Saying goodbye to our home

As you probably remember from last year, we’re in the process of moving (yes, still…). We’re living in a rental, and we close on the sale of our old house tomorrow. Last night we had our final farewell to our first true home, and it was completely fucking brutal. What makes it worse than just selling our home is the fact that we can NEVER see it again. The new owners will be demolishing the house and building a whole new one on the property. The home we lived in, loved in, laughed in, cried in, started our family in, partied in, etc will be completely erased from existence, only to be seen again in pictures and video from our time spent there.

Many of you already know that I’m an extremely sentimental person. As such, this is incredibly painful for me. You see, this is the third place the Lish and I have lived since we got married. The first was a one bedroom co-op that we lived in for 3 years, and the second was a small house we lived in for about a year before moving into this one. About a year after we got married, I developed a horrible panic/anxiety disorder. I was really bad for a few years, going to therapy once or sometimes twice a week, taking medication, etc. We were really in flux, and there were some truly dark times where shit was REALLY bad. By the time we were moving into this house, we were hitting the tail end of it. I finished working out my shit, and we started to rebuild. We hit our stride here, settled in, and started our family.

This was a house of firsts. We had our children here, raised them for a few years here, and watched as they hit their milestones here. We sat on the back porch while the kids played and just talked about anything and everything. We had amazing parties with our incredible group of friends. We adopted Sully, and said farewell to him. There were BBQs and birthdays, Christmas and Easter. I started my arcade hobby there, and built my side business there. We went there before we even moved in, with close friends and my mother in law, to read the latest Harry Potter book when it first came out. I spent some awesome times with a good friend remodeling our kitchen after I got laid off. It was the only thing that kept me sane during a really rough time. I remember sitting on our sky chair on the porch every weekend morning in the summer while I had my coffee. There were thunderstorms spent on that porch too, watching the rain fall and the lightning with the kids.

But these are all just memories, right? What makes that different that childhood memories, or memories of the apartment? Well, I’ll tell you. The difference is that this was actually the first TRUE home I’ve ever had. It was mine. I felt safe here, I felt like I belonged here, and I truly felt like I was loved and wanted. I made this place my own, and it really was the only real home I feel that I ever had. I’m absolutely devastated that we had to leave this beautiful place. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, and it wouldn’t work in our family’s best interests going forward, but that doesn’t change what it was to me. At this point, I can’t imagine any future house taking its place in my heart. Sure, I’ll have another home, and perhaps in ten years time I’ll be singing a different tune, but for right now I feel homeless in a way. I think a part of me dies with that house, a part that will likely never heal. It’s as if I’m losing a beloved family member, only to relive our time together through these small windows to the past and the memories they conjure. It hurts more than my words could possibly express, and I know quite a few words.

Last night, after the Lish and the kids left, I decided to have one last fire in the amazingly beautiful fireplace and video tape it. As it turned out, this was much more painful than I thought it’d be. I was lonely, I was broken, I was devastated. I was grieving at the bedside of a dear loved one while they slowly succumbed to sickness in front of my eyes. I wanted to stay until the fire burned down to mere embers, but I couldn’t do it. The pain for me was far too much, and I ended up putting out the fire and going back to the rental.

Now I can imagine some people will read this and think I’m just some sappy melodramatic bitch, and perhaps there’s some truth to that. The reality is that this is literally how I felt at the time, and how I feel now. Like I said, I’m deeply sentimental, and I tend to live in the past, so I have a shitty habit of focusing on what I’ve lost and not living in the moment or looking to the future. I dwell on things. I know I shouldn’t, and I try not to, but for me it’s not that easy. I’m trying to move forward, but it’s hard (haiyoooo). I think it would’ve been easier if the new owners didn’t demo the house. I’ve have loved to show them her beauty, how to care for her, and teach them about all over her little idiosyncrasies. Still, I’m sure that in five or ten years time I’ll be able to look back with love and fondness, and not with longing and despair. I guess only time will tell. Still, I say this to her. Goodbye my very dear friend. We shared much together, and you will live on in our hearts and the hearts of our children (who had a VERY difficult and emotional time saying goodbye). You’ll always mean the world to us, because you were there to provide everything we needed to start our family and grow it right and true. We love you now, and always will, and we truly do wish things had worked out differently. Goodbye…

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Uncle Chooch visits for Xmas 2014

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Lazy days spent chilling out together in the living room.

