Scattershot thoughts

The Disney movie Hocus Pocus 2 came out today, which I haven’t yet seen. Aside from one of my coworkers who apparently likes the first movie and plans I’d heard about for her to host a Hocus Pocus party today, I’m mainly reminded of how my ex liked Hocus Pocus, and in the fall of 2017 when we were dating, we went to a video rental store several times and rented different movies before we finally found Hocus Pocus and watched it. The aforementioned party, if I remember correctly, was also going to include my store manager, but since she got sick earlier this week presumably she’s not attending.

I’ve had yesterday and today off work, which has mainly been nice and relaxing. Yesterday I went to get my Covid bivalent booster shot and flu shot, which I turned into a grocery trip and bought, among other things, pumpkin ale, pumpkin pie cream liqueur, various snacks, kimchi, a gyro making kit, and the frozen pizza that I made for dinner yesterday. As far as what I’ve actually accomplished the last couple days, aside from watching YouTube and playing Rimworld I’ve also hand-washed some dishes. Suddenly it seems like I’ve done more than that, but I don’t remember if I actually put away the dishes that were in the dishwasher yesterday, or if that was perhaps the day before. Not that it matters- doing some dishes and getting groceries, which had been on my to-do list, is accomplishment enough. I can’t currently think of anything specific that I feel like I need to do before, say, going back to work tomorrow, but it’s not as if taking out the garbage or putting away laundry is truly that daunting.

Recently I seem to have once again exhausted the possibilities of Bumble and Tinder. I think I remember running into this problem before the pandemic, which I think may have led to my uninstalling those particular apps from my phone. Either way, I’ve never really used OKCupid, and I’ve long thought that’s a possibility (if only to serve as another venue to be frustrated in), but mostly I’m reluctant to try it. My current search criteria, if I remember correctly, are something like looking for women between the ages of 22 and 33 within 50 miles, and in this rural area, there don’t seem to be a lot of choices (particularly if you “left swipe” on all the choices).

This exhaustion of possibilities combined with my enjoying brief stargazing on the early morning of the 27th of this month, when I stepped outside about 12:51 AM and was able to see Jupiter, Mars, and the Pleiades (which I only knew due to the Stellarium and Sky Map apps on my phone). Since I enjoyed stargazing, it made me think, in the most self-deprecatory sense, “who needs a social life when you can stargaze?” The stars are easy to find if you look up, while people have things like “schedules” and “work” and “preferences” that tend to interfere with social lives and planning. Earlier this week I had messaged my current gaming group about having Thursday and Friday off this week, since it’s been nearly a month since our last meeting and I had thought people might be able to play on Friday night, but instead one person was leaving for a trip, so they were busy or had been busy, and someone else wasn’t able to meet on Thursdays, so that not working was a little disappointing.

I don’t really know what to do about feeling socially unfulfilled. The apps can only go so far (particularly if, you know, you actually express interest in people instead of denying everyone), and it would probably be even easier to meet people if I ever did anything other than work or hang out in my apartment or with family.

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Rumination

Rather than make one mega-post with several different trains of thought, I think I’ll make a couple and try to limit each post so each is at least vaguely related.

For example, rather than writing a post that mentions thinking about my ex and recent developments at work and ongoing frustration with dating apps and, upon further reflection, probably other things, I’ll make another post in a bit about the recent work developments and this can be the, uh, non-work post.

There isn’t much! Surprising, right? All I do is work and relax and work and relax and work and…

Let’s see… my grandparents are getting older, which is hardly surprising, and there’s not much I can say about that. They’re 93 and 92, and as the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth (and just about any old famous person) reminds me, one day they’ll be the ones mourned.

I’ve been playing Rimworld again, so that has been fun, but it’s also approaching the point where I’ve burned out on Rimworld and am due to switch to, I don’t know, Dominions 5 or something.

As far as the ongoing frustration with dating apps, I don’t know just how much I can write that wouldn’t just turn into pointless rambling (as cathartic as it may be for me). I’m convinced that my previous relationship (being introduced by a mutual friend when my now-ex and I were both in college in a city) is like the easy mode, if not “easiest” mode, for meeting people (and perhaps starting a relationship in general), compared to these days. I’m not in college any more, I work at a convenience store in a small town, and while I could be wrong, I’m convinced that most of the people my age or within the acceptable age range for a relationship are either already taken or may have other baggage. I don’t think this is a bad small town, but I don’t think there’s much of a nightlife (and I don’t get out much, so I’m hardly to be trusted as far as knowledge of the singles scene around here).

