Category Archives: People Suck

2020 Sucked: A General Recap

This has been one of the worst years I’ve lived through. Looking back through my 34-years of existence I can’t seem to recall when so much shit went wrong in a single year. I’ve lived through the September 11th attacks in 2001 and even if that was some shit it was some isolated shit; the rest of the year was uneventful. Sure it spurred on the total shitshow ‘War on Terror,’ but that was spread out over a decade. I was around for the H1N1 outbreak, but that was nothing compared to this years COVID-19 pandemic. I can’t recall a single year where so much crazy shit happened despite desperately trying to find something — anything — to prove myself wrong.

Since the general consensus seems to agree with me and that 2020 was a remarkably bad year, I want to send it off properly. Write down all the notable bad shit that happened as a way to package it up and get rid of it. Let’s reminisce over this awful year, box it up, and send it off to the bottom of the ocean like a Viking burial would do.

The Near-War With Iran

I had all the hopes for 2020 and it started off just fine; it didn’t last long though. After only a week into the year we (The United States) decided to bomb/assassinate an Iranian General Dude. Supposedly he was a ‘terrorist’ although I don’t know or care to know whatever justification we had for the attack. All I cared about was the total shitshow that then ensued. Iran and the US we’re waving their dicks around threatening war and while we have the BeSt MiLiTaRy In ThE wOrLd! I really didn’t think the US should get involved with another Middle-Eastern conflict. Like can we not continually bomb people on the other side of the world even if they ‘deserve it’ in some twisted logical sense?

“Luckily” — and I say that with as much sarcasm as possible — Iran accidentally shot down a 737 passenger airliner with quite a bit of Canadians on it, and given their massive fuckup on killing hundreds of innocent civilians they promptly shut the fuck up about open war with the United States. Nothing much has happened with Iran since and the whole thing turned out be a scare; a scare that still killed a bunch of innocents people without open war. We should’ve been on our toes from that point on because 2020 was just getting started.

Australia On Fire

Decades ago at the beginning of 2020 social media and the news was filled with reports of the wildfires raging in Australia. I recall seeing New Zealanders posting pictures of eerily red skies caused by the smoke hundreds of miles away in Australia. Even worse, the Australian Government didn’t seem to give much of a damn about these fires, content to just let them do their thing like burn down the forests and peoples’ homes! (This was good foreshadowing for the US Government’s response to the COVID pandemic in retrospect.) As an American this didn’t personally effect me too much, but knowing that large parts of an entire continent were on fire didn’t feel very good. These problems will only get worse as we ignore climate change and this really doesn’t feel good at all.

But don’t worry, we’d have our own wildfires to deal with in just a few months! Be patient people.

Wildfires Electric Boogaloo: American Gender Reveal Version

By the time this happened most of the people I knew had adapted the 2020 is total bullshit outlook and we all looked on this event with detached hilarity. “Of course, why wouldn’t this happen? It’s 2020.” Basically California and other western states broke out in massive wildfires, giving a nice reference to the Australian ones earlier on in the year. Whoever is writing the 2020 plot sure likes to keep the same themes going. Making these fires even stupider was the fact that they were started by a gender reveal party gone wrong. Instead of announcing the gender of their kid, they lit the entire western United States on fire! Holy shit! At least the memes about this incident were hilarious.

Hurricane Footnotes

The Atlantic Hurricanes are named from a list picked before the year begins. This is why all storms have silly names like Katrina, Charles, Ivan, etc. What I didn’t know was that there’s a possibility to have more storms than names, which I was totally shocked by. One day I noticed topical storms and hurricanes were being named Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and so on down the Greek Alphabet. What happened to the normal names we usually see? I did some research and, oh, we ran out of names in 2020. After Wilfred NOAA started naming them Greek Letters. Of course they did: it’s 2020.

So how active was the 2020 hurricane season? The most active in history, but only the seventh-most costly and active enough to use Greek names all the way down to Iota.

COVID-19

I saved the “best” part of 2020 for last…

2020 will be known hundreds of years in the future as “The Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic” in much the same way that 1918 instantly makes me think of “The Spanish Flu.” Through all the shit that has happened this year COVID-19 is the defining trait of 2020 for perfectly good reason. A flu that is 20 times deadlier than the seasonal flu. Highly contagious. Dangerous to elderly people and those with lung/immune system problems. Hundreds of thousands dead. A lackluster government response to the disease. And the thing still isn’t contained even in the last week of December.

It started simply enough with reports of some virus in China. No big deal: these things spring into the news cycle every year or so. I barely remember the H1N1 outbreak in whatever year it was and was mildly scared with the Ebola outbreak in Africa around 2006. Swine Flu? Mad Cow Disease? Meh. The big scary word pandemic? Same reaction as always: Meh. There’s nothing to worry about…

This time it wasn’t meh — there was something to worry about — and the entire world is facing the worst pandemic since 1919. It started slowly with a travel ban here and there, but before anyone knew it stores and restaurants were closed, everyone is wearing facemasks, and no one stands closer than six-feet. We hole-up in our homes and do nothing but watch Netflix, drink alcohol, and get fat. Many people were flat-out laid-off for an undetermined length of time from their jobs. And like that within a few short and dreadful months we’re living through a once-per-hundred-year pandemic and it’s a strange feeling. I think in a few years when it’s all over (and we now have a vaccine so maybe the light and the end of the tunnel is brighter than we imagine) maybe we can look back and reflect on the hellish uniqueness of the time we all lived through. At least we’ll have stories to tell our grandchildren if we don’t die in the next few months.

COVID-19 ruined everyone’s’ lives and I can’t think of a single person I know that is like, “Yeah, lockdown and quarantine: it’s a great time!” Stuck at home, unemployed, bored, dealing with social isolation; many people have crumbled under the change from the norm that we’re all used to. Giving up college and career plans, putting their lives on hold indefinitely. It gets worse; some have had those close to them die and how do you even talk about something like that? Some people have died from it, having their lives instantly cut short and once again, how do you even talk about something like that? In the US that number is around 300,000. 300,000 Americans aren’t here that were here less than a year ago. Each one was a person with a unique life, personality, and qualities to them. And now? Gone. That’s all: gone.

And I’m not even going to get into our government’s half-assed response to the whole pandemic. It’s 2020 and the word shitshow is once again applicable here. How many could’ve lived if this entire thing wasn’t politicized to no end? Even mask wearing was politicized and…let’s just move on.

Not As Bad As It Could’ve Been?

 I usually hate people who point something out along the line of, “It could’ve been worse!” or “Well, you still have your life!” or “Look on the bright side!” because they can just go fuck right off. If you get your car totaled by a drunk driver, yes you might still be alive, but that doesn’t mean you were ‘lucky’ or something. And you should have total justification to be pissed at the drunkard for how your car is now totaled. It’s still not a good situation!

But maybe idiots who say this about 2020 are right in a way. Things can be worse on earth, even in 2020, even if you do have to do some ridiculous thinking to see it. Murder hornets (thankfully) never made much of an appearance this summer. The strange monoliths didn’t summon aliens or anything. The Yellowstone Super Volcano is still dormant, even if I’m tempted to not mention it because 2020 isn’t quite over. Tsunamis, nuclear war, gamma ray bursts, and asteroids have all left the planet alone in the hell that was 2020, and we should be thankful for that. But damn, isn’t that a low bar to set? “Earth didn’t get hit by an asteroid or anything…boy, we’re lucky in 2020!”

This isn’t the be-all end-all recap of 2020, especially for me. Reflecting back on the year for myself: it wasn’t really that bad. Sure it was hell, but there was a lot of personal growth that might’ve not happened were it not for the total shitshow that 2020 was. I want to make a separate post about that because it definitely doesn’t fit here. Being slightly positive makes me feel like 2020 wasn’t as much of a wasted year as we like to think it was. If anything it was a hell of challenge where you might learn something important about life if you stick it out, do the best you can, and just survive. More on that later… Here’s a link to the next post about 2020: A Year of Personal Growth.

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.

Christmas (and The Holidays) Sucks

Hi everyone, Merry Christmas! Well, not quite I suppose. How about Merry Christmas Eve? Maybe that’ll work since we still have a day to go.

Our family used to open presents on Christmas Eve and this day feels more like the real Christmas than the day itself. We’d go out as a family — my immediate family as well as three or four aunts/uncles along with our Grandma and Grandpa — to those shitty family restaurants that only old people seem to visit regularly. We’d have a room to the side of the main dining area to ourselves and it would soon be filled with cigarette smoke (smoking inside was legal then; what quaint times). Our eyes would burn from the toxic atmosphere, not that we knew how toxic it actually was. We’d eat our pasta with tears in our eyes, excited to finish the dinner formalities to get on with the important part of the evening, at least that’s how it was for us kids.

From there on we’d head over to Grandma and Grandpa’s to open gifts. Cigarette smoke once again filled the air, our eyes watered, and us kids would escape to the bathroom or the bedrooms to get a reprieve from the burning in our eyes. We opened our gifts from youngest to oldest; I was second after my sister. I took great pride in sorting the gifts into piles for everyone, moving them with purpose from under the Christmas tree to the piles I placed them in. As time went on I fell back a couple of ranks as my cousin had kids, but didn’t pay it much mind. The adults would sit around quietly, making small-talk and alcohol-fueled jokes as they made sure the fuel for their jokes didn’t leave their systems. It was usually wine, the ‘classy drink’ (except for Uncle Tom who only drinks Budweisers) but sometimes bottles of stronger stuff made an appearance. We didn’t notice them much in our childhood excitement over our presents.

