Archive for the ‘Misc.’ Category

The best games I played in 2019

December 31, 2019 Leave a comment

I think I played more games that weren’t released in 2019 than those that were, and in this era of early access version being on sale a year or more before their “real” release date, it becomes hard to pin down when a game was actually done/released/whatever. Also, I play primarily on PC, so if things are available elsewhere, I cannot comment as far as performance goes. Things generally run okay on my PC, and I expect them not to 12-18 months from now. With that in mind, here’s a list of the best games I played in 2019. Read more…

Categories: Misc.

CA trip, 2019

August 27, 2019 Leave a comment

Some time has passed since I wrote anything here. A younger version of me would have been furiously documenting everything that has gone down, but as fun as it would be to relive a bunch of stuff going completely sideways and bad, just remembering it is enough for the current version of me. But for a tl;dr version of things: plans were to leave Seattle in January, then again around May, then things were in motion to leave in June and start a new life, only for plans to completely fall through less than 48 hours before my planned exit. Now I find myself still here after a chain of completely unexpected happenings, and here were are. In hindsight, having it go this way is better than the potential alternative of making these big moves and then having things sour, so even though some of the things that happened were hard to take, at least there weren’t also things like finding work or a place to live on top of that. So… it’s been kinda bad here, and while I was monumentally upset for a bit, now I just sort of shrug at the entire thing? Like, yes this sucks, yes it isn’t what I intended, but it could have definitely been worse. Even if things had gone according to plan, they likely would’ve been, knowing what I know now. So… yeah.

But, I’m not here to vaguely comment on a bunch of dead issues. Instead, I wanted to write about the trip I recently took back home to California. I’ve wrestled with the idea of whether I belong in Seattle for… basically the entire time I’ve been up here. Last year’s trip got the idea in my head that I don’t necessarily miss CA specifically, because there are many things I do dislike about it. It’s too hot, too expensive, everything is far apart so it takes forever to do anything ever, and there’s this general sense from people that is either slight unease or slight aggression (not sure which). But it’s home to me, despite all of that. It is the place I am most familiar with and is the place where nearly all of my friends and relatives live. So last year, I visited with people and was going with the theory of “this is a nice place to visit but I’m glad I don’t live here,” only to get off the plane in Seattle and be like, “this is a nice place to visit but… why do I live here, again?” This has been a constant battle in my head for almost two years, though I realize that these are not the only places in the world where I could live. Part of me still desperately wants to give Maui another shot, but aside from roadblocks stopping me from scheduling a trip there at least four times over the last 20 months, there’s the other factor that is a big one: when I lived there before, though it was a brief time, I had never been more lonely in my life, and I’m not sure I can hang with that again. But when I tell people that, they point to my current situation and go, “yeah, but you’re alone in Seattle and you’re lonely there.” Which, I know they mean that as a “you’re already going through the thing you’re afraid of” positive sentiment, but to me it’s like, yeah. I am, and it super duper sucks. So why would I want to purposely put myself in that same position? But then at the same time, I know it is unfair to rely on other people for your stability or happiness, especially if you have a history of being woefully incapable of reciprocating, so I think maybe it wouldn’t be a big deal. I don’t know. I spend a lot of time handling tasks alone at work, so I have plenty of time to do these mental gymnastics and drive myself absolutely nuts. Then I come back to the tiny box I live in and distract myself with an Olsen Twins video game or something until it’s time to sleep, just to avoid thinking about things nonstop. Some would say it’s as easy as picking a direction and going, but I feel like that’s what I did to get up here, and even though no major catastrophes have happened, I’m not sure if this was an overall positive experience? Maybe if I read this to a trained professional, they could explain why I’m such a dummy about this stuff.

Anyway, California trip 2019. I left from work on a Saturday morning and went straight to the airport, and on the following Friday night I went straight from the airport to work. The time in between was good and aside from a friend that was out of the country, I managed to see everyone I wanted to see. I also ate some good food, but did not go apeshit like I did last year (last year’s food excursion was horrifically unhealthy and bad, and I’m kinda tired of feeling like walking death, so I knew I’d be bad here but intended on not going overboard). No names in order to protect the innocent, but a day by day rundown:IMG_6752

(hello CA, thank you for not melting me right away)

– Saturday: pappy picked me up at the airport and it was cloudy and cool out. Swung by the old mall that was home to the anime shop of legend, only to find the comic shop that had been in the location, now replaced by an air force recruitment center. They could’ve employed anime still by incorporating that… you know that weird shit where they’re anime girls but their legs are plane wings or whatever? Anyway, I owed him a dinner from father’s day, so we went to this steak place. I had talked about having a steak all day, but sure did get pork chops instead, which was a good choice because they were wonderful. After months of only eating sandwiches or microwave garbage, real food was heavenly. Got back to the house and putted around until it was time to finally pass out at around the 21-hour mark. But I barely sleep, so it’s okay in CA too.


