Category Archives: Random

Peterson's 12 Rules of Life Kinda Sucks

Disclaimer before everyone jumps my shit: I actually enjoy the book so far. When you have a blog called Everything Sucks and every post has been titled “[Topic] Sucks” you need to keep with tradition. I’m sorry if it sounds kinda click baity, but it sounds a ton better than “12 Rules of Life is A Decent Book but Here are Some Complaints I Have About It.” Just for the giggles of it I made the corresponding banner so you can see what I’m talking about:

This looks and sounds stupid.

I think I might get shit on for writing this post. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that has been so well-loved and well-received by nearly everyone that I myself just can’t get into. The only other book that comes close, I think, was the terrible Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiosiakawakaia, and I really don’t understand how I haven’t written a post about that awful fucking book yet. This puts me in a strange mindset: maybe the people that like this book — everyone that is — are wrong? Or maybe they all see the obvious wonder and greatness of this book and I’m the only idiot that doesn’t “get it.” I’m leaning towards the latter because why wouldn’t I? Seriously though, my supervisor has read the book and loved it. Her brother is currently reading the book and loves it. A few bloggers I follow have written about the book and they appeared to have also loved the book. Goodreads gives the book a 4 out of 5 which for Goodreads standards is amazing. Reviews on Amazon have also given the book a 4.6 out of 5, which, yeah, is really good. The consensus is that the book is good. And I don’t feel that way somehow.

I also want to say that I’m ignorant of any “controversy” that Peterson is apparently known for. I went into the book being a clean slate of opinions on Peterson himself, so this slightly grumpy post has nothing to do with me thinking he’s a bad person or being mad about whatever the hell it was that pissed people off. I don’t know about any of it.

Currently, I’m about a quarter of the way halfway through the book. (This is considering that reading three six out of the twelve rules should be a quarter halfway at least. I don’t know how much Peterson decides to rant after the twelfth rule either. It could be a lot.) and while it is a bit early to start critiquing things I’ve noticed a pattern that has been driving me bonkers while reading. I think it’s his writing style. Or his tone. I don’t really know how to sum it up but the book makes me angry when I read it, and sometimes irrationally so.

The problem is not that I disagree with the rules, it’s that I don’t like how he goes about explaining the rules. The first six rules are rather straightforward and (you’d think) should require little in the way of explanation. Rule one is to stand up straight (basically). To have good posture. Rule two is to treat yourself like another person in terms of your self care. That one seemed like it needed a bit of explaining so okay, fine. Rule three is to only have friends that want the best for you. Sounds good to me. Four is about comparing yourself only to who you used to be and not to others. Great one! Rule five: don’t let your kids be jackasses. Yes, agreed. And rule six is don’t shoot up schools/workplaces to only criticize others when your own affairs are in order. And with number six I could see some explaining being required.

The first thing I noted was that Peterson’s chapters are long. Not actually long but consistently longer than I think they need to be. He seems to explain his steps in such a vague and roundabout way that I’m continually wanting him to just wrap things up and move onto the next step. I’ll find myself thinking, “Okay, I get it! Wrap this shit up!” and upon realizing there are ten remaining pages to a chapter wondering why the hell he needs ten pages to make his point. This is made worse by the straightforwardness of most of the steps. I feel that four out of the six are relatively easy to grasp the logic behind so a quick summary should suffice. Nope. Peterson needs to take up thirty pages to make his point on nearly every rule.

Rule two was especially painful to slough through. Summing up his actual reasoning goes something like this: we care for others more than we care for ourselves. He starts off by saying that people frequently don’t take prescribed medicine but are more than happy to give medicine to their dogs or another person they care about. In short, take the care and love you have for others and apply it to yourself! Care about yourself as if you’re in charge of being a third person in charge of yourself! It makes sense and it’s a wonderful way of looking at life.

How does Peterson actually go about explaining this though? He basically uses the thought process from above, but the topic rambles on and on about order and chaos, somehow equating masculinity to order and femininity to chaos. He also gives like a play-by-play of the biblical “fall of man” story from Genesis and while it’s interesting to read even I’m not sure how it plays into caring for yourself despite having recently read the chapter. I can’t recall much of the rambling. I think Peterson was talking about our inherent hatred for ourselves or something. Who knows. It was struggling through this randomness that I found myself wanting him to just get to his point. Wishing for a clear, “This is my rule, and this is how I came upon my rule.”

You have to give Peterson credit for getting people, and myself, riled up though. Check out what I wrote at the end of chapter two; I let loose on the book and this is the first and only time I recall being so angry that I started writing a small essay in the book itself.

IT’S TIME TO RANT BOIS

I get the impression that Peterson likes to hear himself talk or is very cocky about himself. Self-esteem is nice to have but it comes across in a negative way if you overdo it and this is the vibe I get from the book. It seems like he had an offer to write a book about his rules of life (which the introduction conceitedly titled “Overture” describes) and just started packing it full of unnecessary worldview and philosophical things, sort of showing off how smart, wise, and talented he is or something. At best parts of the book like this seem unnecessary, at worst they come off as gratingly self-aggrandizing.

Once again to stress my conflictedness here: I like the twelve rules so far. Each rule that I’ve read through seems legit enough to adopt into my life. I haven’t came across a single rule where I’ve shaken my head and thought, “Nope. Peterson is full of shit. I’m not following that rule.” Everything makes sense. It’s just the writing and style of the book that pisses me off.

