Summer: Vacation, etc.

For some reason, this morning I woke up and decided I could write a post here, because I was vaguely aware it had been a while and I figured I could write about some recent happenings.

After coming to WordPress, apparently I haven’t written here since the end of February. Really?

I, uh, can’t think of much to report, or at least not enough to write a thousand or so words about the last (does math) five months, give or take a week. I mean, I probably could find the words to figure out how to write 200 words about March, April, May, June, and July, plus the first not-quite-week of August, but I’m not sure what I’d report about each month, particularly some of the earlier months. Therefore, I’ll stick to more recent events, like the past few weeks.

A couple weeks ago (July 21-24) I took my first vacation in a while to visit my sister, and it was nice to see her and get away from the daily grind. I hadn’t been to my former city of residence since I moved away about a year ago (July 29, 2020). We didn’t do much- I got my oil changed and a couple new tires (I had asked them to rotate my tires at Wal-Mart while I was getting my oil changed, and then they told me they couldn’t rotate the tires because they were worn down to the belt, and I had sort of forgot about getting new tires), we went for a couple walks, and we got carry-out for several meals. I enjoyed the pan of brownies she had made, and despite taking a couple Mom-made masks and being worried about the current state of the pandemic, I didn’t even wear the masks at all, so that seemed a bit pointless.

It seems weird to think about it being time to get ready for school, though of course it’s been over a year since I’ve taken any classes, and I don’t have any children, so I don’t exactly have to worry much about it (which I’m somewhat thankful for, in light of the current state of the ongoing pandemic). There are several people at work that are leaving, apparently, including the assistant manager and several of the night kitchen people, so that’s potentially a problem, but hopefully more people get hired and I don’t wind up having to work a bunch of overtime (or something).

Recently I’ve been toying with some Dungeons and Dragons/Pathfinder-inspired story ideas. Last fall, I think, I had an idea for a story that was inspired by reading about some of the class options in Pathfinder (specifically, the water elemental bloodline for sorcerers), and this spring (or maybe summer) I had another idea for another D&D-inspired idea, and most recently I’ve been inspired by a game I discovered while visiting my sister last month. The game is called Good Old Dungeon, and it’s a fairly simple dungeon crawl where you control a character and fight monsters and, of course, can use experience points, gold, and materials to advance your character. I created a wizard and thus decided I wanted to build a D&D wizard. I’ve been playing with some ideas recently for a D&D inspired story where this wizard is the main character, and of course building a D&D character has made me want to play D&D or a similar game, though I’m not currently aware of anyone that’s playing. As usual, scheduling is an issue- if I wanted to run a game, I could probably figure out how to find a group of people interested in playing, though the question as ever would be if they’re available or willing to play when I am- say, at 10 pm on Thursdays and Fridays, or after 9 pm most days of the week, or some other not-quite-conventional hour. What I always slightly disliked about playing with my former roommate and other friends several years ago was that we would get together to play on Sunday afternoons at noon. Since I usually worked at 4 PM on Sunday, losing my scarce time before work always slightly vexed me.

Recently, reading about the history of the county where I work has led me to some old books that are available online and were published in the 1880s. Aside from reading about the early history of the county, and the strangeness of imagining the area in the 1840s when it was the unsettled frontier and people were worrying about Indian attacks, I have to admit being amused by some of the flowery writing- I doubt that a history published in 2021 would talk about how “savages” made no use of the country and how the area has some of the most fertile soil in the world (or at least the United States). It’s amusing to imagine such a history- aside from an additional 140 years to cover, unless it was written by a Republican or similar conservative, it’s easier to imagine a more “politically correct” (“woke”?) history that, for example, would not use the phrase “savage” unless it was a direct quote from a contemporary source, and only used if it had good reason. For that matter, I imagine such a history written now might include some native sources, or at least sources that weren’t solely from white men. Some history about slavery in this area might be interesting, for example, though as this was the northernmost outcropping of legal slavery, my understanding is that there wasn’t a lot of it (as opposed to, say, the lower South where cotton and other crops were the basis of the economy). I’ll admit I’m not well versed in antebellum history on this local level!

As a weird and tangentially related note on local history, Wednesday morning on my way to work my mom called and said the local museum was closing and she had been called by someone who was trying to return things to the families that had donated/loaned them. After work Wednesday, I met my mom there and we picked up several things that had belonged to my First World War veteran great-grandfather and had been donated by my grandparents, including his uniform, chest, mess kit and some other memorabilia that had been in the chest, a hay knife, a green bean snipper, an egg scale, a chicken feeder, a table, and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting. We also picked up an old washing machine that didn’t belong to my relatives, but I think belonged to one of our neighbors (or at least someone that was the ancestor of some of our neighbors).

