Passing The Time

I’m gonna have to start getting myself some multi-vitamins again or something… ‘cuz I’ve been feeling like ass the past few days. Didn’t sleep at all last night – more shitty dreams of course – and then when I fell asleep around dawn, off and on I ended up sleeping until 8pm this evening. ๐Ÿ˜ณ Not ideal, since my schedule is now jacked, but thank God for some solid hours of sleep finally. I’m hoping this isn’t just what “old” is. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

I’m in the middle of a long text conversation with Jim G at the moment, so that’s keeping me entertained and helping me wake up and summon some energy. ๐Ÿ™‚ He has been looking at the 360 videos I did of Lancaster, and when I told him about planning to do Millersport – he reminded me of a couple areas that I need to get but hadn’t planned out yet. I’ve already created the thumbnails though, including these two new areas, so I’ll be ready to go once I get the oomph to travel. ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Didn’t get a single trick or treater this year, despite leaving out a tray full of decent-ish candy. It was cold and rainy, but they didn’t postpone, so maybe the kids and families all decided to make the most of their adventure and go to more condensed neighborhoods. At least now I’ve got plenty of Nerds and various gummy candies to keep me covered for weeks.

Other than that I’ve just been working on my investments and my “planning” stuff. Finally pulled the trigger and got started investing some of my money in a (hopefully) manner that’ll lead to some decent growth… but then of course a couple weeks later we get these few days of shit stock market performance, which isn’t a ton of fun to watch in real-time. ๐Ÿค“๐Ÿ˜ฃ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ I’m pretty good at understanding that these investments are meant to grow over years, not weeks or months, so it’s all good.

And while I was researching and learning and working on all that, I decided to make some changes to my will and healthcare directives and such. The person that I had previously chosen… I dunno… let’s just say that I’m not completely confident in their way of thinking these days, so I went ahead and put Genesee in charge of everything. A little impractical, considering she’s 600 miles away, but she’s told me many times that if she’s ever needed for anything revolving around all that – she’ll be here without hesitation.

Enough about that, though… not exactly something I wanna sit here dwelling on. ๐Ÿ˜ But once that’s all done and I’ve got witnesses and notary stamps, I can throw it back into the safe and hopefully not think about it for years and years. ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป But yeah, if I manage to get some sleep tonight, tomorrow might not be bad for that trip to Millersport that I keep talking about. I’ll top off the battery in the camera just in case. It’s just that it’s been getting freezy cold here overnights, so pretty soon even the days might be a little too cold to be driving around with that cam… ๐Ÿฅถ just knowing that the battery will die a whole lot faster in the cold.

Dream Manipulation

I’ve been dealing with weeks and weeks of nightmares. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ Not every night, but pretty damn close. It has effed with my sleep in a serious way, so I figured I should start trying some things that might change how things go during the hours that I’m asleep. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Last night definitely counts as a success. You know that cloudy time when you’re not quite asleep but not really awake? I’ve been working to inject things into my thoughts at that time, basically hoping to “seed” my dreams with things that don’t suck. And I say “inject” but honestly it’s about pulling good things out as much as trying to stick them in. Like conscious thoughts acting as a key to unlock the more detailed subconscious ones.

Doing that, I was able to re-remember four different locations that I have already visited in my dreams years and years ago. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ One of the locations had to be from well over a decade ago… but once it popped into my head, it was instantly familiar, like I was just there the night before. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ And prior to last night, I can’t imagine that there would have been anything that someone could have said or done that would have brought these locations back as regular memories of past dreams. ๐Ÿ™‚ They were buried.

It’s not that complicated, or at least it wasn’t last night. ๐Ÿค” I just set my mind to think of thrift stores, or similar small shops, and somehow they just all came to me one at a time. First one was a dirty old “hole in the wall” type store accented by glow-in-the-dark paint and black lights, with the front room having a bunch of magic supplies and huge dirty mirrors on the walls, and the back room (through a small hallway) having lots of fish tanks with neon tetras glowing along with the painted accents of the store. ๐Ÿ˜Š

The next store location even came with some “outside area” with wildly curving freeways heading to it, like a grown up “Hot Wheels” track. ๐ŸŽ๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ Those roads, exactly like years ago, took the very same route to a mall which had the same identifiable stores that I had interacted with before. A candy store that you have to go through to even get into the mall, then the 70s themed record store, and once you went up to the second floor there was a retro video game store… ๐Ÿค“๐Ÿ•น๏ธ appearing exactly as it was all those years ago.

