Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Trades are an option

I recently had a discussion for the Hangover Haze Show with a good friend of mine who has worked extensively in the trades for years.  He has installed solar, done carpentry and achieved his Construction Supervisor's License, has gone to Electrical school and will eventually have his Journeyman's License in Electrical.  So it would be fair to say that he's well-versed.

We spoke about the trades as a viable option instead of going to college for Computer Science, or an English degree, or god forbid, an advanced degree in Gender Studies (haha).

There's a glut of trade work available currently due to the fact that the baby boomers are retiring or dying off and for many years in the late 80s through the early 2000s the emphasis was on going to college.  There was a negative stigma placed on people who were trades workers.  They were viewed as beer drinking, large gutted, moronic plebeians without the capacity for complex thought or decision making.

Those folks are the ones who are currently having the last laugh though.  While it's true, if you're a prodigy in Software Engineering who teams up with someone that can effectively market your app, chances are you'll make a bundle of money and be able to retire early, or re-invest and move up the entrepreneur ladder, much like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos. 

But the truth of the matter is, you're most likely to end up as a mid-level programmer for a larger company.  Just another cog in their massive machine.  A faceless entity who draws a decent weekly paycheck without the trappings of fame and glory.

And generally, in both instances, you'll be hiring tradespeople to do the work on your house, property, and car because you lack the necessary skills to do so yourself effectively.  Not to mention negotiating the depth of red tape local governments provide when trying to permit certain projects.

I've worked in solar and construction and also have my Construction Supervisor's License and I've operated a good deal of heavy machinery that would seem foreign and daunting to most people.  I participated in various masonry and landscape projects.  I grew up in my father's auto mechanic shop and some of the earliest photos of me are in my godfather's junkyard and around hardcore grease monkey's.  I've swapped engines in my car twice as well as other more advanced mechanical projects.  Over my years I've attained at least an intermediate skill level in electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. 

In other words, not only am I extremely well read (humble too!), but I can also build and provide the maintenance of a house as well as the property it sits on and if I were so inclined, could maintain my vehicle as well and fix it in most instances of it breaking down. 

There's a great deal of money to made in the trades and I've often considered opening my own construction company and pursuing that route, but I also find that while I do enjoy the somewhat mental challenges and physical strain of that type of work, my happiness lies in the cerebral pursuits of the highest levels.  Namely, Psychology and Philosophy. 

But, I urge those who are thinking that perhaps college isn't for them and that they'd like to make a successful life for themselves otherwise, to consider one of the many skilled labor trades.  There will be plenty of work for you once you're licensed and I know many people who make more money per year than high-level IT professionals.

I was one of them.

Take care of yourselves.
-Phil

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Schedule going forward

I originally started this blog as an attempt to write a post every day.  I was able to do so, for the most part, except when I would get busy with other things, run out of ideas to write, or just got plain old lazy.  Then I would make up for it by writing 2 the following day.

This was all fine and dandy when I was unemployed, which has changed recently.  So, between a full-time job, the Thirsty Thursday episodes, and trying to get people on for the weekly Hangover Haze Show episodes, I don't have a wealth of time to commit to blogging every day.

I also found there were days that I would be struggling to find topics to write about and I would much rather write posts of substance, rather than crank out anything that pops in my head just to live up to the daily deadline that was self-imposed.

So, this is my official announcement that I won't be writing a blog post every day.  I'll be writing them whenever I'm struck by the writing bug and I feel I have something worthwhile to share.  Sometimes that might be many within a day and then other times it may be nothing at all for multiple days on end.

I'm sure this will inconvenience absolutely no one at all, but I figured that I may as well be honest and let people know what's going on.

As always, please feel free to send emails directly to HangoverHaze@gmail.com and now you can even leave a voicemail at 774-243-2181.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

My own Arrogance

Why am I so fucking arrogant?  It's something I've been for a long time and it's been detrimental to my interactions with a lot of different people throughout my life.  Including the ladies, as it were. 

As far back as I can remember...well, that's not totally true...I recall being a very young age and my demeanor was rather pleasant.  I was known in the neighborhood for walking right up to the perfect stranger and introducing myself with a smile.  Dangerous practices to be sure, but still, there was something at one point in me that lacked the arrogance that drips off of me now.

Somewhere along the line of life I transitioned to an overly self-assured prick.  Combined with my constant judgment of everyone and the selfish bent of my character and frankly you've got a terrible human being.  I'm not really sure why people even call me "friend".

I think the arrogance started to rear it's humble head (haha!) as I tore through literature, which gave me a different understanding of life itself, and after going through being locked away for "anger management" problems with a bunch of hormonal teens, followed by a stint in the foster system, and finally being bullied consistently by my friends.

Arrogance, for me, comes from a place of being so utterly confident in that moment that I drop all pretense of humility.  After all, humility is really only used as a disguise so as to not embarrass anyone around us who may not be of the same understanding.  I had also spent much of my life being a passive bystander to my abuse, which involved continuous berating, belittling, and beatings, and I no longer allow people to walk all over me anymore.  I refuse to be a victim of anyone else.

