It’s Another Update on Crap

Every December 1st I’m reminded that my annual domain mapping fee has been processed. It’s not a lot but it’s a reminder nonetheless and since I still pay for that and the domain, I feel obligated to give the people – all 5 3 of them – what they want.

But before we go too far, let’s talk about what I’m apparently not giving. I had ratings on my posts for the longest time and it seems that there are some pinheads out there who take great pride in ticking one-star ratings on a lot of them.

Look, this is free entertainment for you. And as I already stated, it costs me a few bucks to keep things going (in addition to setting time aside to blog). So starting with this post, ratings will be off because, frankly, I want them to be. All you sourpusses need to go to find someone else to belittle or, better yet, prove you are better at this. Yes, blogs are a dying medium but if you’ve been at it a long time, there’s still a sense of pride in getting your thoughts onto virtual paper for the entire world to see – and I do.

Anyway, let’s cover some things that have happened since my last post.

We Were In An Accident. I didn’t go into great detail on any social media platforms (save for a brief mention on Instagram stories) and for good reason: it really wasn’t a big deal. In a nutshell, we were going to dinner and as my light turned green and I pulled into the intersection, a guy ran his red light and hit the front of Ann’s car on the driver’s side. If I were going and faster the impact would have been on the door and I probably would have gotten a bit banged-up. But he wasn’t going fast and he admitted guilt, and we had two witnesses stop and give us their phone numbers. Anthony had the wind knocked out of him for a bit but was fine, and Ann and I had a few days of soreness.

The damage:

Photo Oct 24, 2 21 18 PM

It’s not extensive and the car is still drive-able so we’re waiting until after the holidays to get it fixed. Now here’s a few thoughts about the accident.

  • Remember in the old days when it was recommended that you carry a disposable camera in your car in case of an accident? It’s hard to imagine such days existed now that there are cameras everywhere, and you don’t realize how far we’ve come until you upload all your evidence to a Dropbox folder and send the link to your insurance agent. That’s exactly what I did.
  • They say California drivers are the worst. Well, in the case of my two accidents (scooter and car), I was hit by drivers who were not from California and both were at fault. In fact, the most recent one was in a rental car and didn’t pack his license for his trip out here (which makes me wonder how he got a rental car or why he was driving in general). So let’s lay that assumption to rest, mmmmkay?

Ann’s Recovery Continues to Baffle Everyone. Throughout the course of Ann’s journey with kidney cancer, we’ve visited our share of –ologists: nephrologist (kidney specialist), oncologist (cancer), and urologist (urinary tract and related organs). There might even be more. And with each visit, she continues to leave them speechless with the progress she’s making.

Just over a year after her nephrectomy, her most recent bloodwork shows that everything is where it should be, if not better. There are also no indications – referred to as NED or No Evidence of Disease – of any cancer anywhere. Whatever –ologist they are, we are grateful for all of them for saving Ann’s life. We’ve been handling this the best way we know how: staying positive and refusing to let it consume our lives. I believe that the mind can do some incredible things and there’s no doubt that a positive attitude – and a little spark inside both of us – made all the difference. We’re also grateful for those who helped us along the way with words of encouragement and, yes, prayer. I don’t partake in it myself but as my mom told me, “I wish I could do more but that’s about all I can give you guys.”

Thanks, Mom. I get it.

And would you believe Ann actually lost friends over this? Granted, she didn’t expect comments from all of her Facebook friends on her recovery updates since we don’t know how often they use the platform. But those that we know well enough to give our phone number and do use it a lot? Those same ones never left one comment or an encouraging word throughout her recovery. Not even a call or a text. Strangely, they were the ones who liked to complain the most over the tiniest, most mundane aspect of their dull, dull lives and blow it so egregiously out of proportion so it was like Ann got cancer to steal their thunder. They are the type to expect sympathy over a hangnail. So fuck them, she cut them loose and if they were mutual, I did the same. We haven’t heard from any of them since and we’re better off.

We Had to Replace or Fix Lots of Things. This hasn’t been our year apparently. In addition to the accident, here’s a list of things that were in cahoots with each other and all went out within month over the year:

  • Refrigerator/freezer
  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • Batteries on all three vehicles (both cars and my motorcycle)
  • Living room TV
  • Brake pads on my car (replaced by me, saving over $200)

I think there’s more but that’s all I can remember at the moment. But it’s enough. All have been replaced or fixed except for the motorcycle battery since I don’t ride it anymore.

The Texas Crap Has Been Resolved. You may recall that shortly after Ann’s surgery, I had a process server come to my door wanting to serve me with papers for a child support case. You read the details here. Long story short, a few months ago my attorney sent me an email from the person handling the case stating that they had the wrong person and I was off the hook. Attached was a “notice of nonsuit” with the reason being “mistaken identity.” That’s finally taken care of but what a stressful thing to handle while you have more important things going on in your life.

Speaking of Texas, I Was Right About the Astros. I say this not as a bitter Dodger fan but as a baseball fan who just felt that things weren’t right with the way this Astros team suddenly became the reincarnation of the 1990s Atlanta Braves.

