Category Archives: Society Sucks

Streak Day #27 Sucks (and some stuff about the economy)

We went to Meijer on Sunday as it’s my shopping day. The whole ‘drink on Sunday’ resolution has also meant that I have a regular grocery shopping day as well. This has been working out nicely since the start of the year. No more late night post-work trips to Walmart to get a box of crackers, milk, or whatever other random shit we need. I keep a list throughout the week of items we run out of and buy them Sunday. It’s a good system.

The store was unsurprisingly empty. I got the best parking spot in the lot and there was only ten or fifteen cars there total. The place was dead as you could expect. This was shocking because despite the statewide quarantine I assumed people would still be blowing up the grocery store. Apparently not.

The drive to the store didn’t give many clues about the quarantine. Traffic was nothing like it usually was, although the streets weren’t barren of life. When I drive anywhere it feels like a Sunday. Few cars on the road and it feels like constant sleepy, weekend mornings.

But apparently the economy is grinding to a halt. People aren’t working and are only buying the bare minimum that they need. (That still hasn’t stopped me for dropping $100 a new solar panel; I’m going to charge my phone via solar no matter what I have to do!) I’ve heard stories on Reddit and Facebook (yeah, I know this sounds bad) about polluted and smog-filled cities clearing up now that humans have mostly shut down their economies. Animals are out and about because we’re laying low. The world is getting a break from us humans for once. And for the time being were mostly doing good, right?

I think lately I’m struggling with this whole idea of a ‘booming economy’ and how it’s required for society to function. It seems with everyone chilling the fuck out the planet isn’t being destroyed nearly to the degree it usually is, and isn’t this a good thing? In my idealistic mind I can’t stop thinking “Can’t we do this all the time?” Of course not: once people run out of money and start starving things will get very bad very quickly.

One thing I’ve learned from reading a few basic, shitty, introductory economics books is that the economy is linked together in a complex web; what affects one part of the economy affects the rest. With society grinding to a halt this past few weeks, everyone will be hurt eventually. I have some safety net by working at UPS (the whole ‘life-saving medication thing) but if people run out of cash where they can’t order a fuckton of trash off Amazon, UPS can and will cut the workforce down. And then I’m one of the people not buying shit and causing other people to lose their jobs and so on.

Now that I really think about it my anxiety is starting to tick up once again. It feels like we’re on a timer set to trigger a bomb to the economy itself. I’m still an ‘essential employee’ but I’m only essential for some undefined time going forward. Not that I’m condoning Trump’s plan to get everyone back to work by April 12th — that’s a terrible idea and would nuke the economy with possible millions dying — but I do hope things kinda get back to normal, or some sense of normalcy, soon. The plan working its way through congress won’t do shit in the long run either: how long will $1,000 last an adult in the United States? Maybe a month, at most. Don’t even get me fucking started on these corporate bailouts. Motherfuckers can’t save some cash as an emergency fund and now us taxpayers have to bail them out?! Come the fuck on. I know, jobs and all, but still, fuck them.

This post was boring and uninspired and I have to leave early to borrow my dad some money. He has some medical issues and is off work the rest of the week. Having no savings, any disruption to his income requires me to help him along. If that isn’t a fitting end to this post, I don’t know what it is.

Streak Day #25 Sucks (and some stuff about choice)

I stopped by my dad’s house Friday to get his phone payment from him. We have some shitty system in place where I pay for our phones and my parents are supposed to pay me back. Supposed to. I see it as a win-win for everyone involved. We get a slightly cheaper phone bill with me autopaying the bill, and dad’s military service also nets us a $10 monthly discount. They don’t have to worry about a due date, so no late fees to worry about; I don’t mind floating the charges until they get around paying. No fear of having the phone shut off because I’m taking care of it like a responsible adult.

Anyways, this post isn’t supposed to be about my parents’ debts to me or how irresponsible they are with money. No, it’s meant to be about TV and choice. Which fucking sucks.

I used to love TV. I remember watching TV as a kid where I was a huge fan of educational channels such as the History and Discovery Channels. I also recall my grandma shitting all over me for it. She didn’t have cable and had to watch the shitty four local channels. I told her how awesome cable was and that I didn’t know how she managed to survive off four shitty channels all the time. All she did was watch a single shitty soap opera in the day as well as the local news at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. I can’t believe I used a variation of the word ‘shit’ in each sentence I had written.

