Archive for November, 2018

Self-ban on whaling

November 12, 2018 Leave a comment

A few weeks back, a moment happened worth noting: image1

For the first time in probably four years, if not longer, there are no gacha games on my phone. Read more…

Categories: Misc.

2.13.61 on 10.19.18

November 11, 2018 Leave a comment

A few months back, a text comes in from Lish, asking if I’m interested in going to see Henry Rollins. She gives me the details and it’s all good: any excuse to get to hang around with her, the date is far enough away that I can get off from work that night, the price is good (I want to say it was $38 but it’s fuzzy in my memory atm), and the notion of seeing Henry do his thing is definitely appealing. I actually wound up putting the request in at work twice, just in case. Got the night off and everything was set.

Back story, before details about the show itself: my Rollins gateway was the Weight album and I feel like he popped up on MTV pretty often around the time that released. I knew of Black Flag but none of the members, and can remember a promo/bumper thing he did on MTV about guns, but “Liar” being featured on a commercial hyping hot videos was my “whoa what is this video with the fire and the red guy” moment. I wish I had a cooler introduction, like getting a copied tape off a kid while we skated in empty pools of vacant houses in the 80s or something, but I was a little kid in the 80s. I was listening to LL Cool J then. Anyway, I bought the Weight album on May 22, 1994 and remember that the little sticker on the outer wrapping actually covered the parental advisory thing on the cover, so buying it was without hassle.

Around this time, my mom was on a religious kick, which would happen from time to time. The video for “Liar” came on and she watched, then sort of scoffed and said that those people are on drugs and must worship the devil. Fast-forward a few months, and I’m watching Talking From the Box, and she happened to sit down to watch some of it with me. When it ended, she asked who this guy was, and I replied that it was the red guy who she’d said was on drugs awhile ago. She was taken aback a little by that, but from then on, it would always be, “hey boy, Henry is going to be on [insert show], I’m gonna tape it for you” and whatnot. Kind of wish she’d been less judgmental of folks based purely on appearance from a far earlier point in her life, but it’s old history now. Another point in old history: the end bit in TFtB about life being awesome and not killing yourself, really pulled me out of some deep points back then. So another +1 for Henry.

Over the years, various books and albums have been purchased and enjoyed, but in recent years I’d fallen out of the loop. However, seeing the man himself in action? Definitely expecting a cool time. That evening, I catch up with Lish and her coworker Paul at her place, and we take the bus up across the bridge. [note: I’m still geographically illiterate around here, so I say things like, “we done crossed the water, we did” and that’s supposed to mean something to anyone who isn’t me] It’s still an adventure to go places here, especially on a bus where it’s easy to lose your sense of direction. We went to a place called Shawarma King and had shawarma sandwiches with lamb. To my very simple brain, it was like a fancy burrito that was pretty tasty. Killed a little time in the Pink Gorilla up the street, and that place is packed full of cool gaming stuff. If I hadn’t worked in a similar place and didn’t *hate it* when people would go, “oh, I’m just here to look” as they took up space in there for hours at a time, I’d love to spend a good chunk of time just looking too. Maybe one day I’ll throw caution to the wind and do it.

Showtime was approaching, so we got in line. There it is on the marquee: Neptune, Henry Rollins. Get inside, and Lish goes to a fair amount of shows, so when she said the seats were good, I didn’t doubt that. But then we get to our seats, and man:hank1(above: super close, incredible)

When I saw Tom Waits, he was but a blip on the horizon, and here Henry is going to be close enough to probably hear even without a microphone. People filed in and eventually the show started. This was a speaking show, and he had photos from his world travels to kind of guide his discussion. The amount of places he’s been is astounding, and I always enjoy people documenting their travels because the stories of how life is different in places that aren’t here, are interesting. For someone like me, who’s always lived in the US and has only been to four states, realizing I was in a room with two people who’d touched all seven continents (Lish and Henry) made me feel like I should really try and get out more, but also admire the fact that they do just that.

hank2(above: you could almost touch him, even)

His stories featured all of these different places and people he’d met in these places, with a focus on asking questions without the usual American arrogance and truly trying to learn more about the how and why of the lives these people lead. It was an interesting trip through his journeys and is how I’d want to conduct myself if I ever do travel. Respectful at least, even if I don’t truly understand the day-to-day as a short-term visitor. At the end of the show, he talked about taking photos all this time and referenced the time he’d auditioned for Black Flag, wishing that he had a photo of that day. A friend of his contacted him and actually had a photo from that day, and that was his final shot of the evening. One of the things I like about Henry is that he never comes across like it was a given that he would be a star and feature in all these projects and tour the world; he recognizes that while there was much hard work along the way on his part, that one lucky break is what started it all, and this has allowed him to become privy to opportunities that other people might not get. It’s kind of an “aw shucks” modesty that maybe he didn’t have in his earlier and more aggressive years, but it’s cool to see and hear in his tone. I went in knowing it would be a good time, and was not disappointed. Witty and quick, interesting topics, and I love hearing stories. It was a great show and if some video version of it came out, I’d pick it up for sure.

