1000 Words Challenge Recap – 13 August 2016

13 August 2016
Saturday

As per usual on the weekends when I don’t have to set an alarm, I woke up at 7:00. I tried go back to sleep by rolling over, but that didn’t work. Giving up, I got out of bed and went to the bathroom to take a piss. Having done that I headed out into the main room of my apartment to grab my phone off its charger, and checked to see if my Kindle was done charging also. Still yellow. I must’ve really ran down the battery. I went back into my bedroom and laid back down, browsing Twitter and checking my YouTube stats. Nothing really new. After a while, I got up since I did have some things to do today before 12:00.

Unexpectedly, I got a call yesterday evening from my eye doctor saying that my glasses were in. I’ve never had a turnaround that quickly. I’m not complaining though. They were open until 13:00, so I really had to get most if not all of my recordings done before 11:00 so I could shower and get cleaned up. It was around 7:30 or so when I sat down in front of my computer to record.

First I did the Hearts of Iron IV videos. These are usually the faster of the ones I do, both in recording and uploading. Those went alright, no hiccups or corrupted video files (like last weeks, where I had to do another episode). That series is going well. Once I finished that I fired up Factorio to do the “Build The Wall!” series. While these episodes record fast, the sheer size of them (greater than 1.0 GB) has the upload times well approaching 2 hours apiece. Overall, everything got recorded and queued for upload by 10:30. Not too bad, I think.

I left my computer and went back into my bedroom taking of my shirt and shorts, tossing them into my dirty clothes basket. Grabbing a t-shirt and a pair of boxer briefs, I went into the bathroom to take a shit and shower. I got cleaned up quick, and as another plus the soreness of my back has gone down. Two times last night before going to bed, I felt some knots “pop”. A few more days, and a massage this coming Friday will take care of it permanently, I hope.

After getting dressed, I put on my sneakers, slid my phone and wallet into their respective pockets, and picked up my car keys to go. For some reason I though my eye doctor closed as noon, while not being far away from my apartment, I wanted to get there before then.

As a slight detour, I went by the bank to get some money out of the ATM. I figured that while I was out, I would go have some lunch and then fill up my tank with diesel. Once I had withdrawn the money from my checking account, I drove over to go get my new glasses from the eye doctor.

I walked in and told the receptionist that I was here to pick up my glasses. She motioned me to sit down at the nearby table and would bring them out to me. It didn’t take long for her to return. I took off my old pair and put the new ones on. As always with new lenses, there’s usually a slight “this is odd” effect, which I asked the girl “Did my prescription change? I don’t remember.” She said she would check and told me to meet her up at the counter. After looking through my file, so told me it did slightly, and if I had any problems or needed adjustment to come back in so they could look at it. I said thank you and left.

Just need to get used to the new lenses.

Instead of taking my new glasses off and putting on my sunglasses, I kept them on. The glare wasn’t that bad due to the clouds that have been rolling in for the past two days now. The drive to a nearby Panera wasn’t too taxing, though there was a bit of a “wobble” when I turned my head quickly. I told myself that was just my brain getting used to it, and I could feel a slight headache coming on from the newfound strain. Not a big deal.

I had the Mac & Cheese at Panera, it was alright. I probably won’t get it again though. It was a bit expensive for my liking, $11 for the bowl and a drink. I didn’t even finish all of it, something about the cheese itself turned me off of it. After returning the dishes to the provided bus bin, I went out to my car.

This time I did put on my sunglasses, finding out that the arms of my new glasses wouldn’t fold up flat, so I couldn’t use that built-in holder in my car to store them. Looks like I’ll be using the case they gave me after all, but permanently in my car. I need to remember to take it with me when necessary.

I still had to get diesel. The information my car was displaying was that I only had 70 miles left to drive in the tank, at the present rate of consumption. While this wasn’t a big deal, I try not to drive my car such that the “low fuel” light ever comes on. I drove to one of the two local Krogers that have both a gas station and offer diesel to go fill up. I ended up filling up with a little over 12 gallons of diesel, which should tide me over until the end of the month to the refill before I head up to Buffalo for Labor Day weekend.

