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The Cookie Conundrum

Posted on August 16th, 2019

Dave!Yesterday on my way back across the mountains I stopped at the grocery store. Braving the crowds while food shopping was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do after five hours of travel, but I didn't have much choice. My cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer were all bare.

Before I went to Maine back in July, I made sure to eat all the food that could spoil so none of it would be wasted. Then I got called to Las Vegas, still didn't want to buy any new food that would go bad, so I just kept eating absolutely everything I already had. The night before my flight, I shit you not, I had pickles and saltine crackers for dinner. Not something I was interested in repeating any time soon. And so... a stop at the grocery store it was.

My shopping strategy is simple. Never buy anything unless it's on sale.

I am not terribly picky about what I eat, so this makes it easy to buy ingredients or prepared meals only when they are cheap. Except... groceries are never cheap any more, so I guess I should say "cheaper than normal." Fortunately my local grocery store has an iPhone app with all their coupons, specials, and discounts, so I also save money by making my list ahead of time and only buying what's on the list. I never "browse" at a store because then I'll just end up buying stuff I want instead of what I need.

And so... I made my list on the plane and was ready to go when I got back home. This time I scored big because a lot of key ingredients I needed were on sale. Flour so I can make bread. Tomato sauce and tortillas so I can make enchiladas. Veggie dogs so I can make veggie dogs. That kind of thing.

Another reason I like a list? It keeps me from buying things I should not be eating.

There I was at the store looking for "Sargento Balanced Breaks" healthy snack packs (on sale plus I had a 75¢ off coupon for club members!) when I saw a package of "break and bake" raw cookie dough. Something I absolutely, positively, should NOT be eating. Usually it's easy to resist cookies... I just avoid that aisle in the grocery store, and am not terribly fond of cookies any more anyway... BUT FRESH-OUT-OF-THE-OVEN COOKIES?!? How could I NOT buy that? They weren't on sale, but the generic brand was so much cheaper than the name-brand version that they were practically on sale! Close enough! And since they are crappy generic, they probably taste awful and I'll just end up throwing them in the garbage anyway, right? Sold!

Tonight I gave them a try. Not so appetizing out of the bag...

Raw cookie dough cube that have been broken off.

But then? OH HELL NO! THESE THINGS ARE FRICKIN' MAGIC!!!

Gorgeous fresh overn-baked cookies from a bag of dough.

I'm not joking. These things are phenomenal. Probably because I haven't had a fresh out-of-the-oven cookie in a decade or more.

This is terrible.

I'm thinking I can restrain myself by baking no more than three at a time... and only baking them when I already have the oven heated from cooking something else. The loophole being that I can cook up a second batch of cookies because the oven will still be warm from cooking the first batch of three cookies.

At least I think that's how that works.

And now it's time for the new Invader Zim movie on Netflix! I am so psyched I can't even stand it.

   

And Survey Says…

Posted on August 9th, 2019

Dave!This morning while I was waiting for my laptop to render out the project I had been working on for an hour-and-a-half, I grabbed my iPhone to take a look at what's going on in the world. Granted in this day and age that's most always a mistake, but I'm a glutton for punishment.

After glossing over the "news" tab I clicked on the "entertainment" tab because that's always a much happier place to be. One of the first stories was The Movies Directed By Quentin Tarantino, Ranked. I'm a big Tarantino fan, so I had clicked through without even thinking about it. The list (over at Film School Rejects) was an interesting one. They put Inglourious Basterds at the top, not Pulp Fiction, which is usually not how these lists go. Most times I never know if the person making the list puts Pulp Fiction as #1 because they honestly feel that way... or because it's expected of them to have it there. Then I noticed that the Film School Rejects list was a composite list by a group of people, and suddenly everything made sense. Since the list wasn't being attributed to a single person's name, people could vote how they wanted to with no pressure to vote as they feel people expected them to.

While I prefer lists that I can attribute to a single person, I do like the idea of lists that are voted on by multiple people. If, for no other reason, because it feels as though it gives a better barometric of truthiness due to the anonymity of it all.

Then I discovered the website Ranker and fell down a rabbit hole.

