Frustration {Let It Go}

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Usually it’s on the weekends that I’ll look at the apartment and all the crap that somehow accumulates and I’ll start to feel real frustrated. Not just with bric-a-brac, but with everything. Life, junk, annoyances… Everything. I’ll want to put everything I own in a trash bag and chuck it out. Start over. Get a new apartment, get new (and attractive) cooking stuff, buy real furniture.

I never knew, really, what my life was going to be like. I guess I had thought it would be kind of normal. Meet a girl, get married, have kids, live in a house, worry about family stuff.
None of that ever happened, though. I mean, I was married (twice), I had kids (not of my gene pool, though), lived in a house and, boy, did I worry about family stuff. It still wasn’t was I was expecting my life to be about.
The end result is that I feel mostly frustrated with life. I’m not exactly doing the work that I thought, or hoped, I would be doing. My personal life doesn’t actually exist. People ask me what I do for fun and I honestly don’t have anything to tell them. I go to parks to take pictures. That’s all I have.
Yet, somehow, I have an apartment that’s cluttered with a lot of crap. A lot of it is old crap; stuff that should probably be thrown away but it’s too difficult to part with. Objects contain memories and I’m not ready to let those go. It may be that I never will.
Some of it is new crap. I can’t explain how it got there other than it seemed like a good idea at the time.
And I look at it all and wish I could work up the enthusiasm to just get rid of it all. I realize the best way of doing this would be to hire someone and tell them to get rid of everything. Don’t even ask me if I want it; just take it and put it in the bin.
Which would be an incredibly bad thing to do on account of there being things I would just like to keep, obviously. Like the TV. And the XBox. And stuff like that.
Maybe one day I’ll take out an ad on Craigslist or something and see if I can find someone to haul off a bunch of stuff. It sounds like a good idea as long as nobody comes back to take the stuff I didn’t want to get rid of.

Anniversary [World Keeps Spinning]

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     Nine years. That’s how long I’ve been writing this blog. Since 2006. Mind blowing. Some years, of course, were a bit leaner than others when it comes to amount of posts. And probably quality. But, wow, nine years. That’s almost a decade.     I suppose this post should be an extravaganza, but I think that’s best left for the ten year mark.

 

     Where I am in Texas (possibly other places, too) there are trucks. Trucks that carry rocks. Gravel or granite or something, I don’t know. These trucks, you see, drive around with a full load of rocks. On the back of these trucks are signs that read “Stay 500ft back — Not responsible for broken windshields,” which is weird, because I think their primary purpose is, in fact, to break windshields. 
     Yesterday I ended up behind one. I heard something hit my windshield but, luckily, it didn’t shatter. But I noticed this roundish bit of discolor that had what looked like a drop of water underneath it. It wasn’t bad, but I was already mentally tallying up how much it was going to cost to repair when it got too bad to see out.
     On the way home my eyes kept getting drawn to it. I half hoped it was water, but there’s no way a drop of water is going to hang around all day in the sun with a temperature of 97F. 
     In the mornings the air is cool and the windshield has a lot of moisture on it. One of the first things I do after starting up the Battle Wagon is to run the wipers. I did this. Then I looked at the spot from yesterday. It was gone. 
     There was nothing in that spot but clear windshield. Now I’m wondering what kind of liquid I had on my windshield that doesn’t move in the wind generated by moving at 80 MPH (hurray Texas speed limits!) and doesn’t evaporate in nearly 100 degree weather.

     Last week I took Junior the cat to College Station to get checked out by the vets there. From what I was told they have the best radiation machine in the state so if he’s going to get treatment, he’s going to get it there.
     The treatment consists of having radiation applied Monday through Friday for four weeks (or three). 
     The big problem is that College Station is either 95 or 101 miles away from where I live. A daily drive there and back just isn’t going to happen so I’ll have to leave him there and visit on weekends. 
     That may not sound too bad, but you have to remember that it means five days of being under anesthesia. Five days of having radiation pointed at his head. Five days of not being home, comfortable.  For a month.
     It would be a no-brainer decision if I could get an answer to one question: Is it the best thing for him? But nobody will give me a definitive answer. Instead, I get a lot of dual-answers. It might. It might not. He may have cancer. He might not (it could be healing tissue). He could be dead in a year or he could live for quite a few more. 
     The only thing definitive I was told was that I could not make a wrong decision. And they’re wrong. The way I see it, any decision I make will be the wrong one. If he doesn’t get the treatment and ends up dying in pain, it’s my fault. If he does get the treatment and still dies in pain, well, then I wasted a month of him feeling good. If he gets the treatment and lives for a few more years than maybe he didn’t have cancer after all. 
     He’s been with me a long time. He’s my buddy, my friend, my companion through difficult times. No, there is no way I can make the right decision regardless of the outcome.

