A little low

I feel weird tonight. It’s a hard feeling to describe but it’s sort of like ‘depression lite’ — I feel uninspired to do much of anything but I’m also bored so doing nothing sucks too; no music I put on feels right, it’s all annoying; I’m tired even though it’s nowhere close to bed time…I don’t feel miserable as much as I just feel mildly bored, restless, and generally irritated.

And I have no reason to feel this way. It’s been a nice day. The weather was great. I went for a nice hike with my friend Penny and our dogs this morning. I took some junk to the dump and picked up a wooden crate to use at the haunted house next year. I hung out with Jenn and helped her with some horse riding stuff. I did some yoga at home. Now I’m doing some baking and will probably watch a scary or disturbing film tonight. It’s been great, there’s nothing to feel down about.

So why do I feel this way? Am I just dehydrated? Am I getting sick? Is it mild a chemical imbalance in my brain? Is something bothering me subconsciously? I don’t know. I don’t think it’s any of those things. I feel fine, besides this feeling a little down.

I get this more often in spring. I think it’s because of the weird weather. I hate it when it’s sunny and hot but also somehow windy and chilly and the same time. Or when the weather keeps alternating between sunny and hot, and dark and showers. I find that kind of weather really disorienting. I guess weather plays a large role in determining my mood each day so when the weather is all over the map, my emotions get all messed up and I hate it. That’s how I feel now, but the weather has been consistent and nice today so that’s not it. I have no idea.

On the bright side, I just watched this viral video of gymnast Katelyn Ohashi getting a perfect score on her gymnastic floor routine, and it’s a beautiful thing to see — not so much because she nails some amazing moves but because she exudes a radiance, a joy. I stumbled across it now and it makes me feel ever so slightly better. So that’s good.

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From zero to bonehead in 6 seconds, and it feels really bad.

I just lost my cool on a stranger for a silly reason, and now I feel terrible about it.

Jenn and I were driving home on the quiet dirt road near our house when a group of impatient teens in a sports car came up behind me and wanted me to get moving. They honked their horn at us, which annoyed me greatly. Then they started tailgating really close, and that was it: I made the choice then to indulge my anger, stop my car in such a way that they couldn’t easily pass me, and get out and confront them.

I walked up to the driver’s window and as he rolled it down, I realized I had no idea what I wanted to say. I ended up going with the classic “what the fuck do you think you’re doing” line — genius. Damn. The rest of the conversation is a blur of rage and yelling but I think one of the other kids in the car played the ‘good kid’ card and said they were just trying to get home, I think I told them to relax and stop tailgating, and then they all started yelling variations of “fuck you” and “go fuck yourself.” I noticed one of them was filming me then.

At this point, I calmed down enough to realize that despite being just four gawky teens, they’d probably hand my ass to me if it came to that so I moved out of their way and merely glared at them as they peeled out and around my car.

That was it. I didn’t get my head stomped by a gang of youths and I didn’t smash their car windshield with a golf club, but the emotional turmoil I’ve been feeling since it occurred is dizzying.

There are several reasons that I feel supremely awful about this. First off, Jenn had advised me to pull over right away, and I didn’t listen to her. I hate it when I don’t listen to her, especially when I end up doing something dumb because I didn’t listen to her. It’s such an ugly trait of a stereotypical male. I like to think that I don’t do it a lot — I guess I don’t, since it’s rare I feel this terrible about my actions — but that doesn’t make it suck any less when I do it.

Second, of course I shouldn’t even need someone to tell me that pulling over and letting the kids go by would be the best course of action. I’m not usually a complete idiot. On the contrary, I’m typically quite level and reasonable. My brain was well aware of the wiser choice but, like I often talk about here, it was easier to give in to my primal urge than to keep my brain online and think through the event — even without Jenn telling me, I knew better, yet I still made the wrong choice.

Third, the kids didn’t know that I was literally only a few hundred feet from my driveway. I never mentioned that to them. They probably thought they were going to be stuck behind me driving 20 km/h for hours. Yeah, the honking and tailgating was unnecessary, but I can’t fault them for being annoyed with me to start with.

Fourth, this miserable debacle occurred toward the end of what was an otherwise lovely day, and polluted the overarching good feelings of it. This morning I helped Jenn with some horse stuff, which she really appreciated; then I fixed some things on her car which have been on my to-do list for a long time and I felt good about that; and then she came down to the quarry to help me clean up huge a mess left behind by some campers last summer. It was a very pleasant day up to this point. We were on our way home from the camp cleanup when I fucked the whole day up by losing my shit on those kids.

