I’m done with writing about September 11th.

Someone sent me an email asking why I hadn’t written anything marking the 15th anniversary of September 11th. The truth is I’m done with it and have been for awhile. I last wrote an entry about it back in 2008 and I’ve not written another one since. I figured seven years of talking about it every year was enough. My opinions haven’t changed much in the eight years since.

In fact I find the annual ritual to be nothing more than an exercise in false patriotism largely engaged in by folks who think they have to out-American everyone else as though it were a contest. “Look at me! I’m a great American ’cause I haven’t forgotten!” The same sort of folks who put those stupid magnetic ribbons on their SUVs that say “I SUPPORT THE TROOPS” and think they’ve actually done something supportive. The only exceptions are the folks who were directly impacted by the events that day. I do not begrudge them their time to reflect and remember every September, but the vast majority of people in this country that wave their flags and scream about “not forgetting” are not those people.

As Jim Wright wrote on his blog, we’ve had our revenge and then some. Not only did we smash the Taliban in Afghanistan, but we decided we might as well stomp all over Iraq while we were at it even though they didn’t have anything to do with 9/11. We inflicted a death toll far exceeding what happened to us on that fateful morning. Depending on who is doing the counting, the estimates are that between 151,000 to 1 million Iraqis have died as a direct result of our invasion of their country. Again, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. Assuming it’s the conservative estimate of 151,000 then that’s a 4933% difference and that’s not even counting the 91,000 people killed in Afghanistan as a direct result of our war on that country. As a reminder: 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and the rest were from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. All countries we did nothing to.

In the course of exacting our revenge we sacrificed an additional 8,000 people to the cause — 166% more than died in New York on 9/11. We also sacrificed major chunks of our civil liberties, privacy, and moral high ground in the course of making ourselves “safer” without actually making ourselves any safer. But hey, at least we don’t have to worry about Iraqis or Afghans attacking us again, right?

Apparently it’s not enough that we’ve spilled an excessive amount of blood in retaliation for 9/11 while also laying the seeds for further terrorism against us. It seems we’re required to pick at the scab every year until it bleeds anew so we can feel justified in our ongoing hatred of others. No thanks, I’ve got better things to do.

I was not directly impacted by the events of 9/11. I didn’t lose any loved ones or close friends when the towers fell. All of my connections to the event in question are indirect and consist mainly of being an American who was alive when it happened and witnessed it unfold on TV in real time. I don’t need to be reminded of it because I will never forget it. The same way I haven’t forgotten where I was when President Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr. or when the space shuttle Challenger exploded or any of the other major events that have happened in my lifetime. I have sympathy for and empathy with all of those folks who have direct experience with those events, but eventually we have to move on. I have had loved ones I care deeply about that have passed away that I didn’t grieve for as long as we’ve grieved over 9/11.

It’s not healthy and I refuse to let it drive me to hatred and anger. I debated whether to even bother writing this much as it feels like I’m letting myself get dragged into it yet again. I’m pretty sure this will be the last thing I write on it. In the future I’ll just point folks to this entry when they ask why I haven’t engaged in the yearly self-flagellation ritual that is 9/11.

Go ahead. Ask me anything.

Just when it seemed like my blogging was picking up I go and slack off again. I tried to write a couple of things about the RNC and DNC, but the truth is I thought the former was a stunning shitstorm and the latter — so far — has been impressively optimistic, but then that probably goes without saying so I didn’t say it. Well, I suppose I did just say it, but I didn’t write a big blog post about either one.

I’m not sure how many folks are still checking in with SEB regularly, but I thought I’d take a chance and start a thread where I encourage those of you who are still here to ask me any questions you’d like me to try and answer. Anything at all. I can’t promise you my answers will be particularly insightful, but perhaps they’ll at least be mildly entertaining. More importantly, I thought I’d give the responses as a vlog so you can see my fugly mug and hear my melodious voice in all its sarcastic glory.

So, what are you itching to ask?

I’m on vacation.

introspective-catTechnically, I’ve been on vacation since a week ago and now it’s almost over. As a result I’ve not paid too much attention to what’s going on elsewhere and as such that’s why I’ve not blogged in a bit. That said, there’s been an awful lot of police shooting people who didn’t deserve to be shot in the news as of late and now we’ve had 5 police officers killed in Texas. Even when you don’t look at the actual news some of it still filters through on Twitter and Facebook.

I’m not going to spend any time on those topics right now because I’ve made my feelings pretty clear on this in the past: Stop shooting each other, you fucking idiots.

Instead, I’m going to go back to wasting what little vacation time I have left playing video games.

