Many people are aware of Facebook’s rules for using your real name. For them, people using nicknames or stage names or whatever, screws up their metrics for farming personal information and selling it, so they enforce a policy where only real names are allowed. They have, however, made exceptions for this by allowing the stage names of performers. This, as far as I know, has only really applied to drag queens, since they started a whole public kerfuffle about this causing FB to cave in rather than get publicly smeared or whatever. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to apply to pretty much anyone else.
I like to keep my anonymity online as much as possible, and part of that was having my name on FB be Persona Non Grata, which matches all of my other sites such as this one, youtube, google+, etc. Also, I use this name as my stage name for all my bands. This caused my account to get flagged awhile back, saying it wasn’t my real name. I was able to get by it by re-entering the name with a slightly different format, but last night I got hit again, and this one really sucks. They require me to upload images of my personal identification, such as a license, credit card, social security card, etc, as well as change over to my legal name. I sent them a message stating that I use my stage name online, as this is how most people know me. Many only know me by that name. I included screenshots of the band FB pages showing that PNG is, in fact, used across the board. My account is currently suspended, awaiting review. It’s sad that it comes to this, especially when I’ve tried to contact their support before, only to find out that they have no actual support desk. You have an issue? Post it to the forums for other users to comment on. If you wait for them to respond personally, you’ll wait forever. Apparently, this is the only way to have anyone review an issue.
I really hope they make the right choice, and allow me to continue using FB for my music and to stay connected with those in the community. If they don’t, I may just end up saying fuck it and deleting my FB account. We’ll see.
I’ve always had problems deciding things, ever since I was a kid. Whether it be something arbitrary like “What do I want to eat right now?”, or serious like “What should I do with my life?”, it’s always a conundrum. Part of the reason is that my personality forces me to look at all my options, all possible outcomes, and all possible points of view I can possibly come up with. Because of this, I end up with these maddening wars of indecision inside my head. Results of this led me to split up and grade the decisions I need to make into multiple categories. Some are left to a day’s worth of contemplation. Some are set to be fully researched projects. Then there are many that I decide to just do the first thing that comes to mind. As you might guess, this got me in a lot of shit throughout my youth, especially when I was under the age of 18. I knew that I could do just about anything and not have to worry about jail time, so I did just that. It was quite the crazy time. Anyways, let’s move on before I incriminate myself. I’m not sure what the statute of limitations is for some of that stuff…..
SO….lately, my big problem is deciding what to do with my time. Currently I’m into so many fucking hobbies and time sinks that my head spins with the possibilities of what to do, and rather than actually make a fucking decision, I just do something stupid like watch an old movie. I hate being overwhelmed with shit, and it ends up aggravating the hell out of me afterward. I berate myself with “why the fuck didn’t you do THIS or THAT?!”, and I just feel worse about myself. Still, it doesn’t help me make decisions, cuz I do the same fucking thing again the next time. This also makes me super paranoid about making the wrong decision, regardless of how subjective that concept may be…
Most recently, this has brought up some bigger decisions, though. Right now, apart from the various home projects I have, there are a few major time sink hobbies on my plate. First is my music. Right now I’m in one active band, one semi active band, and one inactive one that’s starting to ramp back up. Aside from this, there is also the recording projects I was working on at home, one for original music and one where I cover songs on vocals and post them to youtube. Second is the SCA. Right now, I’m not really involved much with it, but there is much about it that I find very interesting and would like to be more involved with. There’s fighting, leatherwork, metalwork, garb making, archery, games, and others that I find interesting and wish I had the time for. Next is my arcade hobby. This has taken a back seat lately, since it’s cold in my basement and it’s tough doing work like that while freezing my ass off and having numb fingers. I do have heaters I can run, but I just haven’t felt compelled to venture down and do the work. Then there’s the myriad of other shit I could be doing, like prepping the house so we can eventually show it, tackling the dozen or so computer projects I have, working on Victoria, etc.
Meanwhile, some of my older hobbies have all but disappeared. I used to be an avid gamer, and now I have piles of games I’ve either barely played, or played a bit but never finished. My gaming has been on the back burner for quite some time, and now when I look around the living room for stuff to do, they stare at me from the shelf with those accusing eyes, moaning in guttural voices “plaaaay with ussss…..whyyyyy have you forsaken ussss, banished usss to the shelf of the unwanted, not to be played….I mean, seriously, where are we? Gamestop?!”. OK, maybe that’s just me hallucinating, possibly due to oxygen deprivation brought on by horrific clouds of dog farts, but fuck off! It’s a factor, damnit! Anyways, I still end up getting weird looks from my gamer friends when I tell them I haven’t finished Destiny, or GTA5. I also love to do shit like fishing, paintball, and skiing, just to name a few, and I rarely ever do any of those anymore.