The clouds looked ominous, and it really looked like it wanted to rain. The humidity was high enough.

Not worrying about the possibility of rain, I drove home to take care of some laundry and do some more note taking for the project I’m working on.

It did rain later that afternoon, around 15:00.

Observation on the First Debate

I might be one of the few that caught this from the first Presidential debate last night, so I’ll state my observation here.

Throughout the debate I picked up on a trend in how each of the candidates referred to one another. Which as the debate went on seemed more and more odd to me.

Now for the most part Trump usually referred to Hillary as “Secretary Clinton” when talking about her, using her last effective official title as per the usual protocol (eg. Gov. Bush, VP Gore, Sen. Kerry, etc). While he does call her “Crooked” on Twitter, in a public forum he utilized some decorum and gave professional respect to his opponent.

Basic decency and class.

Contrasting that with Hillary, she primarily called Trump “Donald.” No “Mr. Trump” at all. Since he has never held public office and wouldn’t necessarily have a title to be called, you would think that the classy and decent thing to do would be a default to a “Mr.” prefix. Not so much with her.

Whenever Hillary said “Donald” there was scorn and condescension dripping in her voice. The disappointed schoolmarm scolding a child for not doing exactly what she says, right this minute. The nagging wife or girlfriend who can’t stop criticizing her husband or boyfriend about minutia. The brainy know-it-all who sighs everytime they have to explain something to “dummies.”

A tell.

This little tell shows that she has absolutely no “friendly” or professional respect for her opponent, and that she sees Trump as an obstacle in her path to power. An obstacle she diminishes in stature, in her mind, by a “friendly” use of his first name. That “friendliness” though is lessened by the venom underscoring her words.

While I know a lot of people went on about body language last night, I figured I’d throw out this one observation to clue others in on this breech of commonsense decency. You may not like or respect someone, but being polite doesn’t cost you anything.

1000 Words Challenge Recap – 12 August 2016

12 August 2016
Friday

It seems I’m going to start to do today’s 1000 words here at work. It’s 15:03 and for the most part, I’m just killing time until 16:00. Now you might think I’m slacking off (and you would be correct), but everything that I needed to get done today all got done before I left for lunch at 11:25. While I’m not dumb enough to save this to my work computer, I’ll type what I can here in a Word document and then copy and paste the draft into an unsent email and move it later when I get home to my desktop.

The temperature wasn’t that high today, though with the heat index it felt like over 100. Normally during the summer months, the cafeteria has the “Grill” station moved outside and they do their made-to-order cooking out there. Today, they were inside and you could tell why when you stepped out the door and onto the patio seating area.

I was thinking that the after-lunch walk would be inside, but because the sun was behind a thick set of clouds for a while, the heat went down. Lulled into this sense of false security, a coworker and myself went to the walking path, hoping that the sun wouldn’t come out. Unfortunately it did, and with a vengeance. By the time we got to the last turn – and also the longest non-shaded portion of the path – we were both sweating. We even stopped a few times under the shade of a few trees to cool off momentarily!

After getting back inside and going up the elevator, I wished my coworker to “have a good weekend” and walked back to my office. I was sticky with sweat and warm. So I did what I normally do, head off to the bathroom to “use” it. Basically, I act like I’m taking a shit but instead just sit there for a little while letting the coolest area on the floor air everything out and cool me down. I browsed Twitter, checked my stats on YouTube and WordPress, and saw if I had any email responses from the jobs I recently applied to. It was another normal day during the summer.

I finished up and walked back to my office. After putting my glasses back on, I grabbed my water bottle and went to go refill it in the canteen. Nobody was there, and no one was heating their (usually) god awful smelling food in the microwave. I filled the water bottle about a third of the way up with ice and then set it under the water tap, and waited for the bottle to fill up. I spun the cap around between my fingers while I waited, taking my time with my movements, stalling to use up more time. Wondering if would be able to fill up the rest of my afternoon with something not-to-difficult and straightforward.

