Category Archives: Society Sucks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The COVID Vaccine Sucks (Part One)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Viewing a Home Sucks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Depression in Stardew Valley Sucks: Part Two

Part One is here.

After platinuming Death Stranding (something I recommend only masochists do) I started Grand Theft Auto V. I had played it a year or so ago but never fully got into it. I was doing good for about a month — it’s a fantastic game — but it couldn’t stand up to the release of Stardew Valley version 1.5. This updates adds a whole new area to the game as well as local multiplayer on the Nintendo Switch. My wife and I started a game and me being the old pro at the game proceeded to boss her until she got the gist of the game. This has been my all-consuming addiction the past two or three weeks.

I can’t shrug off the feeling I get mid/late game though. I get depressed and bored while playing it. I already made a post complaining about video games endings and how games like Stardew Valley are especially depressing because they don’t have a hard ending. You can play the game literally forever raking in cash, fucking around, and whatever else you can find to do. Eventually nihilism comes in and you wonder what exactly it’s all for; does your in-game person even have a purpose in their life or is it just to make as much money before you die get bored and quit?

Having already written about that particular topic I didn’t think I’d have much more to say about it, but Stardew gives me a few more things to muse about because it tosses a bunch of capitalism and automation into the “everything is pointless” nihilism of late-game.

Stardew Valley, if you’ve never played, is a farming simulator. On it’s surface it’s a kid’s game; it’s easy, you can’t really die or fail the game, and if you want you can ignore your farm and fuck off the entire game with zero penalties. Sure, you’ll be poor, but since you don’t need to eat food or anything it’s fine. The music is cute, the art style is that of mid 1990s SNES games, and the whole thing basically shits cute/friendly/laid-back vibes. Until you get to the plot that is.

You inherit your farm from your dead grandpa. You leave your soulless, life-draining corporate job at Joja Mart (basically a stand-in for Walmart/greedy capitalism in general) to farm in Stardew Valley. The game stresses the importance of hard work and community, making real connections with real people doing fulfilling manual labor to contribute to your society. If you look slightly past the pretty/cute surface, the game emits anti-capitalism vibes and seems to be a statement against our current society where making money seems to be the most important thing to do in life. Why can’t we all leave our Joja Mart jobs and go farm in Stardew Valley?!

Now I don’t know if this is intentional on the video game creator’s part, but it seems most playthroughs end with you becoming exactly what you’ve been fighting against the whole time. Somehow I don’t think this was intentional. Game progression has to come from somewhere and starting with a quaint farm and turning it into a fucking money making machine makes sense progression-wise. But looking back on my current playthrough I wonder what the real message of Stardew Valley is, intentional or not. Is it that you can’t escape the rat-race? That every wonderful dream-fulfilling career turns into a slog? That there’s no escape from this? That eventually all you care about is making as much money as efficiently as possible? That you want to make the farm as easy to manage and as automated as possible because work fucking sucks?

At the start of the game, you’re a hard working farmer. You only have about 20 plants and you need to water them every day. You chop down trees, water, harvest the plants, and go to bed at like 5 p.m. because you’re so damn exhausted. This is fun for the first few seasons, but as the farm grows the work load increases. The chores start to feel like chores. You naturally want to make as much money as possible — who doesn’t? — so you upgrade your tools to make the job easier. You can eventually water 3, 5, and 9 plants in one go, so you expand the cropland. You now have 100-200 plants and diversify your farm into animals and artisan products. You make some fish ponds, start brewing wine and aging it, and before you know it you’re rolling in more money than you know what to do with. You endlessly farm for iridium ore so you can make the best damn watering sprinklers in the game — you’re sick of watering the damn crops everyday and just want enough sprinklers so you don’t have to do a damn thing on the farm anymore.

You also start doing a bunch of math to find out the best crops on a gold per day basis; some crops just aren’t worth fucking around with. You start growing only one or two crops to maximize your income. You know not to turn iridium-tier goat milk into cheese because you’ll take a slight loss on it. Let’s not forget the opportunity cost of making cheese either! You install junimo huts on the farm so you don’t even need to harvest the produce anymore: let the illegals junimos do all the work! You invest in the ‘auto-grabber’ tool so you don’t need to pick up eggs or milk the cows anymore. Hell, there’s even an ‘auto-petter’ that loves on the farm animals so you don’t even need to interact with them to keep them happy anymore. In a few short years you become Capitalism Incarnate.