Sure I watch stupid cartoons and Power Rangers, but in the evening I loved watching the History Channel and Discovery Channel. I learned a lot of random facts from them and consider myself an armchair historian regarding World War 2 due to all the History Channel shows I watched as a kid. Hitler invaded Russia on June 22, my birthday! Cable wasn’t just something to vege out in front of, and as I tried to tell my grandma, I could learn stuff. I watched the Weather Channel during hurricane season and became a child weather expert. I knew hot and humid weather ahead of a strong cold front meant we’d have storms. I knew southwest winds carried the hot and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico thousands of miles away. And so on just collecting random and mostly useless knowledge about airplanes, history, weather, and whatever else was on.

As I was visiting my dad I was greeted by the show Two and a Half Men on the TV. He was watching it passively, not really engaged with the show and simply had it on to have something to watch. I used to watch Two and a Half Men years ago when my ex-girlfriend and I lived together. We, like my grandma, had a shitty antenna TV and had to watch the four local channels. I was a ‘fan’ of the show back then I guess with Charlie Sheen actually shitting up the show as he was supposed to be doing. Charlie was meant to be a total douchebag and Sheen played the part well. It was funny and witty enough and was better than anything else I could find at the time.

The Two and a Half Men that was on as I visited my dad was the shitty new version with Jake being all grown up and Ashton Kutcher playing, uh, I forgot his characters name Walden (what the fuck sort of name is ‘Walden’ anyways?). And for some reason, either me maturing to where I didn’t give a shit for the show anymore or the show actually being shit now that Charlie Sheen was gone, I didn’t find it funny at all. I mean the grating laugh track was giving me social cues to laugh at the jokes, but they weren’t that funny. In fact it seemed like the show was making the same jokes it always had been making. Alan being a bum. Rose being crazy. The housekeeper being a smartass. And so on.

My dad laughed passively at the jokes and I just sat there feeling dead to the world. Was this what TV was? Was this what American life has devolved into? Has it devolved at all or was this simply what ‘normal people’ like my dad did with his entire day? Stare at some unfunny TV show because doing fulfilling and life-improving things is too much effort? I can’t even blame him the coronavirus for him devolving this way either; for the past two years he’s sat blindly at his couch and watched TV. He used to enjoy photography and taking walks but has given them up over the last few years, probably due to depression (that he won’t acknowledge). Maybe TV isn’t the cause but the symptom here.

What bothers me most about TV is the lack of choice involved. Watching TV for him is already a lack of choice — he only watches because there is nothing else to do, at least in his mind — but TV pushes it even further because you don’t have a choice what to watch on network TV. You get what they give you and the eight channels or so offer him no real choice for what to actually watch. Cable TV, as shitty as it is, offers hundreds of channels so if you’ve given up and want to watch TV you at least have a choice what to watch. It’s all about choice for me, I think. If you choose to watch TV, that’s fine, you do you, but if you’re mindlessly watching for the sake of watching something, anything, that’s where the problem is.

Maybe that’s why I’ve always been a fan of the internet: you can choose almost endlessly what to give your attention to. I can watch anything fulfilling or interesting that I want to watch on YouTube. I can watch total shit on YouTube if I want. In many ways I think YouTube has taken over the role of TV, at least the educational show aspect which I used to love so much as a kid. That’s probably it’s own topic on its own though. The internet is a great tool, but it comes at a price. Since you can find almost anything to occupy yourself, you need to have a great deal of self-control to not let yourself devolve like my dad has done with TV. The power to choose comes with responsibility, the responsibility I don’t think many of us have. I myself am not perfect and this is probably why I’m on Reddit until the early hours of the morning. But what about the people totally addicted to low-quality social media drama, and shitposting memes on Facebook? They’re like my dad in a slightly different way, only social-mediaing it up because there is nothing else to do and people are scared of boredom. Keep busy at all costs, even if you’re not consciously choosing to do so.

Think about what you’re doing and what you choose to give your attention to. This is your life, and it’s always up for you to decide. Is this what you really want to be doing? Is this what you want your life to be? Are you really happy reading this shitty low-quality blog post? Have you learned anything? Is there something else you’d rather being doing?

Streak Day #23 Sucks (and some stuff about Trump and Truth)

At least it’s only 1:30 p.m. and I’m working on this post. It’s much better than starting it at 11:30 at night.

I still don’t feel inspired so let’s talk about this goddamn coronavirus some more.