Only drawback on the day as a whole wasn’t even to do with the show: I’m not sure if it was “I’m going to a show” nerves or what, but I worked the night before the show and then was unable to get any proper rest beforehand. So by the time the show was starting, I’d been up for somewhere in the neighborhood of 24 hours, and was fighting off the grogginess. Not sure if that made me the best company to have around, as I feel like I was pretty quiet the whole time to and from. I didn’t nod off at any point, so at least that’s a small victory. Anyway, good show and a good night. Many times if I’m asked to go to things, I’ll pass because… I don’t know why, really. But this one is one I’m glad I didn’t pass on. Definitely want to go again, should he return in the future.

Categories: Misc.

California trip: recap

November 1, 2018 Leave a comment

Back in September, I flew home to California for a little over a week. A recap has been on my mind since then, but writing it out wasn’t on the to-do list until right now. I feel like even calling it a vacation is strange, though it was a period of time that involved not working and included travel, so it fits the definition enough. But I just kinda… went home, hung out and drove around, and ate way too much? I mean, it was exactly what I intended to do with that time, but I feel like you’re supposed to go on vacation and come back with tales of exotic locales and adventure, not, “I ate TWO of these giant burritos!”

But that’s exactly what happened. I went with a desire to eat food I can’t get here in Seattle (or can’t get without what I feel is too much effort for the food in question) and to see almost everyone I’d like to visit with while I was there. I wound up having plans each day, which kept things busy but in a good way:

Wednesday – fly out, got picked up by my dad. I note how hot it is, immediately remember how much I dislike that. We hang out at home, with a pizza and I made him watch the Bachelor in Paradise finale. Got up to my old bedroom and tried to sleep on the floor, which wasn’t super comfortable, but when you’re tired enough, you’ll sleep.

Thursday – walk and get my rental car, since it was a chance to walk through part of town. Hasn’t changed much, but then, not much time has passed. Get the car almost an hour later than I scheduled it for, hit the local Wal-Mart to see if the guy who swaps out wrestling figures is still up to his old tricks (he is) and then eat entirely too much Del Taco. Go out and mow my dad’s front and back lawns, and wash down the walks for the first time in probably a year or better. It felt nice to do that. I never want a place with a yard because it’s a pain to maintain, but when it’s a rare option instead of a constant obligation, not too bad. Washed up and then decided to slowly drive through two towns on my way to meet a friend at our old mall, stopping at random stores on the way just to pop in since I’m right there. Later, we meet up and she’s hungry and asks if I want Miguel’s Jr. Since it was a place I planned to stop at multiple times during this trip, I nodded. We ate and then talked for a good while. She’s in a better place than she has been in probably several years, though she’s toying with the idea of moving and cited Seattle as a possible destination. I guess we’ll see. But it’s nice to know she’s doing well.

Friday – I go to the local Stater Bros grocery store for some things, including their house brand macaroni and cheese. Cook up a pot of it, then immediately put it in the fridge because that stuff is wonderful when it’s cold. Leave and go to a Target down the road a lick, and hit the In N Out. Of the fast food burgers out there, I probably like it best, but don’t get caught up in that whole “if you don’t like five guys then fuck you” kind of debate people get into. Came back home and ate some of that macaroni and cheese, and indeed… delightful. Kinda poke through some boxes in my old bedroom and later on we go to my grandmother’s house to have dinner and see relatives. Dinner was KFC, which I liked. Relatives getting into their very sour political discussions, not so much. It isn’t 1950, guys. Times change.

Saturday – wake up about 3 am and polish off the rest of the macaroni and cheese. My dad’s plans for that day involved yardwork but since it was all done already, we went to James Games, an arcade about 40 miles away. It feels like an arcade from the early 80s, where it isn’t about also buying beers and playing redemption machines, it’s just machines and more machines. Very cool place. From there we stopped off at an Applebee’s (had a steak and some really good broccoli) and then when we got home later, made taco salad and watched baseball until I was ready to sleep.

Sunday – met relatives again, this time at an IHOP. I wanted just pancakes, and the guy asked if I wanted a stack of 3 or 5. I said 5 for some reason, and the stack basically looked like an unfrosted cake. My grandmother doubted my ability to eat all of it, so despite being tired of the concept of pancakes about halfway through, I finished it just so I could be all “in your face, old woman” about it. Went back to her house for more visiting and then yet again, politics talk made the whole time go sideways. At least it was a good reminder of another reason why I moved. Got back home for more baseball and some more taco salad. Fairly lazy day, all things considered.

Monday – I needed a Tombstone pizza. Hit the Wal-Mart again and even though I showed the toy employee the swapped wrestling figures, they were still on the pegs. So I took them to the returns desk and explained that they’re being repeatedly ripped off. Got my pizza and a couple of those little pecan pies, then lounged around for a good bit. Later on, I was meeting another friend over by my old work at 7 or 7:30, so I headed that way and wound up there at 5 something. Went into my old work and talked to some of the people I had worked with previously, then met my friend at a place called Jojo’s. It’s Italian food, and pretty good. Since my move, this friend has graduated college and landed a job that isn’t retail, and she seems to be doing quite well. It’s good to hear about because she’s always been great, so knowing her situation is better now makes me happy. But she had fought traffic after work to meet me and had work in the morning, so we couldn’t visit terribly long, so we said goodbye and then I went back to my old work. By this time, my old crew was all working. I think I was there for like five hours? Just BSing with people and getting caught up on things that don’t concern me any more, but then I started getting sleepy so I headed out. Got home around 3 am or so and knocked out.