Weekend update.

weekendupdateSo I’ve been trying to get back into blogging on at least a semi-regular basis. My goal is to not let multiple weeks go by without publishing something. I’m actually surprised at the amount of content I have managed to put out recently. Basically, anything I would normally share to social media that I would type more than 3 sentences about I try to turn into a blog entry. There’s been a couple I’ve scrapped because I just couldn’t seem to make anything coherent out of them, but overall I think this has been helpful.

I’ve been thinking more and more about trying vlogging. I find that I’m being incredibly self-conscious about it. I don’t want to record it in front of anyone, including my wife, which makes it hard to do considering she’s home most of the time. There’s also a question of what to do a vlog about and how do I want to present myself. Should I do an energetic rant? Lots of folks doing those. Should I try to do it conversationally? Should I let my goofy side shine or be serious? Fuck it, I’ll just play a video game.

My mother has finally sold her house and is currently living with my sister in the neighborhood we grew up in. I’ve mentioned before how odd it is to go visit and not only be in the house of our former babysitter, but be directly across the street from the house I spent the first 17 years of my life in. It’s also annoying because the field we used to play in got bought up and someone shoved two houses into it so what was once the closest we had to a park is no more.

Healthwise, I’m still fat and I haven’t gotten back into exercising with the warmer weather like I know I should. Still hovering in the low to mid-290’s weight. My right knee has been bothering me for several months and I’ve got a doctor’s order to get it x-rayed, but haven’t gotten around to that yet. It’s hard to get up the motivation to do something like that when, despite having insurance, I will have to foot the entire cost as we’ve not hit our deductible yet.

Other than that it’s work, eat, sleep, play video games. I lead an incredibly boring life.

It looks like it’s going to be a sleepless night.

I apologize for not posting something sooner — it’s been long enough that my mother sent me an email asking me to update SEB — but it’s been a busy few weeks. Anne has started a new job that has her getting up at 5AM so the both of us have been going to bed earlier than usual the past couple of weeks.

I’ve also been heavily involved in a PC refresh at work. Most of the laptops we currently have are over 5 years old so the IT department has started purchasing replacements and I’ve been trying to upgrade anywhere from two to four people a day to their new machines. We only got 24 new machines in this first go-round, but that’s enough to keep me jumping. We’ll be doing several more batches throughout the year.

In addition to that, our company just struck a new deal with T-Mobile that sees everyone being upgraded from the crappy flip-phones they’ve been using to a brand spanking new iPhone 6s. Guess who also handles phone issues at our site? Since last Thursday we’ve been working on this and it’s been a painful learning process in part because upgrading from the flip-phones isn’t as simple as you’d think it would be and also because we’re offering to let people port over their personal numbers into a business number if they want to. Not to mention the process of setting up an iPhone to be managed by the IT department is easily a 40 minute process by itself. The amount of training I had on this was minimal due to the fact that the folks in Ohio who were teaching me weren’t completely up to speed on how to do everything themselves. This has resulted in any number of hiccups, but we’re slowly making progress and the folks I support have been very gracious in their patience.

Tonight, however, worries have me back out of bed at 11:30 in the evening and I’m not sure if I’ll get back to sleep tonight or not. Our emergency backup cat, Jasper, has suddenly started vomiting his food back up at least once a day for the past several days. My first thought was we got a bad batch of hard food, but Cuddles doesn’t seem to be having any issues himself. He doesn’t seem to be any less active than usual or showing any obvious signs of distress so we weren’t sure if there’s a serious problem or if he’s just eating too fast and getting sick after roughhousing with Cuddles. I called the vet’s office today and they said we better bring him in just in case so we have an appointment for Saturday afternoon.

My daughter is also having relationship issues with her mother at the moment that has resulted in a couple of exasperated phone calls from Courtney this evening, one of them after we had gone to bed. Things will probably have settled down by the morning, but it’s hard not to worry if she’s going to do something rash like try to live out of her car until she can afford an apartment because she and her mother can’t seem to get along anymore.

I’ve been laying in bed tossing and turning since the last phone call and I eventually decided to get up to pee. Jasper joined me in the bathroom where he jumped in the tub and crouched as though he were trying to urinate. This is way out of character for him and he stood that way for several minutes. When he finally moved there were two very small pools of urine in the tub. Barely any at all. One of the issues the vet was concerned about was dehydration from the vomiting and this would seem to confirm those worries. After I finished doing my business I went looking for him to see if he was OK and at first I couldn’t’ find him. Checking the litter boxes in the basement I noticed another very small pool of urine next to one so he’s clearly having issues.

I found him here in the computer room. He’s curled up on Anne’s chair sleeping next to me at the moment. Now I have to decide if I should take the day off and take him into urgent care or see if the vet can squeeze him in. I have a lot of work to do tomorrow so I really should go to work, but I don’t think I can risk waiting until Saturday to take him in. Anne certainly can’t take the day off as she just started this job a couple of weeks ago. Getting back to sleep with him in distress is probably not going to happen either even though he seems to be sleeping peacefully at the moment.