I remember a time I felt similarly shitty because of one aspect of an otherwise great day. It was in the summer several years ago, and after a nice day of friends and hanging out, we went to the local pub. Unprovoked (mostly), a meat head headbutted our small friend in the mouth and then subsequently began pummeling him, so I grabbed the meat head and choked him out so my friend could escape. That was more or less it, as my pals and I made a hasty getaway to avoid further violence. The group of us got back to our place and we laid on the deck watching the Perseid meteor shower, but even lying there doing something so perfectly summer and fun and nice with wonderful friends, the moment felt toxic and tense due to the residual feelings from the brawl. I had butterflies in my stomach the rest of the night, and I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone else did too. That was one of the best examples in my life of how a few terrible minutes and can ruin an entire day; now, lucky me, I have another example of that. Hot dog.

Writing posts like this is hard because part of me would rather bury my actions from today and never think of them again, and certainly never share the story with the world. But I think that the only thing as important as doing the right thing, being kind, and turning the other cheek, is admitting when you fuck up — I most assuredly fucked up today so I wanted to admit it. I also wanted to explore my feelings on all of this and document it in the hopes of recognizing some of my negative patterns and avoiding them in the future.

I should have listened to my partner. I should have listened to my internal voice of reason. I should have pulled over to let the kids by. I should have elected to stay calm and let go of my rage.

I am a bonehead, but I am hopeful I will do better in the future.

There are two sides to every story but the sad, ugly truth is usually in the middle, and it’s usually that both sides fucked up and don’t want to admit it.

I was just reading about some underground metal bands, Adhomine and Pissgrave, and some drama that unfolded between them. It’s all really pathetic and a good example of how, when two parties are complaining or making accusations about each other, they’re both usually at fault.

Here’s the story: the main guy in Adhomine made a public post on Facebook about how two of the guys in Pissgrave totally fucked him around and tried to sabotage his band.

In turn, the guys in Pissgrave made a post about how they always admired the main guy in Adhomine until they dealt with him and found he was a complete fuck up who needed babysitting and couldn’t keep his shit together.

What a dreadful situation. Public announcements that are tantamount to name-calling are never a good way to deal with a people who you have a problem with. It’s childish and unproductive. Even if you think the people you have a problem with are hopeless shitheads, publicly calling them names or trying to dissuade others from working with them makes both you and the shitheads look infantile. So the Adhomine guy fucked up to start with.

But for the Pissgrave dudes to respond publicly with their own mud-slinging is an equally terrible choice. If they had responded civilly, or even not responded at all, they would have appeared to be the more reasonable and mature of the two parties and might have escaped the social melee relatively unscathed. Instead, they look just as bad or worse as the Adhomine fellow. What clowns.

Based on the juvenile ways each side handled this situation, and the fact neither side admitted to any wrongdoing on their own part, I think it’s fair to extrapolate that both sides fucked up as accused, to some degree — yes, the Pissgrave guys probably did fuck around a bit, and yes, the Adhomine bloke is probably disorganized — so I don’t have sympathy for either party. It’s ok to make mistakes but if you can’t admit to your mistakes and apologize, and if you can’t conduct yourself like an adult, you’re right fucked.

This means that, in my book, both the Adhomine and Pissgrave fellows are goofs. Ta-da, no one wins. How disappointing.

I think the silliest part of this particular story is the fact that all the dudes involved play anti-human, nihilistic, extreme metal, and dress like thugs. How do they reconcile that image with acting like fucking babies?

Abhomine-Pete-Color-2

Why would a nihilist even have a Facebook account?

You can’t trust anyone who is trying to sell you anything

Over the last year, I’ve noticed a lot more misleading marketing than I have in the past. There are two specific types of hoodwinking that I’m talking about.

The first is when an item has a big sticker or American flag logo on the tag, with big text that says, “proudly made in the USA.” But in small print underneath that it quietly adds, “with domestic and imported components.” In other words, “most of these components were made by slave labour in China, and then it was assembled by machines here in the US.”

Made_in_USA

The only thing this is a sure sign of is questionable marketing ethics.

The above graphic actually takes the deception a step further and uses ‘global’ as a euphemism for ‘imported’ — clever. Insidious.