(virtual Oahu will do for now)

– Sunday: visited relatives for a bit in the morning and into the afternoon. Less discussion along the lines of “how do you like it up there” and all of that. Only got slightly political, but even that was too much. Just vote the way you’re going to vote, don’t shower me with things you heard from fox news or whatever, and if you don’t vote, find a different axe to grind with life. Then we went and helped my grandmother buy a new fridge. I also called my friend in Arizona and though I don’t know her super well, she seems really cool online and has a cool voice. Got back to the house in the afternoon and had chili dogs, which aren’t the same when you eat them alone. I don’t know why, they’re just not. Then I referred to a list in my phone, which details which items I put into specific boxes in my bedroom closet. The goal was to dig out the hard drive with my digital copy of the game Test Drive Unlimited, as I’d been jonesing to play it, but not bad enough to pay secondary market prices since I already owned a copy. I could locate the actual hard drive but not its proprietary cable, so that was a no-go. But as it turns out, some kind soul put a copy on the internet, so I [ahem] borrowed that one. Good times.


(okay, so I did go hard a couple of times, but it’s Del Taco so it’s okay)

– Monday: get my rental car, immediately head to wal-mart to see if guy who swaps out wrestling figures and returns the wrong ones in the packaging, was still up to his old tricks. They only had figures without accessories and/or clothing, so it looks like that stopped him. Good. To hell with that guy. Then I got a postcard for my friend in Arizona, and took myself on a Del Taco date. There’s technically one within driving distance up here in Seattle, but it isn’t the same if I’m not eating it in the den at my dad’s house. Why? I don’t know why. But I devoured me some Del Taco goodness and then mowed the back yard, which was mostly dead due to summer, but there were chest-high weeds and they needed an attitude adjustment. Handled that, did some laundry, then went out to meet a friend at the mall. We had Miguel’s Jr (more wonderful mexican fast food that I adore and would pay double for if they put it in walking distance of my current location), then just caught up for awhile. For the most part, we’ve kept current with each other, but there’s only so much you can text without it turning into your life story, and life stories are better told in person with mannerisms and whatnot. She’s been in a pretty tough spot with some personal stuff and some housing issues, but it looked like things were/are going to improve very soon, so that’s good. Oh, and I bought some Choose Your Own Adventure books too. Good day all around.


(given to me on one of my darkest days, it has been on the fridge at my dad’s house ever since)

– Tuesday: got up and headed over to a see a friend I’d been estranged from for about three years. Things happened and we fell out of touch, but this is someone very dear to me and that never went away (see: the late March posts on this blog over the past few years, vaguely referring to someone). Over that entire span, I had recurring dreams of visiting her and her family, and things would be good, then I’d wake up and be bummed all day that it had not actually happened. Finally, I reached out a few months ago without knowing what to expect, but it was nice and we started talking again. It sounds sappy or whatever, but having this person back as a part of my life just feels good. It makes me feel better about… just being alive, I guess? So now we were going to see each other for the first time in forever, and it was hard to sleep and I was nervous about it. But it was a really nice visit. Just catching up on things, exchanging stories, and being so glad to be there after so much time away. Definitely one of my favorite people ever, and her family is always kind to me, and their dog remembered me. Her sister showed up at one point too, and it was nice to see her as well. I don’t mean to downplay anything else that happened during this week, but this was the biggest deal of the entire trip and it’s just nice to have my friend back. This is the person that, if I’m telling a story about anything I did for about an eight year span, she was there. Celebrity graves, apple picking, going to filming locations, tons of movies and little adventures into the mountains, and so on. The person I most wish my mom could’ve met before she died, and I even won a very small writing contest one time writing a letter to my mom saying as much. I told her mom one time that I feel like she is the friend I’d been waiting for my entire life, and I still think that. So to have this long standoff finally over, is great. But the story time did go super long (~12 hours, I had estimated ten and thought even that would be a stretch), so at some point I had to go back home, eat some leftover pizza, and sleep.


(the common-in-CA-yet-elusive-in-Seattle great great drink)

– Wednesday: got up with the most dire need of Excedrin, so a trip to the grocery store was in order. I used to be there almost daily, so seeing it all rearranged was sure strange. Got Excedrin, Pepsi, ice cream, and a Tombstone pizza. They have Tombstone up here, but without an oven, they might as well not have it here. I like Tombstone because you can eat the entire thing and it’s like a fancy cracker. I know that isn’t true, but it’s what I tell myself to justify eating the entire thing since a Tombstone doesn’t really keep well in the fridge. Went out and mowed the front yard, which actually has some grass to it, then hosed off the house and the sidewalks. When I came inside, I think the heat caught up to me, as I was seeing stars and needed to go lay down in the dark. Got up a bit later and went to see another friend and have dinner, but I arrived early and so I decided to hunt for Manzanita Sol. In Seattle, I’ve only found $1 glass bottles at the three-story Target downtown. CA is good for giant-ass bottles of this wonderful substance, and no Seattle sugar tax, either. Met my friend at an Applebee’s and ate, rapped about manga and stuff, then headed outside because she’s got a really rough drive to and from work, and I didn’t want to keep her out too late. We wound up talking for like another hour, which I hope didn’t make the next day super tired for her, but I was glad to get the time. Out of everyone I know, she’s the one I wish I knew earlier and better. She’s smart and nice and just fun to be around, so I really regret not getting together more when I lived in CA. It’s nice that we can get together when I visit, though. After she headed home, I went to my old job to talk to some coworkers who are retiring soon. One is retiring next month. All I could say was, “must be nice, you fucker.” Talked with a supervisor there about what is involved in moving up here. I explained the process and then advised against it, though anyone looking for a job can definitely get in the door with my company, it seems. Then I drove back and collapsed into my makeshift bed.