It’s so strange to experience, because they weren’t quite dreams, and not quite memories… because as I was recalling each of these locations, I wasn’t “dreaming” anything with other people or a plot or anything like that. It was more like I was operating as a floating camera that could just go wherever I wanted in that world in order to examine things. ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜Š

Third location was a little more vague, but it’s always been that way. It also had a long, flat stretch of road to reach it, located at a somewhat desolate intersection where another long road met it at an almost parallel angle. ๐Ÿช๐ŸŒต I’ve never seen what’s inside this store, but the outside has always remained the same. And like last night, it usually just serves as a stop before going to the final location that also came to me.

That last location was a regular thrift store. Nothing that remarkable, other than never having seen the location or any buildings like it in real life, but having visited it repeatedly in my dreams. ๐Ÿคจ It’s located next to some strip malls, although it is set back in an odd way which makes it difficult to see from the road. The inside of the store is actually based on something in the real world though. There used to be a store called “Hecks” on the edge of town, and the inside of this thrift store is nearly identical to what I remember Hecks looking like. And as I went through the automatic doors and through the entryway, it even had the same vending machines there as it did the other times it was featured in my dreams.

So yeah, I’d say that was some pretty remarkable results considering that I was just thinking “thrift store, thrift store, thrift store…” as I started zoning out. ๐Ÿ˜ It makes me wonder if I’ll be able to do it again, and as well, with different locations or set pieces. It would sure make it a nicer experience, preparing to go to sleep each night. Hell, if I get really good at it I could see where being asleep is genuinely a better prospect than being awake. ๐Ÿ˜… That sounds bad, I know… but being able to have some control over your dreams… it’s like virtual reality without the big helmet, and way more real.

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.”ย 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…

THIS.

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. ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ•ฏ๏ธ 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… ๐Ÿ˜ 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 ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ) 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. ๐Ÿ˜ 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. ๐Ÿค” 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. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

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. ๐Ÿ˜ธ 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. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Interesting evening, for sure.

Shitter’s Full

There’s an RV show going on at the convention center in Columbus this weekend, and I’m supposed to meet my friend Jim there so we can check out the latest and greatest offerings. ๐Ÿค“๐ŸšŒ๐Ÿ˜Ž Dad and I used to go to an RV / boat / travel show decades ago, and until I googled for information just a few moments ago I assumed that this was the same production, just years later. ๐Ÿค” But nope… the one we went to is still going on, now in its 40th year, but it’s held at the fairgrounds expo center.

It’ll be neat, looking at everything, but neither of us are going there with any intent of buying anything. It’s more of a research mission for Jim, since when he eventually retires he’s planning on downsizing his life even further (if necessary) and living like a hippie. ๐Ÿ˜… I joke, but he actually has put a lot of thought into the logistics of it. Living in a small RV, at an appropriate park or campground… one that’s meant for semi-permanent folks such as himself, so he’ll be able to have electric, plumbing, internet, etc. ๐Ÿ•๏ธ๐Ÿš

The footprint of his daily life is already so small, I bet it won’t even feel like he’s “giving up” that much. In fact, he’ll probably feel (and rightly so) like he’s gaining freedom, the ability to pick up and go somewhere else if the mood hits, etc. ๐Ÿ˜Š He’s even considering off-grid solar power with battery storage, since that setup should provide more than enough electricity for his needs. His ambitions may seem lofty, and there will be unknown / unexpected things along the way, but I’d give even odds that he’ll end up doing it. ๐Ÿ™‚