But I have to admit it’s nice to not enjoy a book as much as you’d think you’d enjoy it. Whenever I read self-help books I usually find myself agreeing with the author too much; after all, a published writer with a wildly successful book can’t be wrong, right? I’ve always been wary of this like it’s a sign that I’m too gullible with my reading or something. So it’s refreshing to actually disagree with someone for once and to be reminded that books are written by flawed and opinionated humans just like myself who could be wrong, or at the very least are someone I don’t have to automatically agree with. In this aspect 12 Rules is stupidly refreshing to read. It gets me thinking. It gets me saying to myself, “Huh? That’s fucking stupid.” It gets my blood boiling. It makes me write paragraph-long rants at the end of each chapter bitching about what Peterson has written. But somehow at the same time I mostly agree with the book. His twelve rules are something that I really think about adopting into my own life. The book is good, I just wish Peterson would keep his ranting a bit more on topic, or not come across as so confident that he appears overwhelmingly cocky and stuck on himself. But those are just like, my opinions, man.

My Laptop Sucks

Let me introduce you to my computer, a Lenovo laptop that is about three or four years old. It’s amazing how time flies because I didn’t think it was that old. My reason for buying the damn thing was me deciding that I’d like to pretend to be a writer, author, blogger, or something. At least I’ve been pretty successful at sticking with it because I’m still writing and posting. My computer at the time was some derelict desktop PC that was about ten years old at the time. It being a derelict desktop PC meant that it wasn’t portable at all; any writing I wanted to do had to be done in the cold, lonely, dark, and in the summer occasionally flooded basement. It wasn’t very conducive to productive writing that’s for sure. But besides that, the catalyst for “upgrading” (if you could call it that) was this: Google one day sent me an email or a notification stating that Chrome wouldn’t be supported on Windows XP anymore. At that time that I realized that, yes, my PC was old as dirt. I couldn’t deny it anymore.

On my quest to pretend to be a writer the aspect of a shiny, new laptop was also enticing. It could be my multi-hundred dollar “promise” to myself that I would write. It’s hard to not write when you spent $300-400 to do so. And since it was new I’d have even more incentive to write.

I went to newegg.com (I would link to it, but they’re not giving me affiliate money so fuck the small effort required to do so) and searched for the cheapest shit I could find. The one I purchased was about $300 if I recall it correctly. This is not a whole lot for a laptop and the reviews explained why: it was a “low-end” laptop that seemed to have a lower quality build, cheap speakers, low processing power, and basically everything about it was “lower-end.” One review said something like this, “The computer is good for basic work. I bought it for my daughter for college and it’s perfect for simple stuff like note taking.” Sounds perfect for writing huh?

My intentions were to also get a shitty computer so I wouldn’t be tempted to play video games on it. This laptop runs Kerbal Space program and Flight Simulator 2004 (!!!) even slower than the decade-old PC in the basement did. Mission Accomplished I guess.

Hang on. My laptop dropped the WiFi signal again. Let me restart it. Because that’s the only way to fix the problem.

And I’m back. This is what this post is really about: my shitty laptop’s inability to stay connected to WiFi. What happens is this: I take a break from writing to either eat food, use the bathroom, or wander off simply from being distracted. If I’m gone for more than five minutes the WiFi signal is lost and any and all troubleshooting doesn’t fix the problem. It also happens if I close the screen or put it into sleep mode. I usually take these breaks between actually writing a blog post and posting it, and you can imagine the slew of things that can go wrong.

I load the post into WordPress, and WordPress has a “save draft” button that usually works just fine. If the internet is lost though, WordPress does not save a draft despite telling me so. Countless times I’ve hit the “save draft” button, had it tell me that saving the draft was successful, all without having internet; WordPress didn’t save a damn thing. Luckily Google Docs saves changes even offline (and tells you so), so editing posts there doesn’t cause me an issue, and only when I make changes in WordPress do things magically go missing. It is soulcrushingly frustrating to lose a post after you’ve edited the hell out of it.

Making the problem more frustrating is my inability to solve it before the issue occurs. When I’m writing and things are going okay I don’t care about any possible lurking problem about WiFi and internet connectivity. It’s only after things go wrong do I feel the need to solve them. But as stated before, this usually occurs in the middle of uploading a blog post so I usually solve that problem before even giving a damn about the recurring WiFi problem. Also, when you lose internet the first thing you want to do is an internet search to see if anyone else has the problem and what the possible fixes are. Internet out, I want to solve it but can’t search anything because the internet is out. And if the internet works okay? Well, then I don’t care to solve the problem because there is no problem to solve.

Windows PCs are pains-in-the-asses to troubleshoot too. All the customization and freedom that comes with a  Windows PC also means troubleshooting is frequently oblique and complex. A few solutions I’ve looked up involved using command prompts and all of that and while I’ve completed a few of them they still haven’t solved the problem. As with everything, it isn’t a major problem that is threatening my writing or blogging in anyway, it’s just frustrating as fuck when I have to shut my computer off anytime I need to leave it for a few minutes. That or restart the damn thing after it drops the WiFi signal.