So here I am with this conundrum. I have so many interests, and very little time to juggle them. Many of these require commitments, and aren’t things I can just do a day here or there, especially considering my personality. If you don’t already know, I have an abysmal memory, so I’d have to really delve into something for a bit to get back up to speed. Another problem is that when I get into something, I REALLY get into it. It’s all I can think about, talk about, and worry about. I get obsessive over things like that, and that makes it even harder to make accurate decisions. The reason being, I give the stuff I’m currently obsessed over more weight due to my emotional state. So now I end up stuck, spoiled for choice, and rapidly going insane over the constant turmoil in my head. Pretty sure this is a huge reason why I’m so strangely moody sometimes, since this is always going on. The sad result is that I’m gonna look back on this later in life and curse myself for not taking fucking control and just doing shit.
TL:DR I think too much, and can’t decide on a damn thing as a result.
Now I know some people will read this and get angry, possibly saying I’m over-privileged, spoiled, possibly pretentious, or whatever. All I can say to those people is this: Piss off! Love and kisses, PNG….
At least my main priorities are solid: I choose to spend time with the Lish, Peanutty, and the beast above all else, and my time with them is seldom ever used for my hobbies. That decision was the easiest to make, and one of the best I’ve ever made.
I’ll preface this post with a warning: This post will be entirely me ranting and bitching about stuff related to my life and choices, so if you don’t wanna spend the next few minutes reading about me whining, then you can safely skip it and not feel like you missed out. That being said, let’s get on with it.
When I started blogging, it was for many reasons. I felt like imparting what little knowledge I have, and views I have on life. I wanted a collection of this information. I even felt “well so many people do this, why not me”. Another big reason is because, to me, it’s a form of therapy. People have said to me, on more than one occasion, that I have balls for posting some of the shit I post. This always strikes me as kind of odd, but that’s mostly because my perspective is different. To me, I’ll post about pretty much anything, shame free. Doesn’t really bother me much. Hell, the only reason I don’t talk about most of my crazy shit around others in person is because it tends to make THEM feel uncomfortable. For me, blogging about stuff is cathartic, a process akin to journaling which they teach you about in therapy. Only difference is that I do it in public, in case there are other people out there who feel the same way, so they can read it and know they’re not alone. Oh, and the attention, I also totally do it for the attention (of which I get very little [hey, you shut up!] ok..)
Soooooooooo, here goes! I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be miserable at work forever, and my career will burn out in about a decade. Good start, right?! I’ll elaborate. I used to do logistics and warehousing, and while I enjoyed it, I made shit money and there was no real career path. The other careers I had interest in were a wash as well, so I chose something that came easily to me, and I could make better money with: computers. I got certified and started doing PC support and followed with sysadmin work. The work itself isn’t bad, per se. I like solving puzzles, and learning how shit works. Problem is, it’s not a passion of mine. I don’t go home and play with computers. I’ll check my mail and Facebook, maybe troll Craigslist a bit, but otherwise I don’t bother unless something’s broken. Also, a ton of people in this profession are complete assholes. Many of them have this competitive thing, where every time you disagree with them, or correct them, it’s seen as a challenge and is thus “game on”. Others have severe control issues, or are so lacking in social skills that it’s painful to work with them. Sure, there are cool laid back kinda dudes and chicks too, but they’re in the minority, from my experiences. I just don’t feel the need for the pettiness and condescension. All in all, probably not the best fit for my personality, since I don’t tend to take shit like that well. To top all of this, I’m trying to find a new place to work. My current place does little other than stress me out, but even searching for a new place is also stressing me out. Can’t win either way.
The Lish and I have had to make a hard choice. After much deliberation, we’ve decided to move. Not to get too far into it, it should suffice to say that our current house doesn’t fit our needs, and altering it to fit our needs would make our already insane taxes absolutely astronomical. This wouldn’t be as big of an issue if our school district was top-notch, but it isn’t. Grade school and such are good, but the High School is apparently like a demilitarized zone since the “less illustrious” town next door sends their kids there too. So we’re moving. I didn’t realize how much stress this packs on, especially since we’d have to sell and buy right around the same time. I’m going nuts trying to get the house in salable condition, while also keeping an eye on the housing market, and trying to keep the Lish from getting trampled by the onslaught of “moving stress”. While I’m doing this, she has to be the one who must constantly keep the house 95% clean in order to show it to buyers, and be ready at a moment’s notice. We also have to round-up all of our stuff that we don’t use regularly, and store it somewhere off-site in an effort to give the house a more empty look. Not an easy task when you have a bunch of stuff, much of which is hobby related. That’s another part, I have restrictions on homes I look at. Must have room for my arcade
addiction hobby, must have room for Victoria (my ’68 Fairlane), must have heat and a roof and stuff. You know, little shit. All this, and we’re trying to get it done ASAP so we can (hopefully) move within the next year or two.
