Category Archives: feeling sorry for myself

Questionable Progress

After four days of working on getting my car fixed, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.  I have not gotten it into the shop yet.  I still have to climb over the middle divider from the passenger door because neither door on the left side of my car can be opened.  Both are bent and jammed.

But the gaggle of insurance agents squabbling over who pays for it all is beginning to sound like I might not have to shoulder the entire burden myself.  There is a consensus that the accident was not my fault.  (Probably due to the fact that the police officer making the accident report clearly stated it was the other goofball’s fault in his written report.)  So, Geico, the perpetrator’s insurance, has generously agreed to pay 85 percent of the cost of repair and rental car.  (85 percent???  Why not a hundred???  Apparently, because I couldn’t testify with 100 percent certainty with my hand on a Bible that I had my lights on at a quarter to noon in the rain, even though I am in the habit of having my lights turned on even if it is just cloudy and would’ve automatically turned them off when I got out of the car to prevent the warning dinger from dinging.  That should cost me $300, right?)  My insurance agent from Progressive is willing to argue all the way to arbitration that I deserve 100% coverage, especially since Geico is paying for it, and Uber also stands ready to be coerced to pay if need be because I was on my way to pick up a meal delivery at the time of the accident.

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So, I am hopeful in a pessimistic sort of way that I am not going to be socked with another bill that is higher than my emergency fund (which I maintain on the orders of my bankruptcy lawyer).

But it is not only good news about car repair that I am finding questionable today.  I have also made progress on a stubborn printer/scanner that has been failing to work properly since I bought it new.  I discovered I needed to go online to download an HP printer driver, not once, but twice.  Apparently, it had been rendered useless because just after I downloaded and made it work the day I bought the thing, HP decided to update that software with critical patches that I did not have.  So, the second download allowed me to discover…

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…That the scanner bed was still too small to scan the size of art needed to scan my graphic novel and get that usefully re-created through scans on the internet.  You can see the cover is too large to scan the whole thing in one go.  I am, however, tricksy enough to scan it in parts and paste the whole together with the paint and art editing tools I already have on the computer.  I intend to start doing that to get Hidden Kingdom up and running on my Dungeons and Dragons Saturday posts.

Here’s an adjusted scan to increase my ability to copy and paste a whole together from parts…

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It should be easy to quilt together the artwork over time and provide a view not grayed out by having to reproduce the black and white pen and ink art in shades of gray, the way I must if I try to do the thing photographically.

And I can definitely say that scanned art is better than photographed art.

I have included a couple more scans to prove the point.

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Filed under angry rant, art editing, feeling sorry for myself, grumpiness, humor, Paffooney

We Are All Gonna Die

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I hope you listened to Joe.  Not just the first part, then got bored and disgusted and turned on Fox News.  I hope you listened all the way to the end and heard the hopeful things he says there.  He is a very good video essayist who uses real science to reason with you about questions that are really about life and death.  One way we may be going to die as a species is through climate change and global warming.  The dire predictions we get from climate scientists, whom nobody seems to take seriously, are becoming increasingly alarming.  If we are too stuck in our own little kingdoms and don’t look the castle windows at the weather outside, we are not only going to have our parades rained on, it will be acid rain, and the parade marchers will get boiled on the hoof as they march.

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Those of us who put too much faith in the Trump Train, burning its beautiful clean coal, are going down to the bottom when we get to the canyon bridge and the train roars off the tracks.  Just ask Paul Manafort after his trial ends, or Jeff Sessions after Trump fires him to make racist sausages out of him to serve at an I-Love-Putin Picnic, what the ride has been like on the Trump Tongue Express.

But, of course, the Pumpkinhead in Chief is not the only reason we have no money and no jobs and are going to be roasted to death in a polluted world.  There is also the little matter of Trillions of Dollars in Debt that was racked up to make the rich richer and people like me foot the bill.

I know you may be suspicious of an interview conducted on RT which is an arm of Russian propaganda in the USA.  But I should point out, if you like Trump, you like Russia already, and both of these journalists, Chris Hedges and David Cay Johnston, are not afraid to tell the unvarnished truth.  That means the mainstream media is uncomfortable about putting them on the air, and those who want to stir up trouble find it easiest to do that by simply allowing access to researched facts and basic truths we are reluctant to hear.

