiac sign Leo? Yeah, after the car ride I was aware of it.

To wrap this all together, America is a huge country. If you look at our route from Davenport to Rockford you’ll notice it’s nothing compared to the country itself. It’s a tiny fragment of coast to coast. Two hours of mindless driving to go nowhere at all. California, Florida, Washington, so fucking far away. And it’s not even the entire US either, think of the entire planet; Earth is a big fucking place. 75 mph feels fast when you’re in a car but it is painfully slow.

I can’t help but think of the American pioneers covering the same land I was traveling, only they did it with wagons and horses. That had to be hell. What were they thinking? Or people that sailed across oceans on boats slightly bigger than our Honda Civic. What were they thinking? You also can’t forget the Native Americans and how they walked across the Bering land bridge thousands of years ago and populated both North and South America, all from walking. Sure they didn’t do this in a single lifetime and it was more of mass migration over centuries, but still they fucking walked the whole way. And here I am bitching about being stuck in a car for two hours complaining about how my Bluetooth thingy didn’t work right. I suppose it’s all about perspective. And these guys probably weren’t traveling for the sake of traveling, they were on an adventure with a greater purpose. And maybe adventures are more exciting than boring trips on an interstate. It’s not about the mileage and distance, it’s about the unknown. And driving cross-country in the US is not unknown at all. It’s mindless driving to places that people have already pioneered and built roads to. There is no adventure. I fucking hate driving.

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Socializing Sucks

There was a time when I thought I was a closeted extrovert. For those who don’t know extroverts are people who get their batteries recharged from social interaction. They’re the people that sit at home bored losing their minds and then go hang out with people to pick themselves up. There were a few times where social interaction put me in a manic mood, like when you have a deep conversation with a friend or really connect with someone. Maybe that is me? Maybe I’m an extrovert?

I always thought I was an introvert because I was shy. But shy and introverted are two different things and I suppose you can have shy extroverts and outgoing introverts. (Who the hell are those people anyways? Anyone have examples?) Also being introverted doesn’t mean you hate social interaction and I think this causes a bunch of introverts like myself some problems. I love social interaction but end up thinking something like, “But I’m introverted. I don’t like people. Why do I feel lonely?” You can see where the problem is hopefully.

After this week I’m certain I’m an introvert. I’ve been as close to a social butterfly this week as I possibly can be and I’m exhausted. Part of it is probably due to not drinking and recovering from that mess, but a lot of it is from socializing.

Therapy last Friday wasn’t good. I admitted to drinking and feeling miserable and noted how damn insecure I was about the upcoming shift change at work and possibly losing friendships that I cherish. She gave an obvious suggestion: keep in touch with them over vacation. You know, show that I value them as friends. That was my ‘homework’ assignment for this past week. Just be somewhat social and “check in” on my friends while I’m away.

What I found was eye-opening. I knew I had severe anxiety at texting people and I regularly won’t respond to a text I deem “important” for fear of saying the wrong thing, or not wording what I want to say perfectly, or maybe because I’m scared they won’t reply back. Sometimes I’ll need to be drunk to have the courage to reply, and that leads to “drunken-text anxiety” the following morning. Let’s make this clear too; these are just regular texts to friends and nothing more. Texting a love interest and having anxiety is understandable but I’m just an anxious mess apparently.

So I dove into texting and trying to hang out with a few friends I haven’t seen in a long time. I was forcing myself to reply to messages in less than a day and practiced just, you know, replying like a sane and relaxed human being. And you know what? It actually worked! By the end of the week I was texting and replying like a fucking champ with all the casualness in the world. If I didn’t get a reply, oh well, who gives a shit? The conversation was probably over anyways.

My friend from North Carolina moved back this week and I texted him asking if he needed help moving. He said that’d be cool so I drove over Thursday to help. His parents had already moved most of his stuff up to his second floor apartment and I only helped with a TV and it’s stand. His parents are super cool people so interacting with them wasn’t too bad, but the anxiety was still there. Hanging out with this guy is easy mode because he’s about the most outgoing and extroverted guy in the world. It reminds me of how extroverts in high school sometimes adopt the quiet, introverted kids to be their friends. But I’m proud I did some work to actually reach out to him and helping is always fun. As an introvert you can’t count on the extroverts to do the work all the time.

My wife and I drove to Davenport Iowa to see my sister and her girlfriend Friday. I need to write a post about how much I hate driving, or did my past drunken self already do that? We were only there for two hours and I was dead for about half the time, once again partly due to not drinking, partly due to the two hour car ride, and partly due to socializing. Shit, even socializing with my sister drains my battery. Meeting her girlfriend for the second time was also stressful, but she’s an extrovert (I think) and better at carrying a conversation than the other three of us, so talking to her was enjoyable, but still draining. I did my best to ask her about herself because introverts can’t rely on the extroverts to always make the conversation. We made it back home after another two hours and I sat on the couch dead for a half hour before jumping into Kerbal Space Program to recharge them batteries.

Aaannnd yesterday. I hung out with a guy I used to work with a decade ago. We have a fun backstory beyond that; we used to date sisters! I never talked to him at the time but he got hired at UPS and we became friends by association. “Oh, you’re the guy that’s dating my crazy ex’s sister. Cool!” Eventually they broke up so now we get to bond over having crazy ex-girlfriend sisters. Yeah, to hell with them.

He wanted to hang out two months ago but I blew him off and disappeared into the ether like I do. I texted him earlier this week admitting as much. “Hey dude, sorry I disappeared for a few months there but I’m on vacation this week. Want to get together and do something?” Man look at me, being the guy asking people to hang out! He came over today and we talked outside for an hour before grabbing some food. I tried my best to be “present” in the conversation but damn do I have almost zero energy to work with. My social battery came from a five-year-old phone apparently. We only hung out for three hours but once again I sat on the couch and just spaced out after he left. I’m so damn tired and exhausted even though I did nothing physical at all.

And there’s the whole visiting my Gramma/Uncle/Aunt/Cousin that I mentioned in this post. It was the same thing: an hour of mild conversation followed by me getting sleepy and lethargic and wanting to go home and play video games. But it’s family so it’s not that big of an achievement.

Achievement. Yes, I think that’s what it is. It sounds silly but a week ago I was stressed about vacation, being bored, feeling lonely, being forgotten by my work friends, and drinking to mask it all up. I sobered up and even if that was shitty and stressful by itself I still managed to face the anxiety and stress of social rejection and text people. It’s not that bad either; what exactly am I so worried about? And I really went above and beyond by hanging out with a few friends and family members that I haven’t seen in quite a long time. I think today I’m going to be a total introvert and just relax. Maybe read a book or play video games or garden of all things.

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

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The COVID Vaccine Sucks (Part Two): My Selfish Family

The first part is here. It’s not really a ‘hard’ part one — it’s not required reading before this post — but if you want to check it out go right ahead.