     In other news, smart people are spending a butt-load of money looking for aliens. The outer space kind, not the kind Donald Trump is having trouble with. 
     As a side note, though, I should add that, while I don’t care about Trump, I read his controversial speech and noticed that he specifically mentions illegal aliens. Any time I saw it referenced in the news the ‘illegal’ part was never mentioned. Strange.
     Anyway, smart people spending money I could use to find aliens that they aren’t going to find. I’m in favor of finding alien life. I think there’s life out there, somewhere. It may even be intelligent. I’m just not convinced that we’d be able to find evidence.
     I’m sure I  mentioned this before but it was probably nine years ago so I’ll mention it again: scale. The universe, as I understand it, is a pretty big place. We can only ‘see’ a small fraction of it. We’re surrounded by universe. If we’re not looking in just the right spot, we’re going to miss any evidence. There is also the time scale to think about.
     If an alien race started exactly when we did, evolved at exactly the same pace that we did, managed to invent all the same things we did when we did, then we’re not going to find them for, what? A few thousand years? However long it takes for a radio signal to journey over here. If we started maybe even two hundred years before they did then they’re just getting started with radio. If we’re even a hundred years behind them, well, there’s no telling what they’re working with now but it’s probably not radio.
     What if the radio signal was disrupted by pulsars or something? Does that happen? I don’t know, but I suppose it’s possible for some kind of stellar event to make a hash out of some sort of communication. How would we know what to look for? An alien is… alien. They may not think like us, may not find the same thing important, might think backwards. What if all their communication is encrypted or compressed? 
     There are an incredible amount of variables involved and none of them seem to be in favor of finding a signal from an alien intelligence. 
     However, they will also be searching for laser-based communications and that makes me a bit more hopeful. It’d be even better if the alien lasers were always on or, at least, pulsing on and off quickly enough that it’s effectively always on. Even if they found just one laser beam going off that would be a pretty good indication of intelligent life even if we can’t decode the message. The article I read said they might find the equivelent of our Internet being broadcast out there on beams of light. If that’s the case, then it’s probably a bunch of aliens complaining about something they don’t know much about.

Seeing as how this is the anniversary of this place I feel like I should commit to doing something new. Maybe something different. Something like promising to write something in here every day no matter how banal it might be. According to the WordPress stats I have 344 followers (give or take as I don’t know how they’re counted). I have no idea why because most of the people that read this never say much to me about what I post. Not that I blame you; most of this stuff is gobbeldygook. But, you know, if you have something you’d like to see, let me know. If I have to research it, so much the better. Chances are I’ll spout off in ignorance, anyway, but you never know.

Marketing [Blockbuster]

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When I was a kid it didn’t take much to get the imagination going. Put on a ring with Spider-Man’s face on it and, bam, suddenly I was Spider-Man. Wearing a bucket on my head and carrying a stick suddenly transformed me into a badly equipped astronaut. I imagine this made it easy for marketing people because all they had to do was toss a cheap trinket into a cereal box and then kids would do what marketing people could never do: bug the hell out of parents until they bought whatever it was that had a cheap trinket in it. Because any piece of junk can be a costume to a kid.
A kid can tie a towel around his neck and “fly” around the grocery store. Adults will either look at you in digust and wonder where your parents are or in mild amusement wishing that they, too, were young enough to act like a fool. However, be a six-foot tall man running around Sears waving a sledgehammer over your head yelling, “I will smite thee, in the name of Odin!” and you won’t be doing it for very long. As least, not once the authorities show up.
What you don’t see, then, are media-tie ins targetted towards adults. When the Thor movie came out you didn’t see Stanley have a tie-in with their sledgehammers.

