Once again, it’s a long holiday weekend and I did almost NOTHING today. I suppose relaxing is a good thing to do. Yesterday was the 4th of July and I went to my buddy Il’s house where I saw his kid and our friend Andrew’s kid. It used to be Il and I were the single weirdos at these events and now he’s a dad. Being that the kids are both under 12 months old, the barbecue wound down about 5PM. Fortunately my neighbors had their own festivities going later than that and somehow I ended up eating peanut butter ice cream cake.
But onto today. My mom left with my sister to go off to “the beach” which really isn’t very close to the ocean but was on the Columbia river. I did NOTHING. I was really tired, like the kind of tired I get when I take Benadryl, because people (probably kids) were setting off fireworks at odd intervals ALL NIGHT LONG. I did fool around with my radio a bit, and read some stuff on the intarwebs, but mostly I lay around feeling sleepy.
And since this is so boring, here is a picture from the past. That’s me and my first car, a Honda Civic I had in Japan. WHY DOES IT LOOK LIKE I HAVE A KID-N-PLAY HAIRCUT? (That’s my sister’s friend in case you were wondering.)
In the past I’ve had no reason to join Mensa. I thought it would be a bunch of nerds and, honestly, I can find nerds without paying for the privilege. As one of my friends said, “Do you need more proof that IQ is a measure of nothing significant in life?” But for some reason I started poking around the web site and found that my old SAT score from 1982 was high enough to apply. Getting that score is a bit more tricky and took a 30-minute phone call to the company that administers the test. That, and $30.50. So, after another $40 will get my application started, and $70 per year will get me a membership.
The question you may be asking is, “Why are you doing that?” The only answer I have is, “Why not?” Most likely I’ll meet some insufferable bores, but I won’t know until I try.
I did find my GMAT scores and I’m one percentile point lower than the cutoff for Mensa there. I decided I didn’t want to go to an MBA program so I took the test hung over and I even had to leave once in the middle because I had an urgent need to go to the bathroom. Even then I was 94-percentile. I needed to be 95 to get into Mensa with that score.
Oh, and I’ve found a way to give myself insomnia. If I watch judo videos before I go to bed, I wonder if I can remember ANYTHING that I’ve been learning and then I sit there wide awake and nervous. I’ve even had nightmares that the classes had changed and someone stole my judogi. The weird thing is that I’m fine while I’m there, though incredibly tired throughout the practice.
I’m not sure what I was thinking when I spent $1300 on more radio gadgetry. The thing I bought lets me talk to my radio over the intarwebs so I can operate remotely. The reason I may want to do that is because I’ll be in Japan when a special anniversary station in Kansas comes back on the radio and I wanted to contact them using Morse code. I already talked to special anniversary stations in 39 states on Morse code and I wanted to make it an even 50. Actually, I even have Guam and Puerto Rico as extras though I missed Guantanamo Bay.
It’s a good thing I have an old man hobby because I got dumped onto my head in Judo by a very young woman who may even still be in high school. It was interesting to hear my entire neck crack without having to pay a chiropractor a bunch of money. Surprisingly my neck isn’t that stiff right now though it does hurt from the chokeholds we’re learning.
I know I don’t know what I’m doing, and I knew I’d get hurt so things are going as I had expected. The surprising thing is how lost I feel doing the prone techniques (grappling) compared to the standing techniques.
I thought there might be some meaning I could glean from actually watching Twin Peaks, since I missed it 25 years ago. It was popular here, in the US, when I was in Japan and they didn’t play it in Japan until after I left.
I’m not sure why I thought it would be meaningful or why I thought it would be more of an accomplishment, but all I can tell you is that my Saturday night is gone and I still have this stack of bills that I need to go through. Oh, and one of my hard drives died and that’s a joy to behold. Actually it was just the disk enclosure so I really didn’t lose anything except a whole lot of time.
I haven’t learned a whole lot, but 50 is a little old to start taking Judo. It’s not stopping me but I wish I started when I was younger. Then again, I’m probably in better shape now than when I was younger so I’m not sure if it would’ve helped.