If you don’t believe in the predictions offered by science, it is bound to be because of one of two different things.  Either you see the science and follow how the results of computer models become overwhelmingly dire, disgusting you with a total lack of optimistic outcomes, or you reject science in favor of the oil companies’ rose-colored fairy-tale outlooks where unicorns will consume CO2 clouds and fart out benevolent rainbows.  From where I stand now, broke and old and ill, it doesn’t matter much to me.  In the short time frames we are looking at for global-warming Armageddon, I will undoubtedly reach the end of my natural life.  I probably won’t be around for the horrific-suffering part of how this all is going to end.

I know if you haven’t turned away from this heat-death-of-the-planet idea already, you are probably pretty depressed by this point in the essay.  I know I am.  It does not bode well for my children and any future grandchildren.  But I will leave you with the reminder that we are human beings.  And human beings are complex and able to solve large complex problems.  We put men on the moon.  (Or we did the even harder job of faking it and not letting the secret be discovered for fifty years, complete with space-travel debris on the moon that you can take photographs of from earth with a really good telescope.)  So, just maybe this massive terrifyingly horrible problem can yet be solved in the nick of time.  I do believe in the good that can be found in mankind.  But I also see the corruption and evil.  So hopefully Mark Twain’s final hope for mankind, that this time when God drowns us, there will be no Ark, will be thwarted.  Believe me, I have no wish to die a horrible death.  But I am a pessimist after all.

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Filed under angry rant, battling depression, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, horror writing, Liberal ideas, pessimism

Oyif!!! Life Smacks in the Fast Lane

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I was feeling good after making arrangements to pay off the IRS and both of my hospital bills over time in amounts that I could squeeze out of my present retirement income.  Then a random act of stupidity in the rain deprived me of my ability to earn extra money through driving for Uber.

I was driving north in the rain towards the meal delivery I had from Panda Express.  I was in the left-hand lane driving next to the median on the divided part of Josey Lane.  I was in no way expecting to need any defensive driving measures.  In fact, I wouldn’t have succeeded if I had been able to react.  The other driver turned directly into my drivers-side doors, effectively sealing both of them so they could not be opened.  He told me he didn’t see me in the rain.  I suppose it is possible that was true, but I don’t see how considering how clearly I saw him at the last moment.

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Sudden surprise bangs and damage are not particularly good for diabetics, either.  I got pulled off into the parking lot, canceled my Uber delivery, and had the shakes so bad that I could barely call 911.  My fingers didn’t work properly.

But by the time the ambulance had arrived, my brief battle with shock was over.  My blood sugar checked out fine in the ambulance and they let me talk to the police and then drive my damaged-but-still-drivable car home.

Now I have the nightmare of dealing with insurance and how I am going to pay for it.

My wife tells me that since the accident obviously wasn’t my fault, I shouldn’t have to pay for any of the damages.  Of course, we all know that in the buccaneering world of American insurance, that is not how it works.

So now I can honestly report that I am physically okay, and financially in worse jeopardy.  Such is the way the life of Mickey is apparently intended to work out.

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Computerrific Discombobbula

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Technology is supposed to be your friend.   But the last few days have proved repeatedly that computers are definitely not Mickey’s friends.  They don’t seem to like him even a little bit.

The problem seems to stem from making the mistake of taking my beloved old laptop to Iowa.  My daughter was the only family member who could go along on the vacation to see Grampa and Gramma.  And her laptop now consists of a broken laptop body with no keyboard linked to a wifi-linkable keyboard and wifi-linkable used-television monitor.  That computer was not exactly in a portable condition.  I suggested she could replace the sticky-used-chewing-gum connections when she got to Iowa, but she wouldn’t risk it.

So the decision was made to take both my old laptop with the barely living battery and my backup cheap Walmart laptop for her to use.  We made it to Iowa with my beloved old laptop still able to boot up on the barely living battery.  I had tried to replace the battery by purchasing a new one directly from HP online.  But it was delayed enough that we couldn’t get it before leaving.  Still, the car trip didn’t completely kill the dying battery I had.  So I used it to save and edit pictures from the Wright County Fair and write my daily posts while visiting in Iowa.  A successful trip by internet-addicted idiots according to the uninformed standards I was apparently judging it by.

But on returning home to Texas, disaster struck totally by laptop.