After our gifts were opened we’d start playing with them. One year I received a Nerf bow-and-arrow and took to sniping the Christmas cards dangling from the wooden ceiling beam separating the kitchen from the living room. For some reason Grandma and Grandpa hung their slew of Christmas cards from that beam and they made perfect targets. I was maybe seven, eight, or maybe nine and this was one of the few Christmases I actually remember. And maybe one of the last that I actually enjoyed.

There was no grand Christmas tragedy, no family falling-out, nothing to steal the childish joy of Christmas from me except the passage of time itself. I got older. I became jaded. I became cynical. I lost the naivety that is the definition of childhood itself. I didn’t care about the presents as much. There wasn’t anything exciting about opening gifts. Toys weren’t fun and I could only be mildly excited about a new video game or a music CD. Christmas turned into a way to get things I needed without buying them myself. Socks, new boots, new pants and clothes; these are the things I apathetically found myself asking for year after year.

And for some reason the season holds a sense of loss for me. It’s a dull sense of loss, once again no one passed away that instantly changed the quality of Christmas, but there’s that bitter undercurrent of inevitable change and loss. The cards aren’t hung up anymore, and their numbers have dwindled over the years. Us ex-kids would sit around, drink, and wonder where all of the magic went. We didn’t go out to eat or over to Grandma’s anymore. With each branch of the family expanding, most have broken off into their own manageable sections of families, holed-up in their own homes doing their own things, making their own traditions, living their own lives. To their kids this probably feels like the Christmases at Grandma’s did to me, and the inevitably of these breaking apart in decades is…I’m not sure of the right word here. Bittersweet? That still doesn’t feel like the right word though.

Does everyone eventually lose the childish joy of Christmas? I don’t think so. One of our kids, nearly 17-years-old, still has the joy of the season like a kid would. There is zero cynicism to how she feels about the holidays so there’s at least one person immune. Whether she or I am the exception, I don’t know.

Part of my apathy from the holidays is surely due to a few life choices I’ve made. A death-blow to Holiday spirits always seems to be working retail. I almost view it as an unwritten law of the universe that once you work retail you instantly lose your love for the holidays. The Holidays mean greedy people trying to find gifts for people they’re obligated to shop for: hundreds of people shopping, dealing with traffic, hunger, lines, and the other miserable denizens trying to fulfill their societal duty to buy shit. No one seems to like it, but it’s expected so we all play along. No one wants to be the guy who doesn’t buy their family gifts out of “principle” or some other high-minded bullshit.

I worked at Sam’s Club for a few years in the produce department — not in any way directly related to Christmas shopping — and the amount of people, and shit, I had to deal with at this time of year still increased. My hatred narrowed to those making their bullshit holiday meals and involved some self-pity for why I had to deal with them in the first place. Is this person really asking me about our cranberry stock? The endless looping of Christmas music didn’t help either; it’s is a form of torture that slowly kills your soul. I’m certain any fellow retail workers would share stories with me like war veterans share with each other. I was never happier at work than I would be on December 26th when the crowds of demanding assholes magically retreated from whence they came, where that happened to be.

And now? UPS and moving packages. I’m no longer relegated to the fringe sort of hell in a produce department during the holidays, I am in the shit. Our hub apparently sorts through 400,000 packages per night. While I personally interact with a tiny fraction of these packages watching the entire process is mind-blowing. 40 airplanes land and vomit their guts of cardboard and junk into the building. Through typical human grunt work these boxes are given over to miles of rubber belts and metal chutes which some massive computer programming commands, that which I’m not near capable of understanding. After that more human grunts load the packages into giant aluminum cans to be loaded into the planes. And the planes leave, delivering these 400,000 packages across the country within four or five hours after they arrived, finely sorted to deliver their cargo to wherever it needs to go. There are hundreds of extra cars in the parking lot along with hundreds, maybe thousands, of seasonal employees that are clueless to anything work-related or common sense-related. It’s all a window into how massive the holidays are and how large the machine I’m a cog in actually is. There is no doubt the importance of this time of year to our society as a whole. Sure, you buy a few hundred dollars worth of presents each year, but seeing them all en masse is both impressive and depressing at the same time. It’s the total power and wonder of capitalism with an undercurrent of excess, waste, and pointlessness. You really have to fight off severe nihilism working at UPS this time of year and it’s much easier to blindly work than to think too hard about the state of things.

I sound like a teenager who has just figured this out. No — I have nothing to crusade against — and am only writing some thoughts that have ceased to be pointed and acute years ago, but here they are. I view the whole holiday season with only one real response now: Meh? This might be the most saddening thing. Christmas has eroded from pure childhood joy, into to teenage angst at the ‘capitalism of it all,’ and now to a passive indifference to everything: I don’t care anymore. Really. About Christmas, and celebrations, and family gatherings, and whatever other bullshit we do during this time of year. And if you do care, I hope you have a Happy Holidays, Christmas, Hanukkah, the Solstice, or whatever it is that you celebrate. And I mean that sincerely. Hold onto joy and happiness and love and kinship in whatever way and form you find it, and please have no qualms about doing so. As for me, well, I seem to be a dead soul to all the celebrations around me. Don’t mourn me though. I’ll manage this hellish time of year somehow and will be back writing my bullshit soon enough. But please enjoy this time of year: do it for me.

Ten Reasons Face Masks are Awesome!

Here everyone! As you might know 2020 is nearing its close and has already established the record for the longest year ever in the history of humanity. Seriously, this year has lasted about 40 months and I don’t know any other year that can contend with it. I mean some people might argue that 1918 with the Spanish Flu was longer but they’re all dead so 🤷‍♂️? 

And who cares about masks anyways? The pandemic is a hoax, and if you know anyone personally who has died well you’re just part of the Deep State or something. And if it’s not a hoax, it was surely a plan by Democrats to steal the election. And if not that then Gyna made the virus to control the population. Or wage economic war on the USA. Or something. Either way: COVID-19=BULLSHIT. They’re trying to take away your freedom by keeping you away from your racist family members during Thanksgiving and Christmas The Holidays™! You’re a free ‘Murikan so fight for your right to have family gatherings, listen to your 2nd Amendment uncle rant about the election, and kill off grandma by infecting her with the fake virus that you’ve had for a few days. Hell, you’re not even aware you had it because you never were tested.

Despite this fake-ass virus (that still infects and kills people somehow) mask wearing isn’t all bad. In fact it has a ton of upsides and I want to talk about them here. So here are ten reasons to wear a mask despite the entire thing being a bullshit hoax. Let’s get started!

Dental Hygiene

Apparently walking around all day inhaling your breath is a great way to promote dental hygiene. It only took me a single day of wearing a mask to immediately regret not brushing my teeth. Is this what my breath always smells like? Is this the experience people have while conversing with me? Holy shit, I’m never going to talk to anyone ever again. 

While every other aspect of my life is falling apart during this pandemic (mental health, physical health, alcoholism, motivation, stress, etc.) I can say for a fact that my dental health has never been better. I brush my teeth everyday. Sometimes I even floss! Sometimes I drink the hand sanitizer to give my mouth a little jolt of disinfecting freshness if you get what I mean. So wear a mask to convince yourself to brush your fucking teeth regularly. It’s not like you’ll be seeing your dentist soon anyways; he doesn’t want to get near anyone’s mouth with COVID stomping around.

Poppin’ Pimples

Breathing hot and humid CO2 exhaust from your mouth/nose all over your face has a way of making pimples grow. But who doesn’t love a good pimple to pop here and there? The beauty of mask wearing is these infrequent pimples turn up in mass with each one giving you the satisfaction of popping them. I don’t know about you, but few things are more satisfying than feeling some dull, welled-up pain on the side of your chin the entire day only to go home and finally squeeze and blast that fucker all over your mirror in a delightful volcanic eruption of nasty skin puss and infection. It’s disgusting but, come on, y’all know exactly what I’m talking about. More masks means more pimples which means more evening joy for yourself (and a cleaner mirror).

Foggy Glasses

I don’t wear sunglasses (thanks daylight savings time, you asshole) but since I’ve started working around noon during the UPS peak season I’ve been able to break them out again. They’re also great if you’re up early, working outside, hungover, and tired which once again says volumes about UPS’s peak season. This is my state as of late and I’ve become accustomed to wearing glasses with a mask.

It’s great. With every exhale the glasses fog up and you can’t see a damn thing. This is especially pronounced if you enter a heated building; the cold glasses fog up even more than usual! This doesn’t sound good, but if you’re in the state to be wearing sunglasses at work, hungover, and working off 3 hours of sleep, it’s amazing. Let’s be honest here; your senses are so fucked already and you feel like the embodiment of misery so what’s another layer of shit you need to deal with? If anything the fogged up glasses keep you even more isolated from those around you. They’re like a fun safe-zone to hide in while you try to slowly get over your hangover. They can’t see you behind the glasses and, holy shit, you can’t see them through your vaporized glasses. You’re floating in a cloud detached from everyone else and it’s amazing to not worry about the people you can hear but cannot see.

