Hello Again

Huh. It’s a blog post! Considering my last one was in December, I thought I’d write another one and try to be better at it. I said try, folks.

In said post I had mentioned that COVID cases continued to surge. That’s no longer the case as more and more people get vaccinated and numbers are actually dropping. As a result, the state has entered a lower tier and restaurants are starting to open for indoor dining, stores are allowing more customers in their doors, and gyms are welcoming back the resolutioners that haven’t thrown in the towel yet.


I have acquaintances posting family pics at Mongolian BBQs. Ann has friends who couldn’t wait to get smashed at local bars and posting selfies of their exuberant debauchery.


Perhaps I speak for myself when I say that we’re still in the midst of a motherfucking pandemic and it’s still way too soon to be getting shitfaced at Moe’s Tavern or be slurping udon with your family in a restaurant.


Anyway…

(Update 3/25/21: I learned yesterday that a family on our street — known to have had plenty of social gatherings during this pandemic — all came down with COVID after one of their drunken soirées because one of the members was unknowingly exposed and spread the virus. It cost one of the eldest members his life. Worth it?)


I haven’t been shot yet because I do not meet the state’s criteria of being a fat…uh, morbidly obese nor do I fall within the age range of being 60+, work in field that puts me at risk, or have any underlying conditions that put me at a higher risk of dying from COVID. Damn you, you healthy stinking body!

Ha ha. Sucks to be you, I guess. Go eat some oranges you healthy sucky-suck.


Frankly I have a greater chance of getting hit by cars while out for my morning walk/ride – and it’s already happened more times than I’d like to mention.

The family hasn’t been vaccinated yet either for the same reasons I’ve stated although they do have asthma and one is a cancer survivor. (Ann is now two-and-a-half years of being what the doctors call “unremarkable” and still exceeding all the -ologists expectations!) My mom has gotten both shots and in-laws have had their first dose. My brother got his today although I suspect he, as he always does, stretched the truth to get it. I mean…there’s a history of that and all…

And when we finally do, don’t count on any post-vaccination selfies. Because.


In a post last May I had mentioned that I was going to write a three-part blog series called The Days of Wine and COVID with Part 3 being called The Return to the Office (ala the J.R.R. Tolkien books which I did read, thankyouverymuch). While I got through Parts 1 and 2, Part 3 isn’t happening any time soon. My employer continues to monitor the state’s situation and will follow those guidelines when the time comes although we are at no obligation to ever return to the office. While I do miss being around some coworkers, being home has proven to be a viable alternative to the typical workday. We’ve gotten just as much done at home as we would have at the office and I have much more freedom to do what I need for the family. I miss the location of the office and my coworkers but this is just too easy.

So aside from all that, what’s new?

I’m down 20 pounds. I started to track my weight when I got my Wyze scale last April and weighed in at 237 lbs. Holy, holy fuck. I’m currently at 217 and working on reaching 25 pounds lost by this April. So far this year I’ve logged 500 miles between daily walking and cycling with the occasional rest days. Change is always possible even in the most adverse of situations so don’t give me the “But we were in lockdown!” or “The gym was closed!” excuses for weight gain because I did this during lockdown and never set foot into a gym. You want it? Find a way and work for it.


I’ve joined some virtual challenges. With running events being on hold indefinitely, virtual runs/walks have become more popular. I’ve completed several Conqueror Challenges and have set a goal reaching of 2,021 miles this year so with 500 miles in the books thus far, it’s gonna happen by October. As of now I’ve earned 5 medals and they are soooo cool.


L-R: Mt. Fuji (46 mi.), Mt. Everest (40 mi.), Giza Pyramids (46 mi.), Grand Canyon (280 mi.), St. Francis Way (312 mi.).

