A good old driving rant…

It’s been a while since I had an old-school driving rant, so here we go!

At least twice a week, I have a 40 minute drive to the train station to get to work. It involves a fair amount of twisty back roads, and other drivers who aren’t quite as alert or clear thinking at 5:30am.

Today I’m heading in, haven’t even left Warwick yet and I catch up to this red Subaru doing 35mph. It’s a 55mph zone. The fastest they went was about 40mph. There’s a truck behind me who is likely also wondering why we’re traveling so slowly.

So as we reach Route 94, I make a move I rarely do, as I’m trying to avoid being stuck behind a red Subaru all the way through to Sterling Forest, I hang a left on Hathorn Rd which is a decent shortcut even if you stick to the speed limit of 30mph.

The Subaru ends up going left, the truck ends up flooring it to get ahead of me, no big deal. I pull out and there was a white Ford work van (I love aggressive drivers in clearly labelled work vehicles!) who apparently floored it the moment they had a green light and was approaching rapidly from behind.

Now State Route 94 is 45mph in Warwick, it goes into a 30mph zone when you reach the village. I pulled out, hit 45mph, and had this jackasses headlights in my rear view within seconds. This pretty much continued straight through town (I’d already aimed my rear-view in a manner so it was out of sight, out of mind) and nearly into Sterling Forest.

I’ll admit part of it may have been my fault, as I did something I normally do NOT do, I flipped the jerk off the second they were on my rear bumper. 5:30am, not everyone is thinking clearly, old reflexes kick in, but still… Wet roads, you’re in a van tailgating a sport coupe… come on.

Upside, apparently if you hang a left onto Mountain Lake Road from 17A, continue onto Old Rt 17A, then hang a right onto Old Tuxedo Road, that completely loops around Greenwood Lake, avoiding the usual bottleneck that is Greenwood Lake and dumps you back out on 17A, hopefully ahead of the slowpokes.

A Kia Stinger took that route this morning and wound up a quarter mile ahead when they pulled back out onto 17A, I never saw the taillights again since I was sandwiched between a slowpoke and the aforementioned jerk in a work fan.

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PSA: Cattle Corn is not People Corn

Visited cornfest at Wright Family Farm today, some city people packed a bag of corn from the corn maze, were trying to figure out how to cook it…

“you really don’t want to eat that”

“why not?”

“it’s cattle corn, made to feed livestock, you’ll break your teeth”

“what are you, southern? How do you know this?”

“lived here my whole life”

Good deed for the day accomplished. Southern. LMAO.

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14,600 Days

That’s 40 years for the millennials among us.

Another year alone, another birthday on my own for the most part. With a few exceptions, I normally spend my birthday alone. No party, no get-together, no celebrations, nothing.

I’d suppose you could say its by choice, as I don’t quite go out of my way to advertise it like some of my peers. This year I also made a point to quit Facebook 2 months prior, so fewer than 10 folks actually wished me a happy 40th as opposed to the 100+ who 364 other days of the year don’t know I exist. At least I know I crossed a few minds today.

I don’t mean to come off as negative here, as the sting as abated over the years, and besides – the vast majority of those 365 days I’m surrounded by solitude. Nothing gained, nothing lost. I’m used to being alone, almost to the point that I’m not sure I could handle NOT being alone.

This year I had lunch with my folks which was nice, made my first real cheesecake from scratch, and decided to top the day off by watching the second half of the IT remake.

I won’t lie, the movie was absolutely horrendous, despite the excellent casting. Every single jump scare had me in tears… of LAUGHTER. The near constant quips from Hader and off the cuff comments did wonders at re-establishing my disbelief.

It just wasn’t scary, it wasn’t tense, there was no thrill, nor horror. It loosely followed the book, and while it did an excellent job of not coming off like a remake of the Tim Curry classic mini-series version, it did so in all the wrong ways.

Tack on the SJW aspect woven throughout, including the very first scene involving the typical white bullies than can only exist on film… I was fearful (the only time I was fearful) that the movie was setting up for failure my propping it up in progressive nonsense.

One of the more surprising things I experienced tonight though is just how maddeningly stupid some parents and grandparents are. There were CHILDREN at this movie. If I had to guess, there were maybe a half dozen CHILDREN ranging in age from 3-10 within a few seats of me.

