Took a walk in the snow today

It’ll be February tomorrow. We’ve had more snow, for longer, than we have had in twenty years. The last time we had this much snow was when I first moved to this town in 1997. I know that most people are sick of it now, and are ready to see it go away. I’m still thrilled to death with it. I love it.

Snow is very nostalgic for me. It reminds me of when I was nine and ten years old, living with my grandparents waaaaaay out in the woods of the Swan valley. The snow got ridiculously deep there, deep enough that I was able to dig a system of tunnels in the snow in the front yard. That was only one of the reasons that that was such a great time for me.

So when I looked out the window a few minutes before my lunch break, and saw that it was snowing outside again, I was excited. I wolfed down some of Laure’s left over chicken stir fry from last night (fucking delicious by the way), bundled up and went for a walk. I walked for about forty-five minutes, and managed about two and a half miles.

At first, I listened to a podcast with my bluetooth ear buds, but after fifteen minutes or so I turned it off and took them out of my ears. I listened to the sound of my foot steps in the snow, the traffic, the wind… it was nice. I think it was the first time I’d unplugged from everything in weeks.

By the time I walked back into the building, I felt much better. I haven’t had any grand epiphany, I don’t feel any more optimistic about things than I did before, but I do feel a little more at ease with it all. The situation is what it is, we’re just going to have to roll with it, hope for the best, plan for the worst, yada-yada-yada.

 

I can’t really explain it, but I feel better about things. Calmer, I guess.

Red Velvet Cake

I woke up exhausted today. It took a good twenty minutes to talk myself out of bed. I managed to get to work and be relatively productive until about an hour ago. I’m completely drained and pretty much checked out for the day.

Must get to bed early tonight.

Saturday, Laure made red velvet cake. She’s been working on a dairy free (for me), gluten free (for her) recipe for quite a while now and nearly has it perfect. We all loved the cake but she insists that “it was too eggy”, and needs work.

Here’s the thing about red velvet cake. Red velvet is a flavor, a unique flavor all it’s own. Most of what you buy at bakeries and grocery stores is not red velvet cake, it’s chocolate cake that has simply been dyed red and called “Red velvet cake”. That is some serious horse shit right there, and I think it needs to be made illegal.

She also made some cream cheese danishes, which I can’t eat but they certainly smelled good. Something went wrong with the dough, and they didn’t turn out very well. She’s going to try again this coming weekend.

My brother’s birthday is today but he dropped by the house yesterday and we celebrated then, with red velvet cake of course.

Speaking of this weekend, I have a Rifts game on Saturday afternoon, which we’ll be broadcasting on Youtube. I’m going to tinker with OBS and see if I can broadcast multiple streams with it. I’d like to stream to Twitch and to Youtube. I may try opening two instances of it and see if that works. I have a Twitch account that I keep meaning to make use of, but just haven’t made it happen.

Along that same vein, I’ve been getting more familiar with Roll20.net, from the GM’s perspective. I plan on running some one shot games for a variety of systems, and started putting together an album of images for back grounds, since I’m not a big map user in my RPGs. I think maps tend to turn it into more of a board game, rather than an RPG. I generally only employ them when necessary, and avoid them when I can.

What else… My twitter feed has become quite political in the last few weeks. I’m aware of that. I need to back off and try to ignore it all for a while but there is so much going on. Trump is digging away at his hole with unparalleled exuberance, the GOP wants to sell off our public lands, the illegal muslim ban, boobs… there are a lot of boobs on twitter.

I got the results back on the biopsies from the two moles they shaved off of me a few weeks ago. The one on my abdomen was completely benign. The one on my head did have some atypical cells though, which is nothing new for me. I’m to keep an eye on it and set up an appointment if another mole starts to grow back in it’s place. Regardless though, I have an appointment in six months to get checked out again, and see if they need to remove more skin from the area where that mole was, or hopefully confirm that they got it all.

That’s about it. I don’t have much of anything interesting to write about today. I really am seriously fucking tired and I wanted to get something posted today.

 

Here’s Laure, working up a recipe for red velvet cake.

Something beautiful

I’ve found it pretty difficult not to get sucked into politics this week. I feel it’s important to spread a lot of the actual, verifiable information moving about the internet. At the same time though, it’s taking over my social media feeds. Then I woke up this morning feeling the need to withdraw from it all again, like I did over the summer. Withdraw into my games and my hobbies, and just let what ever is going to happen, happen.

I do believe that, in the long run, Trump might just be good for this country. No, not his policies (he doesn’t really have any) or any direct action he takes. It’s the backlash that will be good, finally having a frame of reference. It will certainly suck in the mean time, but as I’ve been saying since Bush was in office, in order for this country to finally pull together and get it’s priorities straight, things are going to have to decline. Things are going to have to get bad, really bad. People need a slap in the face with reality.

