Meandering Thoughts

I’ve been anxiously waiting for the weekend to get here. 😐 While technically the day of the week doesn’t matter too much when it comes to my life, right now I’m using these “weekend” days as a crutch for my struggles of the moment. 😟 I’ve had a string of challenging days which have gotten progressively worse, mostly because I’m dwelling on a few things that I’m incapable of doing at the moment. Things that other people are somewhat countingΒ on me to be able to do. 😬 No matter what it might be, I hate when I can’t be “reliably reliable” for my friends or family… so while I do continue to work on myself, I really needed this weekend so I could chill and tell myselfΒ “Just take it easy on yourself for a couple of days. It’s the weekend.”

Even having said that, it’s only partially effective, so my brain took it upon itself to engage in other distractions. Twitter is always a “go to” place for relatively irrelevant engagement. It seems most of the world goes there to loudly and/or angrily broadcast their opinions (often barely grounded in facts, if at all) and I usually end up trying to educate the exceedingly ignorant, insulting, and condescending of the lot. I know the odds are slim that I’d ever get any of them to think beyond their narrow view of reality… but like I said, it’s more distraction than crusade. (Plus it lets me act like an asshole to those that deserve it. Everyone needs that outlet sometimesπŸ€”)

Lots of discussions about gun control and the Parkland kids, talk about the recent military engagement in Syria and the potential consequences… πŸ€“ but then somehow I got diverted towards more random/fun Twitter and Google searches. I think it started with things about Atlantic City, since I’m considering a trip there sometime this year, but then I ended up looking through local auction listings – which switched my brain over to straight nostalgia mode. 😊

One of the first things that I came across (which was weird, since I was just wondering about it a few days ago) was a vintage “Poosh-M-Up” pinball-ish type game… one that my Dad had when he lived here at this house. πŸ€— It’s funny, one of those things where my memory of the game and the location are inseparable. I’m assuming my grandparents originally bought it for him, but then I ended up playing with it once I was old enough. πŸ‘¦πŸ» But yeah, such a random thing to accidentally come across… and there’s actually quite a few varieties of this game, and I plan on reading about the history of them all. πŸ™‚ I never considered there’d be a bunch of ’em out there like this.

This local auction though, it has several items that I’m kinda interested in. 😯 That pinball game, old Atari game consoles and computers, other misc old toys of my era… and even though it’s in Mt Vernon, that actually motivates me to go a little more – since it’s a sleepy little town and there might not be many people that show up to outbid me. 😁 So after looking up that stuff on eBay, it made me think of other old games that I had when I was a kid, so of course I started looking up some of those things as well. I know that I always threaten to do an entire blog entry devoted to pricing toys from my personal childhood, but I really think that I’m gonna do that later tonight if my brain remains in its current happy place. πŸ˜‹

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Better All Around

I don’t wanna celebrate too much, at risk of jinxing myself, but I actually got a decent amount of sleep last night… and woke up feeling good enough to head into town to grab a fresh change of clothes for Dad, for when he got released from the hospital to go home. 😎 As it turns out, when I got to his place, he was already there and settled back in. πŸ˜ƒ For him feeling like absolute crap only 48 hours earlier, I was surprised and pleased to see that he appeared to be back to his old self again already.

I hadn’t taken my morning pills before I went in, because I honestly thought I’d only be picking out some clothes, getting them ready, and then heading back home – so after visiting for a while I was really starting to feel my neck. 😣 Before I left my house I was also half-assed thinking about getting my hair cut… but meh… I figure it’s the weekend and I’d rather go home and medicate, and hopefully keep myself good for the rest of the day and into the weekend. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I’ll probably go back in a few days for another visit, plus I wanna grab him some pop and some kind of junk food goodies for Mom – so that way I’ll be “coming bearing gifts” when I check in on her. 😁 I don’t wanna get ahead of myself though, as that’s not the only plans that I’ve got for the next few days. First thing on my list is writing up a brief but complete recent medical history so I’ll have something to offer the doctor, whenever my appointment may end up being. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Between what the MRI tech said, and now after experiencing some concerning chest pains a couple times over the past few weeks… I mean, I’m 99% sure it’s just anxiety related, but I’ve gotta just suck it up and “play grown-up” and start with the regular doctor visits. πŸ§˜πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’m no spring chicken anymore. It’s just been a while since I’ve been in for service, and you know how it goes… you go in for the oil change, and pretty soon they’re talking about air filters, rotating tires, transmission fluid, unexpected rust, blah blah blah… 😏