When I left the computer this time I manually shut off WiFi, and then put it in sleep mode. I turned it back on, and manually turned on WiFi and that seems to have worked. Dammit maybe I do have a fix after all? I just need to shut WiFi off anytime I leave apparently. While that might be clunky as fuck, it sure beats restarting it multiple times while trying to post something. It’s a good PC and serves its writing purpose admirably, but damn is it annoying when it loses internet. And thanks for listening to this utterly pointless rant about my shitty computer.

The Tesla Cybertruck…Sucks?

Elon Musk is a strange and unique individual, at least as far as billionaires go. We always seem to view most billionaires as kinda old, stuffy, and reserved people. I’m talking the Bill Gates, the Warren Buffetts, and the Jeff Bezos of the world. You never get a sense of them as a person unless you happen to read a biography about them. I know Bill Gates is a nice enough guy with how much him and his wife donate to causes that benefit society, and I know that Buffett is notoriously cheap and humble, and I get the impression that Bezos is a shrewd businessman who likes to hide in the shadows. Bezos seems like a James Bond villain if anything. These are just impressions though and I don’t know if I’m correct or not. But Elon? Elon seems to be cut from a different mold, for better or for worse even if he himself seems like a perfect Bond villain.

To get a feel for this fact all you need to do is check Elon Musk’s Twitter feed. He is a notorious shitposter that can hold his own with the best of shitposters. He seems like a normal enough person — eccentric perhaps — despite his multiple companies and his north-of-a-billion-dollar net worth. Elon also plays the meme game as well as anyone else. Does anyone remember the famous “$420, funding secured” debacle that led him into trouble with the SEC? Or the multitude of anime cat girls that Elon posts for whatever reason? He launched his Roadster into space because why not? I vaguely recall something about the WallStreetBets subreddit and Elon posting the “stonks” meme. And let’s not forget the whole Joe Rogan podcast pot smoking thing either; this incident alone seemed to solidify Elon’s presence in a sort of meme hall of fame. Hell, I even have a few pictures using this to hilarious degree.

HOTBOXIN’

Elon seems like a typical person who somehow, perhaps even due to sheer luck, was successful. One thing you have to give Elon credit for is his ability to mostly follow through with what he says, at least in the grand scheme of things. His idea with Tesla was to make electric cars popular, cool, and desirable, and to change the image of the EV for the better; this has been a success. Elon is literally trying to save the world with Tesla despite also trying to make a shit ton of money in the process. With SpaceX he is trying to revolutionize space travel by making rockets reusable, with the end goal being the colonization of Mars. In the nearly 60+ years of space travel no one has seriously attempted to make a reusable launch vehicle or land people on Mars but Musky Boi seems to be pulling off. While he over promises here and there, has notoriously unrealistic deadlines, he generally seems to do whatever crazy shit he sets out to do when he is serious about doing so. When Elon says something (or Tweets something) he is either being dead serious, joking, memeing, shitposting, daydreaming, thinking aloud, or overpromising. This is perfectly illustrated by the Tesla Cybertruck.

He had been hinting about the truck for awhile now, and while I wasn’t following the details of it, he seemed to hint that it would be a “unique” design. He called it, obviously, the Cybertruck, but everyone thought, “How ‘Cyber’ could it be? And what does that even mean?” Surely Elon was just being a bit over the top with the description to stir up hype for the new model. He also said the design was “futuristic” but once again what exactly did that mean? Everyone was well aware of Tesla’s design philosophy and seeing the model S, 3, X, and Y (yes, it does spell out S3XY, because that’s the kinda jokester Musk is) leaves you with a general idea of what to expect from the Tesla Truck. People waiting in anticipation to see what the famed Tesla Truck would look like, and it looks like this:

Stolen with love from the Tesla website.

Yeehaw.

I didn’t watch the event live and only heard about it from the multitude of memes and jokes made about the design in the following hours/days on social media, especially Reddit. It was one of those moments where I thought, “Wait, really? That is the actual truck? It has to be joke, right?” And I still feel that way actually. A part of my mind is thinking that, yes, maybe this is a joke, a cheap way to make news and for Elon to catch more headlines. Making this even more “obvious” is the fact that when demonstrating the “unbreakable windows” of the truck, the windows shattered. Twice. You can’t make this shit up even if you were trying to write a fictional comedic story. This couldn’t be the actual Tesla Cybertruck, right? In my mind, I saw this as a “joke” presentation, and after popular consumer outrage over the next few months Tesla would “redesign” the truck into some BOMBASS design where everyone sighs and says, “Whew. That’s better. Okay.”

But this is Elon we’re talking about, so who the hell knows what is going on. You have to give Elon credit for pulling off something so blatantly hideous and counterintuitive that you both question his sanity and question your own sanity. “If Elon thought this was a good idea, who is wrong here? Does he know something about what people want that even people don’t? Or is he just fucking insane?” I’m actually leaning towards the former: this is the actual Cybertruck — seriously — and Elon is betting hard on such a radical design. I’m almost certain now that Musk sees this as a way forward to differentiate the truck from other trucks. It is unabashedly utilitarian contrasting with the current truck culture that sometimes uses trucks as as much of a fashion and status symbol more so than an actual mode of transportation that has utility. The truck is also very minimalist and lacks any identifying features, besides the wonderfully hideous and angular design of the thing. It isn’t stylish at all, and this separates it from the purposefully stylish models of every other vehicle manufacturer. I find it stylish in a sort of anti-stylish way. So terribly ugly that it begins to look cool after a while.

