Boonie Bashing!!!!

Hello dear reader(s)!

Do you know what boonie bashing is?  It isn’t a bunch of people looking to beat up people called “boonies” for being different, but it does involve quite a bit of violence.  Only the violence is against the vehicle you are bashing in, your body from getting thrown around, and the land (or the boonies) that you are actively bashing.

In other words, boonie bashing is off-roading.  Not so much rock crawling, or driving in dunes…boonie bashing is going out into the boonies and being stupid behind the wheel of a vehicle.  You see, in the middle of the high desert, cops don’t really patrol at night (except the popular areas we avoided) and therefore, DWI wasn’t really an issue.  In boonie bashing, there are no dirt roads to follow, no people or traffic to worry about, and also no way to get help if something happened.

This is how dumb we were in high school.

My friend Amy had a Ford Bronco II, unless it was Katie’s, hell, I don’t know, we all hung out together.  One night after looking for something to do, we decided to go out to the desert and party.  (It wasn’t that long of a drive.)  Being that there were all of 5 of us in the car, and we couldn’t really get a hold of anyone, it wasn’t much of a party.  But we had our bottles, had a bit of something else, and my friend Kevin decided it would be a good idea to go boonie bashing.  In a vehicle like this…

Public Domain
Public Domain

Now, if you look at this vehicle, you might be thinking to yourself, “But Josh, do you really want to drive drunk and more through the desert with sagebrush and rocks and no dirt roads at high speeds in a vehicle like this?”

Well, if you asked me that today, the answer would be, “Not bloody likely!”  But this was high school and we were all invincible.  Now I want to make this very clear, just because I am posting about this does not mean that I condone this in any way, shape or form.  I also want to make it clear that just because I don’t condone it, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a hell of a lot of fun, even if we were lucky to have survived.

So we all hopped in the Bronco II again and left the party spot and drove a bit further out on the dirt road until a break in the barbed wire fence and what seemed to be (in the dark) a relatively flat piece of desert with sagebrush that the little SUV could likely clear, or spaced far enough apart that it could be avoided.  And so with Kevin behind the wheel, we pulled onto the field and floored it.  All you could see for about 30 seconds was a huge cloud of dust with the beams of the headlights reflecting off of it.  Then for the next 30 seconds you could see sagebrush flying by and the desert out in front.  Despite the seat belt, I was still bumping my head on the roof, and I’m not that tall.  I was beginning to realize that if I was getting bounced around like that, the suspension probably wasn’t going to stay intact much longer.  A couple more minutes go by and we start to bug Kevin to pull over so we can have our turns.

He reluctantly agrees but just as he said, “Alright”…BAM!

We are stopped.  The girls in the back are crying.  I dig the seatbelt out of my skin and look back to check on them, and they are fine, but freaked out.  Amy was especially freaked out because the realization was setting in that her car was likely destroyed.  I look over at Kevin and he has his head down against his chest.  I thought he was unconscious and shouted, “Wake up, man!  Wake up!  Are you okay?”

He lifted his head up and said, “Dude, I’m fine, I just…I think I broke the car.”

At that we get out to check and see a massive dent in the front bumper, but whatever caused it is gone.  Then I notice the left front passenger tire is slightly off the ground.  I look under, and directly back from the dent, underneath the truck, was a pretty descent sized rock, that wedged under the axle and lifted the truck up.

Amazingly, everything looked intact.  There was a nice gouge on that piece of the axle, but everything seemed to still be put together.  So we grabbed out the jack, jacked up the front, threw it in reverse and backed off of the jack and the rock, and drove S-L-O-W-L-Y back to the dirt road and back to the original spot to hang out for the rest of the night so as not to be driving where anyone might be while intoxicated.

I’ve been sober boonie bashing, in big lifted four-wheel drive vehicles before and since, but that was the first and last time I’d ever go intoxicated and/or in a 1990’s Ford Bronco II.

Sunday Funday

Do you know what today is?  It is Sunday SUNDAY SUNDAY!!!!!

Time for the most intense Monster Truck MAYHEM that has ever been to the convention center!!!!

