Friday, July 22, 2016

I Quit My Job

Today was my last day as a manager. Strangely enough, though, today has been one of the happier days I've had since I started this part of my career. As it turns out, I am not much of a people person. Surprise! Well, it's not so much that I hate people, but more like afraid of them. I guess that might not be the best word for it, either. I just struggle with small talk.

There is so little time to accomplish everything on my goal list, and when someone starts talking about the same tired tropes like weather or road closures, I get so uncomfortable. There are a lot of smart people who say that you should "master the art of small talk," but then, there are others, like Doug Stanhope, who say that it's much better to skip past that and get right to the good stuff. Now, it's not always possible to know how strange you can get with a stranger or an acquaintance, but so much of our lives is dominated by watered-down conversation that goes nowhere and accomplishes little, and it feels wasteful to do so.

How was your day? Fine, good, okay, etc. Those are all acceptable answers. But how can you respond to someone, who, when passing by, says, "How ya doin'?" "Terrible, I stepped in a puddle of water on my way in, and I am slowly going broke due to my monthly student loans, and my soul is being crushed because I can't find a job in my field!" That might be an exaggeration, and definitely not my life, but it's just fascinating and odd to me how people can go through their day getting asked how they are doing and not ever really being able to properly answer.

Well, I'm getting off topic. I am going to the fair in a few minutes, and I've had too nice of a day to let imaginary small talk ruin it.

I quit my job as a department manager to take another position in the same company, technically a step down, into the back end operations, where I will learn "everything there is to know about the department." That was the idea when my manager noticed that I wasn't very happy in my position. He took extra care to find something that could be available to me (although I did take a pay cut) that was away from customers, and steady. Monday through Friday, 7am to 4pm. Pretty nice. I am very grateful.

So, I will have a steady sleep schedule, and I plan on losing weight and wearing nicer clothes, and really working to accomplish a lot of the things I have set aside. More on that later, though. To the fair!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tainted: Am I Being a Good Person?

There's no easy way to start an article in which you're going to tell the world that you don't think you are a good person. When you wake up every morning and cringe at the thought of something you accidentally said or did, and wonder if the memory you have with that person will have tainted their view of you forever. You wonder if everything you do has some kind of irreparable consequence, by which you cannot escape and will always be labeled. 

And so, you feel like you'd rather have some kind of terminal disease just because living feels too complicated because you think that your existence has become too tainted by the mistakes you have made.

You don't want to be known by the things you've accidentally done to others, but it comes to be eventually that those moments are the way people really do remember you, as you retreat in shame and make those memories a much larger piece of the pie chart graph of connections between the two of you. The idea of talking to this person is marred by the fear that their reception of you is tainted by your actions. And even if you think about how self-centered people are, and how you wouldn't let others be represented by the mistakes they have made, you worry that others still will.

Being this exact kind of person, I find myself in a very painful situation with my life. I have burned bridges, thrown stones, and ignored friendships past the point of repair, simply because I am continually ashamed of my actions/inactions and cannot bring myself to experience reality as it exists, and not the way it seems to in my mind.

Moving to a new place always quells my anxiety for a while. It allows me to be a new person, to start over with people who do not know my mistakes. They see me as this person I would always like to be: uncompromising, quietly peaceful, and kind. Maybe funny, too. I always want people to laugh.

But then, I make a mistake. It haunts me. I remember every mistake from before kindergarten to yesterday, and they completely take over my life. I recall being at my brother's birthday party when I was 6 and he was 4, and he got a Playstation from my grandparents. I, having just learned the value of money, was excited to tell him to take care of it because it cost "some amount of dollars." And the whole room (and at that time, my whole world) laughed at me. I still feel shame from those (practically meaningless) encounters.

Why? I don't know, Maybe I need to speak to a therapist. But for now, every mistake goes right back to my head, filling up this internal quota I hope I never reach. Every mistake I make comes across to me as a failure, and one that can never be fixed, since there's no way to go back in time and right the wrongs.

They say "time heals all wounds" but I have yet to experience the healing of my past indiscretions. Maybe it's not time that heals, but the person. Maybe the person is supposed to somehow let go of their mistakes, or accept them and move on, but I have no idea how to do that. It's very easy to tell someone to let go, but it's hard to be the one who has to do it.

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Very Real Explanation of My Work Life

I find it incredibly difficult to suspend my sense of disbelief, even for a moment. Completely gone are the days when I could imagine myself away from my life, into a new one, where I could be happy and calm. I used to think that it was because I didn't need to anymore, but now, I feel unhappy with myself, and I'm stuck in this reality. This feeling is made worse by the knowledge that I have done so well for myself, at least in the eyes of others.

