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Where Am I Going, And Why Am I In This Handbasket?

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Thursday, May 18th, 2017
11:31 pm - Blow Up The Outside World
Chris Cornell killed himself today. I have to admit it bothers me more than it probably should. I was 10 or 11 when Cobain shot himself, so other than the fact that I liked Nirvana's music, and knew they were "cool," I didn't really know what was going on behind Kurt and his band's music to be affected by his loss. As I got to high school, and the memory of Nirvana and Cobain had faded a bit, it became a joke to laugh at, "Ha, ha. The whiny dickhead blew his brains out. What a bitch." I still didn't know what I was talking about.

When I was 14, I went through my first noticeable bout with depression following the unexpected loss of my dad's sister. It was sad, but as much as she was family, she was a side character in the story of my life to that point. I didn't miss her the way my dad did. I didn't think about her much, and only saw her around Christmas, or if she came in for a birthday. I didn't know her the way my brother or mom did. The weird part to me was that I didn't notice my depression until I saw my report cards from the beginning and the end of the year, along with my English teacher noticing a shift in tone in my work. Clearly it had affected me, but my inability to recognize it still baffles me. My work ethic suffered in the middle and other people had noticed, even though I hadn't really understood what had happened until I had reached the other side.

I've had similar and even more severe bouts with depression since, but really my point was about how naive I was about the subject matter those guys were singing about. Even if a lot of that reverence I that I'm putting in the works of Cobain and Cornell are projections of my own life into their work, it's much easier for me to relate to that struggle with pain, loss, and depression than it was before I had those experiences. I remember digging heavily into the Soundgarden catalog for catharsis during my struggle to come to terms with my father's illness, and the stalling out of my career trajectory. 4th of July and Mailman were in heavy rotation and they remain at the forefront of my Cornell fandom. Songs about frustration and helplessly watching the world devolve and dissolve around you really make you feel as though you're not alone in your journey through the lows, and that if that guy can make it, there's hope for you, too.

Well there was, anyway. I don't have that man's talent, no matter how much I want to pretend. I will likely never have a career that will give me the sense of purpose, fulfillment, and accomplishment that he had. I will probably never be that successful at anything. Give me what he had and I could fill the world with good will and godly works.

Right now I have a lot of blessings, but very little in the way of hope. Still, it's that little glimmer of "What if everything goes right for a change?" is what keeps me going after looking in the mirror and saying "I'm ready to die." But when people like Cornell go and do something like this, it isn't easy for me to shake it aside. It wasn't an overdose. It wasn't some uncontrollable urge from addiction that flipped from manic to depressive that caused him to put a strap on his neck and end it. Hell, it wasn't even a fuck up to getting off (yes, that's a Michael Hutchence jab). I hope there was something more to his decision than he was just tired of it. If not, then it takes a big dump on what little drive I have left. If the guy who had everything that I could ever want can't find any happiness with all of that success, talent, and purpose, then I have no fucking chance.

This sucks.

Fuck you, Chris Cornell. You were too good for what you did.

(got a clue?)

Saturday, July 16th, 2016
1:55 am - Chaos
More shootings. More death.

There were two black men shot and killed by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, respectively. Those shootings lead to a protest in Dallas that turned violent when a man shot and killed five police officers with a rifle.

Yesterday a man ran over and shot dozens of people in Nice during a Bastille Day celebration. 70+ dead, dozens more injured.

Today there was violence in Turkey as the military attempted to overthrow President Erdogan.

Happy times.

(got a clue?)

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
11:34 pm - Things I Like On YouTube
Keep in mind that all of these recommendations come with a heavy nerd bias. I like things that are typically on the educational spectrum.

Tested - If you you're as sad as I am that the Mythbusters series is over, you can visit them on Tested.com's YouTube channel. Well, okay, it's mostly Adam, but Jamie is there sometimes. Neither are the bulk of Tested's content, but Adam is a healthy heap of it.

Aquachigger - This fella goes around to places around North America and Europe with a metal detector - usually in a creek or river - and hunts for buried treasure (his own words). Coins, jewelry, sure, but usually he's digging around for Civil War artifacts like cannonballs. It's not all that he does, there's a fistful of general outdoorsy videos where he talks about wildlife, and sometimes he even rescues wild animals. I also happen to be partial to him because he's a WV native. He's also a super happy and positive guy, and his enthusiasm for what he does it enough to keep me glued.

ElectroBOOM - A hefty accent and electrical shocks makes this Canadian immigrant a popular entity on the YouTubes. He's a pretty decent electrical engineer, and you might learn a thing or two while the sadist in you laughs at him shocking himself.

Lindybeige - A Brit who has discussions about nerdy things like obsolete weapons, military strategy, the inaccuracy with which the film industry portrays those things, and sometimes he talks about lindyhop and dancing, and the color beige.

AgentXPQ - A guy named Lev in San Francisco expounds on his day to day experiences while he illustrates/animates them.

Primative Technology - A surprisingly popular channel for a guy who mucks about in the Australian wilderness making waddle and daub huts and clay pots with stone tools. Essentially it's real life Minecraft.

VSauce - An educational channel that usually has something strange and obscure to tickle your mind.

The School of Life - A British channel with a more structured and focused approach than most. It's essentially small crash course lectures on historical figures in various disciplines, their underlying philosophies, and humanities. I particularly enjoy their series on philosophers and their schools of thought.

Wisecrack - A partner channel of School of Life's that has various series including the acquired Thug Notes with Sparky Sweets, Earthling Cinema, and (my favorite) 8-bit Philosophy. Once again it's a pretty good attempt to make headier subjects more digestible.

Team Four Star - Okay, it isn't ALL educational. These guys made it internet famous by condensing and very humourously redubbing the DragonBall Z anime. They do other things, too, but that's their bread and butter, and honestly I think it may be better than the real thing.

The Daily Shed - This is my good friend's channel. He does an 8-10 minute show every weekday on topics varying from the personal, to local and national news, to woodworking, to automotive repair. The show and channel is very much in it's infancy, and while its appeal may not be broad, it's a quality endeavour, and worth a look-see.

Every Frame a Painting - Probably my favorite channel out there right now. An editor from Vancouver, Tony Zhou, takes on aspects of filmmaking in a series wonderful video essays. He even has interesting things to say about Michael Bay. Sold now?

(got a clue?)

Monday, June 13th, 2016
9:10 pm - Pens Win. Me? Not so much. / Orlando
Hey, another post, and this one at a respectable hour, too!

The Pens won another Cup, finally. No more Max, who left pretty soon after the '09 win. It's been seven years. In a lot of ways, this chapter of my life began those seven years ago. My brother was still here, but just about to leave to Maryland. Lauren and I began dating, and I started work as an abstractor not long after. In a lot of ways things have come back around in ways that I'm not quite ready to be honest about. Some of those things have to change, while others may linger for some years to come.