Right next to me was a kid no older than 5 who SCREAMED at every jump scare, that is when he wasn’t coughing his head off and half-heartedly being told to sit up by his grandfather. Who brings CHILDREN to a HORROR movie? SHAME! Those kids are gonna have some wicked nightmares, I guarantee it.

First movie related nightmare I ever had was a result of watching Mommy Dearest with my folks. I can only imagine the mental horrors that’ll be visiting these CHILDREN tonight generated by a killer clown with glowing eyes and rows upon rows of razor sharp teeth.

I know I shouldn’t judge people, Matthew 7 says as much, but I consider my conscience clear when it comes to exposing a CHILD to such things. Get a babysitter or wait for the Blu-Ray people.

On that note, time to make some dinner and continue my binge watch of Outlander on Netflix.

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This, is a scumbag.

I was driving to the supermarket after the end of a long on-call shift for my job, when I wound up behind this innocuous Hyundai. Never really had use for my dashcam until tonight.

We’re heading into Warwick on County Route 1A when a black dog crosses into the road, then a white dog. The black dog makes it, the white dog gets hit by the Hyundai who doesn’t brake until the last possible moment.

Now that doesn’t make them a scumbag, accidents happen.

This does.

The car’s owner drove off. I couldn’t hear anything over my radio, but according to the homeowner I stopped in front of, they heard the hit, they heard the dog scream. It raced away from the car but had a pretty good limp and a bloody paw. Looked like the passenger’s side of the car hit it, and it may or may not have gotten caught by the front tire before it flipped away from the car.

While the dog huddled near a backyard fence, I called the police. After they arrived I started pulling off my dashcam video to see if I got enough, thankfully I did. The officer told me the video of the hit very clearly showed what happened.

Eventually we tracked down the owner, the dogs apparently weren’t supposed to be outside (the white dog had no tag on it!!!), and after talking to the police they took the dog to a local emergency vet.

The police left to talk to the driver, and I haven’t heard anything yet. Seriously folks, if you hit an animal – especially someone’s pet – stop and get help. Either call the police or try to locate the owner. This was someone’s family member – I hope it survives OK.

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Day 4 – No Edarbi

So after my recent bout with hypotension, likely linked to my decision to cut out alcohol consumption from my life (3.5 weeks yesterday) – I decided to stop taking my BP meds and monitor my BP.

So far – BP is still normal, hasn’t gone over 120/80. Fingers crossed.

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Keto, Round 2, FIGHT!

For a good 3 year stretch, I adhered almost religiously to the Ketogenic (KETO) diet. Every day I consumed fewer than 20 carbs, and attempted to consume more fat than protein. When I started, I was about 300lbs, when I quit a few months ago, I was about 240lbs.

Much of the loss occurred during year 1, first water weight, and than fat started to drop off faster than I could believe possible. I looked forward to a day when I would lose my favorite arm rest, my gut. In actuality, as I sit here today a solid 250lbs, that never happened.

When I began the diet, I was pre-diabetic with high cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and a “high functioning liver.” Within 6 months, all my numbers were vastly improved except for my cholesterol. As it turns out, all I needed to do to clear that up was quit vaping.

Nicotine drives up LDL, and vaping is a very good clean source of Nicotine, 6 months after I quit vaping – LDL dropped 60 points. Of course, what happens when you stop inhaling stimulants every 83 seconds? That’s right, your weight goes up.

Recall when I mentioned my blood pressure? I’d been taking 80mg of a drug called Edarbi for some time, when I started on it – I was much heavier, smoked and vaped heavily, and it required the full dose. After losing the weight and quitting the vape, my base BP had dropped to the point where the full dose of Edarbi dropped my BP to a point where I blacked out at a party after 2 beers.

Talk about terrifying. One second I’m fine, the next there is blackness crawling into my vision and my body feels like its 800lbs. I find the nearest chair, sit down, black out, and immediately start snoring. Say what you want about NDE’s, but I immediately began dreaming, I was on a beach at sunset, and this beautiful woman is beside me, telling me that something bad is happening to me right now but I’m going to be alright.

The next thing I remember, my buddy is shaking me awake, and asking people if they should call an ambulance. I groggily tell them not to… I’m hunched over, 800lbs weighing me down, and immediately sweat starts pouring out of my head like someone turned on a hose in my skull. That clears, and they want to get me inside. They try to pick me up but again – 800lbs (in reality about 240) but with my legs not working, thats dead weight and I can’t help them. Tack on that everything is still black. I can see out of my eyes, hear out of my ears, but I feel like I’m miles away from both senses.