My formal education ended when I quit college, and the respect I got from my family also quelled. I felt ashamed, although I kept telling myself that I didn't care what my family thought of me. They never really had my back to begin with, anyway. I was going to use my intelligence to move up in the world, and college wasn't really a necessity for me. So I went back to work, and the story bloomed from there. I met someone who shared my love of travel and photography, and he would help me transition into someone better, someone who didn't starve herself to feel attractive, and someone who created her own validity.

Complications held us to Indiana for three extra years than I wanted, and I began to feel miserable. I stopped writing and exercising, and started wallowing in my own misery. And I still must be digging myself out, because I shouldn't be miserable anymore. I got myself out of Indiana. I did it. My hard work throughout the past three years has put my in this apartment I can afford, surrounded by things I can walk to, parks, shops, nature, restaurants, etc.

I have gained a lot of weight. I have squandered my opportunities, and I am ashamed of myself. But where do I go from here? My job is in retail, albeit a manager (though I never really wanted it in the first place), so I can continue to try to excel there, or I can work on my creative pursuits and eventually pull myself out of retail. Everyone always tells me what a great job I'm doing there, but I don't have much motivation to keep customers happy when they are complete assholes to me collectively. I was told that I'm naive, but maybe I don't like being treated like scum for terrible reasons. At least, if I'm going to be treated that way, it should be more deserved, and not because I sold out of a refrigerator they want.

My ideal job would probably at this point be part-journalist, part-comedian, part-podcast host. Oh, yeah, very reliable, very easy-to-obtain. But I've found that I'm much happier working toward practically unrealistic goals rather than mindlessly working in a retail job with little end-goal besides making more money. Money is great, but when you don't have happiness alongside it, what can you really do with it?

Everyone keeps telling me that management is great for my resume. That I am making such great decisions, that I should definitely keep trying to move up into the company, and that I will make a great this or a great that. But my mind is telling me that I am unhappy with management, and that I just don't function well when I have to tell other people what to do. I really don't want more responsibility, and I have been doing this to further my own interests at home, not to move up in a corporation that really only likes me at my absolute best, and probably not really even at that point. People say I should stick it out so that I can have something important to put on my resume if I want to move out of retail eventually.

I never wanted to be in retail. I am not making a big deal out of this. I am a very introverted person, and every day, I feel like I need to come home to a quiet room to decompress for the night, and every day that I'm off, I would now rather spend it indoors on my couch than out in public, as I have grown to absolutely hate people because of my job. That is not healthy. I've been doing this for long enough that I know it won't be any better, even if I say it will be, because my creativity eventually drains back out and I am left ragged and miserable.


So, I'm faced with a dilemma. Do I continue working in my management position, with erratic hours, good pay, and potential to move up? Or do I take a potential pay cut, downgrade in position, but steady M-F hours that will also allow me to get away from horrible customers and focus on my personal life more? Because those are the options I'm faced with. On Wednesday, I have to go back into work, where they are more than ready to accommodate me, and make a very big decision.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Moving Out of Your Parents' House: The Facts

Don't be taken into lies, young people. This is only true if you live in an expensive metro area. Please do your own research before blindly listening to a picture with words on it, with no sources, most likely coming either from a mom about to lose her son to the world because she's a bitch and doesn't know how to talk to her son, or from another young person who lives in NYC.

In my personal experience, from constant apartment searches across the country, I have seen much lower rents. In Indianapolis, you can find rent on the outskirts of the city all over (except the north side), ranging from $300 and up. You can find cheap rents. $800 is not the starting rent for most places. What you do have to watch out for is dangerous places. Make sure you're not taking a cheap rent and foregoing a safe home environment. I currently live in a pretty up-and-coming area and my rent is only $725. It's upper-end for this area, but I don't mind because I can afford it. Find what you can afford, and live with it. Also, don't forget about the deposit. It's usually the rent cost, but you do get that back if you take care of the place.

A reliable used car for $5000? No way. I bought both of my vehicles for $1800 each. They have gotten me across the country and, as long as we maintain them, will last much longer. Don't buy a $5000 car unless you've got money to spare. And buy it outright. Don't lease it.