There was another mass shooting yesterday that everyone is on about. This one was akin to the San Bernadino shooting in that it was religiously motivated, and we're back on the great do-nothing debate on gun control. At this point, I think the genie is out of the bottle, and there's no real gettin' it back in there. Magazine fed, semi-automatic rifles and pistols have been here to stay for very nearly a century, and in spite of all of the awful shootings in the news, statistics repeatedly show that gun deaths, crime, and violence in general have been steadily on the decline for some time now. What is up are these mass shootings: People going postal and domestic acts of terrorism.

What can't be overlooked here is that what happened in Orlando was both religiously and politically motivated. Religious in that this was how that man chose to spread his evangel. Political in that in addition to his hopes that it would spark a discussion about the LGBT community and that this man was able to legally purchase his firearms very soon before going on this rampage, in spite of several investigations into his character. In my opinion, he was essentially taunting law enforcement and telling America that people like him are willing to abuse our rights and privileges in order to have us either live in fear and/or overreact and cause a full blown war or discrimination/ethnic cleansing against Muslims and Middle Eastern ethnics so that they can be justified in their violence and hatred of the West.

On the first count, he was never going to succeed with the sane. On the second, he has been and will continue to be much more successful. We will pick at ourselves and our government from both sides, long after we've forgotten the victims and the asshole who killed them all. The left will live in fear of both mass shootings and half-cocked retaliations from more idiots with weapons and attempt to ratchet down society so that we're safe from our own nature, taking away our rights and privacy in the name of safety, though to be fair the right is equally adept at that game. The right will live in fear that the left will get their way, and overreact in the manner we've become all too familiar and teeter on the brink of making society less free in other ways.

What I doubt anyone will advocate is turning the other cheek, and Ghandi'ing our way through this ideological challenge. Instead of doing something expedient by taking away our weapons and stripping away centuries old natural rights, or unlawfully imprisoning/deporting everyone of ethnic descent from the Muslim world and other self-destructive, xenophobic policies, how about we hold fast to our way of life? We as a society have to become more savvy about what exactly this event was. Calling this "another shooting" is like calling 9/11 "another plane crash." There were motivations that go well beyond a small man wanting to feel powerful by killing people with a gun. He was trying to put a bullet in American society, too. We need to be able to identify this from afar if we and our way of life are to prevail.

(got a clue?)

Thursday, May 26th, 2016
5:29 am - FML
Two posts in one calendar year. Holy shit!

I just felt the need to write something. So much bounces around my head constantly. Sometimes I wish I were dumber so I could focus on the here and now, but I'm glad I'm not.

Mom's health has been on the decline for a while, but around her birthday, her knee(s) and legs have been giving out on her. I've been spending most of my free time trying to help her out, and that's been taking the piss out of me. Most of my thoughts drift back and forth between worry and guilt. I'm pretty much on my own with her. My brother is in Maryland. He calls in to tell me all the things I'm doing wrong every now and again, though. So I have that going for me. He cares, a lot, though - I know he does - but sometimes I'd like to do to him what he did to me.

I think about that sometimes: Ditch her on his front porch, fly half-way across the country, and not talk to either of them for a year or two. I love them both dearly, but I could use a vacation.

I'm losing steam here. It's late/early. I'm finally getting tired just in time to greet the day. Lucky me.

(got a clue?)

Saturday, February 13th, 2016
6:05 am - Posting Just Feels Good
Yesterday was Lauren's 30th. Five years ago, I expected to be married. Sort of. Not really, but it was something that then me told myself so that I didn't feel so helpless.

I feel like I'm wasting the best part of both of our lives waiting on things to be perfect: my career, my bank account, my body .... Time is slipping away, and now she's starting to feel it, too. Most of the time I think she could do a lot better than me. I'm probably not wrong, but I don't know that she'd love them more. She's over the moon for me, and I love her, too. But (There's always a "but" with me. Ever the pessimist.):

I don't think I love her as much as she loves me. Also, I'm not sure that we're really good for each other. We don't seem to be able to push the other to be better, and I think we enable some behaviors that aren't healthy for each other. I think we both need someone who can take care of us, and right now we're both broken in that department for different reasons.

I'm tired all the time. I have little focus. I lack ambition. I need help, and the only person who was ever really able/willing to help me has been dead for two and a half years. In all honesty, he needed as much or more help.

I don't really know where to go from here. The weirdest thing though is that I'm not very worried about my future. I would think considering my circumstances that fear for survival would push me.

current mood: still tired

(2 clues | got a clue?)

5:35 am - Posting Something Before I Get Distracted Again
It's been too long. I miss this. I miss expressing myself in complete thoughts with the added safety of partial anonymity. The world feels too much like we talk all the time but don't say anything, and I'm getting tired of it.

My perspective on the world has changed a lot in the last few years. That isn't surprising. Every moment of your life you approach it with the complete collection of wisdom and experiences you've accumulated in your life to that point, and however many years removed I am from the person I may have been, that person is still a part of you. The tricky bit is that every year that part of you is squeezed in with your new experiences, relationships, knowledge, and attitudes; and the person you were is pushed further into the background. So every so often you gain enough perspective to wonder just what the fuck it was that you were thinking not all that long ago.

For years I identified myself as Republican. I still think I am, but the party these days has gone to shit. Everywhere I turn I seem to find self-righteous fearmongers and bigots. What was once called The New Right has slowly and systematically taken over the mainstream of the party since the late 70s, and now all that's left are a bunch of religious zealots who believe that Trickle Down Economics was always the policy of the party and that the Earth is 6-12,000 years old. Bush 41 was right to call Reaganomics "voodoo" in 1980, but who the hell remembers? Now it's party dogma, and any who care to poke holes in the concept are shunned as heretics.

I love my state. I love its history. I love my family's history in it. I do my best to love the other people in it, but I swear these last two years have been some of the most difficult for me. I helped to elect some bonafide idiots, and I'm sorry. Last year it was fetal pain - a way to chip at abortion. This year we have passed a religious freedom bill that allows folks to abuse their faith in order to discriminate against minorities. And yes, boo hoo, all of those poor minorities who have been beset upon on all sides evil. I get tired of the bellyaching, too. But for the love of all that's holy, this bill is bigoted bullshit. The last time we decided discrimination, the businesses had cute signs that said "whites only." What's worse is that some of them are old enough to remember real segregation.

Who the fuck are these people? Have they always been this obtuse? Or are they just malevolent assholes? And what's worse, why the hell didn't I see this sooner? All I know is that my complicity ends now.

current mood: tired

(got a clue?)