I wait another couple minutes (no clue how long) and we try again. They get me inside, on a couch, with a cold cloth on my head. Within maybe 15 minutes I start to clear back up. Guessing my BP started to recover, I hung out for another hour or so to make sure I was back to normal and headed home. Afterwards, my BP med dosage was cut in half.

Now one other thing my doc drilled into me (which I pretty much ignored until a day or two before a visit) was his concern with my… enjoyment of alcohol. This past July, while on vacation, I became so dehydrated that any alcohol would trigger a massive migraine. After 3 days straight of this, I stopped.

It’s been a good 3 weeks now since I stopped drinking, my weight dropped from 260+ to about 250, and yesterday while doing chores outside, I collapsed again. I get inside, have a glass of water and sit in the A/C… I take my blood pressure… 70/40. I take it again… 80/45… again… 91/47. Ok, I need to drive up my BP. I eat some pickles for the sodium, grab another glass of water, watching some Bernie Sanders campaign footage on Youtube, and slowly begin to normalize.

I should have known better, a week earlier I had given blood for the first time, and while getting light-headed after is apparently a thing… My BP dropped so much it took much longer for me to get back on my feet than it should have.

So – what’s this all have to do with Keto? The thing that made me quit, was the stall. No matter how I tweaked my diet, no matter how hard I stuck to it – I couldn’t break past 240. The thing is, I was still drinking, heavily. An ounce of bourbon has 100 calories and over the course of a day I’d have 5 or six double bourbons… (read: ~1000-1200 calories extra per day, on average). Plus when consuming alcohol, my liver is doing its best to remove the poison from my blood, and isn’t processing fat.

So here I am – several months off keto, nearly a month sober, my BP bottoming out again to the point I may no longer need the meds… Time for round 2. Same deal, lazy Keto, no sugars, no grains, minimize carb intake… Starting point is 250lbs, lets see where I am a month from now.

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Random quote…

This dog is a terrible cat. Why is this dog so bad at being a cat?

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Social Media is Dead… Long Live… Fuck it.

I guess blogging was one of the first forms of social media, I’ve been doing it since ’97 when it was still called Everything/Nothing. I still don’t know what that means or who thought it up. Over the past… 20+ years, sharing has become as easy as walking out our front door and taking a shit on the stoop.

All these people, friends and strangers, filtering down their life to individual moments, individual acts, only sharing the shit on the stoop that they want to share… the turd that doesn’t stink. The thing is, everyone’s shit stinks. Even if you have a bran muffin every day chased with probiotics.

I think I’m getting off on a tangent, but all this shit sharing seems to be the calling card of Generation Me. Fuck the “millenial” tag, this is the “Look At Me” generation. In the past, sure, you shared photographs of things you’ve seen and done. But here in 2019, you can’t have a plate of french fries without taking 40 photos only to find the right one to share.

I’ve got 1100+ posts on Instagram and if I had to guess, 83% of them are of things I’ve turned into shit on a stoop over the course of a day. I know what I’m talking about, everyone thinks I’m this great cook to the point I’m voluntold to run the grill at parties (and have to Google how the fuck to grill a steak). They don’t see all the plates that looked like crap and never made it to the public consumption phase.

Every day I walk down the street, ride on a train, drive in my car, and see people with their faces buried in their electronic devices I throw up in my mouth a little. #every #fucking #hashtag #you #use #in #the #hope #that #some #acne #ridden #chronic #masturbator #clicks #like is digital constipation to me. 3 hours on the can, and #it #still #wont #drop.

Pair up social media sharing with being lonely, and there you’ve got the real collateral damage of social media. Any time, any place, any day, the lonely can pick up a device, and despite knowing that 83% of what you’re seeing is contrived, be made to feel even more lonely. Just sitting there #knowing #that #everyone #else #is #enjoying #life #without #you #and #didn’t #even #send #an #invite…. it’s infuriating.

A little back story on me – I’ve been mostly alone since I got divorced back in 2013. Glued to social media, sharing, talking, reading, arguing, interacting… but not. In lieu of actually walking outside, clearing the stoop, and living – I’m sitting on my couch with the TV rambling on in the background, with a game paused on my laptop, I’m punching around on my phone seeing what everyone else who isn’t me, #is #doing.

