“Goodness me, the clock has struck-Alackday, and…

…fuck my luck.”

That’s how the quote from the title ends. It’s a Vonnegut thing. I didn’t want to put “fuck” in a post title for dumb reasons that go back to my Baptist upbringing and former ministerial lifestyle.

By the way (this is the earliest tangent I think I’ve ever gone on in any post) I recently have discovered that if you tell people you’re a “former minister” many of them assume you DID something to be “defrocked.” People don’t understand that many of us got into the business, saw it was a BUSINESS, and got out, disgusted. They assume we fucked someone or something we shouldn’t have and got drummed out. Most of us didn’t. I didn’t. I just hated having to pretend I wasn’t dealing with depression to make the elders happy and bailed for my own sanity…

ANYWAY…

I’m presently in the middle of the worst run of bad luck I’ve ever had in my life. Here’s a summary…

On Friday, April 30, I was in a parking lot in Maplewood (MO) and my car wouldn’t start. Inconvenient, but I called my insurance company to arrange roadside assistance and a tow and called my brother for a ride home. Simple enough, right?

Not hardly.

This started at 7:03 p.m., per my phone’s call log. I called their roadside assistance number and had to navigate their phone-maze and also a smart-phone text-based link system to get the tow started–which was infuriating. It took me a half hour to just get somebody on the phone after having my policy number (which I was typing in correctly) rejected multiple times by the broken web-link they sent to my phone…eventually I just randomly started pressing buttons and got a representative. Already a bad start, just trying to get their bullshit technology to work. Used to be you could call and talk to a person…not so now. Anyone who isn’t well-versed in all applications of their phone (eg-a senior citizen) would be LOST. But after a while I finally talked to someone and at 8:23 p.m. they sent me a text saying a tow company was on their way with a 75-85 minute estimate.

So I’m already an hour and a half in with another hour-fifteen wait. But, sure. Whatever. Still just an inconvenience. And my brother had shown up, so I had someone to talk to.

85 minutes came and went. No further contact…until 10:03 when I received a text asking if I was still waiting. I replied that I was and they said I could call the tow company or insurance company to discuss it. Called the tow company. Straight to voicemail and the inbox was full. So I called the insurance company. And was promptly put on hold for 20 minutes.

A person eventually picked back up, but then put me BACK on hold. She picked up after while and said she was on hold to talk to the tow driver and would call me back in five minutes…

A half hour passed and I called HER back. She answered and confirmed she was the same rep I’d just spoken to. She clearly said she confirmed the tow driver was en route and would be there in 45-55 minutes. I expressed my frustration that I had called it in at 7:03 and it was now 11:11 p.m. Her tone shifted to irritation.

Another half-hour passes.

I get a call from a different person saying she’s a supervisor reviewing the file. She says she’s working to get a tower out ASAP. I mentioned that someone had told me a half hour ago that there was a truck en route, “was that not true?” The supervisor confirmed in no uncertain terms that I had been lied to by the asshole above. So fuck her, I hope she starves in front of her children.

The supervisor confirmed a new tower. With a 45 minute wait. By now it’s midnight. But the new tower called me directly to confirm my location and keep me advised. The supervisor called a couple times too. By this time they’re doing things “right”–it only took them five hours.

The tower showed up at 1:10 a.m. He had my car out of the lot in seven minutes. It was over six hours since I called in the need for roadside assistance–my brother stayed for five of them to get me home. If it had been Winter and I had no one to call, I would have frozen to death in that time.

The insurance company then texted me five times between 2 and 7 a.m. to ask my level of satisfaction with their service. I eventually replied telling them to “get fucked in Hell” and blocked their texts.

The next day I got a call from their customer “satisfaction” department and relayed everything. Wanna know what they did to make it right? They sent me a $25 Amazon gift card. I’m not kidding. Six hours of my life that could’ve been very dangerous were worth $25 to Liberty Fucking Mutual.

Another day later I got another call from their customer satisfaction people trying to smooth things over–by now my agent had been called, too–I explained to them that they needed to quit calling and harassing me, it isn’t appreciated, and they’ve already lost my business–the next time they call I was going to give them my attorney’s phone number instead. I haven’t heard from them since.

The car was in the shop for several days and cost $660 to repair…or so I thought…

The next weekend I was in a gas station parking lot and the car once again would not start. Unbelievable, right? So I called a friend who has AAA, who I knew would come help if she was present on the scene. So she showed up and called. AAA was there in 15 minutes. Don’t pay for Liberty Mutual’s roadside “assistance.” Get AAA.