Speaking of my grandparents, they celebrated their 70th anniversary August 1. I worked that day, but their children (my aunts and father) took them out to lunch and I stopped by Sunday morning before work to see them. My grandparents are certainly in good shape for being in their early 90s, and I’ve sort of already decided that I’ve probably lost my chance to match that particular milestone (unless I somehow meet and marry someone and we both live another 70 years, which may or may not happen depending on medical technology of the late 21st century).

Let’s see- local history, family, vacation, story ideas- I’m not sure what else to write about. Well, I can think of some funny work-related anecdotes, but this post seems like it’s long enough already, so I think I might put those in another post. I don’t know about writing here more regularly, but it also seems like that’s not the worst idea. Until next time.

Month in review

Another month draws to a close, and as usual I haven’t written here for some time. How long? I haven’t looked- I don’t remember the last time I visited this site, but offhand I bet it’s been at least a month, maybe closer to two.

In any event, what have I done this month? I don’t have a list of events to hand, but I can think of a few things off the top of my head. Let’s begin.

At the end of last month, after a bit of online car shopping and talking to my parents, I bought a pickup truck! Previously I had been driving vehicles they owned and insured, but a few days after buying my truck (which did involve borrowing some money from my parents) I began paying for my own insurance.

When we were looking at the truck that I would end up buying, my dad commented that the tires were worn and I’d have to save up for new tires. Sure enough, about a week and a half after buying my truck, one night after work I had a tire blow out a couple miles south of town. I had originally pulled over because I noticed it was riding really rough, and I wanted to look at it, but once I saw the tire had blown I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to limp the few miles to the next town to put air in my tires, as I had been hoping. The guy driving behind me stopped to see if he could help, and he said that he thought I had hit a deer, but he didn’t have a jack that could lift my truck. I realized, after checking the manual in my glove compartment and looking for the jack, that I didn’t get a jack with my truck. Fortunately, a local law enforcement officer also stopped when he saw me pull over and put my emergency lights on, and he also didn’t have a jack that would work, but he called a couple people and some other law enforcement officer brought the right jack and a tire iron, so the first officer changed my tire while I (and two other law enforcement officers) watched. After limping home, I called a garage and made an appointment, and later that week (I think) I ordered two new tires.

A few days later, on Valentine’s Day I was asked if I could come in to work at 1 pm, instead of 3 as I think I was originally scheduled. I said I could do that, and the weather was bad (it was snowing and cold) so my mom let me drive her truck, but I decided to drive on what I thought would be a better road, since I thought I’d have more traction on gravel than on pavement. That turned out to be a mistake, since I got stuck in a ditch about half a mile east of home, but Dad was able to pick me up, brought me back home, and that day I drove the 2010 Jeep Compass to work. I had been driving it for about the past 7 years (before I bought my truck, at least), and I think that was the last day I wound up driving it. Fortunately, despite the snow and cold, once I got onto the asphalt, I was able to get to work without further incident. Later that week, I would get my new tires (and a tire pressure monitor sensor, since apparently I had lost that when the tire blew out).

Last week, Tuesday night after work I was pulled over by a county deputy, and he said he hadn’t seen my transit stickers until he was right behind my truck. After looking at my paperwork and borrowing my driver’s license for a moment he let me continue on my way. Wednesday I called a couple local government offices about what paperwork I’d need to license my truck, and I wound up driving to town to get an odometer reading inspection (for lack of a better word, not sure what the actual terminology would be). As of a couple years ago, in the state of Missouri vehicles that are less than 10 years old and have less than 150,000 miles on them don’t need inspections to get licensed (if I remember correctly), so due to my truck being a model year 2012 and only having about 25 thousand miles on the odometer, I didn’t need a full inspection. Last Friday I got my truck licensed, finally, at sort of the last minute, and so now it’s on to the next problem, I guess. I can’t particularly think of any problems right now, but I think Dad said something the other day about how now I’m ready for the next hail storm, or something like that about how that might be the next problem to worry about.

