I’ve been working on and off, when my ridiculous schedule will allow, on a story that’s currently around 30k words and shows no sign of even approaching the climax, so it’s safe to call it a novel. I’m taking a break, putting it on the shelf for a bit, and decided to bumble about the internet for a while until I need to leave to get my shit accomplished today, couple hours.

The reason I bring this up is because the working title of it is Hop, hence hoppin’. It’s what I’m doing today, hopping from link to link using one of my long time favorite tools for link discovery, StumbleUpon. I quit using it for a while because I quit using Firefox, moving to Chrome, and their implementation for Chrome wasn’t very good until recently when I checked back in. Basically, I make a list of my interests, which are many and varied, and I hit “Stumble” and find myself at a fairly interesting place, eventually. Try it, it’s fun. Continue reading

driving in snow

I just had a two hour experience that has inspired me to write a post on how to drive in snow. I grew up in an area where we had snow all winter and moved to an area that gets enough snow to affect the roads maybe twice a winter.

But this isn’t the post telling you how to drive in snow. This is a rant.

Sure, you might glean a few tips here or there, but mostly it’s what not to do.

Don’t push other drivers. The other people on the road generally know what their cars are capable of, and even if you think they don’t, it’s safer for everyone if they underestimate and take it easy. Yes, you’re going to be late for work. Being ten feet behind me, even though it’s reasonable in dry weather, just means that when I hit my brakes, you’re going to slam into me. You stupid motherfucker.

Case in point: I was driving down a hill, just an hour ago, and some shitty little old Mercedes was behind me. I also had a car in front of me. The car in front of me was taking its time going down the hill, so I backed off a bit. People in this area also tend to not use their turn signals, so I wasn’t sure if he was planning on turning or not, and the last thing you want in the snow is to be sliding downhill after braking for a car that suddenly stopped. You build momentum. There’s no way to stop.

Anyway, I slowly apply my brakes to begin the stop. The brake pads might have barely been skimming the wheel. The lightest of pressure, slowing down as gently as possible. The car behind me, the shitsipper in the Mercedes, jams his brakes (or at the very least applies them harder than he needed to), and begins immediately to fishtail out into the oncoming lane. Luckily, there was nobody coming, and he got it under control. But he ended up a good five feet closer to me than he had been. I was sure he was going to hit me.

Don’t pull out in front of people. Give plenty of fucking room. Give cars at least twice the distance you’d usually give. If they have to hit their brakes at all, or even slow down, you fucking lose. Go home.

Do keep in mind that you’re driving a death machine weighing a few tons.

Do be fucking patient, you dickhead. It’s going to take longer to get where you’re going. Leave early. If there’s any sign of inclement weather, fucking leave early. Jesus Christ. If you forgot to, accept that you’re going to be late and chill the fuck out. All it takes is one aggressive move to put you in the ditch or oncoming traffic.

Later I’ll write up a how-to on driving in snow. It’s a topic I know a bit about, growing up in a snowy area. Maybe it’ll help people or something. Shit.

… but it sorta is

The Telegraph (UK) has published an article claiming that “It’s not poverty that’s fattening, it’s bad eating habits.” It’s sort of true, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture.

I’m broke as fuck. I also have trouble eating well. The problem? I get up at six in the morning to get ready for class. I barely have time to make and drink enough coffee to wake up before I leave, let alone make breakfast. So I usually skip it.

My first chance to eat is during my hour between my first and second classes of the day: 10-11. For my first four waking hours, I’m starving. Sometimes I get a chance to eat, usually I don’t. So after my last class at 2, I usually grab fast food really quick before I go to work, because it’s the easiest option.

When you’re broke and busy, the easiest option is always the best option.

Fortunately for my waistline, fast food prices have skyrocketed here lately. My wife and I used to be able to eat for under $10 at these places, and now we can’t get out for under $15, $20 if we’re not holding back.

Can you eat well cheaply? Absolutely. But you have to trade time. You have a choice: that frozen dinner that takes two minutes to make or a cheap healthy meal that takes an hour. I don’t have a fucking hour.

If I cook dinner and my wife and I sit down to eat together, that’s basically a date. That’s how infrequently it occurs. We’re at the mercy of our busy schedules.

I’m not fat, but I’m not in shape. I weigh 277, at last weighing, but I’m a big guy. I stand 6’2 or 6’3, depending on time of day, and legitimately have a big frame (I’m not saying I’m “big boned”). I do basic bodyweight exercises, because I can’t afford a gym, and once it warms up around here, I’m going to start running. I quit drinking my calories, drinking coffee in the morning and water the rest of the day.

But I still eat shit, and it’s because I don’t have the time. That’s my point. Poverty exerts stress on the system and wreaks chaos on the schedule (assuming you’re trying to climb out of it). I take my meals when I can get them, and don’t worry about it.

By the way, if you’ve never mixed a bit of peanut butter with your drained ramen noodles, give it a shot. Everyone I tell this to seems to think it’s gross, but fucking try it. I also throw a shot of hot sauce in there. Throw the seasoning packets away. That’s my broke-ass tip of the day. Also microwave burritos rule, with a bit of hot sauce sprinkled on and cheese (if you can afford it) sprinkled on top before the second nuking. I’ve dubbed it Das Uber Burrito.


why blog?

I was thinking about this the other day, after lamenting to myself that I hadn’t had time to even look at the internet for 48 hours. Why exactly do I blog?

First of all, I hate the word “blog.” I don’t know why. It just doesn’t roll off the tongue. I refer to this as my blog, but only because it’s entered my lexicon, albeit reluctantly. It’s made the big show on the English-speaking tongue, along with another one of my least favorite words: “podcast”.

It’s a kind of cutesy word, and conjures up images of pretentious douchebags typing into their Macs between triple frapamochachinos light foam organic sugar please at their local international coffee chain. I guess that sums it up for me. But “blog” it is.

I guess I write as a creative exercise. It’s also an exercise in discipline. If I can keep a decent amount of content rolling through this site, I feel okay.

It’s also a creative outlet of sorts. I used to do an internet radio show that no one listened to, but it was okay because it was fun. I have my equipment sort of set up, but don’t have the time to do one anymore. It’s much easier to sit down and type something or link to a video or whatever. It’s spotty.

I’m also planning on using Twitter a bit, for the same reasons. A writing exercise. I don’t really enjoy getting personal details out, but some part of me likes to put something out there, even needs it.

I’ve been trying to encourage my wife to start one. I think I’ll get her to come around. Her chosen topic is the trials and tribulations of being a step-parent, given that she is a new one, myself having found out a year ago that I was a father of a three year old (he’s now four). I don’t write about it much, I save that for my personal journal (which I’ve been too busy to write in so far this week). That’s about as much as I’ll share on this site, but it’s a struggle in and of itself. Maybe I’ll guest write on her blog about it. It’s difficult for everyone involved.

Anyway, hopefully I got across the why of it. I’m not looking for an audience, not actively. If one comes, okay. If someone wants to listen and read, great. That’s what it’s about, I guess. But really, it’s just an aspect of me, impressing itself on the world. Whispering in a crowd.