Yesterday while playing my wife took care of everything on the farm and mentioned that she didn’t use any energy in the day. It was time for bed, she had been busy, but her energy bar was still maxed out. Holy shit, what happened? Remember the good ole days when we had to actually work on the farm and chop trees and pick vegetables? It was only a few years ago, but now our farm is so automated and easy to run that there’s not even a game to play anymore. Everything is a chore; you wake up, check the wine casks in the basement, sell and restock as necessary and that’s about it. I think that’s the point I’m trying to make here. The game wants you to use these fancy upgrades because that’s how it shows progression, but the progression is all about making the game easier and you lazier as time goes on. And as this happens you just don’t care anymore. As the work becomes easier, it becomes less fulfilling, and after the end of the third year you can’t help but feel that something went wrong, that this wasn’t the dream you had, and that you’re working another Joja Mart-type job, and worse, it’s a fate you walked into thinking it’d be better for your mental and spiritual health.

Like I said, I don’t think think this is exactly what Concerned Ape, the creator of the game, was trying to say, but the game is saying it anyway, and is saying it better than any other games trying to make this point. You try to escape corporate hell by farming but end up making your farm into a massive cash-making machine. All you care about is how big you can make that number at the top of the screen even if you have nothing to spend it on. You’re just as bad as Joja Mart, aren’t you? And by making things easier for yourself with better tools/automation, you take the achievement out of what you’re doing, but you’ve been wanting to get out of work all along, weren’t you? But now that the hard work is past you realize you don’t have shit to do, so you do what I’ve been doing in game. You set up a bonfire and some chairs around it in a quiet, unused portion of your farm, and sit ponding your purpose at 3 p.m. “My life in Stardew Valley sucks now. I’m rich but I’m bored. What the hell am I supposed to do now…?”

Not sure why I have three other chairs; I have no friends in Stardew Valley.

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

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

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

February Sucks

February. FebRUary. Feb-YOU-airy. To start this post, just look at the word. I’ll write it one more time. FEBRUARY. Really look at how the letters actually form the word. February. It’s a classic example of a word that if you look at it too long it starts to seem wrong. It just doesn’t look right. And say it too. You probably pronounce it ‘feb-you-airy‘ if you’re like me. Maybe this is a defect of my Midwesterner’s accent; we pronounce all kinds of things all silly-like. (The only two I can think of right now is ‘milk’ as ‘melk‘ and ‘lawyer’ as ‘loy-yer‘) Now look at February again. Why in the fuck is there that R at the beginning? It doesn’t seem right and I had to look up the spelling just to be certain it was spelled correctly. It’s not a good look if you spell the topic of your blog post incorrectly. Anyways, grab a computer and type out February. See how clunky the word feels on a keyboard. It’s like driving down a bumpy road in keyboard form. February. It takes me five seconds to type it despite having an average pace of over 100 words per minute. I’m going to just copy it and past it when I need to type it again. Do you know how to spell February? ‘Ctrl+V’.

Let’s run through the rest of the months together to prove my point.

January. NOT JanRuary.

March. One syllable.

April. Rolls off the tongue nicely, doesn’t it? This is why people are named April and not MARCH.

May. It’s the ! of the calendar. MAY!

June. Nice.

July. Nice.

August. A bit longer at two syllables than the previous three, but thank you first Emperor of Rome. (Just imagine still having a month named after you 2,000 years after your death. That’s mad crazy.)

September. Fun fact: sept- is the prefix for seven.

October. Fun fact: octo- is the prefix for eight. Octopus. Octagon. October.

November. Fun fact: non- is the prefix for nine.

December. Fun fact: deca- is the prefix for ten. Ten months in a year…cool huh? Read about the Romans to learn more Fun Calendar Facts!

Februrary (sic). I mean, c’mon.

AAAANYWAYS…..Let’s get to the real post without as much shitposting.