(not a cloud in the sky, aka heat death)

– Thursday: I rolled around in bed, not wanting to leave the house. Finally headed out around 9 am to meet an old coworker, at the building I’d just been at several hours prior. I wasn’t especially hungry and neither was she, so we went to a burger place I forget the name of. The burger was similarly forgettable. But we stayed in there talking and I had figured on maybe an hour, ninety minutes tops, and I’d be out by noon. It was 2:30 when we finally left. Most of that discussion was work related, some practical and some gossip. But she was always nice to work with, so it was good to catch up a bit. Then I headed back to see the friend I visited on Tuesday, because I was planning to turn the car in that day and just didn’t want to leave without stopping by again. I tried not to stay too long, because I’d turned up later than I had initially planned and didn’t want to take up too much of anyone’s time. But I miss that interaction. I miss those people and that house and it’s one of the few places in this world that I can say, “I feel good” and mean it. Which is weird to say about a specific room or yard or whatever, but it’s true. Then I said my goodbyes and cried about it the entire time. Then I cried about it the entire drive home. Heck, it’s making me cry now as I write about it, and it was almost a week ago. The rest of that evening is currently a blur in my mind, but I know I did laundry again because I didn’t bring enough clothes with me. As soon as I got clothes in the dryer, I went to sleep. At this point, the idea of coming back up here was giving me a great sense of dread.

(finishing things properly)

– Friday: got up and went to visit my grandmother for a bit. I gave her some of the story but not all of the gory details, and she said that some of my personality reminds her so much of my grandfather that it makes her want to slap me. Thank you, I guess? But the discussion ranged from, “if you don’t want to be up there, why don’t you just come back here?” to “don’t think you need to stay here for anyone’s benefit, only come back if it’s what is right for you” and so it left me just as mixed up about how I feel about all of this as I ever did. Went and dropped the rental car off, then walked back through my town to the house. Maybe two miles or so. It was hot, but not oppressively so. When I got back, I needed to hose off in the shower and then cool off before we headed to the airport. Polished off that Manzanita Sol because my blasphemous father said it didn’t smell good, so he wouldn’t drink it. Then we drove out to the airport and hit almost zero traffic, so I wound up there early. Cried as we said goodbye, and I think I just do that at airports? Maybe it’s normal, I don’t know. Then I quietly waited at the gate and ate these Combos that were not as good as the ones I had before the flight down. But then, if you told me there were both exactly the same and the bag is different solely to make you think you were eating a different flavor, I’d believe you. Landed in Seattle, drove to work and worked until about 2:30 am Saturday.


(if this sky were just 1200 miles south, this is easily solved)

– Saturday: got back to my place around 3 am, and was glad for having done all my chores before the trip. I put the dirty clothes in my laundry bag, put the luggage under the bed, opened the window to air this place out, then took a much-needed shower and attempted to sleep. Woke up a few hours later and needed toilet paper. So I walked to Uwajimaya and got a bunch of drinks and some food, then got back here and thought, “oh yeah… toilet paper.” It wasn’t a 100% out situation, but it could’ve gotten dicey if I found myself in the throes of gastrointestinal dismay. Just sort of sat here and watched stuff I already forgot, and tried to deflate from the trip.

So much talking, to the point that I had a sore throat by the time I got up here, but it was good to get a chance to tell my stories to people that I wanted to have hear them. It was also important to let people know that they matter to me. I had a friend that I ran into years ago at a store, an old coworker. I told him that I admired him and thought he was a good guy, someone I could really look up to and try to get good habits from. He was very modest about it and I don’t think he believed me, but I was serious with everything I told him. Six months later, he died from inoperable cancer in his spinal column. I didn’t see him during that time, as he didn’t want visitors. But I was glad that, even if it didn’t help his medical situation at all, that I had told him what I thought of him when we met that day. So since then, I’ve always wanted to be very forward with letting people know how I feel about them. Just in case something happens to them, or to me, it’s out there. I don’t have a lot of friends. I don’t know that I’m a good friend to anyone. But I love my friends and want the very best for them, and wish I could do stuff to improve their situations, though most times that just boils down to me hoping things stay good for them or improve if times are tough. I wish there was a way to take that sentiment and turn it into something positive for them. It sure hasn’t helped the folks I’ve known who’ve passed away, sadly.

