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.”Β 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…

I’m Ready

It’s approaching midnight on Friday, and I think that I’m finally ready to face this week. So, these next couple of hours better watch out, because I’m not feeling too bad at the moment. 😏 Heh… but seriously, this week has felt more “challenging” than usual. Although, as I’m sitting here trying to explain why, I can’t even really think of anything specific that should have made it feel that way. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I dunno… I think all the “get ready, we’re opening” talk / news has just made my brain tired and my sleep shitty, which made every other small or “normal” thing feel that much more laborious. (I still got some chores done and got out of the house once or twice.)

But I’m not gonna sit here and try to remember all of the things from the past week that made it suck, ‘cuz I might end up damaging my calm. But yeah, this week… it definitely took me the entire week to be ready for whatever comes – and for the most part, nothing came. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So now that the weekend is here I’m much more prepared for it than I was the current week. πŸ€“ Hopefully that makes sense.

Ahh, I do know one thing that has improved my mood over the week… getting my two cats to tolerate each other. 😏 Yeah, I’ve officially adopted Maggie – a cat that I was formerly just babysitting – so it’s been a week of anxiously hoping that her and Maven didn’t feel the need to murder each other. πŸ˜ΎπŸ˜…πŸ™πŸ»πŸ˜Ύ Thankfully, possibly because they’re both too old to be bothered with such things, they don’t seem to have any desire to fight or be a pain in each other’s asses. (Although Maven does grump at her every now and then.)

They’re not even close to being buddy buddy, but they at least tolerate each other. In fact, I think they both actually like that there’s one “other critter” around, even if they don’t necessarily want to interact with that other critter. 😏 I have a short video of them simply sitting upright next to each other, no more than a foot apart, but neither one of them wanting to look at or acknowledge the other… 😁 … but both of them seeming to enjoy the moment in some way. (Purposely “ignoring” each other while making sure the other noticed.)

It would be too much to explain here in the blog, how I ended up with Maggie, but basically I was watching her while her previous owner was moving – but with things not going as planned there, the environment wouldn’t have been great for a kitty who’s already anxious and nervous all of the time. 😳😬 On her first day upstairs she went around the house looking for her former roommates, but once she realized they weren’t here – it’s almost like she felt relieved, because she started actually acting like a cat again rather than just hiding all the time and trying to avoid anything and anyone. πŸ₯ΊπŸ˜Š

Maven and I lead a pretty tame life here in the house, and that’s exactly the kind of life that Maggie needs right now… so it just made sense for me to adopt her officially. It all depended on Maven being okay with it though, and since she hasn’t really done anything to indicate that she objects – it looks like this is a done deal. πŸ™‚ See, just typing about the situation has made me smile… so hopefully I’ll hang on to that feeling through the weekend too. (As long as these two buttholes continue to play nice.)

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˜‡

Figuring It Out?

I’ve been bitching a lot here in the blog lately, so I figured I’d drop in to make a more positive post about the weekend. I actually ended up getting pretty much what I was hoping for – putting the stress of my WC stuff to the back of my mind for a couple days, and just letting Saturday and Sunday work themselves out however they wanted. I didn’t even put any self-imposed obligations of “chores” or “being productive” on myself, and it actually worked.

I went in town to grab some groceries and some stuff for Dad, so I ended up making my visit with him on Saturday instead of Sunday. We were talking about maybe watching the race together, but after the visit on the day prior – we ended up just watching the race at the same time and texting back and forth about it. And that track… Homestead… I still think that it’s a little too generic to be the final race, and the one that determines the season champion. The racing from Phoenix, the week prior, was actually more exciting and entertaining… but meh, racing throughout the 2019 season felt improved overall, so at least things are moving in the right direction.

Caught up with some friends and family on Sunday, through messages, since I’d been flying under the radar most of the week. Toni sent me a few pics and vids from their Philly trip, where Matt participated in the Rocky Run, and also sent me a clip of Matt and Wendi’s gender reveal party thing. But she just wanted to check in on me to make sure I was okay. She jokingly offered to get a life-sized cardboard cut-out of me, which she could then take around town and take pictures with it every few days and post the pictures to Facebook – so my friends would “see” that I’m okay. (Since I still haven’t been able to make myself get back on there and socializing again… heh)

Also got caught up with Bri and Cassi… both of whom are dealing with various crap, but they also both seem to have a pretty good handle on things – or at least are doing their best to fake it as they deal with their respective crap. Not only did Bri have to take her youngest son to Children’s for some more tests on Friday, but then today she has her final custody hearing. However it all goes, I’m still impressed with how well she’s dealing with it all, despite obviously being nervous (and me being nervous right along with her), she’s just facing things and tackling them as they come. Same thing with Cassi, just with different issues. I could learn something from both of them when it comes to that.