I dragged my ass out of bed to help my dad change his oil. The first thing I said to him after I fired up the coffee maker was, “Yeah, I feel like shit today. I got the COVID vaccine yesterday and it’s fucking killing me.” He replied with the always-present passive-aggressive laugh along with, “I don’t care.” Okay, well nice to see you too. I cannot wait to change your car’s oil for you! I wasn’t really upset or pissed — I wasn’t farming for sympathy and was only making idle conversation, explaining why I felt awful — but getting shit on so quickly was jarring.

So my dad obviously doesn’t seem too worried about COVID and the vaccine. Most people are at least selfishly worried about it, they don’t want to catch it themselves, and he’s a very high-risk person. A few years ago he had a pulmonary embolism and almost died, so his lungs aren’t the best. He also smokes. You think this would kick his ass into gear to get the vaccine, but no, he doesn’t seem to give a shit about it. The little information I got from him (besides the condescending ‘I don’t care’) is that he wants the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine; he doesn’t want to be bothered with getting two shots, even if his life actually might depend on it.

My mom is the only person in my family that seems to take COVID seriously. She still hasn’t gotten her shot though, which is confusing. Seeing as I’m one of the ‘lower risk’ people, I assume if I got my shot anyone can get one now. Making this even more frustrating is the fact that her job — she takes care of old people in their homes — is paying her a bonus to get the shot! She still hasn’t. My mom is famously bad with money and being logical at all and this is a great example of it. And Why the hell didn’t I get paid to get the vaccine?!

The other people in my family have even more questionable beliefs. We visited my grandma a few days ago. She had just gotten back from a stint in a nursing home/rehab facility for falling and also caught pneumonia. I asked if she had the vaccine and she hasn’t yet, but her health isn’t very good. She’s almost 90 and a smoker so I can see the doctors not wanting to stress her body anymore at this point in time. Luckily she seems pretty level-headed about COVID; she’s never been a big science nerd or anything but hasn’t spouted any conspiracy-level bullshit either about it. I’ll give grandma a pass on not getting the vaccine.

My uncle was there when we were visiting. I’ve never talked to him about his political beliefs because fuck that mess, but I have an idea of what he believes. Right wing, yes, conspiracy nut and Q? I don’t know, maybe. He’s a big fan of the NRA and carries his fucking pistol with him all the time. I’ve probably mentioned how jarring it is seeing a loaded gun on my grandma’s dining table when we visit. Basically if anyone has some crazy-ass beliefs in the family it’ll be him and I don’t even want to bring a conversation anywhere near politics if he’s around. Since everything is politicized for some reason I don’t talk to him very much.

According to grandma, him, my aunt, and my cousin (who were also visiting) at the very least don’t think COVID is a big deal. They don’t want the vaccine because why the hell would you get vaccinated if it’s not a credible threat? Once again I don’t talk to them about their beliefs, but my cousin posts some questionable stuff on Facebook. I think a year ago she was proud of not wearing a mask in stores probably because she’s sticking up for ‘liberty’ or her ‘personal freedoms’ or some trash such as that. Such a hero for liberty by not wearing a mask! She’s right up there with Paul Fucking Revere! Anyways, she probably thinks some extreme shit: COVID is a hoax, COVID isn’t dangerous, COVID is just the flu, COVID is blah blah fucking blah. At least my aunt wore a mask around us when we were over there. My cousin? Nothing. Fuck COVID. Fuck masks. And so on.

Uncle and Aunt (according to Gramma) seem concerned with any side effects and such. I like to think of this as ‘conspiracy lite’ beliefs or something; even if my aunt did think COVID was legit, she’s still doesn’t want to get the vaccine for vague reasons that aren’t actually reasons.

I feel like some strange odd-man-out in my family. I said it in the last post, but I’m a huge fan of the ‘greater good’ (I’m starting to consider this one of my elusive ‘personal values’) and in terms of a pandemic this isn’t abstract at all: the more people that are vaccinated the better. The virus can’t propagate through the population and the entire key to ending this is just to stop the spread. Masks and social distancing we’re good initial steps (that the US totally fucked up anyways) but a vaccine is the endgame. If a bunch of people, and I don’t know the number exactly because I’m not an epidemiologist, get vaccinated, BAM, the pandemic is over! It’s such an easy action that anyone can do that’ll contribute greatly to society. It makes you into a hero, a shitty small hero but a hero none-the-less.

Then there’s my family. Even if their reasons are ‘legit’ like worrying about the side effects, I still see these reasons as selfish at a basic level. Yes, your health is important, but the health of the 300+ million other Americans is also important. I don’t think it’s extreme to view yourself as at least equal to the rest of your fellow humans, and ridiculous to think that you are someone so special that your personal beliefs negate the need for you to get the vaccine. I just don’t get it. It makes even less sense when they’re around my grandma, the definition of an ‘at risk’ person, without the vaccine. As much as people toss around the word ‘Love’ in my family, they sure don’t show it. Yes, they take care of my grandma and do tons of shit for her but the lack of getting the vaccine for shitty personal reasons seems like a huge oversight in the ‘Love’ department.

And let’s not even get into the hoaxers like my cousin probably is. It’s selfish as well, but so ridiculously selfish it’d be hilarious if it wasn’t so dangerous. Imagine thinking that you are one of the chosen few that truly understands what is going on in the world. Fuck the scientists and experts that studied things like these for literal decades; you see right through their lies!

It started with me feeling odd being the only one that has gotten the vaccine in my family but I feel even stranger thinking of the reasons behind it; it’s because I’m not selfish, at least as much as they are. Damn that sounds egotistical as fuck but I’m serious. This shit does not compute in my brain and it seems so simple! Get the vaccine, protect strangers, protect those around you, end the pandemic, and what’s the downside to that? Oh, you might feel like shit for three days. It’s an easy tradeoff. I’m not worried about side effects because if they’re serious enough they’re also rare enough that I don’t mind taking the risk. I’m certain the risk my family feels is totally blown out of proportion as well, kinda like being scared to fly when it’s mathematically shown to be the safest form of travel we have. Like I said in the last post, JUST GET THE FUCKING VACCINE! (Unless of course you’re immunocompromised or have an actual legit reason to not get it, obviously.)

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.

The COVID Vaccine Sucks (Part One)

About a month ago I got the COVID vaccine. A month prior I had signed up over our county’s health department website to be notified when I’d be eligible to get the vaccine; I figured those guys are the main coordinators of all of this shit so why mess around trying to do it all myself? Why in the fuck would I want to call my doctor or a handful of CVS/Walgreens trying to figure out if they had openings? They sent me an email that Friday with a vaccination site and a link to schedule an appointment. I was bored as all hell so scheduled a time; surprisingly they had appointments open on the same day so I gave myself an hour and scheduled one at 4 p.m. It was 3:05 at the time.

I of course drove to the wrong church because Riverside Blvd. has about six churches along a three mile stretch of road. But eventually I got there, followed the signs and was greeted by military dudes in camo! Huh? They all seemed pretty cool and the guys at the entrance desk were super professional.