I took some time off to figure out what to do for exercise (besides Judo) and I started visiting some local gyms. Gyms in my neighborhood are like Starbucks and you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one. Of course swinging dead cats would probably lead to other more pressing problems. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do anything about it last week because I had to work until 5:30PM, 7PM, 7:30PM, and 9:30PM because of some wonderful planning that stacked up four deadlines on the same day and I still got yelled at for no doing enough. Fortunately, it’s not so bad this week.
I got a two-year 24-Hour Fitness Super Sport membership through Costco. It’s more expensive but there’s a Super Sport on the way home from work and I thought it might be less crowded because it’s more expensive. I’ve been twice so far and the place is underwhelming. It’s crowded, and the machines that are spaced out to give the illusion that there’s more equipment than there really is. There’s also no place to do deadlifts, very few kettlebells, no good pull-up bar, and only two rowing machines (one of which is on its last legs).
I forgot what regular gyms are like. I waited 20 minutes for a woman to get off the non-creaky rower and she was rowing at a 4 minute pace. After I got home I calculated how far she went. The rower shows things in an odd way, (how long for 500m) so I figured out:
She was going about the speed that a glacier advances.
I just wanted to do 3 sprints of 250m which I did it at a 1:39 min/500m pace. I rested about a minute between each so it took me about five minutes to go 750m.
But all those calculations are irrelevant. What I’m really complaining about is that I waited 20 minutes to do less than 3 minutes on the rower but I’m too lazy to try to get my money back so I think I’ll just keep going. Besides, it looks like I need to stay later, and that puts me in peak traffic unless I go to the gym and kill some time. Ugh.
So things are going as swimmingly as ever. On one weekend I got really dumped instead of sorta dumped. Went from “not feeling it”, to actually “friends” (which turned out to mean “placeholder until I find a guy”), to “I found a guy and now I’m ignoring you outright” on the same weekend that my credit card was used to buy gas in Georgia, not by me, and I don’t know what all else is going wrong in my life other than people are actually stabbing me in the back at work.
I also felt the level of disregard at the gym I’ve been going to for 4-5 times a week for at least five years ratcheted up when they didn’t have the common courtesy to tell me when a guy I can’t stand was taking the place over for the afternoon and I’m the guy who does a lot of the cleaning and maintenance. When someone told me, “It’s not your problem,” I decided they were right, it wasn’t, and I quit.
That led to deleting all my Facebook gym friends, which led to deleting additional people who wouldn’t piss on my ass if it was on fire, which led to deleting more people who I haven’t talked to (or seen updates from) in years, which led to deleting people I only followed because I was too lazy to ask them what they were doing via less impersonal avenues, which led to my ONLY HAVING FIVE ACTUAL FRIENDS (and honestly a couple were spouses of friends) and I figured that was too few and I deleted them as well. Turns out you can’t have zero friends because they count you as your own friend.
So there you have it. If you wondered why I deleted you, I deleted everyone. If you’re not wondering you’re either in the class of people who don’t give a sh*t about me or the two friends of mine who have passed away since I “friended” you on Facebook, and I doubt you’re reading my blog.
In case you’re not keeping track, I’m not having a bad year but I’m certainly not having a good year.
I just spent the weekend at Steve Maxwell’s seminar. I spent $425 just to hang out with “The Man” (and seriously, the dude kicks ass) but I knew I’d get two things out of the seminar:
- Two days of Steve Maxwell stories.
- Something new that I could use. If not immediately applicable, I’m sure I’d get something I could think about incorporating into my workouts.
I don’t think I’m able to listen to everything Steve says though I should probably start calling him something more respectful like, “Coach” because he deserves it. I have my own flawed life and my own life experiences and they don’t match Steve’s, like I don’t do any combat sports and I don’t want to. But he’s got a lot to teach me even if some of the things are things that I just keep in my mind as things I don’t, won’t, or can’t use. And no matter how much I can’t use everything he says, it all is interesting and amusing to me.
Two things that also occurred over the weekend are things that aren’t horrible, but also aren’t great. Early in the Saturday seminar I started hearing my phone making noise with text messages and phone calls. I am not a popular guy so I had to make sure it wasn’t an emergency at home. There were several texts from Visa, asking if I’d made a gas purchase on my card. When I replied, “No,” they called me to clarify: “Had I been in the state of Georgia buying gasoline?” Well of course not. That led to my cutting up my card before lunch, and having a sympathetic gym member buying me lunch. All I had besides gym paraphernalia was my phone, my driver license, and my credit card.