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Death Row, where my hobby took shape. So many hours spent down there working on games and playing!

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Summertime spent in the inflatable pool!!! We’d sit on the porch and relax while they had fun…until someone started shit and we had to get involved…

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Panoramic view from the sky chair. This is how I spent my summer mornings…

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Hanging out on the sky chair, having fun, relaxing, and being silly!

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Autumn, playing on the big rock. I’d build a huge leaf pile and they’d jump off the rock into it. Good times!

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The view from the couch, watching TV and playing games!!!

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The Lish and I after our first Halloween party in the house. This was our Gods and Goddesses party. My robe says “God” on it…

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First day of preschool!

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Here’s where it all started. We took this the year we moved in and used it as our Christmas card for that year. Seems like soooo long ago…

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Fires on Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa, snuggling up and watching holiday movies with the Lish while the wee ones slept and dreamed of beautiful things.

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The last fire this beautiful fireplace will ever know. So many memories of fires on cold nights, so sad it will never know another…

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View from outside during last night’s fire. Farewell my friend, we will always love and miss you…

What was I thinking?!

A little over a month ago, I swung by an internet radio studio to hang out with a good friend of mine while he did his radio show. During the show, he brought out a scale for him and another guy there to weigh themselves. Apparently, they were having a weight loss competition where they weigh in each week. Out of morbid curiosity, I decided to step on the scale. I regretted this immediately, of course.

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The actual scale said “You’re American”…

As it turns out, over the course of just a few months, I had gained 20 lbs. I’m not really the type of person to obsess over my weight for the most part, nor am I someone who always looks in the mirror. As someone with a slight case of body dysmorphic disorder, I try to avoid any chance to actually look at myself, since what I see and what actually is are apparently two very different things according to pretty much everyone I’ve asked over the years. Considering all this, my sudden weight gain came as a bit of a shock.

I’m not really sure why it hit me the way it did, but I got this overwhelmingly shitty feeling in my gut and just couldn’t shake it. All of my current insecurities about my physical condition flooded in, and soon I was drowning in my own inadequacies. I’m now overweight, out of shape, and physically weak. This is kind of a first for me when it comes to two of those. I’ve always been thin or average, and usually kept in fair shape. The clock has been ticking, though, and time is having its fun with me. As for the other bit, I’ve never been a strong guy. I have virtually no upper body strength, and never had any before either. Mostly I’ve learned to use my entire body to accomplish tasks most other dudes could do with one hand, while drinking a beer with the other. I’ve dealt with quite a fair share of shaming and ribbing about this my entire life, so it’s always been a sore spot. Problem is, it’s always been very difficult for me to build bulk muscle. I’ve done weight training before, and my body just doesn’t seem to give a damn about strength. Now, though, this is becoming more of a problem.

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True Story…

After the show, I decided I was gonna try doing something about it. I downloaded an app on my phone called Sworkit, and started working out. I’m just doing cardio, and the app basically chooses an exercise at random, like Star Jumps (aka the bane of my existence) or burpees (an exercise designed by Hitler and the devil). You do that for 30 seconds, and then switch to another exercise. After 5 in a row, you get a 30 second break. I started out doing just 10-15 minutes, and realized rather quickly that I’m a sad, sorry, sack of shit. I couldn’t get through the whole thing without taking short breathers during some of the sets because I either couldn’t catch my breath, or because the pain in my muscles prevented me from going any further. By the end I found myself praying for a burglar to rush in and knock me unconscious. This is why I started leaving the front door open learning to pace myself when I was working out. Eventually I was able to make it to 30 minutes, though I still have to take short pauses and feel dead at the end of it. This was the point I contracted the plague that was going around, and stopped for about 3 weeks.

Now, enter in my coworker who goes around trying to convince everyone to do Tough Mudder with him each year. This time someone asked him if he was doing it this year, and he said he wasn’t because he had nobody to go with. I’m not sure where the stupid idea came from, but for some ungodly reason I told him I’d go with him and I signed up. Since then, I’ve been reading articles on what kind of shape someone has to be in so they can do this, and I’ve come to the realization that I’m pretty much fucked. This thing sounds brutal for someone who rarely makes 5000 steps a day, let alone be in the condition required for this to happen.