Anyway, I went back to “real” work on Sunday night and now I’m just trying to figure out what I want to do. I’ve got a lease here until December 31. I’ve got a job that seems okay and the pay is the best I’ve had to date. I could theoretically take a vacation to Maui and find out about jobs there, maybe in late October or sometime in November. But do I want to go to Maui and risk feeling how I did in 2007 (or how I feel up here now, even)? Or do I want to go back home so I can be home, despite all my gripes with that place which fueled my exit in the first place? It is where my friends are, but I wouldn’t want to go back and being annoying and clingy just because they’re great and I’m not, because that isn’t fair. So do I want to just stay up here until something happens and I’m forced to make a move? (no) I just don’t know what I want to do, and normally if I’m stuck between choices, I’ll coin flip on it. But this is kinda bigger than a coin flip ruling. If I could just migrate this job’s pay and this region’s weather back home, it would be so easy. But then, staying in a place purely for money and clouds sounds really foolish. So I don’t know. I don’t miss everything about CA, but I miss my people. Hell, I missed them when I lived there and didn’t see them much. idk man idk. Just gonna try and get back into sync with my sleep schedule for now, and then go from there. Who knows what could happen? I know I don’t. But I know that this trip home was really good and made me want to just not get on the plane back up here.

Categories: Misc.

The anime shops: a look back

March 29, 2019 Leave a comment

On April 1, it will be ten years since the anime shop I worked at from 2004-2009, finally shut down forever. So it seems like a good time for a trip down memory lane, but it is likely impossible to pack everything into one post. I’ll try and pick out some memorable happenings for now, and perhaps I’ll do some exhaustive recap at a later time. Photos will be at the end, to give an idea of the space we worked with. Read more…

Categories: Misc.

March 27, 2019 Leave a comment

It’s an old friend’s birthday tomorrow. We’ve been out of touch for quite some time, but it’s someone that I have always liked and remember fondly. I miss hunting out a good birthday gift or making a cake or whatever that year’s plan was. I miss… most things about back then, actually. As with past years, I will just hope that things are going well on her end and that life is treating her right. Maybe eat some cake on her behalf, too.

Wherever you are out there in the world, happy birthday.

Categories: Misc.

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.

“She said, she liked, the ocean.”

September 6, 2018 1 comment

In a week, it will be nine months since I arrived up here. Things have been fairly quiet, which is good. Had some ups and downs with my health, as I hurt both my forearms and an ankle, and all at different times, then I was caught by a flu bug or something about a week and a half ago. This has resulted in missing some time at work, but since it has all been legit and not just playing hooky, the management has been cool about it. I think my work has been consistent and my ideas for getting things organized have all worked out well, so if the trade-off is that I miss a day here and there as my body slowly falls apart with age, they don’t seem to mind too much. However, I’m tired of feeling worn out all the time, so I’m looking to change up some things in a couple of weeks and try to be a bit more into taking care of myself.

Before that, I’m going to go back to California for a little bit. In August, payroll was tight and I was asked if I’d like to take a vacation. I said that I would, but noted that buying plane tickets is cheaper if there’s a little time between purchase and flight, and asked if I could get time off in September. They said yes and agreed to let me have two weeks, which is great. I’ll be off for a few days here, then in CA for like eight days, then back up here for a few days before I have to go back. It will be nice to get a break from the everyday routine, for sure. Plus two weeks to rest my old bones. I doubt I’ll get to see everyone I’d like to visit while I’m down there, and there are places I’d like to go but won’t due to time constraints. I’m just going to enjoy those that I can fit in and have the best time possible. Plus, I can grab some of my stuff from home that I left behind but wish I had now, like my 3DS and Vita, some of my movies, etc. The only really negative thing I’m anticipating is the weather, since it’s going to *finally* start raining here just as I leave, but it’s going to be in the high 90s down in CA. Which, I hate desert climate and heat, but what can you do? My line of work is really difficult for taking time off from about Thanksgiving until a little after Christmas, so going home when the weather is great is very unlikely.

But the entire trip should serve as a way to tell my brain, “you said you miss this, so here it is. Do you really miss it?” and get an answer once and for all. The first six months or so that I was here, I was pretty homesick. It might just be my adjusting to an entirely new place and type of people and climate and everything involved in leaving your old life behind, since I’d never done that before. I think most of all, it’s the people that I miss. I rarely saw them in person and kept in touch over the phone anyway, but removing the option to see them if the opportunity did arise, was a big deal to me. So I’ve kept in touch with most of the folks that are big deals to me, and the others I’ve checked in on and they seem to be doing fine, which is great. I like the idea of the people I care about being good, whether I can contribute to that or not. Over the last couple of months, getting caught up in work stuff and the aforementioned time spent ailing, I guess I just got past it and now I’m used to being here? I still miss people and wish I could see them, but it feels different now. I can’t exactly articulate it, but I guess just knowing that everyone is good, makes being so far away okay somehow? It’s still a thing where I’ll have a day here and there that I am jonesing for a person’s company or a type of food from back home specifically, but I think that’s probably normal. I have a similar thing with people I know who’ve passed away, where it’s always a sad thing, but most days I can just remember them fondly. Then there will be a day where you hear a song or something and it hits you just right, and the rest of the day is kind of a bummer. I think I’d probably be worried more if that didn’t happen, because while I am okay with being mostly dead inside, I’m not quite ready for it to be a 100% thing.