Now this next part is completely my fault, and may be slightly my imagination, but it matters. I’ve been moving a LOT of arcade machines lately. I brought a few new ones in, and I took a few out. I keep my games in the basement, and they go in and out via a short staircase to the garage. Considering how much these games weigh, and how bulky they are, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that I always need help moving them in and out (HAIYO!). I call on my friends to help me on such occasions, which ends up being once or twice a month. At first, I had no problem getting help. Nowadays, the help is drying up a bit, and I can’t say I’m surprised. I have a bunch of very good friends who always go out of their way for me, yet in recent memory all I’ve done for them was asked for help. I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to waste an entire day driving for a game, only to break their balls helping my get it up or down stairs. I’ve felt the vibe off those around me, and whether it’s my imagination or not, I feel like a user. I feel like I guilt people into helping out of desperation, since they know I can’t move these games alone. I’d imagine them feeling like “well what am I gonna do, say no?!”. I feel guilt about this, and it does weigh on me. I don’t wanna be that guy, who takes from others without really giving much. As such, I’ve been wracking my brain to devise a way of getting these in and out without needing another person. I have a plan, but I need to do some more structural engineering to work out the kinks. Once that’s in place, I won’t have to harass anyone in order to shuffle stuff around. BTW, if you’re one of my friends reading this, please don’t succumb to any need to make me feel better. I KNOW I’ve been doing this. I’m just letting you all know that I acknowledge it, I do feel bad about it, and I’m making arrangements to free you from future endeavors.
I’m currently in 2 bands. One is an original band that I play keyboards in, the other is a cover band that I sing in. The original band is much more focused. We play out once a month or so, and that’s great. The other side is that it’s harder for me to learn or work on parts, since setting stuff up at home to practice is a nightmare, and it’s hard to find the time. Also, we have a few songs with solo sections for me, and I was never really much of a soloist to begin with. I’ve never been good at just going off like guitarists do, I’m more of an elaborate fills kinda guy. Now I’m looking down the barrel of more and more shows, and my writing issues are starting to drag things down. My cover band, on the other hand, is a totally different story. I’ve been playing with them for about a year or so, and we still haven’t played out. I’m not sure what the deal is there, but it’s aggravating going to practice every week and practicing songs that only we hear. Hopefully that changes soon.
All this shit just compiles to send my normal stress levels into orbit. I know, almost all of these are first world problems, and there are many people out there with real problems they have to deal with on a daily basis. I don’t really have much of a response to that. Sure, I could say that from my perspective and such, this is an equivalent stress level to others who have real hardships but are used to coping with them, but I don’t actually believe that. I think people with real hardships have lots of underlying stress they don’t even recognize. Oh, and by the way, don’t mistake me ranting about being stressed as me unhappy with my life. Far from it. I’m just very stressed out at the moment, and needed to vent to nobody in particular. It’s easier than venting to a person, cuz then I’m always wondering if they’re thinking “listen to him bitch about stupid shit, he doesn’t even know what real problems are”. Maybe I don’t, but that doesn’t make my stress less valid and real…
Be forewarned, this entire post will just be me bitching about being stressed. If whining and complaining doesn’t thrill you, you can just troll through the internet for April Fools jokes like this one. Otherwise, commence bitching.
