“No! That’s German for The Bart, The.” – Sideshow Bob

I realized I can still just google “Random Simpsons Quotes” and land on good quotes for posts like these. So I’m doing that now. But I stand by being irritated that my old source is gone, I still assume it’s because of Disney, and I still advocate fucking Mickey in the neck. Anyway, here’s a random post.

  1. Some things fell my way financially since my last post. I won’t get specific, but I feel like I can breathe again. Some other stuff’s still wrong, but I’m trying to count my blessings. (One. One blessing. *Thunder* Ah-ha-ha!)
  2. I’ve been enjoying the Olympics this week. As many of you know I’m generally anti-sports, but I do love the Olympics. (I follow Team USA’s Twitter feed year-round.) I guess every 2-4 years is how often I’m able to care about sports. Damn shame about what’s going on with Simone Biles, but she’s unquestionably doing the right thing. And as much of an inspiration as she could be by winning a bunch of medals, she’s an even BIGGER example and inspiration for everybody (but especially young people) to do the right thing for your health. She went from being a hero in the sport to being a hero to everybody. Bless her.
  3. I’ve been slowly working my way through the movies of Wes Anderson. I hadn’t seen any, but had bought a copy of Grand Budapest Hotel on BluRay as soon as it hit the Criterion Collection last year on the recommendation of a good friend. Finally watched it, loved it, and got hungry for more. So far I’ve watched that one, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, and Moonrise Kingdom. My favorite right now is still Grand Budapest Hotel, but I think Moonrise Kingdom might be a close second. I’m a little surprised by that because I don’t really like Bruce Willis…which…don’t get me wrong, he’s VERY good at being Bruce Willis. But he tends to make movies that aren’t my cup of tea and I don’t think I’d have a lot to say to him in a bar… But that was a good movie, with Willis used sparingly. And it was fun and funny, as is most of Anderson’s stuff. I’ve been enjoying this journey. There are 4 more to go, not counting the one he just debuted at Cannes last week. I’m saving The Life Aquatic for last…because I’m told that has a lot of Bowie songs in it and I bet I’m going to love that.
  4. I was very sad to hear that Dusty Hill died. I’ve never been the biggest ZZ Top fan, but I always appreciated him as a bass player. He was just ROCK SOLID as a player and seemed like a really good guy. I got to see ZZ Top for the first time in 2019, and they put on a good show despite a bad sound mix. As a bar-band veteran myself, I’ve probably played 99% of their hits to sloppy drunks over the years. I carry a lot of good memories of playing those songs. I’m (mostly) sure I haven’t played my last one.
  5. One of the benefits of having my new car is something that is in some ways also a detriment. For the past several years I’ve been driving a V6 engine, but the new car is a 4-cylinder. That means it’s a little (lot) more sluggish. Imagine that you go to a coworker and say, “Hey could you help me with something?” If your coworker jumps right up and says, “Sure!” that’s a V6. But if they say, “Yeah, just let me finish what I’m working on first and I’ll be glad to help out…” That’s a 4 Cylinder. You’ll get the filing cabinet moved, sure…but it’ll be a minute. There are some times I feel like I don’t have enough car underneath me in the new vehicle… But… It means I also can’t drive as much like a dick anymore. I’ve got to let some shit go on the highway and know I can’t outrun the other assholes. In many ways that’s a good thing… That’s what I’m telling myself…
  6. I go through phases of which guitar I play the most and which one is my “favorite.” Right now I’ve been beating the hell out of my American Telecaster and writing new stuff. Teles are great guitars. If I had it to do again, 10 of my 30 would be Teles. (But as it is, I’m very happy with the ones I’ve got…despite how nice that Isbell signature guitar looks…)

And I don’t know…I’m sleepy and have a lot of stuff to do tomorrow and this weekend. So I’m going to stop there for now. Just wanted to get something a little less bleak on the blog.

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Current Listening:

  • Descendents – 9th & Walnut
  • The Kinks…just in general…

I’m in the worst financial situation of my life and I don’t know what I’m going to do. This isn’t a joke.