So I was surprised to find something marketed to adults. Now, I don’t know who generally does the cleaning around the house these days (I know it isn’t me): men or women. I suppose it could be evenly split between both genders now, but I have a hard time believing that the advertising people have quite gotten up to understanding that. That means, correct or not, I think most cleaning advertising is pointed at women.
This, then, leads me to believe that women secretely desire to have their house cleaned by small yellow men wearing glasses and speaking gibberish.
I’m referring, of course, to Minions.

Are these Swiffers being marketed to women? To people in general? To adults hoping they can get their kid to sweep up if a Minion is on the package? I have no idea.

Temp Title [Decisions, Decisions]


There is no better way than speeding up time than by having a deadline looming over your head. Need the weekends to hurry up? Make sure you have a project due on Friday. Want the summer to breeze by? Go schedule a vacation week late in the season. Whoosh! Time is gone, just like that.
I mention this because I have a decision to make and I’m running out of time to make a decision. Sadly, I’m still terribly undecided but not for the reasons most people would think.
I haven’t felt much like writing lately. Even this is an effort. It just hasn’t been a good time, lately. One of the things I have been doing is distancing myself from the Internet. It seems like nobody is happy unless they’re bitching about something (like me! right now!). And who needs that in their life?
There are two stories I should be writing. Sometimes I work on them but it’s mostly scrapping the old stuff and starting over. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve done that. It’s a damn shame, too, because at least one of these two would make a nice story.

A Cure For Cancer [Heroes Often Fail]

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I guess it’s been a while since I’ve left an update. Let’s see… April 15th. Yes, it’s been a little while although it seems longer than that.

 

A lot of things have happened since April so I don’t think I’ll write about them all in one go. I don’t want people falling asleep partway through. I’ll start with the big one (idea-wise) first and worry about the others later. Don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow, right?

The main reason why it’s been so long is that I’ve had some issues in life. Well, not me, personally, but people have had a hard time of it. Thankfully, they’re better than they were.

One of the ongoing issues is that my cat had to have surgery. After the surgery, it was decided he had cancer. This is not news that I took well.

He’s been to the vet more times in the past two months than he has in his entire life, which may account for how everything got this bad. That’s my fault. Right now he seems to be in good spirits despite missing an ear canal.

Now I have another choice to make regarding his treatment. I have a choice between chemo, radiation, and do nothing. It’s a difficult choice made more difficult because if I go for the best choice it means giving up my cat for three weeks. Doing nothing doesn’t seem like much of a choice at all, really. This is one of those times when knowing the future would really come in handy.

Technology [And a Can of Beans]

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In theory, I like the idea of Google Glass. I just don’t really know what it would be useful for in its current incarnation. However, while I was driving the other day I realized how it could be a very useful tool if it allowed projection onto the entire area of the lenses. I would love to be able to tag other cars as “Dumbasses” and have the glasses track those cars so I could keep track of where they are.
In other news, the Apple Mail program is on my shit list. I was kind of happy staying in the ecosystem and I’m still happy with the phone app, but the OS X application has a severe problem where it just sort of replies or sends out emails from any old account you have set up. This is, by far, one of the dumbest things I’ve seen in all my years of using a computer.
For the most part I thought it was me not paying attention to what account I was using but I started being very careful. If I send an email, it’s pretty much random which account the reply is directed to. This is after setting the Reply-To field to the account that I want it to go to after it had happened a few dozen times already. There doesn’t seem to be any option to change it, either. Good work, guys!
I want an Apple Watch, but I can’t think of any reason to get one other than I can hit things with it to pay for them. I have to admit that during a fairly dark time I was stupidly amused at being able to pay for soda at a vending machine with my iPhone.

