Longest Ramble In A While…

I’m not gonna link to either of them, but yesterday evening when I was catching up on the news on Twitter, I came across two different things that really bothered me. 😟 Both of them were in Michigan, and both were part of a protest against the physical distancing / stay at home orders that have been put in place due to Michigan being one of the most affected states in regards to coronavirus / COVID-19.

I wanna start by saying that I do get why people are frustrated and want to be heard. πŸ₯Ί In fact, they’re more frustrated than I can even empathize with because they’ve been off work, losing their jobs, their businesses going under, and that’s obviously gonna take a toll on people. πŸ™ I know that I have days where it even gets to me more than I’d expect it to, so when people are unable to pay their bills, their rent, medical bills, etc.

But the first part of the protest that caught my eye were the hundreds of people who forced their way into one of the government buildings. I’m not sure if it was the state house, but it’s where the politicians were trying to do their jobs while protesters were shouting and screaming at law enforcement, banging on doors and walls, demanding that they bet let in. 😳 I think most people would expect a protest like that eventually, but this one went further – because many of the protesters were also dressed up like militia and were carrying loaded semi-automatic rifles. 😧

When you look at the video footage, I hate to say it, but those people looked and acted like you’d expect those kinds of folks to look and act… meaning, people who show up with guns when there’s no apparent reason to do so. πŸ˜’ And the ones who didn’t have guns, it’s not like they were discouraging the ones who did. Common sense says they brought their guns with them so they would be more intimidating, but I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the only protests they’ve really paid attention to are ones regarding gun control issues, where it would sorta make sense to “bear arms” while protesting… and maybe that made them think that all protests require dozens of armed people. πŸ™„πŸ˜ 

But yeah, you can look it up if you wanna see or read more about it. But with the way tensions were, I think they’re very lucky that there wasn’t even an accidental discharge of a weapon – which would have lit the very short fuse on that powder keg. It’s just sad, the smug look that you could see on some of their faces as they stood with their rifles, in the area above where the politicians worked. πŸ˜” And if their goal was truly to be heard, their stunt backfired… because all that people are talking about are the “white guys with guns” who occupied that building without so much as a ticket for ignoring social distancing rules, and questioning what may have happened if that group had been young black men instead. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I don’t like doing those “what if” scenarios normally, but the way all those folks chose to act… πŸ˜’ oh, and because of something that I saw in the second topic that caught my eye. For another part of the protest there was a stage set up where people were speaking against the current rules, talking about the damage that it has done… understandable stuff. But then they had a performance by a couple of girls who looked as if they couldn’t have even been teenagers, wearing skimpy little dance outfits and halloween type masks. πŸ€” One of them being of a black man with exaggerated features. (Looks like they could have been Trump & Obama masks.)

They were doing a dance routine to the old song “Candy Man” but it sounded as if the lyrics had been changed to comment on the current situation. That’s unfortunate enough, where children are essentially being used by their parents to make political statements… but as these little girls were dancing, you could hear men and women in the crowd hooting and hollering as if it were some kind of burlesque show – with people even shouting “TAKE IT OFF!” as these poor little kids did their routine. 😧πŸ₯ΊπŸ˜”

It honestly made me sick to my stomach. 😟 Not just because the kids were being used in that manner, or that gross people were shouting sexual things at them, but also because nobody else in the crowd said anything, stuck up for them, or did anything to show their disapproval. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ (At least not in the clips that I saw.) I understand that people can start “thinking as a group” when caught in a moment, but even when it comes to something as disgusting as that? It’s not a good look for whatever message you were trying to send. 😠

If you’d ask a bunch of those first folks why they felt the need to bring rifles to a peaceful protest and dress in camo… the answers would probably be of the “bEcAUsE wE CAn!” variety. 😐 But that display with the girls, I wonder if any protesters would try to defend or normalize that as well. It makes me feel bad for the “normal” citizens of Michigan, because it makes the state look pretty awful – and I know they’ve got to be angry and embarrassed by all of it, the way it makes their citizens look to the rest of the country. πŸ˜”πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