So anyway, I’m going to go home for a spell and hopefully get things out of my system until it’s time to visit again in a year or so, and then when I get back here I’m going to try and finally clean up the diet once and for all. I live in a place that’s great for walking, and now that work is frowning on working tons of overtime, I’m hoping to use that time to do at least a mile or two a day in addition to however much I’m walking at work. In a month or two, I’m gonna start seriously looking into moving to a nicer place that feels a little safer, as my lease is up in January. Even if I have to double up rents for a month or something, it’s worth it if the next place is enough of an upgrade. That’s about all I know for now. Seattle is okay. I wish I saw my friend Lish a little more than I get to, but my schedule never makes these things easy. CA will be okay and I hope to fit in as much as possible. Things in general are okay, and that’s good enough for me.

Only other thing of note: I see my stats in the wordpress app. The thing I wrote about Rainbow Harvest tends to get regular views daily, which is cool. More people should go see her in Mirror, Mirror, at the very least. But then I’ll have multiple views on my main page in a day from a lone visitor, and it shows the country as places like Germany and Finland. I am curious to know who it is and what they’re looking at? Or is it a bot that just happens to hit my site for something? The internet is a strange place.

Anywho, I guess that’s it for now. Maybe I’ll do a CA travelogue when I get back, but it’s probably just gonna be photos of giant burritos and wrestling figures. We’ll see.

Categories: Misc.

6-month status report

June 13, 2018 Leave a comment

In a few hours from now, it’ll be six months since I pulled into town. It’s a strange thing to think about because even though I came here with the intention of moving and staying in a new place, a large part of me is surprised that I’m still here. A long-running theme that predates coming here is my battle with indecisiveness, so maybe that is what’s at play when it comes to those thoughts. The best thing to do is just remind myself that I’m here now, that it has been far smoother than I had expected, and to relax.

But six months seems like enough time to settle into a way of living and do a little silly comparison: my Seattle life versus my California life. In California, I was roughly 20-25 miles south of Riverside, so trips to the coast or Los Angeles (or beyond) were few and far between. In Seattle, I’m walking distance from downtown and driving distance from most other things. This may color things entirely in one way or the other. Anyway:

Weather: as a youngster, I remember Riverside County having actual seasons, with leaves turning colors in the autumn and getting a cold nose and ears if you were outside in the winter. In the last 10-15 years, it seems to be six-ish weeks of winter, nine months of summer, and the rest is a complete toss-up. It also became excessively dry, which is a given with extended drought periods. But as someone that very much does not enjoy a desert climate, going outside any time between sunrise and sunset became something I did less and less. The occasional beach day if I felt like making the hour-plus drive, or a trip to a park, but beyond that? No thanks, close the curtains.

So far in Seattle I’ve experienced fall, winter, and spring. Summer is a few days off and I’m not looking forward to it, but even if it’s hot, water is nearby on both sides of me and that is somehow comforting. I know a park that is about fifteen minutes or so from here that goes right down to a lake, so if things get too bad, there is relief. The other seasons were all wonderful aside from a couple of snow days, including Christmas. Though, walking down an empty Broadway at ~6 am on Christmas morning in search of food while everything was still covered in snow, was a pretty cool experience.

But unless the summer decides to somehow cause me to burst into flames like the Terminator 2 nuke dream sequence, Seattle is a clear winner here. I know some people hate rain and clouds and love the piss out of a dry desert climate, but that is 100% not me. Good days in CA were very nice and getting to sleep with the windows open was a rare treat, but I devoted too much thought to escaping the elements there in recent years.

Work: I work the same kind of work, overnight stuff, and truth be told, that isn’t great regardless of where you’re doing it. It’s physically exhausting, it’s hard to find good people to work with who don’t burn out after a short period, and it has made sleep a constant point of struggle in my life. But my current managers approve of the job I do and are quick to shower me with more hours than I’d like, so as far as consistent earning in what is considered a part-time position goes, I’ve definitely had it worse. Also, they pushed through a promised 30% raise not long after I got here, so that let me know their word was good. My old spot in CA was easier work-wise, but made less, worked fewer hours, and also had a drive of 30+ miles each way. My drive now is roughly 3 miles each way, which saves me time every day and gas money overall. Can’t complain about most of it. I just wish I knew how to work with my brain and not my back, but maybe that’s a future change. For now, I’m good.