Ranker is a site where any visitor can vote on lists of things (and also has regular news stories). Clicking on the "entertainment" tab and I see Every Song in Cats, Ranked by Singability and The Best TV Shows Streaming on Hulu and The Greatest Animated Series Ever Made and Famous Women You'd Want to Have a Beer With.

Then I see the list that compels me to start ranking... The Best Hallmark Channel Original Movies of 2019. ON THIS SUBJECT I HAVE VERY STRONG OPINIONS!

Two hours later...

...my rendering finished ages ago and I'm running in danger of being late to work. That's what happens when you feel compelled to vote on things like Funny Names to Give a Chicken (before you judge me, 4,300+ other people were in on this)...

A screen capture of the FUNNY NAMES TO GIVE A CHECKEN tile at Ranker.

I mean, come on... "Tyrannosaurus Pecks?" "Mother Clucker?" "CLUCK NORRIS?!?!?" Personally, I give the edges to "Sir Clucks-A-Lot" for a boy and "Margaret Hatcher" for a girl, but that's just me.

Also just me? Ranking The Very Best Pop-Tart Flavors... so, if you'll excuse me, I've got work to do.

   

Life in These United States

Posted on August 7th, 2019

Dave!Yeah.

I don't get it either.


   
Which only proves I'm sane, I guess.

   

The Bitterest Pill

Posted on August 5th, 2019

Dave!Last week somebody told me that they still find themselves thinking “I need to tell my mom about this!” whenever they see something, hear something, or think of something that reminds them of their mom... even though she has been gone for almost five years now. They then asked if it's the same for me. I had to answer "no" because for the three years before she died, my mom likely wouldn't have been able to understand or process what I was talking about. Thanks to dementia, I had years for that impulse to be driven out of me. Had she died when she could still make sense of stuff you'd tell her, then yeah, I think I absolutely would still have that impulse. As I have for most all of my other friends and family who have passed.

Whenever I run across something truly bizarre and messed up on Facebook, my impulse is to DM it to Grant. He died 2 months ago today.

Whenever I meet up with a mutual friend from "back in the day" and some hilarious memory comes up, my impulse is to reminisce with one of my dearest friends Doug. He died 6 months ago.

Whenever I hear a new song from some artist we mutually liked, my impulse is to message my friend Howard about it. He died 2 years ago today.

Whenever I order a Manhattan I think of my Grandpa and his wife Lois, who made epic cocktails that would blow your hair back. He died over 3 years ago. She died some years before that.

Whenever I eat apple pie my impulse is to run and tell my grandma that she still makes the best apple pie on planet earth. She died nearly 4 years ago.

Whenever I see an example of epic snark in my Facebook feed, my impulse is to forward it to my fellow blogger friend Kaply. She died 5 years ago.

Whenever I see a handmade bracelet that's especially crappy, my impulse is to take a photo and have a laugh with my fellow blogger friend Lisa about it. She died 10 years ago.

Whenever I see anything related to Dr. Who, my impulse is always to talk with one of my oldest bestest friends Howard about it. He died 18 years ago.

Whenever I make enchiladas from my grandmother's recipe, my impulse is to call her and tell her how mine never taste as good as hers do. She died like... 20... 25 years ago, I think?

Whenever I give myself a haircut, my impulse is to run and ask my barber grandfather how good a job I did. He died 29 years ago.

   
I think it's normal that we still think of people who are gone from our lives as if they are still around. Which is why I'm more than a little sad I can't feel this way about my mom... unarguably somebody I was closer to than anybody listed above. I mean, yeah, I still miss her terribly. There's not a day that goes by that I'm not thinking of her and wishing I could have her back. It's just that the impulse to run and tell her stuff is completely absent, and that's a bitter pill to swallow.

   
And speaking of dementia...

As we get older, our memory isn't as good as it used to be. And it's weird how that works. The lyrics to some obscure song I liked 20 years ago and probably haven't heard in a decade? Totally remember every word. What I had for breakfast last Tuesday? Yeah, I remember that. But the name of the person I was just introduced to 30 minutes ago? Gone. Vanished. No idea who they are, only that I should know their name.

But that kind of stuff doesn't worry me. Heck, I've been immediately forgetting people's names since birth! It's just that I notice it more now, I suppose.