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015
4:19 am - Lyrics - For Old Times
Fitter, happier, more productive
Comfortable, not drinking too much
Regular exercise at the gym 3 days a week
Getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries

At ease, eating well
No more microwave dinners and saturated fats
A patient better driver, a safer car, baby smiling in back seat
Sleeping well, no bad dreams, no paranoia
Careful to all animals, never washing spiders down the plughole

Keep in contact with old friends, enjoy a drink now and then
Will frequently check credit at Moral Bank hole in wall
Favors for favors, fond but not in love
Charity, standing orders, on Sundays ring road supermarket

No killing moths or putting boiling water on the ants
Car wash also on Sundays
No longer afraid of the dark or midday shadows
Nothing so ridiculously teenage and desperate
Nothing so childish

At a better pace, slower and more calculated
No chance of escape, now self-employed
Concerned but powerless
An empowered and informed member of society

Pragmatism, not idealism
Will not cry in public
Less chance of illness
Tires that grip in the wet
Shot of baby strapped in back seat
A good memory

Still cries at a good film
Still kisses with saliva
No longer empty and frantic
Like a cat tied to a stick
That's driven into frozen winter shit

The ability to laugh at weakness
Calm, fitter, healthier and more productive
A pig in a cage on antibiotics

(got a clue?)

4:10 am - Turbulence
Bumps in the road. It feels like my life has been hitting a series of potholes in recent memory. Maybe I'm just feeling sorry for myself. I'm good at that.

Things have been less than okay, but it isn't really what I want to talk about right now. I'm getting ready to leave this apartment, and I'm going to say goodbye on here because I remember it being the first post that I made on here. That post was deleted by whichever asshole it was in the great 2005 LJ hijacking, but I remember a little bit of it. I posted it from my bedroom in Fairmont on my old computer. This is the third computer that I've had since I've lived here. The desktop from Christmas 2001, the laptop from my birthday in 2007, and this birthday laptop from 2013. This computer was the last birthday present from my father, and I wish it a long, healthy life. I'm a sentimental kind of guy, and I've lingered here too long because I don't like change. I would actually really love some change. A better place to live. A better job. A better lifestyle. Fitter. Happier. More productive.

I've been keeping an audiolog on this computer because typing it down seems labor intensive anymore. People are communicating with fewer and fewer characters these days. Language feels like it's devloving back into primordial grunts, but I digress. I know this post is about farewells, but the audiolog isn't intended to replace this journal. I think it will to compliment it, and help me keep my thoughts straight in the moment. Anyone who has ever played a board game with me knows that I'm either paying all of my attention or none of it. If I don't stay tuned in, I'll forget what was going on. So, I'll keep both of these up for as long as I can.

So long, aprtment. So long, place where I spent the entirety of my 20s. I've been a teenager, a twenty-something, all the way to thirty-something. Where the fuck does time go? A thousand dollars to the person who figures out how to rewind it.

To the past, the present, and the future. Goodbye.

current mood: nostalgic

(got a clue?)

Friday, October 17th, 2014
12:38 am - One Year Since
It's been a year since I said goodbye to my Dad for the last time. A year since we last had a conversation. So much has happened, and so much is going on that I'd give nearly anything to pick his brain for a few minutes about any of them. But, I think if given the opportunity to speak with him again, we'd talk about ourselves, our family, our love for each other, and the Giants making the World Series.

It's hard not to be nostalgic in the shadow of life events like these, but life and time march on, even if their magazines no longer do. So much has happened and so much more has yet to happen. Although I no longer have my father to counsel me directly, I draw confidence that he prepared my brother and me to conquer what lies ahead.

I miss my old Dad, every day.

(1 clue | got a clue?)

Thursday, September 18th, 2014
1:04 pm - Fall 2014
It's getting colder, the days are getting shorter, and we're coming up on a year since Dad's been gone. It still feels so fresh in my memory. Even in the moments when things are as normal as they can be, the quiet times are still emptier. I've been very nostalgic recently, and I've really missed him in the last few weeks.

I'm tired of my apartment. I have been for the last year and a half, and Dad agreed that I needed to start looking for another place. It was fine for a time. It's been home way too long, and my landlord has been acting strangely in the last few months. He pushed me into a new lease that I didn't want, but it wasn't a good time to pack up and leave, so it puts me behind the schedule I'd had in my mind's eye a few months. But that place needs renovated, and I need to be forced to declutter my life a bit. It will work out.

current mood: nostalgic

(got a clue?)

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
9:47 pm - Some Me Time
Drove out to Parsons for work today. It's fucking gorgeous out there. No real surprise, you drive through a fucking national park to get there. Tucker County otherwise has very little going for it. It's hard to get to. There's very little in terms of career opportunities, but in spite of these things, that place is awe-inspiring.

Mom's friends entertained her this afternoon, which gave me the evening off. I've done nothing, and it's been everything that I'd hoped it could be.

Back into the breech tomorrow.

(got a clue?)

Sunday, August 10th, 2014
1:54 pm - Update
The summer is well on its way to drawing to a close. July flew by. No problems were resolved, except for my water heater. I guess that's not entirely true, I discovered why my car wobbled at high speeds in spite of alignments and ball joints and tire balancings. They had worn uneven, and were to the point that the steel was coming through on them. Work paid for new ones, but they're not nearly as good in weather. That's why I need to get a 4WD vehicle for the winter. I have a cheap one lined up that should be serviceable, and should allow me to get the work done that I need on our car situation.

I called my brother about an hour ago after not saying a word to one another in about two weeks. I know I'm frustrating him with things. I don't have the finances accounted to the penny. I haven't gotten mom into a car that she likes. I haven't done a lot of things, and he loves to dwell on them. I tried to call him to talk about what our goals were in terms of getting a car for mom. I'd like to see her in something higher profile with AWD. I think it would be easier on her in a lot of ways. She's dead set on buying a sedan that barely meets the requirements, I know she's less comfortable in, and is a whole lot more car than she's used to because it's a sedan and it's pretty.

I didn't get long into that conversation before Matt turned into an accountant, and when I couldn't run her finances off the top of my head, he shot to the computer to do a budget. This isn't the first time, either. I get his concerns, but it wasn't constructive, and immediately following hanging up on me, he called mom to interrogate/lecture her about it.

So that's my day so far. Motivation and attitude are wrecked, and I had to get it out without adding to someone else's stress level for the day. FML.

(got a clue?)

Monday, July 7th, 2014
1:08 am - Things Need To Change
It's late and I can't sleep. Really, I haven't tried. It's been kind of a herp day. Car problems are a bitch. Should have another vehicle by the end of the week, but we also need to consider what to do with the one that isn't working. I was hoping that Matt would be in before he left for England on Tuesday for a month, but that didn't happen. So, I'm left trying to deal with the situation the only way I can.