Food: One thing I kind of dislike about Seattle is the lack of fast food spots around the downtown area. You can get Subway, and you can get McDonald’s, but I don’t eat McDonald’s and don’t always want a giant sandwich. I understand that small non-chain restaurants are around and are generally good, as most places I’ve tried have been. But sometimes it’s 2:30 in the morning and you want four tacos and a shake. Tough nuts, buddy. Seattle, despite being a big ass city, basically closes around 11. There are some 24-hour places further out in the seedier parts of the area, but I don’t think I’ve ever wanted Wendy’s bad enough to risk getting a screwdriver in the neck while I sit at a drive-thru. Also, there’s no In-N-Out. Also, there’s *a* Del Taco, and it’s like 20 miles away. I made the drive once because I was in dire need of some Del Taco. But maybe the cost of business is too high to be Del Taco in Seattle proper? I have no idea. I just know that this is a very specific sticking point with only me and 99% of other people would not care at all. When you find yourself out of the city in places like Federal Way or Bellevue, there are more garbage fast food options, and I approve. I just don’t like driving a long way to get it.

Back in CA, I lived roughly 1 mile from a Del Taco and knew about ten 24-hour places that could appease my cravings if they arose. I was far from things like art and the beach and other people, but by gum, I could get my $15 of fast food and come eat it at home before it got cold. I do legitimately miss that. Oh yeah – CA also had Miguel’s Jr, which, when I go home to visit, I’m stopping there on the way from the airport. One day up here, I looked up the nearest Miguel’s Jr on their website… only 1200 miles from here.

As far as actual grocery shopping goes, there are tons of options and I feel like there might actually be more grocery stores here than there were in my area. I know of four Safeways and I think five QFCs within a small radius from here. The Capitol Hill QFC is the best grocery store here, but I can generally find what I want or a close equivalent at any place I find myself. All told, I keep myself fed. So it must not be too bad.

Location: Different people want different things, depending on where they are. In CA, I lived in a house that was roughly between Los Angeles and San Diego. It was also about 35 miles inland if you believe google maps, which doesn’t sound too bad for beach trips, until you take into account the big-ass line of mountains that isolate the beach cities from everything east of there, turning that 35 miles into more like 50-60 and possibly more if you desired a specific beach up or down the coast. For immediate needs like groceries or medical attention, it was good. The neighborhood was also fairly quiet except for one house which is apparently now a frequent target of police raids, which is of surprise to zero people in the neighborhood. The house had a driveway and garage, a laundry room, yards to maintain, and was just a good old house. It just happened to be far from anything you wanted to do offline, with no really good parks or recreation-type places around. But for someone that was inside hiding from the sun and playing old Super Nintendo roms, it was a-okay.

Where I’m at in Seattle is roughly one mile from the international district and going by the google definition of downtown, I’m an 0.2 mile walk away (it’s further than that). The building I live in is fairly new and while it doesn’t have everything I’d like, it’s adequate. I can eat, poop, hose off, and sleep. Don’t need much more than that. There have been quiet people here and noisy people, but it seems like the noisy people get kicked out quickly, so no complaints here. It’s not a big place, but if I had too much more, I’d feel like it was excessive for my needs. The internet works despite some iffy upload speeds, but it’s also included with the other utilities, which are included with the rent. So for a guy trying to lead a very small existence, it is almost ideal. I can walk to Lish’s place too, which is always a good chance to get out and take pictures of buildings and things. The only real negatives I’d say are that the stove is in another building and for community use, which I’m super not into because I don’t trust other people and their housekeeping habits, especially on things I’m going to use for cooking. Also I’m not huge on the whole laundry thing of needing an endless supply of quarters and hoping everyone actually took out their laundry from the machines when they finished (rarely the case here), but I’ve found that late-night/early-morning laundry times tend to result in more empty machines. So I make it work.

Transit: I mentioned living far from things in CA. This is true, and CA is already spread out enough that you kind of need a car. There’s a rail system but it isn’t great as far as stops go, and you can still end up miles from where you’re trying to be, so you need a bus and a rail, and it’s just more than I am willing to deal with. I’d rather bite the bullet on gas prices and have more control over my travel experience. For the most part, driving for me has always been something I actively dislike, but going to work at night and home in the morning is always opposite of the usual traffic flow, so that can be nice. But, leaving my house any time after about 5:30 am meant planning a route; the one freeway going north and south was bad going both directions, but this meant many people took side streets to avoid the freeways, making the side streets a nightmare as well. All of this is just to reach the other freeways that actually go somewhere you want to go, which are also their own special blend of hell. One of the last days I was in CA, I went to visit a friend roughly 55 miles away and it took almost three hours to get there, and that’s despite taking a toll road that was supposed to make for a smoother trip. The true answer to easing Inland Empire traffic into Orange County involves making a path through the mountains… similar to the 74/Ortega Hwy, but it’s supposed to be a giant tunnel through the actual mountains. But, I’ve heard about that for at least 20 years, so it’s safe to say that if it ever does happen, I’ll be dead by then. Or living up here so it won’t matter anyway? Anyway, traffic at night was nice, in the morning, the road is slowly sucking your life away. But when you do get where you’re going, it’s easy enough to find parking and get on with your day.

