What Are You So Mad About?

I haven’t posted a blog entry since all of the chaos started in the country. I didn’t (and honestly still don’t) have the words to truly express all of the things that it has made me feel. I’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter though, basically in astonishment at how many people are willfully ignorant, blatantly lying, or a combination of both… and from all sides of the issue. Emotions and tensions are higher than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, so I understand that people will initially be speaking mostly with their anger. But anger can’t be an indefinite excuse for spreading false information, false narratives, and generally trying to make things worse rather than better.

My frustration comes from most people digging their feet in when it comes to their own personal take, and they won’t even listen to anything that doesn’t fit their narrative, let alone acknowledge and learn from any of it. It would be one thing if it was just random Twitter assholes, but I’m also talking about politicians and people in power who are acting the same way. Tom Cotton says “The riots have nothing to do with the death of George Floyd.”Β It doesn’t seem like the best idea to dismiss the pain and rage of those rioters who have obviously gone too far, but who are still upset with police abuse.

It’s amazing to see how many people who don’t want to be generalized or lumped together into one group, how they feel totally justified in doing that to people who aren’t on their side. “All cops are corrupt, murderous assholes!” “All protesters are violent, thieving arsonists!” Many people can’t or won’t admit that there are differences between peaceful protesters, the rowdy-but-non-criminal activists, the looters, the vandals, the people causing physical harm. It’s just easier for people to label them all as rioters so they can dismiss them as not worthy of being heard.

And then of course there’s a huge amount of people on the opposite side who can’t or won’t acknowledge that there are many different types of cops within law enforcement, including naive / optimistic officers seeking change, cops that just see it as a 9 to 5 job, officers who are on a power trip, ones who absolutely abuse their power, and then ones that can calmly kill detained suspects. And I’d think the one thing that both “sides” could agree on, is that we’re seeing far too many examples of the worst at both ends of the spectrum – and all it does is damage the message that they want to be heard. Yeah, everyone is mad, but if you take it too far then people are just gonna roll their eyes.

The second most widely spread bullshit take when it comes to this stuff, is that “If you aren’t breaking the law then you don’t have anything to worry about.” First of all, this is demonstrably untrue… and even if someone is breaking a law, are we as a society ready for law enforcement to commit physical violence in realtime for those offenses? What would those people think is a “fair punishment” for crimes such as stepping off of a sidewalk, being out 15 minutes past curfew, walking near people who are causing a disturbance, flipping off or cussing out a cop? Do we really want law enforcement to be able to kick, punch, drag, or choke people for those things? How about tear gas, rubber bullets, flash bang grenades, pepper spray projectiles? All of that is fine? If you’re only gonna watch one video on this page, make it this one – and put yourself or one of your children in the place of any of the folks who are taking the abuse…

And on Twitter, some chuckle fuck would immediately reply with “Well it wouldn’t be me or my kids in their shoes because we wouldn’t be participating in that!” And to that, I say… participating in what? Exercising your first amendment rights because you’re angry that police keep killing people without consequence? How about the people that are simply walking near someone who’s causing trouble? You could never be one of those people either? Those folks need to spare us all from their bullshit “it could never be me” crap.

One of the worst things that I’ve seen was in Austin TX. A college kid was shot in the back of the head with a “non lethal” projectile while cracked his skull and caused brain damage. The cops wouldn’t help him “in the street” and told people to take him to the police station. And when those people carried that critically injured man to the police department, they were immediately shot multiple times with pepper spray balls. And yeah, I’m being more hard on the police in this blog entry… because we should be able to expect more from the police. The people who vandalize, loot, start fires, etc… of course they should be arrested, charged, and prosecuted. But when cops act like criminals, that’s when “all” starts to get lost.

President Obama gave a wonderful speech yesterday, and among the things he said – he sent out a message to the mayors of every city across our nation, challenging them to review their “use of force” policies when it comes to the police departments and other law enforcement that they’re in control of. But then Donald Trump almost immediately issued a statement on Twitter, distancing himself from the idea of law enforcement reform – and instead saying the only thing he has in common with Obama is that they both fired the same army general. (Because Trump was being salty about being called out by that general, and that’s more important than the safety of every citizen in the country.)