New iPad Air. Stimulus money be damned! I got a 2017 Nissan LEAF EV last July and Ann realized on the last day of 2020 that I qualified for a $1,000 rebate, so I hastily submitted my application with the appropriate paperwork and got approved a few months later. Once I got the check, I used a portion of it along with some cash I had saved up for this specific purchase and some Amazon gift cards to get the iPad and an Apple Pencil 2 (required for newer iPads). That said…


Y’all wanna buy some stickers? Part of the reason I got my new iPad was to be creative and draw more regularly. I had one of my drawings of Milhouse Van Houten made into stickers and my first batch is up for sale on Etsy. I’ve sold a total of one but will have more on the way.


NOBODY LIKES MILHOUSE!


We’re growing stuff! No, not that stuff. After a year of being home, we decided that having a garden would be fun so we used our existing planters and any empty areas in the backyard to plant a bunch of stuff: onions, pumpkins, peppers, cilantro, tomatoes, etc. It’s been a lot of work but so worth it. This is just a small part of it.

Green goodness!


Fresh eggs are comin’! I eat two eggs every day for breakfast, so I thought hey, why not have fresh ones? I have a chicken coop coming and once it’s built, I’m getting a hen. It seems we’ve turned into city farmers – maybe even hippies with my EV – and it feels kinda nice picking what we need from our backyard. And no, my hen isn’t going to be on our plate one day. She’s going to provide the eggs and be our pet, and we’re looking forward to having her.


And that’s pretty much been life since December!

What’s Happening!!!

Hey hey hey! I’m still alive, as this post clearly indicates. I just thought I’d give you an update on things and what I’ve been up to.

Learning Japanese. It takes about an hour for the bus to arrive at the office, and I literally catch it across the street from home and stops about 500 steps from work. Why I didn’t think of this before is beyond me.

At any rate, I tried a number of things to pass the time while commuting with the masses: music, podcasts, etc. Then I figured that if I’ve got time to kill, I might as well make it productive so I started using the Lingodeer app to reintroduce myself to Japanese. It’s just the beginning; there are a number of different apps I’ve used in the past but I seem to retain more with this one. We’ll see how it goes.

I’ve Been Sick. Rather than blast constant updates all over Facebook, I’d much rather do it here and go into more detail and fucking cuss if I need to. Basicallly, I was having a hard time swallowing as well as a few other things. A trip to the doctor last Thursday confirmed I had tonsilitis — yes, I still have my tonsils — and I was prescribed a medication called Cefdinir. It’s a pretty strong antibiotic that I had never taken before.

And I had an awful reaction to it. After a nap on Saturday afternoon, I woke up covered in a rash around my neck. (Sorry, no pictures — I’m not my brother who once posted pictures of his heat rash on Instagram. Ew.) Later that evening, the rash had spread to my arms and torso. It was ugly so I stopped taking the medication and broke out the calamine lotion.

The rash was only part of it. Conjuctivitis is another as well as…let’s just say I’ve needed to hydrate a lot. I had all of it.

The doctor has since prescribed me a new antiboitic and so far the breakouts have been minimal and I’m feeling better. I’m never sick and the one time I am I take medicine that makes me worse, but I guess none of us are allergic to any medications until we take them and see what happens.

I’ve Been Drawing on my iPad. Each family member has their own laptop. I don’t, so when we were thinking about buying a PC for home, it only made sense for me to get an iPad so that I can do whatever (like, for example, blogging as I’m doing now). But it’s gone beyond that — I’ve since bought an Apple Pencil in order to broaden my horizons, and here’s the first thing I drew.

It’s not the best and there are a ton of things I can tell you are wrong with it but it was an experiment to see how it would go. So not too bad methinks.

I’m Considering Leaving Instagram. The Powers That Be have determined that all of my accounts have been violating their terms and have shadowbanned all of them. One of them is even blocked on my phone. My only guess is that since I do use the same hashtags on a lot of posts, Instagram thinks I’m spamming. So after nearly 5,000 posts, they think I’m spamming. Thanks, assholes.