And when the shop started diagnosing the problem, the electrical system started smoking and the car nearly burst into flames. They have still not diagnosed the problem…but I’m supposed to have some answers by Tuesday. The shop owner said, “I just hope we don’t end up having to tell you to take it to the dealership or something.” (I will absolutely snap if they do.) It’s very likely that with the ACV of my car only being around $4000-5000 I’m going to just need a new car shortly. So…that’s a car payment I won’t be able to afford for…probably 10 years on what I’d actually be able to pay.

And that’s not it. If it was just car stuff…fine…whatever…it sucks…but it’s a 2009 and it’s close to death, I get it…but there’s more!

My lawnmower that’s two years old stopped working. So I’ve had to arrange for lawnmowing services. That was so far the easiest emergency.

My dryer broke down. It won’t heat up or dry clothes anymore. (And yes, I cleared out the conduit thing.) I haven’t dealt with that yet…I need to get a repairer out, but I suspect I’ll just end up having to buy a dryer soon.

Some siding fell off my house, too. From under the roof. So. I’ve got to get that addressed as well.

Additionally a contractor who I DO NOT TRUST, but who I’m using because of loyalty to family started work on my bathroom in February (and whose first diagnostic visit was in motherfucking JUNE 2020) has been completely ghosting me for weeks. He told me the work I needed done was a two day project. It’s presently on day six (over the course of four months) with him not returning calls or texts, despite the fact that he NEEDS to show up here to be paid for the work done up-to-date… So I’ve got a new toilet and new floor tile sitting in-box in my foyer. Where it’s been for almost two fucking months. Because Mark doesn’t return texts. (My next post will contain his last name, too.) Fuck. Him. He’s a liar. He’s a fraud. He’s a coward. He’s a piece of shit. And if he doesn’t get back to me THIS WEEK, he’s also not getting paid and I’m calling absolutely ANYONE else, regardless of if they’re even qualified to do the work… I presently have a check with his name on it. I would be glad to tear it up in his asshole fucking face.

And also last week, I tripped, dropped my laptop, and shattered the screen. So…that’s another thing.

And I’ve started having abdominal pains. They started on Friday May 14. Still ongoing. I think I have an ulcer. Or a bad pulled abdominal muscle–but how the hell could I have done THAT?

It’s an expensive time. A shitty time. EVERYTHING turned to shit at once… It’s all awful. There’s no silver-lining.

It’s my birthday next weekend. I’ll be 41. And I’ll be releasing two albums that day.

And I’m so fucking unhappy I want to punch God in the dick.

So that’s where I’ve been. Yourself?

It’s Been A Weird Week

I suppose I should update everybody, since I started all this, huh? I’ve talked to Dad. And I’ve seen him once. I’ll see him again tomorrow (at the time of writing). We’ve talked pretty close to every day since he fell and landed in the hospital with a broken femur and a mass of metal inserted into the bone to fix it. In the midst of a pandemic. For which he’s only half vaccinated as of now…

It’s been a weird week…

He’s doing okay. He’s presently in a rehab facility, going through physical therapy to get him walking again. (Where have I heard that before?) From what I understand he’s making good strides (at least in my estimation) and there’s more good news than bad. The best news is that the last time he was in this same facility, he was recovering from a stroke and we all had questions about what the hell happened in the first place, and who he’d be coming out of it. (Low-key tinfoil-hat moment: Part of me wonders if COVID 19 has been around longer than we think…he had ALL of the symptoms in May-July 2019. But I digress…) THIS time we’re in a different position. He’s “just” hurt. There aren’t neurological issues. There’s VERY little chance that anything fatal could happen. He is 100% Dave Brink. He just needs to get strength back.

It’s still hard. The COVID restrictions mean I personally can only see him on Saturdays, assuming my own health holds out. And my brother can see him on Sundays, assuming the same. Dad’s significant other (Susan, if you’re new…as I said in the last post…come on, you’ve only got a couple decades of this blog to catch up on…) has been able to spend more time with him, but even she’s limited by both his schedule and her own. It sucks that more people can’t be with him more frequently. Pandemics are like that, I guess. (As I’m writing this, I plan on seeing him tomorrow…)

My own week has been made harder by having some plumbers in my house. Months ago (around July) a pipe cracked in my secondary stack at the house. That stack hosts only the toilet and sink coming out of the master bedroom, so it’s not the WORST thing in the world for it to be compromised under normal circumstances…but it’s still a problem. A temporary fix back then kept water from flowing onto my basement floors…but the stack needed to be replaced.