At least national sentiment does seem to be finally turning against Donald Trump. He has never acknowledged the reason that people are protesting, and instead keeps doubling down with increased law enforcement presence, calling in military troops and vehicles, and threatening to send them to every state in order to “dominate” with force. Talk about lack of self-awareness. Hundreds of thousands of people are protesting against abusive law enforcement, and Trump’s response is essentially… “You wanna see abusive law enforcement?” I mean, his troops were using violence and pepper spray to clear the streets of humans as Donald Trump was giving a speech just yards away, claiming to be this amazing ally to peaceful protesters.

He knows that everyone knows he’s full of shit. He also knows that while plenty of people will call him out and be rightfully upset by his actions, he knows that there’s a massive number of people who simply won’t care that he’s a violent, self-serving liar, threatening the country with his military dominance. (I’d swear that a lot of people want to be him in that instance.) The same vibe that the abusive cops give… DO AS I SAY OR FACE THE CONSEQUENCES, NO MATTER WHAT YOU’VE ACTUALLY DONE OR NOT DONE IN REGARDS TO THE LAW.

Okay, I better start wrapping it up, because I could obviously go on and on and on about it. But my take on this doesn’t feel like it should be controversial or objectionable, but boy is it to a lot of folks. George Floyd was murdered by those cops, and they should be charged and prosecuted accordingly. I absolutely support the protests. Everyone should be outraged, not just POC or people who are more likely to experience police brutality. I’m not even upset when those protesters break curfew, block roads, or protest in “scary voices” right in the face of law enforcement. If cops react to those actions with violence instead of simply arresting folks, then it just makes it that much easier to see which ones are the bad ones, and which ones will stand by and do nothing as the bad ones inflict pain and suffering on US citizens.

Yeah, I’m fucking heated about this stuff… and for the same reason as a million other people. The folks in power know what the protests are about, but they’d rather dismiss everyone as vandals, trouble makers, criminals – so that way they don’t have to acknowledge the problem of law enforcement abusing their power. The way the cops seem to be increasing their abuse, it appears that they’re scared of losing that power. Same thing with the political leaders. If law enforcement no longer has its knee on the neck of society, that makes the sketchy people in power really fucking nervous.

Politicians, police unions, etc have been praising many police departments for the way they’ve “shown amazing restraint” during all of this. And yeah, in a lot of instances that’s probably true. Shooting people “only” with rubber bullets, knee knockers, pepper balls, tear gas canisters… instead of live ammunition. But I hope the people offering that praise to the cops… I hope they realize that the people on the other side have been showing remarkable restraint as well. How many days in a row will our society watch innocent people getting the shit kicked out of them by out of control law enforcement officers? How long will they be okay with Donald Trump unilaterally deploying the United States fucking military into the streets to control us all? Yeah, there’s a lot of restraint all around, but I wouldn’t count on that lasting a whole lot longer…

Sunny Sunday

It sure was a beautiful day today. Almost unfair, considering that we’re not really supposed to be out in it… at least not around other folks. 72 degrees, sunny, big poofy clouds, and lots of gusty wind to blow through the house. I ran out of pop last night, so I knew I was gonna have to go somewhere today, and that somewhere ended up being the gas station / quicky mart up the road.

They had the front double doors and the side door propped open, so the wind was blowing through the store just like it was outside. They also had signs that let people know that they only wanted five people at a time in the store, and asked folks to wait outside until someone left if the store was already “full.”

There was only one other customer inside the store when I went in, and she was over in the Subway part of the store. (I can guarantee you that I’m not buying a sub with fresh, cold, been-sitting-out-in-a-bin-all-day toppings on it.) So I grabbed some pop, some pretzels, some smokes, and then hit the road. The fella behind the counter didn’t seem too stressed, even though we both stood back from the counter except for the few moments when it was unavoidable.

But I was so distracted by the amazing weather that I found myself just sitting out on the porch, messing around with the phone to make a crude 3D scan of the houseΒ (works best w/touch interface), taking the cat out to smell the trees and the grass, and generally not doing anything productive the whole day. It really felt like a weekend day.

Oh, I did watch the iRacing NASCAR 125 race from “virtual” Texas in the afternoon, and it was pretty darn good like last weekend’s was. The race even had a sponsor, although I can’t remember who it was, and it looked like drivers and teams had some sponsorship deals going on as well. Looks like it might be sticking around for a while.