He already knows that the prices of new, current model RVs (from the smallest “pop-up” campers to giant transforming motorhomes) will be at “pants crapping” levels… ๐Ÿ˜ but it’ll allow him to see what might be available used, at much more reasonable prices, once he is ready to make the jump years from now. And it’s not just about the RVs. It’s also about all of the stuff that goes along with them. ๐Ÿง Solar, battery storage, satellite TV / internet, food prep / storage, plumbing / septic options, security needs, locations, info about true costs of living, etc. It might not be that kind of expo, but hopefully all of the niche industries that deal in the products that compliment “RV life” will be represented there. ๐Ÿ™‚

EDIT: And now, after talking about all of this, it makes me wish that some sort of “AutoRama” type show would come to town next. I’ve got pics of me as a kid, standing in front of The General Lee, sitting in KITT from Knight Rider… but I’d love to learn of a touring car show with all of the greatest TV / movie cars from over the past 50 years or so. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Two Good Stops

I waited and saved my Christmas visiting until the day after Christmas. First stop was at Pizza Cottage to pick up a pizza for me and Dad. We’ve been texting a lot, but since I’ve been sick for the past week and a half it’s been a while since I had been in for a visit. He got himself a new set of wheels, much better than the last one… took it for a test drive and it handles good and has a comfy seat for my crappy back. ๐Ÿ˜

After a couple hours there I had to take off so I could make it over to Bri’s and have some time there before it got dark. When I got there, Bri let me in and told me that the kids were out back in the playground / courtyard area, and as soon as I walked out the back door Brantley saw me and said “Hey Uncle Bobby, come watch me skate!” as if he had seen me just yesterday. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Last time he saw me in person was at his birthday in July, and before that… well, it had been quite a while… probably like a year and a half. ๐Ÿ˜•

The first three years of his life, I was around all the time. (Including his birth.) In fact, it was in my front yard that he learned to walk. ๐Ÿ˜Œ (Safer out there with nothing to run into, and mooshy grass for whenever he stumbled.) Plus, the Easter Bunny left clues and eggs and a basket here at my house for him, and he followed them all and found his way to the basket. There’s too much to mention – but it went from three years of me being around, then poof, he was with his dad for quite a while. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ Now that he’s back home with his mom, I thought for sure that he would have forgotten all the time he and his mom spent with me.

But I went out to where he was skating… and falling… a lot… ๐Ÿ˜… and I said “Grab my arm if you want me to help hold you up.” and he replied “No, I can do it…” as he continued falling. ๐Ÿ˜„ But he was having a good time, and was proud of the little bits he was able to skate. Then we went to the basketball hoop and threw the ball around some. Two of his little girlfriends also came over to play, and those kids were sinking shot after shot, granny style. Shooting with my good arm and continuously missing, one of the girls said “You suck.” and I agreed. ๐Ÿ˜‚ She wasn’t being jerky, she said it in a funny way…

I had my iPad with me, so we went back to the porch where Bri was still sitting and started watching some of the videos of him from when he was here at the house doing this and that, and he really did seem to remember most of the stuff he was seeing. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿ˜ƒ I wasn’t sure that 5-year-old brain would have memories of 2 to 3-year-old brain stuff, but it seems like it did. He opened the gift that I got him, and then helped open his little brother’s gift since Bryson is only 8 months old and would probably take a few hours. ๐Ÿ˜

It was nice though… he took to me as if no time had passed at all. I guess everything I did when he was younger made a good enough impression, so that makes me happy. We looked at some more old pictures on the iPad, he showed me his tablet that he got, and he was playing a game that I actually have on my phone – so we got to sit and try to figure out some puzzles together. ๐Ÿ™‚ Granted, it’s Christmas, but still… he seems really happy there, and the fact that he remembers so much about me makes me happy too.

After watching the videos, he asked if they could all come back out to my house sometime. Heh… poor kid, my house is boring as shit… ๐Ÿ˜ but I’m glad that he liked it here enough back then that he’d wanna come back out now. Maybe I’ll straighten the place up a bit and have them over some evening to watch a movie or something. Oh, and I do have my shelf of collectibles (aka “toys“) to get into if he gets too bored. ๐Ÿ˜