In the meantime, I've spent a couple of days dragging. Mom can't leave under her own power, and I've either been too tired or depressed. Nothing seems to work out well these days. Cars break. Appliances break. Nothing is ever just okay. It's a constant struggle to maintain what heretofore I had taken for granted. I took a week off of work at the end of June only to get exactly nothing done which I had planned. Between the car, my hot water tank, and Mom being sick, all I really got time to do was sleep and clean. I'm getting tired of it. I know I need to do something about it, but it's occurred to me on more than one occasion that I'm not getting much in the way of direct help. Lauren wears herself out (assuming she's awake more than 12 hours a day). Mom is almost an invalid between her weight and her overall health. Matt is absent. I'm left to deal with all of it. My problems. Their problems. The cooking. The cleaning. The buying. The running. The planning. There is no division of labor. There is little in the way of emotional support. A lesser person would have broken already, but it isn't as if I can say that I'm not cracked. I can't count on anyone. The only person I could rely on died.

(1 clue | got a clue?)

Sunday, June 15th, 2014
12:00 pm - Father's Day
This is the first Father's Day my brother and I get to spend without our father. The happy news is that this is my brother's first Father's Day as a new dad. I haven't been too emotional. A little teary-eyed here and there leading up to this, and writing about it isn't easy, but the worst is this general feeling of being lost. He was our anchor. He was our compass. If we ever got lost, or wandered into the darkness a little farther than we knew how to handle, he brought us home. God knows I could use a dose of that right now. You try not to be too hard on yourself for not communicating when you had the chance, but some days are tougher than others.

Right now what comes to the front of my mind are thew few times that Dad tried to talk about his father, who he lost at 15 to lung cancer. Dad never really talked about granddad much, but I remember him mentioning to me that near the end, Dad was able to pick up granddad in bed to help him be comfortable. Dad only told that story to me once, it was still too painful 40 years later. Granddad had been sick the summer before he passed, but he had made it a point to make it to Dad's baseball games and kept score. That was Dad's last summer playing baseball. I'd say he loved baseball, but the word "love" doesn't do his passion justice. The next summer and his summers through college were spent working on the state road as a flagman. Dad put himself through college and law school working summers and received a stipend from the government for college students from single parent families. He joined the Army partially because he was about to be drafted, but also because "Running to Canada is not an option in this family."

These were all stories and facts that I took for granted. These were facts that happened. History. Not memories. Not feelings. I never made a true effort to analyze what could be inferred from the story itself, or the stories that Dad never really talked about: How sick his father had been. That he never played baseball after his dad died. That his adolescence was cut short. By the time he was my age he had lost both of his parents to cancer. My grandmother died the autumn before my brother was born. It's a story that's all too familiar.

Dad always scolded me for not communicating, for ignoring his and Mom's calls. I remember he would tell me that he would talk to his mother as often as he could: once a week his freshman year in college, once a day when he could manage it. I always thought that this was about appreciating the time we have to talk to each other, and it is; but it's also about making sure people are not alone like his mother was, like my mom is. I get it now, or at least I understand it better than I had.

I'm trying to remember as much as I can these days, and I know I'm doing a decent job and that he would be proud of me.

(got a clue?)

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
10:12 pm - Lethargy
I've been spending a lot of energy bouncing back and forth between responsibilities. Mom has had car trouble, and it's been keeping her in Fairmont for the most part. I try to swing by every day either on my way to or from the office so that she isn't alone all of the time. Between work, mom, and Lauren, I seem to be coming in last these days, and that's fine under the normal circumstances, but I have a lot of things that I need to do for myself and for the greater good. Hopefully I can buckle down and get at them when I'm not gassed or in a funk.

(got a clue?)

Saturday, May 17th, 2014
12:12 pm - The Once and Future Blogger
Lots of things happened since last time. I'm now an uncle. Winter was balls cold. Things keep breaking down in Mom's life. Work has been a constant barrage of things that are unimportant and make me feel demeaned.

On Thursday, I had to drive my company owner's aunt to a doctor's appointment in Baltimore. Typically a 7 hour round trip that ended up with me driving in rush hour in a downpour all the way home. All told, it was a 14 hour day, stuck in a tin can with a senile old woman who has alienated herself from her entire family because she's mouthy and judgmental (emphasis on "mental"). I do feel sorry for her, but this wasn't a problem I wanted to solve. I was compensated for my inconvenience monetarily and given a day of paid leave to recover. I was also given a vehicle and gasoline, but I would return every penny to not have done it. I even said "no" three times to my boss before I was imposed upon by the owner. I begrudgingly agreed before I was flat-out coerced.

All told, she was the least of my hassle, and the long drive in bad weather quickly became the most unpleasant part of the day. What was redeeming was my conversation with a total stranger in the waiting room at the doctor's office. A 60ish black fellow and I ended up having a stimulating political conversation that was more philosophical than argumentative. He had sat next to the lady I drove, and she began to tell him how much she had liked Herman Cain. He sat there and rolled his eyes a bit following the realization that he had made an error in judgement sitting near her. He turned to her, courteously deflected the conversation, and commented about his MS from Hopkins in an attempt to let her know he's not stupid.

After she was taken back for her appointment, I asked him what his degree was in, and from there we talked about each of our homes, our political philosophies, and our hopes and designs for the future. We both ended the chat surprised with one another, and he ended it with some encouragement with a bit of a challenge woven into it. I said that my overall goal is to make my little area of the world better than it was when I found it. He told me, "I know you will."

It seriously brightened my day and week, which had been uneventful at best to that point. It was a pleasant feeling that two strangers could connect so deeply, so quickly, only to leave and never see one another again. That's never really happened to me before.

(got a clue?)

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
9:32 pm - Can't Always Get What You Want
I ordered an item from Amazon. I'm a Prime subscriber, so I get "free" 2 day shipping on a lot of their inventory. The stuff I bought (which I use alot, but is far from necessary) arrived a day late. I find myself a little miffed, and nearly wrote Amazon to tell them about it. As I was writing it, I realized what an ass I was being about it. It didn't hurt me. It sat in a shipping hub for over a day (and over the weekend). I got mad because the stupid thing I wanted wasn't dropped off at my doorstep when I thought it would be. It reminded me of this:

(got a clue?)

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
1:28 pm - Some Insight From A Fat Person
I'm fat. I am obese. It's taken me a long time to come to terms with those words. I am also a big person. I'm 6' 3", and I wear a 38" sleeve, so I'm broad in quite a few dimensions. I live in a world that doesn't fit me. I'm uncomfortable pretty much everywhere I go. Just tall enough that the words "leg room" don't mean much, and fat enough that sitting in stadium seats usually means that I'm making really good friends with at least one person next to me for the course of the event. I'm constantly reminded that I'm not one of you. Would you like to dress nicely? Good fucking luck. It's time to learn which brands and stores won't allow you to wear their awesomely hip and well made clothes because it ain't just A&F and Hollister with a "no fatties" policy.

