Milestones

Did you know “milestones” or distance markers have been used for centuries? Like since the ancient world. Romans used them on all the roads they built. But other empires used them too. The Byzantines. Islamic civilizations. Dating back to the 1st century AD.

I guess early on we all wanted to know where we were and how far we needed to go.

Speaking of the Romans, the Roman Empire really was known for their construction projects. Aquaducts, coliseums, and most notably… roads. Damn if they didn’t construct an ancient interstate system. And they were built well. Many are still around and serviceable today.

And you’ve heard the phrase “All Roads Lead to Rome”? Well:

Actually— they all do.

Anyway. This is sort of a rabbit hole post all triggered by my crossing the 100,000 mile mark in my FJ cruiser this past Saturday on my drive home to Iowa. Actually, I hadn’t even made it as far as Lakeville (last suburb south of the cities) when I hit that mark.

I bought the FJ used, but it only had like 28 or 38k miles on it when I got it. And since I do really kind of love it, I definitely wanted to see it cross 100k— and beyond. FJ’s are kind of known for their owners putting on 200-300k or more. They are pretty hearty vehicles.

It’s interesting how the vehicles we own king of act as milestones in our personal journey.

I have always been kind of a car “whore”. Changing vehicles when I get bored or antsy and am looking for a change. I can only think of one other car that I’ve had where it had over 100k miles. It was a P.O.S. Honda Civic hatchback. Old 80’s model, before the cooler design change. You know the kind— looked like a Chevette or other boxy hatch of that era.

The thing topped out at 80 mph when floored. It wasn’t even really mine. It was “mine to use” after my dad got rid of my first car when I went off to college. Man that pissed me off. I was given a car when I was 17– my fathers old one— and I loved it. Like capital L loved. It was the car that I learned to drive a stick on.

I came home from college my freshman year and it was just gone. Dad said it was falling apart and needed to go. Didn’t even ask me— just junked it.

So then I was left with “Step Mom’s Honda”. Which had over 100k when I got it. I drove it to and from work in summers and occasionally to college. Parking a car (as a student) in Chicago was a nightmare so I didn’t take it to school often.

Then it was a used, 1991 Acura Integra. Red. Aka speed ticket magnet. Dad helped me buy it as my first car after college. It served me well through Grad School and into my first job.

Then it was a mid 90’s Acura Integra. White. I had that one into my second job— taking me to North Carolina. I kept it until 2002, when I got my first MINI.

Damn, I loved my 2002 MINI Cooper. Black, with white wheels, white racing stripes, white mirrors, and a white top that was checkerboarded. For looks, that car was a 10. But man it was a lemon.

I cycled through a few more Coopers. And mixed it up with a Subaru Impreza wagon at one point. That one only lasted like 3 years. I love Subarus, but they just aren’t sexy enough for me. Except the older WRX’s, but I wasn’t going to spend that much money.

And then came the FJ, which I’ve had for like 4 years now? Maybe 5? The pandemic has fucked with my ability to mark the passage of time.

I still get “new car fever” occasionally. The FJ is tall and rear wheel drive, so slick roads can sometimes be dicey feeling. And fuel economy isn’t great. And maintenance is starting to cost serious $$$. So I look.

But the damn car shortage and new vehicle prices are outrageous. Plus I hate all the new car “gadgetry”. I don’t want a fucking touch screen and digital everything. It’s just more shit to go wrong. And most new cars are devoid of style. I can’t tell a Mercedes from a Hyundai.

So I guess we’ll have to see how much farther the FJ takes me. Right now I’m decently content to motor onward.

Perhaps to 150k….

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I ❤️ Cardy T

And by that I mean Tom Cardy.

Mr Cardy is a singer/songwriter/comedian/actor from Australia. He is very much in the vein of Weird Al- only more modern and much hotter. And with more original songs.

Tom does some parody songs (he did one of Bad Guy) but what I really like are his originals. he posts many of them on media clips in various online sites.

I first came to him when a friend posted his “Not Quite Almost Christmas Time” — a song about people who rush the holidays and the people who are frustrated by that. It’s very cute and very clever. And he plays many instruments.

But then I started exploring more of his stuff. He has two albums on iTunes and I gotta say- I love both of them. And I live almost every song on both.

His sound is very produced. It’s reminiscent of Jamiroquai in some ways. But with sweating and fun subject matter. But he does hip hop and dance and funk/soul/disco stuff. It’s just all wickedly fun.

My favorite song of his right now is called “Big Dumb Idiot”- off the eponymous album. It’s a funk/disco piece basically lamenting about how he seems all smart at home but the moment he’s in public he says and does stupid things. In addition to be fun and highly relatable, it’s just musically well crafted and layered.

Other songs I quite enjoy include

  • Call Your Mother (electronica dance song about calling mum)
  • #Inspirational (a rap song using stupid hashtags people overuse)
  • Red Flags (about going on a date with a girl who’s favorite movie is human centipede)
  • High Five (dance electronica song about getting revenge on folks who don’t return a high five)
  • H.Y.C.Y.B. – an irreverent song where he asks people who have lost things if they’ve checked up their butthole
  • Monster Truck (funk song about a kid getting pissy if you touch his monster truck toy)
  • Why Am I Anxious (drugs? Caffeine? You name it)

You can get a good flavor of him just by listening to the snippets on iTunes. I highly recommend checking him out.

Plus, I may very well move to Australia so I can stalk him and then marry him.

Tom being a goof
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Phenomenal Sex

Does anyone else ever get depressed after having phenomenal, off the charts, brain-melting sex?

So yeah. I had some amazeballz sex on Saturday with this guy inquire like. He’s younger, bangin’ bod, looks like a 70’s porn star, etc. and he’s nice.

And we’re a match from a sexual energy and taste perspective. Like puzzle pieces. Everything just… works. It works like three times— in succession. To quote John Mayer, it’s like sexual napalm.

The thing is though- he already has a partner. They’re fully open, but… yeah. it kind of sucks.

Because I quite like this one. And it’ll never really go anywhere other than occasional fantastic fuck sessions.

Hence the depression- despite all the endorphins.

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New Phone, What Dis?

I was in a post-Christmas fink and decided to upgrade my tech. So I got a new iPhone. My old one was a 12 pro max. But after a few drops- the clear lens covers on the back cameras had shattered. And battery life was getting sketchy. So—- upgrade.

I opted for the 14 plus— not the pro— but still the large size. And I got the red one- as I do like opting for the red iPhones. And… it’s ok.

The new iPhones are wowing me like they once did. At this point, there’s very little that feels special about them. It’s just a little faster, a little better with battery, etc. nothing tremendous. And honestly I think the cameras were better on my old 12 pro max.

My biggest beef? Resetting up all the goddamn app logins.

My absolute favorite feature on the iPhone is the facial recognition. I love being able to open apps just with my face as the password. BUT…

When there is a change (like a new iPhone) or an app update, etc that kills the facial recognition shortcut, it’s a right pain in the ass to re-login with your user names and passwords for all the apps you use and then reinstituting facial recognition as the default.

Social apps aren’t really the issue, as I’m on them enough. But all my banking and finance apps? And work apps for management? Jesus. All the user names are slightly different due to requirements , and the passwords? Ugh.

I try to keep similar passwords for similar genres- within reason. With good mixes of upper/lower case, numbers, special characters, etc. But my god. It literally took me over an hour to reset up all my login credentials.

And there are still a few I haven’t done yet that I only use once in a blue moon.

Ah technology.

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Smiley

I binge watched “Smiley” on Netflix this past weekend— and loved it.

It’s a Spanish comedy/drama/gay rom-dramady that has an 8 episode arc. It centers around Alex- younger bartender who is caught in unfulfilling grinder hoookup loops, and Bruno- an older architect they is trying to find anyone to date after endless rejections. Their paths cross when Alex leaves a scathing voicemail for a recent hookup, but he accidentally calls Bruno’s number by mistake.

This random voicemail sets them on a red thread of fate journey which binds them together, even though they fight it.

Around them are the other typical tropes: lesbian couple at the 7 year itch, straight couple going through existential crises after third child, an aging yet wise drag queen, a mother reconnecting with an old friend, etc.

Even though all the tropes are there, it’s really well done. The linkages between all the people seem organic and not forced. The life issues feel real. The dialogue is good, and each story arc is well plotted out. Add to that the element of magical realism with the “thread of fate” concept— and the use of red to symbolize the fate connection.

I just really enjoyed it all. Several points hit home hard with me with Bruno’s story. Single, a romantic, living with his dog and a film buff, he just wants to find love. One of his early interactions is on Grindr, just looking for something… anything. He sends a message and gets a nasty reply that he’s “too old and ugly”. He then deletes the app.

