Weather Complications

Gen’s trip to Ohio ended up being a bit of an adventure. โœˆ๏ธ The original plan had her taking off from NJ, landing in NC with a half-hour to catch her connecting flight, and then onto Columbus. But for whatever reason, their plane landed in Charlotte only a couple of minutes before the connecting flight took off… so anyone that was continuing to Ohio missed their flight. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿ˜•๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Ÿย ๐Ÿ›ซ American Airlines obviously knew they screwed up, and had everyone quickly booked on the next flight out to Columbus, but the result was that she ended up getting here about an hour and a half later than anticipated.

It was almost 4pm by the time we were leaving the airport, and that’s when the flag placement ceremony was supposed to beginย – so we didn’t even really try to hurry, assuming that we were just gonna miss it. (And that was the main reason that she was coming to visit.) But as we were heading to Lancaster, she was texting with Toni (who was already there) and we learned that the crappy weather and other “opening remarks” type stuff had kept everyone inside one of the buildings at the fairgrounds ๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ƒ and that we’d possibly be able to make it in time for the flag placement after all.

The first couple of flags had already been handed out by the time we were pulling in, but it worked out so that they called Dad’s name just as we had parked and joined everyone standing there. ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Couldn’t have cut it any closer. ๐Ÿ˜Ž They go alphabetically, so that meant there was still plenty of time before Uncle Rick, Grandpa Shepherd, and Genesee’s dad’s names were called. Any other year that would have been great, but this year… whoothe weather, man. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐ŸŒง๏ธ๐ŸŒจ๏ธ๐ŸŒง๏ธ๐ŸŒง๏ธ๐ŸŒจ๏ธ๐Ÿ’จ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

Ominous dark clouds, half drizzle, half sleet, freezing winds gusting so hard that people were struggling to hold their flags… it was just awful. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ (They had a huge eagle on hand as well, and he wasn’t too thrilled about things either.) ๐Ÿฆ… And as much as I’d have liked for Dad to have been able to go… at least when we were talking about it in the daysย prior… I’m glad that he decided not to. With the flight delays, getting there late, mother nature going crazy, and him not feeling that great over the past few days anyway – he definitely made the right choice. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Other years that I’ve gone, loads of people would sit in the stands, listening to the names, ranks, wars, etc as they waited for their person’s name to be called. But there was no sitting this time. The bleachers were cold and wet, so everyone just huddled together… enduring the weather until they could place their flag and then flee to their car. ๐Ÿš™๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐ŸŒง๏ธ๐ŸŒจ๏ธ I don’t blame anyone… it was just unfortunate that this year’s event didn’t have the same “feel” as previous years because of all that other crap. ๐Ÿ˜•

We did end up going back through there the next day though, when the weather was much nicer, to see how many flags were displayed – and to pay the proper respect to the whole thing that none of us were really able to give the day before. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿง๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿง๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ We did take a handful of pictures on the actual placement day, and boy do they not convey what the experience was actually like. ๐Ÿ˜ย (But of course once everything was overย the weather calmed down considerably.) We’re still fortunate to have made it though, since this is the first year that we had flags for Dad and Gen’s dad – so it would have sucked if we weren’t able to place them ourselves.

Okay, it’s been a busy couple days, so I’ll follow up soon with an entry covering anything else worth mentioning from Gen’s stay.ย I didn’t even do half as much as her… but I’m out of juice. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Mini-Vacation Visitor

Disregarding how the entry below this one probably sounds, things haven’t been that bad around here lately. The way that all of my “shit” usually finds a way to land on my schedule all around the same time, this time it’s the opposite – and I’ve found myself with a chunk of time where I’ve got no doctor appointments, no WC stuff to work on, no immediate need for attorney communications, none of my few friends needing anything from me, etc. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad it worked out that way, because Genesee is gonna be in town for a few days starting tomorrow and it’ll be nice to not have to work around any other obligations while she’s here.