So to start out, I have to say that this is 100% NOT a prank. All this shit is true. I stopped pranking people years ago, mostly because the escalation got to an insane level and I didn’t wanna take that next step. Anywho, I’ll start out with this. I’m fucking stressed. I know, so is everyone else, but for me right now it’s at an all time high. To start with, I’m miserable at work. My boss is terrible, he decided that this year our workload is going to double, but sorry Charlie, no raises for the effort. Every day I’m scrutinized for the small amount of mental health stuff I do during the day (read: slacking), since it’s apparently OK to go outside for 10 minute cigarette breaks every few hours, but taking a personal phone call for the same amount of time is apparently unacceptable. They switched us over to an open office design so they can look over our shoulders every chance they get, and report their findings to our bosses. Also, it’s loud and distracting all day long, which makes concentrating on our work a nightmare. They give me a “talking to” about communication, meanwhile they don’t communicate with me for shit. My boss micromanages, and takes any opposition to his ideas as a personal challenge, frat boy style. All this shit combines to make my work days a fucking nightmare. I actually really miss my shipping and receiving days. Sure, I had some crappy bosses back then too, but there was much less oversight, and I enjoyed my job more. Truth be told, IT was never high on my list of desired careers. I did it because it was the easiest way to make decent money. Now I know why. It’s because the industry is full of assholes like this, and IT people are frequently talked down to and abused. It’s as if most people think our shit is so easy that we can do whatever they ask right away because we’re “computer guys”. (no offense to all you computer girls out there, but that term is seldom used) I actually HAVE worked IT jobs that I enjoyed. The most notable was my last one, where I was a field engineer in NYC. If it wasn’t for the commute, I’d have stuck it out there and tried to move up. But, alas, I chose to have normal hours and see my kids more, which leads me to my next point.
It’s no shock that I’m plagued by guilt. Part of my non-belief in a higher power is a feeling that justice must be served. I don’t believe in being judged and paying the price in the afterlife, so I enforce it now. I judge my actions constantly, and punish accordingly. Most notably for this is for my hobbies. I’m in 2 bands, I’m learning to fight in the SCA, I have my arcade hobby, my side work, and my classic car. I come home for a little while after work, and most nights go right back out again. Sure, I’m doing what I love to do, but it’s taking its toll. Both the Nutty and the Wee Beast express their sadness when I say I’m leaving (again) pretty much every time it happens, and it rips me up. I feel like a selfish fuck, and to be perfectly honest, I am. I get to do what I want all the time, and now I have the audacity to be upset because I want to quit some of it to be there for them. It hasn’t happened yet, and I wonder how long it will take me to weigh how much the kids get upset over this against how much the members of the hobby and I would be upset if I were to quit. I feel sort of like the father from Cats in the Cradle, and it makes me physically sick.
Now, the bomb. We’re planning to move. Our current house can’t be what we need it to be, and there are many reasons why I don’t wanna stay. The school district is meh at best, the taxes are super high, and currently the Beast doesn’t have a fucking window in her bedroom. For us to revamp the house to accommodate our needs, it would cost us 125k or so for the work, and then a 3k bump in taxes each year. This doesn’t make any sense for us to do, especially when the High School in our district is like a demilitarized zone. Our only real choice left is to move. We’ve done this before, twice, and it never caused me as much anxiety as it does now. Our last two moves had something this move doesn’t: We bought a new place FIRST! Well, bought the first time, inherited the second time. Either way, we were able to move out and then show an empty house. Now, we have to pack up our house, store a ton of our shit somewhere, and run “lean and clean” until the house sells. If that wasn’t bad enough, I have to remodel 2 bathrooms, fix the roof, replace the front door AND steps, paint the house, new garage doors, fix siding…. The list is nuts. This is all stuff I put off because we could live with it the way it was, but nobody is gonna buy it that way. Then it comes to us worrying about house hunting, new neighbors (our current neighbors are fucking awesome!), and of course, the move itself. I, for one, am NOT looking forward to having to pull those arcade games out of the basement. I’ll probably hire movers or something for it.
All this shit piles on top of my regular stress and worry. Am I being a good father/husband/friend? Am I planning properly for the future for myself and my family? Am I seeing enough of the big picture to be making informed decisions? Am I progressing as a person? I don’t even like going into this shit with the Lish because when I’m home with her, all I want is comfort and to forget about my problems. Now, however, it’s getting to a point where it’s just wearing me down. I think I’m handling it ok, but my perspective on that isn’t the greatest. My friends and the Lish would know better. I’m not saying I can’t handle it, it’s just difficult is all. Then I think about people with REAL problems and horror in their lives, who have to deal with shit like barely livable wages, awful living conditions, worrying about whether they can feed their families this week, and/or dealing with loss of loved ones. Who the fuck am I to bitch about my life from my place of privilege?! I have much more than most, and I’m whining like a little bitch over being stressors that many people would kill to have in place of what they’ve got. What makes me deserving of sympathy or assistance? The answer to that last one, is nothing.