I’ve hated Donald Trump for a long time, but with a cold indifference and not the burning passion that appeared within me during the 2016 elections. I don’t want to be political here, and I don’t think I have to be, because I don’t like him as a person. Like if he was some guy I worked with, just some normal guy, I’d still despise the man. The early hatred I had for him was primarily because he was some rich, reality star. All I really knew about him was his random cameos in various movies/TV shows and that he had his own show The Apprentice. He said, “You’re fired,” a lot. I have a burning hatred for anything reality oriented (mostly because reality TV killed the Discovery Channel and the History Channel) and he was a natural extension to this. Cheap TV created for mass consumption. Packaged drama. Totally devoid of anything worthwhile or fulfilling. The TV equivalent of diet soda. Cheap, tasty, but nothing of value nutritionally. Refreshing but in a way that only makes you crave more.

Donald Trump has a tenuous relationship with the truth, and I think this is what I despise most about him. I like to think myself as a scientific-minded person. Someone who is open to facts, data, and willing to be proved wrong even if I am stubborn sometimes. I try to admit when I don’t know something and use the opportunity to learn about it. You can’t gain knowledge unless you acknowledge that you’re ignorant in the first place. To fill a void you must know there is a void to be filled in the first place.

Not that I need to get down to data and all of that bullshit. His relationship with the truth is so corrupt that he doesn’t seem to know what he said two weeks ago. Using the coronavirus as an example, he said it wasn’t that bad and that it was a hoax or some shit. Two weeks later he claims that he knew how dangerous it was all along and gives himself a fucking 10/10 score on how he’s been handling it. Once again, I don’t even need to praise or criticize his response to the outbreak to prove my point: he can’t even acknowledge what the fuck he said fourteen days ago. The man is a walking contradiction and you don’t need to attack his policies or anything to prove this.

I used to know a guy at work like this years. One day he said he was a pilot. He didn’t seem to know shit about airplanes even if he claimed to own an ultralight. There was just this feeling I had that he didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about, nothing to really prove he was full of shit but still knowing he was full of shit. I’m a pilot and can tell another fellow pilot when they start talking about flying or airplanes. There’s some shared experience training and learning gives you to where were all mostly on the same page with the topic. He didn’t have this quality at all.

An even better example was when this guy claimed his dad owned a Dodge Viper. Yes. My dad (who worked there at the time) tried to call him out on his bullshit. “Really?” he said, “I’d like to see it. You should drive it to work someday.” The guy then replied with, “I’ll drive it to work tomorrow!”

You can probably guess what happened. Or what didn’t happen. Obviously the guy didn’t show up with his dad’s Dodge Viper and when asked about it he said something so ridiculous, but not quite ridiculous enough to where you could call him out on it. “The car was in a wreck today and it was totaled.” Really. Surely this Dodge Viper existed, and surely he was going to drive it to work, but that damn car wreck messed up the entire plan!

It’s this level of bullshit that is classic Donald Trumpness. The ability to lie and bullshit to such disregard for the truth that it is painfully obvious. I wish I could talk to the guy one-on-one with a printout of some of his tweets. Just ask him, for once, “So what the fuck is this? Can you acknowledge you said this? And how goddamn contradictory this is?” I’m sure he would just say something like fake news and deny the entire thing and that’s the whole problem with him. It’s really okay to admit you’re wrong on things, but this aspect of truth does not exist within him. At all. And it’s shocking to see someone with such a total disregard for the truth as him. It’s so dissimilar to how I am I can’t begin to comprehend it.

I know I’d said this would be about the coronavirus and that’s what I initially started with. My idea was to circle this back around to him now calling it the Chinese Virus, which is another level of bullshit. But I think it isn’t the same as his failed relationship with the truth. It’s him trying to lay the blame on China somehow. Sure it came from there, but who gives a fuck? It’s been called the corona virus for the past half-year and sometimes COVID-19, but sure let’s just change the name to blame China in some twisted fucking fashion.

Let’s just continue the Trump hate some more.

His supporters also have this fucked up relationship with the truth. People who can’t see his two-week contradictions from his own Twitter page infuriate me. (I’d link examples, but fuck linking to Donald Trump’s Twitter page) Like I understand people can change their minds, but I don’t think he’s changed his mind on something like this. How can you claim it’s a hoax and then credit yourself by realizing it was a pandemic before anyone else did? And how can his supporters hear stuff like this and say, “Hmm, oh yes. He’s the best guy for the job.” Doesn’t anything click in their minds that perhaps this guy is a total bullshitter that can never admit he’s wrong? I’m really curious how no one notices this or if they do notice it how it doesn’t bother them.

