Tag Archives: Stephen King

Vacation Sucks (2021 Edition)

It’s that time of year once again: vacation. I couldn’t take all four weeks in a row this year and had to settle for three. My job is a union job so everyone with higher seniority gets to pick their vacations first. Even if I’m about middle-of-the-pack with my time there, the full-timers above me all have like five or six weeks of vacation meaning they shit up the vacation calendar pretty quickly.

I complain about vacation once every year, sometimes twice, so I’ll just skip all of that here.

The First Goal

I’m terrible at holding clear-cut goals but here’s one of them: get 2,000 blog views this month. I’ve been slacking for awhile but July still has some hope. July 4th gave me over 200 daily views — a new record and the first time I cracked 200 — because of my The 4th of July Sucks post from two years ago. Apparently people Google “july 4 sucks” and they find my page. Cool. It was a good start to the month but I squandered it as time went on. I need about 250 more views in the next three days, so it’ll be close, and I’ll try my best, but I won’t be surprised if I end the month with 1,999 views.

And this is why I’m shoveling out this throw-away post. Better to write some trash than to not write at all.

Sobriety

This vacation is already going better than my last vacation, nearly 110 days ago, because I’m not trying to sober up. I know the exact number thanks to the r/stopdrinking ‘days sober’ feature. (I’ll never stop shilling for r/stopdrinking.) You set a date and then anytime you post it displays how many sober days you’ve accumulated. It’s a great feature because you don’t have to remember a date or go mad trying to count the days yourself.

Last vacation sucked because I stopped drinking. Anyone who has been an alcoholic knows that the first week is a rough one as your body and emotions are all over the place. I chose that week to sober up because I had a terrible habit of drinking my vacation away. Boredom is one of my drinking triggers and during vacations I go crazy. There’s nothing else to do besides get drunk, at least that’s how Jeremy usually thought about vacation. So that week was successful on the sobriety front and I haven’t had a drink since but damn did it suck. At least these three weeks I’m not battling alcoholism. Sure I’m bored and drinking sounds like a great way to spend vacation, but it’s a passing thought I can easily disregard.

Random Projects

I like to keep busy doing bullshit random things that aren’t at all related to each other. Making soap is obviously one of them, as well as a few other sorta related things like trying to make my own lye and washing bonfire ashes in water. Washing ashes in water also means I need to burn wood which also means I need trim some shrubs in the yard to have stuff to burn. Luckily my wife has done that part because my motivation is always near zero. I despise yardwork by the way…

There’s a bunch else I sort of want to do but since my motivation is basically zero it’s hard for me to get around to doing them. It’d be fun to take the family to the river and go swimming. Not legally swimming either, just get in the water and fucking swim. I want to visit my sister in Iowa because why not? Camping sounds like a fun thing, and maybe haul my guitar to a park and play some music. Maybe haul it down to the bike path and play in front of people? I want to get a cabin for my wife and I but still haven’t gotten around to reserving one. Oh, I also want to watch one of the ‘homeless’ bums that are begging for money at the corner of 2nd Street and Jefferson to see if they’re really homeless, but that won’t happen.

Bike rides, running, weight lifting. Maybe. Russia just launched a new module to the ISS and Boeing is shooting up their Starliner on its second test flight on the 30th; maybe I can go outside and try to see those zipping overhead. (I don’t understand how I haven’t written about the shitty Boeing Starliner yet. It’s fucking trash.) There’s always my giant telescope too and I’ve always wanted to haul that to a public place and let people look at Jupiter and Saturn for realzies.

Paint-by-numbers. Artwork. Drawing. Writing a story. Recording some music. Finally writing and singing some lyrics. Sitting in the yard meditating? Watching bugs in the grass and wondering what it would be like to be a dandelion. What sort of bats do we actually have here in Northern Illinois?

And this is how I am, random bullshit things I want to do with no reason or logic behind them. Is this how people are? Is this normal? Being a human being is a fucking mess…

Books

I bought three books from thriftbooks, being inspired by a Reddit thread asking about “the scariest books you’ve ever read.” House of Leaves. It. Gerald’s Game. I’m currently reading Gerald’s Game and in case you weren’t aware Stephen King is fucked up guy. The book is about a lady who get’s handcuffed to her bed by her husband in the woods. Just some good ole sexual fun that she isn’t too fond of. She ends up accidentally killing him by kicking him and giving him a heart attack, and she’s still cuffed to the bed with no way to escape. A stray dog wanders in and eats her husband as his corpse is laying there. There’s also something about an eclipse and how she was sexually molested by her dad when she was ten. I’m halfway through the book and that’s what’s happened so far.