Last Thursday, I FINALLY got my Asteroid arcade game to work. It took a lot of troubleshooting, and sending the game board out for repair, but it’s playable and awesome!!! I celebrated with about an hour of repeated gameplay, though I don’t seem to be getting the hang of it all that well yet. Still, it was great to enjoy the fruits of my labor, and I gladly put my DMM away in my toolbox. All of my games work now, with the exception of the multicade my friend found in the trash. That one will need a new monitor, so I might end up getting rid of it if it can’t be converted to use a standard arcade CRT.
The next day, I felt a little bummed. I’d been working on that machine for so long, and every day I went downstairs to either test something else, or rebuild something. Now, I’m in a weird position. I have nothing to fix! I know that may sound a little odd, but I take a lot of enjoyment in working out the problems. I like the puzzles. I like being able to take something that doesn’t work, and breathe life back into it. Now, though, the only things left to do are purely cosmetic, and they cost money I don’t really have. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll enjoy doing the cosmetic work as well, but right now I lack the funding for the control panel overlays, flash memory kits, flipper rebuild kits, etc. I even briefly considered parting with a machine in trade for more project machines. I’m a sick, sick man.
I’m not really sure what to do with myself at this point. I still enjoy going down there and playing the games, but I think they were best as a distraction for the times when I was stumped by another machine and needed to clear my head. Oddly enough, that was when I played some of my best games. Don’t get me wrong, there is still shit I can do, such as shop out my Stargate pin, but I’d like to do that when I have the flipper rebuild kits in hand. I’d rather it be all at once.
I guess this can relate to me having a follow through issue. I’m great at starting projects and getting things most of the way there, but it’s the finishing touches that I seem ok to walk away from. Some of the other people I know in the hobby have an OCD when it comes to restoration. It’s not done until it’s perfect. I’m not like that. I leave shit half finished all over the place. I’m not entirely sure where that comes from, but it can potentially be a problem, and I’m gonna have to work on that. For now, though, I could really use a machine to fix…
SO, if you know me personally, and live near me, GO BUY A BROKEN ARCADE MACHINE!!! I needs me some fixin’!!!!
The wife and I just returned from our 10 year wedding anniversary trip. For our honeymoon, we decided to go to Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida. Needless to say, it was a blast. We were young, had tons of energy, and truly enjoyed the experience like no other. Part of our honeymoon included a trip to Universal Studios, which we found out had a Halloween thing called Halloween Horror Nights. It was fucking EPIC! They had demons on stilts and full prosthetics, fire breathers, cave girls dancing in front of fire, and awesome haunted houses. It was an amazing surprise, and we had an absolute blast. For our ten year, we figured what better way to spend it than to do exactly the same thing, reminiscing on the old times, and reflecting on the years gone by. Did the trip do our memories justice? Well, keep reading and find out. (no spoilers!)
We went for a much shorter period of time for this trip, but we brought friends this time around. We went with 2 other couples. We were only able to spend 2 days in Disney parks, and 1 day in Universal. We stayed, this time, at Disney’s Art of Animation. It was actually pretty cool. Huge pool designed like Finding Nemo, themed buildings like Cars, Lion King, Nemo, and Little Mermaid, etc. We stayed in the Cars building. The ENTIRE area around the building looked like the movie cars, complete with a huge neon rotating sign for the Cozy Cone, and full size replicas of the characters. The room was pretty nice for our needs, and we had no problems there. Checking in was a mild nightmare, since they started this new thing where you get a bracelet with a chip in it that acts as your room key, park pass, and charge card for the trip. It’s wireless, waterproof, and generally comfortable, but being new it took the girl behind the counter an hour to set up. Not a deal breaker, but certainly a PITA. Hopefully they get this sorted out quick, since we’re going back next year with the wee beasties in tow.
The day we flew in, we had the night free to go do Downtown Disney. We had tickets to see Rifftrax Live! at the theater there, and didn’t wanna miss it. Although it was very crowded, it was just as I remembered it, with a few different stores and displays. I remembered going to Planet Hollywood for dinner one night, Fulton’s Crab House another night, and La Nouba. After the movie, we went back to our room and passed the fuck out. Time for some REAL Disney-ing!!!