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While I’d like to be the guy on the left, I’ll end up being the guy on the right, face down in the shit…

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Let the hate flooooooow through you…

I started hitting Sworkit again, but yesterday hit a wall. After about 21 minutes, my phone died, and I was never so happy about that. I was WIPED. I couldn’t eat, I felt dizzy, I was really shaky, and overall felt like I was gonna pass out. I went to lay down for a bit, and after some time I began to feel better. While I was laying there, though, I came to a realization that I apparently knew but didn’t wanna face. I fucking HATE working out. HATE IT! It’s not the whole being physical thing, and it’s not the pushing myself to the limit part. It’s what I’m actually doing. Whenever the app says Star Jumps, I wanna go to the voice actor’s house and punch her in the face because it’s fucking miserable. I used to rollerblade a lot, like 14 miles a day every day, and that I love doing. Even though it’s brutal and hard to do that these days, I love it, but I don’t live in an area where I can do that right now. I used to do martial arts, and loved that, even though it was physically punishing. But regular workouts suck ass. Part of the reason is because I’m in awful shape and can barely fucking do it without needing an EMT on standby. Part of the reason is because I lack the physical strength to do more than a few of certain exercises, like diamond pushups. And, best I can figure, part of the reason is that it’s just not fun whatsoever. Skating is fun. Martial arts is fun. Just Star Jumps and Push-Ups? No, that’s boring as fuck.

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I dream of a day when I’ll know…

While I was ruminating on all this, the Lish came in to talk to me. I told her how I was feeling, and she said she felt very much the same way when she started working out at the gym. She said she hated it, and felt weak, incompetent, and miserable for quite awhile. After some time, though, she began to love it. Now she goes 4 days a week, and works out at home the other 3 days. She’s in killer shape, and blows me away in endurance. Occasionally she’ll do Sworkit with me, and she’s just a non-stop juggernaut through it all. Anyways, she told me that I’m just being too impatient and hard on myself, and that this will all get better in time. I guess part of my problem is that I don’t see much of a difference right away, and that frustrates me. I feel like I’m doing the same thing over and over, and just not getting any better. I really don’t wanna be the guy at the end of Tough Mudder who’s barely dragging himself along, only to collapse at the end and require medical attention. I also don’t wanna be incapable of pulling myself up over an obstacle or something like that, so strength training is a necessity now too. I’m just as bad at that as I am at cardio. I know a lot of what’s driving me through all this is my own self loathing. I hate myself, I hate the shape I’m in, I hate that I let myself get this way, and I hate that I’m finding it so difficult to progress. It’s so frustrating and infuriating. The problem with using my anger as fuel here is that, with such slow progress, all I end up with is more anger. Soon that evolves into being depressed about my current situation, and then all I wanna do is cancel my registration, say fuck it (preferably out loud), and just accept that I’m a bag of shit who’ll be out of shape the rest of his life.

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Let’s face it, folks, NOBODY wants me reenacting this scene in the buff…

What’s stopping me? Well, the answer is both simple, confusing, and complicated. Pride. I’d be willing to bet that people with depression don’t usually care about such a thing, but sometimes I can be a very contradictory dude. I try like hell to preserve some semblance of pride and honor, and I can’t bring myself to quit this yet. I know it’d be a huge regret in my life, and I’d look back on these years when I’m older and likely sick, and wonder if keeping with it would’ve let me live a longer, fuller life. I can’t handle the thought of that kind of regret, so for now I’m still gonna try. I still utterly hate everything about this right now, but I can’t bring myself to throw in the towel, if for no other reason than not wanting to deal with the shame that will come with it. I’ll try and post a few more times before the run, which is in late July, and I’ll include my progress. Hopefully there is some…

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

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If you haven’t seen it, stop reading and go see it…like, NOW!!!

I’m gonna start this off by saying that this post DEFINITELY CONTAINS SPOILERS!!! My TL:DR review for you is that the movie is worth seeing, no doubt about it! Seriously, if you haven’t seen the movie, and don’t want it ruined, please stop reading now!

The Lish and I ventured out last night to see the Force Awakens at a local theater. I must admit, I was extremely apprehensive and nervous throughout the film. I was waiting for something shitty to happen that would make the movie worthless or ruined. While I do have things I didn’t care for about the movie, I must say that my fears did not come true. The movie was actually awesome, and I can’t wait to see it again in the theater when I bring the boy with me. My full review is below.