It all went smoothly enough. I was herded to a table with two other camo dudes, these not as professional as the others and they seemed almost mind-numbingly bored with stabbing people with needles all day but I guess I could see their point-of-view. It didn’t seem like the funnest use of your time. You sign up to protect America from all enemies within and without the country and you end up battling a fucking virus by giving shots to the lame civilians in Illinois. Not glorious, not fun, but maybe that’s what being a hero really is.

One guy said, “It’ll just be a little prick,” which I’m used to thanks to donating blood sorta frequently. When they jam a massive needle into your arm to harvest a pint of blood you stop caring about those lesser shot needles. Get that baby shit out of here, I’m a real man! And it was a little prick, but what he didn’t tell me was when the vaccine is actually administered it hurts like hell. It felt like my right arm was being injected with a gallon of liquid, like a balloon was being blown up inside my arm. It also slightly burned but I didn’t notice that because of the whole balloon feeling. The shot was over, so “Please go have a seat over there for fifteen minutes. If you feel fine after that, you can leave.”

For the next few minutes it felt like someone Charlie-horsed the fuck out of my arm. But that went away and I sat there bored for the remaining fifteen minutes. Part of me wanted to get the hell out of there after ten minutes just to prove my theory that no one really gives a shit about you or notices you — no one is going to jump up and say “Hey! He’s escaping!” — but I’m a good boy and sat there for exactly fifteen minutes. It was the first time I had been in a church in years so it couldn’t hurt. Maybe God would forgive my sins if I sat there for my allotted time.

The rest of Friday was normal. No arm pain, no aches, no strange side effects; I was fucking immune to the vaccine obviously. I went to work, asked some friends about their COVID shot and one of them said she felt like ass on the third day. She also said she never has any effects from vaccines — this is not true for me– so I was probably screwed.

Luckily I didn’t have to be nervous for long. 10:30 p.m. rolled on by and I felt…off. Tired, kind of dreamy, and I thought maybe it was the lack of alcohol in my system; usually my body has alcohol at 9:30 so maybe it was asking where the good stuff was. As time went on it got worse and people would talk to me and I couldn’t really get a grasp on what was being said. My brain was too tired to hear, listen, process, think of a reply, and then move my mouth and lungs to say said reply. So I’d just go, “Umm. Huh? What? Oh,” to everything said to me.

Saturday I was dead. Legit dead. I slept until 2 p.m. when my dad woke me up wanting his oil changed. We had planned this out days earlier, but I had forgotten about it. I made some coffee and tried my best to get on with the day but I had zero energy. I was achy. I was sleepy. I wanted to lay around and exist because that’s all I could do. Despite this, I somehow dragged myself to the store to get the oil/filter and changed the oil. It was a struggle though and was probably the longest it has ever taken me to change oil! I was moving in slow motion; grabbed the 15mm wrench when I needed the 17mm and it took considerable effort to get off the ground, walk into the garage, and grab the damn thing. Constant inner monologue of, “Okay, just stand up. You need to get the 17mm wrench. Good job! You’ve stood up. Let’s take a couple of minutes and then we’re going to walk 15 feet to the toolbox and find the 17! Are you ready? You can do this! One step at a time! GOOD JOB, YOURE WALKING JUST FINE!”

That day was shit. Day 2, Sunday, was fine. It was Easter and we went to a park. I was over the shitty vaccine side effects.

Work on Monday was fine…Until about 7:30 p.m. that is. I started to get those spacy feelings and became tired and achy. I tried to do some work but I couldn’t so sat in the van for a majority of the airplane load. My friends noted that I “wasn’t with it at all,” or that “Jeremy isn’t doing so good right now…” I don’t remember the rest of the night but I’m here writing so I guess I somehow managed to survive just fine.

And I’ve felt fine ever since. (Fine in regards to the COVID shot. I was still fucking dead from all the drinking, but that’s a different post.) It seems the US has shitty vaccination rates as it is, and I think if everyone really knew how shitty they might feel from the COIVD shot it would just lower the rates even more. Luckily people are stupid and detached so hearing, “aches, pains, nausea” as side effects doesn’t really click until you’re actually feeling it yourself. It’s all an abstraction until it’s not.

I’m not trying to say that I felt so fucking bad that no one should get the shot, and my goal is quite contrary to that. I felt honorable feeling like shit because I knew I did the right thing for everyone. It wasn’t fun for me, but life isn’t all about making yourself feel good. I mean it kinda is, but there’s also literal billions of other people out there, many more susceptible to COVID than you are, and you have to keep that in mind. It’s not about you — you’re not the sole protagonist in the world — it’s about us! In a way I felt like a hero for getting the shot, for the ‘self-sacrifice’ I did for the greater good and for how I stood up for what I believe in. Science, doing what’s right, helping others even if they’re strangers, not falling for bullshit-ass propaganda. Not being a dipshit. And so on.

Apparently I’m mostly alone in feeling this way, at least when compared to the rest of my family. People are stupidly self-centered even if it puts everyone else at risk, even those close to you that you purportedly love. They don’t want the shot because reasons or something. That’s a big part two to this and I PROMISE I’ll post that tomorrow. Just go get the fucking vaccine so we can go back to socializing at eating at restaurants or something.

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.

Vacation, Drinking, and Not Drinking

I guess I’m doing this again. 2:30 a.m. tired but unable to sleep. Might as well write.

I’m back to sober life and today is day four. I fell of the wagon or whatever it is a few weeks ago…maybe? It’s amazing how I’ve lost track of all time and structure since I started boozing it up again. A fewish weeks of being drunk is a whole lot better than my last three month streak. I’ll take the victory and move forward.

Something came along and hit me so hard, or maybe I wasn’t prepared for any life difficulties, that I took up alcohol. It was only for one day but any drinkers/ex-drinkers know how that works. It doesn’t. Anyways, and this sounds pathetic as a drinking trigger, but we’re being grouped into new teams at work. Instead of a big group of 25 people working together like a chaotic beehive were going to have actual supervisors and teams separate from each other. The big news that shit on me? I wasn’t going to be with my friends or anyone I really knew.

This sent me on such a violent downward spiral that I didn’t know how else to cope but alcohol. My mind was racing with shitty thoughts that I couldn’t banish with the cute protips the therapist suggests to me. No calming thoughts or self-soothing (that’s a shitty word really) could do anything. My thoughts went something like this: “No friends. It takes me literal years to make friends. Why am I so scared of not having friends? Why can’t I have friends outside of work? What about me makes me so ineffective at keeping friendships? Work will suck. And why is work sucking such a big shock to me?” It all sounds like dumbest shit ever to kick you into drinking which made it even worse for me. “I’m drinking over this? What kind of insecure dipshit am I?” And as you go down this path it only gets worse. “I’m a defective human being, holy shit. Pathetic. Why am I such a softie?”

And so on. I’ve been pulling myself out of that rut recently so it’s fine. Progress is slow but I’ll take it. I think it helped that we don’t start our new rotation until next Monday which is nice, but life is never that easy because…

…I’m on vacation this week!