I don’t know if I’ve drank the Elon Kool-aid too much over the past years in regards to what Tesla and SpaceX has accomplished, but I’m actually starting to come around the Cybertruck’s, uh, “unconventional” design. I mean I still find the thing hideous and atrocious, but something about it, something, is growing on me. I can’t really explain it. I picture these trucks roaming my city in a few years and just being blown away by how off the thing would appear. Most vehicles are designed in the same basic way and the only differences between brands is slight styling changes here and there. The front of a Dodge Ram. The Kia’s angled and jagged grill. I can’t even give examples because I can’t think of them really. Everything is so samey that seeing a fucking Tesla Cybertruck at all will be a shocker. If you own a Cybertruck everyone will notice.

So Elon Musk and his Tesla Cybertruck. Is it simply and example of Elon knowing what the future wants even though everyone else isn’t even aware of it? Is this terribly hideious design of the Cybertruck the best choice Tesla has ever made or will it be seen in a few years as a terrible mistake from the automaker? Is Elon just plain fucking crazy or is there something concrete behind his apparently craziness? i don’t know, but I do know that while I do find the design disgusting, even after less than a week something about it attracts me. It’s awful and angular design is starting to grown on me for some reason or another. What will the truth be in 2025 when the Cybertruck has been around for a few year. Will it be a success or a resounding failure. I don’t know, but I’m curious to find out.

Being Sick Sucks

What’s going on guys? As is standard here, I’ve been slacking again. It’s a typical process really: I write a ton of stuff on Sunday and Monday and usually panic-post something on Tuesday, and feeling achieved I slack off for the remainder of the week. Repeat this weekly. But as you can guess given the title, I have a reason for my slacking over the past week: I’m sick. And not just sick, miserably so. Being sick is something so universally terrible and being one of those “low-hanging fruit” posts it should be really easy to write. That hasn’t been the case. Why? I think because being sick is so universally terrible that it’s hard to complain about it without adding any new information that people don’t already know. Everyone knows being sick sucks, and so what?

I was trying to churn out a post like this about six or seven months ago when I was crippled for over a week with bronchitis. Bronchitis was awful. I was used to the common cold where you feel like trash for a day or two and then get along with your life relatively easily. Where you can still summon enough motivation to survive day to day life with minimal issues. Bronchitis was a whole other level of misery that I wasn’t aware of or prepared to deal with. I physically couldn’t do anything. I’d lay in bed for hours needing to use the bathroom or make a cup of coffee but not having the willpower to actually get up. This is how my current sickness has been. A total lack of energy.

When I was beginning to get sick I tried to remain positive. I told myself I would take it easy, watch some videos, read some books, and do some writing. To be productive without being physically productive I guess. Sounds like a plan, right? Wrong. Apparently this type of sickness brings along with it such complete and total exhaustion that I found I couldn’t do anything. The task of writing seemed too strenuous somehow. Watching movies and reading requires focus and was also too strenuous. Hell, even listening to music was too much to undertake for some reason. So over the past five days I have done literally nothing. This is why there hasn’t been a being sick sucks post until now: having the common cold isn’t that bad and is nothing to write about but anything serious wipes you out to a degree where you can’t write anything at all. And once you get better? It’s hard to channel those feelings as clearly as when you’re actually sick, miserable, and exhausted.

By far the worst part of being sick is the mindset that it brings with it. Something about being sick puts the fact that you’ll eventually get old, your body will fall apart, and you’ll die directly into conscious thought, although maybe that’s just me being dramatic. Being sick to me is like a temporary version of dying, where your body falls apart and stops doing what you need it to do but in a temporary way. Isn’t this what being old is like? You see older people constantly sitting, limping around, and generally looking like shit and they usually say it’s because their bodies feel like shit. I always seem to blame something vague on them like a “lack of willpower” for not tackling a staircase like a 20-year-old, but are they even physically able to do so? No. No more than I am able to go outside and run a mile because I’m so physically fucked right now. My body won’t allow it. Being this sick makes me feel old, and it being the inevitable future that awaits me (and everyone else) is depressing as fuck. What would I do if I felt like this all the time? It’s scary to think about. I understand why people want to kill themselves in old age. If you consistently feel terrible and your quality of life is degraded far enough life might end up not having anything enjoyable to offer you at all.

I’ve found I’ve always favored a “mind-over-matter” outlook in life. Like if you have total command over your brain you can overcome anything. This was especially prominent when I was an avid runner. Running is as much of a mental task as a physical task and it’s easy to think it’s all a mental task. Like if you will something enough, or put your mind into a unique enough state you can do anything. Like the Buddhist monks that protest by self-immolation without screaming or flailing, surely we all can learn to perfectly control our bodies given perfect mental control. It’s the belief that anyone can run a marathon without practicing if they just “focus enough” or some bullshit. (If I recall correctly there was a How I Met Your Mother episode where Barney decides to run a marathon saying something like “How hard can it be? You just keep running and don’t stop.” He actually wins too.) If you really want a new PR during a race, you just do it. Sure training is important, but the most important thing is mindset. And if an 80-year-old wanted to tackle a staircase like a 20-year-old, all they need to do is “focus” or some stupid shit like that.