Day 1 was spent entirely in Epcot Center. We spent the morning wandering a bit, going on rides, etc… We did Sum of all Thrills, where you can build a roller coaster and “ride” it in a VR simulator. Pretty cool shit. We went on Soarin’, which simulated flying with a huge screen in front of you. Cool stuff, but not quite as epic or impressive as I thought it’d be. Seeing the row above us’ feet kinda killed it a bit. The one experience I DID think was awesome, and mock me all you want for thinking this, was Captain EO. I saw this when I went to Disney as a kid, and remember loving it. Coming back and experiencing it as an adult was both awesome and emotional for me. It epitomized the 80’s in every way. The jokes, the music, the sound effects, the special effects; all of it was the best the 80’s had to offer, in my opinion. Think what you want of Michael Jackson, you can’t deny that he was an extremely talented and amazing entertainer. Seeing this made me a little sad for him, because he ended up so far down the hill at the end of his life, having fallen so far from grace that most people don’t really remember his awesomeness. That, and the longing it filled me with for the simpler and more magical days of childhood, really affected me. After that show, there was only one thing to do….drink! We ended up in the world showcase. We had dinner in the Mexican temple, and followed it up with drinking around the world and watching the awesome fireworks show. It was a great time with good friends. Epcot is close to being my favorite park is Disney, second only to one, but we’ll get to that.
Day 2 was a mixed bag. We all started in Animal Kingdom. First attraction was Expedition Everest, which wasn’t there when we were on our honeymoon. I knew it was a roller coaster, and that it had a Yeti in it, but didn’t really know anything else about it before going on. For that, I am truly thankful. This is, hands down, my favorite coaster in all of Disney. I won’t give any of it away, but if you like fun coasters, this is for you. It doesn’t go upside down, and doesn’t need to. It’s just a great time!!! After that, we went on the dinosaur ride. It was pretty good, and we definitely had fun on it. We did that last time, but with my memory I don’t really remember any of it. Truth be told, 99% of what I remember about Disney from my honeymoon is memories of the pictures we took, and not actual mental images. Probably a tumor or some shit, but I’m getting off topic. So, after Dinosaurs, we tackled the Safari. This was exactly how we remembered it. Great time, close ups with some truly beautiful animals, and finally a guide who didn’t sound like Howard Cosell. After the safari, we left Animal Kingdom. We could have spent more time there, but there was more to do, and this trip was sort of a “best of” kinda deal. We took a quick hop over to Epcot for lunch in the UK. I got to enjoy a scotch egg in all of its delicious glory.
Afterwards we took a boat ride over to MGM. I know, I know, now it’s called Hollywood Studios, but fuck that! To me, it’ll ALWAYS be MGM. At MGM, we went right over to Star Tours, which had pretty close to a zero wait time. We walked right up to the door to get on the ride, and only had to wait for the ride to finish with the earlier group. This ride was totally changed as far as content. There are now 54 different possible experiences, which are chosen at random. It was pretty awesome, and I probably could have spent all day just riding that ride, but we had stuff to do! Next stop, the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. This show is exactly how I remember it, and though it’s still the “same old thing”, I love the shit out of it. It’s still real stunt work, and an awesome live action Indiana Jones experience. We were upgraded to the VIP section by the ushers because it was our anniversary, so we were 2nd row!!! Good times. After that, we wandered a bit and finished up over at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. This ride was also just as I remembered it: Fucking AWESOME!!! Definitely one of those rides that I wish I could forget about so I could ride it for the first time again.
Now, here is where shit gets interesting. We’ll have to back up a bit. The day before we left, I went to the doctor because I’d had a sore throat for about a week, and wanted to get meds or something before our trip so I wouldn’t be violently ill. My PCP wasn’t available, big shocker, and I had to go to the Medicenter. The doctor there insisted that I had no redness or inflammation, even though it felt like I was swallowing through a puffy glove coated in broken glass. He said it was likely just my allergies, and acid reflux. Thinking he would know best, I went down to Disney. The travel day and our trip to Epcot was fine, but I was feeling a tiny bit off. I wrote it off to just my sore throat bugging me and my allergies. Day 2, everything changed. My sore throat got a bit better, but after leaving Animal Kingdom, I started feeling really shitty and run down. I also started coughing like crazy. By the time we were at MGM, I was totally sick. I pushed myself through to get on the rides and enjoy myself, but after the Tower of Terror, I was done. I went to first aid and asked about a medical clinic. I ended up going back to my hotel, where the awesome concierge gave me a free taxi voucher to and from the clinic. Long story short, I had Bronchitis. The doctor told me that I should stay in bed the next day and take it really easy, or risk developing pneumonia. This made me both profoundly angry, and profoundly sad. The next day was when we were supposed to be going to Universal for a day in Islands of Adventure, and Halloween Horror Nights. I really didn’t wanna miss that, but it wasn’t looking good. I went back to the hotel, took my meds with some dinner, and passed out. I stayed in bed until about noon or so, when everyone was set to leave for the park. I decided to say fuck it! The tickets were not refundable, so I chose to go, and if I felt shitty, I’d head to the van we rented and sleep for a bit, then come back in. So now, off we went.