What worries me... what terrifies me... is something like forgetting to turn the burner off after I've boiled some pasta and not noticing until 20 minutes later. Or forgetting to close the door flap after I've filled my car with gas and not realizing it until 2 days later. All those little things that should totally be ingrained in every fiber of my brain as habitual behavior... but obviously must not be because I've somehow forgotten to do it. Those things are about as unnerving as it gets.

After the whole pasta burner incident this past week, I ran to consult Dr. Google. This is what they say about dementia over at alzheimers.org...

In most cases, vascular dementia itself is not inherited.
   
However, a parent may pass certain genes that increase the risk of developing vascular dementia.

Sooo... good news bad news then? I guess?

Could be I'm overly-tired because I just can't seem to get my sleep back on schedule after my last trip, and that's the reason for it. Who knows?

If it is a sign of early onset dementia, however, at least I have the consolation of knowing that I'm on my way to not being troubled because I can't still think of my mom as being alive like I do everybody else who's died in my life. That would be great.

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Judgement, Antibodies, and Bread

Posted on August 2nd, 2019

Dave!This morning after I fed my cats Jenny started making "yummy noises" while she ate breakfast. It caught me off guard because I've never heard her do that before. It was so subtle I would have missed it if I hadn't leaned over to fill the water fountain... and so adorable that I very nearly fell over laughing.

Not sure what brought this on, but it made my day.

For a little while, anyway.

Because then I decided to have tacos for breakfast and was all "SUCK IT, HATERS... only God can judge me! Wooooooo!!"

About twenty minutes later I spent an hour in "intestinal distress." Apparently God's judgement hath cometh and it cometh for me.

Guess that's what I get for ignoring Fish Friday! Though if the point of Fish Friday is to abstain from eating meat, these were vegetarian-safe tacos, so no harm no foul (no beef no fowl?). Maybe this Wrath of God stuff would make more sense if I had paid more attention in Catholic Sunday school? I dunno. I never found anything about "Fish Friday" in the Bible, so I'm guessing this came from the Catholic Church, much like "purgatory.".

In other news... my measles antibody test came back as 203. Anything higher than 29 is positive for immunization. Which left me looking at the results like... HOLY SHIT, MOM! My antibodies are at 203?!? TWO-OH-THREE?!? EXACTLY HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU HAVE ME IMMUNIZED?!?

It's nice that I'm protected as well as I can be protected from the measles plague while traveling. One less thing to worry about. Now I can focus all my worry on the plane crashing where it belongs!

Just kidding. That's probably the last thing I worry about while traveling. The way the world is going right now, sometimes I think a plane crash is the best thing that could happen to me.

And the second-best thing? Freshly-baked bread for dessert...

Two loaves of freshly-baked bread on a cooling rack.

Three slices of freshly-baked bread with tons of butter stacked on a plate that I'm holding in my living room with one slice half-eaten.

I'll take bread and butter over cake and ice cream any day of the week!

My turn to make yummy noises.

   

Television Cord-Free Update

Posted on July 30th, 2019

Dave!As I mentioned a few days ago, I got a free over-the-air antennae and an "AirTV Play" unit when I pre-paid the first three months of my Sling TV service in advance. I received the unit today and, as expected, I couldn't get any channels to show up. I live in a valley surrounded by hills and mountains, and the odds of picking up anything were slim. No big loss... it's not like the channel report I ran gave me even a prayer of getting a major network like ABC, NBC, or CBS. Just some weird local channels like "NCW Life" which I would never watch anyway, or a FOX affiliate that wouldn't give me anything I can't get streaming...

Oh well, the stuff was all free, so it was worth a shot.

So I guess I'm set.

Some shows on CBS I'm just out of luck on. I will have to wait until Star Trek: Discovery or The Good Fight or Star Trek: Picard is released so I'll be subscribing to CBS All-Access and can binge the archives then. Or perhaps they can be streamed from CBS online for free, I'll have to check...

  • Magnum PI (Though I love this show so much I'll probably just buy it from iTunes)
  • Mom
  • Survivor
  • Elementary (Ending after this season)
  • Young Sheldon (Which I can probably do without)
  • Instinct (Which I can probably do without)
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Which I can probably do without)
  • Bob ♥ Abishola (Coming this Fall)

There's also a few shows I can't seem to get on Sling Blue, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, but think I can stream online from the official websites.