SPOILERS BELOW!!!

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OK, first of all, they stuck to the formula of the original. Droid with plans/map lands on desert planet, meets teen who was left there by someone else, leaves on the Millenium Falcon, teams with Solo and Chewie, and get to the rebel base, all while being pursued by evil force wielding dude in all black with a black mask and a deep voice. Then, a final assault on a planet killing super weapon to prevent said base from being blown up. Sound familiar? Oh, and the whole father-figure mentor being killed in front of the main protagonist is there too. While this was all very predictable, it didn’t make it a bad movie. The acting was pretty good, special effects were good, and the story was decent. I LOVE that they went back to the lightsaber battles being more like medieval sword fighting. The whole Woo Ping shtick they did in the prequels was entertaining, but didn’t have that true Star Wars feel. These were WAY better. That said, there were things that put me off a bit.

First, Kylo Ren was kind of a bitch once he took the mask off. Before that, he was an ominous, terrifying badass who seemed to have his shit together for the most part. When he took of his mask, however, he looked to always be on the verge of tears, and lost all intimidation factor. I get that he was supposed to be torn still, but I think it was a bit much. Also, he got his ass beat by a completely untrained person at both his use of the force and a lightsaber battle. This is someone who Luke supposedly trained, and he got pieced up by a neophyte who didn’t know the force existed until the day or so before.

That leads me to Rey. She’s able to use the force to pull objects to her without knowing how to do it, she knows how to use force persuasion without ever being taught, and is able to fight with a lightsaber and win a duel against a far better trained opponent. Just seemed a little out there. Otherwise, her character was fucking awesome, and the actress did an amazing job with her!

Finn is a great character, and he showed great depth, emotion, and humor. He also had some good growth during the film, which was great. I can’t wait to see where they go with him.

The death scene was expected, but still fucking brutal. My heart still hurts…

For as much as they showed Captain Phasma beforehand, she had barely a bit part in the film. It seems like the character was only there to serve as a plot device to facilitate the dropping of the shield, something I can’t imagine any commander in her position giving in to so easily. Just seemed out of character for someone in her position. Seriously, why was she on the poster in the very center. She had about 3 minutes of actual screen time…

Finally, the general tone and immersion seemed off to me. I’m not 100% sure why, but I have suspicions. Part of it, I’m sure, is my apprehension. Part is the special effects, which were more realistic than fantastical, as opposed to the original. That also might be a product of the times and how filming techniques have changed. Another part is the sound editing and score. The sound and music had much more prominence in the original trilogy, and served to set the tone and add to the story a great deal. It was very memorable. This film didn’t really have that. The sound and music took a back seat, and I think that detracted from the impact and immersion the film had.

Despite my pedanticism, the movie was awesome, and is a worthy sequel to the originals! As someone who was a die-hard Star Wars fan his whole life (original trilogy), I’m very happy with what we got. I have issues with JJ’s new Star Trek films, but I think he did this one right. I can’t wait to see the rest of the story unfold. If you’re on the fence, you shouldn’t be. Go see it, even if you just spoiled the fuck out of it by reading this review. It’s worth your time if you’re a Star Wars fan.

Stepping back up to the plate

Surprisingly enough, I haven’t written about this yet, so I figured I’d do so now. Last March/April I got sick. Nothing unusual, just a cold or infection or whatever. As such, I had to take time off from singing with my band while I recovered. Problem is, I didn’t recover. My throat was a horrific blasted wasteland for week after week, and I had issues just talking, not to mention singing. With this happening, and the move about to kick off, I decided to tell my band mates that I needed time off. I told them I didn’t know what was going on, or when I’d be able to play again, and if they found someone else in the interim I’d be totally fine with it. I didn’t want to hold anyone back because of my issues.

I started seeing doctors, and went through test after test. Initially, it started as an allergy issue. I got on allergy meds, but that didn’t do enough. After more tests and discussions, it was suggested that it’s perhaps a GI issue, that I’m having reflux that’s burning the back of my throat all the time. I went on meds for that. Slowly, as the summer ticked on by, I got marginally better. It was a fight the whole way, trying to sing constantly, getting frustrated and angry when I’d be done after a song or two, and then waiting for the next day to try again.