Not particularly looking forward to that shit, but like I told Genesee… I can deal with whatever aches, pains, or glitches that my body may have – but I’d just like some reassurances that all of it is relatively normal and that I’m not going to just drop dead here in my house on some random afternoon while doing basically nothing. 😯

Looks Like We Made It

It’s been a challenging few days again. Four hours of sleep a night is all that I’m apparently allowed to get for the time being. It certainly doesn’t contribute to waking up in a decent mood, prepared to do much of anything. Luckily a few of those nights were over the weekend, so it didn’t matter much, but I was hoping to wake up today with a different attitude.

Yeah, no luck with that.

I woke up a couple hours before dawn, was up a while, took a nap, then ended up waking up and immediately forcing myself out of the house (essentially tricking the twitchy part of my brain)Β so I could pick up some pop, groceries, and grab some Burger King. I actually went to Logan… for whatever reason, it felt easier than going into Lancaster. Between stops I took a break in the parking lot over by my aunt’s old house. The wishing well is still there, although it’s close to crumbling, and they’ve put new siding on the place – but otherwise you wouldn’t know the difference. I guess getting rid of 100 old grinding wheels isn’t easy.

Made it through the whole trip… I know, which sounds weird to most people, because, why wouldn’t someone make it through a short trip out. But getting home and not being completely wiped out was a nice change. And this time, rather than thinking “Ahh! I’ve got it beat today.” and trying to do a whole lot more, I just went out front, sat and watched the birds in the big pine tree, and kept my mind free. (Other than remembering that it was this time a year ago that I was out in the front yard playing with Brantley at dusk… until we heard the buzzards creeping louder and lower in the tree… heh)

Hoping it holds and helps me sleep, but I’m not gonna hold my breath.

The Heart of Rock and Roll

I figured I should get on here to give an update about the chest pains that I was having the other day since I’m feeling better now. No pains at all yesterday, and only hints of it the day before. I even decided to keep my tentative plans and spun them so that it was actually beneficial to my then-current condition.

It was yet another deal where I made the agreement a while ago, and then when the day came I was less than enthusiastic for obvious reasons. 🀒❀ But Cassi’s brother Scott, he was doing a rare live performance (drums) with Rich Regal at the local Moose lodge – and since she had never seen him play live I didn’t wanna have to cancel. But when I thought about it, having someone around for a couple of days while I was feeling concerned… it would actually help put my mind at ease.

So we went to the show, which wasΒ (fortunately for my well-being… heh)Β only moderately attended while also being held in a rather large area of the lodge… so it actually ended up being a good time. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚ It wasn’t really our style of music, but it was more about showing up to see and support Scott and Rich and the rest of them.

Having Cassi around yesterday also helped with my anxiety enough that I made a trip to the Walmart in Logan and did a “monthly” style grocery trip. πŸ€— Lots of cans, boxes, and frozen stuffs… should last me a good long while. Other than that we’ve just been chilling and surprisingly doing a bunch of reading about job stuff, investment stuff, insurance stuff, doctor stuff, etc. 😁 I found one of those somewhat cheezy “Book of Secrets” books at the thrift store, which attempts to give you all sorts of tips and trips regarding almost everything you might encounter in life, so we’ve been having a good time going through that and even learning some things we didn’t previously know.

