One of the three counties Portland sits in announced it was implementing an indoor mask mandate, effective Friday, 8/13. The next day, the Governor made the same announcement for the state.
A while ago, I’d have made the joke that I’d prefer a masc man date over a mask mandate, but I don’t think it’s true at this point in my life. I’ve not fully given up the practice of masking up when I leave the house. I definitely put my mask on when entering a business. Well, before entering it – and I think that’s an important distinction.
The Silver Fox is in town for a while, so naturally I’ve been demanding he belly up with me as nightly as possible. Lost time and all.
Last night was no exception. We were sitting at the bar next door and I was low key astonished at how many patrons were walking in without masks and even moving about the restaurant maskless. I had my mask off while seated, which I get is nearly as arbitrary as the “smoking section” of bars back in the day.
It’s as if these Stupid Americans have collectively decided to not see the rationale for announcing a start date. Namely, yo allow businesses to ramp to have policies and signage in place by the mandate’s start.
It’s certainly not a new restriction for patrons or businesses, just a return to a prior restriction. Anyone leaving their house should have a pile of these masks ready to go. As a citizen, our ramp should be immediate – although, I have heard stories of people therapeutically trashing their masks after the restrictions were originally lifted. That’s more of an exception, not a rule. Yet, here we are, customers largely running around businesses bare-faced and empty-headed until they are required to do the right thing.
Meanwhile, most businesses I frequent have had their staff back in masks for weeks – despite the latitude they had to behave otherwise. The grace period that I believe is for their benefit is largely unneeded.
At least I’m the businesses I regularly frequent.
This is why we’re all gonna die. Well, maybe. But it’s definitely the reason we’re all gonna be stuck in traffic forever if we do live.
What? I’ve had free time, what did you expect an unsupervised, grumpy, old Xtopher to do…watch Mrs Doubtfire until 3 AM?
Ok, I did that, as well.
Phair warning, Fill – wait, that doesn’t look quite right – you might want to stop reading now. Just this post, though…tune in again next week.
I bought it. I’ve talked about it a little here before with mixed to neutral reactions…but I bought a Peloton.
Because it’s me…well, several things:
Alpha) I bought it used, because I’m cheap – which goes well with me being poor. Well, poor for a gay white guy. Privilege acknowledged.
Beta) I picked it up and took my first ride on April 1st…again, because it’s me and my fucked up sense of humor wouldn’t have it any other way.
Gamma) Crap. I’m having a C.R.S. moment…hopefully, it comes back to me in proof mode.
I’d planned this post for the first of July, just to give it a quarter to get some results under my belt. Then I lost 20 lbs in my first month of riding and could barely hold back posting about it then.
Luckily, my natural apathy and proChristination allowed me to resist that impulse.
But I really felt I needed to give myself a full quarter to develop consistent habits. Seemed fair enough, since I’d been holding the purchase out as a reward for consistency on my New Year’s Resolution of being more active and eating better.
Oh, it’s back!
Gamma) Since I am a grumpy, old man, I wasn’t going to wait 60 days for delivery. I was low-key scouring Craigslist for a used bike to jump the line. Like hell I was joining a club with a waitlist. I don’t do lines.
Anyhoo…slap my ass and call me a meteorologist, because I manifested a perfect storm. I got my bike without waiting and saved $800 by getting it second hand. The poor schlub I bought it off had decamped to his house in Hawaii over the pandemic and couldn’t find a moving company to take his bike from the she-she West Hills to Hawaii…so he just bought a new bike to be delivered there.
Glad I don’t have his unmitigated gall problems.
So, like I mentioned, I dropped 20 lbs in the first month, which I was very happy with. Month two got me to the right (for me) side of 200, which made sense as I started putting mean mass back on in my lil toothpick legs.
Definitely a trajectory I wouldn’t mind holding. That, of course, put me at my colonoscopy month. If you know the prep routine, you know…if you don’t know, I won’t ruin the surprise.
I didn’t expect to hold this weight – again, if you know… – but I could see it on the horizon. Today’s weigh-in put me right at 195.
Not a lot of wiggle room. But I’m getting plenty of salads and veggies – by comparison to the Before Diet, I’m sure my doc and mother would still happily see me eating more – so I expect between that snd continued consistency, sub-190 weights are within reason over the next 2-3 months. It would be great if I could get into the 180s by the six month mark.
See, we shall, hmm?
It’s been a fun <ahem> ride this far. I’m still excited to get on my bike, whether it’s participating in the monthly challenges, following specific crushes instructors, taking Artist Series rides or just the dreaded schlep to the scale that gets me there is a variety I can appreciate. Keeps my motivation from stagnating.
For instance, the first month I rode, I focused on getting Gold Medals in the Miles Rode and Days Active challenges. The thresholds are 50/100/150 miles ridden and 10/15/20 days active. Even taking Bronze in either is a win for anyone, regardless of one’s fitness level.
Month two, I was focused on streaks. In April, I managed a couple low streaks of active days. This was mainly due to my focus on riding versus other classes offered. They offer strength, stretching, yoga, boot camp and…probably some I forgot. In month two, I made sure to add in some strength and stretching classes. And I really needed the stretching! This also enabled longer active days streaks. I set a goal to get to a 10 day streak, and then took a couple days off and went into a 20 day streak.
Which took us to month three. And I’m just gonna say that a 20 day streak may have broken my mojo a tad. My active days dropped by half in July. But like I said, a Bronze Medal in my monthly challenges is better than nothing.
But after a month of “rest” – ie: active 14 days instead of 26 – I relearned something. Rest is a good thing! For the first week of August, I PRed four times out of four active days.
Apparently, not resting on my laurels equated to…
So, between joining Peloton and doing an Artist Series ride featuring Justin Bieber music…I’d say I joined at least one cult. But considering I’m a native Oregonian, I could have done worse.
Again, if you know…
Alright, now that I’m “out” about it, I’m accountable to people other than my own inner voices – who are also totally real people. Even if that also means getting filleted by Phil in the comments. Hehe…I’ll take it, because that also comes with the Silver Fox telling me that if I lose any more weight, I’m gonna need new clothes. Better that than the reality that I had one pair of jeans and two pairs of shorts that fit at the beginning of April…and a whole drawer of tee shirts that didn’t fit. Still working on the fit looking good, but I’m enjoying the “fresh” wardrobe options after burning 30 lbs.