It seems weird thinking about it being March (and that’s without even delving into the weirdness of the pandemic and how that kind of hit my life in March 2020), but after the cold snap we had a couple weeks ago (or Arctic vortex or whatever that was about), it’s been warmer lately, with highs in the 40s and 50s, so that’s been pleasant. Less enjoyable has been the melt, due to all of the snow and ice we had melting, so the ground has been saturated. It’s not all a muddy mess, but there are definitely patches that are awful.

As far as work, I’ve been working a lot lately, and not exactly enjoying it! Someone got fired last Sunday, so I “got” to pick up several shifts she had been scheduled to work, and I think someone else didn’t show up yesterday, so I didn’t get a weekend off after all, despite being scheduled to have Saturday and Sunday off this weekend. Instead, I got a call from the assistant manager yesterday asking if I could work 8 to close last night, and after some texting yesterday evening, I agreed to work 1 to 6 pm today. I had the opportunity to only work 6 to close, but I wasn’t “jazzed” about that idea considering I already close just about every day this week, and it was nice being home a few minutes after sunset instead of at 11:45 pm, or whenever I usually get home. Overtime will help me financially, I guess, though I’d rather just go back to working 35 hours a week instead of 43 or whatever I have been and/or am due for. It’d be nice if we could hire some people, but I don’t know where we stand on that front (and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were stupid reasons, like not having the labor hour budget to support hiring more people or something dumb like that).

I’d like to take up a project or something, but I’m also not really sure what to do. I have a few story ideas, or I could begin playing a game or something, but what I’d really like is a few days off work so I can sort of forget that I’m employed, or at least just relax at home and not have to be anywhere. A vacation would be nice, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards in the near future.

In other news, I happened to think recently that late February 2015 is when I started talking to my now-ex-girlfriend, which made me wonder what I’ll be doing in 6 years. Fingers crossed, some things will be different (and maybe even better!)

US Election 2020

We live in interesting times, don’t we?

On the one hand, with Election Day tomorrow, I’d like to read a bunch of articles about what might unfold, whatever the result.

On the other hand, I’ve also read enough to suspect that if Trump loses, or manages to cast enough doubt on the result of the election, there might be uncertainty and violence. I highly doubt that Trump will follow the precedent of peacefully conceding the election and working in good faith to transition to the Biden administration, because it seems much more likely that he’d do whatever he could to actively screw things up for the incoming Biden team, never mind the option of simply refusing to cede power. If there was some kind of corrupt bargain worked out where he wouldn’t be subject to criminal penalties and he was persuaded that ceding power would be in his best interests, he might go along with it, but losing or any kind of defeat seems antithetical to his character- this is, after all, the president that refused to advocate for wearing a mask until, what was it, two hundred thousand people died of COVID-19? Or was it merely 150,000? I don’t remember.

Biden is far from my favorite candidate, and I keep thinking it’s funny hearing Republican political ads trying to paint a Democratic candidate for US Senate from a neighboring state as “Too Liberal For [this state]”, like claiming that she’s in favor of open borders and defunding the police, and I wish she were that cool! More likely, I suspect, she’s probably within the Democratic mainstream (at least in the sense of “maybe not give big businesses as many tax cuts” and “let’s not set up concentration camps for immigrants and be nakedly xenophobic”). I haven’t paid much attention, since after all I’m not voting in that election, but I plan to vote tomorrow and I’ll have to refresh my memory of the candidates and whatever ballot propositions are being voted on. I know my state’s Senators are not up for election this round, but there is a US House race to vote in – do I vote for the Republican from my small hometown who’s been in Washington for 20 years, or do I vote for the latest Democratic challenger from the big city? What a decision! Haha.

Unfortunately, just like the last several presidential elections, I of course work tomorrow, so I won’t be able to keep up much with the results. I remember working in 2012 after voting and, as I left work, hearing on the radio in the car that Obama had won and Romney was conceding, and I think I remember hearing something similar in 2016 as I was leaving work that Trump had won and Clinton was conceding. This week, I imagine, might be a bit messier (and that’s being slightly optimistic and assuming there won’t be a mass shooting at a polling place or something stupid like that).

I’m not sure how to approach reading articles about the election. Of course, there’s also the approach of not reading articles about the election, and simply not paying attention until tomorrow or until results start coming up or until tomorrow night when I can catch up with the results and analysis.