Here’s how such a ban works:

  • Users are not told they are banned; they will suddenly see a drop in likes and followers
  • Hashtags are blocked so your account is essentially private (only your followers can see your posts)

Because of this, it’s no longer fun and pretty pointless to keep going. I’ll keep the accounts open in the hopes that the ban is lifted but I’m not very optimistic about it. I will resurrect my photo blog Digital Resolution and start posting there, where I’m the boss and can pretty much say what I need to.

And now you’re caught up. I’ll try to be better about posting here 🙂

Break Time

As I do occasionally, I’ve been on a self-mandated Facebook break for about a month. And while I’ve posted a total of maybe seven pictures during that time, that’s all I’ve really done.

Quite frankly, if I didn’t have my account linked to so many external apps or services, I would just close the damn thing and not look back. But since that’s not the case I’m doing the next best thing for my purpose which is simply avoiding it. The app is hidden in a folder on my phone’s Home page (still installed for the aforementioned external services) so that I don’t see or use it.

What prompted this move was the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida. It was simply awful and being a parent, I can’t even imagine having to deal with something so incredibly tragic yet seemingly avoidable. And of course, after any event like this, the arguments and conspiracy theories begin and they were out in full force on Facebook.

But this one seemed to really have people divided more than ever.

In the end, I deleted and blocked two people, one of whom is a real gun nut and tried to justify owning a cache of killing machines because it’s in the Constitution. Sorry, *poof* you’re gone. Another was an on-again, off-again friend who thought arming teachers was the solution. We’re now permanently in “off-again” status and I really don’t care to speak to them ever again (we’ve grown apart over the years). I’m a little shocked I only deleted two people after all this.

Then there’s the daily clusterfuck of a soap opera called The Trump Presidency that is saturated in lies and eaten up by his minions. And even though I follow some of his so-called “fake news” outlets, my Feed became a Trump ticker-tape parade and I don’t need to give that idiot any more of my time. I try to avoid the news these days but still visit websites or watch broadcasts at my leisure and not Facebook’s timeline.

But mark my words: Trump will burn out real soon and it’s going to be the most spectacular meltdown in the history of humankind. It’s been my theory that he wanted the power and position of President, but not the responsibility. And so far I seem to be right with that assessment.

There’s other random things that drove me away from Facebook, not to mention their recent privacy issues. Not to get into details but uh, yeah. Not everything needs to be posted on social media, whether it’s your lunch or checking in at the doctor’s office for your [insert procedure/examination of your choice]. Oh, don’t look surprised. People really do post this stuff and I’m not sure why. I have done it in the past but I’ve grown older and wiser.

So I’m content to keep this streak alive. But you may be wondering what I’ve been doing in lieu of wasting time on Facebook.

First, I’ve been a little more active posting photos on Instagram. Photography is one of my passions and I’d rather dedicate my time to sharing my vision – dare I say, talent – with the world (or at least my sub-500 followers) than read about someone’s dinner. In fact, I was recently contacted by Apple (yes, that Apple!) about the possibility of them using one of my shots for their Instagram account (see comments).

I’ve submitted my shot and waiting to hear back. Either way, praise from Caesar is praise, indeed.

Second, I’ve been doing some thinking about my weight lately and decided to once again take charge of it and set a lofty goal for myself by my 50th birthday next February. If you recall, my weight loss blog is called 200by40, implying that I’d reach my goal of 200 pounds by my 40th birthday in 2009 which I did. With 50 around the corner, I’m sure you can use your imagination and figure out the goal I’ve set for myself. Either way, there will be no Facebook posts about it except maybe when I reach my goal. Maybe.

And I’m not saying it’s serious but I’ve given up having cereal for breakfast and replaced it with an egg and almond milk. No more Lucky Charms; I’m eating like a real adult in the morning!

To that end, I’ve been sleeping more because old people need their sleep. Actually, it’s known to help with weight loss.

And with the free time Facebook has given me, I suppose I should blog more as well. I’ll try to be better at that.