  • Wolves and Warriors (Animal Planet)
  • Penn & Teller Fool Us (The CW)
  • The Blacklist (NBC, but not available on Hulu for some reason?)

The majority of my shows I can watch via Hulu or Sling Blue (with a couple coming free from the HBO Now which is bundled with my AT&T Wireless). Sling is preferred because I have their "Enhanced DVR" where I can fast-forward past commercials. But Hulu is just fine with commercials (because I don't want to pay extra to watch without them)...

  • Graham Norton Show (BBC — Sling)
  • Alternatino (Comedy Central — Sling)
  • South Park (Comedy Central — Sling)
  • The Daily Show (Comedy Central — Sling)
  • The Other Two (Comedy Central — Sling??? Maybe? Not showing up)
  • Hit Properties with Nathan Morris (DYI — Sling)
  • Family Guy (FOX — Sling)
  • Archer (FXX — Sling)
  • Love It or List It (HGTV — Sling)
  • Love It or List It Too (HGTV — Sling)
  • Home Town (HGTV — Sling)
  • Flip or Flop (HGTV — Sling)
  • Ink Master (Paramount — Sling)
  • Ink Master Angels (Paramount — Sling??? Maybe? Not showing up)
  • The Last OG (TBS — Sling)
  • Full Frontal (TBS — Sling)
  • RuPaul Drag Race (VH1 — Sling)
  • RuPaul Drag Race All-Stars (VH1 — Sling??? Maybe? Not showing up)
  • Barry (HBO — HBO Now)
  • Westworld (HBO — HBO Now)
  • Watchmen (HBO — HBO Now)
  • Last Week Tonight (HBO — HBO Now)
  • Vanderpump Rules (Bravo — Hulu)
  • The Orville (FOX — Hulu)
  • Reef Break (ABC — Hulu)
  • Grand Hotel (ABC — Hulu)
  • The Good Doctor (ABC — Hulu)
  • The Conners (ABC — Hulu)
  • The Rookie (ABC — Hulu)
  • The Masked Singer (ABC — Hulu)
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC — Hulu)
  • Rick & Morty (Cartoon Network Adult Swim — Hulu)
  • Top Chef (Bravo — Hulu)
  • Late Night Seth Meyers (NBC — Hulu)
  • New Amsterdam (NBC — Hulu)
  • Will & Grace (NBC — Hulu)
  • The Good Place (NBC — Hulu)
  • Saturday Night Live (NBC — Hulu)
  • The Tonight Show Jimmy Fallon (NBC — Hulu)

Yesterday I had to make a trip to The Big City to return some things for work... and to drop off my DirecTV receiver at FedEx. As I feared, they completely brick the thing once your service is canceled, so when I checked to see if the last show I had on my DVR was still there, I couldn't even get to the menu. I guess that's only fair. I was renting the box, and my rental contract ended Sunday at midnight, so I shouldn't be able to use it. But... damn. That's cold. You'd almost think it was MY fault that I had channels missing and was forced to cancel.

DirecTV receiver box with remote control and cables.

I guess there's no going back now!

Not that I'd want to. I'm still bitter over the expensive packages that cable companies and satellite companies have forced us to buy for decades... because more often than not they're filled with shitty channels you'll never watch, which means you're forced to pay more than you should. Thanks to the internet we're finally to the point where channels can be purchased individually... or at least in smaller packages... which make more sense. Hopefully in the future our television programming will get to the point where it's 100% ala carte, and you can pay for exactly the channels you want.

We can dream, can't we?

   

Mainely Assholes (Plus Cats)

Posted on July 25th, 2019

Dave!The people of Maine are truly a gem. They are a lovely combination of Canadian courtesy, Southern hospitality, and Midwest sensibility... all rolled into some of the nicest people you will ever meet.

Until you put them behind the wheel of a car, that is.

Every time I come here (and I've been doing it for a while now) I am in utter shock at just what aggressive assholes Maine drivers are. They are brutal, unforgiving, ruthless, and just overall mean.

Take today, for example.

I was driving back to my worksite after lunch at one of those weird Taco Bell/Kentucky Fried Chicken hybrids*. The speed limit is 30. I am driving about 42 because that's the pace that the cars ahead of me are setting. They are about ten car-lengths ahead, but I'm going the same speed that they are.