I know, what a shocker, right? Pretty people being petty or selfish?
You can probably guess my feelings on the influencer phenomenon simply from the title. In case you need more, I actually think they have a potential function in society. Sadly, we seem to lack creative independence in this capitalist country, so when influencers worked in a few niche marketing outings, every corner of industry tried to cram itself into that niche concept.
And it was all downhill from that bastardization. Some, I don’t mind – like ginfluencers, who are generally pretty fun to be around and are simply looking more to monetize fun for all. But then there are the ones I call sinfluencers. These are the folks who have gone the completely opposite direction and are basically monetizing erections.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fairly certain a barker isn’t getting off the ground in the influencer industry…being pretty is a prerequisite.
But the folks who think being hot translates to perquisite wealth…hold on, I’m looking around for an innocent bystander I can slap therapeutically. Yeah, those people are the sinfluencers.
And it’s just getting more and more democratized. Our culture has gone from the blithely sexist “Anyone can be President” to a close call with that not being the implicitly sexist case anymore to a swerving into a tree example of just how tragically fucking literal that saying was.
But who wants to wait five, six or seven decades to gain that kind of attention influence? Let alone work for it.
Let’s tilt that trope a bit and look at a similar phrase…“In America, you can be anything you want to be”.
Did anyone see the answer to that careening from Doctor, Lawyer or Fireman to porn star?
I sure as hell didn’t – and, like I said…it’s just getting easier and easier to do. In the old days, you had to run into the wrong guy or get caught up with the wrong crowd. Nowadays, you just need a vague tether to a guy named Bezos.
That’s right, anything you need to shoot decent selfie-porn is available on good old Amazon. Camera mount, ring light, maybe some sexy undies or toys.
Oh, and a trash can for your dignity.
Why am I stuck on this?
Well, a couple of reasons.
First, I spared you any of these thoughts during Pride month – because I find this phenomenon to be particularly rampant in the gay community. Or what passes for community these days. Too many people I follow on Social Media have updated their profiles to include links to their OnlyFans or JustForFans – because, of course this is now a competitive industry – and sought to monetize their hookups and masturbatory habits. And when that doesn’t happen…
(Un)Fortunately, these ventures don’t always fail. I think that’s bad for everyone – the sinfluencers, their “fans” and even the public in general, since this changes what people consider appropriate behavior.
Behavioral changes that I’ve witnessed on Social Media range from starting an OnlyFans to raise money for “moving expenses” after a GoFundMe for the same reason fails. The GoFundMe was aiming to raise $6000…to move from one apartment to another in the same damn city!
Then there’s the more toxic behaviors that occur as an after-effect of these endeavors. These Social Media accounts tend to become less about what used to be a cute or entertaining person and more and more a billboard for their sinfluencer persona. They’ll start using their Instagram stories like a Reddit Ask Me Anything, and when someone asks them a racy question, they tell them to subscribe to their OnlyFans.
Well, that’s just frustrating on multiple levels for me, as a former retailer and as a consumer.
Didn’t expect that, did ya?
But, seriously, those are the fronts on which I’m offended. If someone is trying to sell something and a potential customer asks a question, “Buy it and find out” is not the proper answer. Someone who wants you to pay for something you might not like is merely a charlatan who is counting on you being a rube.
This has all been on my mind lately because one of the few sinfluencers that I still follow on Social Media had a pretty sad comeuppance. I like this kid. By all appearances, he’s a sweet kid – turning 30 next week, so not a kid-kid – that I automatically credit as being smarter than me since he’s Polish and speaks his native tongue, English and several other European languages. He seems to be rather accomplished outside his OnlyFans, too. He owns a photography studio in Poland and is apparently quite the photographer in addition to his work in front of the camera. He also publishes a calendar annually that he sells for…I dunno, $20 that you can pay extra to have signed. That, I find industrious. Not so industrious that I buy one, mind you – where would I put a calendar…by my landline? Hehe.
I started following him a few years back when I was writing under my Fitfy theme because he drinks beer and has abs. Plus, he’s charming.
He also fed my withering wanderlust, since he travels rather extensively. I’d put the estimate at 4-6 trips per year. Some, just around Europe, but others are overseas.
You can do that when you have a thousand and change subscribers at $9.99/month!
Well, last week he and his traveling companions came home to their Spanish vacation villa to find all of their possessions stolen.
Nice humblebrag at the end, there. I don’t think I own $50k worth of possessions in total, let alone enough that would fit into suitcases to move from Poland to Spain for a couple weeks.
The real tragedy to me is that this kid literally hasn’t become an adult. Not only has he not had to deal with adversity in life that would afford him the emotional base to handle this type of left field tragedy
He’s also been released into the world without being shown how to budget or manage money. This guy makes over $10k per month off his OnlyFans, not to mention rent income from his photography studio. Who failed him? Parents? School? Gay Kulture?
I’d be a little embarrassed to pull in over $100k a year and have to beg for money to replace stolen property. Then again, maybe that’s just me falling for his charm and assuming he can’t when the reality could be more that he doesn’t want to pay out of his own pocket to have it replaced.
What’s a 29 years and 51 weeks old guy to do in a case like this?
Obviously. And, I guess you better start plugging that calendar…although if all your photos and computers were stolen, it’s gonna be tough to pull that together in the next eight weeks.
Of course! You can’t even afford a new toothbrush…better leave Spain and head to Germany!
Can you tell his charm has started to fade?
Sadly, I think this is becoming an all too dominant trend. Making others accountable for your actions and problems. And they take cash in a variety of forms, just don’t offer advice or ask questions. They don’t need that kind of negativity.
Maybe it’s not even a thing…BUT I’M STILL QUITTING.
I’ll recreationally bend over backward to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition – witness, “There is only so much shit up with which I will put” – but I’m not aiming to be flexible enough to shove my own head up my ass. Maybe give it a light smooch, but no more than that.
I have had occasion to be reminded that I neither want to be emotionally flexible enough to reward willfully ignorant people with my silence. I’ll save my empathy for those it can potentially help.
There is, after all, only so much shit up with which I will put.
I know I wasn’t silent by any means during the Trump years, but in regards to COVID, I’ve decided to take a more assertive approach.