After finding something else to do for a while, which as of this writing is pretty much complete, I figured I might as well start doing my 1000 words. And here I am, 500 or so in the bag. Halfway to the arbitrary daily goal I set for myself. Most likely, I’ll type a few more words and then “save” what I’ve written terrorist dead drop style. I should be able to breeze through the rest when I get home for the evening.

It’s 19:19 right now. I just got back from dinner and heading to Giant Eagle to buy a German grapefruit beer that I like. While it is Friday, I really don’t have the energy to go out. It has been like this for a while now. The thing that really keeps me from going out is that no matter how late I go to bed, my body will wake up between 6:30-7:30 regardless of how tired I am. This right here is worse than a hangover because I end of being completely wiped out from the lack of sleep. I should probably put some drapes up in my bedroom to take care of that, maybe sometime in the future.

As I was driving back, I saw that the road was wet. Looks like a localized shower happened between the time I left to go eat and when I was coming back. I did hear some thunder in the distance when I went for a swim earlier, but that all looked to the north of the city. Big dark grey clouds. Rain clouds. No big deal, that happens a lot here when there are storms. They either go north or south of the city, with my area usually getting hit with a trailing edge of the storm.

Interestingly enough when I came in to put my beer away, I looked on my stove to see a small grasshopper perched on the edge between the stove and the counter. I was more perplexed than shocked, wondering how that little guy got in. Not wanting to kill it, I grabbed a glass out of my cupboard and an open envelope from my counter. I put the glass over the grasshopper and slipped the paper underneath it. The grasshopper got spooked and jumped a few times inside his new glass cage, eventually coming to rest on the paper bottom. I walked over to the sliding glass door to get onto my porch and opened it. I stepped outside and closed the screen behind me.

Now I could’ve been cruel and tossed the grasshopper over the railing, but since he really did nothing to me, I stepped over to my gas grill and removed the glass. Shaking the paper a few times (he had a grip on it), the grasshopper dropped onto the left-handed shelf and just sat there. Having done a good deed, I checked to see if my towel had dried off, and then went back inside. I put the glass with the dirty cups and dropped the envelope next to the other ones.

Then I made a cup of instant decaf coffee and sat down in front of my computer to finish my 1000 words for the day.

1000 Words Challenge Recap – 11 August 2016

11 August 2016
Thursday

I’m only five days into this challenge, and I already want it to end. 1000 words, what exactly do you write about when really much doesn’t happen in your everyday life? I’m sure as hell am not writing about work, because if this ends up being put on my blog, I’d have to go through and do all the [Redacted] and [Place] name swapping stuff. Plus there’s the whole writing about monotony thing.

I did my podcast right before writing this. I even talked about exactly what the challenge is going to entail. To be honest, I really don’t know why I keep up with the podcast. Barely anyone listens (though there’s been an uptick on Soundcloud for some unknown reason). To me it seems is that I’ve hit a rut with the podcast, a similar one I hit with my blog. The honeymoon’s over and now I have to either pack it in or try to find something that I can talk about on a weekly basis that’ll have me looking forward to doing it.

Previous to all of this, I went to go work out for a short while down in my apartment complex’s fitness center. I wanted to do a quick arm routine and be done with it, since I had to bang out the podcast and also type 1000 words. All was well and good. Did 3 sets of 8 alternating bicep curls. Then 3 sets of 8 double hand behind the head triceps raises. Both of those went fine, until I switched over to do concentration curls. I felt a tightening twinge in my lower back by my left hip. After muttering “Cazzo” to myself, I finished up wincing a little bit when I had to bend over to move the bench back. Cursing under my breath, I cleaned to bench off, had a sip of water and went outside for a walk.

It was still hot out. Even with the sun behind some clouds, I felt the sweat spring to the surface of my skin after a few steps outside. While I could’ve just walked 3 loops to get to a mile and a half, I figured I just do a short walk the length of the sidewalk that runs along the street. I started at the dead end and went until the sidewalk ran out, maybe 5-10 meters from the next apartment complex’s driveway. I turned and did a few of the “loosening” leg rotations I did when I ran track. They look extremely odd to the observer, and I was hoping that my hip would pop when I did it. No joy.