When a contractor (who I hated virtually upon sight and more upon him talking down to me) saw it, he also identified problems that meant the MAIN stack (hosting the primary bathroom, shower, kitchen sink, dishwasher, etc) also would need to be replaced. Alongside that, some flooring in the secondary bathroom needs to be replaced with some other related work–none of that was a surprise, but it’s all kind of happening at once, and the way the guy talked about it was just shy of belittling… That contractor said (in July) “I’ll get you an estimate in a couple days.” A “couple days” turned into months before WE contacted HIM to get things re-started in January… Since that time, it’s been about two months of him saying he’s recovering from rotator cuff surgery, but he’s ready to go but not quite doing work yet… Which… Okay fine. I understand… That takes whatever time it takes… But I don’t know if I believe that it actually happened, frankly… Nevertheless, he gave us a referral to a plumber he works with (but who hasn’t recognized his name any time I’ve mentioned it to them, interestingly enough) and the stacks were replaced yesterday. While Dad’s in the hospital. Of course.

So, yesterday I had plumbers in my house. They tore out drywall. They cut through cast iron and wood. They replaced iron with hard plastic. They…didn’t replace the drywall…apparently that’s a contractor’s job–and remember I can’t stand the contractor… But they set me up with one working toilet (out of two) with the knowledge that a contractor would need to come in to put in the ripped out drywall and replace flooring in one of the two bathrooms before the other toilet and sink could be reinstalled. Okay. Fair enough.

And then… Today I noticed that the smaller stack is leaking. Right at the bottom. A problem with the seal, I guess. I called it in too late to get anyone on it today. Who knows when they’ll get my voice mail? And of course…the leaking stack is the only one with the working toilet. So…I literally don’t have a pot to piss in. And I hope they call me back soon (but not so soon that I don’t get to see Dad tomorrow). And in the midst of that, the contractor (“I’ll get you an estimate in a couple days” in July) says he can start in APRIL. It is presently March 19. 20+ days in limbo. After he referred us to plumbers who got things done in one day.

No.

So I’m looking for a new contractor. Even if the new contractor can’t start until MAY, I’m okay with it as long as I am comfortable with them. I need to feel like I’m not being lied to. The guy who identified the problem in the first place in July then blanked us until January is not going to work out, unless he’s my only option. On top of him setting us up with the plumber for this week THEN telling us he won’t be able to personally start until April (assuming that’s even true)…there are many other issues.

Regarding that contractor… He’s rude. He’s a bully. In the 30-45 minutes he’s spent in my house to date, he has not once worn a mask despite seeing the one on my face. He has spent time in conversation telling me all of the things I “should” be doing to prevent future damages–making me feel BAD for the problems that exist in a 60 year old house… I’ve felt minimized, guilty, and ashamed for taking too many hot showers (up to and including ONE A DAY!), leading to peeling paint. That is NOT okay. That is not how he should treat a client. I do not deserve to be made to feel like shit in my own home. But perhaps most disturbingly, he spent a long time badmouthing his other clients, including the person he was currently working for when he stopped by my home to give me an estimate. I wonder what he said about me at the next place?

Fuck that guy. He doesn’t get to come into my home–the one place where I should be able to be comfortable. He can talk shit in his own home or preferably under an overpass, if not under a tire-tread. Fuck. Him. I do not want that man in my home again. I do not want him to get money from ANYONE, much less my family. I will not name him here just because I don’t want to be sued. But e-mail me at db@derekbrink.com and I will absolutely tell you his name, so you know who to avoid. But I think if you ever meet him, it will be obvious. That asshole isn’t even getting the courtesy of a call to let him know I’m going with someone else. And he probably won’t even notice for another two years based on his current scheduling.

So…now I’m working on getting a new contractor who will respect my health, my property, and my dignity to finish the job. I have some numbers to call this weekend. I hope someone can start soon. We’ll see… Even if they can’t start until MAY I’d rather be comfortable with the person(s) doing the work than have an asshole doing it cheaper and sooner. I’ve spent too many years living with being abused to accept it now from someone I have the power to fire.

