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 🙂

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The Fever


mqnvjrihwvfxcsbbfwunThere’s an episode of The Twilight Zone titled “The Fever” in which a sensible woman and her curmudgeonly old husband – isn’t that always the case in TV? – win an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas. The sensible wife sees no harm in plunking down some spare change in the machine if, for anything else, just to have a little fun.

But her husband Franklin is against it and everything Las Vegas represents – until he catches “the fever” and starts to hear slots machines calling his name whenever they pay out. The machines get their way and eventually, Franklin starts to play them in the hopes that he will win the big prize.

He never does.

That’s kind of the way I was the other day when I took the family out to have some pizza for lunch.

The restaurant had a skill game called Barber Cut Lite, a game in which prizes are suspended from strings. In order to win, players must a) align the cutting mechanism properly so that it is inside the “scissors” and b) cut at the right time.

I don’t know why I had to try it but I did. It was probably that shiny iPad Air inside that made me do it, which makes no sense since it was only 16GB and my current iPad is 64GB. Why would I bother to try and win this?

Oh, that’s right. For $1 a play, why not? I could have a brand-new iPad for only a buck! This stupid machine just kept taunting me with that iPad helplessly hanging there, calling me.

And I eventually became Franklin.

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The first few tries were “so close” with me almost getting the string aligned with the cutters.

“Okay okay, now I have it. I have it.”

So I reach into my wallet and grab another buck. I put it into the machine, the music starts to play, and I make my move yet again.

This time I had it aligned and inside the cutters. Thinking it would cut automatically, I raised my hands in victory knowing I had defeated this stupid, stupid machine.

That’s when I realized that it wasn’t so easy. If you have the string aligned just right so that they enter the cutters, your next job is to time the cut properly. See, I knew it couldn’t have been that easy.

I had more singles in my wallet and tried again, knowing what I had to do. A few more tries later, I sure had it aligned properly but the cut came up short. Much like Franklin, I had to give it yet another try.

This continued for about another five minutes but they sure seemed like an eternity with me carefully watching the mechanism move from left to right, then forward, then the cutters doing their thing and missing nearly every time.

What makes matters worse? There’s a huge disclaimer on the front of the machine stating that the first cut may not break the string. In other words, you may spend a day just to get it aligned right but cutting the string may only weaken it. If you want to win it, you’d have to get everything just right all over again.

While I’m sure it’s possible to do it, by this time I had had enough and the family was starting to worry about my mental status. Besides, I had run out of dollar bills and ended up dropping 12 of them into this stupid machine. I’m sure if I had a few more left, I could have won that stupid iPad.

Or I could have ended up like this guy.

When Black Friday Comes…


Black Friday is quickly sneaking up on us, what with all the leaked ads popping up on sites and forums all over the Intarwebs. And yes, there are lots of great deals to be had provided you like to stand—or if you prefer, camp overnight in freezing conditions—and fight off throngs of rabid, maniacal shoppers looking for the same bargains you are.

Well, I’m not one of those. Not only do we normally stay as far away as possible from any retail establishment on said day, we usually have our Christmas shopping done well before Halloween and this year was no different. The only post-Halloween purchase I made was for Ann and myself, our early Christmas gifts to each other. They were good deals to begin with and we buy other good deals throughout the year so that once Christmas comes around, we don’t have to spend time fighting off crowds.

With social media being the thing these days and crazy kids shooting videos of anything and everything, we’ve all seen the YouTube clips of blood-thirsty consumers ramming the doors of their local Walmart and running over anyone who was reluctantly in their path. This, however, is nothing new. I recall the days when Ann and I worked for Walmart back in the early ‘90s, when she had to crouch down and sneak into the store through the little door used exclusively for shopping carts because of the crowd gathered around the regular entrance. Even so, with her name tag on and with an associate manning said door to let her in, her entrance nearly caused a riot amongst the crowd.

What is everyone celebrating again?

Maybe some find it fun to be around angry people who will just end up selling their stuff on eBay for a few extra bucks. Well, I don’t and I’ve worked enough years in retail, back when stores were still closed on Thanksgiving, to keep as far away as possible on Black Friday.

Besides, there are already good deals in the days leading up to it. We found this one today via the Walmart app:

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Here’s an iPad mini for $219 with free shipping and free case. Yes, it’s lacking the Retina display as well as the faster processor but some little boy in this house is going to be pretty happy when he opens this up on Christmas morning (compared to Dad who’ll open his Walmart credit card statement and gawk incredulously). All it took was a decision, made from the comfort of our couch, to buy this thing and have it delivered. Done and done.

Let’s compare that to what Wally World is having the evening of Thanksgiving:

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Same item for $20 less, however:

  • It’s Thanksgiving night at Walmart and not online. There are plenty of other places I’d rather be, like on my couch suffering from a tryptophan-enduced food coma.
  • “While supplies last” most assuredly means that unless you are a linebacker or an NHL power forward and can get to the Electronics Department before anyone, forget it.
  • Read the fine print. Nobody reads the fine print. Anything that requires wristband distribution is not promising and could get ugly when they run out.
  • The $30 gift card is a nice touch, but my deal included a case. I’d wager that most of those gift card will be used for cases anyway and those can average around $23. Almost a wash.

Even though the Thanksgiving Day sale may be a better deal in the long run, I consider the extra few bucks I spent a Convenience Fee in that I avoided everything I despise about Black Friday by ordering it now and even having it delivered. No fuss, no muss.

So when Black Friday comes, I’ll be somewhere far, far away from all this madness, and my shopping will be done. It’s just not for me.


I’m aware that this song is a reference to the stock market crash, but I’m playing on the title.