What value has all this brought to my life? I’m sharing all these experiences, and not a single one of my 350 Facebook “friends” or 196 Instagram “followers” has taken a single step outside the frame to realize that I’m completely alone, depressed, anhedonic, and hiding behind a perfectly cooked ribeye. Nearly every single photo, story, or share, done alone. No group of friends behind the camera, just… me.

What value? None. Has any of this brought me joy? Meaning? Truth? Well, maybe some truth, but it’s an ugly truth. The truth is that it hasn’t helped me, if anything it’s prolonged my situation so I can keep providing these corporations with free #metadata in the guise of being social. The truth is, it’s made me consider people who I don’t see or talk to in person, who won’t ask me how I am doing, or even invite me out for a coffee – “friends.”

Oh, I’ll get an invite, to a group activity where I can blend into the background after the usual niceties are completed. It’s made me accept being handed my hat. It’s made me accept changing myself in a way that makes my personality more appropriate for public consumption.

It’s turned me into a shit, on a stoop. The 40th photo. Meta. Look at me. Last week I switched off my Facebook, today Instagram. I also quit drinking and smoking… let the healing begin.

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Prescriptions shouldn’t be this idiotic…

So it’s no secret that my love of all things bad for me has resulted in a need for blood pressure medication. Not a huge deal, one pill a day keeps me from stroking out at 39.

The catch of course, is my insurance. Now I’ve had the same company through my past two employers, and neither will pay a cent towards the medication. As a result, if I rely on my insurance, it costs $300+ a month.

Enter the manufacturer of the drug, who provided a coupon for those of us in the same boat where it only costs $10 a month. That was my reality until I switched to a new plan, which required me to use their specific pharmacy, and their specific mail order.

Mind you – neither their pharmacy or mail order plan save me any money. I’d be dropping $300 to stay in the good graces of my insurer’s preference. As a result, my co pay is now $50 a month. Not earth shattering, I know, but since my insurer refuses to utter the magic words to the pharmacy, I’m another $40 out of pocket each month.

My doctor switched me from the local pharmacy to one in NJ hoping to get me a lower co-pay. Instead, it was still $50, and on top of that this new pharmacy would have rather wait until they get the aforementioned magic words before sending me the medication that keeps me from having the aforementioned stroke.

I finally say “ok, ship it to me now, I’m almost out, and we will worry about this later.” That’s all fine and dandy until month #2 comes along, and instead of shipping me anything, they’re waiting for me to call and request a shipment… They have a reminder service, that calls me in advance to get authorization, but I have to specifically request it.

Specifically request a service I didn’t know existed. Ok, whatever, so my next prescription is on its way, and then I get a call from the new pharmacy this morning. “In order to get you a lower co-pay (that we will not tell you) we have transferred your prescription to RANDOMCOMPANYNAME, so call them at this number to set things up.”

RANDOMCOMPANYNAME? Not open on Saturdays. Call their number, after a handful of rings the line goes dead. No message, no menu, etc… I’m about ready to give up and have my doctor write out the prescription to the local pharmacy, and eat the higher copay just so things stay local, predictable, and I can you know, not have a stroke.

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Found this on an old backup… May continue to develop it. Wrote it back in 2003.

The silent timer ticked away, days, hours, minutes, seconds, until a devastating test is carried out.  The crack in the desert floor hid everything, the secret Government complex, the truth about the oddly disfigured and dismembered animals found which dotted an invisible border around the complex…

Jack Stillson had a run of  bad luck.  He lost his wife, daughter, to a bottle he couldn’t let go of and a career driving 18-wheeler’s cross-country.  His family hadn’t seen him in over a year, and didn’t notice as he stood on the rainy street looking in the window.  Through the smoke from the cigarette in his palm, he saw the new home, with the new furniture, new pictures, and most importantly new man holding his young daughter as she was his own.  Something clicked in his head at that moment, and he began to realize exactly what he’d been missing all along.

It’d been more than a month since he had a drink, and his old habit of walking into Kelley’s Pub was a surefire way to halt any possible record.  The bartender recognized his old friend and waved him over with a sparkle in his eye.  “What’ll it be, Jack, the usual?”