Here’s just three examples from this past weekend’s driving as to why:
Nothing new here, this is something I’ve been running up against since Oregon lifted its COVID restrictions in late June. People will approach my car and then either motion for me to roll down my window or actually get into Angela (my car) asking if they need a mask.
“Yes” – you nitwit – “you do”. That’s my retired polite response. I use Lyft as a passenger, so I know how it works. When you first open the app, you’re greeted by this reminder
Then, once you confirm your ride, you get this
Seems pretty hard to miss. Maybe I could see overlooking one reminder, but not two. Because they are magnanimous – or looking out for the safety of their passengers and drivers – they usually even send a text when your driver arrives that contains…a third reminder!
Frankly, I’m amazed my early onset grumpiness patience lasted this long with these Stupid Americans people. My favorite part of these exchanges is when they say they’re double vaxxed. Ok, first of all, you’re vaccinated. It’s potentially a two-shot protocol, saying you’re double vaccinated implies you got two of the available three (in the US) vaccines. But second, you’re expecting me to believe something as unbelievable as you “didn’t see” three reminders about masks…why would I believe you when you swear you’re vaccinated?
You know how many women became mothers believing men when they swore they’d pull out? Get the hell away from me with your feeble nonsense.
So I make them go get masks before I let them in. But last Saturday, I’d just had it. A guy walks out of a bar – you know this is serious, jokes always start with a guy walking into a bar – and pulls the whole innocent act. It’s 1:45 in the morning, I’m tired and working my way home. It’s also a 13 minute ride in the wrong direction, so I just tell him nope.
Compassionate Xtopher would have said, “There’s a 7-Eleven right next door, go buy one and we’re good to go”, but I’ve also noticed these folks don’t usually tip because I’m “mean”. Except the friend of the guy I kicked out of Angela because he called me a pussy for insisting they wear masks…she tipped me $20 up front to reconsider. And that was just an hour-ish earlier Saturday night, so I was already crunchy about the whole mask thing.
I gave an early 20s couple a ride to work on Friday. They work a security job at Nabisco – which is actually named something else now because they got bought by the company that owns Toblerone, but I’m not even gonna try to spell it – and were talking to me about their brutal schedules. I was in awe, and 60 hour weeks for me were nothing when I was working professionally. These youngsters were working six day weeks, 12 hour minimums with frequent extra hours. They estimated their average week to be 95-110 hours.
Then they asked me to tell anyone I know who’s looking to apply to their company, “They only have to be 18 and pass a background check”. We actually spent a good deal of our 42 minute rush hour ride discussing this, given my 30 years of people management. I think they felt good to be heard, and even validated by what I brought to the conversation.
Naturally, I got cocky.
I asked near the end of the ride if I could ask them what they thought about vaccine resistance in their age group. At first, the young woman declined because she said that those conversations always led to her friends yelling at her.
Foolishly, I assumed that they were yelling at her because she thought it was important…but I was wrong.
As we eased into the conversation, she said things that gave away her position. “This is nature’s way of culling the population” and “COVID doesn’t kill any more people than the flu does”.
I’d been gently pushing back against those statements with my own, like “I’m not sure where you heard that, but it doesn’t ring true with what I’ve heard”. As gentle as that response was, I could still see her pouting in the mirror. Young people want to be treated as peers and equals until you disagree with them, then they revert to absolute children. Some – not all, by any means.
Figuring if she were going to pout, I might as well make it worth her while, I loaded up a couple realities for her to think on.
“Look, your assertion that nature is trying to cull our population is certainly not the craziest thing I’ve heard, it’s even pithy, but if that were the case, wouldn’t a smart move be to try to not get culled?”
Her boyfriend laughed at this and she kind of lightened up at my question. Then I hit her with a hard fact. “The flu probably hasn’t killed 600,000 people in the US in the last twenty years. 60,000 would be a tragic year for flu deaths. A closer average would probably be 30,000 and in 2019 the number of US deaths from flu was closer to 20,000. Equating one with the other is just factually wrong. Whoever let you believe that did you an absolute disservice.”
The curious thing to me is that people lack the intellectual curiosity to even check the shit they hear. Of course, that’s a perfect lead in to…
This was a rider I’d had before. A member of my 1% Club, which I call them because my nerdy ass took the time to quantify the frequency with which I see repeats. In case you’re curious, three-peats are about 1/1000 rides and I’ve had one four-time rider in my 5300 rides.
But I digress.
I didn’t immediately peg him as a dupe until he started talking about his work – since I’d picked him up there. I asked what it was that had him working a Sunday afternoon and he told me he worked in radio.
That was when it hit me. I asked if I hadn’t taken him to work once, and remembered it being in the same building my favorite radio station was in. He said that was his other job, he worked for FISH radio out where I’d picked him up – which is a conservative Christian station.
He, in turn, asked me how I was feeling about my own personal safety since he obviously knew I’d been driving during the pandemic. I shared that I felt pretty safe throughout but also wouldn’t be surprised if I’d had a mild case of COVID at some point and couldn’t even presume to think I hadn’t had at least an exposure. The odds just aren’t there.
He told me of his own exposure through his live-in girlfriend – oh, those Christians and their tendency of cherry picking values…really, premarital sex? <gasp> – but that he hadn’t gotten it and was now vaccinated.
That led to a chat about why his girlfriend wasn’t yet. Apparently, she was relying on the natural immunity from having the virus. That perked me up, and I asked if she’d only recently had COVID. Her illness was back in January and I wondered if maybe that was far enough back that she could get vaccinated if she wanted to. He went on about how natural immunity lasts about 9 months, maybe longer. I listened to him, but when he finished I nudged him with “The last I’d heard – and I’m not paying that much attention currently, since we have a vaccine now – was that natural immunity started to fade at 2-3 months”.
He didn’t disagree with me, but veered off into mortality rates to dismiss the importance of vaccines in the first place. That was rather a needle-skip of a moment, but I let it play out. He was rattling off mortality rates of 3-5% for the flu and .004-.006% for COVID. I told him that I didn’t know those numbers offhand, but it seemed backward, causing him to interrupt me with an objection that made me almost drive off a bridge.
“No one knows the actual mortality rate because the numbers are all inflated!”