Oh, Hye! [Proposal for Moderninity]

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There’s a town in Texas named Hye. It lies between Johnson City and Fredericksburg on Highway 290. I’ve been through it a few times but I’ve never stopped there. But I would…
When you get to Hye you see a sign that looks like this:

It doesn’t really look inviting, does it? That’s why I propose that they erect a new sign. A sign that is welcoming, is hip, that shows that the town has reached the modern age. I propose this sign:

If I drove into a town and saw a sign like that, well, I’d stop. I would even poke my head in a shop or two and have lunch at Dairy Queen. I don’t even know if they have a Dairy Queen. Or any shops, for that matter. They do have at least two wineries, though. 
I think if I were to hold two gatherings at the wineries I’d be able to push my sign idea past after a few hours of wine ‘tasting.’

Mind Games [Going, Going, Gone]

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There I was, driving down the road while listening to music and taking quick glances at the GPS. Suddenly I start to panic! I think I forgot my phone. I do a mental inventory. Then I realize that I’m using my phone to play music and act as a GPS. That’s not the first time it’s happened. Sometimes I’ll be driving and start wondering if I left my car keys behind. I’d like to say this is a new development  and that I’m going senile, but it’s been going on for a long, long time. I’m probably just an idjit.
I’ve never liked those infomercials that show people completely unable to do even the simplest tasks. You know the ones. Someone is trying to hang a picture and puts a hammer through the wall. Or someone finds stirring a pot of soup to be too difficult so stuff goes flying out of the pot. Surely no one could ever be that incompetent. 
Last night I was in the mood for some Ranch Style Beans. I put the can under the can opener, which is the kind that cuts around the rim so you don’t cut your fingers on a jagged lid. It turns out, though, that for some reason the can didn’t open all the way so I ended up with a bunch of bean fluid on my hands. I tried prying up the lid but it wouldn’t go very far. So I put it back in the can opener and tried to re-open the parts that weren’t destroyed. That didn’t work, either. Finally, I took a knife and wedged it in the can and pried up the lid far enough to get some beans out. By the time I was done there was bean juice all over my clothes and the stove.
So, there you go. 

Weekend Drive [The Rainy Season]

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It’s been a rainy few days here in central Texas. Flash flood warnings abounded and last Friday we got hit by quite a storm. Saturday was pretty wet, too, but Sunday turned out to be very nice indeed. It was time for a drive and a find a place with water features.

I drove down to McKinney Falls State Park and took a bunch of pictures. I managed to get a couple of shots of a cardinal (possibly two, maybe four, but I’m pretty sure it was the same one), a lizard I hadn’t seen before, and some mushrooms.


I had a fairly interesting thought as I was cruising down SH130. It was about people doing something that people tend to do. I don’t remember what it was now, of course, because I was driving and didn’t have a way to write it down. But I was pretty sure I would remember it long enough to write it down when I parked. Not that I’d need to, because it was such an extraordinary thought that it would stick with me forever. I totally forgot about it until I got back home and started writing the blogs but I only remember about needing a way to remember it, not what the actual thought was. 
It may be time to leverage Siri and my iPhone for taking notes on the road. The funny thing is that I feel uncomfortable talking into a device to record my own thoughts. However, I have no problem talking to inanimate objects or even yelling at them. Or pleading with them. Or patting them on their tops and letting them know that they have done a good job. I guess I’m getting old enough now, though, that if I don’t start recording my thoughts in some form then I’ll lose a number of them. 
I am pleased, though, that I can say “Hey Siri, plot a course to Starbucks on West Anderson Lane” and the phone will bring up Maps with the route mapped out and ready to navigate. Siri will not, however, “engage” and that saddened me a little. Speaking of Apple’s Maps — it still has a few rough edges. There have been many times when I will need to make a right hand turn to go East on a road and Maps will tell me to make a right hand turn to take Whatever Highway West. It’s the correct directions, but it gets East and West confused easily. If you don’t know the area it can totally screw you up. 
In total, Sunday I walked 6.25 miles. I thought I’d be in a whole lot of pain this morning considering that I was in a whole lot of pain yesterday evening. I seemed to have recovered quite nicely, though. 

Junior went in to have his ear checked very thoroughly.  So far, everything is okay. It doesn’t, at least, look like cancer. The stuff taken from his ear is being sent to a lab to be checked out, though. 
He has surprised me by being in a good mood when I got him home. He’s actually acting like he hadn’t been put under anesthesia, had a camera put in his ear, and had a good saline ear washin’. 

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