The weather isn’t looking ideal for it, but she’s visiting so she can attend the Freedom’s Never Free ceremony tomorrow at the fairgrounds. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ In past years I’ve gone with Toni and her family since they had a flag to place in remembrance of Uncle Rick’s service as well as one for Grandpa Shepherd. But this year, Genesee ordered a flag for her dad, and helped me get one to place for / with my dad as well. ๐Ÿ˜Š It’s a very inclusive thing… for any branch of the military, it doesn’t matter if the person is alive or has passed, and I think they even said that flags can be ordered and placed for “first responders” like firefighters, police, EMTs, etc.

Hopefully the weather will be tolerable enough that Dad will want to go, but the alternate plan is that me and Gen will still go, take some video, place the flags, and then go visit with him afterwards. And once the flags are purchased, they stay with the organization and are used again in each of the following years’ ceremonies. It’s amazing how many flags are added each year, and I think that even for the folks who don’t care to think about / talk about their service time, it still must be a nice feeling to get some recognition for what they did – even if multiple decades have passed since then.

(Especially for Vietnam vets, considering the reaction from the public that many of them got upon returning home… something that I didn’t truly understand the awful extent of until a handful of years ago.)

But she’ll be in Ohio until Sunday, and we’ve got a couple of small plans for things that we want to do, and then she’s got plans with other Ohio friends as well, but all of it will have to be played by ear due to the weather and the relatively short amount of time she’ll be around compared to her other visits. ๐Ÿ˜ฏโฐ But it’s nice that this visit is for something good, and not because of someone passing away, or because I’m recovering from a surgery and need babysitting or whatever. ๐Ÿ˜

And I’m a little jealous that she’s getting to fly here and back home. I’ve been watching so many different airline / pilot themed YouTube channels lately… (Mentour Pilot, Captain Joe, VasAviation ATC, 74 Gear, CargoSpotter, etc.) giving myself the itch to take a cheap day-flight down to Florida and back or something, basically just a joyride… but between those videos and having not been on a plane since Jim and I went to Kansas years ago… hopefully she gets a window seat so she can use ReLive to record the path of her flight. ๐Ÿค“ย (Not sure how it’ll handle the speed / altitude as it tries to plot the path on its animated map.)

So today I’m just taking it easy. Not gonna even do any light work around here, ‘cuz a lot of times it doesn’t take much for me to unintentionally screw up my neck, shoulder, or knee to various degrees. ๐Ÿ˜• It’s only a few days, so I wanna do what I can to make sure I’m good and can keep up with whatever we end up doing. In fact, she’s actually gonna help me dump the small bags of gravel out by the mailbox, as well as help me take the old mailbox off the post and get the new one installed. ๐Ÿ™‚ I could probably manage both of those things by myself eventually, but since she offered… I guess I’ll take the help. ๐Ÿ˜•๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ I gotta get better at that. Accepting help. Because I’m at the point now, more than ever, where I actually do need help with a lot of things… and more often than I’m currently willing to admit to others and even myself. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ Stupid pride. ๐Ÿ˜

Willfully Ignorant / Indignant

The overwhelming amount of ignorance surrounding the shooting at Stoneman Douglas and the resulting activism… it’s simply staggering. ๐Ÿ˜‘ It falls anywhere on the spectrum from people just not realizing that they’ve been misled, to people who are straight up morons. And most of them are really angry as well… like, so angry that even when people are expressing sentiments that are supportive of the students and their security, they’ll still attack those people if the thoughts don’t exactly parrot what they or the students are saying. ๐Ÿ˜  Free thinking has already become a much lacking trait in society, and boy does this movement demonstrate that over and over again.

I’m sure that I’m like a lot of people who generally support the things the students have been asking for, but who is also growing tired of being attacked by the people that we’re trying to support… so much so that their activism now feels more like a bunch of kids complaining and making noise, but not actually seeking solutions to the problems at the center of it all.

