I’m tired, dammit

I just thought to myself “Gee, I’m finished early today!” and then looked at the clock and discovered it was nearly 8:00, then remembered I hadn’t written a blog post today.

Getting tired of days where I’m not done with work until sunset.

Still happy I’m doing this and not the alternative.

Meanwhile, in the last 24 hours a gun-toting 17-year-old right-wing lunatic was thanked by cops before gunning down some protesters, a hurricane is about to level Louisiana again, and I have to see Nick Sandmann’s stupid fucking punchable face on my computer again, because the only thing necessary for Republicans to promote your existence is that you be an asshole.

(An observation: there is no such thing as a right-wing militia. Those are gangs. The word militia implies legitimacy. They have none.)

I’m tired. We’ll see if I can finish this Stephen King book I’m reading tonight. Normally he doesn’t take four days, but … 2020.

In which I am sweaty

I did not ride the bike today. I got back on yesterday, going a different direction that (I hoped) would not force me into a heart attack, only to be stopped dead by a truck doing a 180 degree, three-point turn in the middle of the damn road on the one part of the trek that was mildly uphill. Getting the bike moving again from a complete stop while going uphill was probably responsible for 80% of my pulse spike for the trip, but at least I didn’t fall or have to walk the damn thing this time. I’ll take it.

Today, I mowed the back yard, cut down what I think was a sapling but could have been some species of aggressive bush, and removed the ancient, rotting free-standing basketball hoop that our neighbors donated to us several years ago. It was old when they gave it to us and since then one of the support rods has completely rusted through, so it’s moved from “infrequently used eyesore” to “infrequently used, moderately dangerous eyesore” and it was time for it to go. I have moved it to the center of the cul-de-sac, which is where my entire neighborhood puts things that they want to go away. And it will! It is ridiculously heavy and large, but someone will take it away before the garbage truck needs to be called. It’s virtually guaranteed.

In addition to occasionally trying to get exercise on purpose I have also sort of started Weight Watchers this week. I am, so far, at least partially convinced that Weight Watchers is expensive voodoo; my wife and I have discovered that certain foods vary in points when she eats them versus when I do, and I discovered to my chagrin today that a single fucking can of Pepsi was ten goddamned points. A bottle of Gatorade is nine, and thank God I already like unsweetened tea because I’m sure sweet tea is a mess too. I get 60 points for a day and I am given to believe that that is a pretty high number. I am sure there is some sort of at least attempt at science behind it, and sooner or later I’ll do some reading and figure out what that is, but right now? There’s seven more cans of Pepsi in my beverage fridge and I’m drinking each and every one of them before switching over to Coke Zero or whateverthefuck. I’m happy to cut out/down sugar but you gotta let me burn through my stores first.

(Sidenote: this has been true for basically my entire life, but I’ve never really thought about it in these terms until recently: I drink all of my sugar. I almost never eat sweet snacks. I’ll get a craving for ice cream maybe once every couple of months, but a pint of ice cream can last me a week.)

Unrelated, but: I really need to cultivate at least a group of people on Twitter or something who are into video games, because I need to talk to someone about The Last of Us 2. Right now I feel like I don’t want to play it, which is a damn shame considering how amazing I thought the original was, but a couple of the reviews I’ve seen feel like they’ve got how I’ll react dialed in pretty well. Unfortunately, a bunch of other reviews are calling this the best game of this entire console generation. Now, I’m over 200 hours into Nioh 2, so I may have some things to say about that idea, but that’s still pretty fucking high praise. I just don’t need game stress right now on top of everything else, y’know?


7:58 PM, Saturday June 13: 2,071,782 confirmed cases and 115,347 Americans dead. Meanwhile, the WaPo has the number of reported cases today as the highest single-day total since May 14, and passing that date and becoming the highest single-day reported cases since May 8 is not impossible. This is getting worse again, folks.

Okay FINE then I WON’T

The picture almost makes customer service seem cool, doesn’t it?

I was recently able to zero out all but one of my credit cards, and Lord willing and the creek don’t rise it shouldn’t be long until I’m able to whack that one as well. I was startled to see a bill show up from one of my cards a few days ago; the card actually got overpaid a bit so the last I’d looked at it they owed me money, which is always a fun thing to have happen with a credit card. Turns out they’d charged me a $59 annual fee. Now, chances are this fee has been around for all if not most of the time I’ve had this card, but during damn near 100% of that time I’ve carried a balance. It pissed me off that I suddenly owed them an annual fee on a card with no balance, so I did a brief check to make sure it wouldn’t affect my credit rating too unduly and then called to cancel the card.