Useful Handkerchief 

For some reason my nose runs a lot more while wearing a mask. It’s inconvenient but expected when you have damp, moist exhale going all over your face. But since the mask covers your nose (unless you’re wearing it like a jackass) no one is aware of it. Even better, you can simply wipe your snot on the inside of the mask and no one is aware of it! Hell, just shove your finger up there and give it a good pick and it’ll look like you’re just itching your nose or adjusting the mask.

And even if you do end up with snot and boogers all over your face, no one will know anyways. Go crazy! Pick your nose in public!

Facial Hair Doesn’t Matter

Even though I only shave once a week it’s still a chore that I dread doing. Sure you can procrastinate shaving for a bit but after two weeks I begin to look like a homeless unemployed bum. Eventually my crumbling self-esteem outweighs my laziness and I reluctantly shave. This is why I’m on the weekly plan.

But with masks? No one cares. No one can see your filthy scruff and it’s so comvient to not shave, plop on a mask, and pretend that you did infact shave recently.

Another thing to note. UPS’ package delivery drivers have a hygiene code from the 1950s or something. UPS drivers can’t have facial hair besides a mustache. Seriously, look at the next one you see. (Maybe they changed this recently, I don’t know…) While I’m not a driver myself, I’m curious as to how many are growing COVID beards and hiding them behind their masks.

Makeup Also Doesn’t Matter

Obligatory I’m not a girl and don’t wear makeup, but if you are one this is similar to the beard thing from above. If half your face is hidden who gives a fuck about makeup, at least on the lower half of your face. I’m assuming there are a few people who put makeup on the top of their face and ignore the rest due to the mask. Who am I to judge? Be as lazy as you want during this pandemic.

High Fashion

Face masks are another highly visible piece of clothing that you can personalize. Sure, the regular medical face masks have that awful, terrible sky-blue clinical color to them, but outside of those, masks are fucking stylish as fuck. You can wear whatever mask you want. Some people even wear masks that say “THIS MASK IS AS USELESS AS OUR GOVERNOR!” printed on them to show how pissed you are at wearing the mask, as well as how much of a goober you are for voicing this opinion while wearing the mask anyways. You know, people who complain about something just to complain. It’s 2020, we all should know these people by now.

But damn, have fun with your mask. I want to get a Kerbal Space Program mask but simply haven’t gotten around to it yet. A NASA mask? Sure. Does SpaceX sell masks? How about Tesla? Maybe I should get one with Elon Musk’s face on it and call it quits. That’d look super fucking stupid though.

There’s always the idea of the MAGA masks too. Had Trump simply jumped on the mask train and sold MAGA or Trump 2020 masks the dude could’ve raked in easy money, actually lowered the spread of COVID, and had free advertising on the faces of 30% of all Americans. Trump is a total fucking idiot for this oversight alone. Anyways, masks are great for style. Find a mask that fits yours!

Hide Your Double Chin

Over the past year I’ve gained quite a bit of weight. During the pandemic I’ve struggled to find a reason to do anything. Sure bike riding isn’t prohibited, but this year I’ve thought, “Why even bike ride? The world sucks and who cares?” And when you drink six beers a day the calories seem to find a way to stick to your body. I’m currently the heaviest I’ve ever weighed in my life and while I don’t think I’m exactly obese I’m well aware I’m overweight. 

My chin has doubled itself into two. Once again, not badly, but if I tilt my head slightly down it’s there and it’s obvious. Enter the mask. Put one on and no one knows how awful your chin looks. Keep eating, drinking, and living the sedentary life because the mask will hide it all.

Facial Expressions and Social Interaction

You never realize how much your social cues are taken from peoples faces until half of their face is hidden. A smile under a mask is kind of easy to notice if you really examine their eyes, but it’s not exactly as intuitive as it normally is. I’ll see my coworkers and constantly try to figure out what mood they’re in. Are they tired, hungover, angry, happy? Fuck if I know. Its hard to go off the eyes alone and I feel like perhaps everyone has a mild case of autism with all this mask wearing.

But look at the bright side, turn it around, and realize you can mask your face and emotions just like everyone else can. Be a mystery, be a blank slate of mood where no one can tell how you really feel. Like with glasses it makes it easier to hide away from people which really cuts down on bullshit social interactions. Us introverts are thriving during the pandemic.

I think that’s about it for this silly list. I hope you guys enjoyed it, found it entertaining/informative and please leave a like and subscribe and go check out my sponsor, some VPN company, and…

Aren’t I forgetting something.

Oh yeah…

Stop Sickness and Slowing the Spread of COVID

Yeah, I suppose that’s another thing masks are good at. This will probably backfire on me like most things do when I open my mouth (or type something), but I don’t remember the last time I was legitimately sick. Sure I caught a cold or something when I was living in the woods for a few days, but that was like a “half cold” or something. I didn’t get super sick or anything. And before that? Hell if I know. Its had to be at least a year though and I’m loving it.

I hope if this pandemic teaches us a single thing it’s the effectiveness of mask wearing and good hygienic practices. Use hand sanitizer like it’s going out of style, wash your hands like a germaphobe would, and wear a mask in public. Stay the hell away from people, especially the filthy and unhygienic general public. I used to think that getting sick was inevitable in some fatalistic way, or that if you did get sick it’d strengthen your immune system, but getting sick fucking sucks. Not being sick for a year is fucking amazing and I wonder how long you can prevent sickness just by following these pandemic protips.

So yeah, WEAR YOUR FUCKING MASK.

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.

Dipshit Family Members Suck (Part Two!)

Obviously this is a sequel to my last post. I didn’t think I’d have anything else to say about the matter but here we are. As mentioned in that post, I had cut ties with a few family members that I had simply given up on. They seemed beyond gone, beyond any sort of logic or reasoning, and a detriment to my own mental health. It seemed wise to just be rid of them than to worry about how the hell they turned out the way they have over the past few decades.

My cousin was one of them and I haven’t seen much of her recently since I have no contact with her on social media, but my wife is still friends with her. Yesterday I was downstairs, laying in bed, reading a book from The Wheel of Time series, and my cousin posted another one of her ‘protest videos’ on Facebook. It wasn’t just a video post but a live Facebook post of the protests. My wife told me about it and I rolled my eyes, trying to stay fixed on the epic story which is The Wheel of Time, even mentioning that I didn’t want to really see or hear anything from the video because I didn’t want to deal with any of it at the time. I was reading and any of my cousin’s shit could simply fuck off for the time being because I really wanted to know what the fuck Egwene and Nynaeve would do after the Amyrlin Seat discovered that, holy shit, maybe the Black Ajah were going to Tear to capture Rand and whatever-the-fuck-that-magic-sword-was-called and maybe it was an obvious trap but who gives a shit anyways? If the Black Ajah set a trap, fuck it, catch them in it and fuck their lives over. Anyways…

I know I mentioned her videos in the last post and I should admit that I never watched any of them: I didn’t need to. Her descriptive captions seemed to be enough to understand the gist of what she was trying to describe. “More protesters causing trouble!” “Urgh, looks like another night of problems!” You know, various shit like that. The subject of this post was captioned with, “Another protest in wonderful Rockford.” It’s all you need to know; she’s obvious opposed to any protests and sees them as a problem and an inconvenience. I mean they are inconvenient, and that’s the point of them, but the fact that she can’t see past that obvious self-centered fact was all it took for me to cut ties with her. But what did the videos actually show?

My wife played the newest one yesterday and as much as I tried to ignore it I couldn’t. The Wheel of Time ceased to hold my attention over the screaming of the Black Lives Matter protesters and the snide remarks from my cousin, her boyfriend, and the various other stereotypical white people grouped around them. It was a twenty-minute long video and it stole my attention after the first five-fucking-minutes. It was bland and boring where nothing really happened but was also peppered with a few subtle seconds here and there where everything seemed clear as day. Basically it was fascinating to watch.

There were a bunch of people along a street in Rockford screaming, yelling, with masks on, and holding signs. I don’t even recall what they were saying as it was all kind of a roar where you couldn’t hear much. Not that we have many protesters here in Rockford, Illinois and I’d estimate the number around fifty, but the shouts and screams seemed incoherent and unidentifiable. The cops were closer towards the camera as the protesters filled the far side of the street, and they kept the corralled mass away from everyone else and out of traffic.

My cousin, her boyfriend, and a few other stereotypical white people (along with the news cameras and such) stayed along the nearest side of the street, staring across at the protestors screaming, yelling, holding signs, wearing masks, and being all around pissed about shit. The white people spectators stood around passively drinking beers from plastic cups as if watching zoo animals in a cage or a sporting event. At this point I saw the first signs of the chasm separating these two groups. One group drinking beer and spectating, and the other totally fighting for equality and rights.

About five-minutes into this kinda boring video came the first gem from my cousin. She said, “I’m just out here trying to enjoy myself and these people are screaming and hollerin’ and making noise. Just trying to enjoy myself…”

It kinda reminded me of this:

“Come on, Walter. This is not a First Amendment thing man.”