For the record, I'm not okay with being obese. I know I'm fat, I know it's not a good thing. What's more is that I can see that look of disapproval on your judgmental face and you're not wrong, but you're still an asshole. I don't want your pity. I don't need you to sympathize with my condition. I would like for you to not look at me like I'm sub-human. I know what I am. I know how I got here, and I've never been proud of it. Society has made certain of that. I've never been in denial about it since I fully realized it somewhere around the 4th grade. I've been carrying this stigma with me for over 20 years, and you have no idea how many fucks I have to not give in order to go in public sometimes.

Odds are I've lost more body weight than you'll ever gain, but you wouldn't know because you've only known me for two minutes. You don't remember the summer I ran every day and lost 80 pounds in four months. You weren't there when I was struggling with depression and gained it all back ... or the summer three years later when I got back down to 270, only to get a full-time job, a girlfriend and didn't have enough time or energy to manage my weight well. You don't know about my mother, who has no concept of diet, and uses enough butter and sugar to kill Paula Deen and seriously sandbagged my physical and social health. You don't know about my bouts with depression and no health insurance. You don't know a god-damned thing about me, and yet you want to judge me. I live with this shit every day. You're a tourist. Go fuck yourself, /r/fatpeoplestories.

(3 clues | got a clue?)

12:40 pm - Dealing With Death: Holidays and the New Year
Happy New Year, LJ. We got through Christmas and New Years okay. The saddest thing was that Dad received a new piece for his train set a few days before Christmas. Maybe it was a sign from the universe that all is well and he's still with us. All I know is that life moves on, and it only seems sad and weird that Dad's not here when I stop to think about it. I'm shocked at how much it doesn't bother me. I have my moments, but most of the time it feels like he's on holiday and I'll see him next week. I figure it's a little more constant for Mom, and I'm doing my best to try and be there for her. There's nothing we can do to change it, so we have to learn to be okay with it.

I bought Mom a new tablet so that she can skype anywhere in the house. With my niece being due at the end of the month, I hope it will pay serious dividends and keep her in my brother and her granddaughter's life. We've gone through the steps a few times (she's not exactly computer literate), and she's enjoyed the video sessions so far.

I think the house is mounring Dad, because several serious things have gone wrong in the few weeks that have followed. The week of the funeral the hot water tank blew up and flooded the basement. The garage door has been acting up because there's something screwy with the track. A week before Christmas the furnace quit and had to be replaced. The last week, the kitchen sink needed a new O-ring. Then last night a pipe burst because of the cold weather. It hasn't made life any easier for Mom, but I think it has distracted her in one capacity or another. The good news is all of that old, shitty equipment that Dad wanted replaced has been, but what a shitty way for it to happen.

(1 clue | got a clue?)

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
10:24 pm - Update
I'm going to shorten up these entries because I know all too well that the more I expound on what and how things are going on, the less likely it is to see publication.

Things are still moving. Plenty left to do with Dad's estate. Mom is dragging her feet, which I expected, but it doesn't make it any less annoying. I let her forget about it last week while she went to my brother's for Thanksgiving. It was important this year to have family close. I think I'm doing well, all things considered. I've been able to spread myself around to work, Mom, and my own life, minus a couple of days of depression. My brother has been having a rough time since it's just him and his wife in Maryland. He came in last weekend to visit, and ended up taking Mom down on Monday in order to beat the weather. We had a good time, and I think it perked both of them up. I'm sure it did me a lot of good that I can't particularly see at the moment. Maybe just the fact that I feel something close to normal is evidence in and of itself. But there's still a lot that needs to be done by the end of the month, and it's making me nervous.

(got a clue?)

Friday, November 1st, 2013
5:16 pm - My Dad Died (written 10/21/13)
Wednesday (October 15) was such a good day. Even before I realized how bad of a day Thursday was going to be, Wednesday was an exceptionally good day in a long-standing series of mediocre-to-crappy weeks.

I don't remember the details of how Wednesday began, but by the middle of the day, work was going okay, and I had even double checked a fairly straightforward legal question with my dad. I had remembered him talking about the sort of anomaly I found, and was just calling to make sure that was the case, and also check in with him to see how he was doing. He reaffirmed that I was right, and was sifting through the state code to find the case, but all the while he kept saying, "I'm very proud of you."

I left the record room a little early on Wedenesday because I had to deal with student loans. Dad had been on me a long time to do something about them. Talking with the lady, and getting my loan straightened out took about an hour, but afterwards, I called Dad to tell him and let him know that I was back on the road to fiscal solvency. His voice picked up and after the questions of "how much?" and "how long?", he said to me, "I'm very proud of you."

It isn't as if telling me how proud he was of me was a rare, or even infrequent occurrence. He told me that all the time. My problem was - is that I have never really felt as if I deserved his praise. No matter what I've accomplished, I've always felt as if I should be a disappointment. I know he loved me. I know he really was proud of me. I know I could have done better. I know I should have done better. It was easy. Why didn't I do it before? Why was he so proud of me, when it was overly apparent that I'm nothing to be proud of? He had so many reasons not to be. I'll never really know for sure now, but I can trust that was proud of me, and that it wasn't just because I was his son.

In the days since his passing, it has definitely hurt. I'm not really sad or scared that he died, I'm sad that he's not here to share things with us. I've lost my life counselor. I had a hard time watching the World Series without being able to discuss it with him. I have taken comfort that Dad had some peace of mind that I had begun to right my life, and that I saw him a few hours before he left this life. I'm pretty sure I told him that I loved him, hugged him, and said goodbye - though I can't remember it clearly. Not knowing at the time, and the trauma of the next morning has kind of overtaken that part of my brain, which makes me sad. Still, even if it didn't happen, I won't beat myself up over the situation. I'm just upset that I wasn't able to give him everything that I'd wanted to.

(got a clue?)

Sunday, September 15th, 2013
1:34 pm - Coming Up on Another Birthday
On the 28th I'll be a 31 year old, unmarried, but not single, childless, overweight, renting debtor. I'm not trying to be pessimistic, I'm merely looking to knock a few detracting details off that description, beginning with the last and working my way back to the unmarried and childless bit. I don't fully expect to solve all of those three this year, but I am planning on hacking away at them. The primary order of business is making myself fiscally solvent. It would ease a lot of my anxiety toward my reticence to marriage, and would certainly put me on the path to being a home owner.