Last week at work I was bullshitting with one of these friends I’m scared to lose about how there’s no work to do. He said soon people would be on vacation and then maybe I could actually do some work and not feel useless. This sparked some interest in me and I wondered when my vacations were. Next Week?! Fuck! Yes, I somehow didn’t know I was going to be on vacation this week until last Wednesday. Fun. And that was the day we had our meeting about the new shifts. Fun. I had that strange feeling that the universe was purposefully shitting on me again for some reason. I was a drunk by that time, but a wise drunk. I knew I had to quit before the new crews started because I obviously cope with stress with alcohol; I better get used to stressful situations before that lest I’d be an alcoholic for the near future. And while I tried to sober up I’d be off work, antsy and bored. Boredom is a massive trigger for my drinking. And when I go back to work it’ll be totally different. Did I say insecurity/fear is also why I drink? Fucking three things to deal with! Stress, change, and boredom are in max force and I have to stop drinking? Sheeeeeeit.

I hit that moment Saturday that all drunks hopefully get: the do or die moment. Some probably call it “rock bottom” but luckily I wasn’t there. I wasn’t in the ER, I wasn’t on a bridge, I wasn’t in a car wreck, and I wasn’t dead. I was at home in bed, unable to sleep, feeling drunk but also ultra-aware of how shitty I felt. It just clicked in my mind a certain question: is this really who you are? More thoughts followed. “Alcohol doesn’t work for you and you know it. What are you scared of? Let’s just not drink. Sure it’ll be shit for a few days, but you know you’re better without it. You’ll write again. You’ll talk and be social. You joke and act like you’re actually alive, like your soul isn’t fucking dead and rotting away.” And so on. You get the idea.

I guess this is day four, or whenever I actually go to sleep and wake up is day four. I still feel…off? Like I’m in a dream and that feeling is disconcerting, but I’m telling myself it’s the lack of alcohol and it’ll pass. It’s a terrible feeling though and hard to explain, maybe fellow ex-drunks know what I’m talking about. Despite feeling perpetually “funny” vacation is actually going great and I’m not too antsy. Once again I blame the antsiness on the lack of booze and am trying to channel it the best I can, like writing at 3 a.m. I’m surprised at how fast it’s going! Like damn it’s Wednesday already? I tilled our garden yesterday and maybe we can plant some vegetables today. I’m also helping a friend move in today; he’s coming back from a stint in North Carolina (Plans apparently change…). My wife’s birthday is tomorrow and hopefully we can get out of the house and do something. Friday and Saturday we’re visiting my sister who had her gallbladder removed. Most surprising of all: I still feel like there’s a million more things to do and I don’t have enough time. Write. Blog. Run. Lift weights. Bike ride. Visit a park. Play guitar. Clean the garage. Clean the cars. Pick up my meds. Cook some meals. Trade stonks. Reply to an email. Fuck with solar power. Make a YouTube video. This all sounds silly coming from someone who drinks out of boredom. I have tons of shit to do and why would I ever drink because I’m bored? Maybe drinking makes up its own reasons to exist like some parasite on your soul. 

Anyways, big disjointed rant over. I feel great. I’ve been silent for awhile but I’m ready to get my shit back together again. I’m skeptical it’ll last long — when is the next crisis going to hit? — but until then, fuck it, I feel fantastic and I’m feeling pretty positive about the future.

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.

A Throwaway Post

I have to leave for work in an hour. And I’m going to sit here and post something, whatever that something is, before I leave because I haven’t done shit here in about three weeks. I’m in one of those severe writer’s block moods where I can’t stand to write. I can only write three or four paragraphs before I’m disgusted by what I’ve written. It’s clunky, it’s nothing special, and I quickly throw it all away through a few quick clicks of the mouse and backspace key. Even now I find myself absolutely limping through this at just a few words at a time. This is painful…

It’s nice that my creativity is dead around the board and isn’t just a writing thing. I also haven’t done shit on YouTube in awhile; I keep wondering what the hell I’m trying to accomplish with it all. Consider it a mild dose of nihilism and no amount of active thinking and positive affirmations have helped. “Just be creative! Give information! Have fun! Do [project] for yourself and no one else!” Well, sadly I need some outside validation and if I could turn that part of myself off like a light switch I would. Fuck viewers, subscribers, comments, etc. and just do what you want to do, BUT I’m fucked and my mind doesn’t quite work that way.

To beat that point some more: I almost had record views on this blog last month! I almost broke the 2,000 mark, but since I didn’t do shit since the 14th or so that didn’t happen. It would’ve been nice but I fell short because I’m a slacker and keeping anything good going for more than a few months at a time is impossible. Man I don’t like being me, but who else can I be? No one. I might as well get used to it but after thirty years I’m not too confident anything will actually change.

(Not important note: You guys ever get WordPress notifications for when your blog ‘goes viral?’ That’s not the terminology used, but it’s similar. A few times last month in the midst of doing jack shit I’d get the notification and find my daily views had skyrocketed from like 20 to 100 for no obvious reason. I’ve always been curious about this. I’m guessing some stranger shares one of your posts or something and, them being fairly popular, people actually read the shared post. I don’t know, maybe something else is going on.)

I almost sat down and wrote a post on Saturday but that didn’t happen. The title: The COVID Vaccine Sucks. It was a great idea for a post to jump back in with because it’s straight-forward and would write itself. I got the vaccine Friday, felt fine for about six hours, and then died. Not literally (obviously) but life was like a walking fever dream. It’s so hard to explain but I just didn’t feel right. Kinda achy but not achy enough to complain about, pretty tired but nothing day breaking, and mentally foggy where it seemed to take effort to form sentences and thoughts. Sluggish, sleepy, and strange. While it would’ve been an easy post to churn out I wasn’t in any state to be productive at all so I let that pass. And now that I feel somewhat normal I don’t care to write about how shitty I felt because it was a few days ago and is just an abstraction now.

I think that’s good enough to start with. I swear taking a three week break from writing seems to erase all progress you’ve made. It feels like I haven’t written anything before and I’m awkwardly trying to create my very first blog post all over again. It fucking sucks. I’m literally sighing at my computer every few minutes at how painfully awkward this is. Feel my frustration people! *SIGH* I think it’s made even worse because I have writer’s block figure out completely: the cure for writer’s block is to write. That’s all there is too it. Just force your way through it. But oh there’s so much more to that simple platitude and you can’t just write because you know it’ll help your block. It’s like telling a depressed person to just not be depressed! Bad analogy, but whatever. You have motivation to find and have to want to get past the writer’s block and it’s much easier just to sit around and be lazy than to do anything about it. Good enough. Time to post.

Viewing a Home Sucks

In an hour we’re going to go look at a house and I’m pretty nervous about it all. The reasons are pretty irrational but I’m still nervous. I have to meet someone new, maybe get to stared at by the current neighbors, and apparently the place were looking at is kind of a rental property so there’s tenants. If we buy this house these people will be paying us to live there. That’s a terrifying thought. In fact the guy, Jorge, that we talked to seemed confused as to why we were interested in it. He asked me if it was for “an investment” to which I replied, “Uh, we’re just looking to buy a house to live in.” Whatever. We can live in 2/3 of the house and maybe rent the other part out. That’s a smart move, right? It’ll be stressful evicting two of the other people/families though. My anxiety just increased quite a bit…

A view from Google Maps. Isn’t this gorgeous?