It’s 2 in the morning as I’m starting to write this post, and I’m sure it’ll be coming up on 3 by the time it’s finished. I can’t sleep. You might’ve guessed that much.

I’ve been doing some math. As I wrote in my previous post I’ve just come into possession of a new (to me) car. And I’ve been having trouble selling the old one. You know how I said I was “presently” asking $4000? I’m getting about $800 from a salvage buyer. Because life is shit and you shouldn’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. So that’s the first bit of math that sucks…but it gets worse… (And no, I’m not talking about having sunk $1835 into the car two weeks before deciding to sell it at a MAJOR loss…that’s lumped into this same issue.)

I had some bills increase. By substantial amounts in at least one case. And now I’ve got a car payment on top of that. The long and short of it is that if I buy the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM of groceries in a month and don’t do a goddamned thing other than go to work, I’ll have approximately $200/month left over after paying my bills. Maybe. In a GOOD month.

My life is changing for the worse and there’s no way out of it. I can accept that…but that doesn’t mean I know how to plan for it.

At bare minimum, I need a second job. Or a better-paying primary job. If anyone has any leads on either, I’m listening. I’ve been a music minister, a librarian, and an insurance rep–those are the only three jobs I’ve ever had in my life. My college degree is essentially from a Christian tech-school and isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on…that’s a mistake I made as a teenager that I’ve still got $5,228.59 left in loans to pay off… They don’t do a very good job of explaining how that’s going to cripple you when you sign up for college–if they did, no one would go. (If my student loan debt alone went away I could at least breathe a little…but that’s still at least 2 years away if I keep paying the minimum…probably more like 3, considering interest…)

Additionally, my back is pretty much shot and I can’t afford the deductible to go see a doctor to even start thinking about maybe getting it fixed… So I can’t do jobs that require a lot of physical labor… But if you’ll hire me to do something I’d sure appreciate it… I’m good with computers and filing and stuff like that. I work well at a desk. Data entry is one of my strong-suits. (I don’t even need to understand what I’m entering, I just need to know how you want it entered.) Or if you need a regular sound engineer for something…that’s something I do, too.

I like my current job. I don’t want to leave it or anything like that… But I can’t live like this…if I have one even MINOR medical issue, I’m penniless. I know that most people in America are in that same position, don’t get me wrong…but this is scary. It’s bad. Because my car broke down once too often. And to another extent because over the years I’ve made too many purchases on a credit card in the good faith that one day I’d make grown-up money and that hasn’t fucking happened. I see all the mistakes of my life absolutely clearly now…and it boils down to “I fucked up and went to Bible College, then fucked up more by living like I didn’t.”

Y’know, friends of mine talk about “not making a lot” and then drop $50-60K into the conversation like I’m supposed to gasp at their pittance… I don’t make anywhere NEAR that. Those would be absolutely life-changing numbers to me… And I need to find a way to start getting closer to them. A second job seems the easiest path, since…well since all the above shit is wrong with my life resulting in me not being qualified for anything.

I’m deciding which guitars to sell, too. Some will almost definitely have to go. If there’s one you want to bid on, let me know. I’m not kidding. I can’t afford to keep releasing music with them anyway. Only a couple are off limits.

I’m also done going to record stores. Or buying movies. Or books. Or anything. I can’t afford anything. Don’t invite me to do anything, please. I’m weak and I’ll go with you, and it will mean I can’t eat for a couple days. Don’t ask me to do stuff. I can’t even buy the gas to meet you to at your place so you can drive to the thing I can’t afford to do. If you love me, leave me out of your plans. Please. (I’m feeling nostalgic for everything in the country being completely shut down right now.)

