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.

Been There, Done That

Trying to force my brain to take a break today… and having an evening NASCAR race helps with that. It’s actually at a track that I’ve been to, but when I went a handful of years ago it was still a traditional Sunday race. Ya know, having all the races on a Saturday night would be a good selling point for the out-of-shape, disabled, or old farts. (Of which I’m like 2.5 out of 3) Mid-day summer races, with all the blacktop and aluminum seats reflecting and radiating the heat… β˜€οΈπŸ”₯πŸ˜“πŸŽοΈπŸ’¨πŸ’₯Β Thankfully it wasn’t until I was a little older and more out of shape (after all my trips) that I realized how brutal it can really be. 😯

Tonight’s race is from Kentucky Speedway. I think it was four years ago that I went… staying free at ‘Da Boat for a couple of nights, and hopping over the river to Sparta on race day. 😎 If I remember correctly, Cassi went with – but just to enjoy the room and the getaway. It really is a fan friendly track, but woo… all that walking. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ It’s no Indianapolis… another track where I’m amazed that I would spend entire days walking around (miles) in the August heat. πŸ˜₯πŸ™‚Β I suppose it helps though, once you’re there, hearing the cars, seeing the drivers, getting the pics and occasional autographs… it only hurts and burns later that night. 😏

It’s funny, I remember having a Skoal Bandits matchbox car when I was a kid, but that was the extent of my interest in NASCAR until after I was out of school and Dad took me to a couple races at Indy. Since then I’ve seen two Brickyard 400s, two Indy 500s, one race at Kansas, and one race at Kentucky. πŸ˜ƒ But, probably showing early signs of what was to come, the last few times (and those were a while ago) that I went to Indy… I’d only go on qualifying / practice day. That way I could see the sights, collect all the good shots that I could, sneak in whatever areas I could manage… but not getting the “bake in the stands for however many hours” experience that actual race day would require.

I’m not saying that I’ll never go to another race, or another track around race days, but I just haven’t been able to stay as interested in the new drivers once “my drivers” or “our drivers” retired or otherwise exited the sport. 😟 Think about who you’re not seeing anymore when you go to a race, and if you’re old enough – it’ll probably make you wonder if you still wanna bother going too. πŸ€”πŸ€¨

Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, Jeff and Ward Burton, Darrell and Michael Waltrip, Sterling Marlin, Bobby and Terry Labonte, Mike Skinner, Kenny Schrader, Ricky Rudd, the various Bodines, Rusty Wallace, Morgan Shepherd (oldest driver to start a NASCAR race, at 72 😯 years old), Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle,Β Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, and even Dale Jr. That’s how you know you’ve been a fan a while though, when you’ve watched a kid come into the sport, run for a good long time, and now even they’re gone. And yeah, I didn’t necessarily give many shits about a few of those named… but boy did they all have personality. πŸ™‚

And that’s exactly what made their presence so easy to remember and, now, miss. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Gap

I know it’s been a good chunk of time since my last entry, but I’m not even gonna bother going back to catch up on what I’ve already written… because honestly not a whole hell of a lot has been different, so I don’t have that much to write about. We’ve had a couple decent snow storms, and a couple days where the temps were in the negativesΒ in the morning, so that’s managed to keep me at home just as much as my normal anxiety issues usually do. 😏

One out of the ordinary thing… I did take a trip to ‘Da Boat with Bri for two nights last week. 😊 We’ve talked about it for months, and have had it in the planning stages for the past several weeks – so we were relieved to have pulled it off, considering that both of us have any number of things that could have popped up to wreck the plan. 😳 Last time she was down there with me was years ago when Dezzy also came along, and they couldn’t even get onto the boat back then.

So of course that’s why we were really looking forward to this trip, since she could see and do everything along with me this time. We took a bunch of outfits and props and shit, just in case we decided to do baby belly photos, but it was too easy to just be lazy in the room or going up to the boat to have fun… so very few pics were actually taken, and that was absolutely fine with us. πŸ˜‹ Our luck would come and go, but it was good enough at times that I could actively see the gambling bug taking hold of her brain right before my very eyes. πŸ˜… Heh… it wasn’t really like that, but she did have a good time and played enough to where she developed favorite machines and everything.

This past week or so has been nice… not having any appointments, not forcing myself to worry about any responsibility stuff. 😐 Heh… that sounds bad. I just mean that I let myself take a break from all of the adulting for a while, although I’m picking back up where I left off here in a bit. (Catching up on the bills that have been stacking up in the mean time) Oh… I do have another “since our last episode” story that I almost forgot about. It’ll be coming up a bit later, if I manage to get through all the bills this evening…

But this trip… I dunno… the more that I think about my medical stuff, the more that I want to do stuff with my friends while I still can. πŸ€’ I have no reason to think that I won’t be able to do things for years to come – but just in case, ya know? Even Dad, a while back, reiterated that point to me a few times… that I need to stop worrying so much, and sometimes just do the fun thing while not worrying about anything else. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Trip Report: Extended Edition

This trip to ‘da boat was one of the better ones that I’ve had in recent memory, at least since the times when me, Mom, and Dad all used to go together. πŸ™‚ Great weather on the way down and back (which is more important than you’d think), awesome lightning over the Ohio River during the couple of evening thunderstorms while we were there, and Cassi and I were able to play and play and play – and I still came home with the same amount that I took to spend, andΒ she was able to go home over $200 ahead and with some comp’d jewelry and goodies from the gift shop. πŸ˜ƒ

Oh, and of course we poofed ourselves on the awesome brunch buffet. Mmm… 🀀 not just theΒ regular buffet food, but also all of the important breakfast stuff at the same time. 😁 They must be doing alright, because the entire place is in the middle of renovations. From the giant entry way, to the lobby, to the hallways, to the rooms… everything is getting cosmetic updates. 😯 They’re still in the middle of ripping up all of the faux “stone” flooring in the giant common area and laying down “wood” strips… and for the rest of the hotel, the entire color scheme has changed. The only inconvenience in all of that was that the updated WiFi wasn’t working yet. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Our time on the actual boat was limited the first day, because the machines kicked our asses. πŸ™„πŸŽ° That was okay though, because the trip was as much about “just getting away” as it was for gambling. We got one of the nicer rooms with probably the best view of all of them, looking right out onto the boat, the river, and the outdoor patio area for the indoor pool. 😎🚒 And, as it often goes, we took our swimsuits but couldn’t muster the “oomph” required to go down and actually swim with the larger-than-normal amount of assholes already in the pool. 😏 (For some of them, I think it doubled for their weekly bath.)

Day two on the actual boat was much better. πŸ˜€ I hit a big enough bonus that I was able to set back (to take home) the amount that I took with me to lose, and still have enough to keep playing and to share with Cassi so she could do the same. πŸ€‘ And it wasn’t just that one win. (I missed catching all the winning “sevens” in that video… meh) But both of us kept hitting nice “little-big” amounts that kept us going for the better part of the day. It felt like a totally different experience than the day before. πŸ’πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸŽ‰πŸ’πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸŽˆ

It sucked to wake up after that second night, knowing that we had to head back home, but the winning came at a time and in a way that it let us both come home with a decent amount money, so we sure couldn’t complain. Besides, we were both anxious to get home to our kitties… especially me, since I knew that Maven was all by herself and probably wondering if I had permanently disappeared. 😿 She was happy to see me when I got home of course, but she didn’t even act grumpy… so perhaps I wasn’t as missed as I had presumed. πŸ˜„Β We absolutely had a good time on this trip… the last one we might be able to take for a while… but it was sure nice to be home again too.