In fact, I think that’s what helped my weekend (and even today, so far) feel pretty decent. Living a little more “in the moment” than usual. Reminding myself that constantly worrying about things that might not happen for several weeks… there’s just no point to it. You get things settled in your mind and in your plans as best as you can, and then you put it out of your thoughts until it’s time to actually deal with whatever it is. I mean, that’s not a new theory to me, but it’s something I’ve always struggled with. But watching and listening as others deal with some serious shit, and seeing how they do it without letting it crush them, it could be in my best interest to emulate how they do it.

And for good reasons and bad reasons, I found that “cats” ended up being a frequent topic of the weekend… and while talking to Genesee, I had her remind me about the whole story of Maven’s birth. I won’t go through it all, but basically Maven was lucky to have even survived – which made me remark how lucky she (Maven) was. And Genesee replied thatΒ she and IΒ were the lucky ones, considering the influence that Maven has had on both of our lives… and I definitely can’t disagree with that. But it was neat hearing the whole story again, with her lazy butt sleeping next to me by the space heater, and realizing how much she overcame in her first few days and weeks.

So, yeah… I guess it’s sort of crappy that just an “okay” weekend like that feels like such a positive improvement, but it really was a decent couple of days – and I needed it. And like I said, I’m gonna try to follow the lead of the folks that I know who are dealing with just as much as me, if not more, to try and keep the stressful stuff from weighing me down so much. Disability and pain are a couple of challenging adversaries when it comes to that… so not only do I need to embrace the good days when they come, but I also need to do more to nudge the “less good” days in the right direction whenever possible.

(Sorry, I can’t be arsed to go back through and add all the normal emojis today… just gonna hop off here and see where the rest of the day takes me since I’m not feeling too gimped up at the moment.)

Giveth Taketh

Found out late last night that one of my friends has become unexpectedly unemployed. He was actually working at one place, but had been tentatively hired at another place, so he put in his two weeks notice… only for the job to fall through due to unforeseen circumstances. 😟 He’s already been putting in applications at other places, including companies where he used to work, but in different locations… so hopefully this will just be a small blip – and that his wife’s check will get them by until he gets things back on track.

And apparently it happened on the same day that I posted about my other friend’s boyfriend getting hired on as an assistant manager with a buttload of hours. So maybe I didn’t “knock on wood” correctly. It’s like snapping with the Infinity Gauntlet, or howΒ The Monkey PawΒ works… where things can work out, but maybe not exactly as you expected. I was concentrating on not jinxing them, but didn’t consider that a different friend could be having exactly the opposite experience. πŸ˜• I mean, I know I didn’t jinx him, but the irony of talking about it when I posted about it isn’t lost on me.

And I know I had some funky dreams last night, because I actually woke up because of them a couple different times… but I can’t remember the details. πŸ˜’ Woke up still thinking about his situation though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the dreams had something to do with all that. I’ve gotta implement a “winding down” period before I go to bed each night, where I avoid caffeine, avoiding worrying about the next day’s stuff, and where I avoid allowing myself to absorb crappy news right before I sack out.

Weather Complications

Gen’s trip to Ohio ended up being a bit of an adventure. ✈️ 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. πŸ˜ŸπŸ˜•πŸ˜ πŸ˜ πŸ˜πŸ˜ŸΒ πŸ›« 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 beginΒ – 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 πŸ˜―πŸ€”πŸ˜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. πŸ™‚πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Couldn’t have cut it any closer. 😎 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. πŸ˜―πŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ¨οΈπŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ¨οΈπŸ’¨πŸ˜£

Ominous dark clouds, half drizzle, half sleet, freezing winds gusting so hard that people were struggling to hold their flags… it was just awful. 😟 (They had a huge eagle on hand as well, and he wasn’t too thrilled about things either.) πŸ¦… 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 daysΒ 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. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ 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. πŸš™πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸƒπŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ¨οΈ 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. πŸ˜•

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. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ§πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ We did take a handful of pictures on the actual placement day, and boy do they not convey what the experience was actually like. 😏 (But of course once everything was overΒ 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.Β I didn’t even do half as much as her… but I’m out of juice. πŸ™„πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

What Was Their Secret?

Other than being a little frustrated while trying to fix the dirt spots in my yard today, it’s honestly been a decent day. I’m getting a little bit better at having those moments of “grr” and then letting them go… for the most part, anyway. But I can’t help but think about my grandparents – Grandpa S and Grandpa B in particular – and remember how even when they probably had plenty of things they could have been grumpy about, and maybe even were, they still never seemed to carry their frustration or aggravation with them for long.