Well, that’s enough I guess. If you’re a Trump supporter please leave me some hate in the comments. Maybe share this on Facebook to your rabid Trump-support friends so they can shit on me as well; I need the views. Like, subscribe, and comment. Day #23 is finished.

COVID-19 Anxiety Sucks

During the past few years of utter bullshit I’ve periodically heard a supposed Chinese curse that goes something like this: “May you live in interesting times.” It’s great because it sounds like a good thing at first — no one likes being bored and living in some bland period of history (like the early 1900s or something) — but upon further inspection it really is a curse. For the past five years at least I think the entire world has been living in “interesting times” and they are fucking terrible.

I grew up in the 1990s and those were really boring times. Looking back I should’ve enjoyed them more. Sure I was a kid so have some naivete going on but even looking back as an adult the 90s were boring. There was the Persian Gulf War (which wasn’t even a war like the shit we had in Afghanistan/Iraq) but there were no collapses of society, mass unrest, no stock market crashes, or major recessions. Oh, and remember Clinton’s impeachment over a blowjob? What quait times we were living in….

Then the September 11th attacks happened and that caused a decade of “interesting times” but even that seemed to wane into boringness around 2010. Looking back the 2000s weren’t even that interesting in comparison to today. Then there was more boringness for at most five years (the magical year of ~2015) and then the world spiraled out of control again. And in my life this year has been the most “interesting time” I remember living in: 2020 is total shit. Fear and dread and anxiety and uncertainty. Especially with COVID-19 going around causing society to grind to a halt, I’m reminded of a quote from J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

“‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo.

‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.'”

-J.R.R Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

Another Reddit “theory” that seems rather silly but also interesting is that maybe the Mayans and the “world ending” in 2012, well, maybe they were onto something?! Not that 2012 is when the world spiraled into chaos, but what if we shifted into some alternate reality where things don’t quite work the same as they used to? And we’re all left with a pre-2012 mindset stuck in this strange, new, and terrifying world that is the post-2012 disinformation age. I don’t take this idea seriously but man it seems that in 2012 the world got shifted into a parallel dimension where terrifying stuff happens.

I’m having more anxiety than I’m willing to admit, but I still am rather calm and collected about the virus. It’s not a big deal, personally, but I acknowledge that it is a dangerous situation. Every day I wake up to see another few hundred dollars wiped off my stock trading accounts, and the prospect that I could be out of a job soon is terrifying. The stock market is especially frustrating as I was shorting in the past two month and rolled into long positions way to early. Had I held onto the shorts with diamond hands I could have earned a few thousand dollars as society collapsed around me. Not that I’m hoping millions of people die so I can make money, but it’s happening and I might as well try to benefit from it somehow. God that sounds terrible; feel free to shit on me in the comments if you want.

I’m reminded of this post from the New Year (I can’t find it and I’m out of time). My ability to live perfectly in the moment one minute and hour at a time. Most of my current anxiety is looking ahead to the next few months just wondering how this entire crisis will play out. How will it end? Will society be back to normal in a few weeks/months or are we going to collapse even further into stasis while every waits? I hate waiting. I’m impatient. I’m insecure. As much as I bitch about the grind of everyday life, when it has been altered I feel myself on the very of some great unknown and it terrifies me.

Looking closer to the present, ala Alan Watts/buddhist style, things are okay. I have plenty of food, no one I know is sick, and I still have a job. I get to leave in a half-hour and load some airplanes. Luckily UPS and package shipping in general hasn’t been totally shit on yet especially as people might turn to online shopping for their fucking economy packs of toilet paper rolls. UPS keeps shipping packages no matter what. With all the excess around the holiday season I’m surprised to find myself in a “safe” sector of the economy, as if the excess in December also has a counterpart to it being essential. Not as essential as truck drivers, but still needed. “You are safe.” In this moment of my life — the one that is actually happening right now — I’m perfectly fine. I have food, I have water, and I have a year supply of nicotine because now is not the time for nicotine withdrawal. Nicotine also kills your appetite making the food situation even better going forward!

I’m not saying that things won’t get worse in the upcoming months, but as my therapist said regarding my anxiety, “Think if a thought is useful to have.” All this worrying and anxiety about the future isn’t useful at all and only degrades the part of my life that actually exists: the ever-present Now. And if/when something bad does happen? If I lose my job? If myself or someone close to me gets sick? Well, I can worry about it when it happens. I’ll scrounge up money where I can, maybe sell my stocks, max out the credit cards if I need to do so, and maybe negotiate some deferred payments with them. If society utterly collapses around me? I’m sure my instinct to survive and my creative DIY mindset will naturally kick in to where I start problem solving whatever comes up. Squirrels are edible I guess, and I know where to find fucking mulberries, but once again I’m reminded to think, “Is this thought useful to have?” Absolutely not. Stop rambling here and get on with your life. I need to leave for work now. Do I need to dress warm or wear a raincoat? Do I have my badge and my timecard? What is happening Now?