Fast forward to October, and the insanity that ensues during that month for us, I started to forget to take my allergy meds. It just wasn’t routine enough, and it slipped out of my conscious thought. Good thing is, though, it looks like things have gotten better. Not all the way, but enough that I can start rebuilding my stamina and getting my voice back into shape.

This brought up another question: Should I return to the stage? I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Part of me says no, because I’m older and who the fuck really WANTS to come see me on stage and hear me sing, aside from the Lish. Not that I’m really that much older than I was a year ago, mind you, I just hadn’t really thought about it before. Don’t get me wrong, I love that my friends come out to see me perform, and they never complain about it whatsoever. But me being me, I tend to think people only come out because they want to support a friend, and not because of what they’re hearing. If they didn’t know me, would they still come? I tend to think they wouldn’t. I hope this doesn’t come off as me being unappreciative, because I’m not. I love that they come to support me, as I’d do for them. The question is, though, is coming back worth it? Sure, I love to sing and be on stage, but a big part of that is what I get from a crowd. It’s an incredible feeling to play in front of people, and see some of them get really into it, screaming along and exploding with energy. It’s like standing in the sunlight when you’re cold.

On the other hand, there is music still in me that I feel the need to express. If I did go back, I’d want to do a mix of originals and covers. The problem is, I’d want to do a wide range of covers, from metal to alternative to classic rock. My music tastes tend to be eclectic. I’d wanna do some Faith No More, STP, Alice in Chains, as well as Maiden, Metallica, Slipknot, and even some more mainstream shit. I’ve been in bands awhile, and sets like this are hard to come by, and it’s tough finding players all on the same page with something like this.

So I have a decision to make. Do I hang up my mic and just do more youtube covers for my channel, or do I step out on stage again? Right now, I don’t know what I’ll do. To be honest, a part of it, quite possibly a big part of it, has always been me seeking acceptance and validation. Formative years believing I’m not worth a damn cause that to be taken as fact. This belief carried on throughout my life, and is still just as relevant today as it was back then, so I seek validation and acceptance constantly. My logical side wars with this internally, but emotions are silly things, and don’t really give a shit. Being told you’re stupid, ugly, worthless, and disgusting tends to leave a mark. Even something as seemingly provable as being told you can’t sing, or are a shitty singer, leaves its mark. The irony is that when people validate me, I tend to not believe them. I truly feel as though they’re just being nice, or sometimes as if they are patting me on the back and saying good job as if I’m a child in an “everyone gets a trophy” sort of activity. This is made easier because I set high standards for myself, and mostly never meet them, so my emotional response has that in mind, as if everyone knows where my bar is set for myself. Anyways, enough of my pity pot bullshit. Hell, who knows, maybe subconsciously I wrote all this just to garner sympathy and attention. It’d make sense. I guess the real question is this: If my need for validation and acceptance wasn’t there, would I have ever taken that stage in the first place? I don’t have an answer for that one.

Matt Damon in space, a review.

The Martian. The title "Matt Damon in space" didn't do well with the test audiences....

The Martian. The title “Matt Damon in space” didn’t do well with the test audiences….

For the handful of you that follow me here, you likely saw my recent review of the book The Martian by Andy Weir. Well, they made it into a movie starring Matt Damon, and I saw that shit last night. Now keep in mind that I nitpick the fuck outta stuff, and it’s difficult for me to be objective about something I have strong feelings about. This book is definitely something I have strong feelings about, since I really loved it. Ok, enough bullshitting, let’s get down to some reviewing.

As far as the story goes, the movie doesn’t really deviate in any significant way from the book. Of course, they left shit out, because if they didn’t the movie would be insanely long. The stuff they left out wasn’t really mission critical, and I’m mostly ok with it. The characters are also mostly on point. Only a small number of them weren’t really the same. The acting in the movie was great, and the plot moved along well with some great pacing and suspense. The special effects were absolutely first rate, and there are some really great visuals and scenes.