Me: <blink, blink>
“You shouldn’t count people who have diabetes or cancer or whatever and die of COVID because they were gonna die anyway.”
That old chestnut. I was in the middle of disagreeing when he interrupted me again. This was to be our pattern for most of the rest of the ride. I try to participate in the dialogue and he cuts me off.
“I’m not trying to be argumentative”, he eventually said, seeming to pick up on the rhythm of our conversation…and then I cut him off.
“Really? Because you keep talking over me and interrupting me. That seems like textbook argumentative behavior to me.”
That actually got him to back down a bit and we actually talked for the short duration of the ride. I told him that if I had COVID and died getting hit by a bus, that should absolutely not be a COVID death, which got a chuckle out of him. But I pressed on by suggesting that his own phrasing belies the point he’s making.
“How can you say someone with cancer died of COVID and not see the inherent fallacy? It’s right there in your own words!” He was thinking on that, but whether he was changing his mind or rewriting his talking points is not clear. I pushed on with the reality that, yes, these people could have probably died of their co-morbidities, but they hadn’t gotten the chance because COVID did the heavy lifting in their death. At the very least, COVID shortened their already potentially shortened lives.
“Besides”, I asked, “you surely know the Christians’ favorite argument against assisted suicide, right?”
He did not. So I told him that it wasn’t even that it was considered a mortal sin. Then I shared the argument that a cancer patient might have years of life with treatment, and the argument is that in those years a cure could be discovered.
Silence. I looked in the mirror and he was sitting there with his mouth open, but he wasn’t even trying to make words.
Check and mate.
Personally, these Stupid Americans presently dying from COVID should likely have “Dumb” listed as their Cause of Death, but maybe that’s just their comorbidity.
When I got to this guy’s destination, we were still chatting. I told him that his was the liveliest debate I’d had all weekend and thanked him. Not conversation…debate. But I still appreciated it because I felt like he actually started listening after I called him on his interruptions.
Yeah, he didn’t tip.
I’m wondering if tomorrow I’ll find out that I got my first ever non-5-star rating…
All that being said, even though I’m giving in to my grumpy old man-ness on this issue, I should still probably do some actual yoga. What could possibly go wrong?
Me: I’ll have an order of “Doing Something I Really Don’t Want To Do” with a side of “Too Little, Way Too Late”, please.
Black Sheep Bro: And I’ll have an order of the “Crow”, which I’m just going to push around my plate to make it look like I’ve eaten some of it.
Family is tough sometimes. Just like any relationship.
I understand – in a strictly theoretical manner – that BSB’s decision to come back to the family is something my parents are pretty much powerless against. I often say that parenting is a job you never take a day off from, and my parents certainly do not. I also imagine for the past nearly twenty years, that job has been pretty much shitty pain for them where my estranged brother is concerned.
On the flip side, my other sibs and I are afforded the luxury of viewing this like any other toxic relationshit er, relationship. With all the protection afforded by a hearty Prove It shield.
I’m the guinea pig amongst the sibs. Which is unfortunate, since I’m probably the most prone to a default forgiveness setting and possess a rarely-pays-off sense of optimism.
Remember, I like to gamble.
If you want to get a taste of the past damage BSB has brought to my family, there’s a hashtag around here somewhere.
The menu for the rest of the day is much less choretastic.
At 10 I’ll be hitting the road to visit Little Buddy in the Columbia River Gorge. If you think that’s code for “Wine Tasting”, you’re wrong. It’s not code at all…it’s simply synonymous.
Friend time, wine tasting and eating my weight in charcuterie and 3 foot breadsticks?
So basically, my day’s post-breakfast menu is all dessert!
One of the running themes I try to include in my novels is helping others out. Whether it’s direct or emotional assistance, I think that’s important in a society.
Its absence from Gay Kulture is one of my biggest pet peeves about my community. I shorthand that by saying that “there’s no unity in the gay community”.
But that’s another blog.
Last night, I got to see a version of this in play in real life and it made me so happy. And I didn’t even have to leave my block!
I had wandered into the restaurant next door for dinner. I was celebrating completing back-to-back challenge weeks – which equated to two weeks of 135 rides in about 50 hours. For context, a more normal week for me is 40-50 rides in about 20 hours.
Ow, my ass.
I knew from the owner that one of original kitchen staff was returning as of last Friday. I didn’t know that one of the servers was going to be taking over Sunday and Monday bartending duties from the owner starting last night, though.
That was a nice surprise. Apparently, he’d expressed an interest in bartending during his interview and business and timing worked out.
But on top of that, when my friend made it out of the kitchen to say hi, I learned that she’d been hired as a chef and not just as part of the line like she’d been before. She was glowing with pride at that accomplishment.
I left the restaurant with a belly full of good food and drink and a heart full for the professional development this restauranteur has been able to create for two nice humans. So, tonight – to keep up my end of the whole “living in a society” deal – I had to take a moment to pull the owner aside and tell him how satisfying it is to see someone providing true opportunities for people. I think part of my ability to see that comes from the reality that during my retail career, leadership tended to punish people for being effective by not promoting them. Much easier to hire and train one person from the outside versus having two people new to their roles at the same time, right? So selfish.
Funny how I couldn’t sit in my driver’s seat any longer yesterday, but my ass handled a barstool just fine…
I keep proChristinating this post, thinking it will become a moot point once this leaves my consciousness. But this song is either in heavy rotation on my local station or I’m simply attenuated to it.
Perhaps finally writing this ridiculous post will jar it loose.
Plus, I’ve kinda been on a Chris’ Musical Musings World Tour lately, so…why not? Add to that I’m getting a little I.V. anesthesia soon and I assume you’ll see my moderate urgency in finally completing this. Maybe.
When was the last time you heard the song Rapture by Blondie? Better yet, when was the last time you listened to it?
Ask yourself this, were we listening to it or hearing it? Because, I gotta tell ya…hearing it is one completely enjoyable bop. Listening to it however made me wonder if this is suddenly the first time in my life I’ve not been…impaired whilehearingit.
Fair enough beginning, right? Until the shopping part, you could fairly assume it’s a song about dancing. That spine themed stanza or verse is particularly evocative of dance.
Then this…possibly the first breakdown – that’s what rapping used to be called, kids – in musical history by a white woman. Arguably one of the best – although reading said breakdown may cause fresh arguments on that topic.