My wife thinks some of the stuff I write is strange and disturbing, and can you imagine what King’s wife thinks of him? Does he write a story and ever once think, “My God, what the hell is wrong with me?” Either way, he apparently doesn’t give a fuck enough to not get it published.

It’s a book, but not really. A sudoku puzzle book from the store. I think it’s a Soap Opera Digest sudoku book, maybe you’ve seen them before as you’re standing in a checkout lane at Walmart. I had an earlier edition literally 9-10 years ago. Same cover design, same amount of puzzles, same difficulty of puzzles. Sure there are plenty of free sudoku apps out there, but something about having 100 puzzles physically in a book is satisfying so I bought it for $5. It’ll be fun to have it completed by the time I go back to work.

Insomnia

For the past two months I’ve been setting my alarm for noon. I wake up groggy and chug coffee and rip on the vape for an hour before I remotely feel functional. Around midnight I’m dead tired but somehow manage to stay up until 4 or 5 a.m. without fail. I get my second wind around 2 a.m. and from then on I’m as awake as I am at 5 p.m.

I thought vacation would help this a bit, maybe I could set the alarm earlier and earlier, but the problem is getting worse! I didn’t go to sleep yesterday (today?) until 6 a.m. The day before that it was 7:30 a.m. I’m pretty chill about this as well. I’m on vacation so if I’m up until the mid-morning hours who cares? No point in being upset about it.

In Conclusion

In conclusion? What the hell is there to conclude? I’m on vacation. I’m not concluding a damn thing.

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.

Writing About “On Writing”: Lessons from Stephen King

Despite the previous post I wasn’t completely unproductive last week. I was able to read Stephen King’s On Writing which was one of my Sober September purchases. I’m not sure why I didn’t get around to reading it then. Better late than never, right? Anyways, as the title implies, the book is about writing. Duh. Since Stephen King is a pretty successful writer you’d expect him to have something insightful to say about the craft.

The book isn’t completely about writing as I soon discovered. The first section of the book is a rough autobiography of King’s childhood and early adulthood that shows how much he’s always loved writing and his struggle to get work published. King seems to have taken failure in stride by hanging up his rejected manuscripts on the wall of his room and kept pushing forward. Reading, writing, and submitting stories until his first major success Carrie was published.

The end of the book, like the beginning, isn’t directly about writing and covers King’s near-death from being hit by a car. (He says something like he was hit by a character right out of one of his stories.) At first this section seemed off and ham-fisted, but with his multiple surgeries and recovery he wasn’t able to write at all. King apparently writes for at least a few hours everyday so this whole incident really broke him from his habit. Towards the end of this section he struggles to pick up writing again and feels as awkward as him learning to walk again was. His writing is his joy and his life and the return to writing was another part of his recovery and he soon found himself finding his stride after losing it. It’s a great way to round off the whole arc of the book.

Okay, onto the on writing part of On Writing. It’s a great book and I sailed through it easily, a welcome break from The Wheel of Time series. Curiously King doesn’t give many clear and direct tips to write successfully; his entire philosophy seems to be to “read and write all the damn time” or at least as much as you can. Sure he shits all over adverbs and ‘the passive voice’ (something I’m still trying to work on. “I am writing this blog post,” as opposed to “The blog post is being written by me.”) while stressing good grammar, but these clear and direct tips are pretty sparse. In short he realizes that writing is a creative experience and it’s hard to offer ‘rules’ that successful writers break all the time. Like sure you can break grammar rules or use the passive voice for effect, but you better know damn well what you’re doing before you try it!

King also dunks all over a heavy reliance on plot and feels it’s too rigid to tell a good story. His idea is that stories are living things, and you start with the characters and a situation and see what happens when you let the story play out. It’s writing without an idea of where the story will go. He sees it this way: if you force a conclusion onto characters who don’t operate a certain way it’s obvious (“This character wouldn’t do this!”) and feels clunky. While I generally feel this to be great advice, especially for myself, I can see other writers taking the plot route and having it work out wonderfully for them. Think of Robert Jordan’s 13-book-series The Wheel of Time again. I don’t think he plopped some characters on a page and magically ended up with an entire 13-book-long series. It seems like he’d need to have a general plot lined out before writing such a massive series. But I don’t know that for fact so who knows.