Tuesday – Got myself together around 8ish and headed down to another old job location, to meet another guy I used to work with. He had teased coming to Seattle for a vacation but wound up going to Chicago instead, so he showed me some photos of places he went. Some parts of Chicago look nice. But I just say no to snow.  He talked for probably longer than he should have, to the point that his boss came outside to fetch him. I left and went down to a different Miguel’s Jr. and got enough food that the cashier made a face as if to say, “holy cow” and I had to assure her some of it was for later. Came back home and ate too much at once, then laid down for awhile. That evening was macaroni and cheese with ham diced up in it, a variation on the old favorite.

Wednesday – Woke up super early, as I had a drive in front of me, and being late could be the difference between a smooth ride or sitting in traffic for an extra couple of hours. Drove to Orange County via the Ortega and I had not forgotten how scary it is, especially at like 4 am. Was meeting a friend at 7:30 but I would rather be early and wait around for someone to wake up rather than fighting gridlock. So when I pulled up at like 5:21 for a 7:30 meeting, I just kicked the seat back and listened to a podcast. Awhile later, I walked around for a bit, then my friend woke up and we went to a Mimi’s for breakfast. I had chicken and waffles, with the waffles just being waffles, but the chicken was excellent. I already knew this friend was doing well and is in a good place, having just seen him in Seattle about a month prior, so we mostly talked about games and wrestling. He had to make it in to work not long after, so we said our “see you next time”s and off he went. I headed down to the beach briefly and I sure do miss having regular access to the beach. But the Puget Sound (or whatever the water that’s near me now) is nice to see too, so it’s a fair trade, I guess. Swung up to a friend’s grave and just had a little moment there. I don’t usually spend any amount of time there because I can remember someone wherever I happen to be, but it’s a trip that I feel the need to make if I’m even remotely close to the area. Not sure why, but it makes sense in my brain. From there I stopped off at a Bookoff and wished Seattle had some equivalent to that, then drove back and dropped off the rental car. Walked back home and started getting my stuff packed up. Dinner that night was Popeye’s, which I also like. Hung out until I got sleepy and then went to sleep.

Thursday – got up early, made sure my stuff was packed and I wasn’t forgetting anything. Then, off we went to the airport. Saying goodbye at airports is never easy. Once the car pulls away and I can get a moment to compose myself, I’m good, but I always hate the goodbyes. Flew back up and found my bag and my car with no problems, paid my parking (I think it was $140 to park at the airport) and got back here. It was a big relief to find my place undisturbed, since I don’t know any of my neighbors and it’s just the kind of thing I worry about.

Then I had the rest of the week off, so I just did general chores and tried to get back on my normal schedule.

All in all, it was a good trip. I wanted to relax, and I did. I wanted to eat tons of garbage food, and I did. I wanted to see people while I was down, and I did. I didn’t see everyone that I wanted to, but there were some that I wasn’t going to get to see no matter what, and I knew that going in. It was nice to just… not go to work and/or deal with anyone related to it. I think that’s the main purpose of vacation, is for your getaway to actually be a chance to get away, even if you like your job or your coworkers, because everyone needs a break.

There was a weird thing that happened which I didn’t expect, though. I’m not even sure how to properly articulate it, but I’ll try. That first night back, I realized that while there were specific things I missed about living down there, that I didn’t miss actually living down there. As I drove around more and remembered things I disliked about the weather or how far apart everything is, I knew I didn’t need to be there any more. It was nice knowing that my dad is okay and seeing that the friends I did meet with are all doing well. These are all people I feel protective about and want to make sure they’re okay. So to go to this place that is mostly all I’ve ever known and be like, “I don’t need to be here any more” and then see my friends be good and know they don’t need me any more either, instead of giving me the sort of… peace of mind I was expecting, I guess? It instead left me with this mindset of like, “okay, if I don’t need to be here any more… why am I here at all?” and really questioning my place in this world, if I even have one. It’s a thing that happens once or twice a year, and it usually passes, but it really hung on to me this time and I haven’t fully shaken it yet. I know I’ll eventually dive into a game or get busy at work and these things will distract me for a good while. I don’t know. I guess that even this late into my life, I’m still figuring out who I am, who I want to be, and where I want to go? It’s a weird thing to think about.

But all in all, a good trip. I miss it and I don’t miss it, and just having a getaway and seeing familiar faces was very nice. Shame I have to wait like another year to do it again, if not longer. I think next vacation might be a brief hop to Maui, just to return after over a decade and see if I still instantly love it, or if the dream of moving there can finally be put to rest either way. We’ll see.

Categories: Misc.