Now, my nitpicking. SPOILERS!!!! The character interactions weren’t really fleshed out as well as I’d have liked. There was a lot of book crammed into the movie, but a lot of the relationships between characters just wasn’t really dug into in the movie, so those who didn’t read the book wouldn’t know or feel as deep of a connection. Also, the characters themselves weren’t as well developed. It felt a little like many of them were kinda shallow, due to only a lack of screen time and dialogue. All are great actors, but only Watney and Lewis were really dug into. The rest played their parts, but they seemed more like plot devices than actual relatable characters. The book did NOT suffer from these problems at all. Some of the changes they made didn’t seem to make much sense, either. For instance (SPOILER) when Mitch sends the coded message to the Hermes crew with the course settings, and Teddy confronts him about it, he doesn’t cop to it, and Teddy doesn’t demand his resignation. This seemed like a pointless change, as I don’t feel it did anything to further plot or character development. The actor they originally had for Venkat Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, could not do the movie due to scheduling conflicts, and I think he’d have been absolutely fantastic. He was in Jurassic World, and he was fucking great in that. Chiwetel Ejiofor did a good job, but my imagining of Irrfan in that role gave him tough shoes to fill. Also, they really underused Annie, played by Kristen Wiig. She was an awesome and hilarious character, and Kristen is both awesome and hilarious. Seemed like a win-win, but she just didn’t have the lines or screen time to really shine. Those scenes where she did, she did it well, but I’d have liked to have had more. Apart from that, I’d have done the movie more like the book, where Watney was recounting what happened during the day, and acted it out with a voiceover instead of long scenes of him doing stuff with no dialogue. During many of those, I kept thinking how much time was being wasted that could’ve been used for his excellent comedic delivery. They also let most of the science take a back seat, where it was fully in the foreground of the book through the entire journey.

Now, I know you’re probably taking this as a negative review, but keep in mind that I’d have wanted a movie that would’ve either not come off well for those who didn’t read the book, or would’ve been impossible to make. All in all, the movie really is fantastic, and if you’re a fan of science fiction, you do yourself a disservice by not seeing it. I’m just having issues getting past the fact that I built it up insanely high in my head, to a level that would be extremely improbable to deliver, and it didn’t deliver as I’d hoped. It’s ok, though. I still have the movie, and the book, I just wish there was more movie. Maybe a director’s cut.

TL:DR It was good, left out some stuff, and you should go watch it.

Yelp for humans, and why many of us will hate it

Better of calling it Soylent....

Better of calling it Soylent….

There’s an app coming out soon called Peeple. Best way to think of this is to call it Yelp for people. You rate individuals with this app, and can also leave reviews about them as well. While some may think this is great, and it’ll lead to people either feeling empowered and affirmed, or feeling good about the constructive criticisms for self betterment, I tend to be far less optimistic. Perhaps it’s because I’m an asshole. No, it’s cool, I can admit it, I really am an asshole. While this knowledge is no surprise to me, and even though I freely admit it, that doesn’t mean it would make me feel affirmed or empowered to read other people going off about how much of a jerk I am. Confused? I’ll explain.

Pretty much...

Pretty much…

I tend to come off a certain way to people. I say horrible things, create awkward situations, and am generally a jerk. Aside from that, however, I try to be helpful, supportive, and caring. I know, it sounds weird. My problem, at least the way I see it, is that I have impulse control issues. Truth be told, I feel that I’m actually a good person deep down, but I can’t help myself from saying and doing horrible things. All area the result of the childhood I had, and the mark some shit from back then left on me. Yes, I’ve been to therapy, and it did help. Believe it or not, I was WAY worse before. Some things, however, are too deeply rooted to be dealt with, aside from a lobotomy. So yes, I know I’m an asshole, and I’m aware that it prevents me from being who I could’ve been, but it’s not something I’ve been able to resolve. It gives me grief, and keeps old wounds fresh, and the LAST fucking thing I need is for people to have an open forum to publicly shame me. That won’t help me, or make me feel great, and it won’t help the kids in school whose peers will do the same for stupid petty reasons. This WILL be an avenue for bullying, I guarantee it.

Not all attention is good attention....

Not all attention is good attention….

See, more people deal with depression, anxiety, social anxiety, impostor syndrome,  and other disorders on a daily basis. These aren’t simple things to cope with, and they make every day a fight. I am one of those people. I fight an unending war inside every day, and seldom does an hour go by where I don’t hate myself or feel worthless and shitty for one reason or another. Now I’ll basically have a wikipedia page with a comments section, where I’ll have a mix of nice comments (those written by the Lish) and awful comments (those written by most others). What makes this even worse, you ask? Employment. That’s right, see, you can’t opt out of being rated and reviewed, and it’s all public information, so potential employers can also look you up and see what kind of person other people think you are. Shit like this will become a staple of background checks.  Also, how do you think gay or trans people will fare, especially when they’re in school? The bullying of them is bad enough on Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat. Do we really need a more permanent avenue?