But this isn’t true, and being sick makes it so obvious. Imagining being sick I would think something like, “Even if I do feel bad, I can still ‘be tough’ and make myself be productive.” Like if I just put enough mental power into thinking about feeling well that I could actually be well. Or that I could minimize the effect that being sick actually had on me. But when you’re physically sick and exhausted you just can’t bring yourself to do anything. I would sit on the couch for hours feeling miserable and while knowing I could get up and take some medicine, I didn’t. Sitting on the couch was where I was and taking the tiny bit of physical effort to get medicine, even if it would bring me near instant relief, was beyond me. This is how it was with everything. I didn’t write. I didn’t read. I didn’t watch movies. I just existed in the past five days feeling like shit and just hoping to feel normal as soon as possible. It wasn’t that I didn’t have enough motivation or willpower; it was the fact that I had none at all.

I also like to imagine the opposite of being sick where you are physically okay but mentally not well, i.e. depression or other mental health troubles. Being sick your physical body won’t let your motivated mind do anything, while being mentally sick your mental state won’t let your physically healthy body work properly. The body needs to work harmoniously together and you’d be tempted to even think that the idea of mental health being separate from physical health is wrong; health is the interplay between the two and trying to separate one from the other is impossible to do. Obviously having a distinction between the two is helpful, but it’s also fun to think that it could just be a useful construct created by us humans.

I’m still sick and trying my damndest to tie all of this shit together into a good blog post. It isn’t working. I feel like I’m at about 50 or 60% maximum health here and I’m pretty sure it shows. I feel like I’m rambling. I feel like I’m stating the obvious. Do I want to delete it and start over? No, because that’s a lot of work. Even proofreading this was difficult as I discovered I repeated like two or three paragraphs without knowing it. But this is what being sick does to you I guess. I’ve always wanted to write a post about how much being sick sucks, and if it turns out to be awful, well, it’s because being sick sucks. Maybe the next post will be better. That one might be about being sick too, but more on how I brought it on myself through bad karma. Or something.

Crickets Suck

Well, once again it’s a ridiculous time of the morning and I still haven’t been able to sleep. The current time is 6:14 a.m. I’m tired but unable to sleep. Insomnia. You know the deal.

The problem tonight today? Crickets. Yes. Crickets.

Part of the problem is that I sleep in the basement. Apparently crickets love basements. And on top of that, the basement recently flooded. Apparently crickets love moist locations. Basically I’m trying to sleep in a moist basement that is apparently a paradise to the annoying black bugs and they’re moving in as such. Damn.

Having insomnia is bad, but what makes it really shitty is how every little thing can bug the hell out of you, pun maybe intended here. It’s not necessarily that I can’t sleep, it’s that anything minor bothers me so much that I can’t sleep. Like the bed sheets don’t feel right, or it’s too hot down here, or how the crickets won’t shut the fuck up. Something minor that with nothing else to focus on your mind fixates on.

The thing people don’t realize about crickets is that they’re loud as fuck. This is obvious when you think about it; you can hear crickets outside chirping at night through the walls and windows. This isn’t really a problem, but the fact that you can still hear the bastards when they’re outside is testament to how loud they actually are.

Now imagine one or more of these black, creepy fuckers a few feet away from you while trying to sleep. They’re loud. At first you can kinda tune them out and not let their sound bother you, but as the hours pass without sleep the noise works it’s way into your conscious thought. You can’t not hear the crickets chirping. Chirp, chirp, fucking chirp. Hours upon hours. Chirp. Actually more like CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP, CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP, CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP, CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP, CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP, CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP, CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP, CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP, CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP, CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP, CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP, CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP, CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP, CCHHHIRP, CHHHIRRRPPPP.

It wouldn’t be bad if the chirps were consistent white-noise like a fan, AC, static on the radio, rain falling outside, wind blowing through trees, traffic on the nearby road, or even the high pitched buzz of a phone charger. Something that can blend into the back of your mind where your brain can tune it out. Nope. Not the fucking crickets. Sometimes these loud fuckers stop chirping only to randomly start up 5 minutes later. This instantly raises my pulse because I’ll have anxiety about how long the silence will last. These devilish bastards will be silent for 10 minutes, let out two quick chirps to get my blood pressure up, and then go back into silent mode for five more minutes. It’s like they’re purposefully tormenting me, just breaking up the chirping with silence to remind me they’re still there, not letting my brain completely tune them out.

Each cricket also has its own chirp too, like how people have different voices. Some crickets  chirp in a well defined way, a clear and rhythmic chirp, chirp, chirp, whereas the one droning on currently has a very persistent and staticy sound to him. Like a constant buzzing noise. A sort of CCCHHHHHRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. The sound could easily fade into white-noise if he’d be consistent, but he stops every now and then to remind me that he’s there. What a fucker.

A few nights ago I snapped on a cricket. One wouldn’t shut up and I started moving furniture to violently murder him with a can of Raid. I’m usually not hostile towards bugs (except mosquitos for obvious reasons: if something is trying to feed off of me they’re going to die) and I even let spiders roam the house unchallenged (at least spiders are quiet), but the cricket had to go. When I found him I angrily used way more Raid than was required. I was really upset and took it out on the poor guy. This is what anger can do to a normally passive person.

After writing this post, Facebook started giving me ads for Raid. Companies totally aren’t spying on us at all. Fuck you Google, stay outta my docs.