So yeah, it was nice to “waste” a day when it was as nice as it was, and when there was good stuff on the TV to distract. Getting ready to watch “Bad Boys for Life” here in a few, and then I’ll gather up all my mail and bills and shit so it’ll be ready for me sometime tomorrow after the grumpy from waking up wears off. I hope y’all were able to have a decent day as well.

Vivid Nightmare Tale

Didn’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning last night, and I’m not sure if it was something that I saw the day before or something that I had subconsciously heard on the TV while I was sleeping, but I ended up having some awful (but amazing) vivid nightmares. 😯 At least they were situation based, rather than having anything to do with a specific friend or family member.

I’ve always had a knack for returning to the same fictional locations in my dreams, even over decades of time, as well as being able to “pick up where I left off” if I happen to wake up in the middle of a particularly interesting or intense dream. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ§™πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ There are even a couple of fictional “characters” that have persisted over the years, albeit only on rare occasions. πŸ˜•πŸ™‚ It’s no “lucid dreaming” but I’ll definitely take it, compared to nothing but random, fleeting dreams which can never be returned to.

Last night’s dream, split by about ten minutes of waking up and settling back in, featured two different plane crashes. 😳 (And like I’ve acknowledged before, I know that hearing about other folks’ dreams isn’t always the most entertaining thing, but alas…) The first plane crash was one that I witnessed in the evening from our old house on Shepherd Hill. 😌 I actually had my phone set up in my bedroom window, to record a time-lapse video of the setting sun, but accidentally captured a small aircraft making some abrupt movements a couple of miles away – before crashing into the hills and trees. 😧 … πŸ›©οΈπŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸ”₯

There was distinct black smoke coming from the crash site, but the sun had set by this point, and a layer of fog had moved in, so rescue / recovery vehicles and aircraft seemed to be having a hard time locating the wreckage. πŸ€¨πŸ”­ I not only knew where it went down, but also had a recording of the event, so after a while of watching them struggle from a distance I decided that I needed to get into my car and go help out.

That’s when I woke up, but with the first part of that dream being so vivid (I’m leaving out many of the detailed details) I was hoping that I’d get back to sleep quickly and be able to pick up where I left off. πŸ₯±πŸ€žπŸ»

Back in the dream, I was already in my car (which was my 1979 Olds Delta 88) and driving up an increasingly narrow road on an increasingly steep mountain. 😬😣 But before I had even driven that far, I heard the sound of spooling jet engines above me – and I looked up to see a rescue oriented 747-200 about 2000 feet above, struggling to climb and avoid a similarly marked rescue blimp that was directly in its path. 😯✈️

The jet didn’t have the power to execute the climb and turn, so while it was able to avoid the blimp – it went into a stall and began to fall from the sky. 😬 I immediately stopped in my tracks, since it looked like the plane might graze the face of the mountain but wouldn’t necessarily hit me. Of course that didn’t end up being the case, and as the 747 fell parallel to the vertical face of the mountain, the belly of the plane banged into my car – knocking it off of the road and sending it falling thousands of feet towards a big lake below.

My car, along with many others from the road above, somehow fell relatively softly into the lake… while the plane crashed hard into the mountain on its way down, which meant there was a constant “rain” of debris endangering all of the surviving people in their cars. πŸ˜³β˜‚οΈ Most of the cars ended up floating, and many people were getting out and trying to swim to shore, but they were inevitably hit by falling wings, engines, landing gear, etc. πŸ˜£πŸ€• The lake was also partially on fire due to the jet fuel, so saying that it was a chaotic scene would be a huge understatement.

But in the chaos, my car and several others floated together, so we used a bunch of bungee cables to connect them all and “fling” them with enough momentum to reach land. 🏝️ The dream fizzled out there, once we were all safe, but it was such a vivid dream that I can still remember the detail of everyone’s faces, the vertigo from the heights, the smell of burning kerosene and plastic plane seats, the shortness of breath while trying to not drown, the pinch of my hand under the tightening bungees, the way it went from unbearably noisy to silent except for the sound of the water… just all of it. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜Œ

Not what most people would consider a fun dream by any stretch of the imagination, but it was one that I was still glad to have had. Almost like the way that you can’t wait to see the weekend’s popular blockbuster action movie. πŸ˜ŽπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Because that’s what it felt like… like an extended scene from some awesome movie. Unfortunately, as it often happens (especially once things really go off the rails), it never really went back to the original “small plane crash” plot, nor did it provide any resolution to any of the rest… but hey, teamwork helped me and quite a few others survive quite the adventure. πŸ€“πŸ€œπŸ»πŸ€›πŸ»πŸ˜„

(I know… I should save this shit for the dream blog. I mean that’s the whole point of it being there…Β πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ )

A Taste Of What’s To Come

We got our first hint of winter today. Well, at least where I was. It may not have been the same here at home, but up on the north side of Columbus it was a couple hours of rain, sleet, and snow.Β Nothing was sticking, but it was sure making the driving unpleasant. πŸ˜• But Cassi recently cracked a toof 😣 and this particular dentist was the only one that could get her in anytime soon. Having experienced that myself, I couldn’t let her miss that appointment and just “deal with it” until whenever the next chance would have been.

My tire pressure light came on during the drive up there, so rather than waiting in the parking lot until she got done, I went to the closest gas station to air up my tires. Then to the next closest one… and the next closest one after that… 😠 I had to go to four different places before I found one with a working air machine. To be honest, it’s probably time to get some new shoes for my car anyway – since two of my tires have predictable, slow leaks, and the tread is getting worn enough where I at least think that I feel a difference when I’m driving on wet or otherwise slick roads. πŸ€¨πŸ€”

It was a couple weeks ago, right after it had rained, but I was taking a circular type exit ramp (at a normal speed) and I could feel her pushing just a little bit as I was taking the turn. It may have just been that another vehicle had put down some fluid that my car was reacting to, but at 60k miles… it’s probably better to be safe than sorry. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Especially since “snow or not” I’m still gonna have regular doctor appointments and workers comp crap that I won’t be able to avoid all through this winter, and I don’t wanna have to make each of those trips with my butt in a constant state of pucker. πŸ˜―πŸ˜…

But yeah, considering that all of this was unplanned, it wasn’t that bad of a day. They’re gonna need to do a root canal and crown on her damaged toof, but at least they were able to provide a temporary fix so she’s not miserable until then. 😟 But I’m gonna take my evening meds and try to sack out early tonight, ‘cuz I can still feel today’s drive in my shoulder – and I really don’t wanna wake up tomorrow morning feeling the same way.

So Glad That I Prepared

What a morning. Felt like crap yesterday, went to bed early, got up early, drove my ass all the way up to Sawmill Rd, and about five minutes away from arriving at the doctor’s office – someone from my attorney’s office calls me to tell me that he just got an email from the doctor, and that my appointment had to be postponed. πŸ˜• I didn’t recognize the caller, and just wanted to confirm that nobody was trying to pull any BS on me, so since I was basically right there – I just continued on to the office and spoke with the receptionist, who confirmed it for me. Nice lady, super apologetic… but still… what a bunch of crap. 😠

I forget how it was worded in the letter that I got, but in no unclear terms it said that if I missed that appointment, my case would essentially be dropped and they’d no longer cover anything regarding my injury / disability. πŸ˜’ Granted, I was up there early, but I’m still pretty sure that if I called them a half hour before I was supposed to be there and said that I couldn’t make it – that “call off” or rescheduling wouldn’t fly. Not sure why there was a sudden change of plans, but I suppose I’ll just wait until the next phone call or letter to find out when I have to make that trip again.

So yeah, that two hours in the car was awesome for my knee. That’s unfortunately one of the bad positions for it, that “in between” bend that you’ve got in the car for the brake and gas. Cruise helped a little, but people don’t know how to drive, so even that I could only use for a couple of miles at a time while I gave my leg a rest.

Got home and decided to check in on FB real quick… and my buddy that lost his mom last month… it seems that his dad passed away last night. 😞 Some people might say, “Boy, maybe you shouldn’t use FB if so much stuff is sucking for people.” but to that I would say that if I didn’t get on Facebook to make the rarer-than-usual post or scroll through and “like” or respond to folks on there – I honestly wouldn’t have any communication with hardly anyone. πŸ™ And not everything is bad for everyone… and passive communications seems to be the only thing working for me right now, so… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Looking at the silver lining for my morning though… yeah, my knee is kinda screwed again, but at least I didn’t have to go through the “don’t do anything that will hurt yourself” tests, which inevitably cause me to hurt myself in order to demonstrate my defect and disability. πŸ™„ Maybe the reschedule date will be in a little over a month, when I’ll be glowing with radiation again. 😏