Turns out, I was able to take my time, take it easy, and make it through Universal AND Horror Nights. We showed up, and headed straight for the one place we absolutely COULD NOT MISS. Hogsmeade!!!! Now, the wife and I are big Harry Potter fans. I say big, and not huge, because we weren’t big fans of the movies. I must admit, though, this little town was pretty awesome! We enjoyed a Butter Beer, which was basically a glorified cream soda, shopped around, and had lunch at the 3 Broomsticks. A few things about it bugged me, but I get why they did it. Quite a few of the shops that were recreated here weren’t actually IN Hogsmeade, they were in DIagon Alley. Shops like Ollivander’s. But apart from my pedanticism, it was pretty wild! We went on Dueling Dragons (yes, I will always call it that), and the actual Harry Potter ride in the castle. The castle was pretty amazing! Lots of attention to key details, such as moaning Mertyll being heard in the bathrooms. The ride in the castle was awesome, and I was amazed at the sheer engineering aspect that must have gone into its creation. That being said, when they say it can cause motion sickness, believe them. The Lish doesn’t usually get motion sick on rides, but this one definitely gave her a bit of a twinge. Still, it was worth it. We wandered through Jurassic Park and had a blast in the visitor center there, and ended up walking back to the Marvel area by the entrance. We rode the Hulk, arguably the best ride in Universal that I’ve been on. They we went back around for the Poseidon’s Fury show, which I didn’t remember anything about, aside from it being awesome. It didn’t disappoint. After that, the park was closing, so we left to drop off one of the couples and have dinner before a night of horror!!!
Halloween Horror Nights used to be in Islands of Adventure, at least it was when we were last here. This year, it was in the main Universal Studios park. We were cool with this, since we didn’t get hopper passes and now could go on the Universal rides. This year’s theme was zombies, so the park was dark and had people in zombie makeup wandering the park as walkers. The ambiance was pretty good, but we did miss the crazy shit from the first time. We also went on the Mummy ride, which was fucking awesome!!! Totally sick ride, well worth going on. Now for the shitty part. First of all, the wait times. The wait times for the haunted houses were absolutely insane! The shortest wait time when we got there was about 70 minutes, and the longest was 125 minutes. Each house was themed. There was the Walking Dead, Resident Evil (the game, not the movie), Cabin in the Woods, Evil Dead, and a few others. We chose Resident Evil first, since it was the shortest wait. At the end of the night, we did Walking Dead, since people were saying it was the best. The wait time for RE was right on, but the WD wait time was way off. It took us 25 minutes longer to get through it, which caused us to miss the Bill and Ted Halloween show, which was a big reason for us going. We were pretty pissed about that.
What? How were the haunted houses? Did they live up to the hype? In a word, no. The houses were well decorated and authentic to the source material. The actors in them were decent. That’s about it. There weren’t really any scary portions to them, and the ambiance was kinda killed by the security personnel inside leaning or sitting on props looking deeply bored and half asleep. The houses were short, and when it all came down to it, they weren’t anywhere near worth the wait. I’m actually amazed at all the great reviews websites and bloggers have lavished on these mazes. Sure, the decor and sound are top notch, but it’s more of an interactive museum piece rather than a haunted house. Our local haunted houses here are much better, with shorter wait times. But wait, there’s more. There’s an express pass that will let you skip the lines and wait only a few minutes! Well, yeah, if you wanna spend $90 for a fast pass ON TOP of the $40 for the park ticket, then you can do that. If I’d spent that much to see those haunted houses, I’d have been even more pissed, especially since some of the fast pass lines were waiting over 30 minutes to get through a house!!! This just seems like it’s a very poorly planned out thing for them. When we went the first time, it was a long wait for them, but they were awesome. It took more than 5 minutes just to blow through one, and they had some really cool scares in them. It just seems like it boomed in popularity, but they didn’t compensate for the influx of people the right way. They started charging more for the express passes, and made the houses shorter. Bad form. If we go again to Horror Nights, we’ll probably stick with the Universal stuff first, and hit the houses at the end when the lines are short. We’ll also see the Bill and Ted show FIRST!!!!
“Uhhh, Persona? You didn’t say anything about how the trip was as compared to your honeymoon!”