And then there’s the debt. I have a strong aversion to debt that is justifiable but also not. I was terrified to take out a $12,000 loan to buy a car, so the prospect of going $100,000 in debt for decades is…eh! I think my views on debt differ from about 80% of the general US population but I have no data to back that up with. People seem to love debt! Credit card debt, student loan debt, personal loan debt, auto debt, mortgage debt, payday loan debt, medical debt, and so on. I also have the suspicion that people don’t know how debt actually works. There’s this little thing called “interest” that you also have to pay with debt and owing money is always a net loss compared to just paying up-front in cash. To me debt is a tool to be used sparingly when you need to buy something that you need but can’t afford in cash.

A good example here: a coworker just quit his job to move to Arizona. He bought a quarter-million dollar house and this guy, sorry for the blatant stereotyping, doesn’t seem to be the type of person that should be buying a quarter-million dollar home. Maybe he’s loaded with cash, but probably not. My other coworkers/friends have the suspicion that this guy doesn’t know how interest works. In his head he can probably pay off the home in 10 years; after all $250,000/$25,000 is ten, right? We also joked that he probably isn’t aware of a thing called “property tax” and will try to sue the State of Arizona for plopping a yearly $15,000 charge to his yearly payments. He probably also has like a 50-year mortgage and being in his 50s will be dead before the place is paid for, but rambling story aside, this guy probably doesn’t know how money works.

I think my aversion to debt comes from my parents. They were/are terrible with money and I learned how not to be like them at a very young age. My mom and dad used to have vivid and violent arguments about money as my sister and I were growing up. It always seemed we were living on the edge, just barely making it with zero margin for error. Any unexpected expense that came up could derail the entire family’s security. Worst of all, whenever any extra money did appear (like in the form or a tax return or stimmy check) it would somehow be instantly pissed away and we’d be back to living on the risky edge of poverty again. Like, shit, save some money so you guys aren’t stressed and arguing all the damn time. It makes so much sense in my head that other people not seeing it my way just does not compute. Like at all.

They’re still bad with money. My dad’s car has a stuck thermostat and instead of borrowing the $90 from me (at zero percent interest!) from me to fix it, he’s going to buy coolant at $20 a bottle until his stimmy check comes in. He’s getting his mailed so this could be quite a long time and while he waits…cash losses towards coolant. My mom still itemizes all of her expenses to me whenever we talk. It’s always a woe-is-me story about how she doesn’t make that much and how many bills she has. That fatalistic view where she doesn’t have any say in the direction of her life or anything; she’s just a passenger along for the ride. What happens, happens, and what else can she do other than float along?

That wasn’t to be a woe is me story by the way. I’m just stressing that I’m so goddamn good with money and terrified of debt because my parents are so damn bad with money that I have zero ability to not be this way. And goddamn am I thankful for it. I’m a cheap and greedy bastard who hates to owe anyone anything and find I can never have enough cash on to ever make me feel safe. As if some $40,000 emergency expense will somehow appear out of the ether and ruin my life. All of our cars could instantly blow up and it wouldn’t cost near that much money to cover. Despite having more cash than would ever be needed I still feel I must hoard it.

This is turning into quite the rant about money, isn’t it? It’s about time to go look at that house, so let’s see how that goes. Maybe I’ll write about that later.

***

Well, it’s a hell of a lot later and while I was thinking of tossing this proto-post straight into the trash I’ll allow it to live on. I’m having a six-pack of White Claws as a “celebration” to our failed endeavor: the house is trash, the search continues, and life as I know it is still as boring and mundane as it has been for the past few years. We’re still stuck living at my mother-in-laws home and I’m surprised I haven’t bitched about that entire situation yet on this blog. It’s a mess, and that’s all I’ll write about it at this time.

(Hint: The entire ‘writing-desk situation’ is partially due to my mother-in-law dictating the shit out of her house to where I never have a spot to properly “set up shop.” My shit is constantly being moved, relocated, and lost so it’s hard to gain my bearings and just, ya know, sit down and fucking write.)

The house was nice, but also a dump. I mentioned that it had “three rentable units” and this was true to some degree. Two of the units were being rented at a whopping $900 and $1,500 a month and at first all I saw was dollar signs. Shit, $2,400 a month just from the tenants? Damn. Free money! As for the third? Nope, non-existent. It was a bombed-out, currently-being-renovated mess with no walls, no working plumbing or water, with wooden trim boards and linoleum strew all about the floor. It would cost a small fortune to fix up, and while I’m a DIYer at heart this was well above my skill level. I felt like Gandalf warning the others of the Balrog…

The tenants didn’t have anything good to say either. “There is no heat,” one lady said, “so we’re using space heaters.” The other guy said they had to move to a hotel when the temperatures became sub-zero and even lawyered-up to get the landlord to pay for the costs. There was also an impressive amount of the same model of space heater located in each of the rental units; the landlord had to buy them for the tenants due to the lack of heat in the building. Holy fuck, this guy was buying space heaters to keep the renters warm? And since the electric bill is on one meter, he had to pay the entire thing, apparently passing on the costs via the rent to the tenants. As someone who wants to eventually solar power his entire house I’m totally against any form of electric heating. It’s expensive. It’s inefficient. It’s bulky and it’s awkward from a Second Law of Thermodynamics perspective. Just burn natural gas for heating and even my “let’s protect the world from climate change” self knows this is a smart move.

The basement had signs of flooding with no sign of any building-wide heating. No pipes, no old furnace, nothing. So…what was there to be done if you did buy the place? Fuck if I knew; there were no easy and obvious solution to the heating problem. Hilariously enough, space heater boxes littered the floor of the basement and I had the image of the landlord, someone who stumbled into a disaster of property management, desperately buying 30 space heaters from Amazon to stop from being sued by the tenants. The same model of course: just smash the “quantity” button until they’d cease threating to sue your ass. What a guy. What an unsung hero. i really wanted to meet the guy just to be like, “Bro, what did you get yourself into here? Jesus Christ…”

So let me pour out a beer White Claw for what could’ve been, what I was so anxious about. Was I about to own a house? Was I about to have people paying me for rent? Was I about to be a real adult and own property? No, apparently not. But it was a good first step. We actually talked to someone and viewed a house. A disaster, sure, but a house none-the-less. I suppose this day was one of the days that slowly breaks down your barriers and insecurities and makes the next opportunity easier to seize when it does arise. And I suppose it’s some small success that even I, someone with no landlord or property holding experience, could see that this place was a disaster. A place to dump endless cash into trying to make it work. Trying to make the margins just high enough to be positive. A place you want to save but you just can’t. It’s a shame. The house is nice enough but damn are there problems.

The other reason for celebrating tonight is that I raked in $4,500 this week in the stock market. Not that I can dump that into our soon-to-be future home, but it’s a success none-the-less and is worthy of celebration. Let’s have a drink for the following week and hopefully I make lots of tendies because I sure won’t be owning a house in the near future. Here we go guys…

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.