There are unquestionably months where I’m going to be in the red. Family members will keep having birthdays. And Christmas will still take place. And I’ll just have to hope that when I go to those parties food is provided and I can sneak some home in my coat, I guess…

I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve never been in this position before. I’m very, very scared and I don’t know if I’m going to get through this. It’s bad. It’s very, very bad. I need to be making $200-500/month more than I am to even see a light at the end of the tunnel. People seem to think it’s a joke when I say I view getting a new car as a negative…but it’s not a joke. This has ruined me. I’ve never felt this helpless. Never. Even if the car-stuff hadn’t happened, the increased bills would’ve meant some serious cutbacks…but now? I don’t have the same life I did three weeks ago anymore and I don’t see any way to get it back.

So that’s why I’m up.

Driving Onward…

Alright, well…so it’s been a heck of a couple of weeks…

Remember how I mentioned in my last post that I got my car back but I now have to jiggle the key to get it started after the stellar work that Bommarito Ford in Hazelwood, MO did on something completely unrelated to that, even though it wasn’t happening before (Trump donating) Bommarito Ford worked on it? And remember how I said I was hoping to make it a month before taking it in (somewhere other than Bommarito Ford) to fix that? And how I might end up selling the car in six months at that rate?

Well…

The ignition crapped out on me and I can’t get it started. Thankfully it’s parked somewhere that I could leave it…because at that point I decided I was done. That’s a small fix. But it’s another $500 on top of the $1835 I paid to Bommarito Ford in Hazelwood, MO for the problem that existed *prior* to taking it to them. (That dealership again: Bommarito Ford in Hazelwood, MO.) And…I’m out. I’m tapping out.

So I got a new car. And I’m working on selling the one that broke down. (I figured selling it myself would result in a better price than taking a non-running car in for a trade-in. Long story short, it’s not going well. If anyone wants it, the ACV is $5900, but there are some dents and dings and the ignition needs to be fixed. I’m presently asking $4000.) 

I wasn’t planning on having a new car just yet. I was hoping to make it a couple years to begin with, but even as it is I still got it a LOT sooner than I was prepared to once I made the decision. I went to see a friend who sells used cars (and is also a pastor–way to lean into the stereotype). My plan was to LOOK at a couple and just start getting an idea of what’s in my price-range and what my options might be. And he ended up having me test drive a 2013 Chevy Equinox. And I liked it. And even though it was sooner than I wanted it to be, I popped on it and long-story short after some finagling that also involved my dad, it came home with me.

I like it. It’s fine. But I still view getting a car and having a payment for the next several years as a major loss that really fucks up a lot of things about my life. But to keep working since the pandemic is (VERY FUCKING FAR FROM BUT I GUESS WE’RE IGNORING IT) over, I have to have a car. So I do. At least the stereo’s good. And it’s roomy. If anybody would like to suggest any bumper-stickers that need to go on it, feel free. (There’s a fee of $4000 if your suggestion wins.)

It only came with one key. So I should probably have a second key made. I don’t know how to do that. Or who to ask. Or what it will cost. Probably too much. Whatever.

And I need to go to the fucking DMV to…do whatever the hell it is you do in this situation. I don’t know. I’m going to take a copy of EVERYTHING and just hope I can still sit down in a chair after they’re done doing what they do to me. (Spoiler alert…I won’t.)

It’s dumb that you have to pay your sales tax at the DMV after buying a vehicle. It’s…I just signed away a shitload of money and now I have to give somebody ELSE more of it for no reason… I’m sure there are stand up comics who’ve pointed out how stupid that is before. This is old ground… But imagine buying a TV and then having to go to a different, bureaucratic hellscape to pay the sales tax on it. What kind of God would allow that?

But hey for the handful of people younger than me who don’t know to do this…any time anybody, ESPECIALLY a car dealer, says “no money down” to you, the next words out of your mouth need to be, “And how does my payment change if I put down (amount you’re able to put down)?” Because it could drop by HUNDREDS if you can put a few thousand dollars down on a car. “No money down” just fucks you in the (pretty immediate) future. Don’t ever fall for that shit. Nobody tells you that. So there. I told you that.

So…now I’ve got a car. And a payment. Which is going to hurt. A LOT.

But hey…at least it’s all my fault for trying to do my best.

Anyway, my podcast is going to have a new episode this weekend.