Or the willful turning of a blind eye to said information...

Or the willful turning of a blind eye to said information…

While on the surface, the Polyanna folks running this shit may feel this is a great idea, I don’t share the sentiment. Sure, there will be people who will be uplifted by what their close friends and family may write about them, but this is the real world. For anyone considered “different” or “weird”, this is a nightmare of an idea. I was ridiculed enough throughout my entire life to make me honestly feel like a worthless and terrible person, regardless of any achievements or encouragement or affirmations of the opposite by those around me. I doubt I’ll ever feel differently, even though the logical part of my brain can see that sometimes it’s completely unwarranted. If this was a thing when I was a kid, things may have gone a very different path, and I can see that it would’ve been far worse. Who knows, perhaps this will be a wonderful thing, full of sunshine and rainbows and other cool goody goody shit. Maybe I’m just being paranoid, a paranoia brought on by my cynicism, a cynicism born from years of being put down and treated like shit. It’s certainly a possibility, but I honestly doubt it…

Yay!

Yay!

When this atrocity does launch, if you want, send me your name and I’ll post a phenomenal review of you, about how you saved babies and kittens and old people from a burning ship on the ocean, and swam them all to safety while formulating a cure for cancer and writing a hit pop song.

Book Report: The Martian, by Andy Weir

Go read this! Don't even bother reading my shitty blog!!!

Go read this! Don’t even bother reading my shitty blog!!!

Apart from reviewing Ready Player One awhile ago, I haven’t really delved into book reviews. This isn’t to say I rarely read books, as I have been an audible subscriber for the past 5 years and I have over 90 books in my library on it. Of those, there are maybe 5 or 6 that I haven’t listened to yet, mainly because they’re either new or insanely long (I’m looking at you, Stephen King, Mr 40+ hours per audiobook!). I only really feel the urge to review a book when it really surprises me, and The Martian did exactly that. Don’t worry, I won’t diatribe long, especially since I don’t wanna give anything away.

Awhile back, I discovered RPO, and felt obligated to spread it to just about everyone I know. One of those people is responsible for making me check out The Martian. From the blurb I read about it, I really wasn’t all that intrigued. In fact, I thought this would be a snooze-fest, similar to what I encountered when I dealt with Heinlein. Yeah, I know, he’s one of THE science fiction writers, but his writing style kinda sucked. Sometimes it’d be a great page turner, while other times if felt like I was being dragged through sand. So imagine my surprise when I got into The Martian and found myself hooked from chapter 1. The book, if you’ve never heard of it, is about an astronaut who became stranded during a manned mission to Mars in the future. Shit happened, his crew had to leave him, and he had to figure out how to survive until the next planned mission arrived…4 years later. The journey the reader is taken on is one of science, fear, failure, success, and a multitude of other happenings and emotions. The vast majority of the book is from the stranded astronaut’s (Mark Watney) point of view, while the remainder is mostly NASA, with some other smatterings thrown in.

The book itself is very science oriented. He talks a lot about the equipment they have, the stuff he does, and the chemistry, botany, physics, etc involved. While this sounds boring as fuck (and to some, it might be), I found this all awesome! How? Well, I’m glad you didn’t ask. Because Watney is a fucking awesome character. He’s smart, clever, and absolutely hilarious. His humor totally makes the story as great as it is, made even more spectacular by the fantastic talent of R. C. Bray, who performed the audiobook. His performance was incredible, and the Audie award they won for it was well deserved. Anyways, apart from Watney, the other characters of significance in the book were well fleshed out and excellent. I really did end up on the edge of my seat for parts of it, and never really felt like anything was overdone or underdone. As someone who took lots of science classes almost 20 years ago, the science involved was pretty accurate, as far as sci-fi goes. Some bits had some holes in it, but you’d really have to know certain things to point them out, so it didn’t really detract for me.

I could go on and on fellating this book, but for fucks sake you should just go and read that shit now! Stop reading my tripe, it’s garbage in comparison. Sure, it ends with everyone dying, but it’s still a great book…shit, I mean SPOILER ALERT!

In closing, all I really need to say is that, in my opinion, my friend and I are now even…Enjoy!