Now, to give some background to this, her and her boyfriend were at the weekly “Rockford City Market” which is (as you can guess) a local market set up in downtown Rockford with vendors, shops, food, and drinks that happens every Friday evening in the spring/summer/fall. Apparently they went down there to “enjoy themselves” and were interrupted by the Black Lives Matter protesters who (obviously) saw this as the perfect place to have their voices heard by the passive denizens of Rockford.

From that point on the gems kept coming. At one point my cousin, upon hearing something from a protester, said, “Oh! And that isn’t racist?!” Her boyfriend at one point mentioned something like, “They don’t pay taxes anyway; why do they think they can stand in the street?” Obviously I don’t have to mention the typical ‘White Lives Matter’ lady who tried to get a chant started but failed miserably. She chanted the phrase about five times at the top of her lungs and no one gave a shit enough to join in. And as my cousin videoed this with her phone pointed slightly towards the ground as if she was hesitant to be seen obviously recording anything, her and her boyfriend kinda stood there and drank their beers and griped about the riff-raff across the street ruining their pleasant day.

And…and I can’t even tie all of this together into a nice bowtie where everything makes sense. All of this is so strange for me to actually see and try to process into feelings and words is really hard. It was very strange to see a family member of mine, in our own town, post a video during a protest and complain about that very protest. Like I don’t even know where to begin with how fucked up this feels to me.

I suppose my first gripe was with her “I’m just trying to enjoy myself, and…!” comment. There are a few things to unpack here. Firstly, she was down at The City Market on her own volition and was complaining about the protest there. After she said that I wondered why she was even standing on a corner videoing protestors if she was “trying to enjoy herself.” If you’re trying to enjoy yourself, stop videoing protestors and enjoy yourself! The cops kept the protestors out of The City Market area and there was no unrest that I could see in the actual market. Yes, people were screaming and holding signs across the street, but this doesn’t mean she couldn’t “enjoy herself.” If anything it looks like she gave right into the protests, walked to the corner, and tried to make some ‘statement’ about it. She wasn’t trying to enjoy herself; she found an opportunity to make a big deal out of protesters making loud noises and gave right into it making herself look like a total ass in the process.

Most importantly she seemed to hold her right to “enjoy herself” over the rights of others. You know, over the First Amendment rights of others’ freedom of speech. No, her right to “enjoy herself” seemed to trump the rights of anyone else who encroached on her even if they weren’t directly bothering her at all. It’s entitlement and feeling special about yourself: others are bothering you and how dare they do that!

This also ties into a comment that she mentioned on Facebook in reply to my wife’s comment (who totally blew up on her by the way); it was hinting towards ‘white privilege.’ She said “There are lots of black people who are rich and famous and black who have more money than me and really nice houses and cars. I don’t have all of that so how am I privileged?” and I couldn’t help but view the comment in terms of how she acted in the video. That was white privilege. The fact that she thought her right to “enjoy herself” was somehow more important that what anyone else deemed important. You know, those pesky First Amendment rights to free speech and protesting that all of us others have, and how dare those people exercise their rights and ruin her peaceful, drunken Friday at the Rockford City Market. White privilege, like racism itself, is subtle: you never notice it. White privilege isn’t all whites being rich and all blacks being poor. No one notices you’re white and says, “Hey, you’re white! We’ll give you a job because of it!” Or gives you a few $1,000 because you’re white. No, it manifests in mindsets like this and in subtle ways. She thought she was special, couldn’t be bothered to have her day disrupted, and shit all over a group of people over her own personal “inconvenience.”

It’s also shocking to hear her boyfriend mention something about, “They don’t pay taxes!” to a group of black people. This is the subtle racism that I’ve hinted at before — he didn’t say the n-word but you know exactly what he meant — black people don’t own anything, don’t pay any taxes, don’t pay for the roads, and shouldn’t be able to use the roads for anything. This one is somehow easier to deal with because it’s so goddamn silly, but still it shows the old racist view that ‘blacks don’t actually do anything for society so society doesn’t own them a damn thing.’ Luckily, this isn’t how society works. If your home is on fire the fire department doesn’t check to see how much you’ve paid in taxes. If you call the cops, they don’t check to see how much of your taxes went to the police department. If you need to walk/ride a bike/drive on a road, no one cares how much taxes you’ve paid because they’ve been build for society in general. There is no fucking ownership of the roads/police department/fire department/courthouses/etc. and the fact that someone is claiming blacks “don’t pay their share” misses on a few points. Do they even not pay their share [CITATION NEEDED]? And if they did, does it even matter anyways? No one is keeping track. The roads are for everyone’s use — the public’s use — and nothing else really matters.

Most shocking to me was the general crowd of middle aged white people standing across looking at the protesters, being “anti-protesters” if you will. They didn’t stand for anything except being opposed to what everyone was protesting about, just a reaction to whatever was happening at the time. Half of them had beers in their hands, kinda milling around with their phones out, just spectating and bitching. Of course no one had their masks on because COVID’s all a hoax anyways. They didn’t stand for anything and only were an opposition to the other side. There was a group of Black Lives Matter protesters across the street and they didn’t like it. They didn’t like the yelling, the ruckus, the trouble of it all. A sort of why can’t these people just shut up and deal with how life is? as they stood around and drank lite beer out of plastic cups. I recall seeing my cousin’s boyfriend (the legit white supremacist/alleged pedophile) wandering back and forth with his beer while wearing flip-flops. Having some idea how he feels — that whites are superior, blacks are loafing off the system, and maybe worse, maybe they should be enslaved, exported to Africa, or whatever else he thinks — and seeing him in a wife-beater and flip-flops was so ridiculous I guess? It’s hard to explain the mix of emotions I felt but it was so damn surreal. I didn’t know wether to laugh about the silliness of it all or to cry knowing we could be heading headfirst into a possible Civil War. Were these the real white supremacist? Were these the real racists? People that I’m related to? People with plastic beer cups lurking across the road from Black Lives Matter people? People wearing goddamn flip-flops on a Friday griping about how blacks don’t pay taxes and shouldn’t have access to the roads? This is the elite white race that feels threatened by other cultures? That thinks their society is being diluted and erased? Those who want their history and culture preserved? That shits on others for standing up for their own injustices? For fucks sake, what is there to be proud of?

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Dipshit Family Members Suck

About a month ago I received a Facebook friend request from someone I wasn’t really expecting: my uncle, who is like 60-something years old. It apparently took him until 2020 to get on the Facebook bandwagon, and I don’t know how anyone in this situation wouldn’t feel mildly worried.

Some background on him: he’s a retired postal worker, a big fan of guns and shit, has a conceal-carry license, loves motorcycles, and is a raging hoarder. Literally his house is unlivable because of all the shit that he stores there and he lives with my grandma because his home is so packed full of junk. While I’m not a huge fan of stereotypes, just go with me here because they’re sometimes useful, if you were to stereotype him, what would you consider him? A raging environmentally-friendly liberal sympathetic to the BLM movement or some dumbass gun-toting right-winger? Not that politics seems to be too relevant here, but recall I’m talking about him being on Facebook. Political alignment is immensely important in regards to how people act on Facebook.

I was weary when he requested me as a friend on Facebook because like most people above 50, you know they’re just going to spam political bullshit and stupid memes all the time. It’s like par for the course and I was dreading seeing what he’d post. Luckily, he didn’t really post much of anything. He kinda stayed quiet and didn’t seem to force any opinions, whatever they happened to be, onto his fellow Facebook friends. Still, part of me was weary. To me, my uncle was the stereotypical Facebook fucking proto-nutjob; sure he wasn’t a nutjob yet, but if anyone were to become a nutjob, it’d be someone like him. It felt like he was a ticking time bomb where there was only a matter of time before he went off the damn rails. Given enough time for the propaganda to work on him, he’d eventually lose it.

He still isn’t too familiar with Facebook seeing how he acts on the site. I’ve always been fascinated with ‘social media norms’ and those who break them, clueless to how things are “supposed to be done.” For example, you never like someone’s picture from five years ago (unless they share it or something) because then it’d be obvious that you were fucking lurking through their pictures. Or sending messages to people you don’t actually know really well. Things like that. Social media has a new set of rules that differ from the rest of society and this fact is new for a lot of people. That being said, my uncle, being totally clueless about how people are supposed to act on Facebook, went on displaying his insanity in a new and different way: he sends direct messages to people.

I still haven’t actually replied to any of his messages, because he never actually says anything in them. Everything I’ve received from him has been images and videos that he’s shared. No context, just a string of images/videos/memes that randomly appear in my inbox. Whatever. At first these weren’t political and were like AC/DC songs and shit, but a week ago I received this:

Okay. Once again, zero context. I agreed with the image — I think America is going down a dangerous path where something bad is going to happen (especially in regards to the recent bullshit in Portland) — but some part of me thinks even if he does agree with the image’s sentiment that it’s not in quite the same way as I do. It almost seemed threatening in a way, either implying that people like me might get murdered by people like him or that us (if we did agree) would have to go murder Americans we didn’t agree with. While I waved it off initially, something about it stuck with me. I was almost certain my uncle had finally spent enough time on Facebook to discover the radical pages that spoke to him and was now spewing his bullshit to anyone he could. He’s always seemed kinda unhinged, but now with Facebook influencing him how much worse would it get? Remember, he’s a fully armed dude who always has a fucking pistol on him, even in the safety of his my grandma’s home and at kid’s birthday parties, and I really worry about someone like that finally snapping over being enraged by Facebook propaganda.