The GOP is much easier to be angry with because they don’t even pretend to give a shit. Democrats are only different in that they hide it better. They are better liars, that’s all. No Democrats, as far as I know, have been very, openly anti-gay, only to be caught having a gay affairs. Republicans, on the other hand… they have. More than once. It doesn’t mean the Dems aren’t equally hypocritical, it just means less of them have been caught.

Our two party system is a joke. America’s version of capitalism is a giant, well oiled scam. Our government is bought and owned by our corporations, and I don’t know what the answer is.

There’s been enough ugliness, so here is something beautiful.

Political Discourse

I’ve been avoiding political discussions online for months now. It really is generally pointless. The vast majority of the time, no one is able to source any of their claims and things deteriorate to petty name calling pretty quickly.

Today for example, someone posted a meme about the whole “we won, get over it” bullshit that is all over the place. People that feel this way miss the point entirely, and it irritates the shit out of me every time I see something like that posted.

So today, I commented on this meme. I was courteous and respectful, I didn’t put down the poster, or the meme, or the opinion. I stated in two small paragraphs what I think is wrong with that way of thinking. The response, from the original poster and from her friends, was immediate and over whelming.

Not one person responded to anything I actually said. Instead, I was immediately hit with a barrage of insults. This went on for quite a while. I made one more comment, pointing out that I had not been disrespectful in anyway, was just stating my opinion, and was met with more of the same. Again though, not one person actually had any responses to any part of my comment. Insults, that’s all it was.

So I muted the post to keep from getting anymore alerts about it, and left it at alone.

Everyone involved appeared to be a grown adult, close to my own age. I find it baffling that people behave this way. I don’t understand it at all. I guess it explains a lot though. A bunch of thin skinned people, with no coherent explanation for their opinions, willing to believe any lie that further bolsters those opinions, voting for an even more thin skinned narcissist who covers up his lies with even more lies, then resorts to deflection and insults when confronted with those lies.

I have a lot of reasons for feeling that this sort of discourse was probably inevitable, but it doesn’t matter. This is where we are.

I’m trying to be the better man about it and not drop to that level. But goddammit, it’s so hard some times.

In other news, I bought a suspension boom for my microphone. I spend a lot of time talking online, and the little mic stand on my desk was really getting in the way. It does look pretty spiffy though, doesn’t it?

Better

It was a better day today. I got up and made waffles, pancakes, sausage and eggs this morning. Heather enjoyed a drawn out breakfast with us before she left to go back home. Laure and I got a lot done around the house, Laure a hell of a lot more than I did.

It’s been nice seeing her motivation return since she got her anti-depressants straightened out. She laughs a lot more, she has a bit of a dance in her step when she’s doing things around the house, and sings little phrases to herself while she works. Her sex drive has come back as well. It’s been great seeing her slowly come back to life. She comments on it a lot, how she never wants to go back to feeling that way again, how dark life was for her all those years.

Something occurred to me today. It was a train of thought started rolling by something I saw on “Malcom in the Middle”, of all shows. It’s a fucking great show by the way. We’ve already seen the whole series all the way through, a few years ago, but we’re watching it again because it’s that good. Anyway, Hal (the dad) said something to his kids, during what we can only assume was a cancer scare, since it’s never explained at all in the episode. He said something about how everything was still so new to his kids.

That got me to thinking that I remember that feeling. I remember that that’s exactly what it was like as a child, then as a teenager, then in college and as I was getting out into the world. That’s exactly what it was. I was still discovering the world, still learning so much and experiencing new things. Then, at some point, that stopped, some time in my early twenties. I think my ex-wife had a lot to do with that, because I remember a period after she left me, when I was still grieving our marriage, and trying to make up for lost time, when I traveled quite a bit. I traveled around the western states a bit, then took a trip to Ireland. That feeling was back. Everything I saw was something I hadn’t seen before. I think that’s why I miss traveling so much. It think that’s why I crave road trips every time Laure and I hit the interstate on our way to work in the mornings.

When our tax refunds come in, I have GOT to get to work on the tear drop. Laure and I need to start traveling again, even if it’s just weekend trips. I need to experience new things and new places again. I think that’s what’s been fueling this stagnation I’ve felt for a very long time now.

My dad used to take us on road trips when we were little. He would drive from his house in Wyoming down to Nebraska to pick us up, and the trip back would be part of the experience. We’d camp out, stop and see the sights, eat in little diners, get hot dogs at little road side stands, see those odd tourist attractions that seem kind of silly but are fun just the same. I really miss that. I would really like to take a few weeks to just wander around the country, with no particular destination in mind. Just Laure and I, and of course the dogs, on the road, going wherever caught our attention that morning.