Anyway, that’s my story. Hope everybody stuck in Zuckerbergland is doing well.

Trollin’

I’ve been at this blogging thing since 2004. After 1,274 posts I think I kind of know what I’m doing.

Actually, the fact that I can string words together and form a cohesive thought makes me a pretty smart cookie when compared to the average person posting umpteen selfies on social media from everywhere they go — even church. Yes, I’ve seen it. Never mind why you’re there; just do it for the “likes.”

But I digress. I’m no genius but at least my comprehension of the English language is on-par or better. I mean, come on. I’ve worked as a writer or proofreader since 2003 (excluding that awful 1.5 years in the grocery store). It’s not complete mastery but you get the idea.

That said, I’ll be the first to admit that not every post here is perfect or gold — comedy or otherwise. You haven’t even seen the ones that are still in my Drafts folder that I keep for fun or the ones that I threw out because they were so awful.

And each of my posts has a star rating system at the top so readers can give me some feedback about what they just read. Apparently, I did something to piss off a few trolls on April 14, 2017 since on that day, several of my posts were given a salvo of one-star ratings or, as it reads on the mouseover, “This sucks!”

The WordPress report is a little fuzzy but you get the idea.

Look. I don’t care about your one-star ratings because they were all on the same day and the same quantity. They mean nothing. But if you really want to voice your opinion on any given post, if it pissed you off that much, don’t be a little shit and hide behind a gold star and your keyboard in Mom’s basement. Use the Comments section and speak up.

Blogging costs me money and time but even after all these years, I still get a great deal of enjoyment from it.

The rating system will remain open. A few trolls ain’t gonna stop me.

Blogging Is Dead 

Me and blogging are in a relationship — and it’s complicated.

In a time when social media and viral videos are still king, it looks as if blogging — personal blogging at least — is all but dead.

I remember a time when I could write a post and get a reasonable number of interactions/hits/visits coupled with an occasional comment or even a discussion. But then again that was when “blogosphere” was a media buzzword and before Twitter and Facebook were on the radar. I’ve been at this in one form or another since 2004, just months after Facebook was founded, and years before Twitter would arrive. These days it’s much easier to post a blurb on Facebook and wait for the usual suspects to start clicking that reaction button to show their approval, disgust, etc. Or type “Amen” to send prayers up because…never mind.

And this has never been a profitable venture for me. If anything, it costs me to run this dog-and-pony show in the form of domain ownership, mapping and, of course, my own time. While I do have ads here, I’ve yet to reach my $100 threshold to cash out the revenue they generate and they’ve been in place for years. I’m still nowhere near that threshold.

Maybe it’s because I’m not smart enough to do something stupid enough that will drive the traffic and revenue up (look up any “YouTube sensation/star/personality”). Or maybe it’s because personal blogs just aren’t a thing anymore.

So with all that said, you might be glad to know that I’ve once again ponied up my annual fees to keep this here blog alive for at least another year.

Why?

I like owning a domain and having an email associated with it (send one to dave_at_holographicmeatloaf_dot_com and I will reply unless shit gets out of control). I’ve owned it for years and don’t want to lose it. And it looks much more legit having your own address rather than  an unsightly [username_dot_host_dot_com] URL. Even if you have readers, nobody will want to remember all that crap.

I also like telling an occasional story, with pictures, that nobody on Facebook would bother reading if I had posted it there. Anybody can write a blurb about something stupid that happened in the Costco parking lot but not everyone can tell a cohesive story,  and my stories sometimes require more than 140 characters.

Plus, this year marks my 10th year using WordPress as my host having moved from Google’s Blogger platform, which is as ugly as a website built and hosted by Geocities or Tripod. Look those up, kids.

So even with the doom and gloom of not being what it used to be, I’m still keeping the faith.

And if you’re reading this, thanks for being a part of it.

Composed on my iPhone with the WordPress app because I was too lazy to clean off the stuff from my desk