Then, out of nowhere, some woman comes blazing up behind me. She's revving her engine. She's swerving from one side of the lane to the other as if she's trying to see what could possibly be slowing me down to a mere 12 miles per hour over the speed limit. She is driving so aggressively that I become genuinely worried that she's going to crash into me. And that's the point... she is trying to intimidate me into going faster even though I'm already well above the speed limit.

And then it occurs to me.

I am driving a rental car with full LDW (Loss Damage Waiver) coverage.

So when I see a man limping across the street, having just cleared my lane, I use it as an excuse to stop. Then I'm all Let's see what happens, shall we? as I brace for impact.

She didn't hit me, but she did have to slam on her brakes and swerve off the road where it looked like she was having a heck of a time regaining control so she could keep her car on the shoulder and not slam it into the guardrail.

I can only guess that she was not happy.

But I sure was. Next time don't be such an asshole, you fucker!

Except she didn't learn anything, because she caught right back up to me, then illegally used an exit lane to burn past me at 50+ miles per hour. In a 30 mile per hour zone. I didn't look at her as she passed. I assumed there would be hand gestures I was not wanting to see. Because I'm the asshole in this scenario, apparently.

What's so stupid is that after she made all that effort to pass me, she was immediately stuck behind a whole string of cars going 40-42 miles per hour, so she was being a total asshole and almost wrecked her car for nothing. Eventually she pulled into the center lane for a left turn. I did look at her as I passed that time. Everything normal. She was focused on finding an opening so she could turn... no ugly glaring at me at all.

Look, if there's an emergency and she was trying to get her kid to the hospital emergency room because it's dying (or whatever), then fine. You should be driving like somebody's life depends on it. But then you'd be honking your horn and having your emergency flashers on so people would know to move, right? You wouldn't zoom up on somebody's bumper and act like a psychotic fucking piece of shit.

=sigh=

I miss my cats.

I look in on them several times during the day (and night) to make sure nothing is amiss, and it's all good. But it's still tough. This morning Jenny had an itchy ear. She keeps stopping to scratch it. She doesn't have fleas or mites or anything, this just happens sometimes with her. When I notice it, I usually step in to scratch it for her real good. There have been a couple times when I review security camera footage of her while at work that I've dashed home for a couple minutes to scratch her ears. But when I'm 2,400 miles away? All I can do is watch in frustration...

Jenny scratches her ear in a security camera footage still.

Generally speaking, my cats are very good about not jumping up on my dining room table... which I appreciate, because it saves on disinfectant cleaner from having to wipe it down all the time. But when I'm gone? Jenny seems to live on top of my table. I don't know if it's because she is always looking for me and thinks it makes a great spot to see everything... or whether she does it because she knows she's not supposed to be up there, and it's some kind of revenge for me having abandoned her. Eventually I gave up on trying to think of ways to keep her off, and just slapped a pair of my jeans down so at least she's not sitting directly on the table (because... ewwww... cat butt table). For whatever reason, Jenny absolutely loves sitting and laying on my jeans, so I never throw them out anymore. Any time they get damaged or torn beyond repair I just wash them and set them out as cat beds. Problem solved...

Jenny Sitting on Jeans Sitting on my Dining Room Table

All day and all night...

Jenny Sitting on Jeans Sitting on my Dining Room Table

At least she's content this way. Or as content as she can be when I'm not home, poor thing!

Jake seems to handle my absence better.

Until I get home. Then he wants me to know exactly how he feels about it.

   

*I like Taco Bell. They have great vegetarian options (7-Layer Burrito, Swap Black Beans for Refried beans... and their Cheesy Potato Griller is sublime) even though they may not be the healthiest options. But, when you're on the road and need vegetarian in a hurry... well... thank heavens I can "Make a Run for The Border." Though it's weird at the Taco Bell's with KFC inside, because then you are staring at weird stuff like this...

Colonel Sanders meets Mickey Mouse in an old photo at KFC!

Methinks The Colonel may be reconsidering where his "chicken" comes from.

RUN, MICKEY! RUNNNNNN!!!