The Vibes…

Months to me always have ‘vibes’ to them. For example June has connotations of warm and friendly summers when it hasn’t gotten too damn hot and summer is enjoyable still. July: hot and muggy, but not as bad as August. August is summer in all of it’s hot and muggy miserable hellishness. October? Kinda depressing. Everything is dying, the days are getting shorter, and it’s getting cold out. I don’t want to get into all of them but let’s give January a shout-out because it’s a shitty winter month just like February. But unlike February January feels new I guess. It’s the first month of a new year and winter has yet to really set in and kick everyone’s’ asses. January feels clean and crisp whereas February feels like the mud in the yard once the snow starts melting. Cold, miserable, squishy, disgusting, and looking exactly like dog shit. Not that there is melting snow in February, but that’s what the month feels like.

The Cold…

Through a thing called seasonal lag most of us Northerners get the worst winter has to offer in February. Even though December 21/22 is the shortest day of the year, the sun’s heat doesn’t really come back despite February being two months later. February is cold. February is frigid. February has the kinds of temps (or lack of temps) that make you want to lay down and die when you’re outside for more than ten minutes. February is snowy, and by the time the month begins I’ve already given up on shoveling. It’s easier to wait the season out a few more weeks than to fuck around with shoveling anymore. It’s my own fault, but February means sheets of ice wherever I park the cars. It means getting stuck countless times on my way to work. It means grey salt specks all over my car. It’s trying to spray window wash on my car and watching it freeze instantly or not come out at all.

Making all of this worse is the fact that the days are getting longer. The sun is out longer than it has been since October, but it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s like a tease — there’s the bright sun and it’s out for quite a while — but it doesn’t actually warm anything up. “Boy, it looks nice outside! Look at how sunny and clear it is!” Then you walk outside to be greeted by -40 degree air. It doesn’t matter if this is Fahrenheit or Celsius because -40 is the same in F or C.

The 28 Day Month…

February is also the only awkward month with 28 days. This is kinda cool in a way — it’s an even four weeks — but when you’re struggling to remember if a month has 30 or 31 days what in the ever fuck is February doing with 28? Hell, add two days to February and take away one day from two of the months with 31 days, whatever those months are. This would make more 30-day months which would be easier on the mind to remember.

The Leap Days…

And leap days. The rare February 29th every four years, but not actually every four years! Any other 29th day of the month isn’t a crazy thing, but here is February 29th being all strange and rare. What if we did what I suggested in the previous paragraph and tack on a February 31st as a leap day? February could have 30 AND 31 days! Wouldn’t that be fun!

The Valentine’s Day…

February is also home to Valentine’s Day. V-Day has always been the bane of my existence ever since I was an awkward and lonely teenager, and I’ve never fully forgotten how awful the day is. Even now, being married, I hate the day. What the hell are you supposed to do for V-Day in February? My wife and I are pretty shy, reserved, and don’t like to be around large crowds. We like going to the parks and walking. How do you think this works out in the coldest month of a year? And remember, this isn’t just cold, it’s a frigid you-stay-outside-too-long-you-lose-extremities-and-perhaps-die sort of cold. Walking to the car to eat at a restaurant is painful. Waiting for the car to warm up is uncomfortable. We usually sit around the house feeling antsy like we should be out doing something but have no clue what to actually do because fuck going outside.

Really, why is the prime ‘romantic day’ of the year in February? I don’t think the ‘holiday’ has any historical basis or anything (but I could be wrong), so what’s wrong with putting it in the summer or something? Spring and summer feel more like “seasons of love” than winter does. Is this okay to do? Can the National Valentine’s Day Committee please hear my request and pass a resolution moving Valentine’s Day to May or June? Maybe I should start a crowdfunding campaign to get it moved…

In Closing…

Remember how I said that December, according to prefixes, should be the tenth month? Yeah. So if that’s the tenth month, what would the “first” month be? March. What about January and February? We stole our calendar from the Romans (who dictated a bunch of shit our western culture still holds dear) and they didn’t have January and February. Like, holy shit, how cool/dumb were these people to have an entire ten month calendar that was somehow ~60 days short and they just didn’t give a shit to fix it? Apparently people in Rome just didn’t count these days because winter is a useless time of year and they just existed without a calendar until March. That really makes a ton of sense seeing as one of the skipped months was/is now February. Even they knew February would suck so just didn’t even give it name or recognize it. Let’s go back to that! Fuck February. Seriously, the month can straight-up fuck right off. It’s spelled funny, it’s cold, it’s dark, it has bad vibes, it only has 28 days for some stupid reason, leap day is awkward, and Valentine’s Day is in February. February fucking sucks.