“Those fuckers are cheating,” I said after the 2018 playoffs even though they lost.  “No other way around it. No team gets that good, that fast.” And now with every story that emerges about the scandal, it seems I was right.

Whew, was that enough? I think so. Maybe the next post will actually stick to a single topic.

Let’s just hope my computer doesn’t sUdd3nly DecIddddddddee to br…

Holy Shit, It’s a Blog Post!

Feeling lucky, punk? Well for the second day in a row, you’re getting a blog post. You’re kind of special.

The notable exception between last night and tonight? I’m using my iPad and wireless keyboard instead of my jank-ass Gateway which tends to freeze up quite a bit, which made composing last night’s post a bit of a pain. The only pain here is the freakishly small keys on this wireless keyboard and odd commands (Function + O = apostophe).

So what do you get with this post? An update from the previous one which outlined what I’ve been up to. Let’s see what changed.

Learning Japanese. For the umpteenth time, I started to dabble in learning the language as a means to kill time on the bus to work. And for the umpteenth time, I’ve given up. There’s no going back this time. If I do decide to learn something, it will be brushing up on my Spanish.

Speaking of the bus, the route changed to the summer schedule and it’s no longer convenient to take it to work since I’d have to leave the office much earlier or wait for the next bus at 6:30, then get home at 7:30. That’s a long day, and I’m back to driving until the schedule changes back.

I’ve Been Sick. Well, I had one day of being sick after the last time but it wasn’t so bad. Just took a day off from work to hydrate and recover.

I’ve Been Drawing On My iPad. While not lately, I do have a few projects going currently. Here’s one of them.

I’m Considering Leaving Instagram. Well, that never happened. It was just a rough time of being shadowbanned and just waiting until the ban was lifted. All of my accounts are now active but here is the main one if you’re so inclined.

Now you’re al caught up. Let’s see if I keep my blogging interesting going!

They Really Do Like Me

English sentences with red penThe job of a proofreader is often the least appreciated at any organization and goes far beyond the scope of making sure the word public isn’t mistakenly spelled pubic.

Don’t laugh. I’ve caught that error in the past.

We are fact-checkers, legal liaisons, and basically a safety net between the organization or its clients and the public. In my case, the public is the auto-buying consumer who will review details of specific models in order to make an informed decision. After all, a car is a big purchase and things have to be right in general and in the eyes of the Legal Department.

But often the job demands ridiculous requests from any number of internal people who don’t realize or understand how the Creative Services Department operates. Sure, it’s easy for them to add a copy block to the middle of a brochure and think nothing of it – unless that block requires disclaimers, in which sometimes everything will have to be renumbered from that point on. You should see my notepad on my desk with said renumbering notes scribbled all over it. A real work of art.

And it takes time – a lot of time – to get this done right along with other changes and sent back to the Production Artist. A pat on the back for getting it done under a time-sensitive deadline? Forget it, pal. Just take your lunch and be back in an hour.

Flash-forward to today’s daily huddle in which Project Managers, Production Artists, and Proofreaders go over projects currently funneling through so that we all have an idea of our priorities. It’s also a time to make any other announcements that might affect the team.

Once projects were discussed, one PM spoke up and informed us that she had given her two-week notice and when her final day would be. Shocking to say the least as she has been with the company for some time now, and we lost another PM last week. We’ll be down two experienced PMs come July and will have to start the onboarding process with two fresh faces at that point. No pressure with everything we have going on.

When she was done with her announcement, I spoke up in order to bring attention to a recent change in the formatting of the websites we build.

“Before y’all run away, I’ve got something to say too.”

And the looks on the faces of everyone in the room were priceless. There were gasps, sighs, and other sounds of disapproval before someone said something.

“No no no, don’t even tell us you’re leaving,” one PM said, mouth agape. There were other mutterings in the background I couldn’t decipher but I can assure you they weren’t expressing joy. All eyes were fixed on me – and looking rather bulbous. I laughed, smiled, and paused a moment to build up tension – but didn’t really answer their question.

“You’ll know when I’m moving on,” I said. “But that’s not what I want to talk about.”

Always leave them guessing.

I then went into detail about the topic I wanted to discuss and gathered some input. In fact, it’s such a mess that it will require a second meeting tomorrow in order determine how to streamline the process.

With that, the meeting was over and all were relieved to learn that I wasn’t going to be the next one to make a hasty exit and they expressed it nervously. It makes me wonder what’s going on or if I should see what else is out there, but a longer commute would hardly justify the difference in pay, if any.

But just based on the reaction of all in the room it’s safe to say that, despite my impressions of being part of the most unappreciated department in the office, I’m a little more respected than previously thought for the job that I do.

And being in a position where kudos and thank-yous are rarely expressed, it felt good to get that kind of feedback and to know that we are an integral part of the machine.

So I Joined AARP. Shut Up.

“What do you mean, Patrick? Old people are the greatest! They’re full of wisdom and experience!” – SpongeBob SquarePants

Photo Feb 10, 9 31 42 PM

Call it target marketing.

A few weeks ago, I was reading a story online about something I can’t remember but none of that is important. Near the bottom of the page was an ad for AARP and while I’m usually pretty good at ignoring ads (read: they’ve never prompted me to purchase a damn thing ever), I decided it to give it a click and see what it was all about.