Some see all the high-flying, car-crushing action from

GRAVE DIDUG!!!!!

BIGFEET!!!!

And many more!!!!!!!

Kids tickets are just five bucks with coupon on the back of CrappyFastFood receipt!

Doors at 9 am!  Fun all DAY LONG!!!



Hello dear reader(s)!

Do you like monster trucks?  Did you as a kid?  I did.  I loved them.  I have no idea why.  When I look back on it now, I find them kinda boring.  But as a little boy growing up, all I wanted to do was drive a monster truck.  And be a rock star.  And the President.  I remember going to our events center and watching the trucks crush cars and jump right over them.  I remember the mud-bogging, which actually was my favorite.  I think I’d still kind of like that, but you don’t see it as much.  Mud-bogging, (for those of you who aren’t in the know) is basically where deep mud pit lanes are created side by side and the trucks drag race through the mud and whoever gets across and out first wins.  Even with the monster trucks, sometimes the trucks don’t get out of the pits at all, and have to be towed out.  So it would be like an ordinary drag race, only slower, and with HUGE chunks of mud flying everywhere, sometimes even getting on the people in the first few rows of the crowd.  THAT was fun!!!

There isn’t a monster truck show going on in my town right now, but something about the weather and time of year made me think back to all the times I would go to them as a kid.  By the time I was a teenager I thought they were downright stupid.  The cars weren’t really getting crushed as much, because the races are set up that flying over them instead of driving over them will obviously get you through faster.  Instead of races, they should judge the winner based on number of cars completely crushed.  Because face it, if you’re going to see trucks that are big enough, high enough, and heavy enough to crush a 1979 Cadillac, well, you want to see some cars get crushed!!!!

I know, I know, environmental concerns, blah blah blah…but those things are fun, and sometimes…dare I say, fun is worth it.  Besides, running those massive trucks may put out a lot of noise and emissions, but it is still a blip on the radar compared to all the people who drive on short trips they are capable of waking to (obviously, I’m only talking about those capable) but choose not to, and is only a small blip compared to coal-fired power plants, and other industrial polluters.  Especially when fossil fuel prices are artificially fixed to keep people working in those industries, instead of shifting jobs to the now totally viable and possible (and very, very soon to be) cheaper and storable renewable energy, I’m not going to feel bad about watching some beasts of trucks display power and put out a tiny fraction of the real issue by comparison.

NASCAR is hugely popular, though I find it pretty boring unless there is a high-flying crash (where nobody gets hurt, hopefully) or a fight between drivers afterward.  Otherwise, I don’t really like it because even though they are going fast and are so close together and the control of those drivers and endurance is an awesome feat, with them going around in circles it doesn’t look as exciting as it really is.

I love NHRA.  Specifically the top-fuel dragsters.  My dad, brother, and I have been to see them at Sears Point Raceway, CA a couple of times and one time we even had pit passes.  When those things went by you could feel the heat from their exhaust, and you had to plug your ears because there was so much power.  Joe Amato in the Valvoline car was my favorite driver, and that guy was FAST!

Even though I haven’t ever really liked working on cars, or have gotten good at anything but basic maintenance, and even though I categorically reject most unnecessary displays of power…I must say that I really do love cars and motorsports.  Not to the point of wanting to drive everywhere I go, but cars are pretty awesome machines, and the power they can put out and the speeds they can achieve are just exciting.  And yes, I get it macho, BS blah blah blah, but it is fun.  And here is the point to this…it isn’t macho blah blah blah.  Girls like them too.  And they are not mannish for doing it.

Girls like cars, trucks, racing, car crushing, powerful engines, and mud.  And when they do, honestly…kinda awesome.

I often use rednecks as an insult.  But when I say that, I’m talking about the willfully ignorant, homophobic, paranoid, anti-gubment types.  I’m not big on the xenophobia that is associated with many rednecks.  But I do love the, “I don’t give a fuck!” attitude of some of the rednecks I’ve met.  The not needing the designer clothes.  The having fun and not caring what others think about you.  So I guess maybe using the term redneck isn’t right, and I should just remember that there are plenty of people who truly don’t give a fuck about what others think or do, who define themselves that way.