BIG NOTE HERE: According to Wikipedia, the old Roman Calendar existence is disputed by some. Apparently this calendar was called the ‘Legendary 10 Month Roman Calendar‘ and people aren’t totally sure it was a real thing. I still like the story of it though and didn’t want to pass on misinformation. Read into it yourself if you’re really curious.

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

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Life‌ ‌Protips‌ ‌#1:‌ ‌Protips‌ ‌for‌ ‌Life‌ ‌(The‌ ‌First‌ ‌One)‌

A friend at work mentioned he was tossing around the idea for a “life protips” series on YouTube in a very tentative, brainstormy kinda way. I guess I thought about it enough that my insomnia-riddled brain at 3 a.m. started coming up with my own list of life protips. It’s a stupid enough idea to make a quick post about it here.

Number blog posts even if there isn’t a series. Just put a #1 at the start to save yourself the trouble even if you never make a second post.

Check the toilet paper before you ‘get started!’ When you first enter a bathroom make sure there is enough toilet paper to clean yourself. You can always enter another stall or quickly grab another roll, but once your ass has shit all over it you’re stuck on the toilet unless you want to get shit in your underwear. Do yourself a favor and check before you use the toilet.

Check the seat before you sit down! Who knows what sort of fluids are on the toilet. Before you drop your pants and plop down, inspect the seat and clean it as needed. No one wants to sit in some stranger’s piss.

Check the shopping cart before you enter the store! No one wants to load their cart up with a hundred pounds of food and junk to find out one wheel is shit, drags, and pulls to one side. Check it before you start shopping and get a better cart right away. Save your wrist and back from constantly steering to one side to go straight.

Load heavy shit in the back of your shopping cart! Yes, another shopping cart protip. Because shopping is such a pain in the ass experience you want to make it as easy on yourself as possible. By putting heavy shit in the rear of your cart you’re minimizing the angular momentum when you need to turn the cart. There’s some physics involved here, but by moving heavy stuff closer to the center of rotation (the rear wheels) you minimize how much force it takes to turn the cart. Try it out and thank me later.

Always get a shopping cart! This is the last tip about shopping carts, I promise. Never grab those shitty little baskets you have to carry. Sure, you think you’re going in the store for milk, eggs, and bread, but you know your hungry ass is going to load up with way more food than you initially planned for. Do you want to haul twenty pounds of heavy shit in a basket? No. There is no downside to grabbing a cart even if you’re “only grabbing a few items.” Carts have wheels, baskets don’t, so just grab a fucking cart.

Use the self-checkouts near the pharmacy, not near the grocery section! All Walmart’s seem to have this setup: groceries on one end of the store and the pharmacy on the other. Both sides of the store have similar self-checkout lanes with one key difference; most people are at the store to buy food, not lightbulbs/toys/toothpaste. Everyone goes to the lanes nearest to the grocery section because most people are stupid. Take the time to walk down to the other end of the store to check-out and you’ll save five or ten minutes not waiting in line.

Leave a dedicated roll of paper towels in the garage! These do not leave the garage! If they run out, replace them. You never know when you’re going to get your hands dirty fucking around with the random shit in a garage. Need to air the car tires up? Well now you have brake dust and road grime on your fingertips even if it was a simple task. They’re also great for spontaneous window cleaning when you’re bored in the summer or for changing oil. This also saves your sink from being destroyed.

Speaking of paper towels, use their empty cardboard rolls to wrap Christmas lights around! Put the female cord in one end, wrap the strand around the roll, and you’ll be treated to tangle-free lights 9-10 months later. I learned this from my grandpa who I thought was a goddamn genius for using this method. As with all amazing protips, it’s a lifesaver with zero downside. Just fucking do it.