Were we collectively high when we were grooving to this? No? Just stupid?
Who knew Subaru was a plural form of itself? Also, RIP: Mercury Motors. Clearly they didn’t get the celebrity spokesperson memo…
But that breakdown just keeps going. Like it’s finished digging its absurdity hole and decides to pull the dirt in after itself.
Ate all the cars. Switched to bars, but not bars with TVs playing and then went on a guitar diet.
What the heck?
I cannot decide if I need to just admit to myself I was a stupid kid when it came to lyrics like these or if I should fabricate a backstory that includes a little stay at this little place I know of in the desert. That would be a good cover…
I’ve always been amused at the way my mind will fill in the blanks with song lyrics. Understandably so, since musicians are not always the easiest folks to <ahem> understand.
Bob Dylan, anyone?
The Boss is no slouch, either, when it comes to swallowing a lyric.
Contemporary music doesn’t get a pass, either. Pick a rapper…any rapper. The fuck they sayin’?!?
So my mind gets caught up in the music, catches a few words here or there and fills in what I miss just to keep the vibe going and amuse myself in the process. And I’m not alone.
While Sacha and I were together, we took a weekend trip to Friday Harbor up in the San Juans for a colleague’s wedding. While we were there, we visited the local shops to enjoy the town between wedding events.
One of these shops was a ma & pa bookshop in what I think was a converted house. I could be remembering that wrong, but I do remember an upstairs and lots of books and crannies crammed with bookshelves.
It was in one of those upstairs nooks, with a window overlooking the harbor, that I found a book of musical malaprop. Hilarity ensued. It’s an enduring memory of my time with Sacha.
My favorite entry from that book?
Big Old Chet Had A Rhino
No, it’s not a folk song about an American expat in Africa, saving endangered species. It’s actually a song by The Steve Miller Band:
And it’s actually a song called Jet Airliner. The misunderstood lyric?
🎼🎼Oh…big, old jet airliner, don’t carry my too far away. Oooh-oh-oh…big, old jet airliner, cuz it’s here that I’ve got to stay.🎼🎼
Somehow this prompted Sacha to share a lyric that – if I recall correctly – he’d figured out, despite all of his friends misunderstanding it. Ironically, it happened to be a song by one of my personal favorites:
It’s an album that got me through high school after my family moved halfway across the country. Suffice to say, I knew the lyrics front and back.
They were not the lyrics he knew, though. He’d have bet his eye teeth that the lyric was 🎼🎼Hush, hush even downtown voices carry🎼🎼.
Like that makes any sense. I mean, I guess it does – just not in the context of the song. I, on the other hand, knew that this was a song about a controlling and possibly abusive significant others.
🎼Hush, hush…keep it down, now…voices carry🎼🎼
Her boyfriend would abuse her and when she’d cry out, he’d add insult to injury by shushing her. He stripped her of not only her power as a woman, but also of her voice by insisting she keep quiet about what she endured.
Kind of an irony, given Sacha’s tendencies to keep me from mentioning him in my blog – masked identity or not. Two decades later, he’s still telling me to keep it down.
On the other hand, I have my own moments of musical malaprop. And they amuse the heck out of me. Even when I think I’ve got it, I find out…I don’tgot it.
Sometimes that’s a slow process. Last Friday, I was out doing my Friday night drive shift. I love driving Friday nights, I’ve no desire to pack my old ass into a crowded bar, so it’s a good alternative. I get people with lives plans to and from, experiencing a vicarious thrill in the process.
I also get to listen to my favorite radio show on my favorite station here in Portland, KINK. The program is four hours of 80s and 90s music from 8:00 to midnight, called Party Out Of Bounds – riffing on a line from a B-52s song. It’s honestly – no disrespect to my regular thing with Bubble Boy 2.0 – my favorite night of the week…because I have an emotional connection to the music, not so much with Bubble Boy. Well, ok, I have a connection…I’m not a sociopath. He, on the other hand, merely has an erection – and a figurative itch he can’t scratch on his own.
Even though it occasionally serves up a little personal schadenfreude…as it did the other night, it’s a rather pleasant way to spend an evening. Again, no disrespect to Bubble Boy.
Ever heard of a band called Presidents of the United States of America? They might be the best underrated band ever, or they might be a one album wonder. Who knows?
What I did know, though, was that it started out – as did I, at the top of my lungs – 🎼🎼Love sat alone in a boggy marsh🎼🎼
So imagine my chagrin to be driving along, alone between rides the other night and chancing to glance at my dash display to see this song wasn’t called “Love” as I had thought for too many decades…but “Lump”.
Ok, that’s just fucking nonsense. Made me want to switch to a rap station, where I wouldn’t understand a damn word and wouldn’t have cared. I was rocked to my 80s and 90s music fanatical core.
Alas…the prophet Google reinforced my musical ignorance.
Ok, my moment of idiocy was cushioned by the reality that the lyrics were utter drivel.
Seriously, though…sub “love” in for “lump” and there’s one line that’s weird. But as is, it’s all weird and I may never enjoy this song again without being seriously stoned.
I’ll stick with belting out 🎼🎼Is this love out of my head? I think so!🎼🎼 whenever I encounter this song – and let’s face it, every Friday night is a safe bet – versus replacing my superior, albeit incorrect, lyrics with that rock ‘n roll nonsense! If that makes me the musical equivalent of a Trumptard, so be it…
Time for you to play along at home…what are your musical malaprop secrets? Leave me some amusement in the comments!
The Silver Fox was up last weekend. We went and ran some errands after coffee on…I want to say Saturday? I could be off a day or two, though. Time is a constant, my memory is not.
Anyway, while we ran his errands, he was multi-tasking by also ignoring my input about paint colors for his bathroom.
Sidebar: He’d already decided on Cable Knit Sweater based off the name alone, since there is some inside joke about that between him, his not-estranged-enough ex-wife and (unbeknownst to them) Taylor Swift.
That being the case, I was entertaining myself. Alternately looking at plants and seagulling him with unwanted opinions about paint he was pretending to consider.
Somewhere between me finding an unusual looking plant and a hand painted planter to kill it in, I shared a story with him about Facebook. Since he’s not on any social media and he wasn’t listening to my opinions, we were basically punishing each other for sport.