Oil changes are free if you learn how to do them yourself! Besides the cost of the oil, the pan, and the disposal, of course. But that doesn't add up to $200. If you purchase a $5000 car, you shouldn't have thousands of dollars in repairs, either. Just don't drive the thing into the ground and check out what's under the hood. Check it out from day one, and then monthly, also researching what common problems could happen with your car, and researching how to identify and fix those problems. If it's something you can't fix, find a friend of the family that fixes cars in their offtime. Those folks love to fix up cars, and since they don't own a garage, they will usually be able to undercut the competition.

Utilities. All right, so in the event that you move to an apartment, you will most likely see water and sewer covered by the landlord, but you will have to pay for the electricity (unless you can find paid utilities). At the most, electricity can be around $100 a month (and that's numbers from friends who have to power a heat lamp in the winter for their iguana), but mine is lower. My bill in Arkansas was around $70 a month in the winter, and in Oregon, $80 in the winter. Internet is where your expenses start to go up. I don't have cable or any bundle package. I have Century Link, and it costs $15/month. Now don't compare mine to other people's in this instance. Unless you have the balls to negotiate this for an hour on the phone, yours will probably be around $30-$50/month.

My phone also costs $40 a month, and that's pay-as-you-go. It's much better than getting into a contract, just in case you have an extra expense one month, and something has to wait. Most of your bills can't be delayed, but a cell phone is really a luxury, not a necessity.

Why do you need cable? If you have internet, and you can't afford cable, don't get it. At the most, get a single subscription through Hulu or Netflix, but if you are strapped for cash, this is a luxury. Don't get it until you can afford it.

So, let's tally that up real quick. $100 + 50 + 40 = $190 per month for basic utilities. Add Netflix or another one at your leisure.

I'm not going to touch food, but it seems like you could eat for a lot cheaper than that. You just need to read some blogs on how to manage your food bill, and believe me, there are plenty.

My biggest point is, please do your research and stop blindly reposting this dumb picture without getting all the facts. I hate when people spread misinformation.

Total cost of moving out:

Car: $2000
Rent (first, last, and deposit): $600 + 600 + 600 = $1800
Gas: $40
Oil changes: $30 (and that's for six months)
Utilities: $190
Food: as low as $30 a week if you do research

Still kind of expensive. Though, a lot of city folk can move out and not have to purchase a car, so just factor in what you know you need, and disregard the rest. Stay informed, people.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Why I'm Not Voting For Trump

Well, I'm mostly not voting for Trump because I don't vote. I don't vote because I don't like the system, and my vote would go toward anarchy if they (the reptiles or whatever, some joke) let me. But to be honest, there's a lot in what Trump says and does that is really enticing to a lot of voters. And Trump ideals aren't all that scary.

Now, I'm not saying you should vote for Trump, but I can appreciate the votes for him (or even the two Dem candidates, because every vote for one of these crazy extremes (and not for the traditional politicians we saw in Snuz and Kasich) is another vote for a mass uprising that this country so sorely needs. And yes, it is a scary thought.

America is not a perfect country. By futuristic Utopian standards, it's not even really a good country. But at its foundation, the USA is a wonderful kind of country. It can be shaped and molded in just four years to be an entirely different place. We can make decisions and as a people rise up and make something happen, though sometimes it requires more effort than people are willing to put in. Sometimes, those great paths to political change can be used by people who want to further their own interests instead of the interests of the people, but the great thing about this country is that we are allowed to say things against those people without fear of arrest (hopefully it's still like that in America, at least).

When I first saw people saying that they were voting for Trump, back in the early days of his campaign, I was like other people. Mainly, "What the fuck is wrong with you?" But a really enjoyable part of life is putting yourself in someone else's mindset and trying to genuinely understand where they are coming from. When you have no skin in the game, you find yourself trying understand both sides rather than trying to argue your own point all day.

I read something on Facebook a while back that a family member posted. She said, "I am voting for Trump!" And that was it. But I cringed away from it, wondering how someone sane could vote for the guy. He was all flash and very reality-TV-esque, and he didn't show much more substance than "build a wall." I never stopped to ask her why she was voting for him, but it would have been interesting to hear it back then when Trump's ideology wasn't as well fleshed out as it is now. Now that I see what Donald stands for, I can understand the appeal at the least.