I think that would be wonderful.

encouragement

I wish I had something encouraging to say.

I don’t.

The only bit of hope I can hang onto, is that he’ll dig himself into a hole so deep, and so fast, that even his GOP supporters will have to turn on him. Even then, his VP will be there to assume the crown. It’s debatable, whether this would be better or worse.

All we can hope for is that he and his entirely republican controlled government don’t do too much damage between now and the next general election, but that they do enough damage to mobilize all the assholes that didn’t vote, and light a fire under their asses.

The last time the GOP was running everything, they nearly destroyed our economy, and got us into a war that they made a shit ton of money off of, and then succeeded in making the general public forget all about.

Then, their sitting president was merely stupid. Now, they have a mad man at the wheel.

To my non-white, non-male, non-straight, non-christian friends, including the ones I haven’t met yet, stay strong. Stick together. Hold on. It’s not going to be good.

The shit hasn’t even begun yet.

I wish I had something encouraging to say.

I don’t.

Doing better

This is first year in a long time that I haven’t had to only partially pay our electric bill in the winter, and then use our tax refunds to play catch-up. You can get away with that here because the temperatures get so low in the winter time that it’s illegal for the power companies to shut your power off. So I would just pay what I could each month, deal with the added fees, and use our tax refunds to get caught up.

So that’s good news I guess.

Also, yesterday I had two more moles removed. It’s been a few years since my dermatologist has done any carving. That makes a total of nine moles I’ve had removed. A few have been precancerous, most have not. I’ll get the biopsy results in a few days, but I’m trying not to stress too much about it.

Shit to do

I have shit to do.

* Keep up with my exercise. I’ve been slacking the last week or so because of the temperature outside. It’s warming. Time to get back on it.

* Quit eating so much, and quit eating so much shit. Already doing better with this I think.

* Take more photographs. Hence, the photo accompanying this post, which I took specifically for this post, about fifteen minutes ago.

* Play more pen and paper RPGs. It looks like to accomplish this one, I’ll have to run some games on some systems I’ve never played before. It went well with D&D 5e. I’m sure I can pull it off with some others.

* Get to bed earlier. Been sucking at this lately.

* Finally get started building our teardrop. Haven’t been able to do this because money has been tight. Taxes refunds are nearly upon us.

I think that about does it. Small, simple.

The eternal question

I entertained the idea of writing one of those “My Year in Review” posts, and even started jotting down some notes. Then I decided… fuck that. New blog, new stuff. This is nothing to do with the new year, by the way. The whole idea of New Year’s resolutions is really pretty stupid, in my own, humble opinion. I was inspired by Wil Wheaton’s life reboot posts, and several months ago I started seriously analyzing my own life, and only half seriously taking on a similar project.

I’m going through something of a mid-life crisis I suppose. I’m about to turn forty-one in just a few months, and I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating just how little time I have left in this world even if I make it to eighty years of age. It felt like my child hood went agonizingly slow. Then the last twenty years or so flew by me so fast that the thought of what ever is left of my life flying by even faster, quite frankly scares the shit out of me.

It’s not so much death that scares me. I have no idea what is there, if anything. I have reasons to believe there is something there, something more than what we’re able to perceive in this existence, something that connects us all. Sometimes I am sure that I have memories of a past life. Then sometimes my pessimism gets the best of me and I become convinced that there is nothing. You just cease to exist and it’s no different than before you were born. Sometimes that theory offers me comfort because, if that is the case, I won’t know it so it won’t matter. Other times, that theory terrifies me even more because it means that this tiny, insignificant amount of time that we’re alive is all that we have, which seems devastatingly unfair to me.

What is more immediate though, is trying to figure out how to make what little time I have meaningful. I don’t mean in a grand scheme of things, making my mark on the world kind of way because that really is horse shit. Of the billions of people that have come and gone during Earth’s history, only a very tiny, nearly minuscule percentage have done anything that could be called a “lasting legacy”.

No, I just want to do something that makes my life meaningful to me. So at least I can die feeling like I spent my time well. As it stands, I feel like I’ve spent most of my life just surviving, just getting by, navigating one unfortunate situation after another. My childhood was a shit show, courtesy of my mentally ill mother. The more I talk with my therapist, the more I realize just how much damage she did. In the last decade, things have calmed down considerably. I’ve actively worked at removing the toxic influences from my life, and changing my own bad behaviors. I feel like I’m finally getting somewhere. I feel like I’ve reached a point where I can stop focusing on just getting by, and start making it a point to live.

I just have no idea how to do that.