The Facebook Story:
An old friend of mine – not as old as the Silver Fox, but “old” as in I’ve known him longer than The Fox…which is really saying something! – had sent me a late night text pointing out my conspicuous absence from Facebook.
The reason I had gone quiet was my own fault. I’d forgotten a major life rule: Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.
Honorable mention…a Mark Twain quote: Never argue with an idiot, they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
The idiots and stupid Americans people in question were from a Facebook group I’ve been a part of for a few years called DamnedPortlanders. Usually, they post about neighborhood free libraries or new mandalas that appear around neighborhood intersections or cute hidden gardens.
But knowing I was missed caused me to end my Facebook embargo. Then I went in, quit some groups – starting with DamnedPortlanders – and deleted about 15% of my friends. Most of whom were just folks I’d met once or twice while amusing myself at bars, folks I knew only on social media because they were friends of friends or, in about a half dozen cases, guy candy.
As I said, sharing this story was simply an exercise in pyrrhic entertainment…and he didn’t much care. But I got a little humble brag in in the telling, some people miss me when I’m not around.
The best part about all this? He decided he also liked the planter I’d discovered and decided to buy one…right before telling me that I couldn’t buy one because between our respective coffees, the gallon of paint and his hand painted planter, we didn’t have enough hands to carry it all home.
I mentally debated arguing – again, just for sport – but decided that this was his errands mission. I could make a separate trip for mine…but I’m telling him they were on sale after I do!
What makes this phenomenon remarkable is how many others are going through similar situations. Just the other morning, I awoke to an IM from a friend that she had deleted both of her blogs and didn’t want me to worry about her silence. It was just because she was tired of the petty backlash she suffered when mentioning friends in her blog posts.
She, like me, used nom de blog plume type masking when mentioning her friends. Unlike me and the epic brand hawk, Sacha, all of her friends seemed to mind – even though very few (if any) people would bother or care to decipher the monikers she used.
I’m fortunate, I guess, that I only have Sacha to worry about when I write. It’s entertaining, in a way…watching him bend over backward to convince me that he’s not reading my blog. It’s always some vague “mutual friend” from Facebook that allegedly tells him about a post.
Fun fact: My WordPress hasn’t been tethered to my Facebook page since last August, so when I wrote about him about a month and a half ago and he jumped into a shrill textapalooza with both feet…well, if it walks like a Sacha and lies like a Sacha – it’s a Sacha.
Aside from those stories about overly precious friends and exes, though, I was glad to hear my friend Benjamina espouse the same instinct to cull. Maybe that’s something that being in lockdown for 15 months has instilled in us. After all, if we spent that long incommunicado when distractions were at an all time low and entertainment was at a premium, then I think the onus is on the “friend” to prove they should remain on that less and less important friends list. For my part, if someone was a legit part of my life – usually meaning they were a schoolmate or a past work colleague – they got a pass, even if we didn’t presently interact much on social media. I made a few exceptions for active friends of friends and blog buddies, otherwise I dropped the unfriend hammer. Most embarrassing for the folks who didn’t make the proverbial cut would be the nearly half-dozen friends on my list who have died over the years. They may not have survived life, but they survived the friends list cull of 2021…I don’t want to let go of the last physical tether I have to them.
I was a little more liberal or sparing on Instagram, by comparison. After all, that’s really more of a “follow your interests” environment by design.
Of course, that immediately bit me straight in the ass.
There’s a kid from Glasgow that I know from his blog here on WordPress. He’s self-published several pamphlets books, so we have a couple of similar interests…three, if sexual orientation counts as an interest. Although, at this point in my life, I’d call sexual orientation a disinterest of mine.
I’ve even bought one of his books. $10 for less than 75 pages…that tracks for what too many millennials expect as an ROI for their efforts: minimal effort, maximum return. Conversely, my books are all well over that page count – by magnitudes – and my target price range is $9.99-12.99. I want to deliver bang for my reader’s dollar. And that apostrophe was intentionally placed in the singular possessive, thank you.
He’s actually a late-20s guy, not a kid. Despite his childish behavior in what turned out to be our second to last interaction on social media.
Like I said, it was Instagram. He’s posted a pic to his story with the caption “Time to shave”. In looking at the pic – which was an extreme close up of his chin – I saw some white stubble. I thought it was cute, a soon to be expired twink calling himself out for having white whiskers and playfully responded with “Do I see some white on that stubble?” Then I went to bed, because the PNW and Glasgow are in very different time zones, right?!?
I awoke to see him having made two efforts at responding “Rude” and following them up with “And now it’s deleted”. Then I saw that he’d blocked me.
He’s been very vocal about his bouts of anxiety and depression, both on his Instagram and in his blog. As a matter of fact, weeks after the Instagram incident, he posted about exactly that and how COVID exacerbated those conditions for him. And oddly how he’d noticed people coming out of their COVID hibernations with slightly wonky social behaviors – like they’d forgotten how to people during lockdown.
Of course, I completely agreed with him. Which led to our last social media interaction here on WordPress. I just couldn’t help but use the story of how someone had blocked me on social media for incorrectly guessing why they’d post a pic captioned “Time to shave”.
Not only did that story go over his head…
…but he liked it. As in, he completely forgot the entire episode and even reading my comment didn’t trigger his memory that I was describing his own broken behavioral shittiness.
What the literal fuck? I was embarrassed for him. Being so incensed that he not only blocked me, but deleted a post from his own social media. If that wasn’t a memory that stuck in his mind hard enough to recall after being directly reminded of the situation, I’m left to wonder if he wasn’t that offended or if he’s that offended by so many people that he cannot recall who got the block hammer and for what manufactured reason.
He should take a page out of Rainman’s book and keep a list…
Yeah, I went there.
And, for the record, I unfollowed his blog. That was something that actually made me feel bad. For my part, I think if I’m living in a society that it’s incumbent upon me – and each of us – to do our part to lift others up…to help them be better people or have an easier time navigating this life we’re living.
Imagine if that was our collective goal. What a world that would be.
My hope in making this comment to this guy was that he’d read my account of what he’d done and what my intention had been in making my comment on his Instagram story and he’d have an a-ha moment and we could bury the proverbial hatchet.