I hope everyone remains safe and healthy, and maybe most importantly of all, in a positive mental state during these strange and frightful times.

Coronavirus Hype Sucks: Social Media Devolves Even Further

If I hear another goddamn thing about the coronavirus I think I’m going to snap. While the coronavirus itself has a mortality rate of around 2%, the mortality rate for people who mention the damn thing around me could be much higher. I can’t get away from hearing about it. At work, on social media, around the family: everyone talks about this goddamn virus.

It’s not so much the general worry about the thing — it is kinda a big deal — but of all the utter bullshit floating around about it. The shitty memes about toilet paper. The fact that people are stocking up on toilet paper/bottled water in the first place. Comparing the flu to the coronavirus. The damn conspiracy theories going around about it. The entire thing is so damn aggravating I don’t even know where to start with it. This post will probably be a rambling mess of me bitching and whining about the people whining about the virus.

But the flu kills more people!

First off, the virus is a serious problem so let’s start there. It’s been a popular saying around the social media sphere that the flu kills more people than the coronavirus does! Why, yes, it does in terms of raw numbers, but this itself doesn’t make the virus less dangerous. I read somewhere did the math from the CDC website that the flu, compared with those who actually catches it, kills only 0.01% of them. That’s really low. Out of 1,000,000 who catch the flu, it kills roughly 1,000 people. Consider the coronavirus that has a still ‘low’ death rate of 2%. This would wipe out 20,000 people out of a million. This makes it about 20 times as deadly as a flu. Yes, while the goddamn flu kills more based on raw number it’s not as lethal. It just pisses me off when raw numbers are used. Just because a gunshot to the head doesn’t kill as many people as the flu does in a year doesn’t make it safe.

Toilet paper, hand washing, and hand sanitizer memes

Not that anyone on social media has any sort of brain for this sort of thinking. All that’s there currently are fucking stupid fucking memes about toilet paper. While I love memes, I hate these stupid popular ones. Yes, it’s stupid that people are stocking up on toilet paper for some reason, but the memes making fun of it are even dumber than those stocking up, albeit in a different way.

I don’t even know why anyone is stocking up on toilet paper. It doesn’t make sense at all. Quarantined at home and can’t wipe your ass? Just go take a shower and clean up; it’d act like a really overkill bidet. It’s not that big of a deal. It only makes it worse for those people that aren’t batshit insane and just need to restock on toilet paper. What are these poor unpaniced souls supposed to do if you hoard all the wipes?

Bottled water is another hot commodity for some goddamn reason. Once again, given a mild pandemic I’m sure the tap water at your house will still work. And if the disease gets so out of hand that no one can man the city pumps in the first place, well, you have more issues to worry about than drinking water. If this worst-case scenario did happen, what are your five cases of water going to do in a collapsing society? When people are killing each other for food, are the bottles of water going to help?

Here, let me see how fast I can find a shitty meme from Facebook. That didn’t take too long:

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAH

They’re funny but not that funny. I don’t even know. Some of them are even worse by trying to prove a point about it, as if there is a point to prove. I’ve seen one smartass one saying something like “Maybe if y’all run out of toilet paper you’ll have to start washing your ass for once.” Haha. Good one…

Conspiracies Gone Wild

I saw one post today, well, let me find it.

As before, I don’t even want to fact check this garbage. I did look up the Zika Virus outbreak of 2015-2016 and that should tell you all the information you need to know. Apparently the virus was around much earlier, but for some reason only 2016 is mentioned here. I also don’t recall as much hype of Zika in 2016, especially not enough to interference in an election.

It screams of a US-centric mindset. As if the only thing these viruses (and the people supposedly manufacturing them/releasing them on the masses) only give a fuck about are US elections. Going a bit further into this logically, this implies it has something to do with politics. I don’t know what the point even is here. Is this a way for Republicans to steal the election? Is it a way for them to shut down voting even if it hadn’t happened in the past? Is it a Democratic conspiracy to undermine the Republicans? And the party in power each election year hasn’t even been the same. I simply don’t know what this is even trying to prove. I don’t know, maybe something about The Deep State.