And there is nothing cooler than someone who does what they want and doesn’t care, and allows other people do what they want and don’t care either.  Redneck, yuppie, hipster, goth, punk…whatever, as long as they let other people be themselves too.

Hope you have fun today!  Do you like motorsports?  Boonie bashing?  Mudding?  Would love to hear your thoughts or fun stories.  I’ll have one later about a time in high school we went boonie bashing in a Ford Bronco II that was NOT equipped for it!

An Open Letter to Democrats

Hello dear reader(s)!

As you may have noticed from reading many of my posts, I lean to the left in most areas.  Particularly when it comes to paying money for infrastructure and helping each other instead of oil subsidies, farm subsidies, corporate welfare, and unnecessary military spending.

That said, I am definitely not a Democrat.  Oh don’t get me wrong, especially against this Republican clown car, I will be voting for the Democratic candidate for President, and in many other elections I will likely choose the Democrat over the Republican due to the major right-wing swing the party has made in my lifetime, and also given the fact that I absolutely detest the idea of living in a theocracy.

However, I know why the Democrats might not win.  The three issues I disagree with them on are not only issues where the majority of people disagree with them as well, but they are so strongly felt that voters will ignore everything else for the sake of those three issues.

  1. Gun control.  I am not a gun freak.  Aside from my barely functional BB gun I will not even say whether I own a gun or not.  None of anyone’s business.  I don’t go around parading military style weapons, wearing my deep woods hunting camo in the desert pretending I’m in some army, or waving any guns in anyone’s faces.  That said, it is time to realize that guns are so ingrained in the minds of this country (as if they defend their other rights they are willingly giving away) that some people will vote against a candidate solely on the basis of whether or not they are an NRA member, and whether or not they have ever supported a measure as simple as requiring background checks for private party gun sales.  Even if they hate everything else about the other candidate, and agree with everything else that candidate has done, if that candidate has ever supported any type of legislation that could potentially restrict any gun, those people will vote against said candidate.  They are called single-issue voters, and they are the ones who vote in EVERY election.  What is worse, (and I honestly believe this) by attempting to pass or propose any gun control measure, no matter how reasonable it may seem, you are only making the already paranoid that much more paranoid, and that much scarier.  It is my honest belief that if people didn’t think the government was coming for their guns, they wouldn’t stockpile them, be wanna-be military members (and by the way, regular military…don’t these impersonators piss you off?), and they wouldn’t be so in love with their guns.  The Ammosexuals.  Sure some would still exist, there will always be the scary and the scared, but I don’t think the hate would be so evident.  So drop it.  Pandora’s box is open.  Love guns or hate them, you can’t put them back in the box without some serious scary shit happening.  Your police and military will always have better stuff and always be able to react appropriately if necessary anyway.  Quit making the paranoid so jumpy, because now they’re scaring everyone.
  2. Money  The TPP?  Seriously?  I mean, even without the fast-tracking the secretive nature of this agreement is simply a giant red-flag.  If Hillary wins the nomination, she may lose based on this issue alone.  That and that she was on the board of Wal-Mart, accepts campaign contributions, and has really not gone very far on the record of saying that the big banks need to pay more for the fraud and treason they have been committing on this country.  The emails, Benghazi…yeah, all that isn’t really anything more than Fox News attacks but her serious vulnerability lies in the fact that the progressive Democrats do not like her ties to business and corporate interests.  If the Democrats want to start winning again (on more than the Presidential level…because I think that even with Hillary’s issues she still might be the saner choice over the GOP thus-far), they would attempt to distance themselves from the special interests and big money.  They would paint the GOP as the party of the corporations and themselves as populists, and the base would come out in droves.  As it stands, many people believe that no matter who is elected only the big-money will be represented and they stay home.  And while they stay home…the single issue voters show up and elect this awful, worst-ever Congress, as the Democrats wonder why they can win national elections but can’t get people to show up anywhere else.
  3. Continuing the drug war  Have you heard the term nanny state?  This is what Republicans say about you.  Yet it was the Republicans who started this war, this intrusion of big government into the people’s lives, and your continuation of it makes you look like the bad guys.  The prescription crack-down that is intimidating doctors and is so over-reaching and reactionary is something I am waiting for a candidate to address.  That person might just be able to convince me, regardless of party (provided they’re not crazy like the GOP candidates thus-far).