I also found out that someone I went out with a couple of times found a new guy. I knew “we” weren’t going anywhere (she told me that early on) but this still lets the air out of my balloon. The thing that makes me feel the worst is that she kept talking about her bad ex-boyfriends and all I could think is that I didn’t even measure up to those guys.
I suppose this gives me more time to get on my radio. I even talked to Azerbaijan yesterday.
OK, so it was two weeks ago, but I had my yearly dinner at Ringside with a friend who doesn’t happen to be my old heterosexual life partner Il. He probably is no longer my HLP because he went and got married and has an adorable daughter who will be in college by the time he’s REALLY REALLY ANCIENT. But he always wanted kids so I’m really happy for him and his wife Anna.
So I’m not sure what to think about this turning-old-enough-for-an-AARP-membership thing. The only real thing that happens is that you have to check a different box on the surveys on the intarwebs and you also get a COLONOSCOPY. The only bad part was the prep, after all. You’re out for the actual procedure, and nothing hurts afterwards. I feel really old when I go to the gym, but I always feel really old when I go to the gym around my birthday. Part of it is psychological and the other part is psychological. Then it’s usually hay fever season and I’m about to pass out at a moment’s notice anyway.
So that’s about it. I’ve been dragging my ass around for a couple of weeks but whatever. That happens every April. The food at Paley’s Place is still exceptional and the steaks at Ringside are still worth going back for. At least some things don’t change.
I thought things were going poorly but one of my favorite greasy burger joints is closed because the proprietress (who I thought wasn’t too much older than me) has passed away. Condolences to her family. When I went it was all family there. Her dad was at the front counter. Her daughter, who must be out of high school by now (or maybe even college) would play the flute for one of my co-workers, a dude with blue hair. Farewell Kim and Red Coach restaurant.
So what’s been going on in my life? I can’t think beyond the last week, which started with work troubles that weren’t anything that I could do anything about but that still meant three 2-hour meetings on Friday, two 2+hour meetings on Monday (one starting at 8PM) and countless emails and phone calls.
Then Wednesday the dental hygienist told me fat guys like me need to watch out for Type II Diabetes and then gave me the most painful tooth cleaning I’ve had.
Then Friday I flew to Spokane for my aunt’s funeral. When I arrived at the Buddhist church, I found out I had to speak at the funeral. On the return trip our family friend insisted that we didn’t need to arrive at the tiny Spokane airport too early, but 30 minutes early is 10 minutes too late for Horizon Air and we were bumped off of our flight. My mom got the last seat on our original 5:10 flight and had to take a $52 taxi ride back home. I had to buy a $55 cell phone charger (thanks to Spokane’s awful cell phone coverage) so I could try to check all my options for getting home, but finally did make it onto the last flight back to town at 7:30PM.
Then Sunday was ruined because it was prep day for a Monday endoscopy/colonoscopy, where the result was directions from the doctor to avoid fried foods, chocolate, coffee, mint, and alcohol. (My sister’s comment was, “Well, maybe you can avoid mint.”) My mom also got sick on Sunday and she’s either asleep or moaning and wailing because she says making pitiful noises comfort her. It’s not the most pleasant thing to listen to.
Oh, and I think the sedation they used for me on Monday is making me overly sleepy today. I just don’t feel right.
I should expect something good to happen soon to counterbalance this all, but it’s Tuesday and I can’t seem to get the hang of Tuesdays lately. Maybe I’ll just order myself something on Amazon and call it good.
I would say something about the “football game” I saw today but apparently the Denver Broncos decided they weren’t willing to play football and the Seachickens got to run up and down the field for an hour. I also found out that the Red Hot Chili Peppers haven’t changed much in 20 years but my fondness for their one hit song has diminished. I would go back to reading the book I’m in the middle of, but it’s really poorly written and the protagonist needs to be punched in the throat.
Back to the washing machine thing. I bought my mom a fancy Kenmore high-efficiency washing machine years ago and yesterday it started blinking an error code instead of washing clothes. So what does a guy do?