One ‘possiblity’ is that someone outside the US created the disease; this sound really fucking unlikely. I don’t even know if we have the power to manufacture a disease, let alone release it wildly into the world for some reason. Considering this originated in China, what would they gain by infecting their own citizens? Sure, it’d be a great tool if it only fucked up the US or anyone they’re opposed to, but a virus doesn’t give a fuck what your nationality is. If someone did want to purpsefully fuck with the US, a virus seems like a really terrible way to do it.

I can’t believe I even gave that stupid picture as much time as I just did. I feel terrible.

Anxiety Skyrockets

There are rumors going around at work that we might be temporarily laid off over this ordeal. Well shit. With all the stuff I worry about and struggle with a global pandemic is not one of them. It simply isn’t in my mind as something that needs to be worried about. My anxiety is a personal thing. I’m worried about writing, struggling with depression, finding a career maybe, and trying to figure my own shit out — I do my own thing day-to-day — and tossing the slight possibility of losing my job was not part of the plan! In reality I haven’t really worried about anything yet, but still, there’s a tiny part of my mind worried about it now.

It was okay when news about quarantines came out, or the cancellation of the fucking NBA season (or whatever, I don’t know), or the cancellation of our St. Patrick’s Day parade, or hearing about concerts being cancelled, but I don’t give a damn about these things. About 98% of my time consists of me being holed up in the house or at work, no parades for me, thanks. This blog should be just fine even if I am laid-off and quarantined. I think everyone wants to be left alone to do their own thing and luckily doing my own thing doesn’t involve many other people in large groups. But losing my job sort of does directly affect me and that’s worrisome.

I’m really conflicted by how I feel. Yes, it is a big problem but is probably being blown out of proportion. But goddamn are the memes annoying. And the social media posts are annoying. Everyone is trying to prove their own points about the virus (myself included thanks to this post) and damn is it grating on my nerves. Maybe it is a nice break from the other bullshit that is spammed on social media, but I’m really sick of hearing jokes about toilet paper. Isn’t there anything better to do?

Streak Day #14 Sucks (and some stuff about writing and The Wheel of Time)

Two weeks. Two weeks I’ve been at this shit and I’m almost starting to regret it. Things are great if you have something to write, but I’ve been in a funk the past few days. The writer’s block is getting especially bad and while I can still churn out a daily post I can’t for the life of me think of anything to write regarding any of those fictional stories I’m supposedly working on.

One thing to note: I’ve started reading The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I was weary to begin because apparently it’s a massive thirteen-book series, so had only purchased the first two books months ago. The first one is like 700 pages long too. By starting on a fucking thirteen-book series each with a conservate 500 pages means I could be committing myself to reading a massive 6,500 pages at least. Did I really want to get myself into this project? It’ll take like a year.

People say that creativity comes from branching out and trying new things. Reading Hunter S. Thompson nonstop sure helps get the honest, no bullsit, and vulgar tone down in your writings, but it doesn’t help you branch out very much. I hope by delving into some high fantasy stuff that I’m not used to maybe the creative juices will start flowing again. But I don’t know.

The problem with what I write is it shirks the entire idea of high fantasy and stories in general. I think it’s my bleak mindset on life shining through. If I believe that life is not a big and grand adventure and that we’re all looking for some big grand adventure to add meaning to life this is certain to leak into my stories. What I seem to write about is the pointlessness of everyday life, as bleak as that sounds. I don’t even want this to sound edgy or anything; this is what I seem to write about. Strangely I notice I also write about those magical moments in life where things do make perfect sense and everything is wonderful. Little bursts of light here and there in the total bleakness of the grand story (which doesn’t exist) itself.

I read 100 pages of the first book last night. It was great. I was absorbed into the world and the plot, while slow for the first two chapters, quickly took off. I was hooked. The tension that the plot was about to devolve into a shitstorm was palpable. As one chapter ended I found myself eager to start the next chapter, just waiting for some mild break in the story to finally quit and finally fall asleep. I think I finally passed out around 5:30 a.m. Holy hell.

One thing I despise about reading intense fiction stories is the shock that I receive when I stop reading and come back to the bleakness of the Real World. It’s shocking and I’ve noticed this feeling before while watching movies. I clearly remember seeing Apollo 13 in the theater as a kid and the shock I felt walking back to the car on a bright and sunny day realizing that, yes, it was just a movie and I was back in Reality was terrible. I’d have to go to school later and I’d have to do homework and I’d have to grow up and I’d have to get a job and I’d have to grow old. Consider the harrowing adventure Jim Lovell and crew had to contend with over a few weeks as they whipped around the moon not sure if they’d survive in the dark inhospitable environment of space. It’s a fucking Adventure. And it was engrossing and exhilarating and it was a shock walking into the parking lot and realizing that in a way it was all a dream to you.