   

The Consequence of Filler

Posted on July 24th, 2019

Dave!I'm in the future! This post is for Wednesday but I'm writing it on Thursday because stuff happened.

My flight to Boston was great (thanks, Alaska Airlines!). My hotel at midnight was nice. My drive up to Maine was painless. My lunch was very good. My hotel is great as always. But work was pushed back several times over many hours, so I'm kinda in that limbo state that happens when you're sleep-deprived yet having to concentrate on the job.

Somewhere in all that, I needed a snack so I grabbed a bag of Mango Pineapple Mix. I love dried pineapple and mango, so it was an easy choice.

Except...

When I started chowing down, I noted that there was hardly any mango or pineapple taste to be found. As you chew it, it tastes more like peanut butter and raisins...

INGREDIENTS: PEANUTS, RAISINS, SUNFLOWER KERNELS, MANGO, PINEAPPLE, CASHEWS.

Well, shit.

Here in the USA, ingredients must be listed in order of volume. But they don't have to tell you the percentage of each ingredients. For my "Mango Pineapple Mix" my guess is that it's something like this...

  • PEANUTS: 50%
  • RAISINS: 23%
  • SUNFLOWER KERNELS: 18%
  • MANGO: 4%
  • PINEAPPLE: 3%
  • CASHEWS: 2%

So... not really a Mango Pineapple Mix after all. The ingredients might as well have read...

  • DISAPPOINTMENT: 100%
  • SATISFACTION: 0%

Mango, pineapple, and cashews are expensive, so they are used sparingly. Peanuts, raisins, and sunflower seeds are cheap, so they are used as filler. Which is fine, except in this case the filler is so overwhelming that you never really taste the ingredients that the mix was named after.

The product is a lie.

Which is nothing new. Companies lie to sell their crap all the time.

Just like politicians.

As the presidential race starts heating up, you quickly realize that all the threats and promises the candidates are making are just filler. Cheap lies they say so they can get elected. Promises, after all, cost nothing. If I were to break down the ingredients for a politician's motivations when running for office, it would probably go something like this...

  • MONEY: 150%
  • POWER: 130%
  • RE-ELECTION: 120%
  • FAME: 98%
  • ACTUAL FUCKING CONCERN FOR PEOPLE: 2%

Yes, I realize that all adds up to 500%, but you've seen how politicians operate... tell me that I'm wrong. And don't kid yourself, that 2% is very much dependent on whether having "concern" will jeopardize their bigger priorities.

The product is a lie.

Which is nothing new. Politicians lie to sell their crap all the time. Their "ingredients" might as well read...

  • DOING THE BIDDING OF THEIR LOBBYIST OVERLORDS EVEN IF THEY END UP FUCKING OVER THE PEOPLE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE REPRESENTING: 100%
  • ACTUALLY DOING THE WORK TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS: 0%

Why American citizens don't give a shit about this obvious scam is beyond me. I see the headlines and marvel at the fact that people aren't rioting in the streets. Take this one, for example...

Trump said he wouldn’t cut Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare. His 2020 budget cuts all 3.

You work your entire life so that one day you can retire. Significant chunks of your paycheck are taken for Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, with the expectation that this money will come back to you so that you don't have to spend your "golden years" living in disease and poverty.

And yet here we are.

If you're one of the wealthy individuals benefitting from the money being stolen from working-class America, congratulations, you got the country you paid for. If you're not one of those individuals, then I hope you enjoy your "golden years" living in disease and poverty. You voted for it, after all.

Change your mind? Here's a checklist for a good start...

  1. Demand term limits for all political offices.
  2. Demand term limits for Supreme Court justices.
  3. Demand abolishing lobbyist payola.
  4. Demand a new, more representative voting system.

That last one is the ballgame. It's also complex and interesting. Fortunately, CPG Grey has you covered. Watching these videos is well worth your time if you're at all concerned about just how badly fucked you are by our current political system...






And... back to work. And my shitty trail mix.

   

Very Very Frightening Me

Posted on July 23rd, 2019

Dave!I've somehow reached an entirely new level of exhaustion.

I went to bed at midnight expecting to get seven hours sleep before Alexa chimed for the cats' breakfast. I didn't manage to fall asleep until sometime around 1:00-1:30, so I was already off to a bad start.