He also recently sent my wife and I a video about…well, I’m not sure, because I didn’t fucking watch it. She did though, and I think it was some congressman questioning Dr. Fauci about why shutting down a church in Nevada was okay but the shutting down the protests weren’t. It is kinda a good question — aren’t the protests helping spread COVID? — but the entire thing seemed like fucking propaganda. Like he’s doing us a favor by ‘enlightening’ us about some GOP senator grilling Fauci. Luckily she’s more courageous than me and actually replied to him saying that she disagreed with his shit, but still appreciated him as a person and a family member. And as for me, well, I just ignore whatever he sends because I’m a coward.

My Cousin

I think this post kinda got me started down the road to deleting the dumbfucks I’m friends with on Facebook. Shortly after posting it, I started to delete anyone that I disagreed with. I still have a few conservative friends, and one I especially appreciate. He’s one of the “old school conservatives” that is worried about how Trump has kinda taken over and dictated the direction of conservative policy. These are the people I can get on board with — someone I disagree with on policy but where I can respect what they’re saying — and these people are in short fucking supply nowadays. Basically as soon as anyone posted some silly AlL lIVeS mAtTeR bullshit I’d cut ties with them because there’s little to no factual basis or policy to anything they’re saying. It’s propaganda.

Fun fact and a fact that I know is kinda wrong: I’ve been a lot happier too. No one I know on Facebook has ridiculously different views with me and we all seem to be on the same page. It’s nice, I’m living in a happy echo chamber and while I know it’s wrong, I do feel better about the state of the world. Like I can live in peace thinking that maybe 40% of the US (and people I actually know and are related to) aren’t supportive of our proto-fascist president and his ‘secret police’ in Portland and other major cities. Like, hey, maybe the world isn’t such a bad place after all?

My cousin was one of the fatalities in my purge. She lives near downtown Rockford, near the BLM protests, and would constantly post videos of the protestors with really nervous-sounding comments like her apartment would be torched sounded like someone a few steps removed from these people right here:

The protestors don’t give a fuck about you because you’re not the goddamn problem. You’re not the police and you’re not systemic racism. No one protesting gives a fuck about your shitty apartment with absolutely nothing worth stealing and every post of hers screamed of a total misunderstanding about what the protests were actually about. The total inability to see anything from someone else’s perspective, that maybe people do have lives with different struggles than you. I didn’t want the implied ignorance or negativity so I deleted her.

A few days ago I received a message on Facebook Messenger saying something like, “Hey, I noticed we’re not friends on Facebook. Did you delete me?” And like my usual style I ignored it. Sure, I act like a hardass deleting people and writing corrosive blog posts about people but that doesn’t mean I actually want to have a discussion about why I deleted someone from Facebook. Once again I’m a goddamn coward and I fully admit it.

My mom came over to visit today and she mentioned that my cousin asked her about it. She said she didn’t know and seemed to shrug it off. She also filled me in to a few of my cousins other “beliefs” such that COVID is a hoax, it’s not that big of a deal, and that Trump is actually doing a lot of good for the United States of America. Apparently she constantly visits our grandma who is 89 years old, hugs and kisses her, and obviously doesn’t give a shit about wearing a mask at all; she bragged about the amount of stores she visited without a mask as if that made her a badass or something. What if she gives COVID to our grandma and she dies from it? Would she acknowledge it then or would there be more denial. “Well, she was old anyways…” While I’m on the shit-on-my-cousin bandwagon, let me also say she’s dating a guy who’s a convicted arsonist (and it was fun seeing him on TV right after I woke up one day like ten years ago) with a family of legit white supremacists. Not like subtly racist people: legit, proud, aware, white supremacists. I vaguely recall getting into an argument with my cousin’s boyfriend’s little brother on MySpace a long time ago because he was shitting on black people for some reason. Anyways birthday parties with that side of the family are kinda awkward to say the least.

But last night it kinda clicked in my head that I really don’t like much of my family. Honestly. My sister is cool, my wife and the kids are great, but everyone else in the extended family seems to be insane. And it seems as I feel wiser as time goes on they seem to lose their minds as time goes on. My cousin’s family is white supremacists and blatant Trump supporters and I cannot for the life of me figure out what they see in the guy. My uncle is crazy NRA fanatic who seems to be ready to fight a civil war murdering fellow Americans for some fucking reason. My dad told me a few of his brothers were also right-winger Trumpers and once again I cannot see what is appealing at all about the guy. My dad, who luckily doesn’t vote, also seems to be a Trumper who somehow started bitching about Hillary and Benghazi for some reason despite over 150,000 COVID deaths under our current president. None of these people think COVID is a real thing or a legitimate threat to them, once again my cousin bragging about not wearing a mask in stores! What a goddamn rebel! Part of me thinks I’m the problem, someone just as one-sided, blind, and biased as they are, but another part of me thinks that maybe I’m on the right path here. I’m trying to follow history and science and everything seems incredibly dangerous and serious currently while others seem to be either indifferent or even happy with the state of the country now. And it’s hard to realize that maybe the people you grew up around, who are part of your family, are some of the people totally on the wrong side of logic, history, science, and empathy. It’s not a good feeling.

Why Wearing a Mask Sucks: Blood Oxygen Levels?

Wearing a mask is terrible. This should be common knowledge by now (unless you’re one of those people that think mask wearing infringes on your ‘Murkian Freedoms or something), especially now that we’re well into the hot and humid summer months. Masks are hot, sweaty, steamy, uncomfortable, annoying, and stinky, as the first thing I noticed upon wearing a mask was that my breath was fucking terrible. Even an hour after brushing my teeth, my breath trapped in my mask fucking reeked. There is nothing remotely enjoyable about wearing a mask.

But by far the worst part about wearing a mask is that they are difficult to breathe in, thereby lowering your blood’s oxygen content. This could be dangerous to anyone with anemia or breathing issues, and might even lead to passing out or fainting. Breathing and oxygen are kinda important things for your body, and masks fuck all of this up.

Except…except that last paragraph is total bullshit. I made it up. Or rather I took the stereotypical dumbasses’ talking-points and recreated them to the best of my abilities. Hopefully this “alternative fact” has been thoroughly debunked by the many photos we’ve all maybe seen recently on social media. I’ve seen a few photos and videos of people wearing masks for literal hours while checking their blood oxygen levels to see if they go down at all. No, they stay right where they are, meaning the mask doesn’t do shit to your oxygen levels.

Photo from here. (Which is apparently from a Dr. Megan Hall on Facebook) Note the SpO2 at 99%.

So why do masks feel suffocating if they’re not actually suffocating you?

A Quirk of the Human Body

A few years ago while bored at work I got into this challenge to see how long I could hold my breath. As always, why the fuck not? Work can be incredibly boring. I’d exhale deeply and take a massive, lung-filling breath and see how long I could hold it. My record was just over a minute, maybe a minute-and-a-half, but this was about as long as I could hold it. Doing some research I discovered the world record for breath holding was something like 24 minutes: how the fuck was that possible?

This is possible because us humans have some stupid system in place in our bodies that we, for some reason, only feel the need to breathe not when our oxygen runs out but when carbon dioxide (CO2) builds up to a certain level. Isn’t that fascinating? Evolution isn’t perfect and we’ve survived just fine even having this seemingly silly system in place. By expelling as much CO2 out of your body by hyperventilating you can “trick” your body into thinking it’s not running out of precious oxygen. By hyperventilating and getting those CO2 levels as low as possible initially you can hold your breath much longer.

It’s this reason why oxygen masks on planes are so important. When an airplane depressurizes you don’t really notice much — no suffocation or difficulties breathing — despite your body being only seconds away from losing consciousness and minutes away from death. This is also why breathing in helium (or any other non-oxygen gas) is dangerous; you can quickly displace blood oxygen and not even be aware of it until you pass out or die. Once again you won’t feel ‘suffocated’ because you’re still exhaling CO2 and your body feels perfectly fine. Fun, isn’t it?

So, what are some symptoms of high blood CO2? The medical term from this is hypercapnia and I’ve linked Wikipedia if you feel like going down the rabbit hole. Here are some of the early symptoms of hypercapnia: breathlessness, headache, confusion, and lethargy. There are more severe symptoms but I’m not going to include them because I think this should be enough to show what I think is going on. Granted, I don’t know this for fact, but I think it sounds logical enough:

Masks trap a small amount of exhaled carbon dioxide near your face. When you inhale the first half-second you’re taking in CO2 which could lead to increased blood CO2 levels despite having adequate oxygen.

I think people by not being aware of the CO2 blood level and its relation to feeling like you’re suffocating mistake these mild symptoms as not them having enough oxygen. It makes sense and I’ve felt this way with a mask on — it really can feel like you’re not breathing enough — but the home experiments people have done show this to not be the case. Sure, some people might have medical conditions where a simple mask could be enough to put their bodies out of whack (emphysema, those missing a lung, etc.), but for most (and by most I mean like 99.5% of everybody) a mask is only a moderate discomfort and cannot ‘suffocate’ you to any realistic or dangerous degree.