The one haunting me now is smartly hiding under something that is basically unmovable. At least that’s where I think he is; I can’t find him anywhere else. That’s another thing about crickets; their sound is really hard to locate. The noise has a way of scattering all over so it seems like it’s coming from everywhere all at once. You can figure out his general location, but this isn’t good enough if you’re looking to hose him down with poison. You gotta know exactly where he his. So if he isn’t around the heavy wooden chest I’m assuming he’s under the damn thing.

I didn’t think I could write an entire post about crickets, but they can go fuck themselves. I’m actually looking forward to winter when there won’t be bugs invading the basement. Maybe then I can actually get some sleep because as of now I’m just listening to these annoying bugs making loud obnoxious and inconsistent sounds. I swear any cricket I find I’m going to kill with my economy sized can of Raid with zero guilt. I don’t care. I wish death and destruction on their entire species. Fuck em.

Update: I was able to sleep after putting ear plug in my ears. Luckily I work at an airport so have ear plugs all over the house. It made sense to use them. There was another problem though: apparently when you block sound from your ears in a mostly quiet room, your brain starts to hallucinate sounds as sensory deprivation seems to do. I couldn’t hear anything but occasionally would hallucinate sounds. Unusually these were electronic beeps and boops sort of like what you’d find in old NES video games. While I didn’t hear the cricket anymore, I was terrified of my own brain making up sounds and scaring me because it had nothing else better to do. At least that problem is way more interesting than crickets chirping.

The “Valley of Despair” Sucks

I sometimes frequent the blogging subreddit, but not too frequently. The sub seems to focus mostly on increasing viewers, finding topics to write about, and doesn’t seem too concerned with the “art” of blogging. It isn’t too active of a sub with most posts getting at most between 20 to 30 comments. Compared to some subreddits (like the famed r/wallstreetbets) it isn’t really active even if you can find some decent information from time to time.

I still check it out sometimes and one comment resonated with me this past week. The actual discussion was about how many blogs actually “make it.” (which is an unexplained victory condition: what the hell does “making it” blogging mean? Make money? Keep it running for more than two years? I mean eventually you’ll die and your blog will end but that doesn’t seem like you’ve “failed at it.” Anyways, /rant #1.) There were varying answers but the one that stuck with me was one that mentioned “the valley of despair.” [Big Fucking Note here: I went and found the thread I was alluding too and the poster in question referred to it as “the dip” and linked to blog describing “the dip.” I really have no idea how I came upon the term “valley of despair” in regards to blogging, but apparently the term is real. Who fucking knows. Maybe my mind just connects dots on its own and doesn’t notify me that it’s doing so. Or maybe I’m losing my damn mind. I just wanted to stay accurate with what I’m actually writing.] I didn’t officially know what the hell the valley of despair was but something in the back of my mind knew it too well. Even if it wasn’t explained to me I already knew exactly what it was.

I suppose it’s easy to see in retrospect, as everything is. This blog right here had a “dead period” (actually two of them) not too long ago and since I’ve gotten my act together I’m finding some success. It feels like I’ve hit a stride where all I need to do is to keep working at the blog and it’ll be successful. I’m quietly confident about it and while I don’t think it’ll ever be a super-popular monetized thing I know it won’t be a “dead blog.” Looking back at those dead periods when I wasn’t writing, wasn’t posting, and felt about deleting the damn thing was, obviously, the dreaded valley of despair. And according to that one resonating Reddit comment, is the primary obstacle to successful blogging.

I didn’t want to make this post about blogging though because I’m in a new valley of despair in another area of my life: creative writing. To sum it up quickly, me, lost without any major goals, decided to take up creative writing about three weeks ago. I attempted this years ago and just didn’t stick with it, but this time it’s different. (Really. I’m fucking sticking to it this time.) I took my old blog and started collecting some short stories and chapters to a “book,” made a Facebook author’s page for myself, and started posting and sharing my work (please go check these out if you’re interested). Initially I was met with some warm reception from a few friends and, holy fuck, I was actually doing it! I was going to be Jeremy the Author Guy and sell books and shit. I was riding the wave and on top of the world was king of the world.

It’s funny what two weeks can do to you though. My last few “chapters” haven’t had shit for readers/viewers/likes/feedback at all, and I’m fundamentally wondering if I’m actually cut out to be a writer. Do I even have that “gift” that creative writing requires. (It doesn’t. I’m convinced, logically, that all anything takes is hard work and “talent” is just some bullshit idea people who don’t want to do hard work use as an excuse to not try anything. /rant #2.) Even if I know in my mind that it’s just hard work and dedication, I still feel in my heart there is some vague thing called “talent” that I might not have and will never have it even if I don’t believe it. It’s like some festering, subconscious fear I have, like being scared of the dark knowing well you’re perfectly safe. Hell, and maybe my stories are just terrible. This is a really scary thought because if they were no one would say it out of kindness. I’d like to really know how bad I am so I can either 1. give the fuck up or 2. know what I’m bad at exactly so I can improve on it. But pestering friends and family to read your shit is a whole new level of cringe that just comes across as attention seeking. BUT I JUST WANT FEEDBACK GUYS.

Let’s define this a little bit more though as it makes total sense with writing/blogging/whatever new project you’ve started. Some uninspired Googling has given me a bunch of charts and websites talking about “emotional change” and while that isn’t exactly what starting a project is, I think it’s close enough to actually be the same thing. Like maybe starting a new project is a subset of “emotional change” as you’re adjusting to having an entire new part of your life you’re dedicated to. There also is apparently a Dunning-Kruger valley of despair, but that doesn’t seem to be relevant to the topic at hand.