Insomniac Writings

Let’s start this off like countless other posts of mine: It’s 3:58 a.m. I should be sleeping but I’m not. Why am I awake? Why does my brain continue to run? Why aren’t I normal? Did’ya know most people wake up at like 5, 6, or 7 a.m.? I wake up at 2 p.m. What the hell is wrong with me? Insomnia this, insomnia that, blah blah blah. Yada, yada with a little wave of the hand. We get it. You have trouble sleeping. Carry on now for the love of God.

I’m writing as a continuation of my last post. I’d like to say this, uh, seemingly two part series was subconsciously started by another fellow blogger (I’d link to it, but how does that work? Are you supposed to ask first?). I missed the whole point of his post of it but seemingly got fixated on a tiny part where he says something about knowing your flaws and working through them. The idea kinda snowballed in my head and is now a giant, two-part rambling mess of blog posts. The snowball analogy reminds me of this for some reason:

BADDAA-BADA-PADA-PAP-DOP! *BLLLRRRING* HERE WE GOOOO!

Last post was about how I finally realized I need a proper workspace to write it. My motivation issues weren’t the only cause of my my awful writing habits (lack of habits really) and, hell, maybe I really just did need a desk to call my own. It sure has been helping the past few weeks. I haven’t written much more than usual, but at least I progress to opening the computer and wandering off to YouTube or WordPress. It’s a step closer to Google Docs at least.

What the hell does this have to do with insomnia? It’s a fucking flaw of mine, just like my need for a damn desk, and it’s one I think I’m finally going to own. Insomnia is me, and maybe it isn’t insomnia; maybe I’m just a natural night owl and I should quit fighting it. Going along with the mantra: I’m flawed and might as well figure out how to work with it.

Lemme say I hate being this way. I want to sleep at midnight and wake up with the birds at the crack of dawn. I want to be the guy eating eggs and toast, drinking coffee at 7 a.m. while everyone is still sleeping just chilling in the quietness of the early morning. Last year I tried to make a resolution to wake up at 9 or 10 a.m. everyday and that was the first one I failed. Do I really want to wake up early or is that some dream that isn’t faithful to my flawed self? Or am I just plain lazy?

I’ve always been a night owl to the dismay of myself. I started working UPS 15 damn years ago pulling 10:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. shifts; going to sleep at 5 a.m. was my routine for about eight years before I transferred shifts. I now work a 4-9 p.m. shift and, holy hell, I still go to sleep around 4 or 5 a.m.

Come to think of it, I’ve quit 3 jobs in my lifetime and two of these were because they made me wake up early. No fucking joke. Sam’s Club moved me to a 5 or 6 a.m. shift (right after my UPS shift) and I quit about six months later. I couldn’t take it; working the 10 p.m. UPS shift and going to Sam’s until noon fucking killed me. Have you tried sleeping at 2 p.m.? It’s impossible. Your body basically says “Wtf are you doing? Millions of evolutionary years of sleeping when it’s night and you’re trying to override it all? Just like that? With a snap of your fingers? Nice try idiot; it’s daytime and we’re going to stay awake even if you’re tired!” So I quit. No two-week notice, nothing. Jacob from work calls this “The French Exit.”

The other job was Lowes Distribution. This one was even worse if. I still worked the night UPS shift, but this time with a 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Lowes. Basically I had a normal sleep schedule (sleep at 5 a.m.) on the weekdays and flipped it on the weekends (sleep at 8 p.m.). Thursday meant staying up all day into Friday, pounding out a 12 hour shift and doing it again the following two days. In short: hell. Soul-crushing, life destroying hell. My friend actually pulled this off for over three years and I don’t know how he did it. I was funding flight lessons with this job and even that couldn’t motivate me to continue. I clearly remember driving home one Sunday after work and thinking, “This isn’t worth it. I don’t care. I can’t do this.” Six months of that fuckery and I was done via another “French Exit.”

And it’s 4:26 a.m. I should probably try to sleep soon. But let’s keep going. 

It’s a pretty obvious sign that you’re not a morning person when you quit jobs that make you move to mornings. It’s a pretty obvious sign when you pull a no-call, no-show at the dentist’s office for your 10 a.m. appointment because it’s “too early.” It’s obvious when you schedule college classes no earlier than 4 p.m. because you “need time to wake up” and are the only person bringing three cups worth of coffee to Calc III as the sun is setting. I’m not a fucking morning person. Never have been, never will be, stop lying to myself: this is who I am and I love myself for it.

I’m owning it and I’m writing. What else is there to do at 4:29 a.m. besides stare at premarket GameStop prices? Nothing. Might as well be productive, make something to show for it. Honestly it’s a good time to write anyways. No one is awake, it’s quiet, and my brain is on overdrive. It’s easy to let the thoughts write themselves at the time of night morning.

It’s sad that I’ve written two blog posts with the exact same lesson or whatever you want to call it. I’ll force myself to write the lesson again. Honors English always stressed the importance of conclusions In essays and this is essay-esque enough. Restate the intro. Hmm. It’s 4:34 a.m. I can’t sleep. Why can’t I sleep? Why does my brain continue to run? Why can’t I wake up at whatever a.m.? Insomnia is a thing. Blah, blah. Yadas. Hand waving.

Maybe my first paragraph wasn’t the one I was supposed to restate. Oh well, Goodnight. Or Good Morning. Nah, let’s go with Have A Good Day and thanks for reading!

Check out 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.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing also sometimes post stories.

My New Desk is Awesome

I haven’t written any creative stories in about six months, maybe longer. Like most people I attributed this to a flaw with myself. I’m lazy, I’m unmotivated, and I’m paralyzed by perfection, unable to even begin at the prospect of making something subpar. Despite knowing all these flaws I still can’t work with myself and actually write. It adds another layer of personal hatred where I’m aware that I’m aware of my severe lack of motivation and why can’t I just sit my ass down and write?

I like to justify my laziness as well. You have a long day at work or your mood is subpar and it’s easy to not write. “Maybe tomorrow,” I’ll tell myself. Repeat day after day and you’re left where tomorrow holds all the promise of productive but where it’s always tomorrow. One more day of being a lazy bastard won’t hurt right?

One way I justified my lack of writing goes something like this: I can’t ever write in a comfortable place. I’m writing this at work on my phone but this isn’t ideal. A pair of thumbs on a phone screen doesn’t work nearly as well as 10 9 of them on a keyboard does (honest question: does anyone use their left thumb for anything?). Where do I write at home? Nowhere. I don’t have a place to write, no comfy desk, no isolated corner, no hole to crawl into and think. My best options were to plop down on a couch (which is terrible for posture) and try my best to ignore all the talking going on around me, the drone of the TV, whatever noise pollution is going on. Sitting on a couch, where do you put your mug of coffee? Where does the vape get placed between sentences and paragraphs? How can you listen to music and not be rude to those watching TV? Where do you plug in the laptop when the battery shits out? How do you use a USB mouse on a couch? How do you get over the anxiety of someone sitting next to you looking at what you’re working on? You don’t, so I don’t write at home as much as I should.