The following snippets of Donald's beliefs are taken from OnTheIssues.org:

Make economy dynamic; bring back jobs from China & Mexico. (Oct 2015)
Get U.S. money back into U.S.: address corporate inversion. (Nov 2015)
Yes to medical marijuana; otherwise, decide state by state. (Oct 2015)
No federal government profit from student loans. (Nov 2015)
Cut Department of Education and Common Core. (Oct 2015)
We must deal with the maniac in North Korea with nukes. (Sep 2015)
Figure out who our allies are. (Feb 2016)
Restrict free trade to keep jobs in US. (Oct 2015)
China and Japan are beating us; I can beat China. (Jun 2015)

NPR Article Source
There are a lot of things besides these, but if you pull just a few of the many things he's said, you can see that this is a man who loves his country. I think he sees himself parallel to the US, as a great entity who was great, and still can be great, and has done a lot of great things, but maybe is not currently the best it could be. If you look at old interviews, you can see the way he talks about America so reverently, so animatedly, and so proud. And yet, he wanted to make it even better back in the eighties. And he still does. In a way, Trump is a representative of America. He is an example of the kind of person you can aspire to become here in this free country. A man with (as John Mulaney put it) fine golden hair and a tall skyscraper with his name on it. That is true American freedom. To put your name on a skyscraper.

He understands that a lot of Midwestern Americans want jobs to come back to the US. This is very important to people, especially to those who are losing their jobs through places like Carrier, who he has continually talked about throughout the primaries.

He understands that Americans are uncomfortable with the amount of foreign support with give compared to what we receive. To many Americans, the impression is that the US is helping foreign countries over the needs of its own people.

He understands that people are unhappy with the current public education system.

Mostly, I've noticed that he seems to support what the working class American wants. He seems to build his campaign on the will of the people, and not the will of lobbyists who seek to mainly further their own interests at the expense of the citizens. This is not highly-involved politics that people are looking at. A lot of Americans do not follow politics that deeply. They want what is best for themselves and their children, and not what will make big companies more money. They don't care about Wall Street. They don't want to see America supporting countries where terrorists gobble up the leftovers after we leave.

Instead, many Americans want to see themselves succeed. They want to see America succeed. And unfortunately, with the current system, they don't believe they will get to see that happen. Americans just want something different. They've had their lives poked and prodded with government-influenced advertisements and sponsors and laws and regulations and they just want it all to stop! Donald Trump is America's way out of the current political nightmare we're all involved in.

Both parties seem to be on their last leg. They are struggling to understand why many Americans don't want another Democrat president making decisions that regulate their lives and involve everyone further with the government. I don't want the government to affect my daily life. I want the government to protect me from my unalienable rights, to keep me safe from foreign terrorism, and to allow me the freedom to build a great life. I don't need regulations. I don't think that the people need more regulations. I want more freedom, not more rules.

How can we elect someone who will just continue to do to us what has been done to us for many years? Why not a new kind of person? Americans are tired of politicians. And Americans think Trump is who they need. How can you deny the people what they want? When you start thinking that your general populous is too stupid to decide this for themselves, you start into dangerous territory. Let the people decide who they want.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Speech-Writer Doug Stanhope and His Book

Current toilet situation
I just bought a book. At cover price. Yep, it's so intriguing that MSRP doesn't stop this train. It's Digging Up Mother by comedian Doug Stanhope. Type "Doug Stanhope underrated" into Google and review the litany of people who think the abrasive, controversial former failed actor/current podcast-host is one of the most underrated comedians of our time. But to the fans, Stanhope isn't underrated, and we don't really give a fuck if other people don't like him, because honestly, if he were on that Kevin Hart next level of fame we'd probably hear a lot less of his podcasts. It'd be so much less personal, too.

For someone like myself (a person who has listened to every podcast, follows the cast of characters on Twitter, and is friends with Chad Shank on Facebook), getting to hear all of the ins and outs and minutia of the mundane day-to-day life of Doug on the podcast is fantastic. The people on the podcasts are a warm blanket of comedy and (though they have no idea who I am) comradery, and their voices keep me company in a world where I am not exactly comfortable.

I love the podcast, and the fact that updates are not on any kind of schedule makes it feel so much less forced. It just feels like a real atmosphere with real, degenerate people who have managed to not only do something they love, but to draw in others and share it with the world on a personal level successfully.

The best part about the podcast age is that, before, we just had the comedy. We had essentially scripted shows of the best jokes that person has to offer, but without the prep and the struggle beforehand, We only really see the finished product. But with podcasts, we get to be inside Doug Stanhope's world! It's amazing how much I like him more after all the stories and insights and loves and struggles. Podcasts pull you into a place you weren't really allowed before. Fans can appreciate the unscripted chats with friends, the fan mail readings, and especially Police Beat with Chad Shank.