Since I couldn’t find a site that seemed legit or non-clickbaity enough, I just screencapped everything Google tossed at me. As you can see most charts show the same sort of trend when faced with “change.” It’s kinda like a sine curve or something.

Close enough, right?

And then I went and drew my own so I can talk about each point I labeled, as well as not get any sort of copyright bullshit tossed at me.

Current Mood vs. XP Points Gained at your “project” or whatever you’re doing. It seemed general enough.
  1. This is usually called “uninformed optimism” or some shit like that. Basically this is the point where you’re high off actually making a decision to progress forward at something. You have a goal that you’ve set upon and you start working towards it. Actually doing work towards a goal feels fucking amazing and even if you’re scared of the future, at least you’re taking matters into your own hands.
  2. This is the start of the valley of despair also called something lame like “informed pessimism.” This is where you realize that your goal isn’t going to be all fun and games and that, holy hell, sometimes doing a glorious and noble task like writing a book is actually not that fun sometimes. And sometimes it’s actual work that you dread.
  3. The pit of the valley of despair. I think with creative writing I’m somewhere between #2 and #3 (although I’d like to be closer to #3 so I can actually get over feeling awful about it. I don’t even know how to explain this spot on the chart because it’s like an unexplainable pit in your stomach. It’s a total feeling of shit, like you’re not meant or cut out to do what you’ve set out to do. Like the universe itself doesn’t want you as an author/blogger/artist/whatever. It makes you want to quit and many people do give up their project in this phase. The project feels like a mistake: a mistake that you continue to put time, effort, and resources towards that also feels like a waste of all of these. The general feeling of being shit is also kinda shitty. There doesn’t seem to be a way forward and you’re not happy doing what you’re doing. It’s a feeling of being lost and of wanting to toss the towel in and give up.
  4. “Informed optimism.” After hard work and giving up all hope you find some success but you’re not letting that shit go to your head because you think you still fucking suck at what you’re doing, but there are clear signs of progress if you quit being pessimistic enough to notice them. I like to think you make progress continually at this stage because of giving up in the valley of despair. You simply don’t care if you make it or not and your project just becomes something you do without attachment anymore. There’s something very freeing about not giving a shit, and this allows you to do what you do in the most genuine way possible. I say this so clearly because this blog right here is at #4 I think. I don’t give a fuck if no one reads it or if I fail, and contrary to what you’d expect, I’m actually have some success with it.
  5. Success! (whatever that actually means) I don’t even want to get into this because I don’t know what it’s like to be at #5. I’m assuming this is the point where you feel confident at what you’re doing — a quiet confidence that isn’t cocky — and your project has become a facet of who you are and part of your life. You accomplish things in a determined but carefree manner. I get this impression when I visit successful and mature blogs as well as many YouTube channels. Like go watch a newer SmarterEveryDay video and tell me Destin isn’t at #5 on this chart. That man is in the zone doing what he’s doing and he’s confident and enthusiastic with what he’s doing.

“Hey Black Haired Guy, got any tips for us bloggers/writers weathering the storm in the valley of despair?” No, no I do not because, like I said, I’m not at #5 so don’t think I am qualified to give tips and am kinda hoping for tips myself. But if anything (and maybe to just get myself fucking hyped the fuck up to continue on creatively writing) don’t give up! Because what else are you supposed to do besides not give up? If you give up in the valley of despair you’re fucking giving up. The whole thing this chart hints at is the fact that success might just be making it through the valley in the first place. Like maybe this is where the 80 or 90% of blogs that “don’t make it” go to die; what if the valley of despair is just the great filter between you and success? I just don’t see what you’d gain by giving up because giving up is giving up!

Being slightly more specific maybe I do have more ways to get myself siked up more tips for those in the valley of despair. Make small bits of progress: a book isn’t going to write itself in a few days and a blog won’t be successful in the first few months or years. Take things one tiny bit at a time. Write a chapter every two days or post a blog post every few days or every week. Maybe make a schedule and hold yourself to it like it’s a job? Try to summon memories from when you first started and we’re enthusiastic about your dream/goal. Find that passion that surely still lives deep within you. And if you’re really lost? Write down a plan. Writing seems to be a large part in marketing yourself so try doing that for some possible success. Ask people to read and critique your writings and learn from it. Or, to sum up what I said before: don’t fucking give up!

Birthdays Suck: Part One

Note: I was in a strange mood when I wrote this; namely I was sleep-deprived and fairly drunk. So it’s a bit different from my most posts that are a bit more “thoughtful.” In fact this post seems to just be a trainwreck of bitching. But in the spirit of just doing whatever the hell I want though, I’ll post it anyways.

To start this post off let me state that I’m typing this on my phone. Yeah. I’m typing this on a Samsung Galaxy S7. Why? you might ask. Well, it isn’t because I feel like doing it, that’s for sure. I’ve written a few blog posts on my phone when I’ve been struck by inspiration and unable to make it to my laptop, but I always sit down, get comfy and in the zone to edit and post them from a real electronic device meant for doing work. Ya know, a proper keyboard and sometimes a USB mouse if I really need to get shit done. Working on a phone isn’t a choice here though: it’s a necessity. Hell, I don’t even know if I’ll make it to posting this from my phone/tablet. But we’ll see. If you read this on June 23 or the 24 I probably persevered and posted it totally from Android products. But I wasn’t happy about it that’s for sure. 