Yes, there are other issues that voters may go against Democrats on, but those issues are not quite as set in people’s minds as the three above.  Yes, most Democrats will never win over the staunchly anti-abortion crowd.  Yes, most Democrats will never win over the people who hate immigrants or anyone who isn’t of their religion.  Yes, the Democrats may never win Texas, but they could make real gains if they just got their shit together on the three issues above.

Remember, during the Eisenhower administration, the highest tax bracket was 91%.  The national highway system that made America the huge economy it is (also the war, but he channeled the war energy) was done under Eisenhower.  Eisenhower was a Republican, and today, would be called more liberal than President Obama.  Not that Ike was perfect or anything, but he was a much better leader than anyone running in either party today.

Give up the gun control issue, give up the drug war (started by a Republican, emphasize that), give up what is in effect bribery, and give the government back to the people.

Starbucks

Hello dear reader(s)!

I only speak from my experiences, and as such, I understand that it may be different at the Starbucks that you go to, and that the policies I mention may not have been that of corporate, but rather just our store and the district.  

I don’t hate Starbucks.  I really don’t.  I would go with an independent shop 9 times out of 10, however.

Let me start with the good.  

Food Safety

I have heard that Jack in the Box is an extremely safe fast-food type of restaurant after the deadly E.coli outbreak.  I don’t think they have anything on Starbucks.  Could food poisoning still happen?  Of course.  But honestly, and this is corporate wide, Starbucks tries really, really hard to prevent it.  Let me tell you about QASA.  QASA is an independent organization that gives “surprise” inspections to the stores with standards about 9,000 times more strict than any health department.  We’re talking OCD standards.  When QASA was coming, everything had to be spotless, everything was at perfect temperature (not just within range), all the thermometers were calibrated, any broken equipment (even if it had no effect on food safety, such as a broken bottom shelf where no food was placed) was taken out of commission.  You could not stand on the floor mats (to keep your feet and back from falling apart) at the bar (the machine area) thus defeating the purpose of having the mats.  That was corporate, and they tried really hard.

However…  Managers and District Managers did not get as high of a bonus if their stores got a low (or God forbid failed) QASA score.  So, despite the fact that most of us did our best to maintain QASA standards all of the time…we knew that unless we were the first store in the district to be hit with an inspection…we would be tipped off by the DM or another store’s manager.  

So naturally, things weren’t ALWAYS perfect.  On the whole however our store (and I believe most stores) do their best to keep as close to the standards as is practical without a dedicated cleaning dash.  The pastries are expired at a certain time, and we will literally have to refuse sale on them even if we haven’t been able to toss them and turn the case over yet for the afternoon batch.  One guy came in at 2:01 and wanted an expired bagel as of 2 pm.  I’m not kidding, one minute afterward.  My lazy-ass co-worker had not turned it over yet (we usually did it at about 1:45).  I had to tell him that was the last bagel (there was none in the afternoon batch) and I couldn’t sell it to him.  1.  Minute.  Later.  He was pissed.  I got screamed at.  I told him it was for safety and apologized that it was still in the case.  It was the one time my manager backed me up.  Of course, no action was taken against my lazy-ass co-worker for not cleaning out the case, but I’ll get to that.  Another issue our store (and every Starbucks I’ve stepped foot in) had was the cold food case.  Because it is accessible only from the front, it means the employees have to come out from behind the counter to check the temp, and remove expired product.  Given the staffing, this was never done as often as it should have been.  I don’t trust the cold food case.

Convenience

They are everywhere.  They have drive-THROUGHS (hahaha).  They have $20,000 machines that speed up the brewing process pretty well.