I thought I’d go a little in-depth with what they had to offer and see if it was worth my time. About 20 minutes later, I was reaching for my wallet to join at the low, low introductory rate of $12 for the year.

And here’s what I’ve discovered so far.

Anyone can join AARP these days. It was once restricted to ages 55 and up but that’s no longer the case.

I get a 15% senior discount at Denny’s when I flash my membership card which, two weeks later, I have yet to receive in physical form. Thankfully, it can be added to your Apple Wallet via the app so it’s cool. But for my birthday this week, my meal will be free since Denny’s still does that Grand Slam birthday promotion. It will be a good way to start my day when I do what I have planned. You didn’t hear anything. Shhh.

I took a hearing test, a whopping $8 value but free of charge to AARP members, and to no one’s surprise I discovered I’m a little hard of hearing, mostly in the right ear. It was a little sketchy though since the test was done over the phone where I had to listen to the sound a voice recite a set of three numbers over white noise that got louder each sequence. Then I had to enter said numbers – or at least what I thought I heard – with the keypad. I guess seeing Elton John last week didn’t help matters (but seriously, it was Elton Fucking John and he was spectacular).

There are discounts a-plenty: travel, health, auto insurance, hotels, etc. And oh yeah, cellular plans for Jitterbug. Because I’m so fucking old that I need to use a flip phone to call the police and let them know about the damn neighbor kids messing up my lawn.

But honestly, the discounts were all pretty disappointing. I’ve got good health insurance for me and the family so we’re covered there. I tried an auto insurance quote and it wasn’t much cheaper than what we pay with AAA which offers many more benefits. For travel and entertainment, my company has a corporate site where we can buy movie or concert tickets, book hotel rooms, reserve a rental car, etc. at substantial corporate discounts. What AARP offers doesn’t even come close to these rates.

There are also financial planning services offered but again, the job offers the same thing. So as of now, about the only thing this will be good/used for is the 15% discount at Denny’s and as often as we go there, it’s not even worth keeping.

Maybe when I leave my job and retire (HA!) I’ll get back into this whole AARP thing but until then, it’s a no from me and won’t be renewing. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and OOH SHINY NEW BIKE!

Photo Feb 10, 12 26 44 PM

It’s new. It was cheap. I rode it home in the rain and it’s better than anything you can get a big box store for the same price of $199 (original retail was $489). I still like to ride and since Ann’s old bike was absconded by some putz at the office, I can take my old one to work and use it instead of the left-out-in-the-rain bikeshare bikes that often need repairing.

50 might be approaching but I’m not slowing down much.

Well, except maybe when I see a Denny’s.

Yoga Kicked My Ass

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One of the many benefits that my employer offers is free twice-weekly yoga classes. Over Christmas break I decided that, after almost three years on the job, I would start to take these classes.

Once we returned to work after our break, I made a trip down to Ross and bought the last yoga mat they had to reinforce my commitment – a whole $15 for that mat – to taking these classes.

Last night was the first class. Last night was also my last class.

To put it simply, it kicked my ass. I mean, really. And it’s when you take a yoga class that you realize you’re not in the shape that you thought you were.

Granted I had never taken any classes outside of what’s offered on Wii Fit and some other fitness game I have on Xbox, so there was some familiarity with it but not a full understanding.

She says this to everyone

And from those games I knew the poses everybody knows: warrior, downward-facing dog, and the chair pose. But also, I would do these in the privacy of the den with nobody around and I got used to it, even if I sucked at it.

Taking yoga with people is a different thing entirely. For one, breathing plays a big part in yoga if not the main part. When you’re with a class of people in a small, quiet room listening to new age music and meditation bowls bonging, no matter how hard you’re trying to concentrate on your own breathing, you hear everyone else gasping for air and your focus – well, mine at least – gets lost. And for what it’s worth, I liked it better doing it alone.

Then there’s the flexibility issue. In a word, I’m not. I can easily walk/jog (75/25 I’d estimate) a half-marathon distance, go for a day of hiking without much water or ride 25 miles on the bike at any given time because I’ve conditioned my body and strengthened it for doing those things. Yoga isn’t any of those so it would take some getting used to and even so, I doubt I’d gain the flexibility of others.

The after effects of yoga didn’t sit well with me either. Years ago, Ann got me a massage for my birthday and while it was indeed relaxing, the release of the toxins messed me up by way of a headache and severe sinus issues that lasted for days. Last night I came home to the same symptoms plus I looked like I was hit by a Mack truck. Thankfully all these symptoms went away by morning.

On the plus side: I slept so good but parts of my body are still sore today.

Finally, the class ran really long. I guess for free this shouldn’t be a legitimate complaint but when I’m off at 6 pm and don’t end up getting home until 8 pm, it not only makes for a long day in general but it also bites into a big chunk of family time. And with things being the way they are lately, I don’t need to be around them less.

So I came, I tried, and I didn’t like. I’ll keep my gym membership and not try not to think about that $15 investment not being the best one I’ve made recently.

Unless the cats decide it would make a good bed.