…but what about the plumbing? We’ll see…hopefully tomorrow. For the most part, I liked the plumber that did the work. They were basically respectful. One older lady who did a lot of the work failed to wear her mask when talking to me once, but she had it on most of the day and I could tell she just forgot as the work went on and reached the end. Most of the time she was alone and was free to take it off. That didn’t bother me. They mostly did good work. Mistakes happen. Leaks happen. They have a small one to fix that wouldn’t be as big a problem if I just had the other toilet connected. Hopefully they’ll address it soon and we’ll be okay–not IDEAL–but okay.

…and Dad… Dad is still the property owner on the house in which I live. So that’s kind of why I’m talking about all of this as one ebent. His name is on the deed. Which is actually pretty helpful (even though I could do with the equity…etc…) Dad’s involved financially. That’s pretty much the only reason ANY of this work is able to happen…and right when it all is starting to escalate, he broke his fucking femur and is in the fucking hospital and I’ve got to deal with fucking plumbers and fucking contractors that Dad (helpfully!) fucking hired. And, yeah…okay…I vetoed the contractor and am working on a new one…but most of the footwork has been Dad’s, and in fairness the plumber has been basically fine… But now Dad’s physically unable to do footwork, so I’m learning a lot about contractors and am about to middle-man some financial stuff I understand but am unsteady on negotiating in my real life.

Tomorrow I see Dad. I’ll be at the hospital (rehab facility) from 2-5. I hope to spend less than 15 minutes of that on the contractor and plumber. We’ll see. Mostly I want to spend time bullshitting with him. Last time I was allowed to visit we spent a large chunk of time talking about Star Trek, pro wrestling, and who-knows-what. That’s my preference. That’s normal for us. It’s sane. It’s comforting. Contractors and plumbers aren’t. I’d much rather be comforted and be comforting right now. (I kinda wish that once he fell everything had just been pushed back to April….or May…or July of 2022 if the asshole-contractor had his druthers, I suspect…) I hope tomorrow will be more encouraging than anything else.

I’ve heard conflicting details of how much progress Dad’s making, but 100% of what I’m hearing is secondhand. I’m interested in being there, seeing him, hearing from him, interacting with staff, and getting a real first-hand sense of things. That hasn’t been possible so far. I know he’s “okay.” I want him to be “doing great.” And I hope to get a good update tomorrow. …why does it feel like I’m going in to speak to his teachers and see if he’s doing okay in Math?

But yeah…in general, Dad’s going to be fine. It’s a question of “when” more than “if” but I still would love some concrete estimates, y’know?

Something that hit me hard tonight was listening to the new album from noted Country Outlaw (amongst other things) Steve Earle. His new album “J.T.” came out today. It’s an album for Steve’s son, Justin Townes Earle. JTE died back in August 2020 of a drug overdose. Steve covers 10 of Justin’s songs on “J.T.” and he wrote an 11th on his own talking about the last conversation he ever had with his son. I read an article where Steve talks about that. Steve said that in his last conversation with Justin he said, “Don’t make me bury you” and Justin said, “I won’t.” And Justin died that same night. I wrote in my twitter feed that knowing that and listening to Steve’s song “Last Words” on the new album are enough to make those of us who live under a grey cloud wish it were a blue sky, if only for our dads’ sakes.

When I was talking to Dad about the frustration of the work on the house and wanting to replace the contractor, I got a little heated about it. I haven’t had a lot of control over the scheduling and it got to me. I started voicing that and in the middle of it caught myself and said, “…and I hate fuckin’ yelling at you while you’re in a hospital bed.” Grey cloud; wishing it were a blue sky. And that’s when Dad calmly said I could look for a new contractor if I can find one. It’s Dad’s nature to try to make a blue sky on a rainy day. Always wished I’d inherited that from him. (Instead I’m more like my mother, who could cause it to rain like a bastard on the surface of the sun itself maysherestinpeace.)

So tomorrow…15 minutes of contractor talk. Maybe 30 of “What are the doctors saying” another 10-15 of, “and do you think that’s right” and then 2 hours of “Did you know Bray Wyatt’s the son of Mike Rotunda and his real name is Windham Rotunda–the MOST pro-wrestling name EVER?” Because that’s a blue sky. And I could use one…Dad probably could too.

And…that’s where we are.

It has been a WEIRD week.

Update on My Dad

Things have moved very quickly and it has been a difficult couple days. I am sorry that this post is probably how I’m telling some people about it. This is how I process stuff.

My dad fell last night and broke his hip. Or…I guess really his femur, but the repair goes INTO the hip? Google “troch nail” and you’ll see why I’m not sure what to call it. Actually…here’s a picture…this is the repair they did to the break.