As far as I’m concerned though, whatever was going on with those chest pains… I feel like I’m most likely past whatever it was. (Touch wood) Obviously I’ll mention it to my doctor whenever I makeΒ that appointment… heh… but I’ve put “wisdom teef removal” at the top of my priority list for the moment, but after I’m starting to realize that I can’t keep putting off those routine “You’re a middle age d00d now” family physician appointments. πŸ™„

The Future Is Now

It’s been a long time coming, but all of the public service agencies in my area have finally switched out their radios, and are now using digital transmitting/receiving rather than the old analog systems that had been in place and unchanged ever since I was a teenager. πŸ‘΄πŸ» So the old police scanners that nearly everyone in Lancaster has… they’re essentially worthless now, at least when it comes to monitoring all of the action in town.

I’m not sure if it was a financial or transparency-based decision, but while they’ve upgraded to a fully digital system, they’ve decided against using encryption. The easiest thing to compare it to is the way that television broadcasts have changed over the past 10 or 20 years. No more analog signals, but if you have a digital cable box or digital tuner you can easily pick up the new transmissions. It’s the same thing with the public service radios… it’s just a different means of broadcasting. πŸ€“ If they went with encrypted systems though, it would be similar to how wireless phones use digital signals, but they’re also encrypted so that nobody but the caller and recipient are able to hear what’s being said. 🀨

The bad news? While you used to be able to buy a $40 scanner to listen to police, fire, and rescue… digital scanners are significantly more expensive. So much so that many people can’t or won’t want to make the upgrade to continue following the activity. πŸ™ And, at least here in Lancaster, an always-running police scanner has been about as common in homes as a stove, fridge, or washing machine. 😏

I had actually been considering getting a new scanner myself, going so far as to have “shopped them out” online so that I knew what I would get if the cost didn’t make me cringe so hard… and while I made the decision then that it was too expensive, hitting that little jackpot at Hollywood the other day has changed my tune. πŸ€— Oh, I still cringed when I loaded up the page of the one I wanted, but I went ahead and ordered it anyway.

The Homepatrol-1 units are basically “Digital Scanners for Dummies.” Where most other next-gen scanners are more computer than radio (with endless programming options and tweaks accordingly) the Homepatrol-1 is more about an easy listening/monitoring experience. It has built-in memory with a database that covers the entire United States, and it is updated weekly by the manufacturer – based off of frequency information provided by the users and staff at RadioReference.com

So, with the way our local departments are still going through changes, as the current frequency information is discovered and updated on the site – all I’ll have to do (in theory) is punch up my zip code in the scanner… and all of the agencies and radio options will automagically appear before my eyes. πŸ˜€ So, along with it being one of the cheaper scanners,Β that’sΒ what actually sold me on it. The ability to start using it as soon as I get it, without having to spend hours figuring it out and programming it. It does have many advanced options though, especially through the included Sentinel software that is used for easier/quicker programming… so yeah, it’ll still be something to challenge my nerd brain as well.

I’m sure it probably seems like a frivolous purchase to a lot of people… but living by myself, outside of the city limits, away from the humans… having a scanner running gives me the sense of “staying connected” with a community that I still consider to be home, even if I’m not in the heart of it. (Plus there’s all kinds of other stuff to search for and listen to on top of that…)

Hmm, This Is New

I’ve been cautiously creeping through the past couple of days, making sure that I didn’t do anything that could possibly tweak my neck (since it’s been acting up again) but the past 12 hours have been awful anyway. πŸ˜‘ Sleeping for an hour here and there, and then when I finally woke up and stayed up for good this morning at 6am – I had some serious chest pains going on. 😳

My breathing was fine, I wasn’t lightheaded, and I didn’t feel any tingling in my arms, legs, or face – so even though it caused me concern I decided to not go to the ER. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I actually went in town to get some aspirin though… a couple to chew right away, and the rest to add to my normal daily pills. Just in case. (I even sat in the parking lot at the hospital for a bit. Also just in case.) But the idea of heart troubles or a heart attack… my brain goes “You’re fine, that only happens to old people.” while forgetting that I amΒ close to being “old people” if not there already.