(Spoiler: My computer did start working so I am editing this on a proper device. But the original draft was written on a shitty S7.)

What led to this was my son (a two-year-old) spilled one of my birthday-beers all over my laptop. This didn’t seem to be a problem at first as it still typed okay but after about 20 minutes the keyboard ceased to work at all. This sort of spurred me on with this blog post because I wanted to write about how shitty birthdays are and as the actual day went on I just got more and more fuel to dump on the fire so to say. This event was the final “holy fuck birthdays do suck” event and solidified my will to write a post about it. So to android it was even though I fucking hate typing something on a phone while plopped down on a goddamn couch.

What started the idea of a birthday sucks post was basically me whining and bitching to a coworker a few hours before my birthday actually began. I’ll cover it in a little bit a separate post but it was basically the typical stuff I cry about most of the time: the arbitrariness of how we measure time, how as you age it makes birthdays sucks even more, the (useless) self-reflection that comes with the day, all mixed in with some fairly moderate self-loathing. Some of these themes are already featured on my New Years’ post and my Daylight Savings post. What was a surprise was the fact that I didn’t even have to make it to my birthday for things to start falling apart.

The downward trend started when I was told I needed to take one of the kids to Drive-Right (a driver training school in case they have a different name in your area) at 9 a.m. My birthday was on a Saturday so it should’ve been a relatively carefree day: no school, no work, no doctor appointments, no dentist appointments. There was no reason to have to worry about anything! It’s Saturday after all. This early job of mine kinda threw me off before I even went to bed. I famously need my sleep and anything less than 10 hours fucking destroys me. I also can’t fall asleep unless I lay in bed for 3 or 4 hours. Realistically I think I’m a cat or something. I’ve tried my damndest to change these habits but they seem to be as a belligerent part of me as my DNA is. Me trying to wake up early is like me trying to be taller or something.

What happened around 2 or 3 a.m. was the dread that I wouldn’t get enough sleep. I’d eventually fall asleep and instantly be awakened by an alarm, miserable, tired, and groggy at 8 a.m. or so. That’s only 5 hours of sleep and with every minute that passed that number became less! What happens is you get hit with the anxiety about not being able to sleep. Even while I was physically tired my mind was awake, alert, and dreading the early alarm and the certainty of being tired and miserable. This creates a terrible feedback loop where you can’t sleep and are stressed out about the fact that you can’t sleep and this makes it even less likely you’ll be able to sleep! Around 5 a.m. I quit trying to sleep and got up to play some video games.

So right away my birthday was starting with me suffering from insomnia listening to the birds chirping at 5 a.m. as I groggily played Twilight Princess. I’m not even fond of the game and bitched about it here but it was something to do. Fuck, I even did the Princess Agitha bug quest because there is nothing else to do that early in the morning. I had to pass the time somehow and even though I wasn’t exactly having fun I toiled away finding those infernal golden bugs.

Proof.

From that point on things got really foggy and my past days blended together. I wasn’t sure exactly of the flow of time and the hours seem to both crawl along and jump ahead at the same time. It would be 11:05 and then 11:07 and then 12:15. What the hell was going on? i was able to complete the trip to Drive-Right and from then on I tried to pass the time as quickly as possible. The main goal then on for my birthday was to make it until 110 or 11 p.m. where I could actually get some fucking sleep.

Somewhere in the uncertain flow of time I got that stupid ass moon in Super Mario Odyssey: the infamous jump rope moon. As I mentioned in an unpublished post I had to glitch out the R of the MARIO letters in New Donk City and cheese the fuck out of the game. This isn’t a really important matter but it was seriously one of the highlights of my miserable day. I’ve been utterly dreading this moon for the past half year, and today I got it! On my insomnia ridden hell of a 33rd birthday I got that goddamn moon. Finally.

There’s no way in hell that I was doing that the proper way.

I took about a three hour nap between 12:30 and 3:30 thinking it would help my condition — and it did somewhat — but it didn’t get rid of it completely. I still felt miserable: sleep deprived, jittery, anxiety-ridden and feeling like a bum by “sleeping” until almost 4 in the afternoon. I couldn’t explain it any clearer than by saying that I felt “dirty,” whatever that means. Like my sink felt grimy, my hair felt greasy, and my brain was covered in a toxic fog. My sister mentioned that I sounded like I just came off a cocaine binge and I’d imagine it would feel about the same. The only problem is that I didn’t get the high from actually doing cocaine. I just felt like shit with no upside at all.

So that’s where I am right now, or sort of am. We went out to eat and I had some beers and even though they’re a depressant they seemed to wake me up a bit somehow. About 4 or 5 beers in I almost feel normal. They gave me some focus and motivation towards my goals such as writing a blog post about how shitty birthdays are. But even after the day started to look up the entire beer incident happened and the day went to shit immediately before it almost ended on a high note. On top of birthdays sucking for some higher-up, cerebral matter I’m dealing with the fact they my birthday has been total bullshit for totally mundane matters. This still doesn’t change the fact that birthdays suck for legitimate reasons: it just means I’ll write about it in another post. This one has been rambling and Thompson-inspired enough that it should end sooner than later. Birthdays suck and more on that in a few days.