Read more: Rumination

I did think it was funny yesterday to remember that today was the anniversary of my ex and I starting our relationship, but considering it’s been 4.5 years since we broke up and over 2 years since I heard from her, I’m not sure what the traditional celebration is. A few weeks ago when I was thinking of the anniversary of our starting to date I started drafting a blog post with a playlist of songs that reminded me of her, though I didn’t feel like polishing that and posting it tonight. Maybe another day (or I guess I could always save it for another day, like the anniversary of our breaking up).

As far as dating apps, I’ve never really used OKCupid much, but Tinder and Bumble continually frustrate me because people either write nothing in their profiles, don’t write much in their profiles, are unoriginal (e.g., “touch my butt and buy me tacos”, “I like beer and tacos”, “my dog needs a daddy”), or the pictures seem bad. Maybe I don’t have much room to talk, since I don’t claim to have great pictures on my online dating profiles, but some people don’t look attractive, I’m personally not interested in lots of body modification (piercings, tattoos, etc.), and the profiles where they don’t even use a picture of themselves seem less than helpful (as far as the whole superficial “judging on appearance rather than substance and then make a binary choice” goes). I have a theory that people who are more “open to experience” tend to be more present on online dating, since I’ve seen a lot of people with tattoos and piercings and I suspect people who aren’t “open to experience” probably just meet their husbands/boyfriends through their social networks.

The best recent thing I’ve seen on a dating profile was on Bumble, I think, earlier this week and it was a woman whose profile said something like “Men who are over 6′ who only go for girls under 5’7″- why do you want your kids to play JV?” I think her profile said she was 5’9″, but as someone who’s about 6′ tall I thought that was hilarious. Of course, I also just appreciate seeing something new instead of the same trite nonsense about “I’m terrible at writing bios” or “not looking for hookups” or whatever nonsense.

Resuming a train of thought from earlier, I suspect that trying to date amid a respiratory pandemic (and that’s not even bringing monkeypox into the equation) is probably a bit more challenging than dating pre-pandemic. Additionally, as previously mentioned regarding location, dating in a city of one hundred fifty thousand at least offers more choices in a smaller area than trying to date in a small town of around a thousand. Even leaving aside the local ramifications of gossip and social networks, based on what I’ve seen on dating apps, there’s a lot of people who are more than 20 miles away, which isn’t too far, but it does seem like it’d slightly limit scheduling (as opposed to someone who was actually in the same town, or at least within 10 or so miles). Additionally, as I’ve thought before, in contrast to my ex, who was a full-time student when we were dating that didn’t have many friends, I assume that any future women I date (assuming I ever do date anyone again, of course) will probably have a job and probably friends and some kind of social life.

Of course, in order to start talking to someone through these various apps, I’d probably have to start swiping right, wouldn’t I? Why would I want to do that?

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.

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

Thinking about old news

It seems that about a month has passed since my last entry. Offhand, I can’t think of any major events recently. Sure, we got a new manager at work after about a month and a half, and perhaps other major events could come to mind, but at the moment I can’t think of anything major that personally affects me.

Last week I was able to get several days off work and go home for fall break with my sister, so that was nice. It was nice seeing family (including my brother and his wife, so I sort of got two road trips in one week) and being away from the daily grind. This week I somehow have 3 days off work, which I should make use of by looking for work and working on schoolwork and cleaning my apartment, but thus far today I haven’t been especially productive. I did cook dinner earlier tonight- I made rice, cooked some frozen corn, opened a can of baked beans, and combined that with chopped onion, green pepper, homegrown jalapeno pepper, and tomato that I fried in bacon grease. It was good, though I wasn’t very hungry (probably due to not doing anything today).

The night is still relatively young, though I don’t expect to do anything exciting the rest of the night. I might boot up a game and play Stellaris or something, though.