One might ask why I allow myself get caught up in “news” like this. I ask that of myself too, honestly. 😏 But I dunno… I do try to limit my exposure in general, since 99% of what gets reported seems to be negative, but I guess I just feel like everyone should try to keep up on the more important things – especially if they want to have an opinion and have conversations with others about any of it. 🀨 So with things being as wacky as they’ve been over the past four years, even just “normal” news can trigger someone’s anxiety… and stumbling across “extra” stuff on Twitter, like the topics in this entry, is almost unavoidable. πŸ˜•

But I look back on old news articles and broadcasts from when Mom and Dad were young, and I see different protests, via different methods, at different locations, for different reasons… and I can’t remember learning about any of them and thinking, “Good grief… those people were idiots.” πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’m sure “dumb” protests did happen, so maybe the news was just less interested in covering sensationalism back then? πŸ€” But hell… Today? I don’t think a day passes where I don’t read about or see something that makes me grumble, “Good grief, those people are idiots.” I think they were also lucky back then, getting their news (and only a couple hours each day) from either ABC, NBC, or CBS – and that was it. 😯 Not enough “room” to cover the stupids. Thanks to the internet though, we now have an endless supply that we have to work to avoid.

Alone Together

I like when people make weird things like this, since I, myself, am a weird thing. 😏

I’ve been coming across more and more articles that talk about taking care of your brain during this stressful phase of “locking ourselves away” but this is the first animation that I’ve come across – and it’s made in a way that speaks to me probably more than it would most folks. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Now, whether or not I’ll follow any of its advice, that’s another story. (Although, I gotta do something… the past couple days have been particularly bleh.)

Just Like New

I think I can break self-isolation for this, and people (if they knew) wouldn’t scold me too much. πŸ€”

I’ve had an iPhone 7 Plus for several years now, and she’s finally starting to show her age, battery-wise. And with the new iPhone 9s or SE2s coming out soon, I don’t really want to be tempted by a brand new (albeit “budget”) iPhone when I’ve got one that works just fine for almost everything that I might need it for. 🀨 So getting a new battery for my current phone is the best way to squash all of that.

Another thing that’s getting close to needing a new battery is the car. Even though it hasn’t been cold this winter, it’s still turning over with a little more struggle than I’d like. Not struggle struggle, but basically you can tell it’s not new anymore. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It’s about four years old now, original factory battery, so I don’t know if this is an “expected” time-frame where it would be due or not… but I’ll have the battery d00d test it first and see what he says as well. (Although common and business sense may guide his opinion in an obvious direction. 😏)

The battery store where I picked up a couple of scooter batteries a few months back… really nice guy running the shop, and he was working on a phone as I was checking out and didn’t seem nervous about it. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So I could get the phone taken care of, the car taken care of, and believe it or not – they even offer windshield wiper blades… which is another thing that I haven’t changed since getting this car years ago. 😏

Everything looks competitively priced, and all of it has free installation… cuz lord knows I can’t even come close to chucking car batteries around on my own, and wiper blades can be a surprising pain in the ass if you don’t pay attention how you take the old ones off… heh… at least for me. πŸ€“ So anyway, I might end up stopping by that store whenever I have to go out anyway to pick up my meds, so hopefully I’ll also be able to get some of these little concerns taken care of while I’m at it. 😎 Total human contact = 1 person. 😷

C’mon… Really?

I had an afternoon and evening of absorbing all the coronavirus news, and once I settled into the recliner and started catching up on The Bone Collector… *poof* … the power goes out. πŸ˜ πŸ•―οΈ I grab the phone to check the outage map – and there were only 10 houses affected. Across the street is on, up the street where the lawn decoration people live was on… with their St Patrick’s Day lights all lit up… 😏 Could it really be just a few houses on my little block? (It wouldn’t surprise me… for whatever reason, this has happened before.)

I got up, put my shoes on, and walked out back (in the newly fallen snow, mind you… after summer-like weather just yesterday πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ) to see if it was really just ten houses, and right as I did – the AEP truck pulled up to the pole about 50 yards away from me, shined a light on it for about fifteen seconds, and then they left. 😐 Not sure where they went, but the power remained off for about two hours before it came back on.