As mentioned, the main takeaway from the book seems to be to read and write often. Make a habit or a chore out of it. Sit down everyday (or as frequently as you can) and fucking write. See what happens. Even if what you write is trash, well, at least you have something to show for it and you’ll only improve over time. Reading is just as important because that’s how you learn how to write better. Reading gives you ideas, styles, and techniques to use in your own writing; I totally stole semicolons from reading a bunch of Alan Watts. Sentence fragments and gut reactions? Thank you Hunter S. Thompson. By reading you discover what works and what doesn’t, especially regarding your own style of writing. You read a long, detailed, and boring description of a room that you hate? Don’t be overly descriptive in your own writings. Read a few pages of amazingly tense dialog? Put some intense dialog in your own stories. Dig in and do what you like to do. But the only way to realize this is to read and learn, write and try, and see if it works in your own writing.

After writing all of that I’m tempted to imposter syndrome myself into thinking I’m not really a writer. I don’t read as often as I should and I definitely don’t write as much or as freely as King says you have to to be a writer. Is this something you can learn or do you need to be a natural reader/writer from the time you’re a kid like King was as a child? Eh, have a little confidence, I was able to write this and it’s something, right?

I highly recommend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in writing. The book mentions a ton of important things to improve your writing even if it is nebulous and generalized guidelines like WrItE eVeRy DaY! After reading the book I found I was  inspired to write, to get over the worry of writing and just sit down and write. To plop out whatever is in my mind and see what the mess looks like on paper. It’s like the entire book of On Writing is Stephen King being a hype-man for writers everywhere. Follow his advice. Read the damn book. And then hole yourself in a room and start writing!

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.

Hotel Rooms Suck

I’m currently out of town and sitting around totally bored in a hotel room. I really don’t want to write a blog post or anything but there is literally nothing else to do so why not try to be productive? After this I’ll probably try to work on some stories or something. While I don’t exactly know where this post is headed I’m going to write it anyways. This has never before been attempted on the Everything Sucks blog!

It’s already uncomfortable enough being in a city that you’ve never been in. In this case it’s Waterloo, Iowa (yay…). And it’s also discomforting knowing that the city you’re currently in which you’ve never been in before is also exactly the same as nearly every other city you’ve been in. Even though you’ve drive hundreds — even thousands of miles — across the wide open expanses of the United State of America, you always find yourself in the exact same places that you’ve already been. Our current hotel is situated less than a mile from a mall, a Target, a CVS, a handful of other hotels, a handful of gas stations, and a handful of restaurants. You already know those too: Applebees, Olive Garden, Burger King, McDonalds, Arbys, and so on.

This is America. Seriously. Zoom in on any city and its “business section” and you’ll find the same general theme of businesses. Coast to fucking coast…

My point here is that while being holed up in a hotel room is boring, you also can’t go outside and find anything else that isn’t boring. There’s no culture to explore and discover. This city is the same city I live in even if it has a different name. The streets have different names and everything is laid out differently but it’s the exact same city I’m used too: there just isn’t anything new out there and it’s not like I’m in a different country or anything. For all purposes Iowa and Illinois are exactly the same thing. No new and exciting accents, geography, or anything. Not even a new time zone.

Hotel rooms are fit nicely into this because they’re all exactly the same too. Each room of a hotel is superficially the same layout, even if one room is a mirror image of the room next to it. Each room has a shower, bed, sink, a bunch of mirrors (to make the room look bigger I’m assuming), and usually a table or a desk with a “work chair” or something like that. These rooms are cookie-cutter rooms that you’re just meant to sleep in because there isn’t much else you can do in them. Besides type bored blog posts that is.

Work in progress on “The Work Desk” feature of every hotel room.