Similarly, I’ve noticed a lot of food products now say stuff like, “made with NATURAL ingredients.”

depositphotos_69981643-stock-illustration-made-from-natural-ingredients-stamp

That’s absurd. Virtually everything in the world can be called natural — I mean, coal and asbestos are natural, but that doesn’t mean they’re good for people — so it’s really a meaningless term. As such, there’s no regulation on the term ‘natural.’ You can put it on any food product you want, like Big Macs and Twinkies, and there is no regulatory body who is going to contact you and say, “wait a minute, that food isn’t natural.” Labeling food as ‘natural’ is just a way for companies to intentionally mislead the public into thinking their product is healthy, organic, pesticide-free, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, etc. Once again: total bullshit.

Basically, everyone who is looking to make a buck is willing to bend the truth as much as legally possible to make you feel better about buying their trash. Trust no one who is trying to sell you anything. They’re all shysters.

Surprise! — yet another encounter with a Craigslist jackoff

Buckle up. Time for more of the same old bullshit.

Do you remember a post I made a few weeks ago about how I went to Victoria to do five errands, and I either failed or struggled to complete each of those errands? One of those errands was buying a vintage home stereo amp from a guy. He had an amp that he said worked great and had no problems. But when I showed up there, none of the lights on it worked. He acted like that wasn’t a big deal but I passed on it because I’m one of those crazy people who actually like the shit I buy to work. He showed me some other units he had for sale but I wasn’t interested in any of them so that was that.

That was weeks ago, maybe a month ago. Fast forward to today, when I found another vintage home stereo amp for sale on usedvictoria that I liked. It turned out to be the same seller so I was a little nervous — I didn’t want to make the drive down there again for another piece of shit that didn’t work. I specifically said to him, “if this unit all works properly, I’ll gladly come get it.” He said yup, it’s all good.

I showed up and got him to hook the unit for me. What do you know, the left channel was totally fucked. All that came out of the speaker on that side was a little ‘brap’ sound every now and then. Perplexed, he said, “it might be that speaker, hang on.” He switched it with another speaker — same problem. He admitted now that he hadn’t thoroughly tested it before, that he just hooked some speakers up and it made sound so he figured it was fine. “Well, huh huh, how embarrassing, that’s twice now for ya, jeez I feel bad about this…” He took the lid off of the unit and found one of the fuses on the circuit board was blown so he replaced it and tried again. It started fine but as soon as he adjusted the treble, a different fuse blew. Now both speakers only made the occasional ‘brap.’ At that point, I left, absolutely fucking furious with this loser, and with myself as well.

The essential details I’ve already recounted are bad enough obviously but there are many other little details that make it much more irritating, and I want to document them. Here they are.

  • The seller is a guy is in his late 50’s, short, pot-bellied, poor posture, and he has absolutely no ass to speak of. In fact, it looks like his ass is actually concave, sort of like his butt was amputated. Like this, but far worse.
no-butt

Do some fucking squats, for heaven’s sake.