Freeways in WA seem fairly good for the most part. The 5 has its trouble spots, but as the main way to get into Seattle, this makes sense. Same goes for the two bridges that cross the water to the east of here, in the morning they are rough coming into town, and likely are the same going out of town at night. But getting around is easy enough in the city, as everything is super dense. Not just in a car, though going downtown in a car might be the worst way to do it? I like going on foot to see things, but there is a pretty great light rail that runs the entire length from the airport to the college, there are about infinity-plus-one buses around, and you’re never super far from anything anyway. For more on that, refer to my Seattle trip entries, as I walked all over this crazy place and found that I didn’t actually cover a great total distance, it just felt that way due to all the inclines. The only real bad parts that I’m not used to about travel in this city, specifically in a car, are the number of pedestrians, and parking. With the pedestrians, it isn’t that there are pedestrians, it’s that you have to constantly be watching for people in places other than crosswalks. At stop lights, panhandlers will walk 7-8 cars deep in search of change or whatever, but anywhere else in the city it could be a businessman or it could be some random vagrant, just casually sauntering across the street like they’re a ghost or invulnerable. I figure that will just take some getting used to.

But the parking. Oh holy ass, the parking. I could rant *AT LENGTH* about this, but I’m not going to. Zoned parking makes sense for the people in those neighborhoods, but if you’re visiting it can be a nightmare. There are only so many parking spots in front of the buildings and if no one leaves, you’re not parking. So you either circle and hope for someone to finally leave, or you finally give up and just go pay to park. I’ve only paid a few times, but I just don’t understand: why doesn’t someone build multi-tier parking garages instead of more buildings? Or why doesn’t the city make it mandatory for a building to include parking? With my building, there are zero spots and you have to luck out in a area that isn’t zoned, sometimes resulting in parking several blocks away. It isn’t always a hassle, but when it is, it is a definite headache that I hate hate hate.

Social life: This isn’t something I can really compare, for multiple reasons. My social circles are always small by design, and while I tend to keep to myself almost all of the time, I always wish I was hanging out with one of the few people I do really like. Back home I could rarely see anyone due to our schedules, and when we did meet, it was fun but I was always left wishing there were more time. Sometimes I wouldn’t see someone for more than a year, so getting a handful of hours doesn’t really make up for the time in-between. But I’ve always been into doing my deep dives on really stupid things like bad TV or reading a super long manga in silence at home, so I kept busy. I just miss people and wish they were around more, or at all.

So up here, my friend Mikey came up to visit once, and since I see him about once a year, that just kind of feels normal. My dad was here to visit recently, and it was fun having him here despite all the driving I had to do, and I wish he was around more often. I only talk with him on Sundays now and that’s been weird to get used to. But as far as people I know up here that I share time with, Lish lives close enough to walk over and visit, and that’s really neat. She’s great and I don’t know if I’m great in return, but I try to be. Much like my people back home, I always wish there was more time to hang out. Beyond that, I haven’t really met anyone I want to know more about or hang out with, and if I don’t, I guess that’s okay. I’ve always been a quality over quantity guy when it comes to people I want to invest my time in, so I think I’m doing okay.

Overall: I can’t lie, I miss parts of CA. My friends and some of my family, certain smells and places, and just the overall familiarity of it. You drop me anywhere south of LA, and I’m probably gonna know a way to get around… and find a good burrito while we’re at it. But the weather was horrible, the people were generally aggressive, and it was just time to go. So up here, I dislike parking, I’m not into having 30 guys try and sell me their horrible homemade rap tapes on the street, and I wish I had a bathtub. But I feel like I’m in a good place, things are okay, and I have an exceptional friend that I can share time with. So I think being here is pretty decent. I might stay awhile.

The only other thing I wanted to do was post some photos from my walks around here. Where I lived in CA looked like Fallout New Vegas, so any screenshot from that game will suffice for the CA side. But here’s what I’ve seen along the way in Seattle:

Maybe we’ll check back in when I hit a year?

Categories: Misc.

Dates, etc.

March 28, 2018 Leave a comment

Brief Seattle update – things seem okay. I’m at least somewhat used to it now, though I have yet to see a good number of things I thought I might have by now. All in good time, I suppose. But it’s living alone in a tiny box in the big city, so whether that’s a good thing or a bad one depends on the person. I have my days where I love it, I have my days where I miss the sprawl of California, and then most days are kind of in the middle. It’s still new enough that most things feel exciting, so I guess there’s that. At some point I’ll do a pro/con post, but that’s for some other day.