Oh… Yeah

Today was a good day. I have some papers that I needed to sign which also required two witnesses, so this afternoon I went over to my friend Amy’s house so she and Rick could provide some initials and signatures to help me out with that. I ended up staying there about a half hour, and we stood outside talking and looking at various projects that Rick either had been working on or planned to start working on soon… and lemme tell ya, that guy can do almost anything. πŸ’ͺ🏻😎 And like I told him, sometimes it’s nice to live through someone else’s inspiration and motivation about their passion projects. 😏

After that I made a quick trip to the gas station in Rockbridge so I could a) fill my car with gas, b) pick up enough necessities to make it to next week, and c) grab some Burger King so I didn’t have to do any cooking tonight… all in one shot. Basically just a mini-run to keep me “good” here at the house until next week, when I intend to do a much bigger “stocking up” shopping trip before my surgery… just in case I don’t feel like leaving the house and mixing with the unwashed public for a while afterwards.

But what I actually did while I was out today isn’t the point. The point is that I did all of that stuff today without thinking about the problem with my leg at all. πŸ˜ƒ I may have had some pain as I was getting in and out of the car, but I don’t remember it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And as I was walking around to get ready, or over at Amy’s house, or while I was filling the car and doing my shopping… once I got home I realized that I hadn’t been limping, at least as far as I know, through any of it. 😯

I’m not going to start cheering just yet, since I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs as I’ve been going through this… but yeah, it feels good to have not been nagged by pain for at least that small part of my day. I’m hoping that sitting on this giant silly yoga ball is actually making a positive impact, because I’m going to keep doing it. I’m also going to change the sheets on my bed and add that fluffy mattress topper thing that I bought a few weeks back.

I really needed something like this today. πŸ™‚ I mean, I’ve got much less on my mental agenda today than yesterday, but it really was an uplifting surprise to have (for the first time in a couple of months)Β such a span of painless walking. And the older and more broken that I get, the more that I’m learning to appreciate these small victories.

Silent But Scandalous

This is kind of related to the post below. I just figured I would come back in here and report on an incident that happened to me when I was in junior high. Granted, that means that we were all kids, but still… let me continue…

While on a school-sponsored camping trip at a local nature place, all of us students were split up into 4 or 5 people in each tiny little cabin. Boys with boys, and of course girls with girls… and on one of the nights there, the other kids in the cabin decided to play a joke on me. 😳 It felt like a joke then, and it still feels like a joke now – but putting it in the hypothetical context of the current climate when it comes to reporting “sketchy” things… it makes me wonder how parents and authority figures would react to it now, if it had happened recently and I reported it right away. πŸ™‚πŸ€”

I have a feeling that it would have happened to the first kid that fell asleep in the cabin anyway, but I just happened to be that person. 😏 The way that I was told that it happened, was that one of the kids had been really gassy all day – so they decided that someone was gonna get farted on that night. πŸ˜…πŸ€’ So when I sacked out, they silently prepared for the joke – which ended up with one of the kids pulling his pants down, putting his ass right by my face, and releasing the poison. 😝 Now, obviously I’d have preferred to not be the kid that got gassed… but it was what it was, and after a short moment of being butthurt upon learning about it – eventually I was laughing right along with them.

Now, take that story and transplant it to 2017. How would teachers react? How would parents react? Especially considering the… *gasp*exposed ass right next to my nose. 😯 I can’t remember for sure, but there may have even been a picture taken. Can you imagine it though? I’d probably be stuck in counseling, the offending kid probably would have been arrested and branded as a sex offender for the rest of his life, the school likely would have never done field trips again, and certainly not to that campground – which may have been forced into closure after being branded the place where a kid was sexually assaulted.

I guess I don’t really know what point I’m trying to make. πŸ€“ I suppose it’s more about giving some personal background so that others might be better able to understand why I react to certain things in certain ways… ways that are possibly not the same as most other people would react. So yeah, when I see Franken’s goofy photo next to the sleeping woman… it’s harder for me to think of it as a big deal, since I’ve had an ass in my face while I slept, possibly with photographic evidence, and it really didn’t feel like a big deal to me. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