In which I had something for this

I’m on at least three post ideas for today so far, and by “post ideas” I mean I came up with something, thought “Okay, that’s today’s post,” and then promptly forgot what the hell it was before I had a chance to put it into writing. So that’s how my day is going so far.

I did manage to get my work tasks squared away early today, by not bothering with the instructional video (tomorrow’s material is the same as today’s, so rather than recording something myself I just linked to someone else’s) and getting the assignment written while working in the Meet and doing other things. Sometimes it’s kinda fun to yell “give me a number!” at a half-dozen kids and then write a math problem about it.

I’m also reaching that point in the week– and it’s alarming to realize that it’s only Tuesday– where my eyes could definitely benefit from doing less staring at screens for a little while.

Actually, there’s this, which I think was one of the things: I had to go to my local Ace Hardware to buy a flagpole earlier, because I’m finally getting around to putting the pride flag in front of my house that I have wanted to put up since last June. And, y’all, we need to protect our retail workers, okay? Because the item I bought ended up not being in their system for some reason, and it took all of five whole minutes before the manager finally shrugged and charged me for a slightly different flagpole (which, whatever; I hadn’t even looked for a price, I just grabbed the one I wanted and headed to the counter) and I think during that five minutes I was apologized to for my incredibly minor inconvenience at least a dozen times by at least three or four different people. And you could just tell that everybody was waiting for me to completely lose my shit about it, and it’s like … yeah, I have so many more important things to worry about right now than this that I don’t even have the energy to reach “this is not your fault but I’m annoyed anyway” level annoyed. Oh, darn, I had to wait five whole minutes.

And you just know that these folks have gotten the shit kicked out of them recently about something similar, right? Because motherfuckers have allowed themselves to get completely out of control lately, and while filming these fools and putting it on the Internet has gotten rather popular I think it might be time to start upgrading to actual intervention. Nobody should be this nervous about this minor of a thing, and it wasn’t just the cashier, it was everyone I encountered in the store.

The flag’s gonna look nice, by the way. We’ve taken it down already to get the folds pressed out, but I hung it up long enough to take a picture, which the wind promptly made twice as complicated as it needed to be. But nonetheless:

In which I am real, real dumb and make dumb decisions like a dumb guy

It is known: I am a giant fat guy. I’m five feet ten inches tall and somewhat– I’m honestly not sure how much– north of 300 pounds. Every so often I get tired of being a giant fat guy and try to do something about it, with varying degrees of success, and generally a few months after trying whatever that was I end up fatter than I was when I started, which, frankly, is the main reason I haven’t tried to be less fat in a while.

But, Jesus, this quarantine is too fucking much. I’m barely leaving the house, because disease, and I’m getting zero exercise. I have never been much of a snacker, believe it or not; my issue is that I’ve never been a regular exerciser and I eat a lot at meals, but other than empty calories from pop I’ve not been a guy to eat a lot of sweets or snacks between meals.

I cannot run, and I will never be able to. My knees and legs are all fucked up, and even if I wanted to take up running it would be a terrible idea. I really enjoy swimming, but that would require a gym membership, which is, well, impossible right now, and the last time I tried the only place I could get into didn’t end up working out very well.

So … a bike? My wife and son have bikes. I could ride on a bike with my wife and my son! That would be a thing, right? Pay no attention to the fact that I haven’t been on a bike since I was, like, ten— I learned how to ride, mostly because my brother wanted to and I couldn’t yet and as the older brother I couldn’t allow him to know how to do something I didn’t know how to do– and I’m pretty sure once I knew how to ride on a bike I stopped doing it and that was the end of that. They say you can’t forget how; I don’t believe them.

Turns out that bikes that guys my size can ride can be really fucking expensive, and I fell down a hell of a rabbit hole today trying to order one. An anecdote, if you don’t mind: I drive a Kia Soul. I very much like my Kia Soul, which does everything I ask of it and is missing exactly zero features that I would like for a car I’m driving to have. However, if you read reviews of the Kia Soul from Car People, it will not do well, because car people are Car People and they frankly have vastly higher standards than I do for their cars.

Compounding this is that it turns out that bikes are a rather popular purchase right now, because it turns out I’m not the only person who is noticing that they are rather more gelatinous than they were in mid-March, so they’re sold out everywhere. And when you look at non-Amazon reviews of bikes I can both afford and find, they tend to be from Bike People, and I would like the Bike People to just tell me if the bike is a Kia or not so that I can move on with my life. I called an actual bike shop and talked to a dude for a bit, and he was super helpful but he also said that all of their lower-end bikes were sold and that the one he’d try to steer me towards given my circumstances was going to be a $1200 bike.

Which, no. I just spent just south of $400 on that giant red thing up there, because it’s getting good enough reviews from non-bike people that I think it’ll be okay. (The price aspect is interesting. All of the reviews that mentioned the price mentioned prices considerably lower than I can actually find this or any similar bike for anywhere.).

But, yeah. The Bike People? Jesus. All of the YouTube reviews of it from Bike People are basically “yes, this is technically a bicycle, but only if you replace these seventeen components of it immediately, and then take it apart and dip it in fairy dust and put it back together, then perhaps you could ride it a mile or two if circumstances required it,” and I’m like dude I’m probably going to abandon this idea in a month anyway I’m not spending $1200 on a lark.

Just tell me if it’s a Kia.