Training

Employees receive training.  So much so, that former employees who still get drinks there still know the call order.  (It isn’t hard, think cup grabbing, pulling shots, and then follow the boxes on the cup.)  Whether they choose to exercise that training is another matter entirely.

Consistency

This.  You go to a Starbucks in Seattle, and you are going to get the same tasting white mocha as you do in Los Angeles, Tallahassee, New York, Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Cleveland, Las Vegas,…etc.  Provided the barista listens and comprehends, it will be the same.


Now the not so-good

Pay.  I can’t not work at work.  But many people can and do.  At some rates, it is almost justifiable.  Minimum work for minimum pay.  Especially when the lazy tenured are never disciplined.  Still couldn’t slack-off, but I did get burnt out and left as soon as I thought I had another opportunity.

Tip-sharing

I am against this anywhere.  Despite what Congress has passed at the behest of businesses and the IRS, tips are not wages, they are gifts for exceptional service.  Sharing my hard-earned tips every week with the lazy-ass co-workers I had (not all of them) was a slap in the face.

Raise capping on structured reviews

This is too common everywhere.  Work 90 days, and you get a review for a possible raise (Always a month or two late, of course).  “And guess what Josh, in those 90 days, you have done 5 times as much as anyone here, so we are going to give you the maximum raise we can, of 3%.  And that POS all of the customers hate?  Who is slow, who can’t make it through a single shift without crying, but has been here for 3 years, and happened to be here at a time when the Lead positions were open, (which you wouldn’t even be eligible to apply for based on your tenure, even if one were to open up)?  She makes twice your base pay.  Oh, and since she is a Lead and gets 8 more hours a week on the schedule than you do, she also gets a larger tip share.”

Weak management

When policies matter until questioned or a scene is created and then collapse…there is no policy.  I can’t count the number of times my manager went back on something when confronted with someone complaining.  Unless she was in a particularly bad mood she would bend to whoever was the loudest.  Being buddy-buddy with the District Manager didn’t help because they would regularly cover for each other.

Quality

Unnecessary sugars, fats, and preservatives in anything added to the coffee itself is simply a way to make flavor cheaper.  I make my own white mochas at home, and I can tell you they have about 1/2 the calories of theirs.  Plus, even though they strongly deny it, Starbucks over-roasts their beans.  (That is opinion here, because what is over-roasting?)  This is done primarily with their espresso since over-roasted beans take less to make the coffee seem stronger, and the bitterness is usually covered up with additives like milk and syrups.  A dark roast doesn’t mean burnt.  Proper coffee makes you use more (which is good for us caffeine junkies) and provides better flavor meaning the sugary syrups (or powders) or sugar itself does not have to be as sugary to cover.  You taste the coffee.

Their trademarked frozen coffee drinks

This should be a rare treat, if at all.  In the Summer, we had those custom blender type machines running non-stop for the same customers every day and their kids (not just the non-coffee ones either).  They are so very high in calories and sugar and everything not nice.  A McDonald’s milkshake is a healthier alternative and you KNOW how I feel about them.

My store’s policy on tattoos, artificial hair color, and piercings

This is a coffee shop.  Does it matter if the person serving you coffee has ink injected into their body or purple hair?  Even at automated coffee-ville, there was still an art to making good coffee, and one should expect the artists to be artists.  I have been to stores in Seattle where the baristas were inked and pierced, so I don’t believe this was corporate policy but our manager always insisted it was.

I’m not saying Starbucks is evil.  I took the job there after the economy tanked and nobody else in the area had any jobs to offer because I didn’t want to continue taking unemployment (even though I was still eligible for many more months and was actually making more on unemployment).  That in turn, helped me to find progressively better jobs when the economy began to recover faster than those who sat on unemployment and wouldn’t take anything “beneath” them.

They are convenient, and if I mistakenly run out of coffee supplies, I will still occasionally pop into one close by for a quad, venti, coconut milk, no whip, white mocha.  But, if I had a close independent coffee shop on those days, you can bet I’d go there instead.  And if I am nearby the one in town I love, and want a coffee, I am going there, even if there’s an empty Starbucks drive-THROUGH directly across the street.