I’ve been thinking about my ex lately, which, as I’ve said, I probably shouldn’t be. Continue reading

Late night thoughts

I’ll begin by saying I should probably keep this brief. A more comprehensive update can come later. Whenever I decide to write that.

I don’t remember offhand if I’ve written it here before, but I am in a rut. I’ve had the same job for 6 years (7, if you count the year I worked for the same company at a different location), I’ve lived in the same apartment for 4 years as of yesterday, I broke up with my first girlfriend 1 year and 9 months ago, and I earned my bachelor’s degree 9 months ago. Aside from my ex no longer being in the picture and the changes associated with that (no needy girlfriend to entertain, but also no ex asking for occasional favors), I’m not sure my life has dramatically changed recently, which is both sort of good and bad. On the bright side, of course, my brother did get married just over a month ago, so technically I gained a sister-in-law, and I could get further into the weeds, but suffice it to say I’ve been unhappy. Sure, I make do and try to find some satisfaction, but the daily grind is irritating at times, and I’ve been burnt out, at least professionally, for what seems like a while. Probably at least a year, possibly a couple.

Recently, the beginning of the new semester, the anniversary of starting our relationship, and other things have made me think of my ex. Continue reading

A new leaf

I’ve been giving the beginning of a new month some thought lately. At some point in the last couple days I thought of the phrase “a thousand new beginnings” for some reason (though my off-the-cuff approximate calculations means a thousand days is about 3 years, while a thousand months is… less than ten years), though I have also been thinking about how a new month always means the beginning of a new chapter in the book of the year. August was late summer, while September marks the official end of summer and beginning of fall (meteorologically as well as astronomically).

The last couple weeks I’ve been having issues with my apartment air conditioner. I haven’t submitted a maintenance ticket yet, but mostly it’s been bearable as long as I have my ceiling fan running. Maybe it’s reminiscent of when I lived at home and we only had a couple window air conditioners, though a couple weeks ago it was tolerable because there was a warm day, and then a front moved through, the temperature dropped about 10 degrees, and the daily high temperatures dropped from the high 80s or low 90s to the low 80s.

Earlier for some reason I was thinking about September 2017, which reminded me of when my ex and I broke up for a day early in that month shortly before our 2nd anniversary (and about 3 months before we broke up for good). I was sure that getting back together was a mistake at the time, and in hindsight, it would have probably been better to not have got back together. Still, I’d like to think that was a learning experience, so if it happens again maybe I can draw the line and remain strong, so to speak.

Despite my recent thinking about this being the dawn of a new chapter, I haven’t really changed anything dramatically yet. I’m not sure what could change- maybe being more attentive about cleaning or conscientious about my schoolwork, or perhaps being gung-ho and ‘putting myself out there’ by submitting a bunch of job applications! What fun!

In all seriousness, I can’t think of much else to write. Maybe in the near future I’ll write here about my current Pathfinder game that I’ve been playing with some coworkers.

In beer there is truth?

I know there’s a Latin phrase “in vino veritas”, or “In wine there is truth”. I’m not sure what the equivalent is for beer. Fun fact: Today is my ex-girlfriend’s birthday.

In February, after a few weeks of no contact, my ex-girlfriend sent me a text message asking if I had seen Umbrella Academy, a show on Netflix. After I replied that I hadn’t, she asked if I’d be interested in watching it with her. I said sure, asked if she wanted to come over to my apartment, and when she asked when, I said that I had that night and the next day off work, and she said that that night wouldn’t work because she had gone home for the weekend. I said something about how I had figured she might have gone home to take advantage of the long weekend, and she didn’t reply. At some point during this conversation, I think she asked if I could get some things for her from Wal-Mart, I said I suppose I could, and if I remember correctly, that was when she asked (for the first time in over a year) if I’d be interested in watching Netflix with her.

A few days later she texted me again about getting her stuff. I got it on a Thursday, and due to a minor scheduling conflict (she wasn’t going to be at her room until 4:30 PM, and I worked at 5 PM that night), we arranged that I was going to drop it off at her room Friday morning. Friday morning, I showed up at her door, handed her what she had requested, and the only words exchanged were “Thanks”. Incidentally, this is the last time I’ve seen her in person. While walking away from her dorm room, I sent her a text asking if she was still interested in watching Umbrella Academy together, and she replied “Already watched it.” That evening while I was at work, she texted me to ask when I got off work, I told her, and she asked if I’d be interested in picking her up after I got off work so we could watch Netflix together. I said sure, and then she said that actually I could come to her room the next day, and she would buy me lunch.