Well, ok, you might not care, but fuck it I’m gonna tell you anyways. Many people I know have problems with Disney. The commercialism, their stranglehold on certain IPs, their crazy prices, whatever. I’ll admit that they definitely do some messed up shit, but that doesn’t make the experience of going to WDW any less awesome. This trip, for both the Lish and I, was awesome! It was us being the weird and wacky kids we were ten years ago. We ran around, acted stupid and silly, and had an absolute blast doing it. Disney, for us, really is a meaningful and magical place, since we visited at very influential times in our lives, both as kids and as adults. It’s like reliving our childhood together in a beautiful place full of fun, excitement, and wonder. More proof of its awesomeness is that, aside from using it as a camera and clock, I barely looked at my phone while on vacation. I checked FB maybe two or three times a day, and email about the same. Normally, those numbers are well into the double digits. If you think I’ve been drinking the Kool Aid or sold out or whatever by making these statements, then I’m sorry, but you just don’t understand. Staying on Disney property, taking buses and boats for short rides to the parks, having just about anything you might need at your fingertips, being in a place that is almost always clean, and being fully immersed in an experience that lasts days is something that I’ve only found there when on vacation. Sure, I’ve been disconnected when at Ocean City and lost in a relaxing world of ocean, waves, and awesome, but this is more like vacationing in an awesome dream. Being crazy in a place like this was the perfect way to celebrate our first decade of marriage, and I can’t wait to go back. Most importantly, I’m thankful that I found someone awesome who feels the exact same way!
It should come as no surprise to anyone that I’m a whiny complainer. I bitch about pretty much everything, especially when it comes to shit that directly affects me. Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about the various aches and pains and such that my body feels like gracing me with, and something solidified. No, it wasn’t my stool… unfortunately…it’s the fact that I’m friggin falling apart, and I only have myself to blame.
I used to be in pretty excellent shape. I had a physical job that kept me moving all day. I was active after hours, whether it be doing something active with friends or going rollerblading or something. I was generally (physically) healthy, for the most part. I came across a picture of myself from many years ago, and while I was very thin, I was also pretty ripped. I had what is sometimes referred to as whipcord muscle, or lean muscle. That all changed.
Lots of things changed at once. I switched careers from an active one to a sedentary one. I got married and stopped galavanting across the countryside every night. I got older. Problem is, I didn’t really make any changes to the other important shit, like diet. This all resulted in me going from 150lbs to 205lbs in less than a year. Nowadays, I get out of bed, go to work and sit all day, come home to relax and sit on the couch, and then go back to bed. There is some activity, so it’s not like my legs will atrophy and I’ll need a rascal or anything, but it very little. This change in lifestyle is starting to really show its effects, and I’m getting a little tired of it.
A few weeks back, my wrist started to hurt again. I’ve had carpal tunnel for years, and it comes and goes. I end up wearing a brace for a few weeks until the pain subsides, but it’s just one more thing at this point. Then, on Tuesday, I woke up with a pain in my right hip. It got so bad throughout the day that I started walking with a cane to keep from putting weight on it. I’ve been using the cane the past few days, and though the pain is subsiding, it’s just one more thing. I also started going to an MMA class once a week, which began about 7-8 weeks ago. 2 days after every single class I’d be sore as hell. One week, about 2 weeks ago or so, I got caught in a guillotine choke, and the guy snapped it too hard and my throat got bruised. I’m still feeling the effects of it when I try to sing, and I’m going to the ENT to have him look at it. And this is just the shit during the past month!
I’ve had back problems for years, due to the abuse I put my body through when working in warehousing. Now, I have nerve damage in part of my upper back, and I can’t lay in bed for too long without being is horrible pain, even with a Tempur Pedic. Also, as some of you may know, I had surgery last year to correct an issue in my nasal cavity. The surgery worked for the right side, but not the left. Actually, I think the left is worse now than when I started. To make matters WAY better, my allergies just started gang raping my nose and throat with insatiable fervor, thus making me perform like a pubescent boy whenever I sing. Plus, with my nose being clogged all the time now, I make a whistling sound like an oncoming train whenever I breathe heavy. This means every time I have sex it sounds like a train being pulled by oxen, which is probably traumatizing my poor wife. You’re welcome for that image, by the way.
I know what I have to do. I have to stop being lazy. I gotta get off my ass and start exercising, start eating right (I never eat breakfast), and get my shit straightened out at the doctor. I luck out that I’m not really a snack food person or a candy person, but that’s of little comfort to me right now. It’s sad to say, but this point in my life (I’m mid 30’s) is most likely when I’ll look the best I ever will, physically. I need to capitalize on that or I’m just gonna end up with regret, as well as more aches, pains, and health problems….