- Put the error code into Google.
- Read some instructions for fixing the error.
- Watch a YouTube video on how to take apart the tricky bits.
- Order the part (an electromechanical door latch) on Amazon.
I really wanted to just drive to the neighborhood in Portland known as “Felony Flats” and just buy the part that was broken (probably paying a premium for it at the Sears Parts Outlet) but they closed the parts store there and the closest one is in the state capital, at least an hour away. So, I ended up buying it on Amazon.
Oddly enough, the first thing Google told me to do was to open the bottom panel and fish out a piece of paper with repair instructions on it. Sure enough, there was big folded-up sheet of paper with instructions in several languages on how to troubleshoot problems. I’m not sure why they do’t just have thick repair manuals like cars do, but it was a nice surprise.
I hope the door latch comes soon and fixes things. My mom told me she only has enough underwear to last her a week at a time and so she’s going to have to wear the same things for multiple days. I think I can go several weeks at a time, myself.
I did it. I drank myself into a Starbucks Gold Card. The worst part about it isn’t all the Starbucks coffee that’s gotten tastier since I had it last: now I know how truly awful the coffee at work is. The Gold Card gets me a free drink every 12 purchases, but even more important, it lets me make 30 more purchases before it expires next January if I want to “stay gold”. Well, I won’t say it’s the worst hobby I’ve had.
Yesterday I made a bit of a mistake, though. I said, “I want a tall, er, Grande Americano.” They heard that as, “I want a Quad Grande Americano.” I thought that might get me overly awake at work, but that wasn’t the case. And it was tasty.
I’ve been trying to take it easy this week after an awful cramp at the gym last Saturday. I was doing burpee pull-ups and when I tried to do a second one, I felt like someone was stabbing me in my side. I’m pretty sure it was my rotator cuff, where it anchors to my back. I couldn’t stand up straight and was lying on the ground or hunched over for quite some time. I had to get help to reach a foam roller, but even then I couldn’t find any knots. The pain subsided a little and I went home to start looking for open massage appointments and many could be scheduled on-the-line. The best part was I found a great massage therapist just down the street. I was completely pain-free by Tuesday but I decided since, as my sister says, I’m a “f*cking spaz,” I should just lay low for the rest of the week.
Oh, and coincidentally, Monday was also my buddy Il’s birthday and so my week of rest started out with some extreme gluttony at the Ringside. It was glorious.
I think the customer loyalty programs are playing me for a fool.
I pay a bunch of money to American Express, mostly so I can get into airport lounges. I never travel by myself, so it was nice that they let me bring two people, my mom and my sister. I’ve only used things at Delta lounges and now Delta has limited it “effective immediately” to just me.
Starbucks sent me an email yesterday about a free drink at 12:03AM. I went it about 12:50PM, just after lunch, and checked the Starbucks app on my iPhone and it said my reward had expired. I wondered what timezone I was supposed to be in. I finally figured out several things.
- Starbucks gives me rewards and doesn’t warn me even though they have my email address and my cell phone number as well as an app that could send notifications if it was programmed properly.
- When Starbucks says something is expiring on 1/9, they mean that as soon as it turns 1/9 then it’s expiring. You can’t use it on 1/9 like everybody else on the planet would think.
- Starbucks can send you email for free stuff at the same time they have random things you don’t know that you even had expiring, confusing everything.
- Starbucks isn’t a nice touchy-feely company that would say, eh, it’s just a coffee, have one on us since we’re so confusing in our rules. (I emailed for clarification.) On the other hand Peet’s is.
Of course I’m still suckered into those loyalty programs and probably won’t be quitting in a huff, especially since they already have me already.
I ordered the ultrasonic dish I was mentioning before. It was about $170. I figured it is cheaper than my new obsession, which is to get a good microphone, a professional mixer, and see what my voice sounds like. I just realized I could just use the recorder I bought, but I’ve already told a guy that I want to buy his Shure SM55.
And I thought it was stupid to go to Radio Shack to buy this thing for $15 that plugged into a small computer (Japanino Arduino variant) I already had. It was a lot more fun than I thought.
The only secret to getting the Japanino working: go to http://www.silabs.com and get the driver for the CP2104 USB-to-UART controller.