The same thing happened yesterday when I stopped reading The Wheel of Time. Mind totally blown and fixed on the greater themes in the story. The Light. The Wheel of Time. The impossibility of stopping past events from repeating themselves in the future. The grand battle against The Dark One. The promise that every character in the book has a purpose, some key role they’re going to play in the Grand Tale. I put the book down, blew out the candle, and walked upstairs to eat peanut butter on crackers along with a glass of milk. Only wearing my underwear. I looked out the window and the sky was turning a dull greyish color. Thanks Daylight Savings Time. I slept until 1 p.m., dragged myself out of the bed, and made some coffee. Now I’m writing a blog post. This is my Grand Adventure. Yay.

Not that the characters are on grand adventures all the time. I’m sure they had to deal with the same mundane bullshit I have to deal with, but this doesn’t bother them in the story. It isn’t even discussed really and only appears in vague ways. Wanting to leave the comfy town in order to “see the world” or to “go on an adventure.” But they seem happy enough and you can’t help but feel bad for the everyday person being caught up in the shitstorm. Tam, one character in the story, can’t wait to get back to his farm and tend to his sheep, even if things are going to hell around him. He likes the quiet life. If they are like me though, maybe the want the world to fall apart in some huge crisis between Light and Dark just so they have some reason to break away from the pointlessness of everything else. To be a part of something greater than themselves.

Sometimes I do think I’m on the brink of my own Great Adventure, kinda waiting around to the world or myself to totally snap in some way to set me out on it. Maybe I am a future best-selling author? Maybe these stupid posts are all the hard work I need to do to get to that point? I doubt it. This fragment of hope exists as a tiny and miniscule glow tucked deep in the back of my mind. I’m not writing because I think it’s a step on the path to greatness, no. I’m writing because there isn’t jackshit else to do and I need to kill another hour before I sulk my way to work. Another day in my fourteen-year career at UPS. Another post in my fourteen-day streak on WordPress. Jesus Christ.

I really think these tiny glimmer of hopes for a better future are what keeps people from going insane. The tiny glow of possible being an author is what keeps the darkness at bay. I know it’s likely bullshit, but if I really gave up hope, what else would I do? I think if everyone gave up hope there’d be no other choice but to string a rope from the ceiling and end it all.

Streak Day #13 Sucks (and some stuff about “networking”)

It’s 3:51 a.m. and I’m once again unable to sleep. I think this is partly to blame on daylight savings time. My body feels like it’s 2:51 a.m. not that it makes much difference anyways. I feel adrift in time, and yesterday was especially terrible. We were at the store at 7 p.m. and it was still daylight out. It felt really late, like 9 p.m. for some reason but also really early like 5 p.m. for some reason. Just nothing to anchor you to any sense of temporal security.

Every blogger has the same basic goal: get more viewers/readers. It’s so obvious it feels dumb to even state; isn’t it the reason anyone would take up this hobby? While I’m sure there are some “purists” that write and blog for the sake of writing and blogging, or to undergo some personal growth in a writing adventure, I’m guessing these account for like 10% of blogs. Even if you do blog with that purpose, I’m sure most have a close secondary goal of having others actually read your stuff.

Now that I think of it, maybe I’m wrong here. A friend of mine is working on some massive three-book fantasy story. She’s built an entire mythical world and it sounds wonderfully complex. I continually pester her about when she will make these writings public while she seems completely happy with the project being for herself. She doesn’t seem to care if anyone ever reads the story, it could be a total masterpiece but she’s doing it for herself. If that makes sense. Maybe purists do exist? Maybe I’m too pragmatic and egotistical where I don’t want to write and have no one else read it. It seems like a waste of time to me. In a way I wish I could be like my friend. The quality of what I write would probably be better.

The problem is trying to get people to read your shit in the first place. We all start from nothing, and how do you even get somewhere starting from nothing?

Post A Lot/Be Consistent

One blog I was a huge fan if years ago was waitbutwhy. Go check it out. The author Tim Urban, seems to be a total nerd and wrote many long and detailed pieces about Elon Musk, SpaceX, Tesla, as well as many other high quality, enlightening, terrifying, and hilarious posts.