And finally, with this book, we are allowed to really get to know the adorably horrible kid/young adult that Doug Stanhope was. We can see the struggle that lead to these great moments. The Doug Stanhope that exists today didn't just plop out of his mother like that. He came from somewhere. So, now, we can get the whole picture. We get to read the moments that shaped his life. And that is amazing.

Anyway, I'm just really excited to finish reading it. Maybe after I finish it I'll do something important with my life. I feel like this is going to help me out of this creative dry spell. Finally.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Good Morning; Let's Fight About It

Waking up this morning was really great. I just rolled out of bed at eight o'clock, with no alarm, and no trash truck. And no noisy neighbor! But, alas, the noisy neighbors are doing their thing, just a little quieter since Brandon has been doing this experiment where every time the decibel level gets over a certain amount, he clicks on our outdoor fan. He bought this clicker remote that allows you to wirelessly turn things on. We don't even have to go outside.

The funny thing is that the lady knows she's being loud, but that she "doesn't feel that bad." Well, oh, well! The fan is so loud that it drowns out her annoying, pain-killer drawled voice (mostly), but doesn't really affect us because it's like white noise. Annoying neighbors will never go away, but at least we can train them to be a little quieter.

Pic not related, but where else can I document our Nerf guns?
Do you ever wake up angry? Like, from a dream that really got to the heart of your hatred? I personally do, all the time. I have this weird bubble of anger that sits in my stomach and pops every now and again, only to reform and pressurize right there for days, just being annoying and making me so very conscious of my hate.

I don't know what it was that sparked that hate again, but I think I was doing really well before, without it. It makes working in retail so much worse because you have to really have thick skin to work in a hardware store in the first place. Yesterday, I got asked, "Do you know...well, you probably don't, as I have found that people like you don't...well, anyway, do you know if you have something to get rid of this rust on this thing here?"

To which I respond, "We have rust remover."

"Oh, nooooo, I don't want that. It's too harsh."

"Well, all things that remove rust are pretty caustic."

I really tried to help that lady, but it involved a lot more than that conversation. It just got a bit boring from there. You just get these awful rude people who refuse to accept that you might know something even when they come to you with their questions. I wonder why they even bother to ask!

Things like that bring out my hatred of people so fiercely that I have to go take a five-minute break just to collect myself enough to move on. I'm definitely not meant for retail, I think.

I'm considering moving to someplace secluded after Oregon. Maybe someplace outside of Bangor, Maine, or Mankato, Minnesota. I would like to see what it's like to be out in the country again, but without the terribly poor part. Somewhere where I can focus on my own pursuits without the constant interruptions of neighbors and the lure of close-by food and drink. I'd like to get back to being able to entertain myself through learning, not through video games and drinking. That is definitely a goal.

I saw a story on this lady who has been sailing around the world for ten years, just quietly self-sustaining and experiencing things without other people getting in the way. I imagine there's a lot less traffic on the open ocean. But endless water horizon scares the shit out of me. Well, it would if I were navigating. Get disoriented once and I'm lost forever. I'm decent at fishing, but I don't know what deep-sea fishing is like, and I think I would probably die from sunburn. But ugh, it's so alluring. To get away from energy drinks and waking up early to go to a job I don't actually need to do in order to keep the world turning.

Living and working in the world of buying unnecessary shit it so disheartening sometimes. People really care about that shit! Yet, here I sit, sipping my Rockstar, waiting to go to work and imagining life on the fringe. It's a romantic interest. I've been there before. I've lived outside of this spend culture. Living in a van and not working really helps change your perspective. But you know what it also does (especially when you traveled before you started working in the real world and having expenses)? It makes you feel like you don't belong here! And this is where money is. You still need money to function. Also, it warps your sense of what the real world is going to be like!

When we stopped driving, I thought I could drift through life with a part-time job and a dream. I didn't know I would be too exhausted to think after work, at three o'clock in the afternoon when the rest of the world is still going. I didn't expect any of it.

I need to make a game plan, because this lifestyle isn't working for me. I need to be out there, experiencing things for real instead of through a computer monitor or inside a giant building where people come to me with trivial problems, like, "ohhhh, I can't seem to find the perfect Tiffany blue for my daughter's bedroom wall. My life is soooo hard right now."

Fuck you, bitch. Fuck you and your dumb paint problems. Your life isn't that hard if that's your biggest problem. Anyway, I think it's time to make that plan. Adieu!