What to do About It?

Masks do take some adjusting in how you breathe and this makes sense if my whole ‘CO2 trapped in mask when you first inhale’ idea is true. I’ve notice that while wearing a mask I do breathe slightly different. My breaths have become deeper and more deliberate and I think this is to bring in enough oxygen to adjust to the initial CO2 also being inhaled. My exhales are also more deliberate, as if I’m trying to get a tiny bit more CO2 out of my body because I know I’ll inhale a small portion on the next breath. (Note: I tried to find a link to a proper ‘how to breathe in a mask’ article; I couldn’t find one. The ones I did find only had vague tips like “be mindful of how you breathe” and “be calm.”)

So sure, mask are terrible to wear, but we all know that. That’s luckily about as bad as it gets. If you don’t have an underlying medical condition (a real one, not a fake-ass one) you’ll be fine. You won’t suffocate or die. Sure, you won’t be running a marathon in record time with one on, but for everyday things like working or shopping you’re not going to suffocate. This suffocating feeling is most likely caused by the mask trapping some exhaled CO2 close to your face that is inhaled before fresh air can make it to your mouth/nose. People have shown that blood O2 levels remain constant while wearing a mask and it’s only the elevated CO2 levels that make you feel suffocated. This is due to some silly quirk in our bodies that links the feeling of suffocation to CO2 levels and not oxygen levels. But above all: WEAR YOUR FUCKING MASK. It might somewhat protect yourself, it definitely protects others, and let’s all just please play along with coronavirus protocols so we can all get back to a normal life as soon as possible.

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The 4th of July Sucks: 2020 Edition

Everyone who has a slightly racist uncle/parent/grandparent on Facebook is probably familiar with this image format and caption: some patriotic image with words like, “If you don’t like [random bullshit patriotic gesture] than you can get the hell out!” Respecting the flag, respecting our ‘customs,’ respecting our language (lol), and so on. It’s always about respecting something. I did a little work to find a representative example of one. Here ya go:

Yeehaw. Fucking immigrants derking er jerbs.

On this 4th of July, in the year of Satan 2020, I’ve been finding myself reflecting on the state of America. Do I hate the place? No. Do I hate what we’ve become? Yes. Do I think we have much more potential that we can live up to? Yes. Am I ashamed to be an American — sometimes yes and sometimes no — but I’m still an American and I feel like my opinion on the state of the country as important as any other citizens. Which is where my issue with silly memes like these begin.

Pictures like these and the others shared by your slightly-racist family members have a ton of implications to them. In the case on the one above, I find it strange that ‘democrats’ are grouped in along with ‘illegals’ which says a whole lot. To be a democrat you’re probably a citizen of the US, and grouping them with ‘illegals’ seems really silly. It’s basically saying that democrats are the same tier of American as illegal aliens which is a totally bullshit statement. Immigrants are a strange inclusion too because I assume they mean ‘legal immigrants’ because if they were illegal they’d be, well, the ‘illegals’ mentioned above. Meaning that being a citizen of the US who is also an immigrant makes them somehow ‘less American’ than the second-, third-, or fourth-generation Americans like most of us probably are.

What really bothers me here is the ownership of America that conservative like to claim. Like America doesn’t mean different things to different people and that they’re somehow the holders of the American Flame and Spirit. It doesn’t matter if you’re a citizen, if you’re not a conservative citizen somehow your view of America is flawed in some way. Like you just don’t get it, maaaaan. And fuck that viewpoint because I’m a goddamn American like any other flag-waving, gun-toting cousin-fucker in the middle of bumfuck nowhere, and my love for America is worth as much as theirs.

I’m also not a fan of the “fixed America” viewpoint that conservative love to stand behind. The image above (and all Facebook-Uncle-images really) seem to view America as something concrete. Like there are fixed customs, beliefs, and traditions that you need to respect and that any change to them is somehow Unamerican. I sometimes think this is the main conservative viewpoint: change is bad. America is basically perfect — the big-dick swingin’ country that controls the entire damn world — and any flaws that America does have are blown out of proportion. There is no need to move forward because America is something already perfect and moving forward is an insult to it. In short, why fix what isn’t broken?

It seems liberals like to view America as non-perfect, in need of some serious love and care and progress to become what America should be. I’m one of them and my view of America is a work-in-progress towards the ideals written down in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. You know: all men are created equal; life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness; and so on. We all know what it means to be American — that you have a fair chance in the world to live up to your potential, that people aren’t biased against based on anything besides their merits, and that justice will be served against those that break those tenets — but any liberal realizes that all of that is a farce. America, to get to where we are today, had to do a ton of work, a ton of fighting, and America was nowhere near perfect in the late 1700s. In fact, the original America was ass-backwards from what was written down in the Declaration and the Constitution.

This conservative idea of what America is is flawed from the start because the ‘ideal America’ they envision is one that has been changed for the better numerous times since the signing of the Constitution. Hell, the Constitution even acknowledges that it must be fluid to keep with changing times, hence the amendment process. From the start, the founding fathers knew that change would have to occur, and change has occurred. Hell, the 19th Amendment — the document that gave women the right to vote — hasn’t even been around for 100 years! 18 year-olds couldn’t vote until 1971, and before the Civil Right Movement employers could openly discriminate against people by their skin color. Income taxes weren’t even a thing until 1909 and Social Security (a thing conservatives love to ramble about liberals ‘threatening’) wasn’t a thing until the 1930s, curiously passed by the raging and filthy liberal Franklin Roosevelt. And you can’t forget the Big One here: slavery. Slavery was totally legal until the 1860s. Think about it, the right to own other people as property was totally legal 160 years ago, and does anyone really think slavery is part of the ‘ideal America?’ My point here is that the America we all know and love — and the America that conservatives love to view as something fixed, sacred, and perfect — has been changing all the damn time.

I feel like the founding fathers had the right idea about freedom and liberty but just couldn’t pull it off at the time. As we progress as a society we find new freedoms that people do not have. Think of the most recent legalization of gay marriage; I don’t think the founders could’ve even thought about extending freedom to gays back in 1790 simply because it was the 1790s. We’ve come a long way since then, and trying to keep anything fixed in terms of a ‘real America’ seems stupid and useless from the start and misses the entire point of what America — the ideal America — should be.

So those are my thoughts on America this 4th of July. I love America despite being a progressive. I love the ideals that we were founded upon, but don’t think we’ve lived up to our potential yet. We don’t have the society free from bias and hate that the founders had envisioned. We’re closer than we were 100 years ago — women can vote and kids don’t have to work 15 hours in a factory — but with the Black Lives Matter protests, racism, and the rise of right-wing fascism we seem further away from the ideal America than we did ten years ago. American has been and always will be a work in progress with the path paved by dissenters and people who fight for what is right despite the popular views or dominant social trends of their times. Sometimes I feel like America is shit, like it’s going down the drain, like it’s all falling apart, but America is something I want to fight for. I’m goddamn proud to be an American.

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The Verizon Karen Sucks (and something about repairing your phone)

So there we were waiting in line at the Verizon store immediately in front of some pregnant lady who was bitching on the phone to someone about her plight.

“I have an online order and I have to wait in line? What kind of shit is that? I’m thirty-two weeks pregnant and I have to stand here in this heat? Even if I have an online order? Yes, yes it’s bullshit? Total bullshit. Uh uh. Exactly. Yes, yes I might call and make a complaint about this…”

And while I was sitting cross-legged on the pavement I glanced up at my wife and took a massive pull from my vape. She met my eyes and we exchanged mutual looks. “Really?” We both asked without words. “Is this type of person really behind us?” A few subtle eye rolls, frowns, and glances up at the sky both communicated that we were on the same page here; we had a Karen behind us and we were both miserable because of it.

I said to my wife, “Wow, I wish I had my phone right now. I have some really good inspiration for a blog post. Lot’s of good ideas going on in my mind right now.” She smiled, knowing I have a blog called Everything Sucks where I bitch about random facets of life. She knew exactly what my “inspiration” was all about while Karen had no idea I was shitting all over her.

My Goddamn Phone…

This all has quite a backstory starting years ago. I’m cheap as fuck. I love to make things last. I’m a DIYer at heart. I like fixing things. I love learning new things. And one of the most difficult and cost-effective ways to utilize these traits is with cell phones. These bad boys, totally new, can run you near $1,000 (especially if you’re one of those Apple fanbois) and to me it’s imperative that you do all you can do to make them last as long as possible. Take care of them and repair them. To me, the longer you can make a shitty, old phone last the longer you can postpone buying a really expensive new one, and the more money you can save. Every month with an old phone is a month you don’t have to pay for a new one.

One of the first things that wear out with phones is the battery, and this is simply due to the chemistry and physics of how lithium-ion batteries work. Years ago you could actually buy and replace a phone’s battery, but now most phones have a permanent internal battery that you can’t easily access. This naturally limits your phone’s life to a few years at most before it doesn’t hold jack-shit for charge. The first fact of owning an old phone is the battery degradation and you must face that fact eventually.