I'd like to fast track the home buying simply because this buyers' market for homes isn't going to last forever. Everyone and their mother is selling here. The boomers are moving and dying, and for whatever reason, people are still building new homes in developments. I get having new amenities, but I don't get sprawling planned communities. Cookie-cutter, pre-approved, soulless human filing cabinets, squeezed in fragmented cul-de-sacs tied to one inefficient, congested collector road that encourages us to cordon ourselves off from what would otherwise be our neighbors - a community - into this grotesque, anti-social, angst-ridden portrait of the 1950s American Dream. We want all of the pleasantries and luxuries of the neighborhood without all of the distractions and responsibilities of having a larger community like through streets and being directly connected to a neighborhood of lower socioeconomic status. No matter how American it may be to try to devise a way to have our cake and eat it, too; it's a disgusting, reprehensible practice, and I won't be a part of it.

Well, that was a digression, but my point is that we as a society don't value the feeling of community as much as I apparently do, and I'm happy to capitalize on this shift. Anyhow, I have the opportunity to move forward a bit and I need to not lose sight of my goals, and I'm anticipating that chance.

(got a clue?)

Thursday, September 12th, 2013
5:06 am -
Lauren and I went on vacation last week. I had been burned out at work after running a bit of a fool's errand for the owner, and one of the fringe benefits of working for this company is that if you don't often ask for time off, there isn't any fuss when you want to take a week if there isn't a deadline to meet. I had no idea what I was going to do on my week off, but I was going to take it, damnit!

Lauren and I ended up going to Williamsburg, VA for a couple of days. It wasn't really planned so much as WVU was playing Bill & Mary, and Lauren had never been. "They have ghost tours. She likes ghost shit. She'll like this idea," I thought to myself. So we decided to check out Billsburg and then swing up to Annapolis on the weekend to check in with family, as my brother and her parents both live in the area. Some family drama and a deer strike aside, we enjoyed our extended weekend. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I came to a bit of a personal realization: I really hate my appearance right now.

I'm fat. I don't want to say that I'm obese for a lot of reasons, but I cover most of the qualifications for it. This isn't some sudden shock, or overnight discovery. I was a fat kid, too. I've been less fat, and I've been more fat, but I've pretty much always been fat, I've been aware of it the whole time and I've more or less hated every minute of it. That's not to say that I've never had a good day, but I've pretty much always been ashamed of being fat.

Some of it isn't my fault. My mother had her share of shortcomings in understanding what it takes to raise (yes, I know "raise" isn't the proper term, but "rear" sounds awful. So, fuck you.) healthy children, and diet was among those gaps in knowledge. She did her best, but it put me in a bit of a hole, hitting triple digits in weight by the time I was 9, and weighing more than my 17 year old brother not long thereafter. With my brother, things just sort of worked out. His pudginess subsided in middle school while I ballooned well into 300 lbs. and a 50+ " waistband in high school. By my senior year, I had changed my diet around, and doing light calisthenics at home while watching TV. Some weight came off, but I still entered college somewhere above 300.

My freshman year at WVU, I began to drop weight. It would have been difficult at my size not to have. My meals were restricted more or less to 3 times daily, there wasn't a desire to overeat because I didn't feel like I was wasting the uneaten food by leaving it, and life on campus at WVU means that you're climbing a hill at least once on the way to and from anything. I lived in Towers, on the 8th floor. I hated the waits for the elevators, so I took the stairs a lot. I had no classes in Evansdale, so I would climb the hill to Woodburn at least once, and as many as four times a day, five days a week. I lost 25 pounds my first semester away from home, and I was about 280 by the time summer came.

That was a very difficult summer for me. I had my first breakup, which I didn't take it well at all. I was depressed. I had pretty much alienated myself from my social group because I was such a mopey dipshit. I had a lot of time on my hands, and no idea what to do with it. Somewhere along the line I found out that my dad's kidneys were failing, and that in all likelihood he'd be dead before I saw 22. I sank deeper into depression, but somewhere in the loneliness and the sadness I found running. School was done in May, and by June, I had taken to running as much as I could stand for about an hour every day at a baseball field by where I lived. It was secluded, and I had spent a lot of time there growing up, so I felt comfortable enough to workout up there.

In spite of my weight, I'm fairly athletic. I played baseball until I was 15, and I played basketball (and I use that in the loosest possible sense) in middle school, and if I hadn't been athletic I wouldn't have able to have been as competitive as I was while being double the weight of most of my peers. So running is something that I was very capable of doing. By the time school came around in August, I was down to 240, which was - and sadly still is - my low tide. But I had essentially lot 80 pounds in a year, without really being on much of a diet, although I had significantly changed my approach to meals.

In the fall I moved into my apartment, and I didn't have my cozy place to be comfortable and run every day. It took me a few years, but I eventually put the weight back on. In '08 and '09 I went through spurts of regular running, and got back down in the 270 range, but I'm an easy 50 pounds over that mark now. There's a lot that goes into it. I'm not as strict with my diet, but mostly I have a full time job, and I've never gotten into the rhythm of juggling this job with exercise.

Now with that personal history, we go back to my recent revelation. At the time I picked Williamsburg, I did so knowing full well that it wasn't the beach. Being a fat person, you tend to want to avoid situations that involve baring skin, especially when your significant other has absolutely no such concerns. Lauren is a very petite girl who might weigh a buck fifteen soaking wet. She looks good in swimwear. I don't. I'd take her to the beach to do her thing if I weren't embarrassed of myself. The other thing I try to avoid is cameras, because they don't lie to me the way I lie to myself. If you're friends with me on facebook, I assure you that there are very few pictures of me that I've posted, and if I've posted one. There's a reason for that. I don't take pictures of myself, and when I do, they're taken from at or above my eye level, and cropped at my shoulders. I also don't allow photos to be taken of me when I can avoid it, and over the years, I've become pretty good at being scarce when there's a camera.

We were touring the governor's palace when we stopped to take a photo. The archways in the garden probably had a 6'4" clearance, and I'm 6'3". In order to really get a sense of the scale, you had to take the picture from several feet back. Lauren took the picture, and I winced at the photograph. I looked like a fat bearded woman wearing a plaid muumuu. Later, while Lauren was touring the other side of the garden, I went back to take a photo I could live with - I'll post them eventually. It was then that I realized that this was troubling. I couldn't help but think that I had compromised my life too much in recent years, and it needed to change.

So I've decided to journal a bit about my adventures in weight loss, getting healthy, and my general observations as a fat person. My hope is that writing and posting these stories and admissions will help to keep me on track physically and mentally. It's going to be tough and embarrassing for me, but it's a journey that I think I have to take in order to see the task to its end. I'll probably end up blogging about this somewhere else, too, and when I do, I'll post the link. I think you'll understand if I keep this post friends only afterwards. I'm not expecting to become internet famous doing this, but stranger things have happened, and really I like to keep potential data mining and stalking to a minimum since this is sort of my internet home life. I'd like to keep it separate from my internet work life.