After walking about a third of the length back to the dead end, I had the “smart” idea to jog the rest of the way. My back protested, and my unstretched legs had the flexibility of two lead pipes. Glad I wasn’t trying to run 1.6 km today.

This pull/tweak better not get worse, though I do have a massage next Friday. If I’m careful and put on Biofreeze and take some Tylenol, this should go away shortly.

Anyways, I walked back to my apartment and changed into my swimsuit. After putting on my flip-flops and tanktop, I folded up my towel and left to go swim. I needed to cool off. Mentally, I wondered if I’d be able to recline on the chair for a period of time and not make that injury worse. As long as I didn’t do any sudden trunk-twists, I should be fine.

I got to the pool, letting myself in through the gate, noticing the (visiting?) family swimming in the pool. I didn’t pay them mind as I spread my towel on one of the lounge chairs and put my flip-flops, keys, tanktop, and Kindle underneath it. Getting in the water wasn’t even that much of a shock. The air and the water temperatures must have been damn near close. I still remember those times growing up where our pool was colder that the air, and that first “shock to the system” was the toughest.

I walked down the steps in the water, holding my hands on the front of my hips to keep my swimsuit from billowing out with trapped air. Noticing that I wasn’t going to mentally gasp when I dove underneath the surface, I slightly squatted and pushed off the bottom, allowing me to dive and giving me enough momentum to easily swim underwater to the deeper part of the pool.

The water seemed cloudy to me, probably from the dirt the family stirred – and was stirring – up. My eyes did sting a little bit, so there was the possibility that whoever serviced the pool added some chlorine tablets to the chlorinator. Either way, a few unrushed and lazy kicks later, I arched my back and quietly surfaced by the ladder in the deep part of the pool.

It’s funny that I still try to surface quietly after swimming underwater, even after all these years. Too many summers of playing “Marco Polo” taught my brothers and myself the prudence of quietly surfacing, so as not to get caught. Previously, I’d shoot up out of the water – normally because I was out of breath – making a whole lot of noise from the splash from the breech. After getting caught way too many times, I got in the habit of surfacing slowly. Old habits die hard.

After returning to the steps to sit for a while, and to stretch my lower back a bit, I did a full lap underwater (two lengths) and walked out of the zero-entry part of the pool towards my chair and towel. At this point the sun was behind a cloud and having things to do, I pulled my towel off to start drying myself.

Since I hate water dripping down my legs when I walk in sandals, I wrapped my towel about my waist sarong-style and sat down the deck chair to read a few pages of James Clavell’s Tai-Pan. I’ve read this book many times already, and since he’s such a good writer, I can enjoy it each time I read one of his novels. Most likely I’ll be re-reading Shogun next.

Experiment

For the past few months, I’ve been running an experiment over on Twitter. As of this writing, I’m going to share the results of it.

What was the experiment you may ask? Seeing how many views the videos on my YouTube channel would get after posting a link to Twitter (with a blurb).

It’s a good thing that Twitter analytics does show you how many people click your links, otherwise this experiment could not have been done.

Off the top of my head I think the best number of clicks I’ve ever gotten was 4. Normally, they get zero.

So yeah, I think I’m better off getting traffic via YouTube searches and suggested videos than trying to promote on Twitter.

1000 Words Challenge Recap – 10 August 2016

10 August 2016
Wednesday

Fuck. Its 19:08 and I have no idea what I want to write today for my 1000 words. I just want to quit the challenge and not even bother doing it. Not having mental discipline is way easier. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have such a sense of responsibility and ethics. Sociopaths have it easy. Introverts, not so much.

My department provided lunch today. Catering from a Lebanese place nearby. The kebab beef was marinated perfectly and was very tender. I also had a decent helping of basmati rice (which seemed to have chicken broth on it), some flatbread, hummus, and a few kamala olives. Kept me full pretty much until I got home this evening. I bought a coke from the machine to complete my meal.

It rained for a short while today, and I half expected the clouds to stay until dusk, but they went away around the time I left work. I could go swimming, even if I didn’t need to cool off at all. Had to run a few errands before that though. The first was to get my new membership card from my gym, and the second was to stop by the store for a few things.