  • The guy’s name is Rod. As in, ‘Hot Rod.’ That’s what I think of when I meet guys named Rod — 50-something yr old losers who retain their retarded elementary school nickname throughout their whole lives because they still think it sounds cool, 50-odd years later. This guy acts just like you’d expect a Rod to, too — old, lame, and sad but still somehow thinks he’s a badass cool dude.
  • He worked at a pawn shop for years and acted like this experience made him knowledgeable about all manners of consumer goods, like this makes him a connoisseur of all things. He’s in denial that people who work at pawn shops are white trash shit rats who are just trying to take advantage of the white trash shit rat customers.
  • With an air of great pride, he told me that he likes to fix all kinds of old stuff and keep it working indefinitely, like all the old stereos he was selling. But with the first stereo, he couldn’t fix the burnt out lights, and the second stereo, he didn’t even notice one speaker wasn’t working, and when he did notice it, he had a hell of a time just getting the cover off of the unit and said some things that made it apparent he actually had no idea what he was looking at, that burnt out fuses were the one and only thing he could fix. It became evident he doesn’t actually know how to fix old stuff, he just likes to buy cheap old stuff at thrift shops and jack the price up to resell it at a profit. What a benevolent, gracious human being, what an unsung hero.
  • Before we realized the second stereo was fucked yesterday, I asked him where he got these things from, because he had lots of them. In typical Rod fashion, he played it super cool and vaguely responded, “oh, you know, here and there. I come across so many, it’s hard to keep track.” But after 10 minutes of unsuccessful fucking around with the unit yesterday, he started talking more just to fill the uncomfortable silence and mentioned that he picked this unit up from a Bibles For Missions thrift store. Why would he not mention that to me in the first place, why be coy about it? Did he think I was going to start following him, picking over the same thrift stores as him and copying his ‘selling busted stereo equipment’ side business?
  • Another thing he mentioned to fill the uncomfortable silence while he fumbled with the stereo was that he had a full time job, and just did this on the side for fun and didn’t make much money off of it. He said this as if that was some sort of extenuating factor, like maybe I was expecting too much by wanting these stereos to actually work.
  • The first time I met Rod, he showed me his personal stereo, his pride and joy, and told me in his patented ‘cool guy’ voice how loud it got and how many house parties he used it at over the years and how you could hear the music clearly all the way down the street and how the cops came numerous times. Wow, that’s awesome, Rod.
  • Both the first time and this time when he was showing me the stereos, he played the same Tragically Hip song. I think it was Blow At High Dough. I fucking hate The Tragically Hip, and I hate that song. Shitty Canadian bar rock with a pretentious “I’m such an artist” twist. Garbage.
  • On that note, today while he was fucking around, I saw some terrible CDs lying around. There was a ‘Best of Classic Rock’ compilation (that was its actual name), Big Shiny Tunes 4, and a band or artist I can’t remember now but it was John Mellencamp or The Eagles or some equally bland radio rock. This detail seemed perfectly fitting to me — of course this lame old ex-pawn shop dude named Rod who looks somewhat like a prawn and sells garbage stereo stuff online would own a bunch of CDs in the year 2019 of terrible bands, and compilations of many terrible bands.

That’s my character sketch of Ron. I wish I had a photo of him to post here. Maybe I should go back there just to snap a pic for the blog. Nah, no point. I’m sure everyone who has ever been to a pawn shop can picture the little troll quite clearly now.

Can one ever have enough ugly old shit?

Just now, I was idly perusing a local used stuff website when I came across an extremely tempting ad. I took a screen shot of it to share with people so they can laugh at me and my obsessions.

toasteroven

That’s right. After all the searching, painful correspondence, problem solving, and favours I called in from friends last year to procure myself a vintage toaster oven, I have now come across one here, in my very backyard. Granted, this one isn’t quite as attractive as my current toaster oven (I prefer the fake wood print and orange highlights on the one I have) but all things considered, this one I just came across is still a very attractive little unit — lots of chrome, simple mechanical controls, nice colours on the temperature dial graphics. Not too shabby at all.

And now, I’m left with the unpleasant decision: do I merely chuckle to myself, close that tab on my browser, and continue on with my day?…

…Or do I take the plunge into becoming a full-on hoarder and buy this stupid fucking thing, just to squirrel it away in my basement and probably give it away in 10 years?

I don’t know yet but I thought it was funny and wanted to email it to a select group of people. Then I realized that the people I wanted to email it to read this anyway, so hey, why not make my dilemma public?

Little world

I found this post in my drafts folder. I wrote it last October or so. I’m not sure why I never posted it so I’m posting it now.

***

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Today, Jenn and I went for a hike on Maple Mountain. There was a forest fire there this summer so we wanted to see what the burnt area looked like before anything has had a chance to grow back. It was fascinating, and a little spooky. The burnt bark on the remaining trees was now spongy from the recent rains. Stella was unconcerned with the larger implications and ran around like an idiot, loving every minute of it. For an area so close by, it was a neat and different little outing.

And last week, Jenn and I took Stella for a night walk through the forest trails in our neighbourhood. We hike these trails virtually every day but almost never at night, and it was a completely different experience. There was no moon out that night so it was really dark. Jenn had a headlamp on and it gave the woods a Blair Witch Project vibe. Once we got back onto the road, we saw two white owls perched on the power line overhead, their unflappably (ha) stoic faces staring hard at us. We hear owls around here a lot but don’t see them often, and this was the first time either of us had seen two owls at once. It was crazy how a walk we do all the time was so different from usual.

I like this stuff. I like it when we are able to experience new things in places we are already extremely familiar with. It makes me feel like we are doing a good job of keeping our brains turned on, of looking for and appreciating the subtle changes around us. I’m proud of that.