This sounds like a valid justification I suppose, but this is just me being lazy. Authors all over the place can write in more hostile environments than these, so I’m being a little bitch basically. But what if I’m not?

The past few months I’ve had the creeping suspicion that if I had a nice place to work I’d actually be more productive. Sure I’m not motivated to write like ever, but maybe having a nice workspace would be a tiny bit of goodness that can get my ass in gear. The one thing that’ll make the motivation battle much easier to wage.

I told my therapist about this and she suggested I go ahead and get myself a place for myself to work. Hmm. Since I had sobered up I find myself much more willing and able to fix problems as they arise. It’s an easy formula to enact as well; if there’s a problem you fix it. I want to write, I think the problem is a lack of a workspace, so get a workspace! Nothing is ever accomplished by stewing about the problem. Take your life into your own hands because it’s literally the one and only thing you always have. My sober mindset is really helping me be proactive in life and not just some grumpy passenger along for the ride who bitches about everything. 

Luckily I didn’t have to solve the problem for myself. For Valentine’s Day my wife surprised me with a cheap and simple desk. My mind was blown away! It’s about the best gift ever: supportive of my hobbies, thoughtful, and practical. She even went through the trouble of moving the furniture around and making a spot for it. I now have a slight “office area” in our living room, tucked up against the south wall. I don’t have to worry about people peeking over my shoulder. I can survey the room. I can be present if I need to be but off in my own world if I see fit to do so. There are a few windows near me so the sun shines in and I can stare at my solar panels when I struggle to write something. Speaking of solar power, my desk is right next to the batteries/inverter so my computer, the thing I’m editing this on right now, is fully powered by the sun!

(The modem and the Wi-Fi router are also solar powered. This is a completely solar-powered blog post. Even my vape, the key to productive writing, is solar powered. I guess this is a perfect time to shill my YouTube channel where I talk about all of my solar powered madness. It keeps it out of my blog posts for the most part but I’ve failed miserably this time. Check it out if you’re interested in making your own solar-powered blog posts/phone/vape.)

The desk has three shelves that I can junk up with wires, wire nuts, electrical tape, light bulbs, lithium batteries, vape juice, vape pods, a multimeter, alligator clips, pens, notebooks, and whatever else I decide to put there. It’s delightfully junky, but in a curious tinkerer sort of way; you can tell I’m actually doing work at/near the desk. (Electroboom said something in a recent video like, “You’re not a real engineer unless your desk is messy.”) I bought a tiny Lego set to decorate my desk; it’s a cute electric car with a wind/solar car charger. It even has a little dog with it! I grabbed an old lamp from the basement and booked it into the solar setup and swapped the 60 Watt bulb with a 20W one. Nothing beats that dim, warm light and it looks exactly like you’d expect a light at a writer’s desk to be: candle-like. I also bought two small potted plants to decorate the workspace — a pothos and a Japanese crispy fern — whatever the hell those are.

Basically my desk is awesome. I love it. Thank you Nicki, I love it more than you’re probably aware. But I’m not trying to jerk-off about my desk here; I’m trying to stress the importance of fixing problems and not shitting on yourself too much. It seems a large part of my writing problem was actually the lack of a desk and not just motivation issues or me being lazy even though those are still some big issues. It’s easy to blame yourself but sometimes the world does kinda conspire against you and it’s up to you to fix it. Sure you have flaws, we all do, but you gotta learn how to work with them. I’m apparently a “comfy writer” and need a proper place to sit down and write. I’m a little bitch who wants to be comfy and drink coffee while I deal with motivation issues while staring at a blank Google Doc. I guess that’s how I am. So I played right into it, babied myself, and bought was gifted a desk. “Aww, poor Jeremy needs his own area to write in, a little desk to call his own!” Yes, exactly. That’s exactly what little bitch Jeremy needs to be able to write. And hey, I’m writing something aren’t I?

TL;DR: Be nice to yourself. Be accommodating. Buy a desk. And buy yourself a Lego set and a few potted plants. It’s the key to success and happiness and writing productivity.

Check out my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Stonks Suck: Trading Tips for Beginners

As for stocks and trading I didn’t think I had much to tell anyone starting out. Luckily my brain goes into hyperdrive at 3 a.m. and holy hell I do have a few protips for the novice stock trader. While I’m not a trading expert by any means I have learned a few things along the way. So here’s a list!

Know Your Goals

It’s good to know exactly what you’re investing for, just be honest with yourself. If you’re 40 or 50 and are trying to save up for retirement, act like that’s what you’re doing. Open up an IRA, don’t dump money into stupid-ass WallStreetBets meme stocks, and don’t go chucking major portions of your portfolio into options. Do, please do, buy ETFs, dividend stocks, and whatever other boring boomer shit you want to buy. Bonds are probably perfect for you. These are boring, but boring is good for long-term investing. On the other hand, if you’re “investing” to get filthy rich ASAP, do not buy boring ETFs and dividend stocks. Do risky shit and make that money while you can. Learn how to be aggressive and have fun not sleeping well while doing so.

I say to know your goals early because your goals will manifest themselves in how you’re investing whether you like it or not. When I first started investing I tried to be, well, an investor. I was someone making money for the long term and while I thought this was my goal, I was mistaken. Apparently at heart I want to get as rich as possible as quickly as possible. I’m not so desperate that I’m blowing my account up or going all in on a single stock, but I do get myself into some questionably risky situations. Starting off I had half my money in “proper stocks” while I was doing seriously stupid stuff with the other half. My investment portfolio was a Jekyll and Hyde conglomeration split between boomer ETFs and meme stocks, all while jacked-up on options. This led to a lot of juggling between mindsets that was mostly subconscious. Was I trying to be safe? Was I taking risks for max gains? I didn’t know. I wasn’t honest with myself. Be honest with yourself. If you’re a degenerate options trader act like it and you’ll be happier. You might be poor, but you’ll be happy.

And if you’re new? Fuck around and find out your style and learn in the process. It’s like anything else in life; you don’t know until you try. Buy and sell some stocks, see how orders work. Learn what the hell a limit order is, what a stop order is, and what “bid” and “ask” are. If you stumble your way into options, learn what “expiring worthless” is and what “deep out-of-the-money” means. Whether stocks or options, above all else have fun and learn, and try not to lose too much money in the process.

DiVeRsIfY!

Options are great. No, not those kind of options, but options like how normal people use the word. Basically when trading it’s hard to be right 100% of the time, so why risk your whole account by owning a single stock? It’s dangerous because you will be wrong and if you bet it all when you’re wrong, even if it is rare, you’re out of the game. All the money is gone. You might even owe money to the broker if you did something really dumb.

Diversification is sometimes laughed about, even by giants like Warren Buffet. He famously said something like, “Put all your eggs in one basket and watch the basket.” He’s not wrong, but most people don’t know what to look for regarding dangers to this basket. There could be a wolf about to eat all the eggs and we wouldn’t know it. We wouldn’t even know what a wolf looks like! My point is unless you’re an expert at knowing market conditions, economic conditions, and are great at reading 10-Ks and 10-Qs like a wizard, you probably can’t watch the basket very well.