There are far better ways for me to stand up for myself and commit to a life where I won't be victimized, but I'm still learning how to process and move forward in a healthy way.  So, if you've been a victim of my arrogance all I can do is say, I'm truly sorry.  I'm working on it and it's going to take a while for me to change.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Remembering 9/11

The night before I had quit my shitty job as a gas station attendant.  It was an overnight gig where I would sit in a booth for 8 hours, get stoned or drunk, and dispense snacks or cigarettes to customers through a drawer from behind bulletproof glass.  

I recall the Assistant Manager of the place practically begging me to cover for the night so she could plan the rest of the week properly while she tried to find a replacement, but I was being stubborn and told her that I'd had enough and couldn't handle it anymore, which was true.  So, I sat with my roommates and got stoned all night before heading off to bed.

When I woke up it was probably 7:30AM or so.  I doddered around the apartment in a bit of a daze, due not only to the stoned sleep I had woken from, but also realizing the reality of what I had done.  I had no plan for a new job whatsoever, yet I had casually bailed on a steady income.  There was a thrill to it, but also a bit of panic.

After eating breakfast I plopped down in front of the computer in my bedroom to start the job search.  In 2001 everyone was still using AOL Instant Messenger, so I made sure to fire mine up to keep communication with friends if they were around.  Most of them would probably be in class as we were 19 years old at the time.

Matt was the first to send me an IM.  It just said, "Turn on the news now!".  This alarmed me a bit as he knew that I wasn't very partial to watching the news.  I walked into the living room and turned on the TV and switched it to one of the major news channels.  I was instantly stunned by what I saw.  One of the Twin Towers of New York City had apparently experienced a major explosion.  

I sat in rapt attention as the reporters struggled to explain what they could only infer was happening.  No one knew for sure, other than there was a massive burning hole in the side of one of the towers.  What happened after that started to alarm more people as cell phone service was quickly being interrupted, not only in New York, but across New England and then the East Coast entirely.  

When the second plane hit, I was watching it happen live.  I can remember the news anchor remarking that there was a large plan coming into view and it seemed to be traveling far too low within the cities limits.  Then in slammed into the side of the second tower and even the people in the news studio couldn't disguise their alarm and horror.

That's when I yelled out myself and ran to Tom's room, slamming on his door to wake him and his companion up.  He groggily answered the door asking what was wrong and I just said, "Someone just flew a plane into the World Trade Center tower."  His eyes widened and he quickly got his robe on and joined me in the living room.  

We sat in stunned silence as we flipped through the various news stations to see each one repeating, from various angles, the footage of the plane hitting the second tower.  Tom's guest, who was a Danish woman that had come to visit him, came out and joined us after a little while.  We all sat around speculating what was happening.

Dan came home from wherever he had been.  If I recall he had been let out of work early as most places were doing.  Matt informed me on IM that classes at Fitchburg State had been let out and cancelled and all buildings over a certain height in New England were to be evacuated.  F-15s were scrambled and were soon circling NYC.

The United States of America's heart and soul had been attacked by radicals from the Middle East.  They had struck directly and purposefully by flying 2 massive 747s into both of the World Trade Center Towers.  

Around 9:30AM or so we all watched as the second tower collapsed down to the streets below.  Massive clouds of smoke swelled through the city streets.  There was footage of hordes of people screaming and running away as quickly as they could.  Then, around 10AM or so, the first tower fell as well.

Thousands of people died that day.  Innocents who were just going about their day.  People on the flights, people in the towers, people on the streets, and then the heroes who did their best to rescue those in need.  So many lives lost because of radical beliefs.  Fanaticism at it's worst.

I remember my friends all meeting up and chatting about it.  We talked about how the country was going to war.  It must be.  This was the first direct foreign attack on the country since Pearl Harbor and it was shaping up to be far worse.

Later in the evening some of the cell service was recovered and I remember Tom's friend called back home to Denmark to talk to her family and assure them she was alright.  While on the phone she started to laugh with whomever she was chatting with in her native tongue.  Meanwhile in the background on the news they were still tallying the death toll.  At one point she even had the gall to say something along the lines of, "Now America understands what the rest of the world deals with."

I understand what she meant by that remark, but there's a time and place to say such criticisms and I definitely disagree with her timing.  I think my anger was very evident because Tom ushered her into his room.  She ended up leaving earlier than she had planned and later on Tom explained that he told her she needed to go because she was being utterly inappropriate.  Good on him for that!

Being jobless, I was glued to the TV for the next week or so as more and more information came to light.  I watched the footage as they played repeatedly.  I still feel the horror at watching as people would jump from 30+ stories up to escape being burned to death, only to fall to their deaths below.

17 years later, it still saddens me that this is the type of world we live in.  Other atrocities have happened since, and I suspect, will continue to.  This is a world where nihilism, fanatical radicalism, and mental instability cause people to go on shooting rampages.  Where bombings happen in places where the most people gather so as to cause maximum carnage.  

It's a world I don't understand.