McDonald’s Now Bans Employees From Buying Food For Homeless | If You Only News

McDonald’s Now Bans Employees From Buying Food For Homeless | If You Only News.

Hello dear reader(s)!

Now, keep in mind that the above story is disputed by the good folks over at McDeath’s and as of now, these are just allegations.  But think for a moment…who do you believe?

Do you believe the company that for years denied there was any sugar in their fries and then finally were forced to admit they were using dextrose, or do you believe the people who were or witnessed people who “looked homeless” being denied service as paying customers?

Do you believe the company that claimed it did not use the ammonia washed “pink slime” until the videos came out, or do you believe the people?

Poor people are under attack, and McDonald’s has been guilty of keeping people in poverty for years.  They do not pay their employees well at all.

They looked the other way when one franchisee of almost all the locations in my hometown was knowingly hiring undocumented workers for decades (until ICE raided, and only THEN, did they sanction him and take away his franchise rights).

(As an aside, that former franchisee was granted a business license to open a Fudrucker’s and a Popeye’s because money talks to corrupt politicians.)

Not many people believe that fast-food workers are worth more than the federal minimum wage, and honestly, some aren’t.

But some work their asses off.  Harder than any desk jockey pulling in 40K a year for data entry into a spreadsheet.  I know, because I’ve done both.  Sort of.  Not fast food, but the fast food of coffee.  And that was hard work.  Worth much more than I got paid.  And the job I made the most at…honestly?  No big deal.  At least the assholes I had to deal with in that job were the same assholes, instead of a different entitled feeling asshole who thinks they know about coffee but really have no fucking clue but want you to think they know.

I’m just going to throw this out there…If you are a regular customer of the major coffee chain (you know the one I am talking about) and believe you have any knowledge or taste about coffee…well, I will give you that sometimes they are the only place with a drive through.

Oh, and by the way…It is DRIVE THROUGH!!!!  THROUGH!  You do NOT drive THRU!  THRU is not a word, yet I notice there is no red underline for spelling.  Do you know what does get flagged for spelling?  Neutrophils,  Every fucking time.  Why?

Because we are all so stupid as to believe that someone who punches keys on a computer and sits on their ass all day long is worth more than the people making their food that they are too fucking lazy and/or stupid to make themselves.  Because we are so lazy and stupid and hate to think so much that we believe THRU is a fucking word, but don’t recognize neutrophils!!!!!!

Fuck, when I did telephone customer service and gave the same, dumb, scripted responses to idiots whining because they never bothered to reboot their cellphones, I made twice what I made in the fast food of coffee.

Okay Josh, breathe.

No, fuck that, I still have a couple of points here.

  1. Even if all of this is made up (and let’s be real, the strategy to win back customers by these purveyors of death is to make a live action Hamburglar, so I am inclined to believe it), it still doesn’t answer the question of why anyone would continue to eat there.  Their food barely meats the definition of food.  Anything they make, you can make in the same amount of time, only better and healthier.  Granted, you’d have to get your ass out of your car…or maybe if you go on your lunch you could, oh, I don’t know…PACK A LUNCH INSTEAD??  In this fucking society, where the people try to tell you what you can and can not put in your bodies, how is fucking McDonald’s still legal?  What causes more deaths, marijuana, or coronary artery disease?
  2. Rich people don’t eat at McDonald’s except during photo ops.  Do you know why?  Because they know that dollar menus and convenience food target the poor.  The workers pressed for time.  The rich eat at gourmet restaurants or have personal chefs.  They don’t touch that shit, because they don’t want to die.  Now I’m not going to go tin-foil hat on you and say this shit is designed to kill the proletariat, but I am saying they know that it is killing the people, and they are all for it.

There is a war on the poor, the middle class, and the workers.  There are obstacles put into place to prevent you from rising to power, unless you go into politics and take their bribes campaign contributions or entertain them like modern-day court jesters or gladiators.  And as long as you keep eating what they feed to you, nothing will ever change.

Boycott McDonald’s.  Not just for the sake of the homeless, and the workers…but for the sake of your health.

Fun With Delirium and Gritty Reboots

Hello dear reader(s)!

Do you ever wake up in the morning, even after not much sleep but more than the night before and feel like you are in a kind of delirious stupor?  No?  It is just me?  Yeah, I kinda figured.

No wait, it can’t be just me, because it also happens to Hannah, and out basement slave.  So I’m betting (but not with actual real money, because poverty) that it happens to some of you from time to time.  Both Hannah and I are feeling a little sore from sitting around doing next to nothing yesterday because of the lack of sleep from the night prior, and my stomach deciding I should not be less than 100 ft from the nearest bathroom.  So as we were waking up this morning, (thanks to the kitty harassment), we were complaining about how sore we are.  But do you think we complained like normal human beings?  No, of course not, we basically Weird Al’ed a couple of songs stuck in our heads from the YouTube alphabet game the night before, using our sore muscles as alternate lyrics.  That’s right, if any of you thought either of us were cool, you need to erase that notion from your head immediately.

So as we were waking up we decided to scream at the neighbor’s cock.  The neighbor’s cock keeps us awake after we are accosted by the kitties and their desire for food.  Actually, the kitties don’t desire their food, they desire to be fed.  Which means it is 25 minutes before the time we usually put their food down for them and they want their food down so they can take three bites of it and walk away.  As we tell them to go away (after grabbing them to cuddle rape) and that they still have 25 minutes before we are going to put their food down, the neighbor’s cock starts cockle-doodle-dooing.  Who in the fucking fuck has a rooster on a 1/4 acre lot in the middle of town?!?!  Rednecks, that’s who.  I’m sure roosters aren’t allowed in this area but I’m not a cock snitch or anything like that.

I made myself an iced coffee this morning because it is supposed to be 81 degrees by noon.  Remember last week when I was saying that it was snowing in the hills and cold as ISIS down here?  Well, that’s over for now, although we’ll probably have a week of it around the beginning of July before it gets to 108.  This is where I live.  Awesome.

Speaking of cold as ISIS, I have decided that (what with all of the gritty reboot of classic or even more recent but popular movies that Hollywood seems to be fixated on), I will do the same with music.  So now, in my delirium, I present to you, my gritty reboots of classic or popular songs.

  • Cold as ISIS – Foreigner
  • Stop Believin’ – Journey
  • Jukebox Zero – also Foreigner
  • Pour Some Sugar Substitute On Me – Def Leppard
  • ISIS ISIS Baby – Vanilla Ice
  • Downtown Funky Smell – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
  • Gonna Make You Sweat (whether you like it or not) – C&C Music Factory
  • Unhappy – Pharrel
  • With or Without You (either way is fine) – U2
  • Wet Dreams -Eurythmics
  • Iraq – Flock of Seagulls
  • When Doves Die – Prince
  • Hungry Like the Wolf Because the Wolf’s Habitat Has Been Destroyed – Duran Duran
  • Eye of the Tiger Found Next to the Horn of the Rhinoceros – Survivor
  • Failed Physical – Olivia Newton John
  • You Shook Me All Night Long and That’s Child Abuse – ACDC
  • Walk Like An Egyptian After A “Virginity Test” – The Bangles
  • I Melt With You Because of Climate Change – Modern English
  • Beat It Senseless – Michael Jackson

Before I go, I would like to send a personal message to any musicians in a band or thinking of forming one.  PLEASE, please name your band, or change your band’s name to something that starts with the letter X.  X is a really tough letter to get when playing YouTube alphabet because no music from bands that start with X (at least on YouTube) is even remotely enjoyable.  You’ll be doing the world a serious favor, unless you suck, in which case don’t bother, because there are already a couple X bands that suck.

Happy Friday!

The Turnaround

Hello dear reader(s)!

As you may or may not be aware, I have been struggling a lot since I relocated back to my hometown.  I’ve been stressed, my health has not been great, and my expenses have far exceeded what I thought.  Add to that the fact that two sources of income that are still owed to me have not materialized, and things have been pretty rough.