They’re also surprisingly devoid of life as well. When you go into people’s houses or rooms they each have their own design, layout, and unique smells. People usually have their belongings/clothes/artwork/pictures/junk around that makes these places feel “lived in” and alive. Hotel rooms feel clinically clean and totally devoid of life even if they are, microbally, diverse and thriving (eww). It’s strange because the room I’m in has also been lived in by countless other people over the years and I don’t even want to think about how many babies were conceived and how many STDs were contracted on the mattress I’m laying on right now. But even knowing the amount of people and “stuff” that has actually occurred where I’m at there are no signs of anything really. It’s as clean and bland as a doctor’s waiting room. Hell, even more so as our room doesn’t have the classic “doctor’s office artwork” on the walls. A hotel room is probably the blandest living space you can find in our society.

I’m also staying at a fucking Motel 6 which is about as bottom of the barrel as you can get in terms of lodging. This is partly due to procrastinating the reservation as well as being fucking cheap. I’m notoriously cheap! A hotel room is just a place to sleep when you’re away from town and I’m not trying to stay at a place with a “fitness room” or a place that offers a “free continental breakfast” which I’m never awake in time to attend anyways. A room is a room and a bed is a bed and so be it. Anyways, Motel 6 is stupidly cheap and you can tell this from the room I’m in: this place isn’t trying to lie about its cheapness or to pamper you at all. Hell, it doesn’t even have a coffee maker which I’ve assumed was standard in all hotel rooms. This makes the room feel even more “hotely” than usual, once again pointing to the lack of stereotypical “hotel art” on the walls. These walls are bare: there is literally nothing on them besides the white and brownish-orange paint on the walls.

Next to our cheap Motel 6 is a Holiday Inn Express, and while not a 5-star place itself it is much higher up on the hotel food-chain than our Motel 6 is (Their rooms are around $90 per night while ours were around $70). In fact the building itself is higher up with its four floors overlooking our paltry two floors. Sometimes I will look out the window and see curious Holiday Inners curiously glancing out — and downwards, metaphorically and physically — into our Motel 6 rooms. And hey, I’m looking right back at them as well, a kinda passive curiosity exchanged between us. I ask in my imagination to them, “Hello, fellow traveler, what exactly are you doing in Waterloo, Iowa of all places? Are you on a business trip or are you on vacation with your family? Is this hellhole your actual destination or are you headed for more elaborate locations in the USA? Are you stopping for the night on a long journey to the West Coast or are you heading out East? Perhaps to see New York or Washington? Niagara Falls? Or maybe the Grand Canyon?” Then again maybe the man looking down on me from over there is just picking up a prostitute for the night. Who knows. I’m imaging them wondering the same thing about me as well: Who is this guy sitting in a rolly-chair with a hat on at 8 p.m.? Why is he rolling around in his hotel room in said chair? Why does he look angry? And what is he typing on his computer and why is he taking pictures of his hotel room? And why the fuck does he keep looking up at me and then typing something on his computer?

(Note: I also doubt that anyone is staying in Waterloo during a transcontinental adventure. Waterloo, IA doesn’t even have a giant interstate running through connecting anything important. 380 connectes Cedar Rapids to Waterloo but doesn’t really do much other than that. Why anyone is here is anyone’s guess.)

I’m new to staying in hotel rooms and usually only deal with them for the rare vacation and then only for a few days at most. I’m imaging the people who stay in these lifeless boxes frequently, like pilots, business travelers, musicians, etc. and I wonder what the hell they think of these places. I don’t even know what jobs require you to frequent these bland, all-the-same-but-kinda-different rooms and buildings, but it almost seems like it would be draining in a way. Like if you stay in these rooms for too long you go crazy. I’m thinking like the movie Fight Club or in the Stephen King stories 1408 or The Shining where the hotel room/hotel itself is haunted. Hotel rooms seem to have some mystery to them simply because they’ve been around for so long and have had so many people stay in them. Over time there’s bound to be something crazy happen in them. But maybe that’s the wrong outlook and that some people find these rooms comforting in a way. As all the rooms are the same I could seem them turing into “home” for the frequent traveler; a little slice of comfort and familiarity to come home to in the total blandness of them. Like if you stay in bland and drab rooms long enough you start to find them comforting in a way. Like you find yourself used to and comforted by the neutered lamp-on-desk, undecorated white walls, and wrapped up single-ply toilet papers. The white, undecorated towels. Not to mention the little shampoo bottles as well! As for me, luckily they’re only boring, even if they are intensely boring. I’m just trying to pass the time here. I’m not returning to just another hotel room on a month’s long job assignment, nor am I terrified that the room is haunted or that I’m losing my mind. Maybe boring isn’t so bad after all.