That night, she asked if I could bring her a drink, and after I asked what she liked, she said she liked Samuel Adams Winter or Boston Lager. Saturday morning, after picking my car up from the dealership where I had left it to get a recall taken care of, I stopped at a gas station to buy a bottle of Boston Lager, went to campus to work on homework, and continued the text message conversation with her.

Originally she had asked when I might come to her room, and I had thrown out a random  time and said 11 AM. I wasn’t sure if that would work, but she said it would. Around 10 AM I think she asked if I could come later, and that it might be 1 PM. I think this was around when she asked when I had to work, and I told her 5 PM, and she said that was plenty of time. I had said that coming after 11 would be fine, since I had stuff I could work on.

A few minutes after 11, she texted me (paraphrased) “never mind, maybe we can do it another day.”

At first I had thought that she had slept in until after 10 AM, and wanted some additional time to make herself presentable. I wouldn’t care, but I remember when we were dating she usually wore makeup and styled her hair. I’m sure if she was going to have me come over, she would want to clean up her room, apply makeup and style her hair, and probably put on “real” clothes (say, jeans and a t-shirt), rather than roll out of bed (without styling her hair or applying makeup) and open the door to greet me dressed in an old t-shirt and pajama pants (or whatever she was sleeping in at the time).

At some point after she canceled, I wondered if there was something going on (like her roommate being in the room, a family crisis, or an argument with her boyfriend) that she didn’t want me to be in her room for. I also think, though, that if she was genuinely interested in watching Netflix with me, she could have suggested a time to reschedule or, if needed, an alternate location. Maybe it’s because, as she said in her most recent e-mail from last month, I’m dependable, but if she had been genuinely interested in watching Netflix with me she could have offered an alternative, like “Today won’t work, what about tomorrow/next weekend/this specific day?”

I still suspect that her asking me if I’d want to watch Netflix with her for the first time in over a year is due to her wanting emotional validation after conflict with her boyfriend, but now I wonder if she was considering her options that morning. Maybe she was arguing with her boyfriend while also texting me and weighing her options.

Anyway, after she canceled, I took the beer home and it sat in my fridge for a month. After a month had passed, I sent her a picture of the bottle of Samuel Adams Boston Lager via Snapchat with a caption that said something along the lines of “It amuses me that this is still in my fridge after a month. I hope you are well.”

A few days later I sent her an e-mail, which was probably a mistake, but the ensuing week of e-mail exchanges (where I told her I had a new phone number and she told me about making plans with her boyfriend) remains, thus far, our last contact. (not counting her finally opening the Snapchat message a month after I sent it, but I’ve noticed she doesn’t seem to be a very active Snapchat user- of course, neither am I)

I decided to drink the beer I bought (originally for her) today, since it’s her birthday. A couple days ago I was a little sad remembering memories from celebrating her birthdays when we were dating, but in hindsight that seems ridiculous, and now this is just another day. She didn’t ask me to take her out for her birthday, and I haven’t heard from her for a month. There’s always the possibility she might reach out, but I’m sure at this point, she’s looking forward to moving in with her boyfriend after she graduates from college in a couple weeks and she probably has no desire to talk to me.

That may not be the most uplifting note to end on, but it’s the end of this particular entry, methinks.

Pathfinder-inspired pondering

Pathfinder is a tabletop roleplaying game based on Dungeons and Dragons revised 3rd edition (or D&D 3.5).

Last night at work I was remembering the game of Pathfinder I ran when I was dating my ex-girlfriend. The party was composed of my ex (playing a half-elf sorceror), a couple coworkers (I think one was a ranger and the other was a paladin), and the human bard I was running in addition to acting as DM/GM.

The plot was that a group of bandits had been causing trouble in the area, and the captain of the city watch had tasked our party with taking care of the problem. The reward was a few hundred gold pieces each, I think- I don’t remember if I said a firm number, but I mainly seem to remember not thinking about a reward until someone asked what the reward was. Oops, the perils of being a novice DM.