I say ‘was a fan’ because something happened a few years ago where Tim seemingly dropped off the face of the earth. So when he started posting a few months ago I was surprised, mostly by the fact that I had totally forgotten about the blog when he wasn’t posting. (Note: what he was up to in the meantime was mulling over a massive post attempting to figure out what exactly happened to American society in the past five or ten years. Increasing hostility and polarization in America, wondering when we exactly went off the rails, shit like that. Namely, but more of a symptom and not the problem itself: how the hell did Donald Trump end up as president? I guess he was struggling to make any progress on this amazingly complex topic, and finally decided to make an entire series about it. It’s ongoing and he hasn’t posted in like a month but I hope he keeps it up. It’s fascinating.)

My point here is simple: to get readers you need to be consistent and actually post. Duh. People simply forget that you exist if you stop posting. Maybe we like to think that we have a legion of loyal fans wondering when the hell the next post/chapter will come out, and maybe this is true for some people, but we’re forgettable. I have this complex idea in my mind for a few months about how the internet only rewards action and not inaction. I want to write some big epic post on it but can’t pull it together. It goes something like this. On social media people only see you when you post and no one notices your lack of posting. Contrast this to the real world where your absence is noted, like at work. People miss you if you’re not there and this doesn’t happen on the internet. I think the same is true with blogging. People notice you if you do something while few notice if you don’t do something. If that makes sense. You need to stay in people’s minds I guess.

I had a first hand learning experience with this cactus recently (somehow my phone put the word ‘cactus’ there and it’s too hilarious to fix). My other blog for short stories and stuff hasn’t had anything new posted in a month or two. I recently plopped out a really shitty piece that had a single view. No one gave a shit about it. But when I was posting a chapter or two every week I was raking in the views. You can’t just hop back into the game and start where you left off. Nope. Rebuild the readers and don’t fuck it up in the future.

“Networking”

There are certain words that I just hate with a passion and networking is one of them. It’s right up there with synergy and scripture for some reason. I hate the word and I hate what it stands for. Basically, it’s a professional form of ‘socializing’ which I’m fucking terrible at. Not even socializing in the casual aspect but socializing with the purpose of building contacts and making progress in your endeavors. It’s socializing but with a goal.

One of my posts a week or so ago talked about how this streak I’m on is really getting me readers. This is because of what I talked about previously: being consistent and posting keeps you ‘out there.’ The more you post the more people will notice you and read your shit. One person commented (I’d link to his blog, but I don’t know the protocol behind that. Do you need to ask first?) that the real way to pump numbers up is to, you guessed it, network. That really got me thinking about the process and how terrible I am at it.

Last post I talked about my supposed “genuineness” with blogging and how I’m legit interested in what others write. Being genuine is the main key to proper networking; we’ve all seen the random comments on posts that usually go something like this: Great Post! Check out my blog here [link to post]! These aren’t genuine at all and anyone can see right through them. These people are networking on the most basic and fundamental level, forcing themselves to comment only to market themselves. There is no real interest in what you had written, and it comes across very pathetic and self-serving. People have a very sensitive radar for disingenuity. It’s painfully obvious and does you zero favors. If you network, or force yourself to network, don’t fucking do this.

I think this is what holds me back from selfishly networking. To network you have to be selfish to some degree I think; that’s what gets you out trying to promote yourself in the first place, but I’m so selfish that I don’t want to spend my time forcing myself to read people’s stuff that I’m not interested in, if that makes sense. One good thing about this is that I don’t think I have the “genuineness” problem when I do network. If I am commenting or something it means I really have something to say and actually read your post. And I sure as hell aren’t going to leave a link to my own blog in the comment section trying to bring people over.

Networking seems to branch into other areas as well outside of “pure” networking. You really need to be creative and play the game of self-marketing. Make as many social media accounts as you can, spam your links anywhere you can on the internet. Find forums and like-minded individuals and send links to people that might be interested in your stuff. Some of my video game posts I could probably share on game forums, but no. I don’t want to be pushy. I’m terrible at networking in all its forms. I’m getting a severe case of deja vu here for some reason.

Part of me thinks if I could get my shit together this blog could really take off. If I could stay focused and churn out high-quality posts everyday and actually spend time networking I might find success. But part of me simply doesn’t care. That would be too much work and what is the grand goal of this blog anyways? Get a million views and start advertising? I doubt it. Do some affiliate marketing? Once again, I doubt it. There is no grand plan. I think this rambly post has worn itself out. Goodbye everyone. Day thirteen complete.