The break is in the femur, but you can see why everybody’s talking about it as the hip.

He’s going to be okay. The doctor said the break was in place so it was an easy repair with good prognosis for recovery. The doctor seems unworried about recovery, but we’ll see how it goes and what is needed as things continue unfolding. As far as bad news, it also came with good news that he’ll most probably be alright. I got to talk to him tonight around 9:30pm or so and he sounded good and very much himself…of course, he’s also on some pretty cool drugs…so…that might be slightly misleading… But it was still good to hear.

But make no mistake. This does suck.

It sucks that in the past couple years Dad’s been in hospital rooms nearly more often than I’ve been in recording booths. Though, it’s debatable which of us had less fun in that regard. (To possibly apocryphally paraphrase Dorothy Parker–I hate recording, I love having recorded.) It sucks that we have so many conversations that include the phrase “and then I see the doctor on the __th of the month…” And it sucks that this time I couldn’t sit in a waiting room or be there when he woke up from surgery. Only one visitor allowed in per day, and they have to be gone at 6. As though the time of day changes whether you have COVID or not. Because it sucks that so much of America still refuses to take the pandemic seriously because it hasn’t really impacted them.

Well. I’m impacted. My family is impacted. So. Wear a fucking mask. Stay the fuck home. Get the fucking vaccine. Or don’t talk to me about it–and how DARE you post your photos of your brazen lack of care for other human beings on Facebook? While I’d rather we all stay well, I really don’t want to hear it if you’re an anti-masker or a bar-goer who gets sick, man. And I don’t want your false sympathies when I do either. What I want is to be in my dad’s hospital room while he recovers from surgery for his broken hip, and I can’t do that. Because of YOU. So fuck you right in your maskless nose. We have nothing else to say to each other.

We clear on that part?

Okay. Back to Dad.

I don’t really know how the fall happened. He kinda doesn’t either. One of those things…we’ve all done it. You’re standing then you’re not standing. He’s had some back and balance issues in the last few months and has been using a cane, but while he had it with him he wasn’t using-it, using it that night, if you follow me. So he probably just lost his balance. Or tripped. Or whatever. All he really knows is he was suddenly on the ground and it hurt like hell. That’s pretty much every “I broke my hip” story I’ve ever heard.

Thankfully Susan (Dad’s significant other, if you’re new) got to him quick and got him to the ER. The ER of course didn’t move even a fraction as quick as Susan. She told me about it around 9:30 PM. He got into a room at 4 AM. Based on past experience, that part’s actually not too different because of COVID.

I didn’t sleep more than a couple hours Thursday night. And I haven’t been able to nap today (I’m writing this on Friday), despite trying more than once. I get really keyed up when something’s wrong with Dad. He’s the most supportive person in my life and right now it’s KILLING me that I’m physically unable to reciprocate that due to hospital rules. (But I’ve already yelled at you for that. I assume if you’re still reading you’re not one of The Maskless.) I’ve got a lot of energy with nowhere to put it, but I’m also so tired my eyes don’t want to focus on any one thing for too long.

So naturally, I went to the DMV at 7:30 in the morning.

I was up. And I needed to go there. I’d renewed my plates online on January 25, but as of today (March 12 at the time of writing) the stickers still haven’t come in the mail. I called the DMV headquarters at the state capitol and they told me to go to a local branch and they’d give me stickers and that I would NOT be billed for it. (Spoiler alert: I was…and that went over about how you’d expect with me…I basically turned into Jim Cornette. Who you can Google on your own time if you don’t know him.) I’m not going to tell the full story here, but it went poorly, even though I DID get my stickers. I had been planning to go in for them today anyway, but with Dad hurt I knew I needed them ASAP just in case I have to drive anywhere. So it was the first thing I did today.

Free advice: Don’t ever make the DMV the first thing you do. While sleep deprived. And worried about your dad. And while there’s a pandemic going on. And while anybody’s breathing in and out and the sun is still rising and setting. After today I’m convinced that if there ever was a God, he died waiting for his license plate stickers in line at the fucking Florissant DMV at 7:30 in the morning, talking to their useless management. The same management who said, “I don’t know why they keep telling people that” when God (who is me in this story, I guess?) told them the DMV HQ said he wouldn’t have to pay, and then in the next breath told him they’re just doing “what they tell me to do” and they don’t have an answer when God (again, me?) asks, “then why did they tell ME you’d do something else?” Etc. (And then I kinda…uncorked. I think I kind of whited-out for a bit. The next thing I knew I had my stickers and a form to fill out to request a refund that I have to send to the state capitol. I wonder how THAT will go?) And sadly without giving a blow-by-blow recap of the dialogue written out like the script from a play, that’s about as clearly and sanely as I can tell the story. I’m leaving out a lot of swearing and (legal) threats, of course…

It probably wouldn’t have been such a problem if Dad were okay.