With Grandpa B, it was more when he was working in his workshop, or tending to the grass, bushes, and flowers outside… 😏 which is kind of ironic, considering the latter of those things is what causes my frustration. But those were “his things” and when he was doing them, you’d have no idea if anything was bothering him. 😌 He’d just let himself get lost in whatever project he happened to be working on.

And Grandpa S, much like Grandpa B, was a man of few words… so even if he was in a bad mood or had something negative on his mind, you’d never know it. I can still “see” those memories in my head, when we’d have family reunions out at their house when I was much younger… and Grandpa S would quietly sit there enjoying the company, making an occasional joke or comment here and there, with a slight smile or ornery grin on his face. πŸ™‚ And even when we would see him on just a “normal” visit, it was like he had an invisible shield that was keeping all the “bleh” away from him.

I’m not completely naive… I know that there was plenty of stuff that both of those grandparents could and did get irritated, annoyed, or bothered by… but that’s why I look at how they were and envy it. Maybe it’s a generational thing, where being a grump ass or expressing your “bleh” out loud just wasn’t a thing that you did. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But however it was that they did it… I want that.

I’ve got plenty of things to be frustrated by, annoyed with, pissed off about… and like I said, I’m actually getting better at letting it go… but I wanna keep working on allowing myself to have those feelings, because there are legit reasons behind it all and it’s not good to keep things bottled up, but then letting them go once the initial feelings are over and no good can come from continuing to dwell on them.

And I’ve mentioned it a couple of times recently, but I do think that the “always connected” nature of the world today makes it harder to escape any “bleh” feelings – because when you’re already bothered by whatever your own “thing” is, it’s so easy to get online and unintentionally drown in all sorts of unrelated negative news. Where just “keeping up to date with things / people” can end up feeding whatever crappy feeling you’ve already got if you’re not careful. πŸ˜• But yeah, I’m feeling better from earlier, the race is almost over, so it’s time to get off here and get on those couple of chores.

Meanwhile, I’m gonna treat this “project” as a very early New Year’s resolution. πŸ™‚Β Somethin’s gotta give, eh?

Disappointed, But It’s Alright

Made it through most of the day without thinking about it, but tonight was the night that Skillet performed at Express Live in Columbus. 😟 Indoor show, general admission, standing room only. 😬 It’s those last two bits that got me. (I hate to admit it…) But I made the right choice by not going. Today hasn’t been a great day when it comes to my neck bothering me. Standing, getting bumped around by an appropriately enthusiastic crowd, for a few hoursΒ (Alter Bridge was performing as well) just wouldn’t have worked. πŸ˜•

(But I also know that I’d feel even more disappointed if I made an attemptΒ to go – and then ended up having to leave before the concert was even over because of my oush. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Sigh… it is what it is.)

Finding the positives… πŸ€”Β Okay… I’ve seen Skillet plenty of times, and there’s always the possibility of seeing them again at the right time and right venue, so it’s not like I missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And the show? They’re touring on their newest album, and don’t tell anybody… 🀫 but this album isn’t exactly one of my favorites. And if I don’t count “missed the Skillet concert” then I’ve otherwise had an okay day.

Genesee and Sarah upgraded their security system, so a couple of weeks ago she sent me an extra camera that works with my home security setup, and today I found a place for it and added it to the network. πŸ“ΉΒ So I now have five active security cameras keeping an eye on my house. 😏 A house with hardly any visitors, and even fewer “suspicious” people coming anywhere close to stepping onto my property. It’s the same theory as having the dashcam in my car. Having video cameras installed somewhere almost magically prevents anything worth capturing on video from happening, and that’s a good (yet boring) thing.Β πŸ€“ Touch wood. 🀞🏻

But I kept today low-key, much like yesterday. I did start watching more of the political news coverage… and woo boy… πŸ˜―πŸ˜…Β Whether you believe that the fuss is all justified, or you believe that it’s a witch hunt that’s wasting the government’s time, energy, and money – stuff is sure heating up quickly. πŸ”₯🍊πŸ”₯Β It makes you wonder how any normal, functional, useful “government-ing” gets done. But I think my DVR also caught today’s NASCAR qualifying for me, so after O’Donnell I’ll click over and see how that went. πŸπŸš—πŸš•πŸš™πŸ’¨

I’m not even sure what track they’re at this week. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ (… said the formerly enthusiastic fan of the sport.)