When I came back in from investigating, I discovered that the beast had stolen my seat. πŸ€” It was getting a bit chilly in the house, so I’m guessing it was partly due to my butt having warmed up the chair… but yeah, she was there and wasn’t going to move. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

You might have to click the little icon on the bottom right to resize this to fit your screen. But yeah, she plopped her ass down in my seat and obviously had no intention of giving it up. 😸 Of course I wasn’t going to forcefully evict her, so I ended up sitting on the floor and listening to this Dale Jr / Michael Waltrip podcast that I’ve been putting off for a while now. It’s over two hours long, and I’m still only about 3/4 of the way through it, but man… they’ve got some amazing conversations goin’ on. 😊

Interesting evening, for sure.

Improvement Over Time

Felt significantly better by the afternoon today, so I went ahead and made a quick run in town since I had some paperwork that really needed to go out by the weekend – and better to take it to the post office to make sure the postage was right, and to make sure it goes out ASAP, than to stick it in my mailbox and hope that a) nobody steals it before tomorrow, and b) the maild00d notices the flag and stops and gets it.

Speaking of mail and packages… Amazon guy sighed as DHL guy pulled in shortly after him. 😁

img_0060(They both get my kudos for their “backing in” abilities. My driveway is barely distinguishable from my yard. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ)

But after they left, that’s when I made the run in town. I’ve been printing so much crap lately that I finally had to get more paper if I wanted to stay on top of everything. So I hit Family Dollar and grabbed a couple packs of paper, a little more “get by” food for the fridge and shelves (including some more pot pies and a jar of pickles), and then some name-brand Chloraseptic and more decongestant stuff to help fight off my crud. 😷

Headed back home pretty quickly, since going out wasn’t even originally in the cards for me today… and for the rest of the evening I’m gonna do my best to disconnect my brain and just enjoy my Friday night. πŸ€“πŸ™„ I’m not gonna work on / worry about any of my car stuff, hearing stuff, doctor stuff, court stuff, etc… and instead I’m just gonna try to find some new movies to watch as I start straightening up the living room, kitchen, and my desks. 🀨 Gonna keep all of my papers organized and ready to go, of course, but in a place where they aren’t always visible out of the corner of my eye, staying in my thoughts.

But getting my living room straightened up, getting the groceries put away, folding the laundry, getting things somewhat back to normal around here… it’ll help. 😌 And I know it’s weird, but getting to truly “relaxed” is more difficult for me than it (probably) is for most folks… requiring just a little more effort, ironically. 😏 At least for now. Hoping that as I knock down each of the upcoming responsibilities, the stress that waits with each of them will go away too. πŸ™‚

Now to see if I can make myself wait until Monday to continue working on my statements… πŸ™„πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜

Out Of The Loop Too Long

A while back I used to go to auctions a lot, but it’s been years now since I’ve been. But there was one older fella that was always at the local one that I’d go to with my girlfriend at the time, Kayla. We both liked buying the random boxes of junk that would go for only a few dollars, and he would always dig out any shampoo, makeup, or random girly stuff from the boxes that he’d win and give it to me and Kayla. 😏

I actually ended up running into him again somewhere after the local auction house closed… I wish I could remember where it was. πŸ€” But he invited me to come out some time to see all the stuff that he had for sale at his house, which was also a Christmas tree farm. He and his wife had an entire extra building outside their house, where he had the better of his auction winnings on display and for sale for anyone who came out for a tree. And obviously any time he invited someone out.

But watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special just now, and seeing them hunting for a tree, it made me think of him… and sadly it looks like he passed away a couple of years ago. I’d say it’s been about six years since I was last out to his place, and he had stowed away a bunch of Atari and Nintendo stuff for me, which he sold to me cheap, because he knew that was the kinda stuff I was usually looking for at the auctions. 😌 He was a great guy, just soft spoken and nice… it’s a shame I didn’t get to interact with him any more than I did. I didn’t even realize that he was formerly a local fireman… he just never spoke of it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But yeah, he was one of those people that you were glad to have met.

johnJohn BeckΒ  |Β  1943 – 2017

I think I’ll tell Mom to tell him that I said “Hi.” πŸ˜‡