The point where the kids started to lose me was when a slew of new security measures were put in place at their school, to provide additional protections while the students continued to strive for bigger changes via gun control laws. Limited access points to the school buildings, student IDs, increased security personnel, new backpack/bag rules, etc. ๐Ÿ‘ฎ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Not only did the students not appreciate these changes, but they actively rebelled against them – and are still doing so to this day. Most of the complaints revolve around the bag rules, which prohibit anyone from coming into the building with bags or backpacks that weren’t issued by the school. And because they are clear backpacks, the kids and their supporters have lost their damn minds. ๐Ÿ˜ญ

A woman on Twitter, when I said that I supported the clear backpack rule and noted that Nikolas Cruz used a duffel bag to bring his rifle into the school, just replied to me: “Umm… then maybe ban bringing DUFFEL bags into the school??? An AR15 will NOT fit in a backpack. Good grief!”ย This is an example of that angry stupidity. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ The school is now banning people from carrying in bags other than the school-provided ones… something that could have prevented Cruz from even making it past the gate if the rule was in place back then. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ But this woman was mad that I pointed it out, then called for duffel bags to be banned (which they are), and followed it up with a “Good grief” as if my logic was exhausting her.

But yeah, the kids are mocking the backpacks, saying that the increased law enforcement presence makes them scared, equating having to carry student IDs to being in prison, complaining that additional fences and barriers only give the appearance of security, saying their 4th amendment rights are being violated and people will be able to see their tampons in their bags now, and bitching because they have to show up to school a little earlier to get through security. ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป All the while complaining that none of those changes do anything to protect them, with several of them going so far as to say that all of these new measures should be removed – leaving their school in exactly the same state as when they were originally attacked. ๐Ÿ™‡๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

None of those changes, in their minds, provide any additional security. Instead, their minds are laser focused on banning “assault rifles” as the change that is needed. In interview after interview, you can see that these kids don’t even know what guns the term “assault” rifle should include, with some of them not even knowing the difference between a semi-automatic and automatic gun. I’m not faulting them for this, since they’re just kids, but these are also the people that we should be listening to for answers, according to their movement. The kids who reject any and all security measures as being a “false sense of security” while also believing that banning some semi-automatic rifles will make them completely safe.

In trying to have discussions with the humans on Twitter, I’ve learned that if you want to “be a supporter” of these kids and their goal of more safety, you can’t say any of the following: ๐Ÿ™Š

  • You can’t suggest that they try to understand that the new security measures are “better than nothing” while they continue to fight for gun control. They don’t accept the increased school security, so neither can people who claim to support them.
  • You can’t point out that the clear backpack rule, if in place when the shooting happened, could/would have prevented the shooting from happening since Cruz and his bags wouldn’t have been allowed through security. You’ll be told that an AR-15 can’t fit into a duffel bag. (It can.) You’ll be told that he’d have found a way in anyway. (So all security measures should be just thrown out as being worthless?)
  • You can’t tell them that mocking the new security measures may be off-putting to people who want to support them. You’ll be told that they don’t want or need your support then. They’ll say that they didn’t ask for the new security. They’ll say that nobody has a right to say anything to the students about their opinions. (YOU WEREN’T THERE! THEY WERE!)
  • Their goal, when it comes to gun control, is to ban assault rifles. But you can’t question anything about that goal. I support some of what they’re trying to achieve, but I don’t believe that banning one particular type of gun will make them that much safer than they are now. But to support them, you have to support their goal of banning a small subset of guns, because they believe they’ll be safer.
  • And even when you are suggesting things that could help them achieve their goals, you’ll usually be told that your input isn’t needed… not by the kids, but by other supporters. “I don’t remember her asking you for your opinion!” “He seems to be doing just fine without your help!” “Your generation didn’t help when it had the chance, and we don’t need it now!” And they wonder why they’re getting less support, less media coverage, and a more apathetic response from the public in general.

One more thing to mention… they love using the age of the student activists to manipulate the whole situation. When people are dismissive of what the students are saying because of their age, hordes of people will come forth and comment how they are almost adults, almost able to vote, almost able to join the army, and are more mature than most “grown-ups” are these days. But if you disagree with something the students have said, or just appear to disagree, you’ll be blasted with post after post of people being “shocked” and “horrified” that adults would bully these children, that you can’t expect them to not act like kids sometimes because that’s what they are, and that people should be ashamed for how they are treating someone’s child. Yeah, it doesn’t matter if they’ve thrust themselves onto the public stage, and it doesn’t matter how foul-mouthed and insulting they can be… people attempt to portray them as untouchable. โ™ฟ Like a kid in a wheelchair who verbally bullies his classmates, because “Nobody will hit a kid in a wheelchair.”