So to breathe some new life into my old Samsung S7 I set about changing the battery a few months ago. I had to remove the back glass cover and tear a bunch of internal components out to get to it, but holy fuck, I did it. I was successful. I changed the S7’s internal battery giving my 2.5 year old phone a new life. Sure I busted the rear glass in the process, but it worked and I was proud of myself and proud of my new-found phone-fixing abilities.

Hell, I even replaced the cracked rear glass cover a month ago which was surprisingly easy. I was getting good at this whole phone repair business.

A few weeks ago at work I busted the front screen of my phone. I don’t even know how it happened either. I put my phone into my pocket, went up into the airplane, and started pushing cans around to unload it. When we had some downtime I took my phone out and the screen was cracked. How the hell did that happen? I had no idea. Anyways, since I had such major success changing my phone’s battery and rear panel, I started to think about how difficult it would be to change the busted front glass screen as well. Amazon had replacement glasses for only $15, so I bought one and set about replacing it.

You can find a lot of useful information on the Amazon reviews of a product, and the glass replacement was no different. Strangely, most of the reviews said something like, “DO NOT TRY THIS REPAIR ON YOUR OWN, YOU WILL BREAK YOUR PHONE! This is a repair that should only be undertaken by those who know what their doing!” Yeah, whatever, who gives a shit. I’m a pro: I know what I’m doing.

So, Friday. I’m sure you can see where this story is going. I finally attempted to change my phone’s busted glass screen and totally fucked it up and bricked my phone in the process. Apparently (and like the Amazon reviews warned) the screen digitizer — the thing that actually is your phone screen — is placed like right upon the glass cover. I didn’t really realize this so totally pried the screen — along with the very important digitizer — up from the rest of the phone, cutting and tearing the hardware ribbon that connected it to the rest of the phone. I turned the phone on and there was nothing on the whatever-grey-thing that’s underneath the digitizer.

Ooops…

And Onto Verizon…

It was about 3:30 p.m. on Friday when all of this went down and I needed to have a phone. I use the damn thing so much for work and leisure and stocks and writing that I couldn’t possibly go without one. A quick Google search said our local Verizon store closed at 5 p.m. meaning we’d have to get the fuck out of the house quickly to get a new phone. You know, before the weekend. Before everything was closed. Before I’d be out of a phone for three days wondering what the hell to do with my hands in the meantime.

The Verizon store had a line outside of it (thanks to COVID) about 5 people long. I didn’t know how long this would take, but we had 40 minutes before the store closed. Everyone in the line seemed cool, patiently waiting their turn to go shop or pick up their internet orders or whatever. I sat on the pavement cross-legged and tried to look like a peaceful and wise Buddhist monk as we all fucking waited to be served.

Then Karen showed up. She walked right to the door of the store — right past the 6 or 7 of people clearly waiting in line — and tried to open the door. It was locked and she seemed pissed. I wasn’t paying much attention at the time because she was just some pregnant women trying to shop at Verizon and wasn’t a total Karen yet, but she soon made her name known. Some employee came out and talked to her, and she said something about her internet order that she needed to pick up, and was directed to the back of the line, right behind my wife and I. She promptly called someone and started bitching about the entire situation and how terrible and bullshit it was for her. As stated before, here was a thirty-two week pregnant lady who had to stand outside of a store for her internet order, and why couldn’t they just service her first? Because she was thirty-two weeks pregnant and hot and miserable and everything. And hell, her two-year old was sitting in the car with it running because she needed AC and she didn’t have AC because she had to stand outside the store waiting. It was total bullshit to her — some massive offense against her and her trials and struggles of being pregnant — and the company should be ashamed of itself.

Look, I try to be understandable to anyone and the shit they’re going through, but the instant someone seems entitled to something, any sympathy I have instantly disappears. Like, poof, gone, fuck you. Yes, I know being pregnant in June probably isn’t comfortable at all, but with all the bitching and appearing like you’re some fucking queen that needs to be catered to, please kindly fuck off.

I also have a zero patience for anyone bitching about problems that they caused themselves. It’s like if I woke up hungover and complained about it; well, I think maybe I had something to do with my misery so why bitch about it? Or my goddamn phone: yes, I tore it apart and fucked it up, but I wasn’t complaining about it like it was some random chance event that happened to me. A tree didn’t fall on my phone and break it. God had nothing to do with it. It was my fault so how could I bitch about it? But this lady was totally complaining that her toddler was in the car with the AC going wasting her gas? For fuck sake, take her out, shut the car off, and let her wait in line with you! Or her bitching about being thirty two weeks pregnant? Once again, I think she might’ve had something to do with getting pregnant (unless she’s Mother Mary #2), so bitching about it seems so…pointless, I guess? Like fuck, Verizon didn’t get you pregnant, and maybe you should’ve known that getting knocked-up in fall/winter of 2019 would mean that you’d be in your final trimester in the fucking hot and humid months of June/July/August. It should be known and accepted. And COVID? Fuck, we’re all waiting in line and no one is happy about it, but what else are we supposed to do? We’re all in the same goddamn boat waiting in line outside of Verizon on a hot and humid day and only she seemed like it was some affront to her humanity or her condition or something.

Not that I was in a good mood myself either. Everything in my life was going wrong. Any step I took to fix something somehow backfired. Hence the phone. I tried to save money by fixing it, and ended up breaking the fuck out of it because I didn’t know what I was doing. We had just gotten our car back from the dealership only to have it fuck up again on the way to work. Nothing was going right, and all I wanted was something to go right. I was at Verizon to fix a problem I had caused for myself and the entire trip was like some insult to my ability to actually fix my phone and have something actually work out. I’d soon be out about $600 because I fucked up. I needed some goddamn positivity and had about zero patience to deal with anything negative, especially some random lady bitching about her life behind me in the line. I was waiting for her to say something to us — anything — and was ready to blurt out a blatantly honest, “Look, I have enough bad shit going on in my life right now and I don’t need anymore negativity. Sorry.”

Eventually after about ten or fifteen minutes Verizon got their shit together, talked to her, found her order, and hauled it out to her. She kinda acted nice, said “thank you,” and waddled her thirty-two week pregnant ass back to her car, running with the AC on, with her two-year old desperately trying to undo her carseat’s belts and fasteners. I felt kinda bad for the kids — the two-year-old and the unborn one — because she seemed like a total bitch of a mom. Like one that will fuck their kids up in some unrepairable way in the next few decades. Hell, the kids might even end up just like their mom; another couple of Karens to haunt Gen A or Gen B kids (or whatever comes after Gen Z) as they wait outside stores during a pandemic. The cycle repeats, something about the Wheel Weaves and the Wheel Wills or something. I don’t know. 

Everyone glanced at everyone else in line, all kinda silently agreeing that “Wow, glad that bitch is gone. Geez.” and there seemed to be a thin form of comradery as we all waited in line and finally got rid of our Karen. Then everyone went back to their phones, conversations, and I continued to sit and vape, trying to play the part of the enlightened Buddhist monk outside Verizon on a Friday. Accepting of the universe and taking each moment as it came and went.

Reopening Sucks

George Floyd, the martyr in the recent round of protests against police brutality, was murdered May 25, 2020 (on Memorial Day), about exactly a month ago.

Conspiracy theorist always seem to get about the first 5% of things right before the next 95% of “facts” go totally off the damn rails. It doesn’t take a detective to realize that social media — and nearly all forms of media — are totally dominated by a fuckton of right-wing cultists spewing total bullshit about whatever topic is available to be bitched about. COVID, Black Lives Matter, vaccines, Trump, etc. But the 5% they’re right on, the first 5% that might be the jumping off point for some total craziness, goes something like this, “People listen way too much to the media. People believe whatever their told!” (The typo is surprisingly fitting here. Also pointing to the fact that they have their own forms of media that they blindly follow, i.e. a random dude on YouTube.) After that the craziness really ensues.

But fuck if they’re not right for that initial 5%. Not that the rest of their shit is right — COVID is a hoax, etc. — but the foundation seems true enough. As stated, George Floyd was murdered by police on May 25, 2020. And it’s hard to gauge, but as the protests around his murder really kicked off in late-May/early-June, America seemed to totally forget about COVID entirely. We’ve given up, decided it wasn’t anything to worry about, that we’ve beaten it, and we’ve decided to move on.

I partially blame the media, along with the 5% factual shit from above, for totally misleading the population, not on purpose but because that’s what they do for money/ratings. And I also blame the population for being so damn dumb that they only consider what is being reported as important, usually one big topic at a time. The world is a complex place and just because media doesn’t report on shit doesn’t mean it’s not occurring. Remember the Australian wildfires? Did those ever go out or did the media stop reporting on it as COVID ramped up? Remember the Brazilian rainforest being wrecked for farmland? Did we win that battle or did the media go silent? And was COVID conquered simply because the news pivoted to stories about protests and riots? You’d think so if you’ve only checked out Facebook or other social media. Everyone seems to be hopelessly fixed on the zeitgeist of the day/week and blindly follows it, whatever the media decides is important enough to report on at the time. I’m guilty of this myself, having written two posts about racism in the past week. As a blogger I feel I need to chase around “relevancy” in whatever form it takes, but somehow COVID has been lurking in my mind for awhile. Is it really over or did we just move the fuck on and decide we don’t want to worry about it anymore?