I will admit that I also ordered a new seat for it, on the spot, because … well, yeah, that all makes sense, and I want the seat to be as comfortable as possible, and it was $35 so fuck it. The seat will be here on Saturday. The bike … well …

Two different bikes gave me that nonsense upon being put in my shopping cart. I assume it’ll be closer to now than later; if it hasn’t shipped in a week I’ll just cancel it and move on with my life. I know Amazon is kind of slammed with coronavirus stuff right now, but if it’s in stock I’m pretty sure it’ll be here before fucking October.

I look forward to the odyssey it will require to get a bike helmet that will fit my enormous head. I can’t buy hats in stores, y’all. This will be fun.


5:46 PM, Friday, May 15: 1,439,231 confirmed cases and 87,184 Americans dead.

In which I announce a goal …

… one which I’m never, EVER gonna pull off.

My unread shelf has been out of control for months (pictured: not my unread shelf) and I have noticed I’ve begun stress-buying things lately; witness my investment in AirPods yesterday and the obscene amount of money I’ve poured into dice in the last week. I have, even considering how fast I read and the fact that I’m not currently leaving the house, far more unread books than I really should have right now.

In the interests of keeping my bank account solvent and my shelves from collapsing, to say nothing of the health of the people working in Amazon’s warehouses, I have decided I’m going to do my damnedest to not order any more books until I have cleared my unread shelf. I do have one currently in transit that I pre-ordered months ago (Daniel M. Ford’s Cheap Heat, out this week and ordered by me in December) but I’m not ordering anything new until my resolve breaks or I clear the shelf. I think it will be the second time in my adult life I have managed to do such a thing.

How long until I break this resolution, do you think?


12:00 PM, Tuesday, April 28: 990,135 confirmed cases and 56,475 Americans dead.

*Cough*

Had to leave the house today to run some errands– two banks, interacting with the tellers through vacuum tubes, the pharmacy for a new supply of my supplemental Yeah It’s A Bad Day Let’s Take These Too brain meds, also interacting through a vacuum tube, Arby’s, where stuff was passed through a window, the post office, where I did actually have to don my mask and go inside, and Target, which was by far the least necessary of the trips but I ordered my stuff online and had them pick them up for me and then when I walked in the kid who had actually done the shopping and was at the register was a former student, so it was literally “Oh, hi, Mr. Siler! Were those AirPods for you? Let me go grab them,” and I was out. I had a mask on for the Target and post office visits– the same one as last time but folded differently, and I was able to keep my pulse under control but I still had to force myself to calm down after the Target trip.

I’m not even sure why I bought the AirPods, although I’ve managed to convince myself over the last few days that they had their uses around the house, particularly now that I never drive anywhere. Listening to stuff in bed is going to be a lot easier now that I don’t have to be tethered to the phone, for example. They’ll make a few things a bit less unwieldy; I don’t know if it was enough to justify the cost but every other damn thing I own has an apple on it so whatever. I have the money.

Since I got home, my stress level has been through the roof, and not for any good reason, although I think it might have something to do with the fact that … heh, yeah, I was gonna say “life felt normal for a while,” except I was wearing a fucking bandanna on my face in the post office and I didn’t go into the grocery store so that I could minimize the number of actual humans I spoke to while I got my brain drugs from the pharmacy, and after I got my Arby’s I ate it in my car in the Target parking lot like a God damned animal rather than going inside because you can’t do that anymore, so no, none of this shit is normal, none of it at all.

(By the way, I cast my primary ballot today, which wasn’t the only reason I had to go to the post office, but still got mailed along the way. After thinking about it for a while, I voted for Warren. I don’t feel bad about this decision.)

I’m gonna play D&D with my wife and son in a bit, and then I’m gonna record tomorrow’s e-learning lesson, and then I’m gonna take one of those happy brain pills and go to bed, and hope tomorrow is better, because I spent two hours this afternoon after I got home sitting in a chair and staring at TikTok and hating every second of it and that is no way to spend your damn time.

Ugh. 2020 is stupid.


6:14 PM, Monday April 27: 985,374 confirmed cases (though I’ve seen reports in other places that we’re over a million already) and 55,906 Americans dead.

New Face, 2019 edition

I have trouble believing that it has been over a year since the last time I embarrassed myself trying to find new glasses, but it has! And once again, I am bound and determined to find A New Look, even though all other available New Looks make me all itchy.

This was only the first place we went to, so it’s possible that none of these will be the choice, and it’s also still possible that I go with identical frames to the ones I have, because I do actually like my current frames. But what the hell! Let’s experiment! In ascending order of Radical Departure from My Current Face:

Nearly identical to my current glasses, but in blue. For whatever reason, I seem to have decided that gunmetal and/or black glasses don’t look right and so everything I liked enough to take a picture of ended up blue. The only real change here would be the color.

Also, no comments on my beard will be entertained. It was a stressful day.

A slightly subtler blue, and similar lens shape, but eschewing the completely frameless look I went with last year.

Brighter blue, bigger lenses than what I’m currently wearing, and continuing to be half frameless. I like the color of these the most but Bek didn’t like the shape of the lenses.

WHOA WHAT IS THIS MASSIVE RADICAL DEPARTURE WHO EVEN IS THAT DUDE

Still blue, though. It’s all about blue this year.

Feel free to vote, or comment, or whatever, if you like. Ultimately my wife probably gets the final call– she has to look at them more than I do– but I still wanna hear what y’all think.

Bonus picture of the boy, in frames I think I tried on but didn’t have the guts to be photographed in:

He doesn’t get a vote, but these were his favorites.

(Why are they all Oakleys? Good question. I tried on another dozen pairs other than these from a variety of other brands, but these guys seem to have my tastes dialed in, for whatever reason. I didn’t deliberately seek them out or anything like that.)