The fact that this election is in any way close seems unfortunate, but I guess that’s what you get when one of the two dominant parties fully backs the incumbent candidate and the other party pushes forward a centrist, uninspiring, experienced candidate as the challenger instead of someone more interesting and unconventional who might have radical ideas like “reducing funding for the military-industrial complex” and “being less business-friendly”.

ex ruminations

When did I write here last? Oh well, it doesn’t matter.

I can’t particularly think of any recent major news in my life. I’m still working the same job (and not particularly satisfied), I’ve been playing The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind on my PC after buying it a couple weeks ago, and I’ve had a few social events, though unfortunately none this weekend. Last weekend, though, I had a virtual movie night with a couple friends and I went over to another friends’ house for some board games, and that was fun.

At a certain point, things should probably stop reminding me of my ex. Well, maybe not- it seems like a sudden hard and fast decision to make, to say something like that, and it has been close to three years since we broke up (and getting closer to that milestone by the day), but there are still reminders. I suspect if we were still on speaking terms, she might enjoy hearing that I still think of her occasionally. Or perhaps not- she’s married and pregnant and a homeowner now, so she’s sort of moved on, or at least on a slightly different trajectory than my current circumstances.

Last week, it seemed the main thing that made me think of her was driving back from playing board games at a friends’ house. Aside from this being the mutual friend who introduced me to my ex, driving from the small college town to home reminded me of the times I would visit during the summer and Christmas vacations, which would invariably involve making plans and going on at least one date in that small town during the few days I was in the area, such as going to see a movie and going out to eat, which also suddenly seems weird to think about amid the still-ongoing pandemic.

Earlier this week, I remembered the times that my ex would text me months after we broke up to, I presume, test the lines of communication. I probably shouldn’t have replied, but I did. Now of course she doesn’t have my phone number (and hasn’t for a couple years and two phones now), but even if she did I doubt we’d talk much. If nothing else, she once said that her now-husband didn’t like it when she talked to me, which is understandable.

Today, as usual, I was reminded of her when I logged into Netflix. Now, I don’t usually watch much Netflix, but the fact that I can see various movies and TV shows that I remember watching together seems- maybe not flawed, but maybe poignant. It’d be one thing if we had just broke up, or even if we were watching some shows together as friends, but considering it’s been 4 months since I’ve heard from her and over a year since we’ve talked about anything on Netflix or any shows or movies, it seems slightly ridiculous that I can see, for example, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or the Trolls Movie or Star Trek: The Original Series or Supernatural and remember watching it together. Or, if you want “extra” credit, The Umbrella Academy, which she told me about shortly before we made plans to watch Netflix together in February 2019 and she canceled once the appointed time came. Apparently there’s a new season of that, though I first watched the show last fall, I think.

I suppose that could be an argument that I need to watch more Netflix to move some of those things out of my sight, and there may be options to change the selection available or hide certain series, but I also don’t see any particular reason to exercise that choice and find those options.

Of course, I also don’t have any expectation that anyone will be interested in talking to me any time soon, which is its own frustration, but I don’t really know what to do about that.

In other news, this morning two of our dogs woke me up after I’d had slightly over two hours of sleep so I could let them out at sunrise, as they’re accustomed to, and then I was never able to fall back asleep despite trying for a couple hours. Fortunately it hasn’t been much of an issue today, but I’d like to have more than two hours of sleep tonight. Insomnia is frustrating, though sometimes poor sleep hygiene (or caffeine or alcohol) is to blame. Lately I haven’t had too much trouble falling asleep, but when I do, it’s usually been due to caffeine or alcohol throwing neurochemistry (I guess) out of whack in contrast to my preference/desire of having conscious control over physiological functions such as “sleep”. Alas.

Victoria II

Victoria II is a historical strategy and economic simulator game from Paradox Interactive that was released in August 2010 and allows the player to control any country between 1836 and 1935. I purchased the game on August 22, and in 17.7 hours (according to Steam) so far I have finished two games. I haven’t bought any of the two expansions yet, but so far I’ve played one game as Sweden, where I successfully finished the game on December 31 1935, and the second game as Oman, which I involuntarily finished last night due to France invading and annexing me in 1919. Aside from my failing to Westernize because I was unable to get my military score high enough (I had achieved every other requirement long before 1919), another issue I had faced as everything fell apart and French soldiers overwhelmed my army was that I had a Communist insurrection in Mogadishu, my only remaining African colony. I don’t remember the exact sequence of events, but Portugal had taken most of my African colonies in the late 1830s or early 1840s, so I only had to deal with Mogadishu, and really I hadn’t had too many problems.