Then the thunder and lightning started lighting up the sky and booming through my morning.

Surprisingly, Jake and Jenny were not phased, even when the thunder was so loud it was shaking the house. They were in the window ledges of my bedroom watching the lightning and trying to figure out where all the noise was coming from (when, basically, it was coming from the entire valley). This was a bit confusing for them. I mean, just look at the lightning strikes hitting Washington State today...


Lightning Strikes Map from Lightning Viewer, National Interagency Fire Center

I'm kinda in the middle of all that. Which meant I just lay there in my bed not sleeping while the world exploded.

Usually it takes 2-1/2 hours to drive to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. But this being summer and all, I have to allow an extra hour for multiple road construction stops. Then I had to add a half hour to that so I could get my $13 measles antibodies test blood draw. Then I thought I might as well add another half hour for lunch.

So basically I ended up getting no sleep and barely had time to check all my home security cameras and alarm sensors before walking out the door.

Three hours driving through road construction (which never fucking ends... NEVERRRR!) followed by lunch at Fatburger followed by a blood draw followed by a quick trip to IKEA to get a glass topper for my second guest bedroom nightstand followed by a two hour wait at the airport followed by a five-and-a-half-hour flight followed by a thirty minute ordeal getting to my hotel followed by fifteen minutes writing this blog entry.

And... I'm so done.

Here's hoping that all the lightning fires that got started were quickly contained and put out.

   

An Ode to Reality

Posted on July 22nd, 2019

Dave!I was awakened by leg cramps so painful this morning that I honestly think I passed out screaming. I don't remember. I just know that when I was awakened by the alarm to feed the cats, I could barely walk. The rest of my day was spent downing painkillers in an attempt to be able to work.

This is not a good time to be incapacitated. I've been trying to get ready for my impending travel and there's a strict schedule of events that needs to occur...

  1. Start eating all food that will expire while I'm gone. (1 week prior).
  2. Make sure there's nothing I need to order for the trip (3 working days prior).
  3. Clean the house (and refrigerator) so I don't return to a mess (2 days prior).
  4. Run the dishwasher and clothes washer (1 day prior).
  5. Pack a suitcase (1 day prior).
  6. Charge a spare external battery for my iPhone (1 day prior).
  7. Fill the cat feeder and make sure the time and schedule is correct (1 day prior).
  8. Change my bedsheets (1 day prior).
  9. Empty Litter-Robots and fill cat fountain and feeder (day of).
  10. Set all cloud security cameras to "permanent on" (day of).
  11. Set local security cameras to "permanent on," check the battery backups, and verify hard drive space (day of).
  12. Verify all security system sensors and alarms are armed (as I leave).

When I got home from work today I tried to pack my suitcase but my right leg is still having random spasms, so I thought I'd just give it a rest for a while. Besides, packing is so much more fun when you are throwing everything together as you're rushing out the door, isn't it?

Probably not, but that's reality for you.

I've been thinking a lot about reality lately.

Not reality-reality, but the carefully-constructed "reality" that's been crafted for idiots which the rest of us are forced to live in. I think what got my brain working on the subject was a map that I saw hanging up while I was waiting for a friend to get her hair cut last week...

RELIEF-LIKE MAP OF THE WORLD!

I found it fascinating that they had to put a disclaimer in the title informing you that, while it may look as though it's a "relief map"... it is, in fact, not a relief map but, in fact, a relief-LIKE map.

Which is to say that whatever "relief" you are experiencing from looking at this map is artificially induced. There's no actual depth to it. Things just look that way because it's painted to produce the illusion of depth.

Which begs the question... why the fuck did they need to explain this? Were the relief-map-making companies incensed that people might get confused and accidentally buy a "relief-like" map instead of an actual "relief" map as they intended?

You may laugh at that, but you shouldn't.

Remember a while back when I mentioned that Mississippi is making it a jailable offense to call non-meat-based burgers "veggie burgers?" This is a primary example of creating a reality which caters to the lowest common denominator. People too stupid to comprehend that a "veggie burger" isn't made from beef... almond milk doesn't come from a cow... and a map with no physical depth isn't a "relief map."

I'd weep for the future but, reality is, the future is now.

I don't mind living in the future, I just wish it wasn't this one.

   

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