Thanks for reading.

(got a clue?)

Friday, August 30th, 2013
7:58 am - Checking In
Things have been going smoothly the last few weeks. Friends have come in to visit. My brother is coming in for the football game between our two alma maters. Work has been good, and I'm taking next week off for some sanity time.

Another sad story involving an 8 year old and an 87 year old woman in Louisiana. The young boy shot the woman in the back of the head after having played Grand Theft Auto IV, and since this comes in close proximity to the release of the next GTA in the series, there have been quite a few grumbles about it in the media and on the internet. Do violent video games condition children to be violent? Research would suggest that the answer is a little bit "yes," and a whole lot of "no." I'm not going to tackle my anecdotal analysis of the topic here, but hopefully this weekend, I'll have started on it, but the over all message is that I was young and impressionable when the overall tone in "cool" games went from cartoonish violence to full blown blood and gore, and I turned out fairly well adjusted.

My previous 3 posts were saved as "private" because I wasn't ready to publish them yet, hopefully I'll get a chance soon to finish them. Even though they're old news, and even though I'm probably the only one who is ever going to read them, I still feel the need to contribute to what little community is left here. So hang in there folks, and I'll see you in the future.

(got a clue?)

Saturday, June 15th, 2013
11:38 am - Michael Shannon is awesome and Man of Steel sucks
I guess this is my only real place to talk about this movie. I went to see it last night, and it was underwhelming in all of the ways that Batman Begins wasn't. The film had the tall order of fitting in all of this mythos and still delivering on being a comic book action movie. It was too much to fit into the running time to see Jor-El deal with Krypton and Zod, send Kal to Earth, watch Clark grow up and deal with super puberty, find his special purpose, and then have all of the consequences manifest themselves in some serious Michael Bay explosion action in one go. No one person really brings this movie to a screeching halt, it simply drags this millstone of a backstory along the whole way and tries to distract you from the lack of character development with explosions for the final third of the movie.

I give the writers some credit for having the balls to give Lois the grit and intelligence a fictional Pulitzer-winning investigative reporter should have, she isn't a damsel in distress, and a pair of glasses isn't going to fool her for decades. I also give the writers the credit to have this chain of events end in the only option left to Superman. The problem from here is that you've taken two very archetypal Superman story dynamics and flushed them for no real reason, and at the end after they've made Superman's identity the worst kept secret in the solar system, they put the hornrims on the 6'4" crossfit ubermench whose hometown was just leveled by aliens, and hope that no one noticed.

It's annoying to see Batman done so well, and see Superman and Green Lantern handled to death while Marvel hits all of their stories on the mark, even with a crossover story. Maybe Warner Brothers should take a cue from Disney and let DC handle some of this shit in house.

And I don't care how successful Zack Snyder's movies have been, the only one worth a damn is the remake of Dawn of the Dead. I know there's a lot of love for 300 and Watchmen, but they were both terrible movies. Man of Steel is much more honest (not relying on overly stylized violence to distract you from the eye-clawing boredom through the whole movie), but it still fails to scratch the surface of everything that people love about Superman.

(got a clue?)

Saturday, June 8th, 2013
1:22 pm - The Chain Never Stops
There was a going away party for a friend of mine and Lauren, Charlie. Charlie's off to DC to indirectly work for Uncle Sam. We're happy for him, but Charlie's departure is an undeniable marker for the end of the most recent chapter in my life that has lasted over 4 years.

In Spring 2009, Lauren and I had just begun seeing each other after reconnecting at the end of our undergraduate careers. Lauren had just moved in a few blocks from me into a 3 bedroom neo-eclectic house with a lodge-like living area on the first floor that is open from the floor to the roof with the other floors only being the bedrooms and bathroom. The house has served as the social area for this circle of friends since they moved in. I basically lived there for a year while Lauren was a tenant, and Charlie took her place on the lease when she moved in with me the following year. It was in this house that I began to make friends with Lauren's friends, and it was something I needed a lot at the time because my college friends were in the middle of their exodus. These people soothed that transition a great deal, which maybe I appreciate more now than I did at that time. So, what's adding to the sting of missing a friend is the loss of the lease on that house, how this period of my life is coming to an end, and just how stuck I feel here.

The acute feeling of loss will pass, and life will move on. I just wasn't ready for it right this moment.

(got a clue?)

Saturday, June 1st, 2013
9:21 pm - Holy Fuck, It's June.
If I were having fun, I might understand, but I could use about another eight hours a day.

(got a clue?)

Sunday, May 5th, 2013
11:26 pm - Well This is New ...
This Week in Tech

So, my laptop is kaput for the time being. It isn't charging, and it could be one of a number of things. My money is on me having dropped it on the power outlet a few too many times, and I've screwed up the contact the pin makes in the socket. It could also be as simple as the battery, but if that were the case, I think it would power up while it was plugged in. It's going to cost me some money one way or the other.

The desktop has been down for a few months. It needs a new hard drive, and I don't feel like paying $80 for an IDE drive that was $80 ten years ago. I may be able to scavenge something, or maybe not.

Lauren is gone for most of the week, and with her goes the one PC in the house that is actually functioning. So, I'm down to my phone, and an XBOX with a USB keyboard for web browsing, which is where I'm typing from. The XBOX's Internet Explorer application is clunky, but it's getting the job done. Really if I could use the spacebar to scroll, and shift and the arrow keys to highlight text, I'd be perfectly at home. If only I could have relied on a console for this kind of thing when I was in high school. I guess I was born fifteen years too soon.

This Week With Me

My back gave out a week ago Friday, and I spent all of last week recovering. I couldn't stand up that Friday or Saturday, and I spent most of my days through Wednesday on my back, resting it. Prior to that, I had been sick that week, and coughing had made it hurt, so I think that helped irritate it all the way to the breaking point.

I was able to get a little work done in the second half of the week. Hopefully I'm now over the worst of it. I can still feel it back there, staring me down like Dirty Harry, daring me to take a misstep, so that it can remind me who's in charge. I'm planning on working full days this week, but I guess I'll see if I'm able.

I've been mad at myself because it happened again. This is the second time in about a year apart that my back has betrayed me. Last year this irritation moved into my sciatic nerve, and I promised myself that I wouldn't let it happen again, that I was going to take better care of myself. I can't let another warning like this go unheeded.

This Week With the Family

Dad's recovery is going well. He's more mobile than he expected himself to be, and his spirits are noticeably up. I'm not sure if I'm surprised, but honestly I don't care what I am, so long as he's happy and healthy.