First of all, the dying battery expired as soon as I tried to fire up Old Beloved on our return home.  And then I learned that the battery I had bought to revive it was an out-of-stock discontinued item at the HP factory.  My order had been canceled.  They gave me a line on a company that provided discontinued parts, but I did not have the money to swing that at the end of the month.  So that went on hold.

My backup laptop had now become my new Old Beloved.  But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember any of my old passwords for practically everything on the internet.  So, I spent a week recovering online accounts on my new Old Beloved.  That was hectic and un-swell.  But I reached a point where most of my August bills were paid or scheduled to be paid, and I was settling into my old routine again when I discovered the terrible mistake I had made.  My daughter had keyed everything on the new Old Beloved to her Google account.  I had been saving all my new passwords to her account rather than my own.  Oh, beehoofadoo!  Whoever would’ve thought that such world-rattling consequences could befall me because of such an innocent mistake?  There was a point at which I had no way back into my email account because it was no longer tied to my cell phone or current computer, and there were no means for recovering it, not even by using voodoo.  Then I happened to remember an account I had set up solely to get back into Pinterest in 2016.  I was able to log back into that and use it to get recovery codes for everything that either I or my daughter had destroyed or deleted because of the Google mix-up.

Last night my beloved daughter wanted the old password for our Hulu account to put it on her Frankencomputer, and after all I have been through in my own personal cyberwar, I nearly lost it.  Fear not.  My daughter still lives with her eardrums intact.  And no damage remains from the top of my head blowing off that couldn’t be fixed with duck tape and super glue.

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Filed under angry rant, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, humor, Paffooney, satire

Political Pessimism

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I get tired of being the one whose blood is constantly sucked by vampires.  And I am not talking about actual blood so much as money I need to live.  Every time I turn around another corporate vampire is sticking a fang or a needle into my bank account to exsanguinate it more.  I owe more money than I can pay to the IRS.  I owe a huge gob of money to hospitals for the last two hospitalizations that struck my family.  And these are blood suckings that occurred after I went bankrupt at the end of 2017.  Why do I have these woes from things sucking on my neck?  Well, one thing that is staring me right in the face is how the current government, run by Republicans, is enabling corporate vampires who pump the economic blood out of middle class and working poor people like me and feed it into the gaping bloody maws of ever-engorging CEO’s,  fatbat investors, and wealthy one-percenters.

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You are not going to believe this, but I found an article that says Mitch McConnell is directly descended from Dracula.  You can see it for yourself at this link. So let me expand on this with a list of dire predictions for our economic health and wellbeing generated from my blood-deprived pessimist’s brain.

  • Even though it looks like the Trumpula Administration is about to implode from chaos overload due to porn stars and betrayals by lawyers, it is a very long-lived undead thing and will continue to survive.
  • Republicans will continue to suck trillions of dollars of our economic blood because they will win in a large way due to legal gerrymandering, voter suppression, and Russian assistance by hacking.  The minions of the vampire lords are many.  And at least a third of the American population is zombified to the point that no evil act committed by Trumpula will make them vote against him.
  • Midwestern farmers will all be driven out of business by Trumpula’s tariffs and trade wars with all their most important market countries.
  • The bread basket of the world will be turned into a toxic goo factory by Monsanto (noted vampire brand for GMO-based mind-controlling food substitutes).
  • We will all become mindless zombies and happily vote Trumpula into the presidency for life in 2020.
  • And then the whole world will gradually cook itself through un-combatted global warming into a lifeless orb fit only for the undead.

So there you have my rosy outlook on not only my economic future but that of everybody who is not currently a billionaire blood-sucking corporate vampire.  I say “rosy” only because red is the color of blood which is draining away from my bank account at this very moment.  I know it is an over-exaggerated conspiracy theory worthy of Alex Jones at his top-of-the-lungs shoutiest, but if Trumpula could become president, then any possible horror show could soon be coming to life.

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Filed under angry rant, feeling sorry for myself, horror writing, humor, Paffooney, pessimism, politics, villains

The County Fair 2018

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On the road to Eagle Grove, Iowa, site of the 2018 Wright County Fair

Yesterday we went to the Wright County Fair as it winds down on the last weekend.  My daughter and I went with my mother and father, all of us not ready to run any foot races, in fact, looking forward to viewing the small fair at a snail’s pace, two of us walking with canes.