It’s obviously the latter: not that many people seem to be aware of it if it’s not constantly reported on. I had a COVID test about a month ago and was off of work for over a week until I got my results back. They were negative and I went back to work to find a slightly altered workplace. No one was wearing masks anymore and it seemed as soon as June 1st rolled around people stopped caring. The gas station I frequent for beer used to have a sign saying something like “A FACE MASK/BANDANA IS REQUIRED TO ENTER THE STORE” which disappeared when June rolled around. Another gas station, in the bumfuck redneck town of Winnebago, Illinois, had a sign on the door stating they required facemasks for all customers. I didn’t have mine so cautiously opened the door to gauge the reaction of people inside; no one had a mask on and didn’t seem to give a damn that I also didn’t have a mask on. No one gave a shit wherever I went after May ended. So I also didn’t give a shit which is probably the wrong thing to do.

“WHO GIVES A SHIT?! It’s an RPG boys, story doesn’t matter; it’s all about the action. Now let’s get down to business…”

-Videogamedunkey in his “Dunk Souls” video upon skipping the introductory cutscene and all the context of the game it offers. I’ve found myself blurting out “WHO GIVES A SHIT? STORY DOESN’T MATTER,” in regards to COVID recently.

I think in May our governor J.B. Pritzker tried to keep Illinois shutdown until July. He was then promptly sued because you know, rights and stuff — peoples rights to shop without a mask or work or something — and the court ruled in their favor. I still don’t know the details but it seemed Illinois would open up somewhat in June. Outdoor seating at restaurants, limited people in stores, with the stores opening at least among other things.

As a quick side note, I’ve realized that tagging these posts with “Pritzker Sucks” seems to rake in the views even though I support the guy. I won’t shit on him here because I think he’s done a good job taking COVID seriously, but I’m still going to tag this post with a “Pritzker Sucks” just to rake in those conservative views, and maybe anger some when they realize I like the guy and his handling of COVID. So yes, ironically, Fuck Pritzker. And Fuck Trump while we’re at it, but unironically this time. Thanks for reading right-wingers.

Social media has, along with the media, pivoted pretty strongly to being about riots. My knowledge of the news usually comes from trolling the front page of Reddit — anything newsworthy enough is usually upvoted enough to make it to the front page — or seeing the hyped-up dramatic shit I see on social media like Facebook. It’s pretty obvious, but in this environment COVID has all but disappeared. And it exits your consciousness where you’re not even aware that’s it’s still an issue. Luckily, gaps in the reporting still appear. I follow a chemist on Facebook and her main goal over the past few months appears to be to scream about COVID and how it’s still a threat. This doesn’t get reported but you know when a scientist/chemist is still screaming about something sciency, it’s still a problem. And even on Reddit the occasional post, like this following chart from r/dataisbeautiful, obviously show that COVID cases are still on the rise, especially in southern and western states. Let’s also not disregard the occasional r/news or r/worldnews posts with headlines like, “[State Name] has reported its highest single-day cases of COVID-19 with [number] reported on [date/day of the week].”

Something about seeing data in graphical form makes the trends instantly visible. It’s beautiful really. Source link right here boys.

COVID seems different as well because it’s a biological threat. Consider the Australian wildfires as an example; sure, even if the media doesn’t report on them they’re still raging, but this isn’t a direct threat to anyone in the United States or the rest of the world. In this case, ignorance is bliss and pretending like it’s not happening doesn’t really have a negative effect on the world. I think most news stories are like this — sure Trump conjured up a new stupid Twitter post to toss the media off his trail and allow the public to forget his last stupid Twitter post — but I doubt this has much an effect on anything. COVID? COVID, being a goddamn virus, doesn’t give a shit that it isn’t at the forefront of American knowledge because it’s going to do whatever the fuck it wants to do. In short, ignoring COVID — unlike ignoring Trump’s Twitter feed/the media’s reporting on it — will not benefit anyone. In fact it’ll only make the problem worse. As more people stop thinking that it’s a threat, the more that will let their guard down, and the more that will be infected. And they’ll go on to affect everyone else that’s let their guard down. And so on.

I find it strange that Americans have all but given up fighting COVID or being concerned about it. Shops, stores, and restaurants are opening back up. People are going back to work. States are opening up. Testing is still shit. But hey, it’s June, it’s summer, and people can’t wait to get out and live their lives that have been on hold for a few months. And holy hell is everyone ready to take off the masks that they claim they unironically Can’t Breathe in. We’re just going to ignore the climbing COVID numbers and pretend like nothing is happening. It’s the classic American way: close your eyes, plug your ears, and scream “La la la!” at the top of your lungs. Everything is fine. No, really. It’s fine.

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Subtle Racism Sucks

This is a topic I’ve been mulling over writing about for over a year now and it simply hasn’t come together, until now that is. I’ve been inspired to write this post because of some random video a friend of mine from high school shared on Facebook of all places. As much as I bitch about Facebook it’s nice to see someone pull through with a post that is heartfelt, meaningful, and gets your mind thinking a bit.

So about that video. She posted a five-minute long video that was just her talking. This person doesn’t fuck around on social media and if she posted a five-minute long video of her talking I knew something was being said and I wasn’t disappointed. She hit the current situation (the protests, Black Lives Matter, the police, racism, #AlLlIvEsMaTtEr, etc.) clearly, directly, and it definitely hit hard. 

To sum it all up, she said something about self-reflecting about the beliefs we all hold. Easy, right? I’m not racist at all so there isn’t much to reflect upon. She also said the stupidly deep line that went something like, “It isn’t our black friends that need to solve racism; that is up to us to solve, because we are the problem.” Obviously not all white people are the issue and the ‘we’ is a generalization of the white race, but racism is inherently a problem with non-black people by definition. Well, I’ve never thought about it that way before; until now I’ve viewed the recent protests as a conflict between the cops and blacks — I’m not black or a cop so what can I do about any of it? But regarding systemic racism and me being a white person? Maybe I do have a part in it after all. Maybe I am part of the problem? Maybe I am part of the solution.

But I’m not racist, at least as far as I know. But here at this blog I try to remain as open and honest as I’m able and have been wondering if I’m part of the problem after all. One thing I’ve noticed about racism is that it’s really subtle; it isn’t people in the streets chanting that they hate ‘niggers’ or anything. It’s much more quiet and repressed than that.

Subtle Racism in the World…

I recall a conversation in college about PC culture. Political correctness if you’re unaware of the term. The question was this: does PC culture help eliminate racism/hate or not? Most of the class seemed to agree, thinking that if it was taboo to call blacks ‘niggers’ or gays ‘faggots’ that it would somehow solve the problem. If everyone is too scared to say the words in public, it’s like the problem doesn’t really exist. It never has room to grow into full-fledged hatred. I was one of the few dissenters, arguing that eliminating language or making it unacceptable didn’t remove the true feelings behind the thoughts; people will feel what they feel even if they can’t put it into words. To me PC culture was an utter failure because while it dissuaded people from being vocal about their feelings, those feelings still existed, and to me it felt like a ticking time bomb.

Racism still exists in subtle forms, and I really think this might be due to our heavy PC culture in the past few decades. I think of my dad and how any black man walking along the street is “looking to buy drugs,” or whatever. Not like any African American can actually enjoy a walk or anything: they’re always assumed to be up to something shady. Or the fabled, “He’s one of the good ones,” when a white person has one as their friend. As if blacks have to prove they’re “one of the goods ones:” implying that they’re bad or flawed by default. There are a few other examples about Mexicans being lazy or criminals, but I don’t have any specifics to add here. Once again, racism isn’t white people calling blacks ‘niggers’ or anything; it’s much more subtle than that and we overlook most of this closeted racism.

I suppose my worry with this subtle, quiet racism is that given the correct environment (basically our current environment…) racism like this can grow and fester like a disease. Sure, people can’t say the n-word due to political correctness, but what if it becomes the norm? What if hatred to other races becomes acceptable and even desired by the dominant social trends of the day? Then it becomes cool to call blacks slurs, to hate openly instead of hiding it within. It becomes public, a sort of demon that no one can stop, and this is the Real Racism — like 1930s German Racism — that I find so damn terrifying even if it doesn’t currently exist. I’m sure a large portion of the population feels these quiet but repressed feelings of hate where there’s only some fragile, poorly-fortified damn stopping these feelings from spilling over into the mainstream. And this damn is us quiet, timid, well-meaning people of the world.

My Facebook friend’s main point in her video seemed to be about correcting your fellow humans about subtly racist comments and actions that your quietly-racist uncle/dad likes to randomly spout out. Show that you’re not accepting of any form of subtle hate. Make a stand. Say something. Don’t make it okay. Sure, someone who blurts out, “That’s gay,” I would correct, but this seems obvious and easy enough to implement and only requires courage to actually speak up. But with self-reflection I began wondering if I had some subtle form of racism that I wasn’t aware of. And here’s where we get to the old blog post that I’ve never gotten around to writing: Yes, I’m prejudiced. Yes, I’m biased. And it’s in a way I’m not even fully understand. It’s also in a totally undramatic and seemingly harmless way that sounds stupid and pointless to write anything about. My main racist crime?: I don’t use checkout lines with black people as the cashier. Like subconsciously. Bear with me in this silliness; I’ll post the second part before the weekend is over. I promise.

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