I just spent 20 minuntes on the phone with Mom, and it's really becoming a chore. At least two or three minutes of the call was silence because neither of us had any information or bullshit to exchange, but she won't end a conversation that has gone silent. I know one day I'll regret being annoyed by my parents calling me because they'll be gone, and I'll be sad and miss them. Still, one promise that I'm making to myself as a parent is not to rely on my children for companionship in my old age.

Mom has made some efforts to reconnect with her high school and teaching friends, but the day-to-day matters leaves her in a rut without someone else to talk to. I'm very little help because I hate talking on the phone. It took me a long time to come to that conclusion, but I really do not like it, and when she won't end the conversation, I get short and mean. Not the best of me, for sure, and she deserves better. I've never been very good at keeping my emotions out of my actions.

(got a clue?)

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
11:45 am - Yesterday
Couldn't sleep. Passed out for about an hour from 5am to 6am and in minute spurts from 6:30-7 after Lauren woke me up.

At 7:10, I drove Lauren to work because my car was in the shop. Right after, I drove to Fairmont to run errands for Dad before his surgery to remove the halo around his leg. Ran the errands. Cat nap for maybe 10 minutes. Got two calls from Lauren while I was driving: the first said she wasn't scheduled for work today, the second said they found something for her to do until the shift was over at 3:30. Finished getting ready for the hospital. Got dad in the car and drove to Morgantown to the hospital. Get a call from garage, my exhaust is fixed (yay)!

Registered at the entrance. Told to go to the 5th floor, and from there we'd be told where to go exactly. Get to the 5th floor. It's packed. No one at the reception area to tell us where to go. Eventually a security guard comes out just to take up space. I ask him a question. He says to wait. Attendant comes back to desk after 10 minutes that felt twice that. He tells us to he's going to take us there. No, wait, something else comes up, asks the security guard to show us to the waiting room that I would have known to go to had someone just told me. Had to check in there, too. Wait. It's about noon.

At about 12:45, someone comes to take Dad to preop. Only one of us can go back, I let Mom. I do the crossword puzzle, finishing about 85% of it. At 1:20 I get a call from Lauren, they've run out of crap for her to do, so she'll be done before 2. I still can't get back in preop because the nurse says there can be only one. I decline the sword duel and see if the nurse will bugger off before I have to leave to get Lauren. Text Mom. Mom threatens me with guilt because I shouldn't have other people to worry about other than her and my father. I wait to see if I can work both in. It turns 2, so I text Mom that I have to get Lauren. She replies, "It's okay. Do whatever you want." which is code for, "You're a terrible person. You and that slut can go to hell!" I leave. As I'm waiting on the elevator, I get the "Where are you?" phone call from Lauren. I tell her I'm on my way. I am. Try not to stare at the poor hillbilly who has teeth that look like the plastic hillbilly teeth you buy at Halloween. Didn't think that could actually happen.

About to drive across town. In the heat of battle, I consider my route options. I choose to go through campus because it's the most direct route with the fewest stoplights. I fail to account for the day and time and try to drive through the heart of WVU's campus in the middle of a class change. I sit in front of the student union for ten minutes while a monstrous pickup truck in front of me sits still. The students would avoid him if he were slowly drifting, and he would gladly tailgate my car if I were blocking him, but there his truck stands. (In retrospect, I think he was staring at the girls. Had I not been in a hurry and stressed, I would also not have minded as much.) When it's my turn, the sea of students part, and I shoot through the rest of campus in under a minute like a boss because most students won't step in front of a vehicle going over 10mph.

I pick Lauren up. I apologize for being late. I tell her that I tried to only disappoint one, but ended up failing both. She says it's okay. I think I believe her. We then stop by the apartment so I can pick up my checkbook for the garage. She drives us to the garage. I talk to the mechanics. The repair was routine (it was the exhaust pipe dragging the ground, if you ask me). As I'm paying, the attendant tries to give me keys to the new Lexus outside. (The comedian in me says I should have taken it.) I refuse the key. We both laugh. Tell him to call me if he changes his mind about not giving me the car. The car runs better than it had in a while. That pipe had probably been a problem for a few months. Back to the hospital.

When I return, I can't find Mom, and the waiting room staff says Dad is still stuck in preop because the ORs are full. I see on the news that the Boston Marathon has been bombed (Fantastic. More fucking terrorists). I'm shown where Dad is waiting and we wait. Sometime around 3:30, an OR opens up and they get Dad in there. We take this opportunity to get some food in the cafeteria. I avoid interaction with the kid I know from high school who mans the grill in the cafeteria even though that's probably the best (i.e., freshest) food on the floor. I get a pizza and some soup instead. The soup was decent, so obviously it was prefab.

We finish and return to the waiting room about a quarter after 4. Dad's out and trying to shake off the anaesthesia. It takes about an hour for his BP to come back up to an acceptable level, but after that we're discharged, and I'm fetching their car. I follow them to Wendy's for a quick bite since Dad hasn't eaten all day, then text everyone I know that has a vested interest in my father's health. Around 6:30, we leave for home. We get there at about 7.

It was about this time that I realized in the hustle and bustle that I had forgotten to mail my dad's tax returns when I picked up my car. They're in Lauren's car. I call her. I ask if she'll check our local office to see if it's open. It isn't. I'm pretty sure that the post office lobby in Bridgeport is open until at least 10. I ask to see if she'll meet me in Fairmont so that I don't have to backtrack. I hear her say something about her eye bothering her and I get mad and hang up. Apparently it wasn't a "No," but that's not what I wanted to hear. I drive back to Morgantown. I get there, I get her side of the story. I eat the Chinese food she got me, and look up Bridgeport's hours. They're open until mindnight. I apologize to Lauren and she agrees to accompany me to Bridgeport. We leave at 9, and get there about a quarter til 10. The lobby is open and I drop the envelopes in the slot. No idea if they were postmarked, but it's the best I could do (My parents are technology adverse, and e-filing wasn't going to happen). We decide to stop by Target since we drove all that way.

We get to Target about 15 minutes before they close. I take a quick look around, end up in small appliances, and find the electric griddle that is never on the shelves in Morgantown. I promptly snatch it up and walk toward the entrance. We check out, get in the car and leave for Morgantown. I try not to pass out at the wheel, which gets tougher the closer home I get. I persevered, though I would recommend not driving when you're that tired. We get home just after 11. I call Mom just in case Dad is sleeping. No answer. I text her to tell her to tell him that I got those things in the mail. PTFO.

Roughly 22 hours awake. About 160 miles driven. Plus Tax Day. Plus broken car. Plus Dad surgery.

And now, I'm here. Later today I'm going to make some badass pancakes on my day off. Fuck you, Yesterday. I'm glad you're over.

(2 clues | got a clue?)

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