“Not this time Pat, I’ll have a Coke.” The bartender stood and looked at him, astonished.  “Yes you heard me right, that’ll be just a Coke, no ice.”  Jack never understood why places put so much ice in the cup whenever he ordered a drink, after all, the beverage is already cold.  He sat there drinking his Coke and it dawned on him that he had absolutely no desire to spike it with some Rum, or even move on to something a little harder than the fizzy sugar drink.

After drinking nearly an entire six-pack of Cola, a feeling washed over Jack, almost like the excitement of his first hard-drink while his parents were off learning to square dance.  He opened up his pack of Reds and went to light up a smoke….only to tuck the cancer-stick back in the box and toss it on the bar.  Jack felt good, he didn’t know where it came from but was not about to question the rush of energy he had.  He ran through the rain, across the glistening streets, until he came to his old front-door.  The heart beating in his chest seemed to be louder than his knock at the door.  Lights clicked on inside, some distant grumbling was heard as Jennifer came to the door and opened it.  Upon site of Jack, she sighed and began to close the door again…

“Jenny, no!  Wait!”

“You know you can’t be coming around here like this Jack.”  Jenny had opened the door enough to see her ex husband, soaking wet in blue jeans, plaid shirt, and worn baseball cap, standing there with an ear to ear grin.

“All I want to know is if I can take Ashlea out tomorrow while I am in town, that is all”

“She has school tomorrow, Jack, it’s a school night, remember?  Wait, how could you, do you even know what day it is anymore?  All you think about is your next bottle and what exit the nearest bar is at…”  Jack lowered his head for a moment, but then cut off his old flame…

“Then I’ll see her first thing tomorrow to wait for the school bus.”  With that he turned around and walked away as the door slammed from behind.

The rain had since subsided, the small alarm clock in his Peterbuilt waking him from a recurrent dream…  A bright light in the desert…  the road falling out from under his rig on a mountain road…  The slide towards the light…and then he wakes up.

‘I’ve got to get to Ashlea,’ he thought to himself.  Freshening up a bit with a bottle of cologne and some spray-on deodorant, he headed off towards his daughter.

“Daddy!” His daughter ran up to him and hugged him around the waist with all her might.  “Are you back?  Are you really back?”

“I’m back for now Honey, I was hoping you’d let me wait with you for the school bus.”

They sat on the bench and talked for a few minutes until the school bus rolled up, and a rather large Monitor stepped out.  “Watch out for her Daddy, she’s Maggie and she’s very mean to everybody.”
”Mean is she?  Not to my little girl.”

Jack began to walk Ashlea around the front of the waiting bus when he was cut off halfway across the grille by Maggie.  “You know we try to teach our kids not to talk to strangers, but every once and awhile one of you weirdo’s will show up at their stop and try to take advantage of them!”

“I’m her father, and since you are not her Mother, I really have no reason to waste my time with you.”  Jack made his way around Maggie, a very portly woman in her forties who despite the laws of modern physics managed to fit herself into a skin-tight white shirt and a sky-blue pair of spandex pants.  Nobody managed to tell her off like that in the past 10 years, which is why the driver shook his hand as Maggie watched from in front of this bus.

Standing on the first step, Jack gave his little girl a hug, and wished her a good day at school.  The driver chimed in, “You really frosted Maggie, nobody’s managed to get her that fired up in years.”  The driver offered his hand, “the name’s Sam, and I do believe you’ve made the remainder of my morning uncomfortable…  Need a lift anywhere?”
”My rig is parked 2 blocks over, but I can walk…”

“So can Maggie!”
The door closed, the bus began to pull away, and Maggie’s shrill voice was drowned out by the sound of the bus’s diesel engine pulling it up the hill.

Jack waved his daughter goodbye and saw a couple of guys he knew waiting by the truck.  They had gone on to work with a major trucking company while Jack had stayed independent.  “Jack, what’re you up to.”
”Just heading back out of town Lloyd.”
”I sure hope so, you know nobody uses you indy’s anymore.”
”And nothing ever gets there on time.”
As Jack started to pull himself into the truck, he felt a slight tug on his shirt but ignored it.  Lloyd’s nameless cohort slipped an open flask of whiskey into his side pocket.  The truck fired up and pulled away.  Lloyd looked to his friend and said “The second our State Trooper finds that flask on him, we won’t have to worry about seeing his alkie ass around town again.

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