Personally, I admit I don’t know shit about companies. I invest in meme stocks that have high options premium. That’s my investment strategy. My egg basket is, well, I don’t know what it is, but it sure isn’t something that has any business holding eggs. The eggs could be eaten, spoiled (there’s probably an option expiration joke here), or be stolen at any moment and that’s why I have multiple baskets. One or two of the baskets can get stolen/eaten, and I still have eight more. I can and will be wrong, and at most it’ll wipe out 10% of my holdings. I, and you, can happily easily take a 10% hit to the investment account and be able to function.

This play more into my next tip: be stoic. By diversifying you can remove extreme emotion from your investing/trading.

Be Calm. Be Chill. Be Stoic. It’s just money after all!

You are your main enemy to stock market success. It’s not market makers, shorts, or other traders; they only use you against yourself. Why? Because you’re a person. You have emotions. You’re stupid and irrational and emotional. Money is on the line; you know the thing we all trade for shelter, food, good, and everything? Money is fundamentally tied to emotion, so when your money starts to get messed with you get stupid. Think of all the silly shit you’ve done and said on an emotional high or low. You may have drunkenly told someone you loved them, kicked someone’s ass, bought something stupid, and apply this to your investment account. How are you going to treat hundreds or thousands of investment money if you’re emotional? When a stock you own (please be diversified!) drops 60% and your money disappears what do you do? You have a choice and emotion will only make the choice harder to make.

I don’t really have a tip here because it’s something you learn to deal with. There is no magical key to not being emotional when money is involved (besides shutting your phone off and going for a walk), but just know that it is immensely important, more than any other thing, to keep emotion in check in regards to investing. I do have a few tips on things to be aware of though. Luckily they have names so by labeling them you can recognize what’s happening and combat it.

FOMO

Fear of Missing Out. You watch a stock you were kinda thinking about buying jump 300% in a few days. People at work are talking about their hot stock that’s printing them tendies. You start to think that maybe you missed the boat — you dragged your feet and are sitting out riding the rocket to the moon — or did you? Maybe it’ll go up another 300% if you get in ASAP! Yeah, that’s a great idea. You’re not even greedy, you just want it to go up a little bit so you can feel like you were part of the moon mission, and that’s not hard to do, right? Surely if it went up so quickly, it’ll keep going up at least until you sell.

Wrong. This is a terrible idea. Hype is dangerous. FOMO is why people I work with are chucking money into Bitcoin at $50,000 after it went up 1,000% in a year. This is why people are still bagholding GameStop at $450 per share. This is why a large portion of bagholders exist in the first place; their still holding onto their $18 AMCs they bought a few months ago no wanting to take the loss.

If you find yourself experiencing HARD FOMO and just can’t resist, buy yourself a small portion. Don’t go crazy. Don’t “invest” anything more than you’re willing to lose. Using Bitcoin again, if you invested $1,000 at $50,000 and Bitcoin went down to $5,000, would you be fine with it? You turned $1,000 into $100 and how would you feel? There is a low enough point where it’s stomachable, so invest that. I’m not buying Bitcoin but if I did I’d be okay with a $500 “investment.” If I lose it, it’s fine, and I won’t lose sleep over it. FOMO is dangerous so be aware of it.

(Related Post: The Great GameStop Short Squeeze of 2021)

FUD/Dooming

The opposite of FOMO: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. This can be caused by your family questioning what the hell you bought, news stories, internet shitposts, etc. and make you scared to hold your stock/option because you’re worried the price will crash. These pale in comparison to witnessing a beloved stock you owe totally collapse in price. You watch your thousands of dollars of gain disappear in a few days (or maybe hours) and what do you do? You panic sell. You’re $10,000 profit is down to $7,000, $6,000 and $5,000 and OMG how much worse can it get! I could lose all my profit! You panic sell and realize a $2,000 gain, but oh how you kick yourself in the ass for not getting out at the top. You were greedy, you feel like shit. You’re the worst trader ever.

Then the next day the stock goes up and you get a side of FOMO to go with your main-course FUD. If only you held…but maybe it’s not too late to jump back in?

As before, no real tips on this one. It’s also hard to give tips for when something emotional is happening. It’s easy to say “don’t panic sell!” but when you’re on the verge of panic selling its hard to detach yourself from the numbers on your screen and actually not panic sell. Only with hindsight do you realize how much of a paper-handed bitch you were.

Like with FOMO, a good recipe for mitigating FUD is to give into your emotions just a little bit so you feel like you’re doing something. If you want to sell as a stock is crashing, sell half. Sell a third. You don’t need to sell it all and regret it later. And if you have truly massive balls, you can always buy more shares on the way down!

No Regrets! No “what ifs”!

There’s few things worse than seeing an “investment” work out better than you expected but to not sell at the top. You’re always haunted by the “what if I just did this…” A stock triples, you don’t sell, and then it’s back to where you bought it at. You could’ve raked in so much money but you held too long and raked in absolutely nothing.

Then there’s the opposite problem: selling too early. You got greedy/scared and took a 10% gain when you could’ve had a 1000% gain. This was me with GameStop in January. I had 400 shares total and sold them around $30-40. Sure I made $5,000 but I could’ve had $150,000 if I held on for another week or so! Try not to kick yourself in the ass for missing like that and tell me how well it goes. It’s hard.

At least I didn’t FOMO back in. I realized my mistake — I sold too early — and am trying my best to not let it haunt me. Everything is clear with hindsight and what I did made sense at the time. Trading is stupidly hard and no one perfectly buys at the bottom or sells at the top and as long as you come out ahead, who cares? I’m not the guy holding bags at $450 a share, and at least I was in the play and made some significant cash. As always, easier said than done, but try not to be too hard on yourself for not being perfect.

My tip here is to take profits as you wish. You can probably tell that I’m a big fan of taking half-measures — selling half, buying half — because you’re doing something and doing something feels good. If a stock goes up 20% and you want to sell, sell half. Realize some profits and let the rest ride. If it goes up even more, sell half of those, and so on. This isn’t a rule, just an idea. You feel good taking profits but leaving some on the table does wonders for the “what if” thoughts that might haunt you.

The same is true for buying. Buy half of what you want and see how it plays out. If the stock goes down, buy more. This keeps you safe from tossing in a ton of money at a high price, but makes you feel good for getting some cash in the game.

In Closing

I don’t really have much to say here. Stocks are like anything else; you suck at first and then you get better. The only downside to sucking is you’ll probably lose money in the process. Consider it tuition for learning or something. Be glad that you’re taking the first steps to financial literacy and independence because investing is just that: investing in your future. Have fun and I wish your stocks fly to the moon and beyond and that you get the Lambo/Tesla of your dreams.

(Shill Note: I did actually write a book about trading options. I think it’s only $5 so if you’re interested please check it out. And if you do, LEAVE A DAMN REVIEW! I’m really curious on how the book actually is received by those who read it. It might suck but I’d like to know if it sucks at least. /Shill.)