Lots of pressures and stresses at the moment. If I hadn’t already shaved my head my hair would probably be falling out. I hate this feeling of not knowing what to do whether it’s in trying to get someone a new phone to do their job or help my daughter to find a place of her own or whether to rush my cat into an animal urgent care. As a kid, the adults in my life always seemed to know what they were doing and I always figured that when the time came I’d know what to do too. I must have missed school the day that held that class because more often than not I’m just winging it by the minute and I hate that.

On a lighter note, I had been letting my hair grow out for the winter only to be reminded why I shave my head. Once it gets to a certain length it’s impossible to get it to behave and I end up looking like this:

You'll note the permanent wave I've got going on there.

You’ll note the permanent wave I’ve got going on there.

Last Wednesday I finally gave up and shaved it off so I’m back to looking like this:

Crazy eyebrows still intact.

Crazy eyebrows still intact.

Well, it’s now 12:08AM and I should probably try to go back to bed. Probably won’t, but I probably should. I’m feeling anxious and it’s amazing how well that suppresses any tiredness you’d otherwise feel. Here’s hoping the morning brings with it some clarity and positive resolutions to at least some of my immediate concerns.

Today is SEB’s 14th Blogiversary.

catenergysavingmodeIt’s hard to believe that it’s been 14 years since the very first post I ever made to what would become Stupid Evil Bastard. It wasn’t called that at the start, but it wasn’t long before it would take on that name. That very first post wasn’t particularly profound or meaningful. It was a simple question to myself about what I was actually going to do with it now that it was up and running. Fourteen years later and I still don’t have a good answer to that question.

In those years I’ve managed to post some 7,749 entries and with the slowdown in posting over the last couple of years it seems like we may never break 8,000 entries. There have been some 87,322 comments and a grand total of nine podcasts. I still haven’t made an attempt at a Vlog, but it continues to be something I’m considering. SEB has run on 3 different blogging platforms in that time, has had a dozen different layouts, and has moved webhosts at least 4 times that I can recall. Traffic isn’t what it used to be, but some entries written years ago still see comments coming in several times a week. I came close to packing it all in no less than a half-dozen times over the years for one reason or another. Yet we’re still here and still occasionally have something to say. I was 34 years old when I started and I’m 48 now. It almost seems like a whole other lifetime ago.

I have no idea if SEB, or myself, will still be around in another 14 years, but for the moment you’re stuck with me.

 

SEB Podcast Episode 9 Audio Edition is now online.

A pic of a microphone.

Blah blah blah…

For those of you who prefer to listen to a podcast (as opposed to watching it) your wait is finally over! I have converted the Back from the Dead podcast from Google Hangouts into an MP3 file. Complete with all the mistakes and glitches of the original! Don’t think of it as me being lazy. Think of it as it being a truly authentic experience!

You can download the file by clicking here or you can listen to it from this entry using the media player below.

Play

The SEB Podcast Revival is still happening.

Hey, remember how way back in February I wrote a post about reviving the SEB Podcast and everyone was all like “that’s a great idea” and Dave was all “we should totally do that” and then the weeks passed and I posted updates that said it was still “totally going to happen”? Remember that?

It's so magical!Well it’s still totally happening. After months of Dave remodeling his kitchen and me packing up everything I own and moving to a smaller apartment and him being sick and me being lazy, we’ve both marked this Sunday as the day we’re totally going to do the podcast.

So, seeing as it’s been some time since I last asked you folks what you’d like to hear us chat about I thought I should put out the call once again. If you suggested something previously and still want to hear about that topic that’s fine, but if you’ve come up with an even better topic then now is your chance to let us know. Just leave a comment on this post or drop me an email and we’ll see if we can’t come up with something to say about it. Cause it’s totally gonna happen this weekend.

Probably.

The Great Move of 2015 is complete.

I keep meaning to blog about something, but this time I have a good excuse. We spent the last week packing up everything we own into a million different boxes where we won’t ever be able to find that one thing we need right this moment ever again. We did this because we were moving to a new apartment.

We didn’t want to move as we’ve been pretty happy in Ann Arbor, but the owners of the apartment complex we lived in (Mill Creek Townhouses) decided to hire Village Green to run their apartment complex a couple of years back and Village Green likes to think they can turn any apartment into a “luxury” apartment by putting in new cabinets, fancy lighting fixtures, and black appliances in the kitchens and raising the rent to an unholy level. When we first moved in we rented a 3 bedroom townhome with a basement for $1050 a month which was a stretch at the time, but Anne was working and we could afford it. When Courtney decided to move out to live with her mom so should could attend college in Grand Rapids a year later we moved down to a 2 bedroom with a basement that cost us a much more reasonable $735 a month. That was 5 years ago. In those years Village Green jumped our rent considerably each year such that my last year of rent was $1010 a month — almost as much as we paid for the 3 bedroom 6 years ago.