I thought that the worst case scenario would be that he just blocked me from commenting on future post to his blog. Nowhere in my expected response was that he would be so oblivious as to not even get that my comment was directed at him…and that he’d actually like my comment.
I really didn’t know what to do with that level of cluelessness. Like I said, I unfollowed his blog. I know what they say about the irreparable nature of stupid, but I don’t think he’s stupid.
Maybe a little lazy brained…but not stupid.
I had led that horse right up to the water’s edge – not much more I can do, if it dies of dehydration I’m not sticking around to beat its corpse.
In a barely interesting corollary, I’ve noticed a lot more bogus follower activities. Y’know…obviously fake accounts following me.
Mostly on Instagram, but there’s been a few on Facebook, too. And you’ve got to admit, some of their tactics are hits – like the new Instagram follower named progressivevote or the blog followers whose blog descriptions are “alcohol” or “beer”…they know the target audience. That Jane_Vera0116, though. Swing and a really big miss.
But maybe they are relying on the incipient loneliness the past year-plus of lockdowns has created. Or the desperation what I’m imagining to be the obvious unfriending and unfollowing on social media is creating in people who don’t know their value without the “likes” to back it up.
If COVID only made us worse to endure, I’m wondering if we shouldn’t just let the GOP have its way on labeling Climate Change as a hoax…because maybe we aren’t worth saving. Because just as unfixable as stupid is, saving someone or some species that can’t decide it wants to be saved is a fool’s errand for any Samaritans amongst us.
Maybe it’s time this victim of his own self-described savior complex just shuts up and watches the world burn.
Nah…I’m more optimistic than that! I’ll go buy that plant and see if it will stay alive and keep me company.
Over the past week or infinity, I’ve crossed paths with several *woke* people or groups. People, actually, whose values and politics align with my own.
Strangely, it has not gone well for me. Witness:
Facebook: Minimum Wage
I’m not going to lie, I’m still scared to look at my Facebook notifications for fear of seeing what a woke mob of Portlanders has left there for me. As a matter of fact, since this happened, I’ve likely opened my Facebook app less than a half-dozen times.
My crime? Standing up for a local restaurant chain called McMenamin’s. They had posted an ad for cooks.
Actually, that was the lead comment by a woke Portlander who saw the ad on Craigslist and decided to post it on the DamnPortlanders Facebook page. A page that I’m quitting, if it hasn’t already expelled me.
Let me tell you about McMenamin’s crime before I go into details on my own. They posted this Craigslist ad for cooks: minimum wage (which is currently $13 and change, but moves to $14/hr on July 1st and $14.75 next July 1st) plus tips, medical/dental, 401k, PTO…not bad, in my opinion. Most of my service industry friends have no insurance since they are usually consigned to part-time positions. And 401k? Forget about it.
This woke Portlander was offended that a company would offer a minimum wage job in today’s job market, particularly in Portland.
My crime? I simply pointed out that Portland’s minimum wage is nearly double the federal minimum wage and that maybe there were other levers to pull to ensure Portland remains a livable city for our service industry workers – particularly since it’s such a big part of our culture. I may have also mentioned that attacking our own liberal policies made us look a bit schizophrenic.
Remember our unofficial town motto: Portland, where young people go to retire.
Anyway, I wasn’t expecting gratitude from my comment. I just wanted to throw a little voice of (t)reason into the dialogue. I’ll tell you what I wasn’t expecting…attitude.
I’m not even kidding. Given where the comment melee ended up, it actually started in a benign – if only by comparison – place. The OP claimed she worked on the minimum wage campaign five years ago and that it was out of date already. Without citing context, of course. She said that $15 should be the minimum.
I reminded her that $14.75 and $15 are pretty damn close, wondering if she was really upset about what amounted to $10/week. I also pointed out that she shouldn’t be upset by employers offering the minimum allowable wage – they were meeting the state’s baseline requirement of employers.
Her counteroffer was that the minimum should be $22/hr, $26 if you work downtown.
Ok, merely moments before, she’d declared that $15 should be the minimum. Now she’s saying $22 should be the minimum – do you feel like I was necessary in this debate? She seemed to be negotiating against herself just fine.
The split minimum wage is nothing new to Oregon. We created a three tiered minimum wage when we voted on it back in 2015.
There’s also a Rural tier that’s not pictured. The interesting thing from this last round of increases is the unexpected fallout: job loss. We’re famously one of the few states where you aren’t allowed to pump your own gas – we’re job creators like that. However, after the minimum wage hike, rural communities were allowed to eliminate those jobs and customers pump themselves there.
Basically, in small towns where there are fewer jobs, we managed to make things worse under the auspices of making them better. Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m all for a livable minimum wage. I’m also all for friggin’ oil and gas companies not getting away with crap like that.
I’m also the guy who pulls up to a gas station in Vancouver, Washington – and now Hood River and beyond – and sits in his car waiting for no one to come pump my gas. Basically, I’m a big dummy.
Asked the OP if she really thought the guy that takes my order at my favorite food cart downtown should be making $52k a year, because that’s what full-time work at $26/hr nets out to annually. I also asked if she thought a food cart could sustain that salary level, since I very much doubted that the owners of the cart made that much.
It got crazy from there.
One guy did a lovely math story problem for me involving rent on a one-bedroom at a crazy $1800/month rent, plus medical insurance, utilities, etc minus working full-time at $15/hr. Yes, the result was a negative number.
Also yes, he thinks a minimum wage earner is going to be dumb enough to live in the Pearl. Or alone. He seemed offended by my reply – a story about people having roommates.
Then someone jumped in suggesting a $30/hr minimum wage. Because, of course Portland should be 4x the federal minimum.
Who the fuck are these dumbasses?
I made another attempt at pointing out how taxing companies and the wealthy appropriately versus letting them hide profits and grow wealth through loopholes would help us provide healthcare for all. Oddly, that’s kind of a wash for employers in my mind, since they would have to pay taxes but wouldn’t have to bear the burden of paying for the administration of a healthcare plan. It’s a double win for employees, too. They wouldn’t have to pay a portion of their employer’s healthcare offering, plus the obstacle preventing employers from offering full-time jobs versus part-time jobs would be eliminated. Well, one of the obstacles, I know that some employers still need part-time workers to allow for scheduling flexibility.
Honestly, after that immersion into literal liberal retardation, I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t just opt out of the DamnPortlanders group, but go as far as deleting my Facebook profile altogether
Regardless, this is a great example of people not thinking for themselves – or maybe not having the critical thinking skills to extrapolate an action plan that is actually actionable…and solves more problems than it creates.
Last time around, we eliminated a few pump jockey jobs. This time around we’d be eliminating small business if these woke jokers had their way.
But they don’t seem primed to compromise. A behavior that makes me think they might just be happy being unhappy.
I recently shared a post that I came across on the AppleNews feed on my Twitter page. It was an opinion piece by a former member of Congress.
Overall, pretty innocuous re-post. In it, the author lays out a case that I was surprised to find out wasn’t common sense. Then I remembered 70 million Americans who would bristle at the accusation that they possess common sense and were willing to vote to prove it.
Enter the overwoke feminists.
The first comment came in: Can we try that again without the misogyny?
Ok, A) “bitch” is nearly as versatile a word as “fuck”, so if you know me…feel free to assume my intentions. If you don’t, methinks thou art projecting too much. Maybe try seeking first to understand instead of leading with an attack.
And, B) of all the people who need a feminist to have their back…Marjorie Taylor Greene hardly seems high on that list. As a matter of fact, I bet she’d decline any defense of her character and respect-worthiness from a feminist.
But this former follower of mine – a female using a gay pride flag emoji in her Twitter handle – wasn’t going to let anything like non-consensual support stop her. I encouraged her to check her assumptions and maybe try assuming best intentions versus worse, but she wasn’t having that. She even tagged in a friend of hers to join in the attack. I felt like the wounded gazelle to their simultaneous hunter lionesses and scavenger hyenas. As noted above, this woman is blind, but I’d be surprised if perhaps she was only blind to the opinions of others.
Once again: the problem with liberals is that when we have a chance to do something for the greater good, we distract ourselves with infighting versus collaboration. The result is an epic display of ineffectiveness.
TheStreet: Racial Justice
On the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, there was a vigil-protest here in Portland. Because that’s what you get in a woke city whose unofficial forecast is “Cloudy, with a chance of protests”.
Commemorating nothing, I’d gone out to Kelly’s Olympian for a couple pints of the good stuff after clocking my 10 rides for the day. As I left – crossing 5th & Washington on the diagonal – I heard bucket drums behind me and turned to look once I’d cleared the intersection.
Sure enough, there was a wall of people dressed in black bloc just coming across 4th and up Washington toward me. A little excited to be catching a front row seat at one of my city’s marches in support of social justice, I pulled out my phone to capture a video.
What I hadn’t seen was the marchers’ advance team. Usually a few folks on bikes or motorcycles that ride ahead of the march to stop traffic prior to the marchers’ arrival. Because: safety first! I hadn’t noticed these two because they were on rented e-scooters – which I generally pay as much attention to as a mosquito.
They took issue with me taking a video. More accurately, they deferred authority to a vague “them” figure instead of being adults and just asking me not to film.
That’s not very Darnella Frazier of them.
I’m not someone who can physically defend myself, so I’m not sure why I mouth off as frequently as I do. I am good with words, though…so, maybe I do know why I pop off like I do.
I also bristle easily at intimidation. And these goombahs menacing me without owning it kind of demanded fucking with. I actually posted the video – along with my frustration – to my Instagram. It was there that one of the local protest pages filled me in on a possible rationale for the protesters request to not be filmed: videos could potentially be subpoenaed as evidence or to help identify marchers.
Ok. Sure…it’s a stretch, in my opinion. But I can respect a reasonable request with some context versus a vague threat from a disembodied “them”.
I actually thanked the local page that provided the insight, because I hate not knowing the “why” behind something I’m expected to do. Hate it. As a matter of fact, my complain-asking these types of questions and listening to the rationale behind things like ACAB, Defund/Disband the Police, Trans Rights, TERFs, and countless other movements that initially repelled me due to a too liberal use of hyperbole for my taste has helped me understand the actual meaning behind each group’s messaging.
I guess I have a thirst for knowledge. It’s like a sickness…
My question though: Why can’t the advance team use a specific reason like I was given after the fact while making their request versus just barfing out a “Hey, we don’t care, but they might…” and expecting me to fall in line?
Seems like police level bully behavior to me. “Because I said” is such a winning argument with me.
Instagram: Body Insecurities
There’s a fellow blogger and indie gay writer that I follow(ed) on Instagram as well. He lives in the UK and shared many of my frustrations with The Gays – apparently, we’re a global pandemic with our carelessly selfish behaviors.
But he’s also one of those gays that has self-diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I should have known that many red flags would only lead to bullshit shenanigans.
Last month, he posted a close up of his lower face with only the caption “It’s time to shave”. He sports stubble off and on, so I thought he’d been referring to his body’s follicular pigmentation betrayal.
Ok, so I assumed incorrectly. I suppose that gives him carte blanche to return the favor by incorrectly assuming my own intentions. Where I thought I’d been on his wavelength and sent a cute comment, he’d been referring to gawd knows what else and chose instead to assume I’d been trying to offend him. By the time I came to awoke the next morning, I was blocked and he had apparently deleted the post. As you can see, I originally liked his “post deleted” comment because I thought he’d been responding playfully…then I scrolled to the final message.
It’s not like we were ever going to have an acquaintanceship outside of social media, but I’m still sad about his decisions. But that’s the trouble too often these days – and I refuse to use the term too liberally, so I’ll just let you get there on your own. Perhaps, though, if he didn’t allow himself to react rashly after listening to his more self-sabotaging demons, he wouldn’t be self-diagnosing with anxiety.
What do I know, though? I’ve just been dealing with a bunch of the same crap he whines about regularly for a couple decades longer. Of course, I’m the enemy.
The truly sad news is that I’ve likely forgotten some recent examples. But overall, it seems people are – and I don’t know why this surprises me – just sleepwalking their way through wokeness.
My take? Being woke may as well be broke if you aren’t willing to think critically about the conversations you participate in. If all you’re doing is regurgitating talking points or assuming worst intentions without listening to the other person, you’re not going to help anyone.
More likely, as in my case, you’re likely just going to alienate likeminded folk.