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It has always been a small county fair.  But it has become almost depressing to see how much it has shrunk since I was a kid and competed there.  Of course the beneficent pumpkinhead that runs the country now has put a cloud over it all by cutting off farmers’ primary markets in the trade war with China.  Soon there may be no agriculture community at all to celebrate with a county fair.

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The Iowa Township Hawkeyes Club that I used to be a part of

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We toured the 4-H projects exhibit building and saw all the baking, woodworking, photography. and sewing projects that the kids in 4-H had worked on all year.  As always they were impressive in the way that enthusiastic kid-work inevitably is.  But it was depressing to see that there are only three 4-H clubs in Wright County now where once there were seven.  The elderly viewers of the goings-on outnumbered the kids about two to one.  Iowa’s farm community population is getting older and older.  Schools are shrinking.  People per county numbers are declining too.

 

But as depressing as the long-range view is, the County 4-H program is still giving kids a firm farm-kid grounding in the values that made America great.  It proves that pumpkinheads don’t need to try to make it great again.

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It is important to celebrate who we are and what we do.  Especially in a time when a tractor-and-cornfield way of life seems doomed.  And a county fair does that.  I helps us define who we are, what values we hold dear, and who we are determined to be for as long as we can be that.

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Filed under autobiography, Celebration, family, farming, feeling sorry for myself, humor, Iowa, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Wheels of the Stupidity Cycle

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Sadly, the Flynn Effect is working now in reverse.  If you didn’t know, for decades the collective IQ of the United States has been increasing.  People have been getting smarter.  Improvements in education, health care, and diet had been making it possible for each succeeding class year to score better by a significant and steady amount every year over the students of the previous year.  Apparently, according to recent data analysis, it kept going up through the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and the 80’s.

And then, in about 1991, people began to be born who were destined to do worse than their predecessors.  People stopped getting smarter.  In fact, they not only leveled out, they began to get dumber.  Bummer.  As a teacher who taught during that time period, I have to pause and wonder… was it my fault?

I want to be clear about my use of illustrations here.  Not all of the faces I used in the collage above are actually stupid people.  I am told Rowan Atkinson (who plays an idiot character named Mr. Bean) is actually a genius with a very high IQ.  And some of the faces are not even from actual people.  They are cartoon characters or animals or Donald Trump.  And none of them actually caused the decline of IQ scores.  (Although I can’t prove the actor Brendan Fraser didn’t cause it by making the movie George of the Jungle.)

Economic factors brought about by the Reagan Revolution probably caused the wheel of life to turn back towards the stupid end of the cycle.  Rich people began sucking up and keeping every dollar possible, making themselves impossibly rich, and leaving the rest of us to fight over crumbs.  McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King turned the poorer suburbs into virtual food deserts of no nutritional value in every major urban area.  Schools across the nation have been forced to teach to tests whose main and sometimes only purpose is to prove schools undeserving of their funding so States can shift that funding towards private and for-profit schools.  Starved for proper funding, it is only natural that schools turned from learning institutions into baby-sitting services and uniformity indoctrination centers.  Schools now put out only average and poor students because that was the goal of education reform all along in conservative minds.

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So what, exactly, should we do about it?  Well, the wheel will still turn.  And as all wheels do, the part that is on the bottom will return to the top, and stupid will return to bottom as it obviously has before.

The next century is rife with problems that threaten human life on Earth.  Those problems, like income inequality, climate change through corporate abuse of the environment, the nuclear threat, and Donald Trump, will have to be solved by the next generation’s smart people.  When they do solve all those problems, the world will be better for it… or destroyed.  One of those.

And don’t mistake my meaning.  Stupid people have their own value.  Clowns like John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, and Seth Meyers are doing a far better job of helping us understand the issues of today than the nightly news is.  There is a great deal of fun to be had in watching the cat-and-mouse game of Robert Mueller and Donald Trump (where Trump is not the mouse so much as the cheese the mouse ate to start all the slapstick brouhaha).

And people who are not particularly smart can have great value in an infinite number of other ways.  Simple people may never be able to do calculus, but they can make you smile and feel loved better than some of the sharpest intellects (who often tend towards cynicism and bitterness).

The wheels of the Stupidity Cycle will continue to turn because that is the very nature of wheels. We will eventually be smart again.  We can’t keep getting dumber forever (though we did elect Trump).  And this is a pessimist telling you this.  So if this is completely wrong and off base, remember, I am also trying to be positive about the future.

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