Oof- now didn’t *that* his just a little too close to home!

The real killer happens later, when he delivers this gut-wrenching speech about “just wanting a beer, a regular, cold, refreshing beer, but he can’t seem to find one even though everywhere he looks he sees people enjoying beer”. I don’t want to give too much more away, but the beer is a metaphor and this speech happens at a big, emotional, critical point and it’s just so damn poignant and sad and brilliant….

Ugh! The tears!

Now, this is a Spanish series, and it’s set in “Barthalona” so sometimes the Spanish is blurry and fast. And the subtitles sometimes go by really quickly. But it’s a small piece to pay, because the overall product is really good.

Plus, the cast is muy guapo!

If you’re looking for a nice romantic diversion, I highly recommend this series.

Alex… sigh.
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Ah, 2023

This one has started with some illness. It’s probably Covid, but honestly at this point I didn’t even test myself. I have a snotty nose and a very light cough. That’s it. It could be RSV. Or a cold. Or who knows what since nobody is masking up anymore.

Anyway.

Today I feel more human than I have most of the week. The snot has mostly dried up and I am. Or really coughing much at all. I’m just glad it’s Friday and I have a weekend to sleep in with no plans.

To catch folks up- I went down to visit mom over my New Year’s Eve break off work. I had 4 days, so I spent them with her. We did Christmas on NYE.

I had a very good Christmas. Mom did decently well following my gift guidelines (I have to send her links with specifics for what to get me). And then she went rogue and ordered me clothes.

Magically she did ok on the clothes. Things I probably wouldn’t have bought myself, but nothing egregious. A couple plaid shirts. A couple henleys. She bought me XL stuff— I’m hoping it shrinks into size and some of them are a bit baggy on me.

She did manage to get me the clogs I wanted though-

70’s Chic

I know what you’re thinking- and I don’t care. They’re pretty comfy and fun and I LIKE them. But- imma have to learn to walk in them or break them in a bit. They do tend to slide off a bit when I walk. But they are Birkenstock-hipster enough for me.

Mom had a decent Christmas too. I got her some new kitchen stuff, an alpaca blanket, some clothes, hair products, CBD oil, etc. I also brought her Xmas cookies that I made, and I fixed up her lift chair with some additional cushioning.

I also was able to get her Christmas tree down and half the house undecorated. I’ll do the remaining undecorating when I visit later this month.

That’s about it from the great white north. Oh, we did officially get 15 inches of snow in this last storm and we are at 3rd snowiest start to winter all time, so… yay.

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Snowy Start

2023 is coming in with a bang. Yet another winter weather system is hitting us now. Great.

It started yesterday with ice fog, mist, snow, sleet, etc. This storm is much warmer than the Christmas one, so at least we don’t have the sun-zero cold. But what we do have is a very WET storm. Heavy wet snow, and lots of it.

The kind of snow that really sticks to everything.

#NoFilter

We have a big flock of turkeys that live by our building. They’ve been huddled up near our building for warmth (and to keep out of the snow as much as they can).

They have their heads tucked in.
If you’re cold, they’re cold….

Roads were a tight mess on my way in to work today. No lanes. Just a free for all. And slow going— even in 4 wheel drive. I was going max 35 mph, and still sliding a bit.

I can’t wait for the journey home.

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Ring Out the Old

Well- another year gone.

I’m typing this as I sit with mom on this New Years Eve. Because of the blizzard last weekend, we decided to postpone our Christmas until today. It was nice- and a positive way to end the year. We each got to much and ate too much.

As years go, I don’t think 2022 was as bad as some of the more recent ones. I mean, Covid is still around… and we also got Monkeypox, but the vaccines seem to be doing ok.

I’ve managed to stay vaxxed and mostly healthy (knock on wood) and that’s something to be thankful for.

I did Noom and was pretty successful at it. Although my weight has crept up a bit, so I’ll need to rededicate myself to it in 2023. However, I did add muscle, so that’s not a bad thing. At least my pants still fit decently.

Travel opened up a bit and I was able to take two trips— one to Palm Springs and one to Provincetown (for my birthday). Both were good and gay ol’ times were had, so there’s that. Met some good folk at each place, and I look forward to returning to both locations.

I did change jobs (again) in late March, and so far it’s been ok. Challenging, but the environment is decent overall. I don’t think I’m making enough money, and I don’t know if this is a longer term gig or not. But for now it’s fine. It’s gonna get pretty crazy in March when I lose a person to maternity leave.