Open bananas from the bottom! Don’t open them from the stalk — this is the tough section of a banana and usually just smashes the fruit to a pulp before you can get it open. Pinch the bottom and start peeling for an unblemished banana experience. Big thanks to my old boss Coach Dave at Sam’s Club for this protip. He was kind of a douche at times, but I’ll always be fond of his banana protip.

Only charge your phone to 70-80%! Lithium batteries wear out faster if you constantly charge them to 100%. Phone companies don’t want you to know this and don’t lock their batteries at 80% charge because you’ll fork over money on a new phone in two years after you’ve wrecked your battery. Battery swaps are difficult with sealed phones, so stick it to Big Electronics and save your phone’s battery life. (Big post about this coming soon…)

Do not put knives into the soapy water! I learned this one from my mom and my grandma. Grandma would always put knives in the dishwater with everything else and blindly reaching into the water would give her fingers a nasty cut every week or two. How many times do you need to cut yourself before you figure out a better technique to not get injured? Anyways, my mom would stress to me the importance of not putting the sharp objects into the sudsy water and it’s such a good idea why would you do it any other way? Set the damn knives aside and wash them individually, unless you enjoy washing your dishes with bloody water for some reason.

Clean ceiling vans by turning them on reverse! Have a fan covered in cat/dog hair and dust on the windward side of the blades? Too lazy to get a ladder and properly clean them? Fans have a switch on them that reverses their rotation; if you do this and crank the speed to ‘high’ most of the dust will fall into the floor like dirty, disgusting snow flakes. Vacuum these up and your fan will be kind of clean. It won’t be spotless (thanks to something called the ‘boundary layer’) but it’s good enough if you’re lazy.

Clean coffee makers with vinegar. Hard water builds up in the internal plumbing and can quickly turn your coffee maker into a useless item for your garbage can. You do not want to wake up unable to make coffee. Run some vinegar through the thing monthly to have a clean and efficient coffee maker that won’t give you a severe caffeine-withdrawal headache when it spontaneously shits out.

Make Kool-Aid/powdered drinks with hot water. Not a lot of hot water — just enough to dissolve all of the sugar — and you’ll have an easy time at it. Sugar dissolves slower in cold water meaning you need to stir your Lipton tea forever until you drink it. Fill up the cup/jug about 25%, add hot water, and mix in the powder. Once dissolved, add cold water. Sure it won’t be as cold as it could be, but it saves a few minutes of frustratingly stirring waiting for it to dissolve.

Uhhhhhh….that’s all I have right now.

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

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Trump Sucks: The Worst President Ever

I have a long-standing rule on this blog to never write about politics. Why? Because no one wants to hear hot opinions from some random blogger, especially when everyone’s Facebook feeds are already filled with hot political opinions from dumbass family members. Politics was exhausting, especially over the last four looooong years. But today is yesterday was a different day. As I write this Joe Biden is now our current president. Do I like the guy? Sure, he’s okay. I was more of a Bernie fan during the primaries, but Joe Biden isn’t a bad guy by a long shot. I think he’ll be a “boring” president, but boring is exactly what we need right now. Hell, anyone not Donald Trump would be a blessing. I’d take a baked potato over Donald Trump. At least the potato wouldn’t fuck anything up or tweet anything stupid.

(Fun face: I wrote a blog post in late 2016 about “The Biden Memes” on my old blog. I was proud of it and it’s probably the oldest post I’ve ever linked to.)

Me yesterday.

Basically what I’m saying is: It’s Over. It’s finally over. It’s like we’re all Sam and Frodo and collectively tossed that cursed ring into Mt. Doom where it belongs. It’s the end of a terrible four year adventure through Mordor, so let’s all breathe a sigh of relief.

Before we set out on the next four years of a Biden/Harris administration I really want to get Donald Trump out of my system and just shamelessly bitch about the guy. I’ve hated him about as much as you can hate someone as he’s diametrically opposed to my own values. I value truth and love to admit when I’m wrong. I love science. I love progress. I have solar panels and shit outside my home. Coal sucks, climate change is a real threat, and so on endlessly. I like the Mexican family that lives next to us. I hate conspiracy theories. I’m fairly humble, shy, soft-spoken, and eat pizza without a fork. I check my spelling before I post anything. He’s just…well we all know how he is.