(A five minute period ensues here, as we go from blustery-but-dry outside to torrential rainstorm hello tropical storm Cristobal in about ten seconds and then the power blinks out. By the time I have the computer back online and the Internet back up, the rain has stopped.)

Anyway. That was a long lead-in to a quick resolution, but: it turns out that if you’ve had a credit card for 23 years and you call them and say something along the lines of “Hey, y’all charged me this annual fee. I don’t wanna pay it. Cancel the card!” they will not only remove the fee from your card (and, to be honest, I pretty much expected this result) but they will set things so that you are never charged an annual fee again. Which, paradoxically, is kind of annoying, because I find you must pay this annual fee, unless you don’t want to to be really obnoxious as a policy.

But, hey, I guess I don’t have to cut the card up now? All told, I’d rather have the credit than not, so I went ahead and kept it.

Also, I can see blue sky outside now. Weather is weird.


5:45 PM, Tuesday June 9: 1,973,803 confirmed cases and 111,751 Americans dead.

In which even complaining is too tiring

To the right: my actual profile picture in my Canvas account, after all of ten minutes of the “professional development” I had to do today.

Y’all, I have done so much complaining about how terrible and boring and flat-out insulting education professional development is over the last 20 years that even I don’t want to listen to myself doing it any longer. E-learning was done as of May 20, and the kids have until this Wednesday to complete any outstanding work, even though it really doesn’t matter because their grades can’t go down from 3rd quarter anyway by state policy— which is super great for the kids who have legitimately been stressing out about their grades during all this, to let them know that none of it mattered at all– but we are still on the hook until June 2nd. We have three days this week where we are supposed to complete “10 to 12 hours” of professional development from a menu of “courses” on Canvas, literally none of which are remotely relevant to middle school or to math teaching. That’s not an exaggeration– screening the offerings for my grade level offers two courses that are not, in fact, relevant to my grade level, and screening for “math” gives me nothing.

It is only hitting me as I’m typing this that we have not been told that we’re using Canvas next year. It is not impossible that they’re only using this to deliver PD, in which case the time I spent today to learn how to use Canvas was wasted.

Actually, who am I kidding– it was a waste anyway, as one of Canvas’ strengths appears to be how intuitive it is, which means that people like me do not need to watch hours of videos explaining how to do things, because we already know how to do them. An example: I am to watch a four-minute video about how to rearrange questions in a quiz.

ME: I bet it’s drag and drop.

VIDEO: Four minutes– four fucking minutes— about how to drag and drop a menu item. Which is not very long in a literal sense, but imagine that you have to watch 70 of these damn things, and even at 1.5x speed they’re still ponderous and unbearable and also you already know how to do everything they’re telling you.

This may be how some people learn, but it is not functional for me, particularly when all the narrator is doing is reading text off a screen. Because when I see words I read them, and I read them faster than any narrator would ever read them, except the narrator is yelling in my ear, so I’m not comprehending what I’m reading very well, and I can’t stop reading and listen to the narrator because I can’t have words in front of me that I’m not reading. I understand, because I have been a teacher for two decades and I have heard this from too many people at too many times for it to not be true, that some people are capable of choosing to not read text that is placed in front of them. I am not able to do that. If I see words, I am reading words.

The entire exercise was estimated to take, no shit, 9-12 hours for the entire course, and I finished it in less than three. (Even if I’d watched every second of the videos at regular speed, it wouldn’t have taken 9-12 hours; I have no idea where that estimate came from or whether anyone meant for it to be taken seriously.) Part of me feels like that means I’m done with my 10-12 hours of PD, since this was supposed to take that long. I dunno; I’ll probably find one more module that doesn’t look too objectionable and do it tomorrow. We’ll see.


6:01 PM, Tuesday May 26: 1,676,401 confirmed cases and 98,787 deaths. I have seen it reported that we’ve officially hit the 100,000 mark in deaths, but I don’t know where that data’s coming from, and I’m not changing my source now. I don’t know if it’s reporting a little slower or being more conservative in what counts a death or what.

*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.