Spring basically sucked. It was cold and wet and dragged on well into May. I dislike it when winter hangs on so long. The last few years with climate change, winters have been brutal and long in Minnesota (basically October through April). I’d love to be in Palm Springs more. But alas— not yet.

I finally made my pink bike. And by dint of some luck, and also finally figuring out what I’m doing with bike builds, the bike turned out great. The most comfortable and fetch bike in my quiver. I really enjoyed riding Fast Eddy this past summer.

Summer was warm and dry. Drought-dry. But I was able to enjoy the riding weather.

I’m still in band and chorus. Both offer me musical fulfillment, which is good. It’s always nice to have a creative outlet. And this past one I got the chance to stretch myself in a new direction with acting.

We still have war in Ukraine. Inflation is mad. Unemployment is crazy low. The midterm elections weren’t as bad as they could have been. Trump seems to be circling the drain, but he still keeps hanging on.

Mom is doing… ok. We had some Parkinson’s issues this past year, but currently she’s holding her own. I think she got off her meds or something. We now have a helper person coming every day except Sundays to assist her with tasks (bathing, dressing, laundry, groceries, errands, etc). I keep praying that she’ll hold on and be able to stay in her house.

Mom’s sister died just before Christmas. She’d been having issues for awhile, and she went peacefully in the end. So now mom is basically an orphan, but…

Mom did get a companion— a kitty named Harley Grace. She’s on my lap as I type. She’s friendly and loves snuggles. She’s older- and my mom took her in after her owner died. I think it’s good for my mom to have another heartbeat in the house to keep her company.

So, all in all, not a terrible year. I’m decently healthy, employed, active, financially solid, mom’s still doing ok, and we got a new family member. And my Luna is still 90% loving, 10% cunt.

I’m hoping for at least a decent 2023. I want to purge crap from my condo, sell some stuff, clean up and organize things, perhaps update my bathroom, go on a few more trips, and generally put my life in a bit better order. Two more years before I can buy in a 55+ park in Palm Springs.

And to anyone still reading, I wish you and yours all the best in 2023.

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Travel Booked

Because I know I need to get away, and because my new job is a continual accrual of PTO, I will have days of time off to use later this winter. So I’ve booked some travel.

I will once again be journeying to Palm Springs for some Whore&R time. Last year I went in mid February and got lucky. It had been cold there until like 2 days before my arrival. So this time I’m going mid-March.

Later March would have been more ideal, but with chorus concert and other stuff, this time worked in my schedule. Plus there are things going on out in PS around that time and the weather should be good

Now here’s hoping that my company will finally send me to Florida for the visit they’ve been promising— but only if they send me in line late January or February. That would be a nice little beach getaway.

My plan is still to go somewhere new and big for my birthday in August. We’ll see though.

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Twasn’t the Night Before Christmas

In fact, it was a whole Christmas that twasn’t.

The weather in the Midwest was so shitty with this blizzard storm thst I ended up scrapping plans to visit mom over Christmas. I changed them to this coming weekend instead.

She was pretty disappointed, but the anxiety relief I felt when I finally made the decision not to attempt the drive was worth it. I mean, the roads are still fairly shitty around here.

Wednesday was like 6 inches of snow. Not bad. Just messy. The roads really never got very clear. But then the cold came. Thursday was really cold, and the shit on the roads and side streets turned to compacted ice. It was like driving on a hockey rink. So many crashes and spin outs.

Then Friday hit. Brutal wind. Super cold. Roads like ice. The fluffy snow plus 40+ mph winds just made visibility difficult. So difficult in fact that they closed Interstate 35. Yeah- in certain prairie states, there are actually crossing arms that will drop and close off the interstate when driving conditions are deemed too hazardous. This hasn’t happened in many a year tho— until this year.

I didn’t sleep much Friday night into Saturday. I kept looking at road conditions— so many crashes just in the twin cities metro. And road closures. Travel not advised. Etc.

Christmas Eve dawned and I got up around 7 to check roads. I-35 was still closed- Albert Lea to Ames. Such a mess. And travel still not advised due to wind chills and still strong winds. So at 10:30 am I called it and told mom I wouldn’t be down.

The good news is that the weather is supposed to be well into the 30’s by this weekend with possibly rain! I’ll get to spend 4 days with mom instead of 2, so that’s all good.

Heck- I may even get to “undecorate” her house too while I’m there.

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