But sometime roughly two weeks ago, things started getting a little easier.  The money still hasn’t come in, but we got some of our expenses knocked down by smarter planning and shopping.  I still owe some people money, because that money hasn’t arrived, but even if it never comes (and it better), I am going to be able to start paying on that debt pretty soon.  The debt is luckily enough to my family, who have been very forgiving and understanding of my circumstances, but it still makes me feel bad not paying them as expected.  Thankfully, barring some catastrophe (knock on wood) that should be changing as we are catching up.  Knowing that has helped remove a ton of stress.

So I started to be able to sleep again at night.  I’ve been taking walks every day, or even jogging a bit, and have been writing a bit of my book (and by bit…I mean bit).  I got a cheap guitar and am playing that almost daily, except when my fingers are too hurt or blistered.  I hope they callous over soon!  I have been toying around with a few new songs, and am even trying to sing from time to time.

All of this has resulted in a better mood, and a better feeling of well-being.  And then yesterday, I had my doctor’s appointment.

When my doctor walked in the room, she looked exhausted.  I asked her how she was and she told me that her day had been rough but, “you are the bright spot”.

As of roughly 5 pm yesterday, I am very happy to announce, that for the first known time since being back here in my hometown, that I am no longer neutropenic!!!!!  1200 neutrophils!!!!!!   My hemoglobin is in the normal range and my platelets are all the way up to 90!  (150 is normal, but anything over 50 is stable.)

I feel as if a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  I asked for a printout of the referral she sent to the psychiatrist back in April (the one that hasn’t called me to this day) so that I could either call and get an appointment myself, or explain the issue to my insurance company so that I can find another one who will actually make appointments.  I’m not positive I want to see someone who doesn’t get back to patients referred to them in a month and a half anyway.  But after hearing the news of my counts, I feel like I can actually take on dealing with that now, rather than being worried it will add to the stress and I will have another breakdown.  I plan on making the calls when I am done with this post, my coffee, something in my stomach, and a little exercise.  Either way, I feel like I can deal with it now.

I slept like garbage last night.  Not because of stress, but because Hannah was not sleeping well and was tossing, turning, and kneeing me in the back.  I tried to go out on the couch, but I can’t sleep without her either.  Oh well.  At least I know it was external factors.

I got out of bed at one point around 1:30 in the morning, and went to the bathroom.  Hannah asked me if I could bring her a glass of water.  So I go to the kitchen, and see that the door to the garage is open, and there is a light on.

What the what?!?!?!

I call for Hannah to come out there, asking her if she was in the garage for some reason.  She said she wasn’t.  I grabbed one of my weapons, and peeked into the garage.  Both main doors were closed, it seemed empty, except for one of my cats who walked back into the kitchen and rubbed against my feet.

After continuing to interrogate Hannah, we both realized that earlier in the day, she went out to look for a push broom.  We came to the conclusion that she likely left the light on (oops, but it happens) and the door not completely latched, (if you don’t push it solid, it will bounce back slightly open).  Then the cat probably pulled it open and went out to explore.  The things that worries me is that in this area there are field mice, and when my dad and Hannah were moving some broken down boxes from the garage to the shed, they saw a mouse run into the garage.  Given my immune issues, I am banned from the garage.  I can only hope a mouse didn’t get in.  I don’t think any are nesting in the garage though, so I think we’re probably safe.  My cats would likely make quick work of them if one did venture inside, and I haven’t heard any scratching or anything.  I have decided not to worry about it, unless I find that there is one in the house and then I will deal with that if it comes.  Why have I decided that?

Because of the turnaround.

Stress was preventing sleep, stress was affecting my counts, stress was leaving me vulnerable to more serious issues.

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” – Corrie ten Boom

So believe it or not, there is a point to this rambling blather.  If you are stressing…do whatever it takes to ease that stress.  Do not be apologetic.  Do not feel guilty.  You don’t have to be a recovering bone marrow transplant patient for it to negatively impact your life.  Your health and life could depend on it, so if anyone has an issue with your need to relax, you can tell them I said they can go jump off a bridge.  With a bungee cord.  Might help them de-stress too.