Unsurprisingly, when I got to the gym there wasn’t anyone at the counter. I pressed the page button on the phone cradle perched on the edge of the counter and waited. Nothing. I pushed the button again and waited. Nothing. I shrugged mentally, and knowing that I had other things to do – like writing this for instance – figured that I could just come back tomorrow and pick it up. I really only renewed my gym membership for the winter months, since I’ve been using my apartment complex’s fitness center for my current minimal needs. I really need to get back into the swing of lifting weights again. A lot of the issues I’ve been having with my back are being taken care of with those bi-weekly massages I’ve been getting. Switching to someone else that uses more pressure has made a lot of the tightness in my lower back practically evaporate. Sucks that I have to be sore for three or four days following a session before I start to feel better. I’ll just have to be extremely careful with squats. Deadlifts I still think may be out of the question for the time being.

I left the gym and drove over to the nearby Kroger. I needed some knockoff Zyrtec D to help me not to be sneezing all the goddamn time. Also I ran out of 8 hour acetaminophen, and I needed a restock for my medicine cabinet. Since the allergy medicine had some pseudoephedrine in it, I had to take a card up to the pharmacy counter to purchase it. They did the normal scanning my license, since the all-powerful government deems this is the best way to try to keep people from making meth. The only interesting thing I also want to mention was that when I paid with a $20 bill, the pharmacist looked at it strangely. The guy was young, and didn’t recognize the 1993 vintage bill I gave him. I guess he thought it was fake, he flipped it over a few times to look at it, but accepted it. I paid and left the counter. I grabbed a 100 count bottle of the 8 hour acetaminophen and some cough drops and went up to the self-checkout to pay and then leave.

The sun was still out, though behind a wispy cloud. It still looked like I could head down to the pool. I then drove home having to park, yet again, in front of the next building. What a hassle. Gone were the days about a year ago when I’d have a choice spot right by the walkway to the stairs. Now, it’s all about timing and luck. I’ve had bad timing for a while now.

I got my messenger bag out of the back seat, picked up the plastic grocery bag, and went to get my mail. The mailbox is conveniently right by my building, so I didn’t have to make a special trip to pick up or send my mail out. Junk bulk mail. Renewal documents for AAA. Nothing really that important for me to worry about, like bills or something concerning the possible recall action on my Jetta TDI. I walked up the stairs to my apartment and unlocked the door. Stepping inside, and after closing and locking the door, I tossed the ad mailer directly into my recycling bin. Never cared about those weekly ads that I got in the mail. Funny how you don’t even have to buy a Sunday newspaper to get the grocery store ads anymore.

Moving towards the sink, I opened my bag and removed my 1 liter Nalgene water bottle, opening it and dumping the dregs down the drain. Shaking it out, I set it by my unused travel mug and left it open to air out overnight. Placing the grocery bag on the counter, I went clockwise around the island to place my bag on one of my table’s wooden chairs. Pretty much my normal coming home routine so far.

I unbuttoned my polo and walked into my office to fire up my computer so I could sit down and try not to break the chain with this 1000 words challenge. The good thing about this challenge is that the word count shows up in the lower left-hand corner when you’re typing, so you can easily see it. The bad thing about this challenge is that the word count shows up in the lower left-hand corner when you’re typing, taunting you.

“Yeah, that’s only 256 words. Get back at it! Only 744 more words to go, I hope you don’t get writer’s block! Ha ha!”

Fuck you, Microsoft Word’s word count. Even right now I’m only at 980 or so, thinking “what else should I be spamming out onto this electronic page? How do those writers do this every day? I really don’t want to fail the challenge though…”

And 1020. Screw you, word count.

1000 Word Challenge Recap – 9 August 2016

9 August 2016
Tuesday

For some reason, this morning went by extremely slowly. I put in for a half-day floating holiday so I could go to my annual eye appointment and not bother having to come back to work afterwards. It was at 14:30, and it seemed idiotic to leave work and then come back to make up time by staying later (which I probably would have dicked around, half-assing it until I could leave).