I remember election day in 2016. I was at work, happy, and looking forward to heading home to watching the assclown that is Donald Jay Trump get totally decimated by Hillary Clinton. An hour before I left the internet had some not good new: Trump was actually doing pretty well. Huh, that’s strange. On my way home I picked up a case of beer and proceeded to get very pessimistically drunk that night. Eventually the election was called in Trump’s favor and I continued to hopelessly drinking.

The next day I awoke with severe hangxiety coupled with good-ole dread for the future. My mood was so shitty that I called into work that night as I couldn’t stand to be around any of my “fellow Americans” who might want to talk about the election, or worse, gloat about Trump’s victory. I drank again that night.

There was also quite a bit of drama on Facebook as acquaintances and family members we’re being strangely supportive of the guy. “Give him a chance!” they said. “He might be a good president!” “We need to give him our support!” Okay, fine, sure, I replied. I was hopeful that maybe the entire 2016 election was a show and since Trump finally won he’d be a proper adult and not so much of an assclown. Maybe he would be a good president? I’d love to be wrong about Trump being a bad president — no one wins when we’re all suffering — but I didn’t have high hopes.

Well, I was right. I love to say “I told you so. Duh. What did you expect?” and I’ll never not say “I told you so.” regarding Donald Trump. Once he was sworn in the first thing he did was bitch about how the media was wrong about his inauguration crowd size. This was classic pre-election Trump and no one should’ve been surprised; this wasn’t pre-election Trump, this was just Donald Trump as he naturally is. It was about that time I knew all of my dread from November was totally justified. All the bitching I did on Facebook about him being totally unfit for president, so obviously bad character-wise that I was shocked at how anyone could see him on the campaign trail and think, “Yes, this guy for president please!” I admit I was massively wrong about one thing: nuclear war. I was for certain Trump would nuke someone and I’m so happy I was wrong.

What did Trump do for four years? Nothing: Trump didn’t get a fucking thing done in office. How’s the swamp? Is it drained yet? How’s that border wall coming along? Have the Mexicans paid for it yet? What about Hillary Clinton? Is she in jail yet? Is Obamacare repealed yet? Is the budget balanced? And the long-running joke that no one in the political sphere can ever forget: Is it Infrastructure Week again? So soon? Seriously, with republicans in control of the presidency, the house, and the senate, nothing was accomplished except a (mostly) corporate tax-cut. And don’t even get me started about the rights crusade against abortion; they didn’t do shit to follow up on that either.

Obviously he’s done some other immensely stupid shit while president. I already mentioned bitching about his crowd sizes, but Trump bitching about anything factual is par for the course. Speaking of par; this motherfucker golfed more than any other president before him. Remember him bitching about Obama golfing so much and saying that ‘he’d be so busy working he’d have to time to golf’? Yeah, I remember, but this is just one of the thousands of silly bullshit things he’s spouted off over the past decade that his braindead supporters can’t connect the dots to. We also have him to thank for drawing on a hurricane prediction map with a sharpie, the magical word that is ‘covfefe’, the other wonderful word ‘hamberders’, and the suggestion that nuking a hurricane might be a good idea. Because that’s how weather works. The list goes on: raking the forest to stop fires, Hurricane Florence being ‘the wettest we’ve ever seen from the standpoint of water‘, ‘National Emergency: two very big wooooords’, ‘Gyna’, ‘look, having nuclear…‘, injecting bleach or UV radiation to stop COVID, and chucking fucking paper towels at hurricane victims. I’m sure there’s more but fuck it, let’s get on with the bitchfest.

HAMBERDERS ETC. GREAT GUYS AND BIG EATERS!

He’s go down in history as the most hilarious president but this is overshadowed by all of the really dark shit that he’s responsible for, but I don’t even want to get into it. 400,000 dead from COVID is the best example. Democratic hoax my ass; that’s why you took credit for the vaccine, right? Because it’s all a hoax. Oh yeah! A hoax that he caught himself. What a fucking clown. The corruption, the grifting, let’s ignore all of that too. I think Donald Trump is hurt more by people laughing at him than being mad at him. (Remember him at the UN when everyone laughed at him? “Didn’t expect that reaction, but it’s okay.”) Being mad at Trump won’t fix any of the things he fucked up, so let’s really get under his skin and laugh at him. Clowns are supposed to be laughed at, right?