I even had people get mad at me the other day because I commented about the school newspaper putting out a memorial issue, featuring the names and stories of the 17 people that died that day. I said that it was great to finally have a resource like that with all of the information in one place, because despite the activist students being on TV almost non-stop for a while, I rarely heard them mention the names of the people who were killed or get to talk about them. Part of that is because there is a limited amount of time in a TV segment, so it logistically just couldn’t fit most of the time… but yeah, I was praising the students who produced the memorial issue. One fella just wouldn’t let it go. He was legitimately mad, despite me praising the newspaper and being happy that I could learn more about the people who were killed. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ I imagine it was because he doesn’t like when something potentially makes “the people that he supports” look uncaring or whatever. So despite talking about something that 99.9% would agree with – being happy to learn more about the fallen… he just kept replying and replying, pointing out that the kids said the names of the dead at the march in DC. Yeah. They did. That’s fine. I’m glad they did. But as I pointed out to him – I didn’t say they never mentioned the people that died, I just said it was rare enough that weeks later I still didn’t know much about them. I’m surprised he didn’t start sharing YouTube clips where their names were said, or demand that I share clips where they didn’t. People are just fucking nuts, man…

I’ve never seen a group of people that actively tries to eat their own as much as this bunch of humans. ๐ŸงŸ๐ŸงŸ๏ธ Half of the people barely know what they are talking about, and half of them don’t even care if they are wrong as long as they are being loud and people are hearing them. ๐Ÿคฌ The whole goal of student safety / safety for humans in general has been lost in the cult of personality, with movement leaders wasting time on boycotts when someone hurts their feelings – even when not related to gun control or the shooting… and then when security measures are put in place to protect them, they reject it – and in a way that magnifies how immature they really are, while they shout at the world that “WE TOLD YOU TO LISTEN TO US!” etc. I know they’ve had all kinds of behind-the-scenes help when it comes to PR, finances, and organizing things, but someone is dropping the ball right now – and something that could have produced real, positive changes has a chance of being forgotten like every other tragedy. ๐Ÿ˜”

I’m Still Here

Let’s see if I remember how to do this. (I know I’ve said this before, but…) I feel like I might be starting to crawl out of this incredibly crappy funk that I’ve been in for what feels like forever. Main influence this time is my damn neck and shoulders. Stuff has been hurting at pre-surgery levels, which would be enough, I think, to make anyone concerned – considering the location and nature of my original injury. I had my first visit with my doctor in a while, where I was actually dying before, during, and after my appointment.

I didn’t have a chance to tell him, since it happened after my appointment… but on my way to check out I had one of those *ZAP* moments in my neck, and then walking out through the waiting room I had another one – bad enough that it stopped me in my tracks as I fought to not throw up. ๐Ÿ˜ณ Good times, eh? ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ I’m going to ask for some sort of updated scan of that area at my next visit, especially since I’m right in the middle of preparing to either settle my claim or go to court over it, and whether for my own well-being or for my case – updated info would obviously be a good idea.

Enough of that. ๐Ÿ˜’ Toni gets credit for getting me up, around, and doing something this time. She only gave me a couple hours notice, which normally would have gotten an instant “no” response, but she was asking if I wanted to come join her, Wendi, and Anna at the “Freedom’s Never Free” thing at the fairgrounds. Specifically, for the ceremony where they place the flags – since Uncle Rick has had one for a couple years now, and this year they got one for Grandpa Shepherd as well. I’m glad I went, but I was also glad to get back home since my doc appointment was the next day. Hell, it could have been the stress of unexpected “human-ing” the day before that allowed Dr Walter to see how bad I can get. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Okay, that’s about all I’ve got today… pics from the ceremony are up in my Flickr.