When somebody you love is hurt you’re capable of anything and not all of those things are positive. For every story that involves a 20-something mother lifting a car off her toddler there are a million 40-something douchebags yelling at a shitty DMV manager. (Who incidentally makes $16/hour based on the “Now Hiring” sign they had posted, if you’re looking.) Anyway…fuck them, too. Even though they were wearing masks. I’m not proud of the way I handled it. But I’m also not ashamed. When a liar lies, you tell the truth. I just told it as aggressively and insultingly as possible.

And then after that it was a long day of waiting, worrying, twitching, driving around just because I COULD now that I have my stickers (small victories), and cooking. Because you’ve gotta have lunch. And factor in my phone blowing up all day just with the limited amount of people who knew what was going on needing and seeking updates and also pepper in the need for personal space and reflection and today was crazy. I took the day off work, even though I work from home. I thought it was going to be a half-day. It turned into a whole day. It was the right thing to do. I wouldn’t have gotten a THING done.

About an hour before I started writing this post I texted Dad, 100% sure he was asleep following surgery or that he was not feeling up to messing with his cell phone and so on… And as expected he didn’t reply, and that felt terrible even though he had a very good reason. But then an hour after THAT, he called me on the landline and we talked for a while, and I started crying just hearing his voice. And then another hour later I came back to this post to finish writing it…and because Dad said, “you can post about it tomorrow” I’m waiting until sometime after midnight to post it…which is cheating, but just barely. (Looking at the clock it’s now quarter-after-3am. Nobody’s seeing this until “tomorrow” anyway.)

So tonight I’m feeling very exhausted, a little beat up, a LOT punch drunk, unbelievably worried, pretty relieved, optimistic, pessimistic, angry, and grateful all at once. Because I’m me. And because this is hard.

Hug somebody if you can. But either be quarantined for a couple weeks or be fully vaccinated before you do.

And try to avoid the DMV.

Dumb Facebook Questions

I’m feeling isolated this week, despite having seen my dad and a plumber in real-life. So I’ve been bouncing around online and found the following image on Facebook with a bunch of questions I thought it would be fun to answer. There’s no credit in the image, so I have no idea where it originated…but I’m going to answer them anyway. This…this is the post…