Today, I wanted to talk about dates and memories. I tend to be good at remembering specific dates, like birthdays, life events, and so on. I was talking with a coworker about a song last night, and it reminded me of a classmate for some reason. I’m not entirely sure why, perhaps we listened to it together in the past? But my brain associates the two, and after realizing that, I thought, “her birthday is February 4th.” This is a classmate I had from sixth to eighth grade and have not seen since the beginning of eight grade year, which would’ve been late 1990. Not only does this mean I am growing old, but it also means I can retain this knowledge that no one outside of this person’s family and circle of friends probably cares about. Heck, nowadays most people probably don’t remember unless some app tells them. But why do I remember this? Is this some sort of tool that I could harness and put to good use? What if I could remember something still related to numbers but more practical and useful to people? I’m not sure. I tried to look it up, but I got as far as, “what does it mean if” and before I could type the rest, the autocomplete matches were all medical conditions involving different colored bodily waste. This completely sidetracked my brain for a few minutes and I lost half of what I had wanted to write in here. Also if your poop is green, as far as I know, that’s a food coloring issue. I’ve had it happen with those fun Halloween-themed cereals.

Another thing with dates is how the same day can mean different things to people. For example, if you ask most people what happened on December 7, they will recall Pearl Harbor in 1942, since it has been both mourned and glorified every year since then. But for me, the first thing I think of is Tom Waits’ birthday in 1949. I wasn’t there, and have only been into his stuff for a decade or so, but that’s Tom Waits day to me. No disrespect intended to any veterans, mind you. It’s just the little bubble I’ve fashioned for myself to live in. April 1 isn’t April Fool’s Day, since that can be annoying anyway and I promised a friend years ago I would quit joking around after some really off-color work on an April Fool’s Day, but rather the day of the Ultimate Challenge at Wrestlemania VI. These days, I’m a bit ashamed of myself about having anything connected to wrestling, but that was a different time. Feels like a lifetime ago.

But birthdays in particular are always important to remember, for me. When I was little, the whole family would gather for birthdays, since everyone lived locally. In the case of mine/my mom’s/my dad’s birthday, both sides of the family would turn up. Maybe because they all made the time to show up and have well wishes and gifts and all, it made birthdays noteworthy to me? I’m not entirely sure. But I do like to acknowledge a person’s birthday when it happens. Sometimes it’s a bigger gesture if plans have been made in advance, other times it’s something as insignificant as a text message. It depends on the circumstances at the time, which could be distance or money or we’re both busy, etc. Sometimes you get a chance to catch up with them later and have a birthday thing a month from now or whatever, so the intent is still there.

Other times you’re out of contact for whatever reason, and in this case all I can do is think of them and hope that they’re well, that life is treating them fairly at the very least, and that the day goes smoothly. It’s a weird thing because I’ve done this for people that I’ve only ever known on the internet and never met in person. Some I’ve seen photos of, some I have not and only know as text on a screen. For whatever reason, part of my brain thinks, “this person could be a horrible monster who double parks and is rude to cashiers for all I know,” but they’ve presented themselves as a nice person on instagram or whichever service, so I choose to buy into that and hope for the best. Both for them as a person, and for their birthday.

Or sometimes I haven’t seen a person in years, wish them well in my mind every year on their birthday, then catch up with them years later and learn what is really true, which is that everyone has their ups and downs and sometimes those can be really severe. I caught up with an old friend from middle school maybe twelve or thirteen years after I had moved away. Still a calm and kind person, but had sold drugs professionally, robbed two different establishments, and survived an attempted murder before she decided to try and put her life back together. We have since fallen out of touch again, but the last I knew, she had the job she wanted and built a house to her exact specifications and was married and so on, so she was in a far better place, which is all you can really hope for anyone. Her birthday is April 5, by the way.

The only ones that feel totally strange to me, and I’m not sure why, are the birthdays of dead people I knew. A couple weeks from now is a friend’s birthday. She would’ve been thirty-five this year. She died when she was twenty-six, and died on my parents’ wedding anniversary. So I also tend to remember her death more than the wedding anniversary in recent years, and when I lived in California I would drive the two hours or whatever to go put a Heineken on her grave. I have a cousin who was born on June 29, but that’s the same day that another friend passed away from cancer at thirty-four. So maybe it isn’t always just birthdays that stick out, but that isn’t the weird part. What’s weird is that I still find myself going, “I hope they have a good day” despite their having been gone for some time now. I don’t really think there’s anything after you die, but more that you just die and that’s it, only people’s memories of you live on until they die or forget and then you’re 100% gone. Maybe it’s just because that’s they general birthday wish and so even if they’re gone, it’s just the brain’s go-to? It would be nice if there were some afterlife thing that happened, but if there were, wouldn’t it be awesome every day so a birthday wouldn’t matter? I don’t know. When I do know for sure, it will be too late to blog about it, too.

Anyway, I was thinking about all this just stemming from that song discussion I mentioned earlier, but also because today is an old friend’s birthday. We’ve been out of touch for quite some time now. A younger me used to be willing to lurk social media to see what people are up to, but that desire left me some ways back, so I have no idea how this person is doing or where life has taken her. But I always thought highly of her and her family, so I do hope that they’re all in good places and happy. It’s a bit different to just vaguely post about a person’s birthday when it was much more involved in years past, but life takes us all to different places and this is where we are now. She would often mention that people grow apart and I suppose it is true, but I still like to remember those fun times fondly. So, wherever you are out there, I hope your birthday is nice and that life treats you kindly.

Categories: Misc.