At least the Trump memes are good.

The one thing that I think will hang around in my mind forever concerning Donald Trump is “Why?” Seriously, why this guy? Why did a huge portion of the country throw their support behind this moron? I don’t think I’m the best judge of character, but even I could see he was a fucking idiot, dipshit, clown, jackass after hearing a few sentences long before he was actually president. But people love this fucking guy! Why, why, why? Why did a bunch of supporters raid the Capital January 6th to keep this guy in office? Why did they put their lives at risk to support him? It doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

Despite this guy being the worst of the worst, a narcissist straight out of a badly-written and unbelievable TV show script, a liar with no regard of what can easily be proven true, and a ‘businessman’ who filed for bankruptcy six fucking times (he failed at casinos: where you literally take money from people), he somehow failed his way into the presidency. It’s like he trips on the first step in a flight of stairs and somehow rolls all the way up to the top floor. You gotta admit that is some talent there and I’d like to be a massive fucking clown and fail upwards. But fuck me, here I am writing a blog post bitching about the guy a few minutes before I have to leave for work, trying to work hard and actually make some coherent point along the way.

Before Trump I held the view that any real fascist would be dangerously charismatic. Like if I imagined myself in late 1920s and early ’30s Germany I wouldn’t be certain that I wouldn’t fall for Hitler’s bullshit. Not to say I’d love the racism and scapegoating the Jews, but still, the guy was charismatic as fuck and maybe the slow creep towards genocide wouldn’t be obvious and I’d be sucked in like everyone else at the time. I always thought Hitler was such an evil and dangerous guy because he was so charismatic. The people you have to watch out for, the real fascists, seem like great people at first.

Annnnd Trump. A fucking moron from the first fucking moment. This guy couldn’t get people to follow him because he’s so fucking stupid, right? No, wrong. Apparently 30% of the country loves the guy, thinks he’s done an outstanding job, and is the savior to the US. Hell, some religious people literally put him up there with Jesus. Mr. “Grab ’em by the pussy!” I suppose this makes me feel a bit better about myself: at least I’m not that fucking stupid. But I live here with these people and they do vote. They have a say in how my/our country is run, and that’s terrifying. They’re gullible as hell, resistant to facts or logic, and live in their own reality. Trump isn’t dangerous, it’s the cult he somehow tapped into that’s dangerous. And once again I have no clue how or why these morons are so enamored with the guy. Look at him for fucks sake! This is the guy everyone went all in on? The guy the GOP catered to for over four years? Him?

Our Lord and Savior, Mr. Spray Tan.

Obviously I’m lacking a good conclusion to this post. I think the “Why Donald Trump?” Is a question that can only fully be answered by some academic scholar’s book a few years or decades from now. I have an idea though. It’s probably due to years of right-wing propaganda from FOX and the like. And it probably has something to do with social media and how everyone can hole up in echo chambers and make their own realities, and ignore facts and truth. Toss in some Russian propaganda into social media for good measure. Maybe the problem goes deeper: maybe people are hopeless and latched onto Trump and the MAGA cult as a way to actually have purpose in life. Everyone likes to be on a team and this is why cults are a thing. They prey on the downtrodden and rejected of us, and maybe MAGA is a political version of this. Maybe it has something to do with the loss of jobs or poverty in manufacturing sectors — a hope to reclaim what has been lost over the decades. And hell, maybe it’s due to plain good ole racism, a way for those “The South will rise again!” idiots to live their fantasies. Maybe it’s a little bit of all of that, but I’m no expert.

It was a bit rambly of a post, but Fuck You Donald Trump. You represented the worst of what America has to offer, did nothing to support or protect the citizens, and only looked out for your own fragile ego. But you’re gone and I’m going to savor the next four years not having to hear about your stupid ass all the time. Good. Fucking. Riddance.

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

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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.

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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.