  1. Who’s the last person you held hands with? – I genuinely can’t remember. I’ve been locked in my home for almost a full year. So it’s been a while. So I’m going to say it was character-actor James Cromwell.
  2. Are you outgoing or shy? – I’m shy. But you could be forgiven for thinking I’m outgoing. Because I tend to deal with my shyness by being kinda over-the-top when I’m in situations where I HAVE to be sociable.
  3. Who are you looking forward to seeing? – EVERYONE. Even people I hate. I would LOVE to be pissed off at people I don’t like very much in an office or a grocery store or a bank. But mostly my family.
  4. Are you easy to get along with? – I suppose that depends on the context. I’d like to think so, but I also know I can be a real pain in the ass and VERY standoffish and combative depending on the situation.
  5. If you were drunk would the person you like take care of you? – I’m 40. This question doesn’t mean anything anymore.
  6. What kind of people are you attracted to? – Anyone who presents themselves as confident, who obviously doesn’t need me. Like character-actor James Cromwell.
  7. Do you think you’ll be in a relationship two months from now? – I don’t even think I’ll be OUTSIDE two months from now, since so many assholes just REFUSE to wear masks and skip their precious fucking youth group meetings for a couple weeks. So no.
  8. Who’s on your mind? – Character actor James Cromwell.
  9. Does talking about sex make you uncomfortable? – Depends on who I’m talking to…but yeah, kinda, I guess. Like…I don’t want to do it right NOW…
  10. Who was the last person you had a deep conversation with? – I guess that depends on what you mean by “deep.” And honestly what you mean by “conversation” too… Recently someone I used to know passed away and I had a couple intense chats/texts about it…but in-person conversation? That might go back as far as my grandma’s funeral in July 2020.
  11. What does the most recent text that you sent say? – “Thanks!” Scandalous, huh?
  12. What are your five favorite songs right now? – Impossible to answer. But the stuff I’ve most recently had stuck in my head are Frank Zappa’s “Bobby Brown Goes Down,” Pink Floyd’s “On the Turning Away,” Prince’s “Sometimes it Snows in April,” Ani DiFranco’s “Untouchable Face,” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.” None of those would be anywhere near my top-five all-time favorites…but they’ve recently been on my mind.
  13. Do you like it when people play with your hair? – I’m pretty seriously losing it…so my answer is “what hair?”
  14. Do you believe in luck and miracles? – The short answer is luck, yes; miracles, no. (There’s a complicated theological reason for the latter…long-story short, I think most people experience luck and call it a miracle.)
  15. What good thing happened this summer? – When was summer? Was that the part where I was stuck inside because some assholes won’t wear masks or the part where I was stuck inside because some assholes won’t step a couple feet back standing in line at the grocery store and also keep going to the zoo and eating in restaurants and shit like that?
  16. Would you like to kiss the last person you kissed again? – Clearly the person who wrote these questions is a teenager who has no idea what the new feelings in their pants are…but sure…fine…whatever…I’d do it if they asked I guess.
  17. Do you think there is life on other planets? – No. And if there is, who gives a shit? And why do people always assume aliens are going to be so much more advanced than us and traveling around looking to find us and interact with us? Why wouldn’t they be just as stupid and useless or even worse than we are? Fuck aliens, man. Imaginary cryptid bullshit.
  18. Do you still talk to your first crush? – I have no memory of who my first crush was. Maybe?
  19. Do you like bubble baths? – I take baths semi-regularly to help with my sciatica, but I don’t feel the need to add bubbles or salts or other shit to them. The hot water and a good book is enough for me. But I’m not opposed to them.
  20. Do you like your neighbors? – Most of them. Don’t know some of them. Like the guy to the left has a little yappy dog that does not care for it when I take out the trash, but otherwise I haven’t ever seen him. But the ones I’ve met are fine.
  21. What are your bad habits? – It would be easier to list the good ones. I’ll keep it simple… I’m lazy as fuck.
  22. Where would you like to travel? – Down the block would feel extravagant at the moment, what with all those fuckers who won’t wear masks or social distance and so-on.
  23. Do you have trust issues? – Absolutely.
  24. Favorite part of your daily routine? – Lunch, I suppose.
  25. What part of your body are you most uncomfortable with? – Any part that requires me taking off my shirt.
  26. What do you do when you wake up. – Post-pandemic–roll over, open my laptop, log into work, and work for 8.5 hours. Pre-pandemic–who the fuck can remember?
  27. Do you wish your skin was lighter or darker? – Who the fuck cares?
  28. Who are you most comfortable around? – Probably my brother and dad. And character-actor James Cromwell.
  29. Have any of your ex’s told you they regret breaking up? – First of all it should be “exes.” Second of all fuck you.
  30. Do you ever want to get married? – I’m 40. This question doesn’t mean anything anymore.
  31. Is your hair long enough for a ponytail? – No, but it has been in the past…that’s…that’s where you’re ending this? That’s your big, zinger last question?

I got mad at that questionnaire partway through…but there you go. That’s a post.

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Current Listening:

  • The Hold Steady – Open Door Policy
  • Frank Zappa – Zappa Movie Soundtrack

“A hundred bucks for a comic book? Who drew it, Michaelmelangelo?” – Homer Simpson

I’m in a better mood than I was last time. We’ll start there. You don’t have to worry about this post getting dark. Or at least I don’t think you do. I haven’t actually written it yet. But I have no intention of doing that.

Don’t get me wrong. We’ve got a LONG way to go, and things aren’t just magically fine now that Biden is in office. But my spirits were raised a little bit seeing that nobody tried to shoot him or anything like that. I’m glad I was wrong about there being greater unrest leading to inauguration day. And I liked Bernie’s mittens as much as the rest of you, too. So I’m in a better place writing this post.

Unfortunately, it’s also 3 a.m. and I wish I were in an EVEN BETTER place (bed), but unfortunately I’ve been having trouble winding down at night, even when I’m exhausted. Just a bad sleep cycle…so here I am, writing on the thing… And now that I’m three paragraphs deep I’ve decided I’m now going to make this an everything/nothing post and just post the random, numbered thoughts like I often do…so by the time you’re reading this I will have put a Simpson’s quote in the title and so on… Let’s get to it.