Anyways, back to the point: the morning was very slow. I slogged through my work, checking Twitter a lot in the process. I did have a big task that needed to be done, but since it would take the better part of a full day, I pushed it back to tomorrow morning to start. I don’t like leaving unfinished things on my desk overnight. While it doesn’t matter that much, it lets me know what I completed on which day.

So my morning was one of “find stuff to do that isn’t too long”. Boring and tedious. Because of my inattention, I almost managed to let a huge error slip through, on I would’ve gotten dinged for. Sloppy of me to not be paying closer attention. My mind was elsewhere. Half-days will do that, it seems.

11:30 rolled around and I went down to the cafeteria to have lunch. I had pot roast with onion gravy, steamed vegetables (green beans, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli), and brown rice that had tomatoes and a little bit of cheese mixed in. I’m not usually the biggest fan of pot roast (since most of the time the unremoved fat makes most pieces inedible to me), but I don’t mind getting it occasionally. I ate with the usual people I eat with from my department, and then went for a 1 mile walk afterwards.

To be honest it probably was too hot outside to walk, even with the sun behind the clouds. I remember immediately after stepping outside to go to sit at a table I muttered “humidita” in Italian. While it doesn’t get as humid as Buffalo does during the summer, Columbus makes up for the lower humidity with a much higher temperature. I likened it, when explaining to my parents and friends back home, to opening an oven.

July and August are the worst here, especially when driving. Growing up in Western New York, there’s always a breeze coming off of the lake. While this does raise the humidity, it has a significant cooling effect. One could drive around town with your windows down and be comfortable, even if it was 88° out. Or, as my brother called it, the “four by fifty-five air conditioner”. This refers to your windows being down in your car and driving 55 mph.

As a result of my walk, I was sweaty. Instead of sitting down in my office and being uncomfortable, I went to the best place on my floor to cool off: the men’s bathroom.

About a year ago, I discovered that the bathrooms were cooled much better than the rest of the floor. My office, specifically, has a busted thermostat and cannot heat or cool to save its life. So what I do is I go to the bathroom and make like I’m taking a shit. It lets me cool off and the toilet seat cover absorbs some of my sweat. This takes maybe 15-20 minutes or so, basically me killing more of my afternoon off.

Today was different, I didn’t have to kill off time, since I took the afternoon off for my eye appointment. I packed my bag and drove back home to my apartment. It took maybe 20 minutes or so, I must’ve hit every red light on the way. By the time I got in the front door, it was 13:00 and I had an hour to kill before I had to go.

Now the smart thing to do would’ve been to start doing this 1000 word entry. Instead, I fired up YouTube on my desktop and watched a 20 minute video from my subscriptions list while having a small snack. Finishing that up, I still had some more time to kill before leaving at 14:00. So I checked to see what the weekly sale was on PSN and then futzed around on Twitter until I had to go.

The eye appointment wasn’t really that exciting, my prescription didn’t change for the third year in a row. My doctor did say that the astigmatism in my one eye increased a little bit, but she said that they don’t grind lenses for that “small” of an increase. Normally they do the increases in fourths, my increase was an eighth. After doing the peripheral vision test (out of order), I followed the girl out to the main room to pick out some new frames.

Since they didn’t seem to make the same frames that I had on currently, I had to go through the process of picking out new ones, trying them on, and seeing if I like them or not. While I’ve had glasses since I was 15 years old, I really can’t stand wearing them at all. I like wearing glasses that aren’t too big on my face (both directions, up and down), and don’t look terrible. My glasses are to be functional and useful, but I don’t want them to be the focal point of my face.

After trying on a few pairs, I did decide on one to get. While I could’ve ordered the same frames I currently wear (but in a different color), it would’ve taken six weeks and I wasn’t keen on how they’d possibly look. So the girl went to go total things up and I went to go look at the other frames they had on display. Lots of ugly designs, a lot of them geared towards women. I did see a plastic frame that looked like something someone from the 1930’s would wear, and smiled at that.

The girl then came back and went through the price breakdown between before and after my insurance was applied. $230 wasn’t too bad. Since I normally have been changing my glasses because the frames were going every 2 years or so, this is an expense I do not worry about.