I caught a nap after coming back home, hoping that if I got a little more sleep that it might make me feel better, but that’s not been the result so far. 😟 I swear, it’s like I slept on my front, and someone snuck a baseball-sized rock in between the mattress and my sternum. 😣 I’m not dead so far though… heh… so I’m gonna give it one more day and if it isn’t noticeably better then I guess I’ll almost have to go to the ER.

Do the majority of folks my age (and older) always feel like they’re falling apart? 😒 I’m obviously really hoping that this is just nothing… so I’d definitely appreciate any “thoughts and prayers” that anyone may care to throw at me until it passes. β€πŸ™πŸ» Looks like I’ll be remaining in neutral for a while longer.

Let Them Words Out

Feeling a little better, even though my sleep is still really screwed up. I really do give credit to the sunlight that was coming in through the picture window all day today… until I unintentionally fell asleep for four hours in the recliner. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I had a really amazing dream though, and I did need to catch up on my sleep, so I can’t be too upset I guess. Hoping that means that I’m coming out the other end of this recent bleh, but I don’t wanna get ahead of myself on that. Heh… it’s quite the balancing act.

So anyway, probably a bit over a year ago I was dealing with a weird thing where I’d be listening to all of my favorite songs, yet not feel a damn thing. Nothing. And this was with any of the couple thousand songs on my car’s flash drive, all of which I selected to be on there for a reason – so of course I should feel something. Well, now that’s completely flipped. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I can’t listen to anything without being instantly transported back to the moment where that memory was formed with that song… and unfortunately nearly all of those times feel a whole lot happier than “now” feels. 😞

So rather than torture myself with memory-filled tunes, I’m gonna try something different. I’ve got satellite radio in my car, and it has a ton of stations and a lot of options, but it’s still like traditional radio – they play what they want, and you listen as it comes. πŸ˜’ That’s no good anymore. Not when there are cheaper options for music like Spotify. Ten bucks a month and you can basically listen to any song you can think of, within reason. So that’s what I’m gonna do… drop the SiriusXM and just use Spotify and bluetooth with the car.

Oh, and unlike XM I’ll be able to use it anywhere. (They’re really gonna have to re-think their business model if they wanna be viable in five years.) And it’s funny, the thing that finally prompted me was when I watched someone’s long-form abandoned exploration video and they had several songs that I had never heard, from bands that I’m completely unaware of, but that I absolutely wanted to hear again. πŸ˜ƒπŸ€˜πŸ» Heh… this is a new thing for me, because I’ve been so content for years to listen to the songs I already like, with maybe a few new ones sprinkled in here and there.

(It’s a shame, this deserves more than 150 views in well over a year.)

I read an article long ago that said once a person reaches a certain age, their brain is no longer “open” to new music. That’s my poorly worded summary of what they said… but they made it sound biological. πŸ€” Like true enjoyment of new music just doesn’t really happen… not like when you were a kid. I can see where is is psychologically difficult though, because when you are young you aren’t jaded or worn down by the world. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ The lyrics you hear, the hope, optimism, happiness, etc… it all seems absolutely possible. The older you get, not so much. 😏 Of course one person is different from the next, but when you’ve been through some shit – sometimes those songs with hopeful upbeat lyrics can be almost annoying.

But, and especially now due to digital media, I think it’s more that we grow up liking what we like and then as we get older we just tend to stick to that. The stuff we know, the stuff we really did feel back then. ☺ Now that everything is just a click away, I don’t know if that will continue to be the case with most people. For example, when I get Spotify and click on Fly by Sleeping With Sirens, after that it’ll probably suggest other shit like them or by them. Same thing when I listen to tracks I already know and like. It could and should keep expanding my range… giving me new shit I like, without the annoying attachment of some other place and time.

And hey, ten years from now when I hear all these new songs I discovered “back in 2018” I’m hoping I’ll look back on them with the memory of “Whew… glad I don’t feel like that anymore.”