  1. My car sucks. It was draining the battery regularly, which I thought meant the alternator was going bad, but fortunately it seems to have been just a bad battery. But I also have to renew the stickers on my plates (I don’t know if every state has that, but every 1-2 years depending on what you pay for, you have to pay to get new stickers to put on your plate that tell the cops that you paid for those stickers and absolutely nothing fucking else). In order to do that, I have to pass an emissions test (which I *KNOW* they don’t do in every state…basically it’s a test to see if your car is polluting the air too much).
    That should be a simple thing to get done, but because my car sat with a dead battery in it, the monitors in the car’s computer went offline and I’m having trouble getting them back online. I’ve been driving around for like a week and a half, and they just won’t wake up…so that’s an issue. I’m supposed to have that done by the end of the month, but I’m having my doubts. And also the car is leaking something in a very slow leak that they can’t find at the shop, but that is staining the shit out of my driveway…
    So basically, I’ve been cooped up in my house for almost a year and in the past week and a half I’ve seen the guy who owns the shop I’m taking it to more than I’ve seen my dad in the last 12 months. If someone stole the damn thing (the car–not my dad) I’d add them to my Christmas card list at this point. (But if that somehow happens, please know that I am not actually asking anybody to do it, dear snooping insurance reps. I promise it’s a coincidence.)
  2. Being stuck at home these past 10 or so months, there are a lot of things I haven’t missed like traffic, getting up to shower and prep for going to the office, dealing with people, being locked in to a schedule, going to places with big crowds and so on… I’m an introvert, and I get frustrated by being around too many people too often. Of course there are the select handful that I’ve missed a lot…but I don’t mind not having to deal with a crowd of people swarming outside a store I’m trying to go inside or stuff like that. But in the last week, I’ve really been missing those stores. I miss book stores and record stores and guitar stores and lots of places like that. Even kinda just going to the grocery store (I’ve been having my groceries delivered). I miss doing stuff like that and taking something I liked and wanted home the same day I decided to buy it instead of having to wait on the mail.
  3. And the mail has been awful lately, hasn’t it? Donald Trump intentionally fucked up the mail and we’re all still suffering for it. It’s been hard to keep reminding myself that my packages stuck in the Northeast aren’t there through any fault of the post office. I’m sure everybody’s experienced that to some extent. I’ve just still got stuff outstanding since before Christmas. It’s insane.
  4. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about working from home in the last year has been that I’ve gotten to cook more. Mostly things with chicken or beef. I haven’t gotten too fancy. Haven’t even made any of the soups that are perfectly designed for this situation in a slow cooked (or Instant Pot, if you will). But I’ve been enjoying putting the oven and frying pans to work.
  5. I’ve written here about my diet in the past couple years. Still doing okay. My food choices aren’t always the healthiest, but I’m making choices that are basically sustaining my weight and I’m not gaining a ton. I’m still completely not snacking. Still no caffeine. Still small portions. I’m keeping it around 150-155 for the most part. That’s still *slightly* above the right weight for my height, but compared to the 100-pounds heavier I was in 2019, it’s great. Just a little bit of a gut. It’s manageable and I’m certain I could drop the remaining weight. It’s just been difficult to eat healthy during the pandemic, when I’m having my groceries delivered. So many of those shoppers are teenagers who have not lived alone long enough to know how to choose a good vegetable from a bad one. So I’ve had to choose stuff that’s foolproof to just keep myself eating. If I were doing my own shopping I’d be a touch lighter. But I don’t feel fat or embarrassed about where I am now. It’s nice to feel that way.
  6. I’ve been watching a lot of 90s comic-book type cartoons like Batman The Animated Series and Batman Beyond and Justice League. Having a good time with it and it makes me miss reading comics. But I don’t think I’m going to go back to collecting issues…maybe just the odd trade. I like the fulfillment of having the whole story in one book rather than having to try to remember what the hell was happening a month ago every time I pick up my pull and hold list. Regardless, I’ve enjoyed walking around in those shows. I apparently missed a LOT of episodes of everything, even though I’d thought I saw most of it!
  7. Still doing the podcast. Listen to it. That’s where I talk about all the music and stuff I used to write about here.

I took some Benadryl a little bit ago and I think it’s kicking in, so I’m going to try going to sleep again. I’m going to try to write here more often in 2021. But I think I also said that in 2020. So we’ll see.

TTFN.

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Current Listening:

  • John Lennon – Gimme Some Truth compilation
  • Sloan – The Double Cross
  • Paul McCartney – McCartney III