This has nothing to do with this entry, but I thought it was amusing.

This has nothing to do with this entry, but I thought it was amusing.

We ended up finding another 2 bedroom townhouse with a basement for $810 a month in Canton which, if you’ve been reading this blog since its inception, you may recognize as the town I lived in back when SEB first came into being. We lived in Canton from 1998 to 2005 and only left because that was the year of my first real bout of unemployment. It’s been 10 years and moving back feels a lot like going home to a place that (so far at least) seems to have only gotten better since we left. We’re losing about 100 square feet of living space in the move as the new apartment is slightly smaller than the old one. This is particularly noticeable in the kitchen where the fewer number of cabinets is significant, forcing us to make some decisions on what goes in the cabinets and what gets moved to storage in the basement. We’ll find a way to make it work, though, and I think we’ll be pretty happy. More importantly we’ll have a little more breathing room in the budget than we’ve had in a couple of years. If you have to leave someplace you were happy with it’s always nice to go to someplace else you were also very happy with.

Technically I was on vacation last week, but it sure doesn’t feel like it as we spent it trying to figure out what to put in which boxes and what to throw away and where the stuff we were keeping would go in the new place and hoping the movers we hired didn’t kill us for being the disorganized, messy, hoarding people that we are. Fortunately the movers were awesome as fuck and kicked much ass and told us that we had done an excellent job compared to a lot of their customers. I suspect they were just being nice, but they got all our crap loaded into their truck and unloaded in the new place in around 7 hours or so in heat that felt more like late August than late May. They even disassembled and reassembled our bed for us which was probably the thing I was most unqualified to do. If you live in Michigan and want to hire some professional movers we’d happily recommend Morse Moving and Storage as they did a kick ass job for us.

So that’s what we’ve been up to. We’re in the process of unpacking now which is going to be a long process, but we’ll get through it. We did decide to make the second bedroom into a Den for our computers instead of putting them in the basement like we did in AA. So now when I use my webcam there won’t be a tower of boxes behind me. Maybe I’ll try some actual vlogging now.

A quick roundup of stuff.

wellshitSo I see the blog is getting dusty again. Here’s what I’ve been up to instead of writing stuff.

Mostly it’s been looking for a new place to live. Our lease on our apartment here in Ann Arbor is up at the end of May and, much like the last several years, the folks at Village Green are asking for a huge jump in rent for us to stay another year (from $1,010 to $1,145). We’re living hand to mouth as it is already and so we’re on the hunt for someplace new which, unfortunately, means leaving Ann Arbor. We thought we’d found a place in Whitmore Lake, but the guy they thought was leaving in May has opted to stay another year and so they don’t have any units that’ll be available before we have to move.

Now we’re looking at possible renting a manufactured house in Novi which would put me within 15 minutes of work, but they’re already finding it hard to just show us the unit we’d be renting and that makes me wonder if moving there would be a mistake. We saw a unit that someone else is renting last Thursday and they promised we could see the one we were being offered either Monday or Tuesday, but here is is Wednesday and I actually had to take the day off tomorrow to maybe see it because reasons. They have an move-in incentive of getting the first month for free, but that promotion ends tomorrow if we don’t sign up and I’m not signing up until I see exactly what it is I’m signing up for. So depending on how things go tomorrow my hunt may or may not be over.

The SEB Podcast revival is still going to happen, but I’m not sure exactly when. Dave has been busy with remodeling his kitchen out in Denver and the month of May will have Anne and I packing for the move to wherever at the end of the month. So maybe we’ll squeeze it in and maybe it’ll be June. Still, Dave and I totally plan on doing it and we may re-ask about topics depending on how long it takes us to get our shit together.

Beyond that, the weather has improved a bit as of late, but I’m still not back to walking as often as I should. I’ve made it out a couple of times with my buddy Greg, but it’s still not a routine. My weight is hovering right in the mid-280’s so at least I haven’t put back on all that I’ve lost. I thought my Fitbit had crapped out on me as it stopped syncing for several days and I got on Twitter to moan about it and the FitBit folks responded with the secret of how to do a reset on the device. It’s back to working again and reminding me that I am one lazy motherfucker.

If you stopped by SEB today you may have found it unresponsive. Seems the Varnish cache that Dreamhost puts on the account needed to have its memory settings tweaked and was killing the site for several hours. Alas, the couple of posts I had intended to write (other than this one) have since withered and died. I’ll try to post something in the next day or so.