Once thirty thousand Somali farmers raised the red flag of revolution and overwhelmed the infantry brigade of three thousand men garrisoned in Mogadishu, though, I had a problem. I had been trying to retake my colony, and sending fifteen thousand men (some cavalry, infantry, and artillery) hadn’t succeeded and my invasion had been repelled, so I was working on rebuilding and reinforcing my army to try again when the French declared war and invaded. For some reason, in that game/timeline, France had invaded and taken over most of Persia before they annexed Abu Dhabi (or, as it’s currently known in our world, the UAE and Bahrain), which sort of stole my thunder as I had already conquered Nejd and was planning an annexation of Abu Dhabi before the French invaded. Dastardly imperialists.

Half the fun of Victoria, if you ask me, and arguably any Paradox strategy game, is seeing the alternate history hijinks ensue. In my Oman game, for example, Mexico colonized Oklahoma, and the US never took California, New Mexico, Arizona, etc. from Mexico, as happened in our timeline. I’m not sure why. I think it might have been the Oman game, but at one point I saw Communist Liberia, and in my Sweden game Krakow and Wurttemburg fell to the Communists. At another point in the Oman game, Bolivia had become an absolute monarchy before some rebels turned it into a democracy.

As of now, my plan is to buy the expansion packs at some point in the very near future (I get paid Friday) and continue 19th century imperialist and/or industrial hijinks. I haven’t decided who I want to play as next- I’ve been thinking about playing as the Federal Republic of Central America and trying to keep that united, but I also like the idea of playing as the US or some other country that’s slightly more powerful and has more resources. Oman, for example, produced mainly opium and agricultural goods, which is fine and dandy except for when you want to industrialize (or can’t because you’re “uncivilized”, but I digress). Sweden, at least, produced timber, coal, and steel (among others) which are significantly more helpful when you’re wanting to industrialize.

Since I’ve played in Europe and West Asia, maybe I ought to give the Americas a try? Brazil or Argentina (or both) could be interesting. Of course, there’s also the US or Mexico, but it might be too easy as the US, and Mexico would have to deal with the US and Texas one way or another. If I really wanted a challenge, I suppose I could always try Texas.

 

After-Action Report: Aurek-28

Star Wars: Empire at War is a computer strategy game released in 2006 that allows players to play land or space battles as either the Galactic Empire or the Rebel Alliance in the Star Wars “Galaxy Far, Far, Away”. In terms of chronology, the original game (as opposed to its expansion pack) covers a short time before the destruction of the first Death Star at the Battle of Yavin and could go as late as the Battle of Hoth, more or less, three standard years later.

Earlier this year, after not playing it for some time (probably a few years, minimum), I installed my copy on my Windows PC and rediscovered it.

After moving back in with my parents last month and getting my Windows PC set up again, I’ve been playing Empire at War again sporadically for the last, oh, couple of weeks or so.

After finishing the Imperial “Galactic Conquest” game I had started in May, I decided to try my hand playing as the Rebel Alliance. It has gone… poorly.

As of right now, I control only a few planets and have a meager credit income, while my AI-controlled Imperial opponent can bury me in Stormtroopers, AT-ATs, AT-AAs, Broadside cruisers, and Tartan patrol cruisers.

So, it’s pretty accurate to the “canon” Galactic Civil War!

I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated of late, and earlier I was thinking that, instead of continuing to play and getting increasingly mad, I could instead abandon that game and start a new one at a lower difficult level. Instead of “medium”, I could try “easy” and attempt to learn from my various mistakes. Originally, this blog post was going to be a pseudo-fan fiction ‘after-action report’ from the perspective of a Rebel officer discussing the failure of this particular simulation and lessons learned.

Among my mistakes, in hindsight, has been a failure to play in accordance with the differences between Imperial and Alliance doctrine and strategy. Continue reading

Changes afoot

Today marks the seventh anniversary of living in my current city. Next week, my mom and sister will be here to help me move, and at some point in the week or so after that, I’ll be moving back to my family’s house about two hundred fifty miles away.

I don’t remember offhand how much I’ve written about my plans here, but change is afoot!

While my sister is going to be renting a house with some friends in this city while they attend university (whatever that’s going to look like in these strange times), I’ve made arrangements to transfer to another store from the store I’ve worked at for the last almost-seven years (it’d have been seven in early August, but I’ll have transferred before then). As I’ve thought before, and probably written here before, I’m thankful that I am able to pull up stakes and move like this while not having to worry about, e.g., a girlfriend’s job prospects or a child’s school (or childcare in general, for that matter). Since I currently lack a significant other (and have been single for two and a half years at this point), fortunately I only have to worry about myself, rather than having to also consider the job market and prospects for a girlfriend/fiancee/wife.

As I’ve been thinking for some time now, I feel like I should probably be packing more. I do have a few boxes packed, and most of my books have already been moved, but I still have school supplies, my computer, some papers, food, dishes, towels, and various miscellaneous clutter (for lack of a better word coming to mind) to pack up.

While my current plan is to transfer to this other store and work there for a few months to at least get through the winter, I’ve also wondered what my next step should be. As I’ve been thinking for a while, I have no interest in working at a convenience store for the rest of my life, and I have no idea where I want to go next.

In other news, last week this city’s council passed a mask provision that took effect Thursday morning, so everyone over the age of 11 is supposed to wear a face mask in public for the following ninety days. It hasn’t been a major problem for me at work, but I also am not at the register by the front doors, and I’ve seen a coworker post on Facebook about how people are being jerks because they’re apparently stupid (or are being inconsiderate or don’t know where the city limit line actually is).

It continues to distress me that the President is, succinctly, an idiot. Probably more could be said, but this pandemic has not been handled well by the Malignant Narcissist in Chief. Surprise surprise, right?

There have been several occasions lately where I’ve thought about how my living situation is going to soon change from “my studio apartment where I’ve lived since September 2015 near the edge of this city” to “my family’s house in the middle of nowhere built in 1934”, and I also feel like I haven’t thought about that enough, as if refusing to think about it is going to make it not happen. Unfortunately, I don’t think it works that way (or else there would be other differences that I can think of that I wish were fact rather than my ideas). On the bright side, as I keep thinking, it’ll be nice to be closer to family (though it will be an adjustment going from my pet-free apartment to the house containing several dogs).

This is my second of three nights off this week (my last night off being Friday, and my last day at this store being Saturday), and I’m not sure what I should do. I’ve already started drinking, so that rules out driving anywhere, and tomorrow I have an eye appointment and some errands, so I should go to bed earlier tonight, but I’m not sure if I should watch something on Netflix and/or Disney+ or play some game or do something else. I probably ought to pack, or do dishes, or do laundry, or something similarly productive, but I also don’t want to.

Decisions, decisions.

Grief

Once again, I’m going to try a slightly more focused entry. This morning I woke up listening to the news on NPR, and of course my state and the next closest state apparently saw new COVID-19 records (number of new cases and number of hospitalizations respectively, if I remember correctly), so my state’s Department of Education is apparently working on guidelines to allow schools to be open this fall. There was a plan mentioned for schools to have some students attend in the morning and some in the afternoon, which sounds logistically complicated and makes me glad I’m not currently in elementary or high school and don’t have any kids. After the local headlines, the national news started, and it was more of the same- the Trump administration wants schools to be open in the fall, but is not really doing anything about the ongoing pandemic (or if the federal government is responding, I think they could do and need to be doing more). This ongoing disaster (for lack of any better word) successfully made me angry for most of the rest of the afternoon before I went to work and got to briefly forget about the disasterous pandemic response by the richest nation in history and the most powerful nation on the planet.

Alright, deep breath. Brief digression aside, now for the real reason for this entry.

I had a friend from high school pass away this past weekend. She was a couple years younger than me, but we were in a lot of the same activities and we were close when I was in high school. I don’t remember the last time I talked to her or saw her. I think I saw on Snapchat that I had sent her something a couple months ago (though I don’t remember what), and I had sent her a funny screenshot of a tweet in a Facebook message back in late 2019, so clearly it had been a while. We exchanged birthday wishes earlier this year (her birthday was in February and mine is in April), but “happy birthday!” “thanks!” does not a substantial conversation make. I imagine the last time I saw her in person might have been a couple years ago, possibly at my sister’s high school graduation in 2018 (or my brother’s in 2014).

It’s probably futile, but I wish I had talked to her more recently. Continue reading

Longer apart than together

I think I’ve recently thought about how I should post here again. I wasn’t aware until a few days ago that I apparently haven’t written here since late April, or nearly 2 months ago. While I could probably write about the last couple months (spoiler alert: not much has happened in my life), instead I’m going to write about ancient history!

I’m joking. This entry, specifically, I’m going to try to keep somewhat focused on my ex-girlfriend. While I could probably spill lots of ink on this topic, suffice it to say that, as of mid-March of this year, we have officially been apart longer than we were together. Continue reading

A Simple Day

I haven’t done much today. Last night was stressful at work mainly due to a superior (specifically, the store manager’s boss’s boss) coming in before my shift and saying all the ovens needed cleaned. I feel like there are better ways to go about doing things (like saying “oh, this needs done ASAP, but after looking at the numbers and available resources I know Sundays are usually busy so do what you can” rather than “do this immediately, I don’t know or care if this will cause you additional stress since trying to do extra cleaning on a weekend with the usual number of minimal staff is difficult at best”), but with help from kitchen manager and coworkers we managed to get the ovens cleaned. I know there’s slightly more to it, but it seems middle management only exists to make everyone’s life more difficult! At least, that’s my flippant and non-serious reaction after hearing of unrealistic expectations (but I’m also cynical, so there is that). The slightly funny thing is that Saturday I had been wondering what was going to happen when some authority figure came in and said we needed to do extra cleaning, despite recently having fewer hours and fewer people than we used to. Also Saturday I cut my thumbnail, but fortunately other than some bleeding right after it happened, that hasn’t been too much trouble. Fortunately now I have a few days off, which I should probably use better than I did today.

Today I slept in, had some cereal for “breakfast” (about 2:30 pm), did some dishes, watched some YouTube, and eventually cooked dinner. I had some hamburger thawing in my fridge, which I cooked, and after draining it I mixed some of the meat with corn, some canned beans, and spinach and had that with rice. Not the most sophisticated or complex meal, but at least it was some vegetables, a starch, and a complete protein. I thought it sort of seemed like peasant fare, but since I haven’t been grocery shopping as much, I see nothing wrong with using what I have on hand (as opposed to, say, going to the grocery store “in these trying times”). After dinner I talked to my mom and sister, and I ventured outside my apartment to take out my garbage. While working on tying up the garbage bag, I happened to think of the phrase “quarantine chic”, which amused me.

I know I’ve read a little bit about people “self-isolating” in their apartments and whatnot recently. From talking to friends and family, there are some people who are still working, but others who are working and/or studying from home. As an employee in an “essential business” (gas station), I don’t know what it’s like to be stuck at home for weeks without seeing another human! At most I’ve gone about 4 days (and that’s if you’re not counting Facebook or video calls, which I guess don’t really count). I know I’ve read a couple things where people are talking about how bras, tights, and some other things (mainly things women have to deal with, now that I think about it) shouldn’t survive, but the phrase “quarantine chic” to me does sort of imply barely getting dressed, and maybe just sitting around your apartment in your pajamas and/or underwear. Or even less, depending on your particular circumstances.

If you’re living by yourself, or perhaps with your significant other, then you probably could get away with wearing whatever minimum amount of clothing you’re comfortable in. However, if you’re living with relatives or children (or videoconferencing with people for work or school), you should probably wear at least some minimum of clothing, even if only enough to be “decent” and not accidentally indecent on your work video call (for example).

Thinking of “quarantine chic” also was making me wonder about “quarantine diet”, which seems like it could go badly- either subsisting on canned food, eating exclusively takeout or delivery, or trying to, for example, learn how to bake, so you’re making lots of bread (as I’ve read people are doing, according to Twitter). There probably could be other examples of quarantine entertainments (again, depending on living circumstances)- I imagine a young couple being quarantined in their apartment might come up with different entertainments than, say, a family living in a house or an extended family holed up in their vacation home. Of course, at least streaming is a thing now, so people can always Netflix and Disney+ and whatever to their heart’s content rather than being limited to their video collections or listening to the radio (or merely reading books or playing board games).

I remember recently thinking about how it would be interesting to try living like someone during the 1918 flu epidemic (or any other pandemic in history, for that matter). It might be difficult now that I think about it- for one thing, they didn’t have the Internet in 1918, so your entertainment choices would be limited to reading books, playing cards, board games (at least, anything invented before 1920), and maybe going outside, but you certainly wouldn’t have Netflix, Wikipedia, the Internet, YouTube, or myriad other things. I suppose they did have records in 1918, so you might be able to argue that you could listen to music, but that would of course limit you to your physical media collection (none of this “streaming” nonsense).

I can’t particularly think of anything else I wanted to write here, so I suppose I’ll return with more random thoughts at a later time.