At one point, I had this idea that a human adept could be in a relationship with the bandit leader, and that she could escape the party’s assault on the bandit HQ (an old mansion in the forest) and become a recurring villain causing trouble for the party in the future. This plan didn’t work out- if I remember correctly, the ranger got a good attack roll and shot her with a longbow. In any event, she didn’t survive to escape after the party stormed into the mansion, so I think my loose future plans adjusted to make the adept’s sister the possible future villain.

Anyway, thinking about that game reminded me that I still have the character sheet for the half-elf sorceror my ex had made, and I think when we broke up I asked if she wanted her character sheet and she didn’t, so I put it with the rest of my notes from that game and I haven’t looked at it since. Continue reading

Uncertainty

I’m not sure what to write about.

It’s been about 7 months since the end of my first relationship, and a few weeks since my last contact with my ex-girlfriend. I’d say I’m probably over the breakup (though it seems like I’ve been that way for some time, honestly). I anticipate that she might reach out again this coming fall, but of course there’s always the possibility that, as she has said, we might never talk again.

I’m not a fan of the idea of never talking again, but I imagine, based on our interaction since we broke up, she probably knows that I’m not the one closing that particular door, and if she wants to contact me, I’ll probably reply. Last month while my siblings were in town, I did think it was strange that she tried calling me one afternoon. I didn’t see the missed call until a few hours after it happened. If I remember correctly, after looking on my phone I realized that was the first time she’s called me since March. I thought it was possible that it was a mistake (“butt dial”, “pocket dial”, etc.), but it seemed strange considering we hadn’t texted or talked for a couple weeks, and I imagine if she’s been texting or calling anyone since she went home for the summer it’s been her boyfriend and family.

I haven’t been thinking about my ex-girlfriend much lately, but the last few days I had been thinking about her after finally trying the restaurant she mentioned wanting to go to for her birthday if her boyfriend couldn’t come visit (though her boyfriend ultimately did come down, so I didn’t have to take her out for her birthday after all) and thinking about how it’s been about 7 months since we broke up. Today, I deleted a few pictures on my phone and ate the last bite of gelato in my freezer, which was from one day last fall when we bought gelato before settling in to watch Netflix.

She hasn’t been to my apartment since the start of the spring semester, but there doesn’t seem to be many physical reminders left. Sure, there’s the lamp she gave me for Christmas one year (the first year we were together, I think?), and various things I can associate with her (like the days when I would make fried rice for dinner or eggs and cinnamon rolls for breakfast), but not many (if anything) that I can physically handle and associate with a specific memory. Such is life and the passage of time, I suppose.

Less fortunately, I briefly looked at job postings today, and the idea of filling out job applications or tinkering with my resume is demoralizing. “Looking for a job is a job in itself”, and I know I don’t want to work at my current job forever, but I also know that I don’t relish the prospect of filling out job applications, updating my resume, and all the other associated nonsense. I do think getting a new job would help, if only so it might be something I enjoy more than my current job, which I have been doing for far too long.

In other demoralizing news, I’m not sure what to do on the dating front. I haven’t been very active lately, but online dating hasn’t seemed to work for me yet. Maybe it’s my pictures, or maybe I’m just not in a good spot (as family seems to think), which I sort of agree with. Walking in the park one evening earlier this week I saw several couples, which kind of made me wish I had someone to go on walks with and otherwise enjoy my summer, but at the same time I kind of am enjoying the single life and not having to be accountable to anyone. If I had a girlfriend, I’m sure she would have plans of her own (even if it was just planning our next date or trip together), and right now I’m free [within the confines set by my work schedule].

In more fortunate news, I’ve been using Duolingo for nearly a week. I’ve used it before, but never for this long. Studying German, French, Spanish, Welsh, Russian, and Chinese (the most recent I’ve embarked on) makes me feel accomplished, though studying Chinese keeps making me feel slightly stupid when I make a mistake.

I’m not sure what else I could write about, so that may be where I leave off for now. It’s weird thinking about classes starting in about a month- I’m not sure I’m ready for that, but I know I need to finish registering for classes and get all of that straightened out.