My thoughts go out to people who suffer.  Any type of suffering.  That which is caused by others, that which has been caused by me, and that which seems to surround you for no other reason than being alive.  It's not easy to navigate our ways through this thing called life.  It's even harder to understand the reason for any of it, but I try my best to take solace in the kindnesses that others are capable of.

Be kind whenever possible.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Monday, September 10, 2018

On being a Judgmental prick

It's really no secret.  I'm kind of a judgmental prick, known to hold others in lower esteem than myself.  Part of the selfish nature with which my mind works I suppose.  I don't like that I'm like this, but it's been this way for a long time.  For some reason I just have this constant stream of thoughts where I'm looking down on those around me for their words and actions.

I tend to think it's because most people are stupid and I instantly compare their intelligence to mine, which tends to fall quite short (don't worry, I'll write about my arrogance at some point), and that's not a very fair assessment as everyone has something to offer the world.  Or so I've been told.

My therapist has told me that I hold people to a certain standard in my mind and that it tends to be at such a high level that I've created a cyclical form of self-sabotage because essentially no one can live up to it.  This allows for me to continue to judge everyone in a negative light as they've "failed" me in some way or another.  Again, I don't like this about myself and it's entirely unfair.

But, to be honest, while I can admit that my standards for others may be too high, I do still believe that the general population can't easily impress me, even were I to lower the bar.  This type of thinking unfortunately leaves me feeling ostracized, though in reality it's me who is the one pushing everyone else away, and I more often than not prefer to be alone due to this.

All of this leaves me in a frequent pattern of seeking solace in my own thoughts, then wracked with loneliness after a time, which leads me to searching for intimacy and conversation with others only to be let down by their inherent inability to live up to my expectations.  None of this is conducive to a healthy romantic relationship, alas.

Again...something I need to work on in therapy.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Selfish-ism

If I'm completely honest with everyone, I'm selfish.  I do care about others, for sure, but the fact remains that at the end of the day I don't seem capable of caring for others more than I care for myself.  This is a tough dichotomy that contrasts with my low self-esteem that I really can't understand too readily.

The reason I'm saying that I'm a practitioner of Selfish-ism is that I find that my most prevalent thought throughout my day to day is of myself and what's happening to, or affecting me.  Now, I already know I'm not a narcissist, my therapist has assured me, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm inherently selfish.

While I do care about others and will do favors for people, there is always this undercurrent in my thoughts of what I can get out of it in the long run.  Is this a pervasively evil way to think?  I don't know.  I'm just being honest.

The Selfish-ism also comes into play when I start thinking about why I'm incapable of being successful at the things that I think I want in life.  I might be delusional, but I've always had this idea that I could be writer, or a painter, or some sort of personality that I can subsist from.  But then, I also find that I don't want to put in all the effort that seems to be needed for such types of success.

It's like the selfish part of my mind is saying something like, "You shouldn't have to try so hard because all of these fuckers owe you something".  What the fuck is that about?

I'm actually quite disgusted and ashamed of these thoughts, but I don't really know how to quell them and think more positively for others.  It's not just a self-preservation thing either.  It's some odd belief that the world owes me something.  What horeshit!

Something to be addressed in therapy I guess...fuck sake.  Just another issue.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The pleasure of a hot shower

I am such a fan of showering.  A good hot shower can revitalize and assist in healing my mentality of the day.  If I'm feeling down or upset, I find that taking a lengthy hot shower puts me into a meditative state.

Often times I'll take one just to stand in the tub, letting the hot water pass over my body, while I rotate slowly and rinse.  I won't use soap or shampoo if I haven't gotten dirty or sweat throughout the day.  Always give the asshole, balls and taint a quick scrub of course.  Gotta stay fresh!

But there's something so soothing about being immersed in running water, which is why I prefer a shower to a bath.  I've taken baths before of course, but I don't seem to enjoy them near as much.  I get bored and will sit there while my brow sweats from the heat.

A shower, on the other hand, is constantly active and keeps the mind present while allowing it to also achieve a sense of peace. 

My typical shower for cleanliness is very utilitarian.  I'll quickly clean myself and then rinse before shutting off the water and getting out to dry off.  I can take a full clean shower in 5 minutes. 

The soothing shower though is something I approach with more abstract purpose.  If I have something particularly taxing on my mind and I have the time, I'll get the water to a slightly warmer than comfortable temperature, get in and immediately get my head under the stream.  This sends a quick shock throughout my body and clears my mind.

If I find that I can't seem to clear my head then I'll start to debate with whatever problem I'm seeking to confront in an effort to resolve it.  What I've found, more often than not, is that while I won't come to a full resolution, I will be in a more content state about whatever's been troubling me.  This allows me to be more level-headed about it moving forward.

Also, if I'm sick, hot showers seem to have a way of revitalizing my senses and clearing my head of the fogginess.  Probably something to do with the heat and steam.  None the less, I'm appreciative of their holistic effect.

So, if you find yourself wracked with the darkness of emotion, troubled by problems, or feeling like shit...I recommend a nice hot shower.  Give it a whirl and let me know how it works.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil